By Robert Whitfield
The Real Estate Newsletter For Home Buyers
Possible Snafus Can Help When You Relocate
Tax Rate Comparisons
Pre Qualification vs Lending
Professional Buyers Broker
New Construction Expert
ICC Building Inspector
Advantage Home Buyer Representatives, Inc.
Welcome to my newsletter expressly for home buyers, featuring useful (and often little known) information important to buyers.
Possible Snafus Can Help
When You Relocate
Relocation is rarely easy or trouble free. But many problems are predictable. That's good news for transferees who have relocated two or more times, but not so good for the uninitiated who relocate only once - 52% of all relocatees.
Being prepared can help you make better decisions and ease the transition. Here are some of the snafus you can expect to encounter when you move to take a new job:
1. Your children resent the move. Many people wait until the summer to move so their children can finish the school year. This can be a mistake, says Richard Otto, sales manager at the Impact Group, a career transitions service provider in St. Louis. Children generally are happier if they can start immediately in school, where it's easier to meet friends, even if it means picking up mid-year. Otherwise, they could spend the summer months isolated in their new home, moping and resenting the move.
"Teenagers are not real enthralled about moving. It's not so hard on younger ones," adds Mr. Otto. Teenagers' budding social lives are just beginning to become all-important, he explains. Expect to suffer heavy damages on your phone bills, he warns.
Getting the kids involved in the move will also help smooth the adjustment, says Mr. Otto. Explain why you're making the change, why it's important and what it will mean. Let the children help plan some aspects of the move and make them feel part of the process early on.
2. Your spouse can't find work. As more women build careers and more households depend on two incomes, many relocating couples struggle with this issue. Additionally, more men are finding themselves in the position of being the trailing spouse as their wives pursue high-powered jobs that require them to relocate.
Some companies offer career counseling and job placement for the trailing spouse, says Dennis Ransdell, vice president of corporate relations at ReloAction, a Pleasanton, Calif., relocation management company. However, few have policies in place across the board. If you want assistance, you may want to negotiate a package before accepting an offer, he adds.
The need for such support can vary according to where you live and what kind of position you're taking, says Mr. Ransdell. Employers in the Midwest are less likely to offer help as fewer couples there depend on two incomes. A second paycheck also can be less important to senior-level executives who are more likely to earn higher incomes, he says.
3. You get slammed by hidden costs. Again, this problem is less likely to be a concern to senior managers at large companies, who typically can expect to have all their expenses paid when they move. But less-senior professionals should manage expenses carefully. Review your company's relocation policies to make sure you know what will and won't be covered.
Employees should keep in mind most packages are intended as an assistance program, says Pat O'Connor, director of outsourcing programs at Burnet Relocation, a Minneapolis relocation management firm. "Don't expect to be reimbursed for every dime," she says. If you receive a lump-sum payment package, wait before you rush out and buy a new computer with the cash. Contrary to what many expect, employees rarely make money or break even on such deals.
Further, many moving van lines have complicated fee structures and few transferees understand all the charges on their invoice, says Brian Fudenberg, vice president of sales and marketing at Burnet. You could run up additional expenses for services you thought would be part of the standard package, such as assembling beds, bringing boxes down from the attic, using special crates for fragile possessions, disconnecting gas and electric appliances or even shuttling your possessions to a trailer farther than 75 feet from your front door.
Additionally, timing is critical, Mr. Fudenberg. If things go wrong with your closing or some other aspect of your move that requires you to put your possessions in storage, be prepared for sticker shock. The first day of storage can be expensive and the total cost could make up 20% to 30% of your overall van-line bill, he says.
4. You don't like the new community. Often transferees move into a new area without knowing enough about it and discover later -- whether because of the schools, housing, commute or culture -- it's not right for them. To ensure a good match, employees should gather as much of the usual info on the area as they can, and if possible visit a few times and do some casual exploring to get a feel for the area. An Exclusive Buyers Agent, (EBA) especially one who serves a large geographic area, can be an excellent source of unbiased information on communities. Because EBA's don�t list properties, they have no agenda to try to steer a buyer to, or promote any particular development or community.
5. You're shocked by the cost of living. This issue catches some transferees by surprise, especially employees moving from the Midwest to either coast. You can buy a lot more house for $250,000 in the Midwest than you can in, for example, the San Francisco Bay Area. Many companies will offer cost of living adjustments or mortgage financing to ease the financial pain. But most transferees want to replicate their lives and housing situation as quickly and as easily as possible, says Mr. Otto. When they discover they can't, "they view whatever happens to them as a negative."
For instance, an executive earning $70,000 who moves to New York City from Bloomington, Ind., would need to earn $159,456 to maintain his previous standard of living. But a move from New York to Bloomington would require only a $30,729 salary to stay even.
Compare the impact of different local property tax rates on an example $325,000 home. The appropriate homestead exemption deductions were factored in for each of these desirable North Atlanta communities.
E Cobb / Vinings $291.40 Mo.
North Fulton $372.31 Mo.
Alpharetta $408.06 Mo.
Roswell $389.66 Mo.
New Home vs Existing
This is a question many people consider and while there are advantages to both, it usually comes down to a matter of personal preference and which has the better location.
First lets look at some advantages of new homes:
Now lets look at some advantages of existing homes:
Pre Qualified vs. Lending Commitment
Pre qualification is nothing more than an informal non-committal estimate of loan potential, based on usually unsubstantiated and incomplete information a buyer conveys to a loan officer, usually over the phone.
When it comes to buying a home, I advise all purchasers to get qualified and have a "lending commitment" letter in hand as soon as possible, preferably before you even make an offer on a home. Better Buyer Agents will advise all buyers to obtain this letter because they are in a stronger bargaining position when making offers.
This letter is a formal commitment from a lender to lend a stated amount of money based on your credit report and the information and records you must provide to the loan officer. This lending commitment is worded such that it will be honored as long as everything stays the same, i.e. you don't lose your job, or incur more debt for example. This document can be the deciding factor in a buyers favor in situations where an offer is made on a property and another offer comes in, or is already in, but the other buyers are not approved for a loan yet.
Some listing agents who are really looking out for the best interests of their seller will place a clause in the contract giving the buyer a time limit to get written underwriter approval of their loan. This window can vary but is usually 10 to 14 days, and if the written approval is not obtained by the deadline, the contract is void, and some selling agents even stipulate that part or all of the buyers earnest money be given to their seller if the contract becomes void. This action is taken to protect the seller and minimize the time the home is pulled off the market and the risk of losing other able buyers, in case the purchaser can't go through with the deal.
Having a loan commitment letter avoids these seller concerns altogether, and puts buyers in a much stronger bargaining posi
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Robert Whitfield...Atlanta's Most Qualified Home Buying Expert!
Advantage Home Buyer Representatives, Inc. Local: 678-585-9691
Specializing in Prime In Town and Greater North Atlanta Properties
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