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Home Closing 101

by Melissa Thompson


Congratulations!  You’ve found your dream home; the inspection has been completed and all your ducks are in a row.  Now your just one more step to get through before you are officially a homeowner.  The closing.  The name sounds ominous, but you don’t have to worry.  If you have everything in order, your home closing should go smoothly.  Here is what you should expect on your big day:

CHOOSE THE RIGHT DATE FOR YOUR CLOSING

When you are thinking about when to schedule your closing, there is a lot to think about. For example, you want to keep in mind that it might take longer than an hour, so don’t try to schedule it on a lunch break from work. Consider taking half a day off or even just a few hours at the end of the day so that you will have plenty of time and won’t feel rushed.  In addition, you will want to think about what time of month you want to close.  Many people want to close as close to the end of the month as possible to save on up-front cash because the later you close, the less interest is owed to the lender.  However, closing late in the month has its disadvantages too. Because so many people are doing it, everyone is rushed -  from escrow companies, to appraisers, to surveyors, to insurance agents and even lender. They are all pushing to get a lot of work done in a short period of time.  And when people are rushed, mistakes are made.  Also, the later in the month you close, the sooner your first full mortgage payment will be due. So, you will want to keep all that in mind when deciding on your closing date. Closing Early Has Its Advantages

DO A FINAL WALK-THROUGH

Buyers are usually allowed to do a final walk-through before closing.  This isn’t a Home Inspection. Your home inspection should already be complete by now.  But a final walk-through will allow you to be sure that the property is in good condition and that nothing has changed or been damaged since the last time you saw it.  The final walk-through is generally arranged by your Realtor to happen anywhere from one week to 24 hours prior to closing.  Check the property thoroughly and bring a checklist with you to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Buying a House? Here's Your Final Home Walk-Through Checklist

CLOSING DAY PARTICIPANTS

Not sure who will be present at your closing?  There may be several people there in addition to the home buyers:

  • The seller and their Realtor
  • A representative from the title company
  • Attorneys (yours and your lender’s, if you have one)
  • A closing agent who conducts the meeting
  • Sometimes your lender will be there, but not always

DOCUMENTS

There are lots of documents involved in the mortgage process, and sometimes they can be overwhelming.  The bulk of your closing will be reviewing and signing various documents.  You should bring any documents you have received throughout your home buying process, including proof of home owner’s insurance, a copy of your inspection reports and any other documents your lender requested during the approval process.  Also, be sure to bring a photo id and a cashier’s check or certified check for down payment and closing costs. 

You will also receive many documents the day of your closing. The seller will sign documents that transfer the property ownership to you.  You will also get documents that pertain to your mortgage agreement and property ownership. 

Real estate transfer documents include:

  • A deed, which transfers the property from seller to buyer
  • A bill of sale
  • Transfer tax declarations

Mortgage loan documents include:

  • A mortgage note, which is your promise to repay the lender
  • A mortgage agreement that puts the property as collateral in case you can’t repay your loan
  • A loan application to review for accuracy
  • A loan estimate and closing disclosure

It’s vital for you to have an understanding of your closing documents prior to your closing so that you will understand what you are reading and signing.  Review them ahead of time and you will be ready to go on closing day.

Once you have reviewed and signed all the necessary documents, you will receive your keys and officially be a home owner. That’s another reason to take time off work…because now it’s time to celebrate!!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: realtor.com

Home Inspection Checklist for Home Sellers

by Melissa Thompson


It’s very exciting when you accept an offer on your home and you are ready to sell. But that excitement can go away quickly if the buyer’s home inspection doesn’t go well.  Smart homebuyers will never make a purchase without having a property professionally inspected first, so you can pretty much count on that happening.  So, it’s important for you, as the seller, to be prepared for the home inspection.  By identifying potential problems beforehand, you can make the repairs needed to avoid unpleasant surprises during the inspection. Cheap Home Repairs That Can Save You Thousands

Use this checklist to help you prepare for the home inspection:

  1. Make sure that all lights are working and all switches are covered. The same goes for electrical outlets.  A general home inspection will include a visual review of the electrical system.  If the inspector finds that a light isn’t working, there is a likelihood he will recommend that a licensed contractor to check it out.
  2. Take care of routine maintenance.  Put new batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and be sure they are working properly. Also, put fresh air filters on your air conditioning units and furnaces.  If buyers see that small things aren’t being maintained, they will be worried that big things aren’t either. 
  3. Clean out areas around appliances so they can easily be inspected.  It will be difficult for the inspector if your laundry room is full of clothes or the dishwasher is full of dirty dishes.  If you have a gas fireplace, be sure the pilot light is lit so that the inspector can turn it on.  If the inspector is not able to do that, he may suggest to the buyer that you show them the fireplace works before the sale is complete.  That just adds one more thing for you to worry about.
  4. Check out the exterior of your home.  View your house the way you would if you were buying it again. Is there peeling paint or hanging gutters?  If so, you can fix these problems prior to inspection so that they are not issues for the buyers.
  5. Test windows and doors.  Inspectors are going to be looking for windows and doors that open and close easily.  If you have windows that are sticking, you can fix this with very little money. Simply purchase a silicone spray from a home improvement store.  Clean out the tracks of sliding doors and lubricate them as well, if needed.
  6. Paint over old water stains.  Even after you have fixed a leaking pipe or roof, water stains can be left behind.  And even after the inspector has assured them that there any current moisture issues, old stains will scare buyers off just as much as new stains will. 
  7. Look for mold.  Mold will scare a buyer away fast!  So be sure to check basements, attics, bathrooms and garages for any signs of mold.  If you find any, deal with it before the inspection…and before you lose your buyers.
  8. Declutter before inspection.  The inspector isn’t going to care how messy your house it or how it’s staged, but he will appreciate being able to easily access everything he needs to inspect.
  9. Don’t try to hide issues.  Honesty matters. If you find something prior to inspection that is going to need to be fixed, notify the prospective buyer.  You don’t want the buyer to think you are trying to hide something.  If you don’t have the money on hand to make necessary repairs, you may be able to negotiate by offering a credit at closing so the new owners can do the repairs themselves.

Find Out What Home Inspectors Look For

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

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Surprising Fire Hazards and How to Avoid Them

by Melissa Thompson

It is estimated by The National Fire Protection Association that over 47,000 home fires reported to fire departments are caused by some kind of electrical failure as a trigger to ignition.  But there are some other unusual ways that fires can start that we should all be aware of.

Dishwashers

While you may be aware that overheating dryers or ovens can cause fires, you might think dishwashers are safe because they have water. And water puts out fires…right? Wrong!  Dishwasher fires can be caused by liquids coming into contact with the machine’s wires.  Serious damage can occur when fires are ignited in dishwashers.  According to a 25-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department, any appliance that powers a motor, heating element, or both always has a higher risk for fire - and dishwashers are a common example.  He advises that they never be turned on when going to sleep or leaving the home.

Jars and other glass objects

Per survivalists, one of the best ways to start a fire is to use a piece of glass to refract sunlight onto dry wood.  Without proper care, that same scientific process can happen on your own kitchen table.  In 2015 a fire broke out in a southwest London home because of sun rays reflecting through an empty Nutella jar, the Associated Press reported.  While it may seem to be a freakish way for a fire to start, the fire brigade’s investigative unit confirmed that the glass jar was to blame.  The chances of this happening in your home are slim, but it is important to remember to never store flammable liquids like gasoline, cleaning fluids, paint thinners and even cooking oils in glass jars that you intend to leave out in the sunlight.  Metal cans for commercial-use flammable liquids and plastic containers for things such as cooking oils are safer options.

Rodents

Small rodents like squirrels and rats like to burrow into your attic insulation in cold weather and chew anything they can get their teeth on, including rubber covered electrical lines.  Unfortunately, if electrical wires become exposed dud to their protective insulation being compromised, there is a likelihood of igniting a flame.  The key to preventing this from happening is to keep the critters out to begin with.  Before winter season, make sure all vents are covered, holes are patched and cracks are sealed.

Laptops

If you have ever had your laptop computer in your, well, lap for an extended period of time, you know that they get hot.  Because of this, it is a bad idea to leave one sitting on a flammable surface such as bedding, furniture or carpet.  But the real culprit behind laptop fires is the lithium in the batteries.  A poorly made battery can overheat and burst into flames.  Last year the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones were recalled because they were catching on fire and it was the lithium batteries that were the problem.  Any device powered by lithium ion batteries should be shut off when not in use and stored away from any flammable items.

If you are in the market to purchase a home,  make sure you don't skip the home inspection so that you will know about any potential problems, including fire hazards, prior to making a commitment to buy.  Melissa Thompson and her team of professionals are ready to help you find your perfect home. Give them a call at 901-756-8900 today!

Photo Credit: livelovesmall.com​

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Melissa Thompson
Crye-Leike Realtors
6525 N Quail Hollow Road
Memphis TN 38120
(901) 729-9526
(901) 756-8900
Fax: (901) 435-0620