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5 Things to Know About Title Insurance

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Title insurance protects the holder from any losses sustained from defects in the title. It’s required by most mortgage lenders. Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to share with you five other things you should know about title insurance.

1. It protects your ownership right to your home, both from fraudulent claims against your ownership and from mistakes made in earlier sales, such as mistake in the spelling of a person’s name or an inaccurate description of the property.

2. It’s a one-time cost usually based on the price of the property.

3. It’s usually paid for by the sellers, although this can vary depending on your state and local customs.

4. There are both lender title policies, which protect the lender, and owner title policies, which protect you. The lender will probably require a lender policy.

5. Discounts on premiums are sometimes available if the home has been bought within only a few years since not as much work is required to check the title. Ask the title company if this discount is available.

If you are looking to purchase a property in Sarasota or Miami Florida, do not hesitate to contact us. You can also register to our free email alerts and receive, at your convenience, a list of properties available in the Sarasota or Miami Florida areas. To do so, just click on the desired link.

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10 Questions to Ask the Condo Board

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Before you buy a property in Miami or Sarasota Florida, Kijner & Sons International Realty advises to contact the condo board with the following questions. In the process, you’ll learn how responsive — and organized — its members are. You’ll also be alerted to potential problems with the property.

1. What percentage of units is owner-occupied? What percentage is tenant-occupied? Generally, the higher the percentage of owner-occupied units, the more marketable the units will be at resale.

2. What covenants, bylaws, and restrictions govern the property? What grandfather clauses are in place? You may find, for instance, that those who buy a property after a certain date can’t rent out their units, but buyers who bought earlier can. Ask for a copy of the bylaws to determine if you can live within them. And have an attorney review property docs, including the master deed, for you.

3. How much does the association keep in reserve? Plus, find out how that money is being invested.

4. Are association assessments keeping pace with the annual rate of inflation? Smart boards raise assessments a certain percentage each year to build reserves to fund future repairs. To determine if the assessment is reasonable, compare the rate to others in the area.

5. What does and doesn’t the assessment cover? Does the assessment include common-area maintenance, recreational facilities, trash collection, and snow removal?

6. What special assessments have been mandated in the past five years? How much was each owner responsible for? Some special assessments are unavoidable. But repeated, expensive assessments could be a red flag about the condition of the building or the board’s fiscal policy.

7. How much turnover occurs in the building? This will tell you if residents are generally happy with the building. According to research by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, owners of condos in two-to-four unit buildings stay for a median of five years, and owners of condos in a building with five or more units stay for a median of four years.

8. Is the condo building in litigation? This is never a good sign. If the builders or home owners are involved in a lawsuit, reserves can be depleted quickly.

9. Is the developer reputable? Find out what other projects the developer has built and visit one if you can. Ask residents about their perceptions. Request an engineer’s report for developments that have been reconverted from other uses to determine what shape the building is in. If the roof, windows, and bricks aren’t in good repair, they become your problem once you buy.

10. Are multiple associations involved in the property? In very large developments, umbrella associations, as well as the smaller association into which you’re buying, may require separate assessments.

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Source: The National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

Closing Documents You Should Keep

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

You have finally found your dream house in Florida thanks to Kijner & Sons International Realty. On closing day, expect to sign a lot of documents and walk away with a big stack of papers. Here’s a list of the most important documents you should file away for future reference.

  • HUD-1 settlement statement: Itemizes all the costs — commissions, loan fees, points, and hazard insurance - associated with the closing. You’ll need it for income tax purposes if you paid points.
  • Truth in lending statement: Summarizes the terms of your mortgage loan, including the annual percentage rate and recision period.
  • Mortgage and note: Spell out the legal terms of your mortgage obligation and the agreed-upon repayment terms.
  • Deed: Transfers ownership to you.
  • Affidavits: Binding statements by either party. For example, the sellers will often sign an affidavit stating that they haven’t incurred any liens.
  • Riders: Amendments to the sales contract that affect your rights. Example: The sellers won’t move out until two weeks after closing but will pay rent to the buyers during that period.
  • Insurance policies: Provide a record and proof of your coverage.

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Sources:

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR)
Credit Union National Association
Mortgage Bankers Association
Home-Buyer’s Guide (Real Estate Center at Texas A&M
, 2000)

10 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Don’t just buy a house because the price, style and size are what you’re looking for. Emotions run high when buying a home in Miami or Sarasota, Florida. You can forget about the factors that make a difference in buying the perfect home for you.

The neighborhood is not always what it seems at first glance. There may be a park around the corner so you assume the area is full of kids, but when you visit the park, its young couples walking their dogs.

1. Talk to neighbors

Find out how many neighbors are homeowners. It is harder than you think to tell if people are renters or homeowners. Find out all you can about the Miami or Sarasota area you are interested in.

2. Visit at different times of day

See what goes on near your house throughout the day. Is there morning traffic that drives past loudly, are the kids playing at the park going to distract you? Is the house in Miami or Sarasota exactly what you are looking for at all hours of the day, not just when you visited the house?

3. Quiz the sellers

Find out what problems they have had with the house, and if they fixed them. It’s a good idea to know what your house is prone to, like the basement floods when it rains, so you can take preventative measures. That way there are no surprises after you have bought the house in Miami or Sarasota.

4. Get a detailed list of all home improvements, when possible.

Knowing how much the repairs cost is great for new homebuyers, you can tell if cheap materials were used, so you will know you will need to redo them sooner than expected.

5. Get a home inspection

Virtually all houses have defects, according to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA). Some will be obvious and most will be curable. But knowing what needs fixing can help you negotiate a lower price – or at least prepare you for costs you’re soon to incur. Strongly consider getting inspections, too, for lead paint, radon and wood-eating pests.

6. Consider the view

See what the houses on either side of you look like. When you buy the house in Florida you are stuck with the view. So consider if the houses are something you can look at everyday.

7. Ask for utility bills

You may adore the Cape Cod architectural style or the high ceilings and walls of glass in a modern home but the utility bills may be more than you can afford to spend every month. Also ask for the water bill, the landscaping may be gorgeous but you may not be able handle the upkeep.

8. Check with city hall

NAEBA recommends looking into the property’s and neighborhood’s zoning, as well as any potential easements, liens or other restrictions relating to your property. The seller should disclose these facts, but it’s better to be safe. Kijner & Sons International Realty should be able to help you with this.

9. Reconsider the bells and whistles

Are you sure you can live with a one-car garage, can you afford the pool? Be realistic.

10. Explore the surrounding area

You don’t want to be surprised by a strange smell from a nearby agricultural area, after you buy the house. Or be startled by the sirens from the police station around the corner. Get to know the area a little bit, if you’re moving more than just across town.

5 Things to Know About Homeowner’s Insurance

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to share with you 5 things to know about homeowner’s insurance, whether you are considering buying in Sarasota or Miami, Florida

1. Know about exclusions to coverage. For example, most insurance policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage as a standard item. These types of coverage must be bought separately.

2. Know about dollar limitations on claims. Even if you are covered for a risk, there may be a limit on how much the insurer will pay. For example, many policies limit the amount paid for stolen jewelry unless items are insured separately.

3. Know the replacement cost. If your home is destroyed you’ll receive money to replace it only to the maximum of your coverage, so be sure your insurance is sufficient. This means that if your home is insured for $150,000 and it costs $180,000 to replace it, you’ll only receive $150,000.

4. Know the actual cash value. If you chose not to replace your home when it’s destroyed, you’ll receive replacement cost, less depreciation. This is called actual cash value.

5. Know the liability. Generally your homeowner’s insurance covers you for accidents that happen to other people on your property, including medical care, court costs, and awards by the court. However, there is usually an upper limit to the amount of coverage provided. Be sure that it’s sufficient if you have significant assets. 

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Source: The National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

May 2011 Housing Trends eNewsletter

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

We are pleased to share with you the May 2011 Housing Trends eNewsletter. Just click on the following link: http://DKijner.housingtrendsenewsletter.com.

This eNewsletter is filled with local and national real estate and price activity provided by MLSs and the National Association of Realtors, U.S. Census Bureau key market indicators, consumer videos, blogs, real estate glossary, mortgage rates and calculators, consumers articles, and REALTORS.com local community reports.

What buyers look for, or look out for when purchasing a home.

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

What should buyers look for, or look out for when purchasing a home in the Sarasota or Miami Florida areas? This article will help sellers look into some important aspects of selling their home and what potential buyers look out for as well.

The way you live in your house is not the way to sell your house. So, what makes a house a home for sale on the market, and one that soon has a “SOLD” sign out on the front lawn? And what aspects are important to look at because potential buyers will ask the question, “How much work are we going to need to do prior to moving in and beyond?” The appearance and cleanliness of the home are significant. Always have your home ready to be shown at a moment’s notice with Kijner & Sons International Realty, your agent, because this is what buyers are looking for. And a tip - burned out lights need to be replaced; classy lighting and upgraded fixtures can ameliorate the value of a home. Also, buyers said they would be willing to pay more for a home with a renovated kitchen.

Here are some things a buyer will look out for when dealing with the purchase of a home. The buyer will consider the following:

  • Exactly what property is included in the sale? Lighting fixtures, drapes or blinds, refrigerators, stoves, washing machines and dryers are often problem areas.
  • Is the neighborhood quiet, friendly? Are the homes well kept?
  • Are there any development plans that will affect the property?
  • The inspection report - are there any substantial problems with the house?
  • Real estate taxes - what are the current property taxes, and what impact will your purchase have on the taxes?

Another issue that raises concern regarding buyer appeal is that sellers often mistakenly think that viewing empty properties will give the buyers an accurate sense of the space available. On the contrary, it is more difficult to really judge the size of a room without furniture and other objects as reference points. An empty room even allows buyers to focus on negative details instead of getting a sense of the overall space and the flow of each room to the next. Buyers need to ask themselves the question, “Can I see myself in this home?” Therefore, staging really helps buyers envision themselves in the space.

The idea of “staging” a home to make it look alluring to buyers has become popular during the last decade, as manifested by the proliferation of numerous home staging companies offering advice about how to make the house more attractive to buyers. Check out next’s months article about “Staging a Home.”

When selling your home with Kijner & Sons International Realty keep in mind what buyers look for, or look out for before coming to look at your home in the Sarasota or Miami Florida areas.

Sarasota Real Estate Market: Local Real Estate Market Continues Strong Spring Surge

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to announce that according to the Sarasota Association of Realtors® (SAR), a total of 759 property sale were closed in the Sarasota real estate market in April 2011 continuing a strong spring spurge that reached the 800 level in March with prices maintaining their highest levels of the year for both single family-home and condos. 533 single family homes and 226 condos were sold this past month with respective median sales prices of $155,430 and $ 185,500. Inventory dropped to 5,258 (the lowest level in six years) and pending sales to 959. To quote SAR President Michael Bruno, "Even without the federal tax credit, Sarasota is emerging as a market leader".  

To read the full April 2011 SAR Report and get all the statistics, please click here

To learn more about real estate opportunities in the Sarasota area, contact us at info@kijner.com.

 

8 Tips to Guide for Your Home Search

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to share with you 8 tips for our home search whether you want to buy in Sarasota or Miami Florida

1. Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing.

2. Be realistic. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.

3. Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford.

4. Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own.

5. Decide your moving timeline. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.

6. Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.

7. Insist on a home inspection. If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year.

8. Get help from a REALTOR®. Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you. Buyer’s reps are usually paid out of the seller’s commission payment. 

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Source: The National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

Tourist Visa to Thailand

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

The once free tourist visa to Thailand is no more. Introduced in 2010 as a way to attract foreigners and tourists alike to the kingdom after the much-broadcasted riots, the government has decided on March 31st, 2011 to apply an administrative fee of 1,000 bahts (25 euros) for the 60-day visa, with a possible extension up to 90 days maximum. If you have arrived by plane, you can get a 30-day extension for an extra 1,900 bahts but only 15 days if you have arrived by land. For the extension, just go the your closest Immigration Bureau in Thailand and provide officials with your passport and 60-day visa, 2 photo id, a copy of your flight tickets and the “application for extension of temporary stay in the kingdom” duly filled out. 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 17

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