The Final Walkthrough

After you have negotiated on pricing, terms, closing date, conducted an inspection, signed contracts, secured your financing, and cleared title (woah that’s a lot!) comes the final walkthrough. The purpose of the final walkthrough just before you officially close on the property is to check to make sure their are no new issues that have popped up since you conducted an inspection and to check that any repairs were done that you negotiated for.

Typically the final walkthrough will be conducted either the day of the closing or the day before. It’s important that you thoroughly inspect the property because once you sign that paperwork with your attorney any repairs that need to be made are yours to deal with. You also want to make sure that any of the items that were to left behind such as the Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Washing Machine or Dryer are there and are in tact and are in good working condition. On the other hand, you also want to make sure that anything that you do not want in the home was not left there for you to deal with such as any furniture or personal belongings the seller thought that they could just leave for you to handle!

 

You’ll want to go through the entire home (similar to your inspection) and check on all the appliances, the plumbing, the windows, doors, and inspect the exterior and below-grade level for any potential mishaps. Don’t forget to check all the utilities, whether its steam heat or a hydro air system.

Remember to inspect the exterior of the property which may reveal any issues with the siding, roof, or any external systems such as the air condenser for the central air system or the irrigation system in the lawn.

After this is all said and done, you can go and buy your new home with some peace of mind!

If you are thinking about buying or selling real estate in lower Westchester County, give us a call today!

 

Frank Morris

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

71 Pondfield Road

Bronxville NY 10708

O: 914-337-1312 Ext 330

C: 914-500-9194

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Westchester’s Top 3 Housing Styles

 

 

While working with plenty of buyers and sellers in the Westchester County area, we have compiled a list of what we believe is Westchester County residents top three favorite housing styles and their descriptions. Curb appeal is huge when you are selling your home, and in our opinion these three styles are some of our buyers favorite homes!

3. Cape Cods

 

 

 

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Typically consisting of one and half stories, Cape Cods have dormered ceilings on the second level and were adopted from Britain’s single family housing style that were ultimately built to create mid priced homes. They stand out due to their prominent dormered second level and windows on the second story. Typically they are not oversized, so generally they fall into an affordable and cute style for many first time home buyers.

 

2. Tudors

Tudor

 

Another adoption of an English style home which is known for prominent gabled roofs that have a sharp pitch and the interiors are known for timber support beams. The exterior is a mixture of this timber and classical brick. These homes in England were considered ones of prominence and are known to be able to withstand several different climates, which is why they are really popular along the east coast. Many neighborhoods within Westchester can be seen flooded with Tudors, especially Crestwood section of Yonkers or Fleetwood Mount Vernon.

  1. Colonials

 

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Westchester Counties favorite style home is no doubt the center hall colonial. The original American style home which began being built as early as the 1600’s by our first settlers in America. Colonial homes are known for their perfect symmetry, with evenly spaced out windows, a center hall staircase leading to the upper level, and perfectly rectangular dimensions of the floor plan and exterior walls.

 

Feel free to comment below on your favorite home style!

 

As always, if you are thinking about buying or selling Real Estate in Westchester County, give us a call today!

 

Frank Morris

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

71 Pondfield Road

Bronxville NY 10708

O: 914-337-1312

C: 914-500-9194

 

Pet Friendly Housing, The Buyers Dilemma

Do you have any pets?

The one question that Real Estate asks and most in the industry fear the answer for any buyer who is looking for a co-op, condo, or rental apartment.

But Why?

Although the pet policies in the State of New York have changed dramatically since the mid 20th century, when in almost all cases no pets were allowed in rental buildings, it is still very difficult for pet owners to find rental apartment or to purchase co-op’s and condo’s in New York City along with surrounding suburbs like Westchester.

Nonetheless, many buildings in recent years have amended their pet policies to allow pets restricted by weight or breed. Many buildings have also begun to recognize the therapeutic value of having a pet and have allowed homeowners and/or renters to bring pets into the building as emotional support animals.

Even with all these changes, it is not easy for those who are searching in the New York City or Westchester County area to find housing if they are pet owners. Lets just put it this way, their are currently about 800 co-op apartments for sale in the entire county of Westchester, 100 of which accept pets! Therefore their about 100 co-ops on the market that will accept a pet currently, that makes it very tough to be a buyer in our current market!

Cats are wee bit easier to get into buildings, as most people keep their cats indoors so many buildings are not troubled by Cats, dogs are unfortunately a greater hurdle, and this is where in fact many co-op and condo’s have house rules restricting the weight of these animals and in many cases restrict against non aggressive breeds such as pit bulls, Rottweiler’s, and Dobermans.

Difficult but not impossible, and many buildings as stated earlier are changing their policies to conform with owners that have emotional support animals and are modernizing their policies. Do not be too discouraged, their is hope and there is plenty of great buildings that allow pets, you just have to be diligent and ready to jump on them when they reach the market.

Frank Morris

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

71 Pondfield Road

Bronxville NY 10708

 

 

Conventional Loan Interest Rates

Most buyers will choose a conventional loan to purchase their new home. Conventional loans follow guidelines that are set forth by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

There are several types of conventional loans that vary in the loan term, anywhere from 10 to 30 years, along with how interest is accrued. Their are fixed interest rates for up to 30 years, as well at Adjustable Rate mortgages available that change according to the prevailing rate of interest.

The down payments also vary and can go as low as 3% with some loan programs. Typically, anything below a 20% down payment would require mortgage insurance at an additional monthly cost. Lower down payment mortgages are referred to as FHA (Federal Housing Authority), these loans are associated with mortgage insurance throughout the life of the loan and more fee’s than your typical conventional loan. PMI (Primary Mortgage Insurance) can also be based on your credit history and debt to income ratio.
Generally, if your credit score is 680 or higher and your debt to income can cover your mortgage, you should not have to pay additional fee’s. If your credit score is lower, you may to incur extra fee’s or have to be covered by mortgage insurance.

Your debt to income usually should not exceed 50% (your monthly debts should be no greater than 50% of your monthly gross income). Most banks will request 60 days of banks statements, 2 years of w-2’s or tax returns for those who are self employed.

Investment property can be purchased with conventional loans, although the interest rates and down payment requirement are often higher.

There are private lenders and large corporate lenders such as Chase Bank and Wells Fargo. When shopping for the right bank, it is also important to consider interviewing more then one Loan Officer, as there may be certain programs that other banks offer unique to you. For instance, there are some banks that offer special loan programs for civil servants.

The next step is to reach out to your bank and get started in the pre-approval process for a conventional loan!

Frank Morris

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

71 Pondfield Road

Bronxville NY 10708

Property Inspection 101

Whether you are buying a homing, or getting a home prepared for sale, we always strongly recommend that you have the property inspected either pre-sale so there are no surprises to you, the seller, and to have one before you enter in a contractual agreement to purchase the property.

One thing that scares most homebuyers away is water. Although its true that most basements are conditioned to take on some moisture, you want to thoroughly check the land surrounding the property to check for a good slope in the land along with proper drainage. Water damage can lead to more costly repairs such as re-wrapping the foundation and dreaded mold build up. You want to make sure the property was built and landscaped to encourage water to move away from the home, and if is not, that it has proper drainage to deal with the issue of water.

The next line item often worries a lot of home purchasers, and that’s the roof. The roof holds a lot of the integrity of the home as it prevents water leaks and proper run-off for weathering. The age of the roof is one thing to consider, asphalt roofs usually last about 20 years while other styles may last as long as 40 years. Although  at quick glance you can observe any patching that has been done to an asphalt roof by taking notice of the layers of asphalt that have been laid, multiple layers of patching can be a sign of the end of life for an asphalt roof.

One of the other costly projects to keep an eye out for is the electrical system. It is pretty easy to take a look at the electrical panel and notice its out of date, those cylinder old-time electrical fuses are a sure sign that the system is outdated. You may also notice if the outlets are updated, and are not the old two prong outlets. Not only can old electrical be hazardous, though depending on the size of the home, re-wiring an entire home can be pretty costly to the purchaser, as much as 15,000 or more.

There are many more components to the home inspection that we haven’t touched, although these are some of the big line items to look out for while you are searching for a home to purchase, or if you are thinking about putting your home on the market and want to determine the value of repairs.

 

We hope this information was helpful, and if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell real estate, please keep us in mind at Barhite and Holzinger.

 

Frank Morris

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

71 Pondfield Road

Bronxville NY 10708

Winterizing your home

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Getting your home ready for winter?

These tips can help you get your home ready for the winters that Westchester County homeowners often endure.

 

There are a couple of good reasons why it is wise to winterize your home properly and prepare for the cold temperatures. Firstly, your comfort level in your home. Secondly, by making some slight modifications that are not too costly you can save yourself some money on those dreaded utility bills.

 

Lets start with some of the more simple methods that are cost effective. The first would be filling in the gaps around doors and windows with caulk. Retro fitting a home and looking for air leakage or penetration can be a good way to reduce heating and cooling costs. Besides, when that warm air your furnace is creating is slipping through the cracks of your windows or doors that is your good hard earned money slipping away with it.

 

Proper home insulation is very important for the life of your heating and or cooling unit along with your comfort and savings. A heating or cooling unit has a much more difficult time working under harsh conditions in your attic and or basement, so be sure to properly insulate every single room in the home. If you have sealed your windows, doors, and properly retro fitted your home in the attic and or basement then you may be having an issue with your insulation. There are some economic alternatives that are a bit more effective than your standard Batt insulation such as cellulose insulation. A step further than cellulose insulation would be spray foam insulation, which can be used for sound proofing as well.

 

Ice damming, make sure you clean out those gutters before the harsh temperatures arrive. This will make ice damming and icicles forming less likely to happen, which means less headache for you the homeowner.

 

Chimney’s can be responsible for much heat loss and air penetration during the summer. Make sure you have your chimney insulated with an inflatable blocker, just make sure that the blocker is fit to size.

 

On a larger scale in retro fitting your home, you may want to look into updating your heating and HVAC system to a more energy efficient air system, the pricing varies pretty drastically depending on your budget, but all systems manufactured now are given an energy rating, so choose wisely. A lot of the older steam and oil heating systems are unfortunately wallet burners for the homeowner.

 

Hope you found these tips useful.

 

 

 

Tips for First Time Homebuyers

Here are some common obstacles that first time homebuyers face and some questions they may want to answer themselves before house hunting:

 

What property type best suits my needs?

Every buyer has different needs, some commuters who use the metro-north to leave Crestwood station to Grand Central aren’t concerned about parking, while parking for others is of absolute necessity.

 

Do I want a home that is move-in-ready or am I willing to look at fixer uppers?

Most first time homebuyers need to see a few homes before they answer this question and be honest with themselves about whether or not they are willing to do work to the home and invest the time. Many new home improvement shows on HGTV have people in the mindset that making total renovations to a home is an easy task, but are you really up for the challenge?

 

What are your financing options and/or budget?

If your loan officer tells you that they can pre-approve you up to 500,000, ask yourself if you really want to spend the max amount that you can afford. If you can find a home that is 400,000 that is discounted because it needs some work done, is that something you are willing to take on?

Choose the right agent.

Real Estate agents are hyperlocal business people, meaning you want to find one that specializes in the neighborhood you are shopping in, if there is any issue with the area you are searching in such as flooding or high levels of radon, an truly knowledgeable agent will be able to tell you the in’s and out’s of the neighborhood, both negative and positive. An agent can also help you determine the value of the home and make sure you are not overpaying for it. Be careful of choosing the listing agent of the property you are interested in, the listing agent is contractually obligated to represent the seller and cannot always work in your best interest.

 

What are the things that you must have in your new home?

Do you need to be close to the metro north? Do you need a finished basement and a two car garage? Do you need an oversized yard? If you find yourself not finding the things that are necessity in your new home you may want to consider either looking at homes that are priced higher that do have these amenities or figuring out which of these amenities is most important and that you can live without.

 

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