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Global Perspectives

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to share with you the December 2011 issue of NAR's "Global Perspectives". This issue looks at what's driving Canadian buyers to look south. There's more at play than just the strong Canadian dollar and snowbirds' flight to warm weather. Canadian exposure to the U.S. market has spread beyond Florida to some places that may surprise you.

 

 

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Source: Global Perspectives December 2011

Tips for Finding the Perfect Neighborhood

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Your neighborhood has a big impact on your lifestyle. Follow these steps from Kijner & Sons International Realty to find the perfect community to call home in Miami or Sarasota Florida

  • Is it close to your favorite spots? Make a list of the activities — movies, health club, church, etc. — you engage in regularly and stores you visit frequently. See how far you would have to travel from each neighborhood you’re considering to engage in your most common activities.
  • Check out the school district. This is especially important if you have children, but it also can affect resale value. The Department of Education in your town can probably provide information on test scores, class size, percentage of students who attend college, and special enrichment programs. If you have school-age children, visit schools in the neighborhoods you’re considering. Also, check out www.schoolmatters.com.
  • Find out if the neighborhood is safe. Ask the police department for neighborhood crime statistics. Consider not only the number of crimes but also the type — such as burglaries or armed robberies — and the trend of increasing or decreasing crime. Also, is crime centered in only one part of the neighborhood, such as near a retail area?
  • Determine if the neighborhood is economically stable. Check with your local city economic development office to see if income and property values in the neighborhood are stable or rising. What is the percentage of homes to apartments? Apartments don’t necessarily diminish value, but do mean a more transient population. Do you see vacant businesses or homes that have been for sale for months? 
  • See if you’ll make money. Ask a local REALTOR® or call the local REALTOR® association to get information about price appreciation in the neighborhood. Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, this information may give you a sense of how good of an investment your home will be. A REALTOR® or the government planning agency also may be able to tell you about planned developments or other changes in the neighborhood — like a new school or highway — that might affect value.
  • Make personal observations. Once you’ve narrowed your focus to two or three neighborhoods, go there and walk around. Are homes tidy and well maintained? Are streets quiet? How does it feel? Pick a warm day if you can and chat with people working or playing outside.
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Source: The National Association of Realtors® (NAR

Global Perspectives

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to share with you the August 2011 issue of NAR's "Global Perspectives". Get a detailed snapshot of the latest U.S.Census with key facts about changing demographics and implications to real estate professionals. 


Global Perspectives August 2011
View more documents from REALTORS
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Source: The National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

10 Questions to Ask Home Inspectors

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Before you make your final buying or selling decision, you should have the home inspected by a professional. An inspection can alert you to potential problems with your property in Sarasota or Miami Florida, and allow you to make an informed decision. We advise you at Kijner & Sons International Realty to ask these questions to prospective home inspectors:

1. Will your inspection meet recognized standards? Ask whether the inspection and the inspection report will meet all state requirements and comply with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics, such as the one adopted by the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors. Customers can view each group’s standards of practice and code of ethics online at www.ashi.org or www.nahi.org. ASHI’s Web site also provides a database of state regulations.

2. Do you belong to a professional home inspector association? There are many state and national associations for home inspectors, including the two groups mentioned in No. 1. Unfortunately, some groups confer questionable credentials or certifications in return for nothing more than a fee. Insist on members of reputable, nonprofit trade organizations; request to see a membership ID.

3. How experienced are you? Ask how long inspectors have been in the profession and how many inspections they’ve completed. They should provide customer referrals on request. New inspectors also may be highly qualified, but they should describe their training and let you know whether they plan to work with a more experienced partner.

4. How do you keep your expertise up to date? Inspectors’ commitment to continuing education is a good measure of their professionalism and service. Advanced knowledge is especially important in cases in which a home is older or includes unique elements requiring additional or updated training.

5. Do you focus on residential inspection? Make sure the inspector has training and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection, which is very different from inspecting commercial buildings or a construction site. If your customers are buying a unique property, such as a historic home, they may want to ask whether the inspector has experience with that type of property in particular.

6. Will you offer to do repairs or improvements? Some state laws and trade associations allow the inspector to provide repair work on problems uncovered during the inspection. However, other states and associations forbid it as a conflict of interest. Contact your local ASHI chapter to learn about the rules in your state.

7. How long will the inspection take? On average, an inspector working alone inspects a typical single-family house in two to three hours; anything significantly less may not be thorough. If your customers are purchasing an especially large property, they may want to ask whether additional inspectors will be brought in.

8. What’s the cost? Costs can vary dramatically, depending on your region, the size and age of the house, and the scope of services. The national average for single-family homes is about $320, but customers with large homes can expect to pay more. Customers should be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.

9. What type of inspection report do you provide? Ask to see samples to determine whether you will understand the inspector's reporting style. Also, most inspectors provide their full report within 24 hours of the inspection.

10. Will I be able to attend the inspection? The answer should be yes. A home inspection is a valuable educational opportunity for the buyer. An inspector's refusal to let the buyer attend should raise a red flag.

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Sources:

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR)
Rob Paterkiewicz, executive director, American Society of Home Inspectors, Des Plaines, Ill., www.ashi.org

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)

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