Real Estate Terms Defined

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Both buying and selling a home can be intimidating experiences, especially if your Realtor® begins using terms with which you are not familiar, before really explaining them. Team Groesbeck’s goal as your Realtor® is to make the home buying or selling process as smooth as possible, beginning with defining a few terms for you!

Adjustable Rate Mortgage – An adjustable rate mortgage is one that has a fluctuating interest rate; they typically have a lower initial interest rate for a set time, then adjust according to an index.

Certificate of Title – This proves that the property is legally owned by the seller, and that no other party has any claims over it.

CMA – CMA’s (Comparative Market Analysis) are done by agents when you are looking to sell your home. They will put together a report to determine a fair asking price based on the current market and how other homes are doing in your area.

Comps – The term “comps” refers to properties that are comparable to your property. This takes into account the home’s size, close amenities and location, in addition to other factors.

Deed – The deed is a legal document proving transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer.

Disclosures – Disclosures are details about the home that a seller must provide to a buyer. For example; if the basement often floods in heavy storms or if there is lead in the home, the seller would need to disclose this information.

Due Diligence – Due diligence refers to the buyers’ responsibility to research and verify details about the transaction. For example, it is the buyer’s responsibility to coordinate an inspection, and confirm that the information coming from the seller’s attorney and broker are legitimate.

Escrow – Escrow is the time period when purchase funds are released from one party to another and the transfer of the home is completed. The escrow company is a neutral third party who executes the transaction utilizing the purchase agreement and other documents.

Firm Commitment – A firm commitment is a promise from a lender that they will enter into an agreement with another entity (typically a buyer) within a certain period of time.

Fixture – Fixtures are items of value that are permanently attached or a part of a property. This can include lighting, carpeting, or landscaping; these items have the potential to cause disputes between the buyer and seller and are sometimes used as leverage for negotiations.

HOA Docs – Some homes fall under the jurisdiction of a Homeowner’s Association. In this case documents outlining the association’s regulations will be provided either by the association, or through your Realtor®.

Pre Qualification – Borrowers (home buyers) must go through a process where the lender confirms that the borrower qualifies for a loan, based on their credit history and current financial standing. This is done using only the information the buyer provides the lender. The amount for which one is pre-qualified is to be considered an estimate, and is not set in stone. This information does, however, show your Realtor® and the seller of the home in which you are interested that you are serious about the home buying process.

Pre Approval – Getting pre-approved is the next step, and is more involved than the pre-qualification process. The buyer will complete an official mortgage application with their chosen lender, and supply the lender with necessary documentation so an extensive check can be done on their financial background and current credit rating. You will be given an exact amount for which you are approved and completing both the pre-qualification and pre-approval process will allow you to know how much you can actually afford.

While these are only some of the many real estate terms, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC will guide you along the way to ensure your transaction runs smoothly.  Located in Old Town Anacortes, Team Groesbeck is available daily to work for you and can be reached at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

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City of Anacortes Dog Licenses Move Online

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The City of Anacortes will begin issuing 2018 dog licenses in mid-November so be on the lookout for your more convenient options in the coming weeks.

2018 changes include:

  • Renewal licenses will be mailed directly to owners of all currently licensed pets.
  • New and renewal licenses will be available by mail, in person at City Hall or the Anacortes Police Department, and online.
  • Owners will be able to update their own contact information and pet information throughout the year.

 

Proof of rabies vaccinations are required each time your renew your dog’s license, and if you have moved since your dog was last licensed, please call (360) 299-1968 to ensure that your renewal reminder reaches you well in advance of the January 1 deadline.

Click here for pricing and additional licensing information.

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Selling Your Home? Be Informed of the Seller’s Disclosure!

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The seller’s disclosure form is an important form that must be completed by everyone selling a home.  The form is comprised of various questions about your home that you may not have considered since you purchased the property yourself.

As it is one of the documents that the buyer will most closely look at, all questions need to be answered to the best of your knowledge. If they are not, it may delay the closing process and prompt even further questions from the buyer.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to put your mind at ease while completing this very detailed, legally-binding document!

  • Research your home. If you have recently moved into your home then you likely have much of the necessary information accessible, as it was made available to you when you purchased the home. If it has been a decade or so, you may have to do some digging through old paperwork to find information such as the make, model, and age of various components of your home (HVAC system, water heater, etc.). Buyers will want to note this information to see what kind of money, if any, will need to be spent upon moving in.
  • Be as accurate as possible. You hopefully had an inspection done when you moved into the home, which should be able to give you information on the roof, plumbing, electrical, etc. While doing your research, try to be as accurate as possible rather than guessing when something may have been installed or replaced.
  • Honesty is the best policy. Answer all questions to the best of your ability. If there is information to which you do not have access or a question is not applicable to your property, note that in the seller’s disclosure form. You do not want to appear ill-informed about your home and want to offer up as much information to the buyer as possible.

Remember, the seller’s disclosure form is a legally binding document that is required of all home sellers; however there is no reason to be intimidated by it! Just make sure you are aware of what has been done in your home and which things potential buyers may take issue with. This will help both the home selling and buying process go smoother than you can imagine!

Contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC daily for more information on what to take into consideration when buying or selling your home at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

The Benefits of Staging Your Home to Sell

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As real estate brokers with home staging certifications, Old Town Anacortes-based Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC sees the firsthand effect a well-staged home can have on the mind of a home buyer. If you are thinking about selling your home, we offer complimentary home staging services that might just make you fall in love with your home all over again!

Home Sellers Are Biased – Staging one’s own home is like asking them to be objective about their children. Unless you have truly hated your home since you bought it, it will be difficult for you to let go of your own decorating style and the emotions that have been cultivated since living there.

You Will Learn! – Have you ever looked at a home magazine or watched the DIY Network only to fantasize about being able to decorate the way they do? Now you can learn! Stagers work with you to properly display items in your home to bring out the best features possible. It might give you the chance to learn how you want to decorate your next space!

First Impressions Must Be the Best – Buyers will only get one first impression of your home – make it the best! You get a good feeling when you walk into a home that has been properly staged.  It isn’t fake, it isn’t dirty, and it allows potential buyers to develop their own sense of comfort and connection to the home.

Look Better than Other Homes – When a home isn’t properly staged, buyers are only driven further from your listing and closer to your competition. Keep your buyers connected with your property!

Appears Move-In Ready – Proper, neutral home décor allows buyers to visualize living there. They will imagine their own possessions in each room, and how their family will fit into the space. It will also lessen the impact of any maintenance issues that may arise during inspection, as they are already pleased with the home’s overall aesthetics.

Looks Well-Maintained – Again, issues have the potential to arise in almost any inspection, and a home that appears to be well-maintained from the outside will help the buyer feel more comfortable with any “internal” work that may need to be done, rather than focusing on changing things like countertops or radical paint jobs.

Looks Better in Photos – These days, homes are typically first viewed on the internet. Well-done staging allows for better quality photos and allows a potential buyer to fall in love with the home before viewing it in person.

It’s Free! – Jean Grosbeck & Assoc. LLC offers free staging services from a certified professional to all who sign with us. Our staging professional is experienced in making a home comfortable for anyone who views it.

For more helpful staging tips or information on selling your home, reach out to Team Groesbeck today and be sure to check out our page that explains the staging process.

Free State Park Day: Sept. 30

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Deception Pass and other state parks throughout Washington will allow entrance without a Discover Pass on Saturday, September 30, in recognition of National Public Lands Day.

Additional free days this year are Nov. 11 and Nov. 24.

The Discover Pass is regularly $30 for an annual pass and $10 for a day pass and is required for vehicle access to state recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources.

Please note, free days apply only to day use (not overnight stays or rented facilities). A Discover Pass will still be required on these days to access lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

For more information, visit www.DiscoverPass.wa.gov.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Home to Be Listed for Sale

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Will your home soon be listed for sale?  Here are some tips to consider to make your home look its best!

Repaint the Trim
Fresh baseboards, crown molding and trim around doorways and windows make a big impact. Focus on the interior of the home first and if you are able, do the same for the exterior. Adding a new layer of paint to the trim can bring instant life back into your home, making the space feel fresher and cleaner.

Hire a Professional House Cleaner
A professional can undertake a thorough top-to-bottom scrub down, which includes cleaning the grout, polishing the faucets, wiping down the ceiling fan blades, and dislodging every crumb out of that irritating gap between your stove and counter top and beyond. A clean house makes a difference in the eyes of a buyer and can lead to the “wow” factor that may help put your home sale over the top.

Steam Clean the Carpets
When was the last time you had the carpets in your home professionally steamed-cleaned? This type of cleaning can lift the smallest stains and imperfections out of your carpets. Your carpets will look as new as possible, at a substantially cheaper price than the cost of a replacement.

Clear the Clutter
Clutter overwhelms a space, distracting from your home’s more beautiful elements. Many people won’t notice the high ceilings or large windows if their attention is refocused on a pile of old magazines, heaps of unopened mail, and random wires, cables, tools, board games and DVDs scattered about everywhere. Clutter also makes a space feel smaller. Your walk-in closet might be amply sized, but if it’s overstuffed with old clothes, jackets, boxes, suitcases and bags, your prospective buyers will think the closet space is insufficient. It doesn’t matter that the closet is actually bigger than the buyer’s first apartment; all they’ll see is the mess. You don’t want to showcase an empty closet – this looks uninviting – but you don’t want one that’s bursting at the seams, either.

Stage the Home
Professional investors often hire ‘staging companies’ to fill a home with furniture in order to showcase its potential.  If you’re still living in your current home, you’re already one step ahead of the game: your space is already furnished. Now you just need to up the ante by a notch, so that your home looks magazine-worthy.
Do you know that Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC offers its clients staging services? We know the impact a staged home has on a potential buyer and we believe in staging your home to sell!

Based in Anacortes, Team Groesbeck can be reached daily for all of your real estate needs at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGreoesbeck.com.

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Equifax Data Breach: What to Do

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Content provided by Dean Hayes, Bay Equity Home Loans

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the recent Equifax data breach where their systems were compromised, and information on over 143,000,000 people was stolen. That information includes social security numbers, names, addresses and birth dates – all the information needed to open a new credit account.

Click here to view the blog in its entirety.

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

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Before the Anacortes weather grows colder it’s important to prepare for the winter months to prevent costly damage to your property. Below are the suggested fall preventative home maintenance steps for homeowners from HomeAdvisor.com.

 

Gutters and Downspouts

  • Clean gutters and downspouts frequently throughout fall to prevent build up of leaves and other debris.
  • Neglected gutters can lead to wood rot problems and pest infestations, not to mention ruined gutters.
  • Be sure water is not coming down behind gutters and that all support brackets are securely in place.
  • Ensure that water drains properly and doesn’t pool. Pooling can cause damage to foundations, driveways, and walkways.

 

Windows and Doors

  • Change summer screens to cool weather storm windows and doors.
  • Inspect and repair any loose or damaged window or door frames.
  • Install weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors to prevent drafts and to lower heating bills.

 

Heating Systems

  • Replace the filter in your furnace.
  • Consider having a heating professional check your heating system to ensure optimal performance and discover minor problems before they turn into costly major repairs.
  • Clean your ducts to better your heating system’s efficiency as well as to reduce household dust and to provide relief to those with respiratory problems.

 

Plumbing

  • To prevent pipes freezing and bursting, ensure that the pipes are well insulated.
  • Know how to locate and turn off the water shut-off valve in case pipes do freeze.

 

Chimney and Fireplace

  • Call a professional in to inspect and clean your chimney. Fireplaces that are regularly used during the season should have an annual cleaning to prevent dangerous chimney fires.
  • Test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when closed.

 

Attic Ventilation

  • Be sure attic insulation doesn’t cover vents in the eaves to prevent winter ice dams on the roof.
  • Be sure ridge vents and vents at eaves are free of plants and debris.
  • Check bird and rodent screens for attic vents to prevent any unwanted guests.

 

Landscape and Yardwork

  • Although grass appears to stop growing in the fall, the roots are actually growing deeper to prepare for winter. Now is the best time to fertilize and reseed your lawn.
  • Prune your trees and shrubs after the leaves turn to encourage healthy growth.
  • Trim any tree limbs that are dangerously close to power lines or the roof of your house. Heavy snow and ice can cause damage in the winter.

 

Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC is the Anacortes real estate experts. Located at 809 7th St. in Old Town Anacortes, Team Groesbeck is available daily for all of your real estate needs throughout Anacortes, Skagit County, Island County and beyond. Please contact us at (360) 941-3734, (360) 899-5027 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com 7 days a week.

Improving Your Credit Score

Dean-Hayes

Content provided by Dean Hayes, Bay Equity Home Loans

One of the biggest misconceptions about buying a home is that you need perfect credit in order to qualify. In fact, many programs allow much lower credit scores when qualifying a home buyer. But there are still certain minimums that you have to meet. So, how do you go about improving your credit scores?

Click here to view the blog in its entirety.

 

Free State Park Day: August 25

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Deception Pass and other state parks throughout Washington will allow entrance without a Discover Pass on Friday, August 25, in recognition of the National Park Service’s 101st birthday.

Additional free days this year are Sept. 30, Nov. 11 and Nov. 24.

The Discover Pass is regularly $30 for an annual pass and $10 for a day pass and is required for vehicle access to state recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources.

Please note, free days apply only to day use (not overnight stays or rented facilities). A Discover Pass will still be required on these days to access lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

For more information, visit www.DiscoverPass.wa.gov.

For all of your real estate needs, contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, in Old Town Anacortes: (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.