[schema type="organization" orgtype="LocalBusiness" url="http://4salebydonna.com" name="Real Estate Agent Donna Baker" description="Real Estate Agent showing homes for sale and available real estate in Monrovia, Pasadena, Arcadia the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California." city="Monrovia" state="Ca" postalcode="91016" email="donna@4salebydonna.com " phone="(626) 408-7766 "]

Avoid Home-Buying Mistakes That Could Cost an Arm & Leg

January 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Buying a home can be a harrowing experience, fraught with unforeseen dangers. But it doesn’t have to be! You can stay out of trouble and make the most of your home-purchase dollars by avoiding the mistakes other home buyers commonly make.
The Wrong Home
Homeownership is not a short-term investment. If you select a home that’s too large to maintain, too small for future needs, or too expensive for your income, you may have to live with your mistake for awhile – or spend a lot of money getting rid of it. The same is true if the home is too far from work, too close to traffic, or in need of extensive repairs that you can’t handle. Be sure to take a realistic look at your financial situation – income, debt, future expenses – before selecting a home. Also factor in your housing needs, time constraints and home-improvement skills.
Bidding Blind
Some buyers offer a contract above the true market value of the property or fail to bid on a great value because they don’t know the market. Research the market you want to purchase in by reading local newspaper articles and ads, touring a variety of homes, and talking with people in the area. Your best source of information about home values may come from a professional buyer’s agent who specializes in the area.
Title Troubles
A title search may reveal encumbrances on the property title, such as tax liens, easements, leases, or an undisclosed co-owner. Have the title search done as early as possible. You can protect your investment from another person’s claim of ownership by purchasing owner’s title insurance in addition to a lender’s policy, which you’ll be required to purchase if you take out a mortgage.
Last-Minute Defects
During the final walk-through, some serious defects may become apparent that hadn’t been noticed before. Do you back out of the deal? Settle on the home anyway? These are difficult decisions that can be avoided by inspecting the home carefully before you make an offer. You can also include a home inspection contingency in your contract, then hire a professional inspector to check the home inside and out. You’ll be supplied with a report of items that need attention, the cost to repair them, and possible repercussions if they are left as is.
Pre-paid Shockers
Some items, such as real estate taxes and homeowners association dues, are pro-rated at settlement, while others, such as hazard insurance and taxes, have to be paid a few months ahead. Make sure you have enough cash for settlement by asking for those charges a day or two in advance, and check them for accuracy. Remember, if the settlement date changes, so will the pre-paid costs.
Seller Slip-Ups
Repairs not made, items that haven’t conveyed, and other contractual hang-ups can delay settlement. Be sure to take the list of agreed upon conveyance items with you to walk-through and check to make sure they’re present. Be prepared to set a dollar amount for an escrow fund for items that have fallen through the cracks.
Closing Rush
Get settlement sheets the day before closing to avoid last minute problems, such as an interest rate or points that may be different from those you agreed upon. Missing the settlement date because of a last-minute snag could endanger the locked-in interest rate or the entire sale. Minimize the problems by asking for a long lock-in, say, 60 days.
Wrong Mortgage
Lots of different mortgage programs are available to choose from, but find the best one for your situation and goals can be pretty confusing. Do your homework and make sure your lender has the experience and expertise to offer you a good selection of loans.




Landmarking Your Home

May 14, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

The leaders of our City realized that our inventory of vintage homes and buildings could be in jeopardy if something wasn’t done to safeguard them from demolition. The City of Monrovia adopted the current Historic Preservation Ordinance in 1995 and began landmarking historic structures soon thereafter. Currently there are over 50 landmarked buildings, and more are on the way.

Any owner of historic property can apply to landmark their home or building. The Historic Preservation Commission and the City Council must both find that the application meets one or more of the criteria and standards for the designations of a landmark, as follows:

  • It is identified with persons or events significant in local, regional, state, or national history.
  • It is representative of the work of a notable builder, designer, or architect.
  • It contributes to the significance of an historic area.
  • It embodies one or more distinctive characteristics of style, type, period, design, materials, or craftsmanship.
  • It has a unique location or physical characteristics or represents an estab-lished and familiar visual feature of neighborhood, community, or the City.
  • It incorporates elements that help preserve and protect an historic place or area of historic interest in the City.
  • It has yielded, or may be likely to yield information important in prehistory or history.

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Case Study: Home Maintenance

May 11, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

In March of this year, an agent in my office took a listing for a 1910 Craftsman bungalow on North Canyon Boulevard in Monrovia. The home is a two-bedroom, one bath structure with the original woodwork, hardwood floors, high ceilings and wainscoting, situated on a large 9,374 square foot lot. It is 1,245 square feet of living space with a bonus room that could be used for a third bedroom and a two-car detached garage. The house was listed for $375,000, which was lower than most other vintage homes of this kind at the time it hit the market. The agent priced it there to take into consideration the condition of the home.

Unfortunately, this wonderful bungalow had been a rental for over twenty years. Because the owner did not live locally, he chose to defer maintenance for all that time and let the renters be responsible for its care. In addition, he never bothered to ask about the condition of the house, nor was he aware that termites had infested it for who knows how long.

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