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List of previously answered questions:
10/07/2013 - New Realtor asks: Listing Pictures "Deb, How important are listing pictures?" Answer:
Thank you for your question! They are very important. Please enjoy this link: http://terriblerealestateagentphotos.tumblr.com/
08/22/2013 - Anxious asks: Home Inspection "Can I just walk away if I don't like what my home inspector report says?" Answer:
In Indiana, our purchase agreement is set up that the buyer is required to ask the seller to make repairs and only if the seller is unwilling or unable to make the repairs to major defects, then the buyer can terminate the contract. This is honestly set up to protect the seller because otherwise it's an easy way for a buyer to "change their mind" and cancel the contract. This is why it's important, as a buyer, to really be sure that this is the house you want and beyond looking at the layout, you should take a close look at the condition of the home just to make sure there aren't any glaring issues. Here's a fun tip: To get an idea of what's going on in a crawlspace: bring a camera with a flash, stick your camera in the crawl space and take a bunch of pictures. You can then take them back to your computer, enlarge and get a good look at the crawlspace to make sure there aren't inches of water in there or crumbling foundation walls.
08/15/2013 - Deb asks: Ask me anything! "Protect your Purchase" Answer:
We all know how important it is to maintain our homes, whether we rent or own. I've been in so many homes and honestly, there are some that make me feel completely inferior in my housekeeping ability. Thankfully, I've been in plenty of others that make me feel decidedly superior too! Heavens, the stories I could tell you! I'm always looking for tools and products that make it easier to maintain homes and love to share that with anyone who will listen to me. (This is part of my Protect your Purchase segment I'll be doing regularly. You spent a lot of money on your home! Protect your Purchase!) Yesterday, a friend posted on Facebook asking if a Dyson vacuum was worth the money. She got about 10 responses and they were split evenly between Dyson and a much more affordable brand called Shark (neither company is paying me for this!). I discovered the Shark about a year ago and as someone with mostly hardwood floors, lots of area rugs and an adorable, yet sheddy dog, I can say that it changed my life. I chose the Shark because a woman with a cleaning business told me it was her preferred model - who knows better than someone who uses it every day. I went to get on at Wal-Mart, but they were out (only $99!). So I went to Lowes. They had one, but theirs was $109. Did you know they'll price match? Absolutely. So I got it for $99. OMG. It is awesome. Call me to come over and test drive it. I'll happily fix you a nice cold drink while you vacuum my house!
08/01/2013 - Deb asks: Paperwork Cont'd (there is always more right?) "Went to the bank today and ended up having a fairly lengthy conversation with one of my favorite tellers, Suzanne. Don't worry - I wasn't holding up any line. What was our topic of conversation? Real Housewives and Mortgage Fraud. I have no idea how we got on that topic, but we both agreed, Mortgage Fraud ain't nothin' to mess with (yes, I know, double negative). Have you read the story? She lied about income and assets on both ends of spectrum, when applying for loans and when filing bankruptcy to get out of paying the loans back. She is facing up to 30 years in prison. 30 YEARS! (Real Housewives of the Penitentiary? That can't be far behind.) Lie about your age. Lie about your weight. Lie about how many chocolate chips cookies you are before dinner. Lie about your love for all things Kardashian. But don't lie to the feds, man. What's the craziest piece of paperwork a lender has ever asked you for?" Answer:
08/01/2013 - Deb asks: Paperwork "Top 6 home purchase papers you should make sure you have tucked away" Answer:
So more information then you want to know, but my dear, sweet, very old dog had a minor surgery last week to remove a mass (thankfully benign, and yes, I'm a sucker for my goofball dog). Anyhow, my point is that I have been spending a lot of time at home to keep an eye on him, watching him bang around the house mis-judging every single doorway and piece of furniture (I mean EVERY piece) due to his Cone of Shame that he must wear. How does this matter? Oh yeah. I spent some time going through some massive mounds of paper relating to some real estate purchases and it made me stop and think about all my clients and their paperwork. Do you know where your paperwork is? Do you know what it is? Here are my top 6 home purchase papers you should make sure you have tucked away... 1. Deed - a copy of your recorded deed was sent to you by the title company after closing. 2. Title Insurance - along with your deed, you should have received a copy of your title insurance policy. In about 300+ transactions of the past 7 years, I've only ever had a client need thier title insurance once, but thank goodness we had it when we did! 3. Mortgage - good for putting you to sleep when you have insomnia. 4. Your Note - same as above. 5. Amortization schedule - this can be discouraging because it shows 360 months worth of how much of your payment goes towards interest, principle and what your loan balance is. But I found it handy, too, as I was trying to figure out how much equity we have in a property. 7 out 10 people I ask have no idea what they owe on their mortgage. Just remember if you pay more than your regular monthly payment, that amortization schedule is completely useless...but GOOD FOR YOU for working to pay off your mortgage faster!!!! 6. HUD statement - this is the first document you sign at closing outlining your costs and credits. You never know when your tax preparer or accountant might want to see that. So throw everything else away? Nah.....just pull out those top 6 items and keep them on top of the pile. What else do you have in your stack of house buying papers? Send me a note and ask me, tell me what you've got, ask me how you'll use it? Always here with answers.....
07/18/2013 - Social Media Junky asks: Youtube "Deb, What are you thoughts on using Youtube to market listings? Thanks!" Answer:
Hi! Thank you for your question. there is a theory in real estate that you want to provide enough information to get them interested but not so much that they feel like they know everything they need to know and they don't need to physically come to the house. You have to leave a little mystery...to pique the curiosity. Some realtors practice this theory in extremes. If you've ever seen a listing without a price? That's the theory that it forces a buyer to call the realtor and once the realtor has the person on the phone, the realtor stands a much greater chance of getting the person even more interested in the home. Now, I think it's annoying to not give out price, but I think by producing a video that makes a person feel like they've toured the home, they may have less of a reason to schedule a tour and miss the smells and sounds of the property. They might see one thing that turns them off and decide it's not the right house rather than tour with a realtor who might be able to explain, put in perspective or otherwise settle that one thing that turns them off. I don't believe that Youtube is a good substitute for a guided tour with either me or another realtor whom I can prep ahead of time. The other challenge with Youtube is you still have to find a way to drive people to the youtube site and find the video. Most people looking for a house look at real estate websites and your property is there (multiple times, in fact!) with tons of pictures and easy ways to request more information about the property. Most people don't search for homes on Youtube. It's like we are searching for a needle in a haystack. But we should be spending our efforts looking in the haystack that has proven home buyers in it (people working with realtors, people looking on real estate websites) rather than the haystack with people just looking to kill time at work (youtube viewers) or other people not actively looking for a home.
07/11/2013 - Deb asks: 10 most common fixes for new homeowners "Good tips in this article! Check out the one about squeaky floors. I'm going to have to look into that one. I had a listing once that had such squeaky, creaky floors that it turned some people off. We had to wait until summer and the heat caused the subfloor to expand, thus minimizing the creaks (that's your science lesson for the day) to sell it! Also, I thought the reminder about cleaning your dryer vents was important. I'm so guilty of not doing that, but it is a good reminder. In 2010 an estimated 16,800 structure fires started from dryers. Now try sleeping tonight....can't? CLEAN YOUR DRYER VENTS! I know a guy who does that! Panama's Property Services, if you don't want to tackle it yourself (or if your dryer vent comes out on the second floor - be careful on those ladders!)." Answer:
Here is the link to the full article http://realestate.msn.com/10-most-common-fixes-for-new-homeowners?ocid=vt_fbmsnre
06/20/2013 - Information Seeking asks: Foreclosures "Seeking some information about purchasing a Foreclosure." Answer:
Let me tell you a little story. Several years ago, we bought a foreclosure. We knew it needed some foundation work and some cosmetic updates. That was fine as we thought got a great deal. We worked on it for about 3 months, had contractors in and out, remodeled the bathroom, used the bathroom....then moved some tenants in. Exactly 1 week after we moved the tenants in, we got the call. Septic system doesn't work. There was really no way we could have predicted that without having had a family living in the home fully "exercising" the septic system daily. About $15,000 in repairs were needed, including ripping up the entire back yard, hiring a soil scientist, working with the county to get permits and approvals for the design of the new system, getting the system pumped every few days for weeks until we could get the new system installed, trying to regrow the grass in the entire yard. Ugh. What a mess. Lots of people come to me saying specifically that they want to buy a foreclosed home. I understand the excitement about getting a great deal. Be sure you understand the risks. There are many things that can go wrong. Here another example: Buyer spends nearly $1000 getting inspection, getting utilities on, getting appraisal only to find out that title isn't clear. There is a lien attached to the house that didn't get cleared upon foreclosure. The bank that now owns the house doesn't want to pay the judgement to clear the lien. They won't even let the buyer pay it off so he can continue with the sale. House sits in limbo for years and buyer loses out. It's still sitting there empty while the banks fight over what to do with it. I can tell you many stories of heart break about buying a foreclosed home, undiscovered mold, termite damage, gutters running through the inside of a house, foundations built on landscape timbers... and those are just houses I've bought! BUT I can tell you just as many stories of success! Even with the $15,000 for the new septic system, we came out with some equity in the house, however I can honestly tell you that coming up with $15,000 to pay the septic installer was not easy. Foreclosures can be a great deal but you really need to take your time to evaluate the condition of the property before you jump in and make sure you've got emergency funds in place. Contrary to what a lot of people think, aside from one or two specific loan programs, your lender will not give you money for repairs. The moral of the story is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Have an emergency fund in place and be prepared for some good old sweat equity! I can help you explore if a foreclosed property is right for you. Call, email or text me today! Deb Tomaro RE/MAX Acclaimed Properties 3695 Sare Road Bloomington, IN 47401 812-345-4404 (cell) 812-332-3015 (fax) www.realrealestatetoday.com
01/14/2013 - Appropriately Apprehensive asks: Is it true? "Hi Deb

Been a long time how are ya?Just a quick question.. I received an email claiming that there is a 3% federal sales tax\non the sale of homes starting in 2013, buried in the health care law. Is it true?

Appropriately Apprehensive"
Hi AA,

As I understand it, there is a tax in the healthcare bill that adds a Medicare tax of 3.8% onto investment income. This investment income could come from the sale of properties, stocks, dividends or other investment strategies. So, if you had investment property, you could be taxed on profit from that.

If you are really wealthy, you might get hit with that 3.8% tax on profits from the sale of your home if you are over and above the capital gains exemptions ($250,000 capital gains single, $500,000 capital gains married).

Contrary to the emails circulating the internet, it is not a sales tax but a Medicare tax based on theory that we already pay 3.8% Medicare tax on our most types of income so we should go ahead and pay Medicare tax on any income, investment income included. If you want the nitty gritty, check out this pamphlet produced by the National Association of Realtors. http://www.realtor.org/ small_business_health_coverage.nsf/docfiles/government_affairs_invest_inc_tax_broch.pdf/$FILE/ government_affairs_invest_inc_tax_broch.pdf

Read it, do the math and I swear you’ll be ready to ace the SATs (story problems galore)!

And repeat after me, just because it is on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s true. Thanks for asking the question and allowing me to clarify!

Deb Tomaro
RE/MAX Acclaimed Properties
3695 Sare Road
Bloomington, IN 47401
812-345-4404 (cell)
812-332-3015 (fax)

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