Buying a Home: What Is Earnest Money?

earnest money

There are a lot of expenses involved with buying a home. Although a home mortgage will cover a lot of the home’s price, you’ll also be responsible for making a down payment as well as paying for closing costs. However, one upfront cost you may not be familiar with is the earnest money deposit.

What Is Earnest Money?

Earnest money is commonly referred to as a good faith deposit. Essentially, it’s a sum of money the buyer puts into escrow after a sale agreement has been reached. Earnest money shows the seller that the buyer is serious about the purchase. It can prevent the buyer from making bids on multiple houses and reduce the risk of the sale falling through.

After all, sellers must relist their homes if a sale doesn’t go through and can end up losing a lot of money as a result – especially if they rejected other offers that were on the table.

How Much Earnest Money Do You Have?

The buyer will put around 1-3 percent of the home’s purchase price into escrow. If the buyer backs out because one of the contingencies wasn’t met, the earnest money will be returned. If buyers back out for no reason other than they changed their minds, sellers will keep the earnest money as compensation for their time.

If the sale does go through, then the earnest money will usually be applied to the down payment or closing costs. It’s not an extra expense but a deposit that shows the buyer is serious. It will be applied towards an already existing expense.

If you’re buying a home, expect to put down some earnest money. For more home buying tips, contact us at Randy Lindsay today. 

5 Questions to Ask When Choosing Movers

Finally closing on a new home can be an exhilarating experience, especially since the stressful home buying process is finally over. However, you’re not out of the woods yet. You still must move.

Moving can be a challenge, which is why you’ll want to find a reputable mover you can trust. Here are five questions you should ask when going through the process of choosing movers:

  1. How much will it cost?
    Movers generally charge an hourly rate for short-distance moves or a rate based on weight for long-distance moves. Make sure they are willing to provide you with an estimate in writing.
  2. Are there additional fees?
    Some movers charge additional fees that they leave out of the estimate. For example, they may charge extra to move heavyweight items (such as pianos or safes) or to move anything up or down stairs. They should be transparent about such fees.
  3. How much experience do they have?
    Look for a mover that’s been around a while. Movers with a lot of experience are likely reputable since dishonest movers are usually discovered pretty quickly.
  4. Do they offer insurance?
    A good mover will provide basic insurance and will offer additional insurance options so you can protect your belongings.
  5. Can they provide referrals?
    Be wary of movers that can’t offer referrals. It means they can’t name a single customer that was happy with their services.

Don’t quickly hire the first mover you find. Keep in mind not all movers are equal. When choosing movers, be sure to ask these questions.

Contact us at Randy Lindsay for additional advice for first-time homebuyers, especially if you need help finding your dream home.

Can My LLC Buy a Home?

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An LLC (limited liability company) is a business structure that is typically used to help keep your personal finances and assets separate from your business. It means that if your business falls into debt or is sued, your personal finances and assets will be protected — and vice versa. If you have an LLC, then you might be wondering if you can use it to buy a home. The answer is yes; however, whether you should or not is a different matter.

The Benefits of Using an LLC to Buy a Home

  • Improve LLC’s financial status – If you’re trying to grow your business, using your LLC to purchase a house will put the asset under its name, thereby growing its financial profile (and potentially making it easier to secure business loans and credit).
  • Ensure your privacy – The purchase of property is typically public record; however, if you use an LLC, you can keep your name out of that public record.
  • Limited liability – If someone is injured on your property, they’ll often only be able to sue your LLC and not you personally.

The Drawbacks of Using an LLC to Buy a Home

  • Securing financing is more difficult – Trying to secure certain types of loans to buy the home can be difficult if you’re trying to do so under an LLC.
  • You may not qualify for capital gains exclusions – If you sell your house and make a profit, you’ll have to pay capital gains taxes. If you’ve bought the house using an LLC, you won’t be able to qualify for the capital gains exclusion, which means you’ll have to pay significantly more in taxes.

Keep these pros and cons in mind if you’re thinking about using an LLC to buy a home. For more home buying advice, contact us at Randy Lindsay today.

Buying a Home: What TLC Really Means

buying a home

When it comes to buying a home, you’re going to run into a lot of jargon you may not be familiar with. Knowing commonly used real estate terminology will be useful as you begin searching for the perfect home. For example, as you look through home listings, there’s a good chance that you’ll stumble onto the term “TLC” occasionally.

What Does ‘TLC’ Mean?

The acronym TLC stands for “tender, loving, care;” as in, the home is in need of it. If you see the TLC in the description, it doesn’t mean the seller has nostalgic feelings towards the home. It means the home needs work. It doesn’t sound like it, but the term TLC is often used for properties in need of significant renovation work and not just a touch-up.

TLC homes are fixer-uppers. You should expect to pay a substantial amount of money on repairs if you buy the home. For instance, a house in need of foundation repairs, roof replacement, or plumbing replacement could be listed as TLC.

Should You Buy a TLC?

Money-wise, there’s often a deal to be had when it comes to houses listed as TLC. It indicates the sellers don’t want to make the repairs themselves, which will be reflected in the asking price.

If you want a project (and you’re willing to put time and money into fixing up the house), then a TLC might be a good option. If you’re looking to invest in fixer-uppers to flip for a profit, TLCs are worth finding. However, if you don’t have the time or money to put into renovations, you may want to avoid TLC listings.

Be sure to understand what a TLC is when buying a home. For more home buying advice, contact us at Randy Lindsay today.

Buying a Home: 6 Things to Know About Radon

 

radon

When it comes to buying a home, there’s a lot of due diligence that must be done. The last thing you want is to buy a house that requires you to invest even more money into repairs or improvements – especially if you weren’t counting on having to do that. One thing you should be sure to do before you buy a house is to have it tested for radon. The following are six things you should know about radon:

  1. Radon is a radioactive gas that’s naturally occurring. It comes from the decay of uranium found in basically every type of soil.
  2. Because it’s found in soil, radon can easily enter the home through cracks and holes in the foundation.
  3. Radon is invisible and odorless, which means testing is needed to identify whether a home has high levels of radon.
  4. Radon is one of the leading causes of lung cancer. 
  5. According to the EPA, there are more than 21,000 radon-related deaths in the U.S. alone every year.
  6. Despite being dangerous, radon is so common that every house likely has it. Fortunately, low levels of radon are not dangerous. According to the EPA, 4.0 pCi/L is an acceptable level of radon.

Radon testing will identify whether there are dangerous levels of radon in the home. If this is the case, then radon mitigation will need to be performed to lower those levels to an acceptable number. The last thing you’ll want to do is move into a home that could be potentially dangerous, after all.

Before buying a home, ask if a radon test was recently performed. Radon tests should be done when buying a home as well as after any renovations were done to the home. For more advice about buying a home, contact us at Randy Lindsay today. 

Buying a Home: What Does Under Contract Mean?

buying a home

When buying a home, you’ll notice a lot of different categories when perusing real estate listings. One status is “under contract.” This term means the purchase process has essentially begun between the seller and a buyer.

It doesn’t necessarily mean the house will be taken off the market. There’s still a chance the deal might fall through, which is why the listing isn’t removed. 

When Does a Listing Go Under Contract?

When buyers want to make an offer, there are several steps they will have to take. They need to determine how much they want to offer and, typically, they’ll have to submit a pre-approvement letter. This shows they will have the funds necessary to support that offer. A buyer’s agent will submit an offer letter that includes all of this information. 

Even if the seller accepts the offer, the house will still not be “under contract.” The buyer and seller will also have to agree to the contingencies. Once everything is agreed upon, the house goes under contract. 

What Happens When a House Is Under Contract?

The house remains under contract until all contingencies are met. For instance, the sale may be contingent on the home inspection. If the inspector finds a problem and a solution can’t be found between the seller and buyer, the buyer might withdraw. The house will no longer be under contract. When this happens, other buyers will be able to make an offer to purchase. 

While most houses that are under contract are sold, there are some that go back on the market because the deal fell through. Because of this, keep your eye open for desirable under-contract homes.

For more tips on buying a home, contact us at Randy Lindsay today.

MY BIO

Randy has enjoyed over 31 wonderful years in the Real Estate industry making dreams come true for homeowners.

Superior customer service is #1 to Randy and he provides this to all of his clients using knowledge, professionalism, integrity and persistence.

Randy is a successful and experienced real estate agent who expertly represents both buyers and sellers. Scores of Charlotte area residents have trusted Randy in the process of listing their homes to sell.

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