Author: svgdigital


When Should I Hire A Real Estate Attorney?

Hiring a real estate attorney can be especially helpful when you start in the real estate business. A real estate attorney is equipped with the skills and experience to help you decide during a real estate agreement. Some real estate laws may be complex and sometimes become hard to interpret.

In such scenarios, you can use the help of a real estate attorney. They are also important in smoothening any transactions ensuring that deals are done following the law. Many states have different laws revolving around the field of real estate, and an attorney can help you adhere to the law. Here are a few key points that will help determine when you will need to hire a real estate attorney.

When the State Requires you to
Several states across the country require the presence of an attorney before any deal is signed. Therefore, it is important to hire a real estate attorney so that any deal done can be in accordance with the law. Some of the states requiring a real estate attorney’s presence include New Jersey, Vermont, Alabama, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, New York, to mention but a few.

Ambiguous Real Estate Deals
Some real estate deals may pose a challenge in interpretation. The deal may have complex terms, and to avoid any misguidance, a real estate attorney can come in handy. Hiring a real estate attorney will help in the interpretation of such deals, smoothening the process. Some properties may be subject to some other company rights or need adherence to several laws.

An example is a property at the beach or zoning rights. To avoid future complications, hiring a real estate attorney will help avert such challenges ensuring you acquire or sell your property well within and in accordance with the law.

Risky Transactions
Some real estate transactions may be risky, such as a commercial real estate deal. Acquisition of such property may require a highly experienced real estate attorney to properly guide you through the acquisition process. Real estate attorneys have gone through several scenarios and are well poised to explain the matter in full and help you avoid mistakes that may cost you a lot of money. They can give important details on structure requirements, rents, environmental protection, and so on. It is advisable to get a real estate attorney in such a scenario.

When litigation issues arise, having a real estate agent will be very important so as to help you successfully navigate through the issue. In addition, some unforeseen circumstances such as the coronavirus pandemic necessitate the need for a real estate attorney.

The pandemic has brought about many changes in the real estate industry as well as other industries. In order to adhere to the law when handling properties during the pandemic, a real estate agent can help in such matters to ensure you are on the safe side. The pandemic has brought about many laws that need to be followed to the later in order to curb the spread of the virus.

See Wylie and Washburn for your real estate legal needs.

help with a HELOC

Do You Need An Appraisal For A Heloc?

HELOCs and Appraisal Requirements

What exactly does HELOC mean? HELOC is short for “Home Equity Line of Credit.” It describes a loan category that exists right now. If you get your hands on this sort of loan, then the specific lender says yes to giving you the highest sum in the span of a designated stretch of time. The collateral is the individual’s house equity.

Are you trying to get a HELOC? If you are, then you should make sure first that you know about any and all of its requirements for preparation purposes. Some people wonder whether HELOCs call for appraisals.

Are Appraisals Required for HELOC Candidates, Anyway?

The reality is that people can often secure home equity loans with ease. They don’t necessarily have to get official appraisals, either. Lenders can pick between all sorts of avenues that can help them come to conclusions with regard to property market values. They don’t always have to take the standard appraisal route at all, either. What exactly can lenders do? They can rely on public records. They can test out data assessments. If they want, they can assess residential properties visually by going by them in their vehicles.

There is an abundance of home equity lenders in this day and age that do not demand complete property appraisals. They have the option to depend on different property value evaluation techniques. They may opt to check out records that tackle county assessment matters.

They may utilize AVMs or automated valuation models. These things can do so much for lenders who have to make guesses that relate to suitable home price tags. If you’re interested in perhaps decreasing your closing expenses as a means of securing a home equity loan, you should learn as much about all of these options as possible.

It can help you greatly to be in the loop with regard to all sorts of situations that do not call for extensive home value appraisals. Is your lender able to get his or her hands on a new appraisal summary from the last six months or so? Do you need a loan-to-value ratio that’s remarkably minimal?

Think about the possibility of going forward with a different alternative valuation system as well. If you take the tax-equalized value route, you may be able to forget all about extensive appraisals. If you take the previously mentioned AVM one, ditto.

Appraisals that fall under the limited category sometimes are necessary for people who are trying to get home equity loans. People sometimes call these “drive-by appraisals.” If you have to get this kind of appraisal, then your appraiser will exclusively assess the outside parts of your residential property. He or she will solely assess the parts of your community that are nearby as well. This understandably is a markedly less complex and sophisticated process for everyone. Appraisals come up with reports after they perform limited appraisals, too. Limited appraisals are often economical.

If you have questions talk to the experts at Wylie And Washburn.

title insurance

Do I Need Title Insurance As A Home Buyer

Buying a home is one of the largest steps that you will do as an adult. The process can be overwhelming at times and you will hear terms and have discussions about things that will be completely new to you. One such discussion that will most likely occur will be about title insurance and whether purchasing such insurance would be something that you should do.

Title insurance is something that most individuals have never heard of until they enter the final stages of the homebuying process. To put it simply, title insurance is insurance that can give you peace of mind during the purchasing of your new home.

When you are in the process of purchasing a home, normally a deep search is conducted to ensure that the title of the home is free and clear. Free from any liens, tax debt, and unpaid debt by the previous homeowners.

While such searches are thorough, the fact remains that sometimes important information is missed and this missing information could cause major issues during the final purchasing process or even months and years later.

There are two types of title insurance that you may hear about. The first is a lender’s title policy. This policy is almost always a requirement that your mortgage company will have in place. Such a policy protects the lender from any mishaps that are associated with the purchasing deal.

The second type of title insurance is the owner’s title policy. This policy protects you the home buyer. While the first policy may be a mandatory policy, to ensure that your best interests are protected, you will want to purchase both types of policies.

While the chances are minuscule that you will have to utilize title insurance after it is purchased, it is still a plan of protection that could potentially protect you from expensive court litigation should unforeseen problems with the property that you are purchasing arise.

This insurance provides protection for events that most people never anticipate to occur, but the fact is that they do occur and when they do, they are expensive events that may cause you to dream of homeownership to vanish forever if you have to dig into your own pocket for the money to deal with such hassles.

Take the steps necessary to protect yourself every step of the way on the home buying process and purchase both a lender’s title policy, as well as an owner’s title policy. The costs of such policies are not overly expensive, but the peace of mind that it gives you as a potential home buyer is priceless.

Talk to us at Wylie and Washburn for all your real estate questions.

closing attorney

How to Choose a Closing Attorney

There are many real estate attorneys out there. It is good to hire the best lawyers. It is easy to get confused when trying to compare the several lawyers available out there. Many of them will try to convince you that they are the best. It is essential to compare the several lawyers out there then decide on the best. The best closing attorney will advise you on the best steps to follow so that you can realize the best out of your real estate investment. There are a few steps to take so that you can locate the right real estate attorney.

How to Choose a Closing Attorney


1. Get a recommendation from experts

Many experts are involved in the real estate business. You will work with real estate agents and other professionals. You can work with other experts to get the right recommendation you can follow to locate the right lawyer. Locating the best lawyer will be a great way to enjoy the best investment. There are many issues you can avoid when working with attorneys.

2. Choose a lawyer who specializes in real estate

Some lawyers specialize in real estate matters. Hiring lawyers who specialize in the real estate field will offer the best services. Ask the experts whether they specialize in real estate before hiring them. They will offer the best legal advice you need to enjoy the best experience. Some firms specialize in real estate, they are the best to hire, and they will assure you the best legal representation.

3. Check out the experience

Hiring highly experienced lawyers is the best way to ensure you enjoy the best legal representation. Lawyers who have been carrying out the real estate transactions will easily point out issues necessary to note down during t eh agreement. They are also in the best position to warn you in case you are about to buy a property that will expose you to challenges later.

4. Examine reviews

Many people have bought homes before you. You can check out the reviews that other people offer about the services they got. Experts who have good reviews will offer you the best services. Ensure you get to check out issues that past clients offer. Some lawyers are known to offer high-quality legal services. Hire the best lawyers, and they will guarantee you the best services.

5. Compare the lawyers

You will know whether you will hire the best lawyers if you can get quotes from several firms and compare the details. Schedule an interview and get to talk with several lawyers. Lawyers who have a lot of experience in the field will guarantee the best legal services.

6. Search for local real estate lawyers

You will be better off if you can hire lawyers who operate in a given area. They know the state laws that govern the sale and buying of property in a given area. Check out fees offered in a given location before you can hire the lawyers.

What Is A Short Sale?

A short sale(in terms of real estate), is when the sale of the property falls short of the overall debt. Say, for example, you sell a property for about $50,0000. However, the debt for the overall property(such as liens, etc)is about $100,000.

Now the lender can either agree to the $50,000 or not. Say, for example, that the lender does agree to the terms. A short sale has then occurred. The seller will not make any money from the sale. The reason is that the $50,000 goes to paying off the debt.

Is This A Good Thing For The Seller Or Not?

According to many real estate experts, it can be either(or) for the seller, lender, and buyer. It all depends on the situation. On the one hand, the seller can be damaged by this through their credit score. However, this is the lesser of two evils(for the seller) when you compare it to foreclosure.

The reason is that the proceeds are going to be less than what the seller needs to pay off their debt. However, the lender did agree to the $50,000.

What about the buyer?

This is probably going to be a good thing for the buyer. He or she is paying out less than what was initially required. The one downside is that you may have to wait a little while before you can move in.

Can you negotiate the price even lower in a short sale?

You can, but it will take more time. Plus, the lender has to agree to the terms before the sale takes place. Remember that the lender is collecting on a past debt owed by the seller.

Let’s use the example from above. Once again, we are using $50,000(not $100,000) as the benchmark. The lender might have a hard time saying yes to $50,000 to start. It is highly unlikely that the lender will want to go down any lower. They are already agreeing to less than the actual debt. You are better off sticking with the $50,000 and leave it be.

Are There Any Risks To Buying A Short Sale Home?

Yes, there are. We are going to break down the disadvantages into a few key points.

1) You buy the house “as is”. That means you are not able to negotiate with the seller about modifications. You must take care of the modifications if you need them.

There could be some much-need remodeling for the house. Once again, you take care of that yourself.

2) You(as the buyer) are subjected to the mortgage and lender approval. That means the lender has a say in who buys the home since they are trying to collect a debt on it.

3) You either pay the full sum with cash or make a very large down payment before the sale takes place. Lenders do not accept any in-between.

Should I Refinance My Home?

So, you bought a house, took out a mortgage, and agreed to a monthly payment. At the time, you were excited that you were able to qualify for a mortgage, and were confident that you could keep up with the monthly payments, even if the Interest Rate wasn’t the best. After all, unlike rent, every payment you make adds to your equity in the home. You’re making an investment, rather than simply paying someone else for the privilege of living on their property.

Years go by, and life happens. You find yourself hard-pressed for cash. That monthly payment begins to loom. Is there any way to lower that payment?

Thankfully, there is. It’s called Refinancing. Refinancing is taking out a new mortgage at the price of what you currently owe, rather than the house’s original value. So if you bought a $200,000 house with a 30-year mortgage, then paid off $100,000 of it, you could get a new 30-year mortgage on just the $100,000 you have left. You use this new Mortgage to pay off the old and now enjoy a lower monthly payment.

However, just because there’s a lower payment, doesn’t mean you’re spending less money. That’s dependent on your Interest Rate.

Interest is the money you are paying the bank for the privilege of using their money to buy the house. It doesn’t add equity to your house. The less interest you can pay, the quicker you pay off your house, and the less money you spend in the long run.

If your circumstances (credit, debt-to-income ratio, etc) weren’t perfect when you bought the house, and you’ve spent the last number of years fixing that, then it’s likely your new Interest Rate would be much lower than the old one. In that case, Refinancing could help you save a lot of money, even if you don’t want to increase the length of the mortgage. Dropping the Interest Rate even a few points could save you tens of thousands of dollars over a number of years.

However, if you find your credit has slipped since signing the first mortgage, refinancing could cost you a lot more. You could still save monthly by getting a new mortgage over a longer-term, but in the long run, you will wind up paying those tens of thousands, rather than saving them.

In the end, the best thing to do would be to talk to your lender and see what your new interest rate would be. If it’s better, seriously consider refinancing, even if you don’t extend the length of the loan. All it can do is save you money. If the Interest Rate is higher, you can still refinance and get a lower payment if you desperately need the money, but be prepared to continue paying for a much longer-term, and to potentially pay much more than you were originally supposed to.

home construction loan

What is a Construction Loan?

What exactly is a construction loan you ask? A construction loan is a short-term loan that is commonly used to help pay for the construction of a home or other real estate projects. It is usually taken out by the builder of the project to help cover the costs of a project before obtaining other long-term funding. Construction loans have a higher interest rate than that of a traditional mortgage.

What is a Construction Loan?

As stated above, construction loans are typically taken out by the builder of a project or in some cases a homeowner who wants to build the home of their dreams. These loans are short term loans, only lasting one year or less. Once the construction is completed, the loan can be refinanced into a mortgage loan. The financier may also try to obtain a new loan to pay off the construction loan; this is called an “end-loan” in most cases. In most cases, the construction loan must be paid in full before the end date of the construction project.

How Does a Construction Loan work?

In an instance where the loan is taken out by a borrower with the intention of creating their dream home, the lender or bank might state that they will only pay the funds directly to the construction company. The loan payments may come in installments throughout the building contract instead of all at once at the beginning of the said project.

How to Get a Construction Loan

These types of loans may be taken out to finance the rehabilitation and restoration projects of houses as well as to build new custom-designed homes. Keep in mind that most lenders require a 20 percent to 25 percent minimum down payment on construction loans at the beginning of any given project. If a borrower has a limited credit history, obtaining a construction loan will be challenging.

Since the house is not yet built, collateral is considered limited. This can pose an issue when seeking loan consent from a potential lender. In order to get construction loans, the borrower must supply a “blue book”. A blue book is a detailed list of construction steps.

Construction loans are most typically offered through credit unions and/or regional banks. Local banks and credit unions usually know the housing market in any given area and therefore are more comfortable granting construction loans to those in their communities.

colorful indoor space

Creative Ways to Add Color to Your Rental House

Renting a house has very many benefits, one of them getting an opportunity to stay in luxury apartments. However, you will always be frustrated by the fact that you have minimal options for customizing your room. Some landlords have clear instructions on a wall painting, and any attempt to paint walls could lead to eviction. If you love colors and you’re wondering how to have them in your rental property, here are some creative strategies you can use.

1. Use Decorative Folding Screen
Decorative folding screens have been very useful in helping millions of people living in rental properties to customize their homes. You can mount this piece on the wall or have several pieces hanging around the house to create a lasting impact. You can also get a plain folding screen and add your personality by painting your favorite color. You can as well use it as a place to decorate your artwork or hang some of the fabrics that you love.

2. Paint Your Furniture
It looks funny, but painting your furniture is an innovative strategy of having colors that you love inside your rental house. You can have all the furniture in the room with different colors, especially if you are a color enthusiast. The benefit of painting your furniture is that you can always change without consulting anyone, especially when you get bored by one color. However, you should take caution and avoid damaging your furniture through over-painting.

3. Hanging Drapes on the Walls
Most of the people have a perception that drapes can only do the job on windows. However, this is not the case. Curtains have for many years been used to add color in the room. All you need to do is to get the right measurements of your room, and you will have the colors that you want. Besides adding color, drapes are very effective in adding texture, which is usually missing in most of the rental properties.

4. Use Area Rugs
Some people have been using area rugs to add color in their rooms, and you can also try them. Rugs are beneficial as they do not only help you to add color to your floor, but they can be used to cover unsightly flooring. To achieve maximum impact, you need to have them put on bare floors where you can go to the extra mile of making sure that they are wall-to-wall carpeted. However, you need to make sure that your rugs are not slipping using rug pads.

5. Use of Color Accessories
There is no doubt that you will need accessories in your house. Accessories allow you to include the color that you need in your room. Some of the accessories you can use to add personality, design, and color, including but not limited to flowers, vases, plates, artwork, and pillows. They will go a long way in giving your room the cohesiveness it needs.
Just because your landlord has restricted you from painting does not mean that you should leave in unpleasant rooms. There are very many creative ways that you can incorporate to have a colorful and attractive place.


6 Things You Need to Do When Buying A House

Purchasing a house is one of the big decisions in life. There are 6 things you need to do when buying a home. Following these necessities prepares you to find the perfect house.

#1 Finance

The place to start is to get your financing in place. Pre-approval will make you more attractive to sellers. Search lenders to discover what options are available, and how much you qualify for. A quick calculation is about 3 times your household annual income.

Gather a down payment, usually 5% of the purchase price. Don’t stop until you’ve secured the loan and the deposit, otherwise, you may stretch your budget beyond your comfort zone.

#2 Budget

Create a budget based on the information you have acquired. Items in your plan are current debt, home insurance, property taxes, utilities, food, gas, etc. Once it is set, stick to it! Going over your budget will strain your finances and your family.

#3 Agent

An agent is an expert on the housing market, so their advice is essential. This is not the time to hire your brother-in-law who has his license but isn’t selling real estate. The agent to look for knows the area, and listens to what you want. They are specialists who find examples fitting your description, so communicate to take advantage of their expertise.

#4 Location

You’ve heard it before: location, location, location. Find one that fits you. If schools are important, find a great school district. Other things to consider are suburban vs urban, single-family or condo, proximity to work, grocery stores, etc. Track how long it takes to get to those places by visiting the property at different times of the day or week.

#5 Shop

This is the best part. Everything’s in place to find the perfect property. Before you head out, create a list of must-haves and deal-breakers. Preparing ahead of time will steer you away from properties that don’t fit your needs. Share the list with your agent upfront.

#6 Inspection & Appraisal

An inspection is how you discover what isn’t visually noticeable during walk-throughs. An unbiased assessment provides a trained eye of the property. Your agent will assist with finding the inspector.

The lender will want an appraisal of the house to make sure it’s a good investment. This is a safeguard for you too.

To create a smooth buying process, there are 6 things you need to do when buying a home. The first 3 steps are vital. The financing, budget, and agent are necessities in finding your house. The 4th and 5th steps are fun; shopping time. The last one will assist you in making a smart decision.

Buying a Home? Plan for These Hidden Costs

You saved enough money, and now you’re ready to buy a home. Congratulations. No more renting, no more giving money out to something you don’t own, but do you know about all the hidden costs? There are many advantages to being a homeowner, and one of them is that you own the place where you lay your head. Still, those costs that you didn’t figure will come back to bite you if you don’t plan. Below are tips and advice that will benefit you and hopefully get you prepared for any nasty surprises.

Real Estate Fees. If you decide to go the route of hiring an agent, beware of a few factors. Such as: how much are their fees, do they have conflicting interests, will that agent look out for your best interest? Make sure you know what exactly is in the contract you sign with an agent.

Your Homeowner Insurance. According to the National Association Insurance Commissioner, insurers paid a premium of 1,192 in 2016. However, that cost may be different in another state. Most people fail to factor in their homeowner’s insurance. The amount you pay in homeowner insurance depends on several factors, including the location, which could be considerably higher if you’re in a less than a desirable neighborhood. Remember when you purchase homeowner insurance, you’re also purchasing title insurance and probably flood insurance.

Closing Cost. Know that these fees can add up, and you’re responsible for them as soon as the seller accepts your offer. Not paying these fees on time, means that they will increase. Closing costs vary from 2 percent to 5 percent. Also, you’re paying the following: A credit report fee, attorney fee, loan processing fee, inspection fee, appraisal fee, escrow deposit fee, underwriting fee, recording fee. The good news is that you can negotiate with the seller to ease you of some of the burdens from closing costs.

Property Tax. The cost of your home’s property tax also depends on the area that your home’s located in. Beware that the property tax is not a fixed rate.

HOA Fees. The perks of living in an HOA community has its advantages. For example, they can provide a pool, gulf court, someone to keep the area looking clean. You never have to worry about mowing your lawn. However, the payment for those perks can be expensive. Plus, HOA fees will increase at any time that the board of directors over the fees decides to. Furthermore, if you fail to pay those fees on time, it can lead to losing your home, which is why factoring in the cost of how much the fees are should go into any decision that you make when deciding to buy a home that has HOA fees.

Necessary Items. Even If you’re buying a new home, you might find that you’re going to have to purchase a few items that are missing in your home including appliances.

Upgrades. Okay, you’ve fallen in love with all the upgrades because the one with the base price doesn’t compare. However, those upgrades can be expensive. We’re talking in the thousands. Plus, some builders may want to charge more for those upgrades if you make the purchase of your home with them. Some builders may not have all the upgrades that you envision for your home, and that will play a factor if you decide to sell down the road.

Setting a realistic plan with a budget will help to make sure that you don’t end up house poor.