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Jonathan Rainer's Advice

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  • 86 Contributions
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  • 17 Helpful

Jonathan Rainer wrote:

How do I get a realtor to contact me about a house

Answer
Hi, you can contact an agent and have them set up an automatic notification to be sent to you email when the house hits the market.  The best foreclosed houses will sell within a few days, so you want to keep a good eye on it.  Waiting for the sale sign to go up may not be effective since some agents fail to post the sign timely, and you may not be available to drive by it every day.As others mentioned, this could take a while.  Banks often hold the property for months doing repairs, clean up, and moving an occupant out.We watch three MLS systems for situations like this since anyone might list it.Is there something special about this specific house that interests you?
August 03 2013
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What are the proper procedures in being a first time home buyer of foreclosed homes?

Answer
I'll second the comment below that buying a foreclosure on your first purchase can turn into a nightmare.  The deferred maintenance (aka no maintenance) for the house means you have to foot the bill for the repairs.  A second issue is that loans typically have requirements on the condition of the house, and won't issue a loan on a house that needs significant repairs. There are options like FHA loans that don't have as stringent requirements as "conventional" loans and VA loans.  Additionally, FHA loans do offer low down payment options...something I frequently get asked by First Time Buyers...but have slightly higher fees. There are also loans designed to help you fix up a house.  If you have enough cash to buy without a loan, then you're in a great position!As others mentioned, the first thing to do is talk to a lender or buyer's agent.  The agent can point you to reputable lenders, or you can find lenders on your own here.There are many things to watch out for, and a buyer's agent will help identify what those issues are for you personally, and provide a booklet on buying a home if they're also a Realtor. Also, do a Google search for buying a home and check out the tips right here on Zillow.Now, if you are handy or have a relative that can commit to helping you fix up a house, then a foreclosure can be a good deal.  With the housing market recovering, we're starting to see fewer and fewer great deals out there. But, you can save around 10-20% of the market value with a foreclosure, accounting for repairs.One thing I will always recommend: never buy a foreclosure straight from a listing agent.  This means don't call the agent listed on the sign and ask how to buy a house.  They represent the interests of the seller, and will try to get you to the highest price possible, and offer no advice.  They're just doing their job, but their job isn't to help you.Best of luck!
January 23 2013
(1)

Why is the Zestimate value for my home so much less than an actual appraisal completed 6 months ago

Answer
The process of determining a Zestimate is complex and automated.  The program cannot predict all conditions, and may be influenced by foreclosures, or other distressed properties (that the program can't determine are distressed). An appraiser would throw out such distressed problems in most cases--unless a neighborhood is dominated by such properties. I often tell my clients that the Zestimate is only a starting point.  It isn't a reliable measure, and they should ask me for an idea of property values.  Zillow just can't collect all possible details that influence a home's value. Hope that helps!
January 15 2013
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Un-ethical Realtors? Advice please!

Response
I also applaud you for reading the contract carefully.In Georgia, real estate contracts must be in writing,  You do not have a dual agency situation from your description since you never signed an Exclusive Buyer's Agency Agreement.  Maybe there's an argument for an "implied" agency agreement, but it's hard to prove.You likely need to discuss most of your questions with an attorney, and do it quickly.  The Realtors on here can't (or shouldn't) comment on what you should do specifically.  If the agent involved is a Realtor (not all are REALTOR's, but merely license agents), then there are avenues for filing complaints, none of which will help you in buying the house in the short term.  You could make a call to the agent's qualifying broker and might get some kind of quick resolution.Can you bring in an agent? Possibly.  You need to clearly tell your new, preferred agent the entire scenario.  Make this agent tell their broker about it. AND, you must get cooperation with the listing agent, or pay the new agent out of your own pocket.Either way, sign the agreement as it's written, and you agree to the terms agent proposed.
October 01 2012
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Time enough to buy

Answer
Take a few days of the 60 you have left to really think about your goals. I agree with the other posters that buying a home shouldn't be an emergency.  Can it be done in 60? Yes, but that assumes it's a problem-free purchase and you find what you want right away.If you have been considering buying a home and already researching the process, then it might be a good time to look around.  But, if you don't find what you really want, that you will live in for a while, and can afford it, then stop and find a temporary place.  I wouldn't search past Oct. 15th without having temporary living arrangements planned.If you want to stretch the process out to have time to find the right place, you can put your belongings in storage and do a weekly hotel suite (in a reputable part of town), and wrap up a purchase.  Just make sure it fits into your budget, and plan on this in advance.  Other options exist, and some apartment communities do monthly rentals, but it will be more expensive.You could also consider buying, but take your time searching and still lease a home at least through the holidays.  You typically can cancel a lease early with one month's penalty. The penalties vary, so read any new lease to find out for sure.Best of luck!
October 01 2012
(1)

How do I determine the rental $$ for a home without having to consult with a real estate company

Answer
Hi,Check out other rental listings. Zillow has a few, but also check out your local paper, Craigslist, and any source of rentals you can find.  Get details like bedrooms and square footage if you can.Then average the rental rates for homes that are similar to yours.  This isn't scientific by any means, but will help you price it with the least amount of work.  Other conditions would apply like special neighborhood features, the condition of your property, and how detailed you are with credit applications.Tenants may negotiate on the price as well, so make sure you set a bottom dollar for yourself ahead of time.Best of luck!
August 08 2012
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I am selling my house as a short sale, do I or the bank pay the closing costs?

Answer
Doug's advice is spot on.  You need to talk with the bank about what they're willing to pay, but they will likely give you a lot of "maybe" responses.If you don't have an agent, you should make sure the buyer knows the sale is contingent on bank approval (the agent should have listed this in the listing).  Otherwise, most purchase contracts might easily put you in default for not providing a clear title by the due date.That's great that you have an offer, but expect a long delay before the bank approves it, and expect to provide significant paper work to document your financial status. Best of luck!
July 17 2012
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6.625% Homepath Interest Rate

Answer
You should definitely check around.  Here's a link to the Homepath website where you can search for lenders:  http://www.homepath.com/financing-lenders.html Keep in mind that Fannie Mae is funding the loan, and they aren't local. So, you're only supporting the broker that prepares the loan, and are latching yourself onto an expensive loan where the interest goes out of town anyway.  Keep the money and spend the savings at local companies. :)
July 17 2012
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the map on our house is wrong and there is no edit map link in my edit section how can I change this

Answer
Hi!The mapping software is run by Bing (Microsoft), not Zillow.  Zillow does add its overlays, but uses the address supplied by Bing.Head over to maps.bing.com, and search for your address.  Is it correct there? If not, then there is a way to report a problem with the addressing.  Sometimes they can't make corrections since they are also getting addresses from third parties.  Newer addresses are often not listed.If your house is listed for sale, many MLS systems allow your agent to actually mark exactly where the house is, though I don't believe that affects Zillow's place marker.  But, it will help with marketing in other places.Best of luck!
June 03 2012
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Can I do a re-fi w/ an 80/20 loan w/ 2 different lenders?

Answer
Definitely give your lenders a call.  There will also be several lenders that likely respond that can review your situation with you.  Check some of the past forum questions as well, since you are not alone, and will find some great tips in there.Hang in there!
June 03 2012
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