Judy Moore - Barrett Sotheby's International Realty



Posted by Judy Moore on 10/7/2018

If this is your first time buying a home, you might be worried that you aren’t asking enough questions. Or maybe you’re concerned you’re not asking the right questions--the things that matter the most when making a financial decision as important and life-changing as buying a home.  

While everyone’s situation is unique when buying a home, there are some questions that all buyers could benefit from asking. These questions will help you learn more about the home, how competitive the house is, and how much work you’ll need to put into it.

Since time is usually of the essence for people buying a home, it makes sense to ask questions early on so that you don’t waste too much time exploring an option that isn’t ideal for your situation.

In this article, we’re going to give you 5 important questions to ask when you talk to a seller and their agent so that you can be prepared to make the best decision for you or your family.

1. How flexible is the asking price?

While few sellers or agents will outright tell you if they’d accept a lower offer, it’s still a good idea to ask this question, as it will open up a conversation about the seller’s feelings toward the home and whether they’re pricing high with the hopes of receiving slightly lower offers.

2. How many offers has the home received?

It may seem counterintuitive, but most agents and sellers will be quite happy to tell you if they’ve received other offers. They know that once you know the current offer you’ll have to either come up with a higher offer or move on. It’s a win-win for you and the seller, as it equips both of you with information you need to make the best choice.

3. Why are the sellers moving away?

This question can be personal, so if you receive an answer that suggests it’s a family matter, don’t press for too many details. However, some sellers and agents will let you know exactly why the house is for sale. From this simple question, you can learn the seller’s timeline for making the sale, details about the schools or neighborhoods, and any other reason that might drive someone to move out of the neighborhood.

4. Are there any problems with the house that you know of?

Although you’ll have an inspection contingency in your contract if you do decide to make an offer on the home, it’s better to know if there are any issues with the home before going through the bidding process.

Most sellers understand this and will be upfront about any problems with the home, including repairs that need to be made now or will need to be made soon after you move in.

5. What is the average cost of utilities?

Buying a home comes with a lot of added costs and fees. However, many people forget about the changes in the cost of utilities that comes with buying a home--especially if you’re moving from an apartment where some utilities may have been included.

The seller will be able to give you a good estimate on the cost of electricity, garbage removal, internet, heat, and more.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Judy Moore on 9/30/2018

If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future there are several financial prerequisites that you should aim to meet. Ideally, you’ll want a sizable down payment, a verifiable income history, and a good credit score.

It takes time to build credit. For most people, it can be several months or even years before they see a double-digit change in their credit score. However, if you have a low credit score and want to give it a quick boost, there are ways you can make a big difference.

But first, why should you focus on your credit score?

Credit scores and mortgages

When you apply for a mortgage there are several factors that your lender will take into consideration. One of their top concerns will be your credit score. This score is like a snapshot of your financial reliability. It tells lenders how much risk is involved in lending to you.

As a result, lenders will increase your interest rate if you are high risk and lower it if you are lower risk. To be a low risk homeowner, you’ll want your score to be in the high range, (usually 700 or above).

Credit change potential

Depending on your financial history, it can be more difficult to raise your score in a shorter period of time. If you are young, don’t have a long credit history, or haven’t had many bills to pay in your lifetime, your score will be more malleable than someone who has had low credit for years due to late payments.

In the United States, you have to be eighteen to open up a credit card or take out a loan by yourself (this is different from getting a loan co-signed by a parent or guardian).  You can also ask your parents or guardians to add you as an authorized user of their credit cards. This will let you build credit without having to settle for the high interest rate credit cards you would be eligible for.

If you happen to have a low score (anywhere between 300 - 600), the good news is you can achieve a larger change over a shorter amount of time than someone who already has a high score.

So, how do you achieve that change?

Credit errors

One of the easiest ways to quickly improve your score is to check for errors in your credit report. You can get a free report each year from the three main credit bureaus--Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Look out for bills that have been mistakenly put under your name and for collections that shouldn’t be on your account.

Avoid new credit

One thing that can do short-term harm to your credit score is opening or attempting to open new lines of credit. That can be a store card, a loan, or getting your credit checked by a lender.

If you want to build credit quickly, making several inquiries could land you with a lower score than where you started.

Pay your regular expenses with credit

A good way to gain credit points in a few months is to pick a monthly expense to use your credit card for. Pay off your full balance at the end of each billing cycle to earn the most points while avoiding building up too much interest.





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Judy Moore on 8/26/2018

What Is The Disclosure Statement?


Disclosure statements are used in many of life’s situations. This is the place where the buyer is able to learn about the ins and outs of the property that they are about the buy. Examples of items that would be on a seller’s disclosure are:


  • Water in the basement
  • Updates made to the home
  • Known pests
  • Paranormal activity
  • Death on the property
  • Past fires
  • Nearby major construction projects
  • Title 5 sewerage issues 


Disclosures Serves As Protections


The disclosure statement serves as a protection for both the buyer and the seller. From a buyer’s perspective, through this information, they are able to understand a bit more about the property that they are potentially buying. 


On the seller’s side of things, the disclosure statement serves a s legal protection of sorts. The seller is obliged to reveal anything about the property that could potentially affect the value or affect the living conditions.


How Does The Seller Make The Disclosure


Each state and even each city within a state varies in the way a disclosure is conducted.  The statement can be composed of dozens of documents that need to be signed by the seller. Other states have disclosure document forms that consist of a series of yes or no questions about the home. Sellers may also be required o present communications between neighbors, owners, and agents. In some states, the disclosure statement is valid for up to 10 years, allowing buyers to collect damages if something wasn’t properly presented on the statement.  


How Do Sellers Know What To Disclose?


The basic rule of thumb is that if you know something about your property, you should disclose it. If you try to hide something, it could come back to meet you in the form of a lawsuit, even years later. Many states have legal requirements as to what should be revealed on these documents.  


What’s Disclosed To Buyers?


The disclosure doesn’t have to be all bad. This document is also an opportunity for sellers to present any of the improvements that they have made to the home. Make sure that you include all of the upgrades, renovations, and improvements that you have made to the home that you’re selling. This can help to impress buyers as to how well you have taken care of the property.


It’s easy as the buyer to check some of these improvements as you can find out if the work was done with or without permits by checking with the city’s zoning reports. Work that was done without a permit may have not been completed according to code. This could pose some serious health and safety risks to you and your family. 


Problems that you’ll want to disclose as a seller include pest problems, property line disputes, disturbances in the neighborhood, liens on the property, and appliance malfunctions. 


Remember that the disclosure doesn’t substitute the buyer’s right to a professional inspection of the property. It’s important for buyers to know as much about a property as they can in order to be sure they’re making a good investment.





Posted by Judy Moore on 7/15/2018

Buying a home is one of the most expensive undertakings that you’ll ever have in your lifetime. You probably have spent months upon months saving for a downpayment in order to make your home purchase. The problem is that after they believe their savings are complete, many buyers discover unexpected costs that go along with buying a home, making the entire process even more stressful. You should be prepared for many different kinds of costs that go beyond the sticker price of a home. Below, many of those surprising costs are laid out in detail. 


Closing Costs


Closing costs can be anywhere from 2-7% of the purchase price of a home. Closing costs cover quite a bit including:


  • Inspection fees
  • Appraisal
  • Title insurance
  • Property taxes
  • Mortgage insurance
  • Underwriting fees
  • Recording fees
  • Loan origination fees

Depending upon the type of loan you get or your specific circumstances, your closing costs could be even more. Keep in mind that you won’t find out your specific closing cost amounts until the purchase of the home is well underway. You can talk to your realtor and lender ahead of time to be prepared for your own situation.


Closing costs are also negotiable, so don’t forget to ask questions. Certain administrative fees, for example, are often unnecessary and can be waived.  


Low Appraisals


If you have a low appraisal on your home, you may need even more cash on hand. In order to meet loan and home value requirements, lenders won’t approve a loan for an amount that’s higher than the home is appraised for. In this case, if you still want the home, you’ll be left to come up with the difference in cash. Otherwise, you could be forced to walk away from the deal and lose some money in the process. This is one of those home purchase emergencies that you should simply be aware of. It can be an emotional experience to get a low appraisal on a home, but remember that there are sensible ways to deal with this dilemma.       


Moving Expenses


Many buyers forget in the excitement of buying a home just how much it will cost to move. Whether you hire a moving company or do it yourself, moving can be expensive. You’ll need a truck, packing supplies and a way to pay (or simply thank) the people who help you to move. 


The Things You Need For Your Home


Your home won’t come with everything that you need. You may have to buy a refrigerator, have some repairs done, or simply get furnishings for the home. Don’t strap your budget so thin that you won’t be able to buy a sofa until six months after moving into the home.   




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Judy Moore on 6/10/2018

Where you decide to live is perhaps one of the most important decisions that you’ll make. The location of your home will determine the property value and how much you can potentially get out of your investment. The location of your home also will determine how you live your everyday life. What’s nearby and how you get around are big factors based on where you choose to live. Here’s what you must consider when choosing where you want to live: 


The Part Of The Country You Live In


Where you choose to live is based on a lot of factors in your life. Yet, the part of the country that you choose to live in has such a big impact on your lifestyle. If you’re planning on staying in your home for a long time, this is an important decision. Although many people have their location chosen for them based on job and family needs, other people work this question out a bit differently. 


City Life Or The ‘Burbs?


If you like peace and quiet, this is an important question. If you live far outside the city, you’ll be able to have a lot more land than if you buy a home within the city limits. Education options are also greater in the city compared to a town or rural area. If you are looking for wider access to entertainment, shopping and medical services, you may need to strongly consider living closer to the city. If you like a bit more quiet, choose the outer limits as a place to live. 


The Neighborhood


Each neighborhood in a particular area has different characteristics. You’ll want to find a neighborhood that fits your personality and needs. You should feel comfortable and at “home” in your neighborhood. Also, you’ll want to be in close proximity to your workplace so that you avoid a long commute. 


What Are The Schools Like?


This is one of the most important questions for people who have a family or are planning to start a family. You’ll need to do some research as to what school systems are like in specific areas that you’re thinking of living in. Keep in mind that you may end up paying a premium to live in a neighborhood that has a good school system.


Neighborhood Culture


Depending upon the neighborhood that you choose, people will either keep to themselves or provide a certain kind of social pressure. In certain neighborhoods there’s more social activity and more pressure to send your kids to certain schools and enroll them in certain activities. 

What’s Next? 


Now that you know how to find the right place to search for a home, you’ll need to figure out what kind of home you’d like to live in. Start making your wish list!