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  • When do we get the keys?

    Posted on July 14th, 2010 admin No comments

    One of the most common question we Realtors get and one of the easiest for an inexperienced agent to screw up is the possession date.  Nothing causes more tears, headaches or misunderstandings.

    There are 3 distinct (and often different) days in closing a home purchase.

    1. Settlement. This is when the buyer visits with their escrow officer (in Utah this is usually a title company) sits down and signs all 600+ pages of the closing packet, hands over the check for closing cost/ down payment and walks out with a muffin basket and a shell shocked look in the eyes.  Doesn’t mean the house is yours.  Your mortgage company still has to pony up the big money and your cashiers check has to age in the bank overnight.
    2. Closing. This is when your mortgage company has reviewed all the signatures and documents of the closing packet, completed any last minute audits of your credit and finally wired the big money to the title company.  The title company then has to verify receipt of this money, cut checks to the seller, brokerages, and any lien holders and finally record the sale at the county courthouse.  Now the house is in your name and you begin paying for it.  All of the above usually takes 1 business day after Settlement, but the purchase contract gives all parties up to 4 calender days to finish dancing.  Imagine a Settlement on the Friday before a holiday weekend.  Don’t back-up the U-haul just yet.
    3. Possession. Oh happy day.  This is when you get the keys and take control of the property.  Paragraph 4 of the  purchase contract specifies exactly when this happens in relationship to Closing.  The time to avoid moving mayhem is when filling out the purchase agreement.  Have a calender and a full understanding of these dates before proceeding.
  • Did you know that you can limit the buyer broker agreement?

    Posted on June 21st, 2010 admin No comments

    With the new Utah Buyer Brokerage Agreement it is possible to limit the scope of the contract to a particular property by address.
    Sometimes a buyer may want to take baby steps in developing a relationship with an agent.  Many experienced agents don’t even ask that such a contract be signed until they have a good working relationship with the buyer.  Because after all, exclusive agency is a big step and you want to make sure you have the right dance partner.

  • Is Zillow Zestimator accurate for Utah?

    Posted on June 7th, 2010 admin No comments

    When working with clients I always get the eventual question about Zillow and its estimate of value for a given property.  The question usually arises when an purchase offer conflicts with what “Zillow says”.
    Zillow has spent an incredible amount of time, effort and money to create a dynamic and comprehensive real estate database for the nation.  The result is very impressive and can sometimes appear to be infallible.  However the data that they automatically mine is from public records and voluntary input from users which is only as accurate as the source.
    Utah is a non-disclosure state, which means that the sales price of real property (your home) is not a matter of public record.  It isn’t secret.  But it is normally only available to professionals who subscribe to the local multiple listing service that is maintained by and for real estate professionals.  Zillow does not have access to this information which is why the Zestimator can be highly inaccurate for our area.  Zillow currently shows a 13.8% median error for Salt Lake County.
    I usually advise clients to use the Zesitmate over a period of time to show trends in value change and not as a precise evaluation of their property value.  Almost every sale that I have participated in since Zillow started has closed with at least a $10,000 price difference.  Don’t get the idea that I don’t like Zillow, I use it to market my client’s homes, but it is only one of many tools that real estate agents should use to get the job done.