Title Insurance

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What is Title Insurance?

The purchase of a home is often the single largest investment people will make in a lifetime: therefore, the importance of fully protecting such an investment cannot be overstressed. Title insurance is protection which assures that the rights and interest to the property are as expected, that the transfer of ownership is smoothly completed and that the new owner receives protection from future claims against the property. It is the most effective, most accepted and least experience way to protect property ownership rights.

Because land endures over generations, many people may develop rights and claims to a particular property. The current owner’s rights — which often involve family and heirs — may be obscure. There may be other parties (such as government agencies, public utilities, lenders or private contractors) who also have “rights” to the property. These interests limit the “title” of any buyer.

Why Do You Need a Title Insurance Policy?

If title insurance companies work to eliminate risks and prevent losses caused by defects in the title before the closing, why do you need a title insurance policy? The title of the property could be seriously threatened or lost completely by hazards which are considered hidden risks — “those matters, rights or claims that are not shown by the public records and, therefore, are not discoverable by a search and examination of those public records.” Matters such as forgery, incompetency or incapacity of the parties, fraudulent impersonation, and unknown errors in the records are examples of “hidden risks” which could provide a basis for a claim after the property has been purchased.

Title insurance isn’t just for a homeowner. Subdividers need it when planning a new tract of homes or a commercial strip center. Attorneys use it for clients who are investing in shopping centers hotels, office buildings, and countless other projects. Builders need it in order to obtain construction loans from their lender. Everyone wants to have peace of mind when investing their hard-earned money. The title insurance company will help protect these important investments, no matter how large or small, with its own reputation and financial strength.

Why Does the Lender Need a Policy on My Property?

For the lender, a title policy is a guarantee that it has a valid and enforceable lien (loan or deed of trust) secured by the property, that no one else other than those listed on the policy has a prior claim (or loan, etc.) and that the party to whom they are making the loan does own the property being used as security for the loan. This protection remains in effect as long as the loan remains unpaid.

The existence of a lender’s title policy encourages lenders such as banks, savings and loan associations, commercial banks, life insurance companies, etc., to loan money. Because they are lending other people’s money (savings or policy holder’s funds), they must be concerned with safety should the borrower not make their payments. The title company ensures that the title to the property is marketable in the event of foreclosure and the guarantee is backed by the integrity and solvency of the title company. Of course, this benefits everyone — from the single-family homeowner to the owner of a high-rise building.

If you would like any information about Anacortes or any other questions, please contact us: (360) 899 – 5027 or jean@jeangroesbeck.com.

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How to Get the Most from Each Showing

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Curb appeal is vital. Many buyers find your home online and then do a drive by to see if they want to view the inside. Prune, rake, put down fresh bark, add color to the yard, pressure wash driveways, and keep the lawn watered, fertilized and cut a clean edge around the yard. Wash your mailbox, have windows professionally cleaned in and out; hide garbage cans, lawn tools, and kids’ toys. Paint the exterior if needed, if not, wash siding.

Front Entrance much be clean. You may not use your front door, but buyers will, so stand for several minutes and study your porch and entry. Does it need paint? Are there spider webs? Does it need pressure washing? Do you need a new mat? Is your door handle worn and old looking? The buyer will be looking at all of these things while the showing agent unlocks the lockbox and then, your front door. They will form their general opinion of your home before they even see inside.

Send curtains out to be cleaned. Dust all blinds, clean window, and door tracks have the carpets cleaned, paint if needed or touch up paint at a minimum. Scrub everything, clean out closets (yes, buyers will look in your closets), straighten the pantry, etc. Cluttered closets give the impression of insufficient storage space.

Kitchens and bathrooms are the most important rooms to have perfectly clean. They must sparkle, have no odors, and look as close to new as possible, especially if there are new homes in your price range. Don’t leave as much as a coffee cup in the sink, and leave your home freshly vacuumed.

De-clutter and depersonalize. If it is smaller than a breadbox, pack it. Hide all pet beds and toys, do not leave newspapers or magazines out, put away all children’s toys, take down or put away all personal photographs. If your home looks stark and empty, you are almost there!

Make sure that ALL the lights and lamps are on every time you leave the house. It makes a home feel much more welcoming. If your home is dark, check to see if your lamps will accommodate a higher wattage bulb. Play soft mellow music in the background.

Make ALL beds every day. Wash linen weekly and do not leave dirty clothes in a hamper for more than a day or two. When your home is closed up, dirty clothes can cause an odor that you may not notice, but a potential buyer with a sensitive nose will.

Keep pets out of the way when showing as they can frighten or distract a buyer or agent.

Leave during all showings. It makes buyers very uncomfortable if you are home and they will cut the time they spend in the house shortly so it is best to leave. Never try to show the home yourself as the agent knows which features will have the broadest appeal to their buyers.

Please do not discuss anything about your home with a prospective buyer. If there were to be a problem down the road, the buyer will not be able to say that you made false claims if you have never talked with them.

If you have any more questions or need more information about Anacortes, please contact us : (360) 899-5027 or jean@jeangroesbeck.com.

Jean Groesbeck & Associates LLC

 

When We Get an Offer on Your Home

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Getting you the best price is critical, but there are other components of an offer that are important to consider before accepting an offer. We will review each of these components:

1. If the offer subject to financing? If so, what is the length of time and is the buyer prequalified? What percentage are they going to put down? What is the source of the down payment? Are they asking you to pay any of their closing costs? What kind of loan is it? Is it a local lender, an out of the area lender, or an online lender? It makes a difference!

2. Is the offer subject to the buyers obtaining insurance on the home? If so, in what timeframe?

3. Is the offer subject to inspection? If so, what do they intend to have inspected and in what timeframe? Do they want the septic inspection prior to or after the inspection contingency?

4. What is the closing rate? Does that work for you?

5. How much is the earnest money? What is the remedy if the buyer defaults? When can it be disbursed?

6. Is the possession date the same as the closing date? Do you know why it is not always in your best interest to have a possession date later than a closing date?

7. Are they asking for any personal property to be included? appliances?

Every offer and every transaction is as unique as each seller so the Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC  team will review every detail to make sure it is the BEST offer. Then, we will monitor each minute detail to make sure the transaction goes smoothly for you!

If you have any more questions about getting an offer for your home, please contact us : (360) 899-5027 or jean@jeangroesbeck.com.

Jean Groesbeck & Associates LLC

Ways to SAVE During Tax Season

It’s that dreaded time of year when your taxes need to be done.  But this year you might have something to look forward to.  Did you know that if you purchased a home in 2016, you could be eligible to get some tax breaks?  Whether you paid cash for your home or financed it through a mortgage, read on to find out how you could benefit from your home purchase last year.

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DEDUCTING MORTGAGE INTEREST

Great news!  All that interest you paid on your mortgage over the year could be tax-deductible.  For some homeowners, interest paid can yield a significant tax-break, and even more so in the early years of paying toward your loan.  This applies whether you pay interest on a condo, boat, mobile home, or RV used as a residence with sleeping, cooking and toilet facilities. Talk to an expert to see if you meet the requirements.

REAL ESTATE TAXES

You can also deduct taxes based on the assessed value of your home and property.  These taxes can usually be deducted in the year in which they are paid.  Does your lender currently escrow your taxes and insurance?  If so, they will send a statement to you that you will file with your tax returns.  Ask an expert for help in determining if you qualify.

HOME IMPROVEMENTS

If you make any improvements to your home (or made any last year), including home renovations, fencing, or new roofing, save all your receipts and records of this.  While you can’t deduct these expenses this year, you could deduct them when you sell your home in the future.

Want to discuss buying or selling a home in 2017?  We are at your service! Call, text, or email us any time.

(360) 941-3734

Info@JeanGroesbeck.com

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Is The Price Right?

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If you are thinking of selling your home this Spring in Anacortes or Skagit County, one of the most important aspects to consider is pricing. When a potential buyer is looking for a property, they want to get the best possible value for their dollar. This doesn’t mean that a home should be priced too low, but it does mean that knowing how to price your home is a must. Here are some tips on how to get the right price for your home right from the start.

Know The Value

Regardless of whether you are in a buyer’s market or seller’s market, it is important for every seller to know the actual value of their home. A home appraisal can be helpful in this situation. You will be able to choose a listing price that does not exceed the home’s value. At the same time, you will know how to react to various offers that a potential buyer may make. If you can select a price that is affordable to a range of buyers, you may receive multiple offers, thereby sparking possible competition among the interested parties.

Do Your Homework

The asking price that you choose should not be based on an appraisal alone, but rather a combination of factors. One such factor is that of recent selling prices for comparable homes in the area, known as “comps.” Important comparisons include construction year, square footage, views (if applicable), interior upgrades and additional features that make the home unique. While you’re doing research, check out current listings and the asking price for each home available in your area.

Set A Realistic Timetable

In researching the sale price for other comparable homes in the area, you should also note the length of time a particular house has been on the market. Some homes practically sell overnight, while others may remain on the market for months without being sold. If you want to sell your home quickly, you should consider this when setting a price. A bargain will obviously move quicker, but it’s important to make enough from the sale to feel good about your choice. If you aren’t in a hurry to close, talk with your REALTOR® about a fair starting price that’s at or near the appraised value of your home.

Ask Your REALTOR® For Advice

While you hold the key, so to speak, to your house’s actual asking price, most sellers will ask their REALTOR® for their opinion. After all, real estate is their business and they will be working with you through every step of the process. If you choose a REALTOR® that you trust, give great consideration to the advice they offer.

Remember, pricing your home appropriately from the beginning is critical to getting it sold quickly and at the best price!

If you are thinking about selling your home this Spring anywhere is Skagit County, please give us a call. We will gladly do a complimentary market analysis for your home and let you know how much your home is worth in the current market.

(360) 941-3734

Info@JeanGroesbeck.com

809 7th St Anacortes, WA - (360) 941-3734

809 7th St Anacortes, WA – (360) 941-3734

To For-Sale-By-Owner or not? That is the question…

Before you decide to sell on your own, talk to a real estate agent for guidance

Selling a home is not a simple as sticking a sign in the yard and placing an ad on Craigslist. Many For Sale by Owner, or FSBO sellers don’t realize the amount of work and time it takes to sell a home. More often than not, FSBO sellers eventually turn to a real estate agent to sell their home.

When selling your own home you are responsible for all the marketing costs for flyers, signs and online listings. This can add up to hundreds of dollars depending on how much marketing you are willing to do.

Sellers often times forget that selling their own home is time consuming and as some say, time is money! Selling your own home requires long hours of research and marketing efforts not to mention hiring a professional to draw up a contract for you to avoid any liability.

Although it is possible, in our experience, home sellers who want to save the sales commission rarely do so. In most cases, when a professional real estate agent is involved in the sale, the sellers pocket more net cash typically as much as they wanted or more including the professional services.

Most home buyers use a real estate agent. The few who don’t are bargain hunter buyers seeking “For Sale by Owner” homes, expecting to save money. Buying for less is their main goal and this is typically reflected in low ball offers. Opportunistic speculators and investors usually offer less for a “For Sale by Owner” home. Without an agent to represent the owner’s interests, sellers may end up accepting an offer below the value of their home.

Real estate professionals are knowledgeable about the local market and know the highest price a home is likely to bring. A real estate professional can advise the seller on the right price for their home (see how to set the right price for your home here) to get the most money.

A real estate agent has experience and a large personal and professional network with other agents in and outside the local area. Client, agent and agency relationships will boost the marketing of your home and expose it to the largest number of potential buyers.

In contract negotiations, a real estate agent not only is trained to negotiate on your best interest but is also in a better position than an emotionally involved seller. The result will be in a more profitable contract for the seller.

Showing and marketing a home is a full time job and many FSBO sellers just don’t have the time. Are you really ready to put your life on hold for showings at all hours? Do you even know if the person interested is a “real” buyer? More importantly, will you be comfortable with showing your home to anyone who knocks on your door? If you answer “no”, you might want to reconsider selling your home without an agent. It will not only be time consuming and stressful but it can also lead to a potential dangerous situation.

Before you decide to sell your house on your own, contact a local real estate agent and see what they have to offer. (See what questions to ask a listing agent here)

Please contact us for a complimentary, no obligation, real estate market analysis and to learn the best time to sell your home in Anacortes for the best return on your investment.

809 7th St Anacortes, WA - (360) 941-3734

Moving with Pets?

What will my new home be like?

Once you purchase your new home you will most likely be busy packing, changing utilities, maybe holding a garage sale…. and this often means less time with your pet.  Whether you are  buying a new home or selling your home, moving can add stress to your life and believe it or not, your pets will pick up on your stress level.

Here are some tips to make moving less stressful for “Fido” or “Garfield”:

1. Keep updated vaccinations/medical records with you in case of emergency.

2. Carry a copy of your veterinarian’s business card or phone number.

3. Check with your vet about things to be aware of at your new location.  In Anacortes we don’t have to worry about heartworm, but if you are moving to an area that has heartworm, you will want to consider starting preventative medication prior to going to your new location.

4. Make sure your pet’s collar has updated I.D. information.

5. Have a leash and harness easily accessible.  Keep your pet confined to just part of the house until they are used to your new location.

6. Consider giving your pet bottled water at the new location so that his/her system is not shocked.

7. Have an adequate supply of pet food in a watertight container.  Do not make any changes in your pet’s diet during this time!

8. If driving to to your new location, don’t leave your pet in the car during sunny weather.

9. Look for pet friendly hotels and call ahead to make reservations.

10. If you are traveling with a cat, bring a litter box and supply of litter.

11.  Have your pet’s bed and favorite toys available.

Remember, if you are anxious or stressed it goes down the leash to your pet. Try researching for local pet services as soon as you are settled in your new home. Most importantly,take time to play with your pet and it will relieve stress for both of you!

If you would like more tips on moving with pets or selling your home with pets, please contact us at (360) 941-3734 or send us an email Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com

809 7th St Anacortes, WA - (360) 941-3734

Tip of the week! Showing Appointments

Protect your home!

Your house is on the market and ready to be sold!

Suddenly you get a call from a real estate agent wanting to show your house. Appointment is set for 4 o’clock today and you feel great! You anxiously wait for the agent for what seems to be an eternity and you realize it is 4:30pm…What happened?

It is important to understand why agents are sometimes unable to be at your home in the time period they have stated. Sometimes, their customer is late for the appointment, or the client stays longer than anticipated at one house, which throws the agent’s schedule off. Some people look at houses five minutes, some look for 20 minutes. We have no way of knowing this, so it can make it difficult to set an exact time for a viewing appointment.

Sometimes a buyer changes directions on us mid-stream with what they want to look at, so an agent has to go to entirely different areas or type of home.  The agent should call you to cancel their appointment but sometimes they are out of cell phone range or they might try to call and you’re not at home. You shouldn’t have “no shows” very often if at all, so please let your real estate agent know if this occurs.

Unfortunately, having your home on the market means there might be someone who will stop to ask you if they can see your home while they are driving through your neighborhood.  Please do not let them in! Not only could it be a security risk, but we will have no way of  following up with them.  Have them contact their real estate agent if they are already working with one, and if not please have them your real estate agent.

Please do not allow an agent into your home without having them use the lock box.  The lock box keeps an electronic record of who enters your home, and provides us with the information to follow up with the agent and also notify them in case we do make a price adjustment or something changes with the home.  Make all agents use the lock box for your protection.

For more real estate tips, please contact us at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com or call 360-941-3734.

809 7th St Anacortes, WA - (360) 941-3734

Ready to sell? How to make sure your price is competitive

If you are considering selling your home in Anacortes … how would you determine the right selling price?

Setting the right price from the start is one if the key steps toward successfully selling your home. After deciding which real estate agent will represent you, (see tips on interviewing agents here) an important tool that your real estate agent will use is the Comparative Market Analysis.

A real estate agent gathers information to produce a comparative market analysis, or CMA, to determine an approximate fair market value of your home. The CMA, also sometimes referred to as “comps”, helps determine the estimated value of your property by comparing similar properties to your own. Ideally, your real estate agent finds recently sold properties in your area of the same size and roughly same age and with the same number of bedrooms and baths. Price per square foot is also often used to account for differences in size between properties.

The CMA assists in establishing market value by comparing properties that have sold in the area usually within the past year, current listings, and pending sales. Your real estate agent then uses the comparable prices to figure out an estimate of the right selling price for your home. The asking price of your home will determine how many people will look at the property. The higher the price, the fewer potential buyers.

An experienced real estate agent will prepare a good CMA  that will tell you:

  • what homes like yours are actually selling for
  • how long it’s taking for them to sell
  • what the sale prices are in relation to the list prices

If you are wondering what the current real estate market is in your neighborhood, we can help bring you up to speed with a customized CMA report for your home. The data of a CMA will include: currently available comparable listings, pending sales, sales that occurred within the last 6 months to a year and expired listings.

A CMA is only good as its data, save yourself the trouble and time consuming efforts. Let us assist you with a CMA report for your home to insure the most accurate and fair pricing to sell your home in Anacortes this year.

Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or for a FREE no obligation market analysis. We will be happy to help you determine what the fair market price is for your home in Anacortes,WA.

Jean Groesbeck at 360-941-3734 or  Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com

Enhance Curb Appeal- Planning Your Garden

Would you like to add value to your home without spending thousands of dollars?

Having a good landscape will add curb appeal, improve the overall look of the outside of your home and add value to your investment . Right now is the time of year to start working on your home garden to enhance the curb appeal. If you are thinking of selling this year, having a great curb appeal can get you more money for your investment and will help sell your home faster. A garden can help contribute to the overall landscaping and curb appeal of your home increasing the interest of future buyers, impress your neighbors, or make you feel cheerful to see a beautiful landscape as you pull into your driveway.

If you are unsure where to start, here are a few steps to get you headed in the right direction:

1. Planning- Sketch out your existing yard. Include the intended planting areas, decks, trees, slopes, fences, walkways, etc. Make sure you have the actual dimensions to help you make the right choices when picking out trees, shrubs, and flowers. Note bloom times, color, and varieties to ensure an appealing garden year round.

2. Start with trees- Trees create a focal point that will help you layout the rest of your garden. Trees provide shade and colorful foliage in the fall and elegant flowering trees in the spring and summer.

3. Shrubs come next- Large bushes and shrubs create beautiful garden art, help develop pathways, and make for great privacy walls.

4. Incorporating flowering shrubs and grasses- Flowering shrubs and grasses can be used to screen plain garages and help create attractive accents to frame your garden.

5. Finish with perennials, bulbs, and annuals- Perennials offer shape to your garden, bulbs create colorful arrangements in the early spring, and annuals provide as later spring and summer accents.

Size, color, and bloom span are all important aspects when creating a garden, make sure to research which trees, shrubs, grasses, perennials, and annuals will best fit your garden. Keep in mind the mature size of each part of your garden; try not to go by the current size of each plant. Maintenance is the key to help keep your garden beautiful throughout the years to come. Developing a watering routine and removing all dead, broken, diseased, or problem limbs will promote new growth.

Most important of all is to have fun gardening! The outcome of your hard work can make the outside of your home more appealing if you are thinking about selling and why not… impress your neighbors!

If you would like to learn how to add value to your home or if you are thinking about selling, please contact Jean Groesbeck (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

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