Twitter Lists and #RealEstate

Attention spans are short. We have limited time to browse online.

The days of turning the pages of a newspaper are over. We don’t have to wait for the Sunday Globe to see what open houses are this weekend in our targeted communities.

Today, we can scroll through a custom twitter feed or RSS feed on an iPad or iPhone and view hundreds of headlines from across the globe in minutes. The organizational tool Twitter offers its users are Lists. Here is a snapshot of our national real estate list.

Lists allow you to view a stream of information and headlines without distractions. If you are already searching for real estate on Twitter, why not follow our Real Estate, Real Problems lists?

We’ve been strategically assembling lists of active twitter accounts for various local real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and attorneys. We are also working on a national list of real estate agents. We will also work to create lists of ancillary services related to first-time homebuyer needs (movers, inspectors, independent appraisers, etc.). These lists will continually evolve and grow over time. We want you (the reader) to subscribe and use them as tools in your real estate search.

I would encourage other twitter users to create your own lists to enhance your experience with twitter.

Don’t forget to click on the hyperlinks above in blue to subscribe to our twitter lists!

Jack O’Donohue is a Real Estate Attorney at Dalton & Finegold, LLP
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Pre-Paying Homeowners Insurance

First-time homebuyers are often confused about homeowners insurance and the initial expense involved.

Mortgage lenders require that the first years premium is paid in full. If you chose to escrow the annual insurance premium, expect to pre-pay an additional 2-3 months up-front to fund your escrow account.

Some of this extra money is referred to as a “cushion”. The concept also applies to property taxes. This money covers unanticpated expenses such as an increased policy premium or higher property taxes. So when you close on your house in mid-October with the first payment to the bank due December 1st, there will be enough money available next fall to pay the annual premium when it comes due.

Be on the lookout at your closing for an initial escrow disclosure statement. This will account for all monies in the escrow account.

P.S. “Homeowners Insurance” is also known as “Hazard Insurance”. This name trickery often confuses people…It’s not a different insurance. The two are one in the same.

Jack O’Donohue, Real Estate Attorney at Dalton & Finegold, LLP
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Buying A Foreclosure? Order the Title Exam Before You Sign

Buying a foreclosed property can be an excellent investment in today’s economic climate.  Roughly 3% of all real property for sale in Massachusetts is bank owned, down from approximately 8% in October of 2010.  There is still plenty of inventory to chose from.

The sellers obligation is to convey the property to the buyer with good and clear record and marketable title. Many banks (and counsel) have been sloppy with the requisite paperwork these last few years.

In a typical situation, Buyers uncover title mistakes weeks or months after the purchase and sales agreement is signed by all parties. What a waste of time!

If you have located a bank-owned house that you want to buy, research the title to the property before you sign the purchase and sales agreement. Don’t be pennywise and pound foolish. Preliminarily review the land records and if you don’t have any experience reviewing a real estate title, hire an attorney to review the title for you.

The $200-$350 expense will be well worth it.

Mark J. Kiklis, REALTOR® at Kiklis Real Estate, LLC

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Why Buy Real Estate Now? Interesting Question

I’ve discussed mortgages with many prospective first-time homebuyers. Many don’t quite understand mortgage interest. They can’t comprehend why low interest rates are so great for them. There is nothing like a specific example to drive the point home…so here we go!

If you were in the market for a $400,000 home in the fall of 2008, interest rates for mortgage loans were offered at approximately 6.0%. If you had an $80,000 down payment and were looking to finance 80% of the purchase price ($320,000), your monthly debt obligation for a 30 year fixed rate loan was $1918.56.

Today, with interest rates at approximately 3.25% for purchase loans, the same prospective home buyer from the example above would only pay $1,392.66 per month for a 30 year fixed rate loan.

That is an interest savings of $525.90 per month and $189,324 over 30 years. Wow!

Jack O’Donohue, Real Estate Attorney at Dalton & Finegold, LLP
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#Howto Build A Real Estate Team

In any business, its important to have a great team. Buying real estate is no exception. You need to make sure from the outset that you are working with competent real estate professionals. Nobody is looking out for you, more than you!

There may be more than a dozen people involved with your deal! There are real estate agents, assistants, appraisers, loan officers, loan processors, underwriters, paralegals, and attorneys (to name a few). So who are the key players? What do you have to know about them? How do you decide who to work with?

1. Network: If you know people in the real estate business, talk to them and ask for referrals. We want to help you! Ask them for the names of 3 or 4 lawyers, agents, or loan officers. Ask everyone who they prefer to work with. Its always better for a transaction when the loan officer, real estate agent, and closing attorney have a history with one another. When you think you are done asking, keep asking! This is the critical point of the team building process.

2. Research: Take the names you have accumulated and “google” them. Check out their websites, online profiles, recommendations, ratings, reviews, sales histories, etc. I’m not recommending you fully investigate each person and park outside his/her house to see what time they get home at night, but take 10 minutes per person to research carefully and take notes.

3. Test: Send some emails or make some phone calls to people that you might want to work with. Real estate is a 24/7 business. Did the person promptly acknowledge your email? Did he/she call you back within a reasonable time? When you spoke with him/her did he/she sound professional and seem to have a handle on things…Ask the tough questions.If the sales person doesn’t respond to leads quickly, just imagine how long you will wait when you are a client and need some help with a complex situation!

4. Trust Your Judgment: At the end of the day, you are going to be the person working with the professional, not your contact who recommended him/her. Don’t let advertisements and ratings websites manipulate your instinct. The best real estate people are worth their weight in gold. The bad ones may leave you homeless…literally!

5. Make a Decision Already!!!!!: You’ve done the hard work. You have networked. You have researched. You have tested these people and now its time to pick a team of professionals to work with. You’ve made it to the finish line. Congratulations! Don’t hold up your deal.

Jack O’Donohue, Real Estate Attorney at Dalton & Finegold, LLP
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