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Information for Buyers and Sellers

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Before you decide you may be thinking about these questions:

 

1. Aren't all real estate companies and Realtors® basically the same?

No. Each company and each Realtor® are different. We all possess different talents and strengths. Personal "chemistry" counts, but remember, selling your house is an important business decision. You should weigh all aspects carefully before choosing to work with one company or Realtor® over another.


2. Won't a small company give me more attention? Aren't big companies impersonal?

Not necessarily. No small company can match the resources of Coldwell Banker, the #1 real estate company in Los Angeles, in California and in the U.S.  Your key to these~resources is of Richard Stanley and his team of service professionals, who will give you thorough personal service.


3. Won't a Westside real estate company or office bring me the well-heeled Westside buyers who will pay me top dollar for my house?

National Association of Realtors® statistics show that the buyer of your house most likely already lives within a few miles of your house. Most people from the Westside are not actively looking for houses across town. Why list your house for sale with a company or Realtor® that is essentially "out of area" and out of touch with your neighborhood? Doesn't it make sense to list your house with the most successful agent who is part of our community and is affiliated with the most successful real estate company and office in our neighborhood?


4. Don't I need a "pushy" Realtor® to get me top dollar?

No. Remember, "pushy" pushes both ways. Do you really want to work with an abrasive person for the next six months? Richard Stanley believes that tact, courtesy and respect for all parties are the keys to successful sales. Obnoxious, rude behavior is not aggressive marketing and can kill incipient deals. Clearly, a Realtor® with these flaws is not working in your interest.


5. Won't a friend or relative look out for me best?

Not necessarily. Friends or relatives who are Realtors® must still possess the requisite skills needed to conclude a transaction successfully. Examine each prospective Realtor's® credentials carefully to determine whether or not relying on friendship or personal relationships makes good business sense.


6. All I need is an expert who understands my house. Right?

Wrong. Particular expertise alone is not enough to make up for shortcomings in other areas. A good Realtor® is a well-rounded Realtor®. Today, more than ever before, many skills are demanded of Realtors®. Richard Stanley possesses complementary talents unmatched in our market area.


7. Isn't one Coldwell Banker Realtor® as good as another?

No. Each Realtor® who works with Coldwell Banker is unique–this fact is one of the great secrets to the remarkable success of this more than 100-year-old company. You should consider the track record, reputation, talents and personal chemistry of the Realtor® you select. Remember that the location of the office to your house is vitally important, as your needs will best be served by the Realtor® who is in constant daily touch with the broker community which will most likely produce the buyer for your house.


8. Won't the best Realtor® get me the price I need?

No. Each Realtor® who works with Coldwell Banker is unique–this fact is one of the great secrets to the remarkable success of this 100-year-old company. You should consider the track record, reputation, talents and personal chemistry of the Realtor® you select. Remember that the location of the office to your house is vitally important, as your needs will best be served by the Realtor® who is in constant daily touch with the broker community which will most likely produce the buyer for your house.

 

Getting Started as a Buyer


Get Pre-Approved
, not just Pre-Qualified

Pre-Qualified means that you have talked to a lender or a mortgage broker who has, based on information you told them, calculated what your home budget should be. This qualification is subject to verification of the information you gave the representative and the appraisal of the actual home you will purchase. Pre-Approval means that a lender has actually verified your financial information and approved you as a borrower for a specified amount. All you need to do is to purchase a home that will appraise at the price you and the seller agreed upon.

Getting pre-approved is important for two reasons. First, as your Realtor® I will need to know which properties fall within your financial means. I want to show you the best value possible in your price range. Second, when you write an offer on a property you will want to attach the pre-approval letter to your offer so that the seller is favorably impressed by your financial credentials. No seller wants to take their property off the market and waste time with an unqualified buyer.

Call me, and I can refer you to a reliable broker or lender representative. There is no cost for a pre-approval, and the process is easy.


Let's get together!

I like to get to know our clients; in particular their individual needs and wants. That way, I can tailor our search for your future home to your unique requests and budget. Plan on spending about a half-hour with me at my office. I'll ask you some easy, open-ended questions such as, "How would you describe your dream house?" It's a fun way to get to know each other.

Of course, having that letter of pre-approval is a big help. Without it I won't have a clear idea of your budget.


Let's look at some homes!

Once I know your taste in homes and your budget I can arrange to tour some homes. I usually book about four to six homes on a tour; or about what I can see in two hours or so. I've found that more than that often overloads buyers with too much information too soon ("Was the blue master bath in the yellow house or in the white house with green shutters?”).

Sometimes on the very first outing you'll find THE house. After all, I'll try to show you your "best bets"right away. If not, I'll keep on going with another round until you've seen the entire possible inventory. If the inventory is low, you may need to be patient. I'll watch for new listings that might match your criteria and call you right away so that you can get the jump on competitive buyers.


"What should I offer?”

Once you find THE house, I'll guide you through the offer process. Writing an offer takes about a half-hour. I'll explain the "boiler plate"and how to form the terms of your offer. I'll also review the recent sales that are comparable to "your"house and advise you regarding various strategies you may want to consider. Every client and every house are different—and so are offers. Here is where my years of experience will pay off for you.


Presenting your offer

After I write your offer, I will arrange to meet the seller and their agent and to present your offer. I prefer personal presentations whenever possible. I do this so that the seller has an opportunity to hear about your qualifications and to ask questions on a face-to-face.

Usually the seller and their agent will write a counter offer, which I will then present to you for your response. The offer/counter offer "back and forth"can go on indefinitely, but usually one or two counter offers will resolve differences.


What happens when the seller accepts my offer?

After you and the seller reach an agreement, I "open escrow”. The count down to the close of escrow when title is transferred to your name. There is much activity during this period, all of which I, as your agents, will guide you through. You never have to "wing it”, so don't worry.


How much will this cost me?

Other than your downpayment and loan costs, you should plan on paying for whatever property inspections (physical, geological, sewer and the like) you choose, half the escrow fee, the lender-required title policy and certain other miscellaneous fees. All told, these non-loan fees tend to add up to about one percent of the sale price. The seller pays the sales commission.

 

Getting Started as a Seller

Call me first. I will arrange an appointment at your convenience and without obligation to meet you and to see your home. Beforehand, I will research your home's general information and put our findings in a written binder of information for you to keep.

I will outline my unique package of marketing tools and show you how these techniques translate directly to higher sale prices in a shorter amount of time with less hassle for you.

I will show you how your home compares to other homes currently on the market, in escrow or which have sold recently. I can usually discuss specifics of other homes because I probably have seen them firsthand on brokers open houses. My goal is to provide you with all the background information you will need to "get up to speed" with the current real estate market.

I will discuss with you my opinion of the value of your home in today's market based upon the information I have researched and upon my expertise regarding the market experience of sellers of comparable homes to yours.

I can suggest ways you might enhance the marketability of your home.

I will discuss the costs involved in selling your home.

I will be ready to put the advantage of my marketing know-how and tools to work for you immediately!

 

Glossary of Real Estate Terms

 

This Glossary has been prepared to assist you in understanding terms commonly used in real estate transactions. The definitions provided are general in nature, and some terms may have meanings that are different than or in addition to the meanings provided, depending on the context in which the word is used. All questions concerning the meaning of specific words in specific situations should be referred to an appropriate professional, such as an attorney, lender, escrow officer or title insurance officer.

ACCELERATION CLAUSE: A clause in a note, trust deed or mortgage advancing the date of maturity of the debt upon the happening of a certain event, such as a sale or transfer of title to property.

ADJUSTABLE RATE MORTGAGE (ARM): A mortgage with an interest rate that is periodically adjusted up or down, depending on a specific index.

AGENCY: A relationship between two or more persons whereby one is authorized to act for an other.

AMORTIZATION: Payment of principal and interest at stated periods for a stated time until debt is paid off.

ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (APR): The finance charges for a loan, including points and other loan fees, that are in addition to interest on the loan.

APPURTENANCE: Anything incidental to or be longing to land and considered a part of the real property.

ASSESSED VALUE : The value of property for taxation purposes.

ASSUMPTION OF A MORTGAGE (OR DEED OF TRUST) : An agreement in which the buyer accepts liability for payment of a seller's existing promissory note secured by a mortgage or deed of trust.

BALLOON PAYMENT: A final installment payment larger than preceding installment payments on a promissory note.

BENEFICIARY: One for whose benefit a trust is created, such as a lender whose loan is secured by a deed of trust.

BENEFICIARY'S DEMAND: The payment required by a beneficiary under a deed of trust before authorizing a re conveyance, the removal of the lien on title to property created by a deed of trust.

BENEFICIARY STATEMENT: The statement of a beneficiary under a deed of trust stating the principal balance due on a promissory note and other information concerning the loan.

BINDER: A memorandum of agreement to issue insurance giving temporary coverage until a formal policy is issued.

CHAIN OF TITLE: A chronological list of documents comprising the record history of title to a specific parcel of real property.

COMMITMENT: A pledge, promise, or firm agreement, such as a title insurer's contractual obligation to insure title to real property.

CONTRACT OF SALE: An agreement entered into for the sale and purchase of real property.

CONVEY: TO transfer title to property from one to another.

DEDICATION: The donation of land for public use by its owner.

DEED: A written document transferring owner ship of land from one to another.

DEED OF TRUST: A three party security document conveying title to land, secured by the performance of an obligation, such as the repaying of a loan. It is also called a trust deed.

DEFAULT: Omission or failure to fulfill a duty or promise, discharge an obligation or perform an agreement.

DOCUMENTARY TRANSFER TAX: A tax on re corded transfers of title to real property.

DOWN PAYMENT: The amount or percentage of the purchase price paid by the buyer in cash, not borrowed from the lender.

DUE ON SALE CLAUSE: A clause in a promissory note or deed of trust calling for automatic maturity and payoff of the loan in the event of a sale or transfer of title to real property.

EARNEST MONEY: Something given as a part of the purchase price to bind a bargain, such as a deposit.

EASEMENT: A limited right or interest in the land of another entitling the easement holder to some use, privilege or benefit.

ENCROACHMENT: The extension of an improvement onto the land of another.

EQUITY: The value of the property actually owned by the property owner, often calculated by adding together the purchase price, appreciation and value of improvements and then subtracting the amount of all mortgages and liens on the property.

ESCROW: A transaction in which an impartial third party acts as an agent for both the seller and buyer, or both the borrower and lender, in carrying out instructions, delivering papers and documents and disbursing funds.

FEE SIMPLE: Absolute ownership of real property.

FIXTURE: Personal property that is considered a part of the real property because it has been affixed in a manner that to remove it would cause damage to the property.

FORECLOSURE SALE: The sale of real property given to secure performance of an obligation after the obligation has been breached.

GRANT DEED: A written instrument transferring title to real property.

GRANTEE: The person/entity acquiring title to real property by a deed.

GRANTOR: The person/entity transferring title to real property by a deed.

INTEREST: The cost of borrowing money, usually expressed as a percentage over time.

LIEN: A charge on real property in order to secure payment or satisfaction of a debt or other obligation.

LEGAL Description: A description of real property sufficient to locate it on the ground by reference to surveys or approved recorded maps.

LIS PENDENS: A recorded notice of a pending lawsuit.

MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE (MLS) : A service providing member real estate licensees and/or the public with information about properties listed for sale or lease.

NOTICE OF DEFAULT: A recorded notice of a borrower's failure to perform the obligations in a deed of trust.

ORDINANCE: A legislative enactment of a city or county.

PARTY WALL: A wall located on a boundary line of real property and used by the owners of the property on each side.

PITI: The amount of principal, interest, taxes and insurance that are the bases for monthly mortgage payments.

POINT: One percent of the loan principal, charged in part or in multiples to obtain a loan, in addition to interest and other fees.

PRE-PAYMENT CLAUSE: A charge imposed by a lender for payment of a debt before its due date.

PRINCIPAL : A party to a contract; also, the amount of money borrowed upon which interest is charged.

PROMISSORY NOTE: A written promise, signed by the borrower, to repay a loan.

PRORATE: To divide or assess proportionately.

PUBLIC REPORT: A report issued by the California Department of Real Estate containing a wide variety of information of interest to a prospective buyer of subdivided property.

REAL PROPERTY: Immovable property such as land and improvements on it, such as buildings.

RECONVEYANCE: A document, executed when obligations in a deed of trust have been met, that removes the lien on title to property created by a deed of trust.

RECORDING: The act of filing documents in the office of the County Recorder. REQUEST FOR RECONVEYANCE: A written instruction by a beneficiary under a deed of trust acknowledging that the obligations in the deed of trust have been met, and directing that the lien on title to the property created by the deed of trust be removed.

RESCISSION: The act of canceling the effect of a document.

RIDER: A supplement, addition, or endorsement to a document.

STATUTE OF FRAUDS: A law requiring certain agreements to be in writing in order to be enforce able, including an agreement for the sale of real property.

STRAIGHT NOTE: A promissory note calling for payment of principal in one sum rather than in installments.

SUBDIVISION: The division of a tract of land into separate parcels.

TITLE: A document indicating ownership of a specific parcel of property.

TITLE INSURANCE OR TITLE POLICY: A contract indemnifying the policy holder against loss resulting from a defect in the title to the insured interest in real property.

TITLE SEARCH: The steps required to complete the chain of title to a parcel of real property.

TRUSTEE: The fiduciary designated to hold title to real property for the benefit of another.

USURY: The exaction of a greater payment or return for a loan of money than is permitted by law.