Tag: first time buyers (page 2 of 17)

How to read an MLS sheet

How to read an MLS sheet

For those of you who are looking to buy a home, it’s most likely that your Realtor is providing you listings to view, either online or on paper With information from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  On those listings, you’re able to see photos, address, bed and bath count, and numerous other information about the home.  But for those who haven’t done it before, it’s very common for Realtors to use abbreviations as well as the MLS is known to shorten information.  I thought this might be a good lesson in some of the more common uses on an MLS sheet.  I am going to use the information from the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois, now known as MRED (Midwest Real Estate Data).  This is the MLS for the region where I work.

The first thing most buyers will look at is the bedroom and bathroom count, also abbreviated as BR and BA.  Here’s the trick.  Let’s say you see a home that lists its bathrooms as 2.1.  You wonder why there’s two bathrooms and a tenth of another one.  How it works is that the number before the decimal point is the amount of full baths.  The number after the decimal is the amount of half baths (those without a shower or bath and just a toilet and sink).  So that home would really have 2 1/2 baths.  If you do see a listing as 2.5, it means there’s 2 full baths and 5 half baths, or someone made a mistake entering it.

HOA refers to the homeowners dues, where it will list an amount.  If an amount is filled in, you’ll find out there’s a frequency, usually seen as A, M, V, meaning annual, monthly, voluntary (it’s not required).  MAI stands for “Monthly assessment includes.”  Now, if the frequency is A, it means “Annual assessment includes.”  And what would be in this field are items like parking, water, etc.  Whatever is included in the dues you pay to the homeowners association.

A new required field for this MLS is the source of square footage.  You’ll most likely see a letter after the square footage is shown.  That shows what the source is for that number. Whether it’s estimated, from a survey, or from an appraiser.  You can ask your Realtor what that specific letter refers to.

Now I’ll give you a few abbreviations the Realtors use when writing remarks.  They often have to shorten the description to fit everything in they want to say.

How to read an MLS sheet

FP=fireplace

HW=hardwood
SS=stainless steel
MBR=master bedroom
SIP=screened-in porch
WIC=walk-in closet
WIP=walk-in pantry

When someone refers to a garage as 2.5 or 3.5, that does mean it fits 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 cars, or has the space for 2 cars plus room on both sides.

If you have more specific questions about how to read an MLS sheet or are ready to begin your home search, please visit me online.

Great new way to search for your dream home

We all know the Internet is becoming the most popular way to search for homes.  You’re able to virtually look inside a home to determine if you want to see it in person.  I’m about to share a whole new way of searching for homes, customized just for you.

Coldwell Banker just unveiled their brand new search tool: BlueScape.  Most people search for homes by how many bedrooms they want, bathrooms, school district, amenities, etc.  While those features are important, BlueScape allows a more customized search.  This is how it works:

You start out on the BlueScape search site. You’re asked to rate images with a thumbs up or a thumbs down, based on what you like.  You’ll want to rate at least five images, but the more you do, the better the results.  Once you’ve done that, you click on “Get results.”  You can narrow your search by town and price range.  Then you can narrow it down further by choosing certain keywords, such as “garage,” “lake,” etc.  The tool will find homes for you based on the images you liked before.

Taking their cue from popular online music sites like Pandora, Coldwell Banker figured this search was a way to explore more of people’s emotions when looking for a home.  Chief Marketing Officer Michael Fischer said this in a statement: “Home buying is often driven by a gut feeling. We’ve widened the definition of real estate search to give consumers the chance to explore those intangibles.”

Another added feature to the search tool is similar properties.  Based on what consumers choose as ones they most prefer, the Web site will provide a “You may also like” feature that shows you similar homes to what you’ve already said are ones you prefer.  This is important because if you’re looking in a certain price range, say $300,000 to $350,000 and there’s a house out there with all your preferred amenities listed for $298,000, you would have never found it otherwise.

I hope you’ll be able to check out this great new search tool, and the first of any real estate company.  As always, if you need more details on a home or need to get inside to see one, please call me at 800-858-7917 or visit me online.

Buyers hope for extension of tax credit

A lot of the buyers that were guaranteed the Federal tax credit by being under contract on a house and closing by June 30th are getting very nervous.  As the deadline is approaching, many feel they won’t be able to close on their home in time to be eligible for the credit all for circumstances out of their control.

They’re hoping Congress extends the deadline for closing through the end of September, giving them at least 3 more months to maintain their eligibility.  This week the Senate approved a 3 month extension, but they’re still waiting on word from the House to have it passed.

What’s taking so long?  Those buyers who went under contract on houses that were short sales are waiting for responses from the bank, which can take months and months to hear back.  On top of that, once they hear, they need to move forward with the process, which generally includes a home inspection and other contingencies that have to be met.

The National Association of Realtors is saying that up to 180,000 buyers who were hoping to close by June 30 and get the tax credit are likely to miss the deadline.  But even 3 months might not be enough time for many buyers, especially those dealing with a short sale.  A short sale deal can take months and in some cases, even a year or more.  Realtors are worried that if the extension doesn’t get approved or isn’t long enough, buyers will cancel contracts because they were counting on that money to help with a down payment or even to do some repairs or cosmetic updates in the houses they’re buying.  Not getting the tax credit will have a negative impact causing a lot of canceled contracts. 

If the extension is passed, it is only for those who were already under contract by the previous April 30th deadline.  No new buyers are eligible.

Do you know someone who is affected by this?  Please leave me a comment below or visit me online .

 

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