Monday, November 22, 2010

First Time Homebuyer’s Real Estate Word for Today is Encroachment


In a recent episode of the Emmy award winning television show, Cash Cab, several people with stumped by the acronym, FSBO. This is a term often used in the real estate world to describe a person selling their home by owner (For Sale By Owner). As a REALTOR® I was a bit surprised but then I started to remember of all the times a glazed look came over a buyer’s eyes when I talked about escrow or earnest money. These can easily be confused with other real estate and mortgage terms like down payment or cash to close. It is totally understandable because homebuyers do not buy houses everyday.

There are so many terms that could possibly confuse a First Time Homebuyer that I thought a glossary of real estate terms might be helpful. So over the next few weeks I am going to have a series of posts for the first time homebuyer with explanations of the most often used (and sometimes confusing) real estate terms. This way you can skip buying that big “how to buy a house” book or attending that
First Time Homebuyer Class and have a quick resource at your fingertips. Today’s Real Estate Term is:
EncroachmentAn encroachment is when something owned or constructed by a neighbor extends beyond the property line and onto another land owner’s property. Examples of common encroachments are fences, paths and branches of overgrown trees. Known encroachments must be disclosed by the seller on the Minnesota Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement (unless the buyer agrees in writing to an alternative inspection report or no disclosure).

Sometimes there is a reason for an encroachment. Trees often grow and will encroach into a neighbor’s yard. This usually isn’t a problem unless a branch was to break and cause damage in the neighboring yard.

There are times when a homeowner may not be aware of the encroachment because at the time of the construction the builder “guessed” at the property line or the survey was incorrect. It is common for an encroachment to be discovered when a new survey has been completed. A conflict can arise when it is discovered that a fence or shed has been constructed “on” or “near” what was thought to be the property line, but is actually over the line and encroaching on the neighbor’s property. The structure owner can then be required to move or remove the structure which can be very costly. Most communities will require a permit before construction and a setback to avoid these situations.



Copyright 2010 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First Time Homebuyer’s Real Estate Word for Today is Title Insurance


In a recent episode of the Emmy award winning television show, Cash Cab, several people with stumped by the acronym, FSBO. This is a term often used in the real estate world to describe a person selling their home by owner (For Sale By Owner). As a REALTOR® I was a bit surprised but then I started to remember of all the times a glazed look came over a buyer’s eyes when I talked about escrow or earnest money. These can easily be confused with other real estate and mortgage terms like down payment or cash to close. It is totally understandable because homebuyers do not buy houses everyday.

There are so many terms that could possibly confuse a First Time Homebuyer that I thought a glossary of real estate terms might be helpful. So over the next few weeks I am going to have a series of posts for the first time homebuyer with explanations of the most often used (and sometimes confusing) real estate terms. This way you can skip buying that big “how to buy a house” book or attending that
First Time Homebuyer Class and have a quick resource at your fingertips. Today’s Real Estate Term is:


Title Insurance A policy of insurance to protect against losses arising from defects or problems with the title to the property. The premium (fee) is paid at the closing and is a one time charge. Title problems can range from an encroachment of a neighbor’s fence on the wrong side of a property line to an old mortgage that was not paid prior to the sale of the home.

On any home purchase there can be two different types of title insurance; one protecting the lender and one protecting the homeowner. If a homebuyer is taking out a mortgage to purchase the property, the lender will require the home buyer to purchase mortgage insurance to protect the lender’s equity in the property. A home buyer will be asked if they would like to purchase optional coverage to cover their own equity in their new home.

Some first time homebuyers mistakenly think that optional translates to unnecessary. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A homebuyer cannot be forced to purchase an owner's policy. But consider this, if the lender stipulates that you must buy to protect their interests, why wouldn’t you want to protect your own?




Copyright 2010 terieckholm.com

Monday, November 8, 2010

A New Home for Tuffy—How an Older Dog Transitions to a Townhome


When I was contacted a few months ago by senior clients, Ang and Donna, about downsizing from their family home on a half acre lot in Anoka County to a townhome, I knew it would mean bring lots of changes. Downsizing can relieve a lot of stress for a senior couple. No more mowing or raking the huge lawn. No more snow blowing the driveway or shoveling off the steps. Sure there would be less space to store all the treasure and mementos of life…but then less to dust too.

Yes, downsizing was a good option for this couple, but finding a new home for Tuffy was paramount. Tuffy was their little gray wire-haired, terrier-type dog who had the run of the place, if you know what I mean. Every townhome we looked at had to allow dogs in the association by-laws. Since Tuffy was not a large sized canine, breed restrictions were not going to be an issue. But this little guy was a pretty spoiled dog who darted out the door and ran right up to me on every visit barking and jumping. He was a good dog, as he didn’t leave his half acre, but now Tuffy wasn’t going to be able to leave his patio.
Running up and barking at neighbors is a big no-no in a condo association.
My clients found their perfect new home in quick order and, better yet, their beautiful Anoka County home sold in just three weeks. Huge changes were going to take place in a matter of weeks, not the months they had anticipated.

It didn’t take long to get the association documents into my clients' hands. Included was a list of rules that Tuffy must obey in order to be a good townhome canine. His owners had to submit a mug shot of his cute black and gray face, so the association could tell which pets belong in the area and which did not. He was going to have to be on a leash or tie-out at all times. And he would have to have copies of his license and documentation that his shots were up to date on file.

Now that leash thing was going to be a problem. Tuffy, like his owners, fell into the senior citizen category. It was time to teach an old dog some new tricks…or remind him who was boss of the family (and it was no longer Tuffy) so that he could make a good impression on all his new neighbors. Fortunately, Tuffy had been trained previously and though his manners were a bit rusty, Ang and Donna started working with him several weeks before the move. Tuffy had to start wearing his training collar at all times but they didn’t use it often. A reward system of treats helped the little dog remember all his new rules.

Tuffy, along with Ang and Donna, are now happy in their new home. It was a bit of a transition but made much easier since Tuffy’s owners chose to start preparing their spoiled little dog early for the new rules. This made the move as stress-free as possible for both dog and owners. Finding and unpacking all of Tuffy’s little dog toys should be the only worry now!
OldDogPaws offers 7 helpful tips to ease your senior dog’s stress and help him make a smooth, stress-free transition to the condo-lifestyle


1. Start Training EarlyDon’t think of this as a way to punish Fido. A training collar is all about keeping your older pet safe in his new environment. Pull out that training collar and let him know that you mean business. He has to relearn to walk on a leash and not bark at everything and everyone.2. Practice, Practice, PracticeAt least a month before the move, start your daily walk with the leash being attached before exiting the house. Make sure Fido knows that darting out the door will no longer be tolerated.

3. Tied out Trials
Every time you sit on the deck or patio, first hook up Fido to his tie-out so he can get used to being tied-up. Many people don’t use these in fenced yards but most condo associations will have this restriction.

4. Reward Good Behavior
As Fido learns the rules, the training collar can come off and the treats or reward system can begin.
5. Keep License Up-to-Date
Most associations will require all pets to have to have all shots and local licensing up to date and of file.
6. Snap a Good PhotoNot quite a mug shot, but many associations will want a photo of all pets on file so they know which pet belongs to which association member.
7. Find Area Dog Parks
Research your new neighborhood to see if there is a leash-free dog park in the area where Fido can have a quick and safe run once in awhile to burn off all that pent up stress from being good in his new surroundings.

By taking the time to prepare Fido for the change to condo-living, your older dog will enjoy his new home and surroundings as much as you will.
Find more tips on taking care of your older dog at OldDogPaws.com

Copyright 2010 Teri Eckholm

Monday, November 1, 2010

Home for Sale During the Holidays? 7 Essential Tips for the Holiday Homeseller!

Summer is long over and with Halloween now come and gone it is time to pack up the pumpkins and fall decor too. Home sellers so excited this spring that this was THE year to downsize from their family home or upgrade to something larger are more concerned over the upcoming holidays than the extremely low interest rates that enticed them to list their home in the first place. Many are now wondering whether they should take a break from potential showings and just enjoy the upcoming holidays without concerns of whether the home is "showing perfect". So,what should a home seller do?

At first inclination most sellers opt to withdraw their home from the market believing that the preoccupation with the holiday season puts few buyers in the market. While there is a bit of truth to this belief, sellers can be ignoring another more important truth: Buyers who look for houses during the holidays are VERY serious buyers. Savvy buyers know that the extremely low interest rates will not be around forever.
And, there are not many tire-kickers running around with a REALTOR® when there are presents to buy and gifts to wrap. November, December and January showings are a traditional homeseller’s opportunity as many homes that buyers visit at this time of the year are vacant. A buyer’s choices are down to model homes, empty relocation properties and foreclosures. A welcome home filled with the colorful sights, delightful sounds, wonderful aromas of the season give a unique opportunity for those wanting to sell. Picture how inviting a warm home with a crackling fire in the hearth and a tree full of twinkling lights will appear to a homebuyer after seeing house after house that is cold, dark and vacant. It will feel like an oasis! Sellers serious about selling, will keep their homes on the market!
Tips for Showing & Selling During the Holidays
  1. Decorate! Tastefully of course. This might not be the year that you do the Griswold display of lights as in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but a decorated tree, candles and wreaths can add a special touch.
  2. Bake and leave out Christmas Cookies. Why should Santa have all of the extra calories?
  3. Make sure the fireplace is burning bright, warm and welcoming!
  4. Play holiday music. Forget the classic kiddie favorites like Jingle Bells and Rudolph. Go for instrumentals or uniquely Minnesota regional artists like The Blenders.
  5. Shovel and salt the driveway. No one wants to spend the holidays in the emergency room with a twisted ankle or broken hip.
  6. Turn the heat up for showings…Show them how well the furnace works. It is such a treat after visiting vacant foreclosed homes!
  7. Leave the front light on! Don’t forget it is dark out during those early evening showings. Make certain buyers and their agents are able to see their way to your front door and lockbox.

Copyright 2010 Teri Eckholm