Thursday, September 25, 2014

Metairie and New Orleans Closing Costs: What Every Home Buyer Should Know





Even before you are presented with the sheaf of paperwork that accompanies the signing of your first mortgage, if you are a Metairie or New Orleans first-time home buyer, you will have already learned about closing costs—the fees and charges that pay for various parts of creating the mortgage loan. Included in closing costs are sums that can vary from inconsequential (chump change) to head-turners (“whaaaat th-?”). You’ll want to be prepared in advance for what the line items cover.

That’s where the “Good Faith Estimate” comes in. It’s a detailed document that is issued in advance; it’s a heads-up that estimates closing costs you’ll pay when you buy your new Metairie or New Orleans home. The GFE varies considerably from one lender to another although the overall costs tend to be more predictable. It’s easier to think of closing costs as falling into two general classifications—here’s a non-exhaustive listing of what each may contain:  

Prepaid Closing Costs
·         insurance
·         real estate taxes  
·         prepaid interest  
·         private mortgage insurance

These charges are collected to fund payments that will become due at various times throughout the life of the mortgage. Funds are generally paid into a temporary pass-through account (the “escrow account”) that gets things going—later, you’ll find them included as part of the regular mortgage payment.

Non-Recurring Closing Costs
The other charges included in Metairie and New Orleans closing cost calculations are the one-timers: those that have to do with the creation of the mortgage. Among them:  

·   Credit report - Fee paid to the lender for compiling the borrower’s credit report from the various credit bureaus.

·   Underwriting fees - Covering the cost of evaluating and verifying your loan application based on the financial information.

·   Origination fee - This is the lender’s charge for creating the loan: it can range from 1%-5%, depending on the type and size of the mortgage. 

·   Appraisal fee - Is the amount charged to determine the value of the property.

·   Survey fees - The cost of verifying property lines.

·   Flood zone certification fee - The expense for verifying whether the property is situated in a flood zone area.

·   Title search fee – Pays for research into whether there are outstanding liens or unsettled mortgage payments on the property.

·   Lenders title insurance – Insures the lender against challenges to the ownership of the property.  

·   Recording fees - The amount charged by a government agency for recording a real estate sale or purchase.

·   Discount points – An optional amount that you may choose to pay to decrease the loan’s interest rate (and substantially lower your monthly payment).

By the time my clients reach closing, there aren’t any surprises: all the i’s have been dotted and t’s crossed. That’s how it should be: a closing is really the capstone to one of life’s momentous beginnings! 


View Homes For Sale in Metairie
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Terez B. Harris
Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group
(504)297-2619
www.TerezHarris.com
TerezHarris@kw.com


Search the MLS! 
(multiple listing service)


Search Terez's Active Listings!







      








Terez B. Harris   Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group   504-297-2619   www.TerezHarris.com
Keller Williams Realty New Orleans 8601 Leake Ave. New Orleans, LA 70118 504-862-0100
Each office independently owned and operated. All brokers and agents licensed in the state of Louisiana.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

3 C's To Consider When Buying A Home In Metairie

When buying a house in Metairie for your family, you want to pick one you can stay in for decades. After all, you do not want to displace your family after discovering the home does not live up to your expectations. Luckily, you can scope out the place well before committing to the purchase. During the initial inspection process, make sure to check out the community features, crime statistics and commute characteristics to find a perfect fit. Read on to learn more information.




Community
Opportunities for advancement through life may greatly depend on the education your children receive from their school district. Check out the Metairie public school system from preschool to college in each home's assigned boundaries to weigh the options. You can tell a lot about each school's ability to prepare your children for success by looking at funding, teaching ability and parental satisfaction with the institution.
Children often grow leaps and bounds while playing on local playgrounds in their secure Metairie neighborhood. Make sure the area around your desired home offers at least one playground for children to enjoy. Drive through each community to see if children ride bikes, walk dogs and frolic together on sidewalks without worry.




Crime
Children's ability to roam safely through their neighborhood greatly depends on the crime rate in that area. You can look up statistics concerning assaults, burglary and severe traffic violations to assess that neighborhood's crime rate. You want to make sure the neighborhood does not pose a serious threat to your family's well being before home buying in Metairie.
It is important to keep in mind that each area naturally has a small amount of crime to watch out for. However, people in most areas are not at risk when taking the proper precautions for safety while traveling outdoors or staying inside at night. Talk to community members, including block watch captains, to see how criminal acts affect daily life and discuss crime prevention techniques in that particular neighborhood.




Commute
When home buying in Metairie for your family, you need to consider the amount of time it takes to commute to work and back. Minimizing your commute affords you more time to spend with your family over the course of your work life. Although you can usually save money on a home far outside the city, the hour commute to work and back will really add up. Paying a bit more upfront for a home in the city limits could save you an insurmountable amount of time on the road.
Also, consider the commute options that get you out of the car when looking for suitable Metairie homes. Communities that support bus and bike commuters open the doors for improved time management, better health and decreased reliance on personal vehicles.





Finding The Perfect Home

Talk to Terez B Harris, the real estate expert in Metairie, to create a clear, complete picture of homes in your list of desired locations. You can compare the characteristics of each home to find one that suits your family best. Consider the changing needs of your family as the kids grow up and career goals transform. Although you cannot plan for every development in life, having a clear outlook on home buying in Metairie can lead you to the best choice with the information you have today.




View Homes For Sale in Metairie
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Terez B. Harris
Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group
(504)297-2619
www.TerezHarris.com
TerezHarris@kw.com


Search the MLS! 
(multiple listing service)


Search Terez's Active Listings!







      








Terez B. Harris   Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group   504-297-2619   www.TerezHarris.com
Keller Williams Realty New Orleans 8601 Leake Ave. New Orleans, LA 70118 504-862-0100
Each office independently owned and operated. All brokers and agents licensed in the state of Louisiana.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New Homeowners Should Factor in Metairie and New Orleans Home Improvements



You’ve done it: found what’s soon to become your family’s new Metairie or New Orleans home! It’s in a great neighborhood…reasonable commute…decent kitchen (size is right; definitely upgradeable). All this and it fits the budget! Congrats! Looks like your housing hunt is over...

YET…before you sign on the dotted line, there should be one last check-off. Factor in all the costs that improving the house to your liking will entail. The cost of home improvements in Metairie and New Orleans can be light—but since that’s not always the case, there are areas where the possible impact on your bottom line can be meaningful. For instance:

Anyone who has had the experience of paying for new fencing—even for just a section in need of replacement—has learned to respect the fencing cost factor. Depending on the type and size (and whether you have a neighbor who’s willing to split the cost!), it will be fairly simple to go online to find a generic online calculator that will estimate an all-in price.  

Although repairing split or broken concrete can sometimes be as easy pouring new concrete over the old, often the old has to be jackhammered and hauled away before new concrete can be poured. There are different types of concrete to choose, including coloring and texturing. This is one Metairie or New Orleans home improvement that can easily run to several thousand dollars, depending on the size of the renovation.

This one’s a sleeper: the home improvement involving a clogged or blocked drain (or any of a variety of other drainage issues). If drainage issues come up in the inspection report, the long-term health of the property calls for prompt remediation. Usually this is a minor expense, but in extreme instances, you could be looking at clogs that must be excavated to be removed, topography changes, installing new drains, re-sloping concrete, or other fixes.

If sick or otherwise damaged trees are on the property, you could be a storm or two away from a dangerous issue. If removing the tree or trees has been advised, it will be best to plan on acting promptly.  

Window replacement, when called for, requires an estimate by a Metairie or New Orleans  home improvement contractor experienced in the specialty. Depending on how many windows and the type of trim involved, it’s a Metairie or New Orleans home improvement project that usually runs in the hundreds of dollars per window. The good news: it also increases the value of the home.

If you’re considering a property with old wiring, ungrounded outlets, or other known electrical issues, a certified electrician’s estimate is your best bet to foresee the extent that re-wiring could be needed.

Home improvements in Metairie and New Orleans can be immediately gratifying (such as a stunning kitchen remodel!)—or they can be the kind where peace of mind is the principal reward. Either way, after you’ve found a house that looks like a great find, it’s worth the effort to project the cost of improvements you will want to undertake during the first year.

If you’re looking to buy this fall, I’m here to help with a full portfolio of quality Metairie and New Orleans home improvement resources and referrals.  


View Homes For Sale in Metairie
View Homes For Sale in New Orleans


Terez B. Harris
Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group
(504)297-2619
www.TerezHarris.com
TerezHarris@kw.com


Search the MLS! 
(multiple listing service)


Search Terez's Active Listings!







      








Terez B. Harris   Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group   504-297-2619   www.TerezHarris.com
Keller Williams Realty New Orleans 8601 Leake Ave. New Orleans, LA 70118 504-862-0100
Each office independently owned and operated. All brokers and agents licensed in the state of Louisiana.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Choosing the Metairie or New Orleans Real Estate Agent Who Represents You


When you set about buying a home for the first time, the lay of the land can be a little tricky. It’s worth recalling some familiar sayings, like
All that glitters is not gold; and
Don’t judge a book by its cover; and
Appearances can be deceiving
Likewise, just as “doubletalk” isn’t twice as reliable as “talk,” in the Metairie and New Orleans home-buying vernacular, a “dual agency” transaction doesn’t necessarily involve twice as many Metairie and New Orleans real estate agents—it can involve just one (or two who are working under the aegis of a single broker).
This can become important for home buyers who sometimes make a strategic decision based solely on what seems like common sense. They see a Metairie or New Orleans home or a listing that looks promising, and make the assumption that they will get the best deal by going directly to the property’s listing agent—you know, to get all the information
Straight from the horse’s mouth!

Now in fact, real estate agents are responsible for carrying out a wide array of duties, including staging homes for sale; marketing them; showing the homes to buyers; aiding in negotiations, etc. The real estate agent who listed the property (aka the seller’s agent) is obligated to represent the interests of the seller. Makes perfect sense. And when a prospective buyer chooses to enter negotiations without their own agent to represent their interests, the listing agent remains duty-bound to represent the seller—but now the buyer, also. In the event of a conflict between the interests of buyer and seller, the real estate agent has to represent both—which, as you might imagine, can be tricky.

When you think about how attorneys and real estate agents are similarly duty-bound to their clients, you can see why it usually wouldn’t make sense for a buyer to forego separate representation. It would be like having the same attorney represent both sides in a negotiation. Also, since there is no additional commission charge for employing a buyer’s agent (commissions are customarily split between agents, with both being paid from the seller’s proceeds), most buyers decide that teaming with their own Metairie or New Orleans real estate agent will get them the best possible deal. After all,

No one can serve two masters!

Does that mean you as a buyer should never proceed with one Metairie or New Orleans real estate agent—in other words, make a ‘dual agency’ transaction? Not quite. Remember,

Never say ‘Never’!

In some cases, it does work out. For instance, if the parties are related (and have the same goals); or if every detail has already been agreed to; or if time is such an overriding factor that it trumps other considerations, then everyone can be well-served by a single real estate agent. In any case, as long as an agent is able to remain scrupulous in not violating any confidences, since each party has the chance to make their own decisions at every point in the transaction, nearly one in ten home sales does wind up as a single-agent transaction.

If you will be on the lookout for a new home in Metairie or New Orleans this fall, I’d be pleased to put my experience at your service to help find and negotiate the deal. Call me!




View Homes For Sale in Metairie
View Homes For Sale in New Orleans


Terez B. Harris
Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group
(504)297-2619
www.TerezHarris.com
TerezHarris@kw.com


Search the MLS! 
(multiple listing service)


Search Terez's Active Listings!







      








Terez B. Harris   Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group   504-297-2619   www.TerezHarris.com
Keller Williams Realty New Orleans 8601 Leake Ave. New Orleans, LA 70118 504-862-0100
Each office independently owned and operated. All brokers and agents licensed in the state of Louisiana.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Metairie or New Orleans Property Inspection Shows What You’re Getting Into





You’ve successfully located the home that fits your wish list! The listing agent says the home is in “great condition!” Financing is pretty much a done deal! Time to relax!
Er—maybe not just yet.
When you are buying a home, among the scores of thoughts that might be racing through your head (“Is this the best one for the money?“Will everyone be comfortable in it?” “Will it be enough house over the long haul?”), one you definitely don’t need is “Will this house become a money pit?” 
The home that looks perfect may well be exactly that—but if not, you certainly don’t want to find yourself pouring hard-earned dollars into repairs that become apparent only after you have signed. Surprises are fine for birthday parties, but to avoid the sort no home buyer needs, getting a professional Metairie or New Orleans property inspection is the most direct way to tell if there are any significant underlying issues.
To alleviate the worry, you should make any offer conditional on a home inspection…then order up a professional Metairie or New Orleans property inspection done by an experienced Metairie or New Orleans home inspector.
When a home inspector arrives at the property, he or she will invite you along on the tour. However, you don’t have to accompany the inspector to some of the less-accessible areas like the roof, attic and crawl spaces (unless you want to). The inspector will likely start outside, checking for any suspicious areas that may allow water to penetrate, then move indoors for a thorough investigation of each room in the house. As the inspection moves along, definitely feel free to ask questions as they crop up: after all, inspector works for you!
It’s important to remember that any Metairie or New Orleans property inspection is not 100% certain to uncover every possible defect: a home inspector, no matter how experienced, is not clairvoyant. But you will receive a thoroughgoing assessment of the potential likely problems with the home’s systems—as well as an opinion on the condition of the home. You may be able to renegotiate your offer should conditions warrant it.
Metairie and New Orleans property inspection costs tend to differ depending on the size and condition of the home, and usually take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours to complete. Often, the verbal assessment made at the time will be very informative. Later, you’ll get the fuller detailed written report. If the inspection reveals a deal-breaking flaw, you will have saved yourself from a bad investment. Less commonly, more detailed property inspections could be in order—especially if you are also ordering sewer line, pool, fireplace or other specific inspections. Most inspectors offer discounted rates if subsequent inspections are in order.
Property inspections are not intended to offer warrantees or guarantees, but an experienced Metairie or New Orleans home inspection is the next best thing. It’s something most homebuyers find makes their purchase a lot less stressful. If you’re looking at buying a home in Metairie or New Orleans this fall, call me today to discuss the market. And once you find a likely new home, I can recommend several of our most experienced and reliable property inspectors. 




View Homes For Sale in Metairie
View Homes For Sale in New Orleans


Terez B. Harris
Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group
(504)297-2619
www.TerezHarris.com
TerezHarris@kw.com


Search the MLS! 
(multiple listing service)


Search Terez's Active Listings!







      








Terez B. Harris   Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group   504-297-2619   www.TerezHarris.com
Keller Williams Realty New Orleans 8601 Leake Ave. New Orleans, LA 70118 504-862-0100
Each office independently owned and operated. All brokers and agents licensed in the state of Louisiana.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Metairie and New Orleans Foreclosed Home Market Echoes National Trend



If you’ve been following foreclosure news, you already suspect that cashing in on foreclosed home opportunities in Metairie and New Orleans must be getting more difficult. According to CoreLogic’s Insights report at the end of last month, foreclosure inventory across the nation had dropped 35% from a year earlier. Whenever the number of available bank-owned homes shrinks, the tighter market produces some predictable results: the best deals are usually snatched up quickly with multiple offers and/or higher-than-asking prices, while questionable deals—foreclosed homes priced over market or requiring too many dollars in repairs—seem to predominate.

If you are investigating the market for foreclosed homes in Metairie and New Orleans, that doesn’t mean you will have to settle for a dubious acquisition. It does mean that you should plan to do some tough-minded calculating (with a freshly sharpened pencil)!  

If you are newly interested in buying a foreclosed home in Metairie and New Orleans (and some good ones are still coming onto the market), experienced foreclosed home buyers tend to agree on some basic precepts:

 1. Factor in All Costs
A very low price tag on a Metairie or New Orleans foreclosed home is a tempting opportunity—and a signal that you’ll need to do more than the usual amount of investigating. Especially in a tight market, a price that’s lower than expected often signals a high degree of disrepair that will require a great many improvements—ones the previous owners weren’t able to make. Such a deal can still be worthwhile, but requires doing the research to determine what kind of time and money it will take to make the place livable.   

2. Offer Your Best
Whenever the foreclosure market tightens, the properly priced offerings begin to sell quickly. If so, when you find a foreclosure you know is one you want, be prepared to write your best offer earlier rather than later. If the home is attractively priced, it’s risky to go in low, hoping to nudge the banks’ price lower. It will be worth spending the time to double-check the comps and fine-tune your initial offer. If you don’t, it is increasingly likely that someone else will.

3. Work with a Specialist
Since all real estate agents don’t have the same amount of experience, if you’re looking to purchase a Metairie or New Orleans foreclosed home, there’s no substitute for working with someone who is well-versed in these specific transactions. Not only will an experienced agent be able to help you identify prospective buys, but dealing with the bank to successfully nab a foreclosed home isn’t always a cut-and-dried process. It may take more than one attempt before you succeed in writing a winning offer—but whatever it takes, it’s certain you’ll be ahead of the pack when you have a knowledgeable pro by your side.

Thinking of buying a home this fall? Whether you’re specifically searching for a foreclosed home in Metairie or New Orleans—or simply looking for your next home—I’m here to provide the resources and up-to-the-moment information that helps create winning offers!

View Homes For Sale in Metairie
View Homes For Sale in New Orleans


Terez B. Harris
Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group
(504)297-2619
www.TerezHarris.com
TerezHarris@kw.com


Search the MLS! 
(multiple listing service)


Search Terez's Active Listings!







      








Terez B. Harris   Terez Harris NOLA Real Estate Group   504-297-2619   www.TerezHarris.com
Keller Williams Realty New Orleans 8601 Leake Ave. New Orleans, LA 70118 504-862-0100
Each office independently owned and operated. All brokers and agents licensed in the state of Louisiana.