Real Estate for sale

Real Estate FAQ's

If you have a question pertaining to real estate that you would like answered please email the question to us. We will post your question along with the answer/suggestion.

In some situations we may post your question with a request for suggestions from others.

Our goal is to make this as informative as possible.

Q. Who determines the actual closing date when you have sold your house?

A. The closing date is a condition of the sales contract that should be agreed upon between buyer and seller prior to signing the contract. This is a negotiable point although it is typically the buyer. The purchase may be contingent on the buyer obtaining a mortgage or closing on a home so if the seller demands a date that the buyer cannot meet then you have no deal.

Q. I have already purchased the "Complete Handbook" from Are the lists, contracts and addendums in the back of the book available as text or Word doc files?

A. No.

Q. What does it require in California to sell your house by yourself? Can items such a dryrot repair come out of the escrow account and the work done after a sale is pending? What type of disclosures are needed?

A. Whatever state you live in, you should always consult with a real estate attorney when considering selling your home yourself. In most cases you can place money in an escrow account for repairs to be done after the sale is closed. Everything must be detailed in writing and signed by all parties. As a seller you should disclose everything you know about the house in writing before a contract is written. Make sure your disclosure is signed by all parties! In my book, "A Complete Handbook for Selling Your Own Home" there is a multi-page disclosure which serves as a guideline for items that need to be disclosed that one may not think of.

Q.Where do I start when interested in a home that is for sale by owner,...I didn't want to use a real estate agent who would write up the sales agreement?

A. Get an attorney. Don't ever enter into a contract without legal advice!

Q. What's your advice for the best way to coordinate selling your home, with buying a new one?

A. One way is to write a contract for the house you wish to buy and include what is called a "kick-out" clause. This way the seller (for the house you wish to buy) can still market the home. If they get another interested buyer that writes a contract you will have a certain amount of time, usually 2-3 days (as determined in your "kick-out" clause) to either remove the "kick-out" clause and proceed with the sale or void your contract and let the other interested party buy the house.
Another way is to secure a bridge loan or an equity loan on your existing house for the down payment on the home you wish to buy. When your existing home sells, you pay off the loan. This will also work if you have the "kick-out" clause and you are forced to proceed because the seller is presented with another contract.
Always consult an attorney.

Q. How long do you have to buy another house or invest the proceeds of a sale into something?

A. The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 repealed the principal residence rollover replacement rule. This Tax Act allows married couples a tax exemption of up to $500,000 on the profitable sale of their home and single homeowners up to $250,000. There are qualification rules. Consult an attorney or a CPA for more details.

Q. OK heres the deal we had to buy a house in a pinch so we came across one and bought it of those refab houses...anyway the seller told us everything would work he would finish this he would finish that ...well nothings done here we bought this house for $135,000 and already sunk $5,000 into repairs that were supposed to be done by him what are my rights as far as lemon houses? and what can i do?

A. I can't stress the point enough... you need an attorney! Hopefully you have the buildres promises in writing. If you were represented by a real estate agent, try contacting the agent but chances are the agent will get a run around also. You may have a good chance to get your money back for repairs and be protected if there are more repairs needed but you need a lawyer to look at your paperwork to determine your recourse.

Q. To hire a real estate agent in the state of massachusetts in order to buy a house? what if the house is listed with an agent and we still want to (and have expertise in) writing our own contract? does the listing agent have to, by law, present this contract? do you know any websites for massachusetts real estate law?

A. Listing agents typically represent the seller, hence the term "Seller's Agent". If the listing agent has an exclusive right to sell agreement with the seller then typically the seller is obligated to pay the agent the commission/fee agreed upon in their contract regardless of whomever presents the contract. So typically the seller wants all contracts to be presented to their agent who will then in return present it to the seller. You can try writing your own contract representing yourself but I would strongly suggest get legal advice first.
Sorry I do not know of any websites.

Q. I bought a home in Michigan 2 years ago this May. Last winter and this winter the drain pipe for the stool and bathtub has frozen causing much frustration. It is an upstairs bathroom and the only one in the home. The lady who lived there before me died and the home was part of her estate. There are telltale signs that this probably happened in winter's prior to my purchasing the home. Is this something that should have been disclosed to me?

A. Yes. If this was a prior problem it should have been disclosed to you upfront before signing a contract to purchase the house. Even when you buy a house "as is" there should be complete disclosure of anything and everything pertaining to prior problems with the house. You need an attorney.

Q. Trying to locate a bed and breakfast that is for sale in Chama,it was not listed in your properties web page ,I don't if its for sale by owner or by realtor.How do I locate?

A. You can find out who owns the property by calling the tax assessor's office in the town where the property is located and giving them the address of the property you are interested in buying. They should be able to give you the owner's name and current address. You can also try calling the local Board of Realtors and asking them if the property is listed and which office has the listing.

Q. Our mother just passed away and the property she lived in has a house in front and one in the back. We are going to sell it as soon as possible. The home is in Long Beach, California. It is very nice and the "comps" are running around $240 - 270,000.00. It is near a golf course, park, high school, college, hospital and strip mall shopping areas...and with very reasonable distance to a freeway. The area is also zoned for duplexes and large apartment buildings, etc. We were thinking that we should be trying to sell the property to a builder. The existing two homes are pre-1960s. The lot is large enough to accommodate a large complex. We also think that the latest sales were by distressed heirs, unlike ourselves, and they settled quickly just to get their money and "run." Not the case with us. Question...with this bit of information....should we not hold out and also price the property at a minimum of $300,000.00.....or more? Any advice you can give us would be appreciated. We have not committed ourselves to a realtor at this time. We have heard that a realtor's fee is negotiable...but have not confirmed that yet.

A. The first thing you need to do is get an appraisal for the property done by an MAI appraiser to determine the best use of the land. The appraiser will also research the most comparable properties and compare their values to yours. The appraiser will also look at the economic factors and the demographics of the surrounding areas. This information will give you an idea of how to proceed. Make sure the appraiser is a MAI.

Q. I have a question about the actual meaning of Lot size / Lot / Square footage / Tax roll number.

A. Lot size is measured by the perimeter of the lot.
A "lot" is a specific piece of land
Square footage is the area of a specific property.
Example: The measurements of a building lot for a single family home is 80' x 120'. This means that the lot is 80' long on each side and the front and back width is 120'. To find the square footage of this lot you would multiply 80" x 120' = 9600 square feet.
Tax roll number is usually the number the tax assessor's office uses to identify a specific piece of property. The number usually consists of the township, range, section, and lot number.

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