Most Common Home Contingencies [Infographic]

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Home contingencies can make all the difference in a real estate transaction. A contingency means the seller has accepted an offer on the property, but success of the sale may still depend on certain clauses. These clauses usually fall under three categories: passing a home inspection, securing financing, and the legal ownership of the property. Contract contingencies are often called “a buyer’s best friend,” but there are a few contingencies that help protect the seller as well.

In today’s infographic, we take a look at the most common home contingencies you’ll see in a real estate contract.

Most-Common-Home-Contingencies

Inspection Contingencies

Home inspections are the most common home contingency. Basically, a buyer is freed from their offer contract if the home can’t pass an inspection.

  • First, buyers get to choose the home inspectors. There may be a few different inspectors necessary. For example, the pest inspection is different from the home inspection itself. The buyer (/buying agent) have power to decide who checks these things.
  • It’s smart to include a disclosure contingency. If you move in and find the seller didn’t disclose a pre-existing contingency, it can free you from your contract.
  • If anything doesn’t pass inspection, or if it just isn’t up to the buyer’s standards, s/he can demand repairs.
  • The general home condition can be a contingency. Even if it passes inspection, you may know it needs a fresh coat of paint. The buyer can demand that service, or take off the cost of painting from the price of the home.

Financing Contingencies

No one wants to make (or sell) a big investment if they’re not financially ready. More importantly, sometimes their finances really shouldn’t allow a major transition. Financing clauses protect buyers and sellers from getting ripped off.

  • In a buyer’s market, the buyer may include a contingency that the purchase of the home is dependant upon him/her being able to sell the current residence.
  • The buyer can clarify that the purchase is based upon them being able to secure an acceptable mortgage rate.
  • In a seller’s market, the seller can include a contingency that the purchase of the home is only possibly if they find and secure their next residence.
  • Sometimes a certain amount has to be covered in the down payment. The seller has the right to demand something higher than 20%.
  • The seller can (and absolutely will) retract the offer acceptance if the buyer’s loan isn’t approved. Usually this does not need to happen because the buyer has to be pre-approved.

Ownership Contingencies

Believe it or not, there are a lot of ways ownership of a property can be disputed. The last thing any buyer wants is to make a massive down payment and then learn it was all a scam.

  • Sale of the property depends on buyer’s ability to find homeowner’s insurance.
  • Seller can prove full ownership over the property.
  • The buyer chooses the title company.

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Home Fence Options and Costs

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There are many different types of fences you can buy or make to surround your home. They all may look and feel different, but their intentions are the same: to keep your home surrounded at all times. Fences are intended for safety from intruders and for privacy from your neighbors. They will also keep you safe from unwanted animals wandering into your home. Fences also decorate your home: many are ornate and very beautiful.

The different materials used in making a fence usually determine its price. Obviously a more decorative fence is going to cost more than a plain one, so we’re going to share the benefits of many different types of fences to help you choose which will be best for your home.

Home Fences

What Type of Fence Do You Need?

What type of fence you need determines a lot. If you’re looking for a fence to perform its simplest function, to surround your home, then you may want to get the cheapest fence you can find and have professionals install it for a low cost. However, if you want a specific type of fence, there are lots of reasons for different types.

Aluminum Fences:

Aluminum fences are durable and come in many different heights and styles. This inexpensive material provides for great coverage around your home. Many aluminum fences have designs like metal fences, but they are much less expensive because of the material used. They are easy to install and come in many different colors.

Home Fence

Best for: Cost Effectiveness and Ease of Installation                       Average Cost: $10-30 Per Square Foot

Brick Fences:

Brick is expensive, but it provides the most privacy, safety, and security. Intruders are much less likely to scale a brick fence because it is very difficult to climb. Brick can be soundproof and requires almost no maintenance.

Home Fence

Best for: Privacy and Security                     Average Cost: $15-35 Per Square Foot

Metal Fences:

Metal fences are great for protection. They can be difficult to climb and many have spikes or spokes on the end, not just for decorative purposes, but they also serve well in warding off would-be intruders. Aluminum and chain-link fences are not as strong as iron or steel, but they will provide for some safety. If you truly want to feel safe, iron or steel home fences are incredibly strong and can be installed around your home by professionals.

Home Fence Home Fence

Best for: Protection and Strength                             Average Cost: $3-100 Per Square Foot

Vinyl Fences:

Vinyl fences are durable, low-maintenance fences that will last for many years. They are neutral in color and come in many different shapes and designs to fit your home. Vinyl fences are great because you do not have to paint them, and they do not rot, rust, flake, or peel.

Home Fence

Best for: Durability and Cleanliness                   Average Cost: $4-30 Per Square Foot

Wood Fences:

Wood fences can be either pickets or wood planks. Wood is great because they can be painted to match the color of your home. Wood can even last up to 20 years or more. Planks provide for great privacy, while picket fences give off a wonderful charm about your home.

Home Fence

Best for: Painting and Life Expectancy                   Average Cost: $3-80 Per Square Foot

Adding a fence to your home can be as inexpensive, costly, plain, or beautiful as you choose it to be. Obviously mixing more ornate designs is going to cost you more than just a fence alone—like adding beautiful, stone walls alongside steel gates. These factors vary, so it is best that you discuss your options with a reputable contractor. So whether you decide to go with aluminum, brick, metal, vinyl, or wood for your home fence is entirely up to you. Make sure your new fence ascents your home, and all of your neighbors will surely compliment you on the new upgrade!

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Why Use a Real Estate Attorney?

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A real estate attorney is helpful for a lot of reasons. If you are uncertain about the home buying process, you can talk to an attorney to help you. An attorney will help you understand the paperwork and payments involved in buying a home in a practical way that even your agent may not be able to. If you’re unsure if you will need an attorney to help you, here’s information on real estate attorneys and what they do.

Real Estate Attorney

What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do?

A real estate attorney is an optional attorney, hired by you (the homebuyer) to provide legal opinion and professional advice on your closing documents. If you have bought a home before, you may feel comfortable in not using a lawyer to finalize the process with you. However, if you have never bought a home before, you may want to utilize the knowledge and understanding a lawyer has when it comes to buying your first home.

Attorneys often work with commercial buyers and sellers. Since these purchases are so large and require lots of attention to detail and laws to be followed, lawyers are necessary for these types of sales.

Real Estate Attorney

Why Use an Attorney?

You should use a real estate attorney if you have never bought a home before. It is helpful to use an attorney to guide you through understanding the closing documents. If you do not want to sign anything you don’t understand, a lawyer will explain what exactly the closing documents say in laymen’s terms. Attorneys are great because not only will the help you understand the documents, but they will know where to look to find any potential problems in the documents.

Who Needs a Real Estate Attorney?

A real estate attorney is not a mandatory service needed to buy a home. You can hire an attorney if you are buying a home, and you want the safe feeling of having a professional look over your closing documents with you to make sure everything is in order so you get exactly what you’re paying for.

Even if you’ve read and understood lots of legal documents in the past, you might still want to hire a lawyer to help you with the closing process. Commercial real estate purchases often require a real estate attorney on both sides to ensure the buyer and seller are both getting what they want from the purchase.

Junk Fees

Junk fees are fees that you do not have to pay, or fees that can be reduced, that come with the closing costs. A Good Faith Estimate will be given to you by the agent to show you all of the costs that come with buying a home and fees from their brokerage. With this estimate, you will find many fees that are unnecessary or overpriced. With a real estate attorney, you can have them look over the estimate, and they will get you the lowest price possible to pay for any fees and also get rid of any junk fees that are completely unnecessary.

What Can Happen Without an Attorney?

Lots of things can happen without a real estate attorney. You will not have anyone to look over the closing documents with you to ensure your best interests are being held to the highest standard and not just what the seller wants. Legal issues can also ensue without an attorney. You can be sued by the opposing party if you fail to disclose any information or problems about the property. Filing state or county level documents improperly can result in time wasted and more monetary complications. These fees and complications can all be avoided by hiring a real estate attorney in the first place.

How to Find a Real Estate Attorney

There are lots of companies that you can use to set you up with a real estate attorney. Real estate attorneys can be found online and hired for a reasonable price depending on how much and how long you need their services for. They are here to help you and all of your legal home-buying needs.

Real Estate Attorney

So do yourself a favor, hire an attorney if you need one. If you do, you will see how much they can help you with buying your next home.

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Which Loan is Right for Your Home? [Infographic]

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Here are the most popular mortgage options in the United States. See basic qualification information and down payments for these home loan options to see which is best suited for you and your next home.

Home-Loan-Options

Conventional

This is the most common mortgage option and usually has the best interest rates.

Down Payment: 10% minimum, 20% standard

Best For: repeat buyers

FHA

Makes ownership more affordable with less down and easier credit requirements.

Down Payment: 3.5% minimum, 20% standard

Best For: first-time buyers

VA

Takes away the need for a down payment without the risk of PMI. Only available to veterans.

Down Payment: no down payment

Best For: military veterans

USDA

This mortgage option was developed to promote the purchase of rural land.

Down Payment:  no down payment

Best For: investors; anyone interested in living in a rural atmosphere

ARM

These rates start out lower than any other option, but fluctuate with the market (and usually not for the better).

Down Payment: 10% minimum, 20% standard

Best For: anyone interested

Source: Fearless Home Buyer

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Why You Should Keep Your Home Phone

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With cell phones always in our pockets or purses, who needs a home phone anymore? Is there any good reason to have a landline in this day and age? Does such an out-dated piece of technology still have any uses? In short, yes it does.

Home Phone

There are lots of uses for a home phone. No, they are not like smartphones, but they have plenty of practical uses. Obviously you can call people on your home phone; that’s what a phone was invented to do.

Home Phone Benefits to Homeowners:

You need a landline for many burglar alarm systems to have a way to notify the police or fire department.

If you have a corded home phone, it will still work during a power outage thanks to the power company. However, a cordless home phone will not.

If you have small children, you can teach them to use the speed dial buttons on your home phone in case of emergencies.

Home Phone

You can screen your calls with a home phone. This is useful if a number is calling you that you do not recognize with emergency information about a friend or family member.

Miscellaneous Home Phone Benefits

Most television and internet companies need you to have a landline to set up their services.

Home phones tend to have much better reception than cell phones. Also, if a home phone breaks, it is much cheaper to replace than a cell phone.

Home Phone

 

If you lose or misplace your cell phone, you will have a home phone as back up until you can find or replace your cell phone.

Many phone companies offer inexpensive services for international calls. This is great if you have family in another country.

Even things like applying for a home loan, buying a car, or getting a bank account are a lot easier and quicker for the companies to verify your address and information with a home phone.

Emergency Calls

Home phones are best for in-home emergencies. If you call 911 from a cell phone, they will have to ask what address you’re at or where you are even if you’re at home. This takes valuable time, and if the emergency causes you duress, you may not have time to recite off your address. If you have a home phone, the 911 operator already knows where you are calling because your address is already linked to your landline. This saves lots of time in the event of an emergency. For whatever reason, if you do cannot say anything over the phone, the 911 operator will still send someone to your residence to help you because your home address is linked to your home phone number.

Home Phone

So if you’ve been considering getting rid of your home phone because everyone in your household already has a cell phone, you may want to think twice. Consider keeping your home phone because you never know when you might need it.

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