The REALTOR’s Role When You Buy FSBO

Sold-FSBOYou’ve been searching for homes with your agent but can’t find the one that’s ‘just right.’ You know the inventory is tight and that the right one will come along soon, but you’re getting impatient!

Then you stumble across a house that looks perfect. But it’s For Sale By Owner. Now what?

Your agent can still help you – and he should! Just because the owner is selling privately doesn’t mean you can’t look at the house or even own it. Tell your agent about the house and share the address and phone number with him. Your agent will call the owner to see if he’s willing to work with buyers who are represented by a Realtor.

If the owner is willing to pay your agent a professional fee, he and the agent will meet prior to your seeing the house to agree on compensation. That’s usually a percentage of the sale price, but it can also be a set amount. With that agreement in place, your agent will show you the house, and if you decide it’s ‘the one,’ he’ll help you prepare an offer for the seller. Your agent will continue to work on your behalf and help you navigate the transaction to a successful closing.

If the owner is not willing to pay your agent a professional fee, you’ve still got a couple of options. You could choose to pay your agent the professional fee yourself – there’s no rule that says it has to be paid by the seller. You could also choose to negotiate directly with the seller and try to put the deal together on your own. By doing that you’re essentially firing your agent (even if you really like him!) and you’ll need to handle inspection deadlines, repair negotiations and follow-up, and any lender requirements without his guidance. If you haven’t bought a home before, or don’t feel comfortable ‘flying solo,’ you’ll want to give that decision some serious thought before proceeding!

(Consider, too, what you’ll do in case your direct negotiations with the seller are not successful. Will you be able to go back to your agent after dumping him? Ultimately that depends on the kind of relationship you have with your Realtor, but it’s something to keep in mind!)

In today’s market of very limited inventory, it’s only natural that we’d see more sellers trying to sell By Owner. As the buyer, know that you’ve got options and that it’s OK to look at FSBO properties. Talk to your agent and have a game plan in place, so when you find the right house, you can move forward confidently!

Gaide named Home Owners Plus director

Andie Gaide
Andie Gaide

Home Owners Plus has named a new director, Andie Gaide.

Gaide replaces outgoing Buffy Cornish at Home Owners Plus, which is a membership of home related businesses and services exclusive to clients of Woods Bros Realty and its sister company.

Gaide holds a bachelor’s degree in business communication with a minor in psychology from Concordia University. Simultaneously, she earned her Nebraska real estate salesperson’s license from the Larabee School of Real Estate. After graduating, she represented HOME Real Estate in Lincoln at the Pine Lake office as an real estate agent before accepting the position.

Gaide will also assist Woods Bros Realty associates with their clients’ American Home Shield home warranties.

For more information about the Home Owners Plus program, call 402-437-7600.

CFPB Tips for Homebuyers

From the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Make the most of the new CFPB mortgage rules

Beginning January 2014, new rules take effect that are designed to achieve a common sense goal: When it comes to shopping for a home mortgage, it should be easy for consumers to find the information they need to make good decisions. The CFPB rules simply require lenders to document a borrower’s ability to repay the loan and follow other common sense rules to protect consumers.

The CFPB’s rules ensure that anyone being paid to help you find a mortgage treats you fairly at key points in the process. The rules are aimed at empowering you to shop for loans to buy and own a home with more confidence.

How the CFPB’s new rules help if you are shopping for a home loan

Tip #1: Only you can decide how much you are comfortable paying for your mortgage.

The new mortgage rules will make the market safer and easier to understand. For example, lenders now have to make a good faith effort to determine if you have the ability to repay your loan. They can meet this standard by making a loan known as a “Qualified Mortgage” that doesn’t have high fees and certain risky features like negative amortization or interest-only periods. But in the end, only you can decide how much you are comfortable paying for a mortgage.

Tip #2: Use your market information.

You will get a copy of any appraisal or valuation at least three business days before you go to closing. Appraisals can provide you an estimate of what a home is worth. You may also obtain your own independent appraisal. If the appraisal is well below the price you offered to pay, you may want to consider renegotiating the price or reviewing the appraiser’s work carefully to understand how the appraiser arrived at the estimated value.

Tip #3: Get reliable help.

Any company that is paid to help you find or get a mortgage must train its agents, brokers and loan originators and make sure they have been through a background check. With limited exceptions, the people you hire to help you find a mortgage should be licensed or registered at the state or federal level. Ask your loan originator about their credentials.

Tip #4: Watch those fees.

New CFPB mortgage rules limit the fees a lender can charge and still make what is called a Qualified Mortgage. In general, qualified mortgages do not have particularly risky features, and the points and fees are less than 3% of the loan amount, though fees can be higher for loans of less than $100,000. These rules do not require lenders to cap fees. You still have to decide for yourself whether it’s a good idea to pay high fees to get a loan. And be sure to review your closing statement carefully to make sure there are no fees there you did not agree to pay.

Fore more information, visit the CFPB online at www.consumerfinance.gov.

The new WoodsBros.com

Woods Bros Realty this week launched an updated version of our website, www.WoodsBros.com. The site has been designed to be more clean, simple, fresh, and touch friendly, with tablets in mind. We are also featuring local photos that we will continue to update seasonally, since there really is “no place like Nebraska,” and we’re proud to show the beauty of our communities.

Key updates worth noting:

  • Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 9.24.59 AMNotification bar – The new site includes log in information at the top of each page. When you are logged in, it will show the number of saved properties and saved searches you have active in your account. Remember, you can activate your Virtual Office Website membership to view listings from all companies.
  • Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 9.44.56 AMProperty Search – From the front page, you can type in any location information to find your place–city, neighborhood, school, MLS number, zip code, street name or number. Clicking the search button will take you to the map search, where you can narrow down your search further. You can even use your current location to search properties for sale around you.
  • Map Search – Our map search gives you an easier way to buy with so many options. You can zoom in to the area you want, or you can draw a border where you’d like to search. Check out the tools at the top of the map for options.
  • “Bread Crumbs” – At the top of the search window, you’ll find the current criteria used in your search. You can click the “x” next to any option you’ve decided to remove.
    Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 9.50.30 AM
  • Property Detail – From the map, you can hover over a listing to preview it and click it for full detail. From each listing, you can ask a question, view mortgage payment scenarios, scroll through full-screen photos, and much more. You can even see a home’s Walk Score® to see its proximity to services.
  • Professionals – You’re always just a click away from finding one of our professionals to work for you. Search by name, specialty or office.
  • Real Estate Expertise – Beyond property information, our website includes information about buying, selling, building a home, relocating, and commercial properties.
  • About Woods Bros RealtyLearn more about the rich history of the Woods brothers and the tradition of service and building community that we believe in still today.
  • Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 9.32.13 AMContact Us – On every page, we included a button to  contact us for more information. Just click “Ask a Question,” and reach out to us. We’ll get you the answers.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Check the footer menu in the bottom section for a number of links and site help. We are continually improving our website with you in mind. We’d love your thoughts and suggestions on how we can make it easier to use. Please send feedback to webmaster@woodsbros.com.

Federal Housing Administration loan changes now in effect

FHA-Approved-Lender-SealIf you’re a buyer utilizing an FHA loan and you’re not already under contract, your FHA loan is now more expensive. How? Because the mortgage insurance is now scheduled to last for the life of your loan.

It used to be that your mortgage insurance would drop off (you’d probably have to request that it be removed) once you achieved 22% equity in your house. That’s no longer casinos francais en ligne the case, as that mortgage insurance is now in place until you pay off the entire mortgage.

If you were looking at an FHA loan, you might consider a NIFA loan – as of this writing (June 6), the rate is considerably lower than the current FHA rate. There are some income guidelines and a handful of other rules you need to know, but the NIFA loan will make a significant difference in your monthly payment. It’s worth exploring – talk to your lender about it and see if it makes sense for you.

Top 10 features in new homes

CB028928New construction is hot in Lincoln. People looking for new construction typically have some features in mind that they want in a new house. Here are the top 10:

  1. An open floor plan. Most people just seem to love going into a new house and seeing the living room and the kitchen as one big area. Most seem to want the ability to be in the kitchen and visit with someone in the great room at the same time.
  2. A large kitchen with a walk-in pantry and granite countertops. The kitchen is often the focal point of the entire house and new home buyers want their kitchen to stand out. Granite countertops are wildly popular as they make kitchens look richer. A walk-in pantry provides sufficient space for items that won’t fit in the kitchen cabinets.
  3. A mud room. Most new construction homes are built with a mud room. Typically this is the first room you enter when walking into the home through the garage. Also called a “drop zone,” it is a great place to leave coats, shoes and other items carried into the house. Most have cubby holes or lockers for coats or at least coat hooks. That makes it easy to grab your coat and run when you leave the house. Many times this room also doubles as the laundry room.
  4. A master suite. This consists of a large master bedroom with a master bath that includes a walk-in tiled shower, a jetted or soaker tub and a double sink vanity. The walk-in master closet can either be off the bedroom itself or the bathroom.
  5. A large rec-room in the finished basement. A finished rec-room gives a family double the living space and serves as a place to kick back and relax. It’s a great place for a large flat screen television and casual and comfy furniture.
  6. Plenty of storage. Let’s face it – people have “stuff” and they need places to put it. Much new construction today leaves large unfinished spaces – usually where the furnace and water heater are – for storage.
  7. Great floors – wood, tile – anything but vinyl. Wood flooring in the kitchen and dining area is fairly standard today in most new construction. Many people are even eschewing carpet in the great room in favor of wood floors. Wood colors range from light to dark and all provide a look of richness. Tile is demanded in bathrooms, laundry rooms and entry ways where wood is not present.
  8. Well-placed laundry rooms. Laundry rooms no longer are relegated to the basement. In newer homes, they are expected to be on the main level or even on the upper level by the bedrooms in two-story houses. It’s a convenience thing – people just don’t want to carry laundry to and from the basement anymore.
  9. Three-car (and even bigger) garages. You will notice that the majority of newly-built homes today have three car garages. Builders understand that families have multiple cars today and single and double garages just aren’t big enough.
  10. Covered deck. Who doesn’t like a deck in their back yard – even more so when it has a roof over it. A covered deck gives people a great outdoor living space.

Woods Bros Mobile App just got better

The Woods Bros Realty mobile app just got a major upgrade! Here are some of the new features in this version:

  1. Much faster map searching
  2. Text / Keyword Searches (refine map or criteria search).
  3. 3D Property icons with the list price
  4. Favorite or recommended agent
  5. Live statistics on every screen. You always know the lowest, highest and average list & sale price.
  6. App Touring: tap and hold (for a few seconds) the compass icon on the lower right. The app now updates your location and nearby properties every 5 seconds. This is ideal for property tours, open houses and market surveys.

If you’ve already downloaded our app to your device, simply update it. If you haven’t yet downloaded it, you can do that here:

Search for properties with our new mobile app

Woods Bros Realty is pleased to offer a fast, powerful local real estate application for Android and Apple mobile devices.

Home buyers can search for listings and open houses via criteria, maps or current location (GPS required), or even draw a search area to find the most properties in any mobile real estate app. Flip through additional photos; turn the screen sideways for full screen viewing. Quickly save interesting properties for comparison or contact an agent. Share properties via message, e-mail or Twitter, and easily look up office and agent information.

FROM YOUR DEVICE, click the link below to download. OR, scan the QR code from your device. You can also search for the company names in your device’s application store. iPad users? Be sure to check out the iPad app.

iTunes (for iPhone and iPod)
WoodsApple

Google Play (for Android phones & tablets)
WoodsAndroid

Special offer on Williamsburg home

For a limited time only, the Seller of this spectacular Williamsburg home at 3801 Old Dominion Ct in Lincoln, NE, will seriously consider all formal offers with a purchase price of $470,000 or higher. This stunning property is currently priced at $499,000 and is well worth the price – the home was recently assessed at $517,900!

3801 Old Dominion Ct, Lincoln, NE
3801 Old Dominion Ct, Lincoln, NE

Located in one of Lincoln’s most prestigious developments, this stunning home is better than new and features a fabulous open floor plan, gourmet kitchen with granite counters, double ovens, custom cherry cabinetry and a large walk-in pantry. In addition, you’ll find a spacious master suite, 3 additional large bedrooms, an office or study space and a beautifully finished basement and amazing landscaping.

Public Open Houses will be held on:
Saturday, June 16, 2012 1:00 to 3:00pm
Sunday, June 17, 2012 3:00 to 5:00pm

RSVP to this open house on Facebook.

View Larger Map

New Enhancements to WoodsBros.com

Early this morning we rolled out a new build of our website that adds some really cool new features to keep us at the leading edge with our online presence.  Here’s what’s new!

FScreen Shot 2012-05-02 at 9.36.55 AMacebook, Twitter, and Google + sharing on the mobile site

Our mobile traffic, and mobile traffic across the industry continues to grow exponentially.  We’ve been focusing a LOT on the mobile site since launching the first local real estate mobile site two years ago – so I’m very happy to announce this feature.  Now you can share a listing to the “big three” social networks instantly from anywhere on any device.  Check it out by visiting m.woodsbros.com from your smartphone today!

Printable Listing Brochure

You can now click “Print Brochure” on any listing and will be presented with a new layout that’s much more clean and includes some really nice features.  We’ve included a ruled area at the top for notes, and a new revised map at the bottom that allows you to map from your address to the property while also including agent-entered driving directions.

Screen Shot 2012-05-02 at 9.41.50 AMSaved Search notifications via Text Message

We’re all-in on the mobile device shift, and to continue to adapt we’ve added text notifications.  Now when a property receives a price change, open house, or other update and you have enabled these notifications – you will immediately get a text message!  This is only the beginning – and it works very well. To make the change, log in to www.WoodsBros.com, click on “Profile Settings,” and add your Mobile Phone Number and Carrier. Then under “Notification Preferences” select “Text Message.”

In every text message we include an unsubscribe link to allow you to easily unsubscribe at your discretion.  Nothing complicated, just a simple click of a link!

Enhanced Search Experience

We continue to enhance our property search to cater both to tablets and to usability.  Buttons and headings continue to get larger and more colorful – allowing much easier clicking on iPads and other tablets, as well as drawing attention to them.  We’ve also recently updated the “Your Selections” area at the top to allow you to easily see the search criteria you’ve entered.  And this is only the beginning — stay tuned!

Screen Shot 2012-05-02 at 9.46.59 AM

Show All Photos on Mobile Search Results

We’ve added usability to the mobile site by jumping straight to a page with all of a listing’s photos if the photo count below the primary listing photo is clicked.

That’s all we have for this go-around but much more is coming this year!

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