Please read some of our blog posts to help you understand any questions you may have about purchasing a home or more information on Sioux Falls. 

Feb. 16, 2018

House Hunting: How to find the right home for you and your dog

 

Photo by Mike Burke at Unsplash

 

You’ve decided to buy a house with a yard so you and your dog can enjoy relaxing and playing without having to take him out on a leash several times a day. But with all of the options out there, how do you know which house is the right one for you both?

 

Believe it or not, you’re not the first person to buy a home with a dog in mind. A recent Harris poll found that millennials are motivated by their dogs to buy homes. But you don’t have to be a millennial to love your dog and want the best for him.

 

According to the American Pet Products Association’s 2017-2018 National Pet Owners survey, about 68 percent of American households have pets, and 60 percent of those are dogs. There are about 90 million pet dogs in the U.S.

 

On the hunt

 

The main thing you’ll want to look for is a fenced yard, and if your dream home doesn’t have a fence, determine if can you easily install one. Some neighborhoods have ordinances and covenants that prevent fences, so check first. Some neighborhoods only allow underground fences, which might look better aren’t secure for all dogs. Also, be sure to check for HOA rules about pets. Some HOAs allow only a certain number of animals living at a property.

 

Next consider the age of your dog: now and later. If your home has lots of stairs, your pooch may not be able to get up and down. He might be fine now, but if you’re buying a home, you’re likely planning to stay a while. Your dog will age, and stairs will become an issue. If that happens, you’ll have to carry him or get a ramp, which may not be suitable for all stairs.

 

Consider the flooring, too. Carpets are nice, but they hold smells and stains. Dogs are better suited to hardwood or tile flooring, or even painted concrete. The mud they track in will be much easier to clean on a hard floor than from a carpet. If the home itself doesn’t seem pet-friendly at first, you can always plan some projects to make it more accommodating.

 

Check out the neighborhood to see if it’s dog friendly. Are there sidewalks? Parks and dog parks? Are there a lot of dogs out for their evening strolls? If so, your potential neighborhood just might be pet-friendly, which means you’ll meet lots of other dog owners out walking with your best buddy.

 

Moving Day

 

When the big day arrives, your dog will need some extra care when he’s introduced to your new home. Allow him to investigate your new place before you move all your stuff in. Put him on a leash and take him around the house. Let him sniff around so he can get used to the smells and appearance of the home. Unpack his things and put them where you plan to keep them so he can feel at home right away.

 

Try to keep your dog away when the movers are doing their work. It could cause extra anxiety in your dog to see them moving stuff around, and with doors being propped open, there’s more chance of him bolting out the door into a neighborhood he’s unfamiliar with. Your best bet is boarding your dog or hiring a pet sitter.

 

Don’t change his routine too drastically. There will likely be some change of routine that you can’t help, but try to stick to his usual feeding, walking and potty schedule. Dogs love routines, and the familiarity will give him comfort.

 

Keeping your dog in mind as you hunt for a house is the best way to ensure you find something that fits you both. Once you find the right home and set up a plan for moving day, you’ll be in excellent shape. Before long, your dog will be relaxed in your new home and you both will be settled and making new friends while out on your daily walks.

 

 

**Cindy Aldridge of Our Dog Friends is passionate about dogs and pets and loves sharing her thoughts and insights on being a responsible dog owner.  

Posted in About Sioux Falls
Feb. 13, 2018

First-Time Homebuyers Terms to Know

 

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, or even if you’re not, all of the terms and procedures that are involved in purchasing a house can be overwhelming, to say the least. But no fear, the Falls Real Estate team is here to help break down some of that confusion so you can feel secure in your process.

What does it mean to be Pre-Qualified and Pre-Approved for a loan?

Pre-Qualified essentially means, based on a limited amount of criteria, the amount you might expect to be approved for a loan. Remember, this is not a sure-thing, it’s a general idea. Don’t assume that because you are pre-qualified that the lender will 100% issue you the loan.

When getting pre-approved the lender will do an extensive check on your financial background and credit history and be able to tell you the amount you would be approved for in terms of loan. This will let you know what you can afford when searching for a home.

Agency Agreement

This document spells out the rights and duties of both the buyer and the agent. These essentially work as a “promise” that you and your agent will work together to find your next home. Because your agent works on your behalf for weeks, or maybe even several months, finding and showing houses, facilitating relationships with lenders, negotiating offers and more, this agreement is essentially a promise that the buyer won’t skip out on the agent, go with another agent, and agent B reaps the rewards of all of Agent A’s work.

Don’t worry though. If you feel you’ve been saddled with a bad agent, the buyer may have the right to fire him or her. It should all be laid out in the agreement you signed.

Sale Pending

A home won’t be labeled “Sale Pending” until the buyer has removed all contingencies and the sale is essentially a done deal.  A deal could still potentially not come together, but the inspections and appraisal have been done, the loan was approved and all signs point to moving ahead.

What does it mean if a house is “Under Contract”?

If a house you are interested in is under contract, it means the sellers have accepted an offer, but the deal has not been fully completed. The deal could be subject to certain contingencies, financing, or inspections. The seller can take back-up offers, but they cannot just walk away from the original contracted buyer.

What is a short sale?

Occasionally you might see a sign in a yard that says “Short Sale.” This means the seller is selling the house for less than what they owe to their lender. Short sales can be delayed because the seller’s bank has to approve the sale in order for it to go through. So if you’re looking for a quick closing process in order to get moved in to your new home, purchasing a short sale could create headaches for you. You might have a harder time negotiating a price because the seller cannot make these decisions themselves, their bank gives the okay.

Inspection Period

This is the timeframe that allows buyers an opportunity to arrange or perform inspections on the property they intend to buy. If it doesn’t meet their standards, they can choose to renegotiate or cancel the contract.

It is suggested that you get it all done well before the deadline, that way you have enough time to discuss any issues with your agent.

What happens during a home inspection?

Over the course of several hours, a home inspector will complete a detailed walk-through of the home you want to purchase. During this review, they are examining things from roof to basement, including the foundation, the interior and exterior walls, windows and doors and floors. They will also check  major appliances, the HVAC system, as well as take a look at the plumbing and electrical systems. They even go in the attic.  They will be documenting everything they find and then give you what should be an unbiassed judgement on the condition of the home. Inspections do more than simply identify issues with a house.  They are also a great way for buyers to educate themselves about their new home. At the end of the inspection, the inspector will generally want the buyers to come to the property where he will walk them through the home, teaching them everything from preventative maintenance to how to fix smaller issues themselves after closing.

What is the Appraisal?

The appraisal is a determination of what a house is worth. This number is used when determining how much you can get for a loan, or sell your house for.

So, what the heck is ESCROW?

Escrow is the use of a third party to hold onto something valuable during a transaction. This protects both parties during the deal. The impartial third party hold onto your house or your earnest money for safekeeping to be sure all of the parties involved do what they are supposed to do to complete the transaction, or in other words, they ensure everyone involved holds up their end of the deal.

Wait…back up a second…what is EARNEST MONEY? Earnest money is the funds paid to ensure that you’re serious about your offer. In a slow market, you might only have to pay $500-$1000, but if the seller has a higher demand for their home, you might have to pay a percentage of the offer amount. You can lose your earnest money if you back out of the offer for no valid reason.

There is another type of escrow that deals with funds that are held to make the payments for your property taxes or homeowner’s insurance.  Your mortgage lender will collect these funds at the same time as your loan payment and then use the funds to pay the taxes and insurance. That way you you don’t have to worry about setting aside that money throughout the year to get ready for the big bill

Contingencies

A contingency, sometimes known as a condition, can be attached to an offer and included in the contract to purchase a home. It essentially gives an ‘out’ to parties so they can get out of the agreement under certain circumstances. These circumstances must be negotiated between the buyer and seller.

Examples of contingencies a sale might hang upon could include something inspection-related, the appraisal amount, or the sale of their current home.

PMI

 

PMI is Private mortgage insurance.  If you put less than 20% down and you take out a loan, PMI is required.  PMI protects your lender if you stop making payments. It does not go toward your principle, so it does not build equity in your home.

 

Closing Costs

These are the expenses that normally come from the completion of a real estate transaction and are paid at the time of closing.

These costs may include appraisal and loan origination fees, title insurance, taxes, the home inspection fee etc. They are not part of the cost of the home.

 

We hope that laying out the definitions of some real estate terminology helps make the process a little less intimidating. If you have any other questions, or are unsure of how to start the process of finding your new home, don’t hesitate to give Falls Real Estate a call and we’ll help you!

Jan. 8, 2018

What's your idea of an ideal neighborhood?

whats your ideal neighborhood

Aside from amenities and fixtures in your potential new home, your neighborhood can be just as important. So what are some things to consider when searching for your idea of an ideal neighborhood?

First up- Your Lifestyle…

Consider your potential neighbors and if they match your current lifestyle. If you have a young family, moving into a neighborhood full of empty-nesters could make it hard for your kids to make neighborhood friends. Another good reason to move into a family -friendly neighborhood if you have children is access to carpool groups and the support network that neighbors with children can provide.

For some, the perfect neighborhood might include neighbors involved in each other’s lives, and for others, privacy and solitude might be key.

Access to healthcare:

How close will you be to a clinic, emergency room or pharmacy? Although you hope to rarely have to utilize these services, if you have sick children or an emergency, having quick and direct access to medical care is essential.

Walkability or Public Transportation:

There is something freeing about being able to ditch the car keys and let your feet take you to a restaurant or convenience store in your neighborhood. If you enjoy leaving your car behind, are there attractions you could get to by foot if you wanted to?

Schools:

Do you have school-aged children?  Good schools are one of the most important things to people with children, so if a school is reputable, chances are the neighborhood it is in will be sought after. A house located in a good school district will keep your property values robust.

Proximity to outdoor activities:

If you enjoy being outdoors, having some sort of outdoor recreation nearby is essential for a great neighborhood, even if you have a yard. Parks, trails, golf courses, or even just nice walkable streets are great assets. How close is the nearest park or bike trail?

So, is there such a thing as the PERFECT neighborhood?

The ideal neighborhood has a different definition to different people, so when going to purchase your next home, be sure to consider which variables are most important to you. Contact an agent at Falls Real Estate today for help finding the neighborhood in Sioux Falls that’s best for you!

 

 

Posted in About Sioux Falls
Dec. 14, 2017

Don't Be Afraid to List Your HO HO Home during the Holidays!

 Hot cocoa, stockings hung by the fire, presents under the tree and…a For Sale sign in your yard?

Putting your house on the market during the hectic holidays might sound nutty, but you might have an advantage.

During the winter months and around the holidays especially, the inventory of available houses decreases. People looking to buy aren’t being inundated with choices, and your house could be exactly what they are looking for! Plus, the increase in competition among buyers could help you get a better price.

Another advantage is that people looking in the winter months tend to be very serious and won’t stretch out the buying process. People get busy during the holidays, so if they are taking time to look at houses, chances are they are ready to buy.

Here are some tips to help make your house a place a new buyer could imagine themselves spending holidays to come.

Make your house festive…but not like an Ugly Christmas Sweater.

Too many holiday decorations can make your house feel cluttered and smaller. A tree, some lights and a wreath are good, but your collection of 500 Santas…not so much. The same goes for outside. Putting up some lights on the exterior isn’t a bad thing, but having a laser light show set to Christmas music might scare potential buyers.

Also, keep in mind how many presents you have displayed under your tree. Dozens and dozens of presents will look cluttery and possibly entice potential thieves.  

You’ve no doubt heard about baking cookies to fill your home with the enticing smell of baked goods, and that’s especially true at this time of year! Leave out a plate of freshly baked holiday sweets and treats for potential buyers to enjoy.

Be sure to keep your walkways and driveways free from ice and snow and the home temperature comfortable. You want to set the scene of a warm and cozy place where potential buyers can feel at ease.  

The downside to a holiday home listing is the reality that you may be busy and you’ll have to allow showings at times that might not be as convenient for you.  This year, let your sister host the holiday meal. Don’t stress yourself out by trying to host all of your family get-togethers while trying to plan around showings.

Contact Falls Real Estate today and one of our agents will guide you through the process of listing your home today!

Happy Holidays from all of us at Falls Real Estate!

 

 

Posted in About Sioux Falls
July 18, 2017

605 Sheds

When moving, you must ask yourself a few questions about your new potential house such as location, size, and number of bedrooms. However, one of the questions we receive at Falls Real Estate quite a bit is "How much storage does this house have"? Many times, the answer is "not enough". That's why we have decided to parter with 605 Sheds in order to bring you the most when moving into a new house.  If the storage situation in a house is low, 605 Sheds can meet with you and discuss your needs by offering a portable storage shed for your backyard.  Furthermore, because of the partnership with Falls Real Estate, any time you mention the business name to them you will receive a discount on the shed. 

 

 

 

Posted in About Sioux Falls
June 6, 2017

Choosing the Right Agent in Sioux Falls

 

Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent in Sioux Falls can be tough. Especially with the over 500+ agents that are practicing here. With all these options, what should one look for when deciding on an agent?  Experience, dedication, knowledge, and personality are all big factors when deciding on an agent. However, those are not the only decisions one should rely on when choosing an agent.

 

For example, an agent with less experience may not have had as many closings as a seasoned vet. However, they still have their broker and other agents in the office to rely on. Also, they may work even harder for you since you are a new client to them and their livelihood may depend on the success of finding and closing a house for you.   This is not the case for all seasoned and experienced agents, but it’s an example on why experience alone shouldn’t determine the agent you choose.

 

Buying a house can often be one of the most important decisions in your lifetime. So, what really should be the driving factor on an agent you choose? At Falls Real Estate, we recommend simply choosing an agent you feel comfortable with.  You should be confident with your agent that he or she will do everything they can to not only find you your dream home, but also make the process as smooth as possible.

 

We recommend asking these three questions before choosing the right agent:

 

1)    How will you make this process smooth for me?

 

An agent should always explain the process from beginning to end. What you should expect, and all the steps from putting in an offer on a house, to signing paperwork.

 

2)    What is the best way to communicate with you?

 

What makes a real estate successful? Answering the phone. Honestly, agents should be effective in their communication to their clients. This means responding to emails, texts, and phone calls at any time during the day. At Falls Real Estate, we pride ourselves in our communications and openness to our clients.

 

3)    What questions do you have for me?

 

This may be the most important question you should ask your potential agent.  This is where the real estate agent can build rapport by getting to know you more, what you want in a house, and how you expect the process to be.  This is where agents can also explain how they will work for you, and what they may do differently. For example, our agents at Falls Real Estate have teamed up with Affordable Moving to help you with one of the steps in the home buying and selling process.

 

 

 

Call us at Falls Real Estate to interview one of our agents today!!

Falls Real Estate
Sioux Falls Homes for Sale
Address :
230 S Phillips Ave,
Sioux Falls,
SD - 57104
United States.

Tel : 6055530155
Fax : 6055530155
Email : karelstim@gmail.com

 

Posted in About Sioux Falls
May 16, 2017

Homes for Sale by Owner in Sioux Falls

 Homes for Sale by Owner in Sioux Falls

 

When selling a house, many times an individual will ask should I sell my house with an agent, or should I list it myself?  Obviously, an agent has more tools, training, and experience at their disposal. However, is this worth the 6% you’ll typically have to pay the agents who make your deal come together? It depends on a few variables:

 

 

1.     TIME: This may be the biggest variable when deciding if you need a realtor to sell your house or not.  Real Estate agents have access to the MLS, and can therefore list your house on that.  A person selling their house can list in on craigslist, Zillow, and other venues; however, those pale in comparison to the MLS. All agents use MLS for their primary search engine. You are therefore excluding most agents who search homes for their clients if it is not listed on the MLS. This doesn’t mean your home will not get viewings. It just means you will get fewer, and therefore, your house will take longer to sell.

 

 

2.     EXPERIENCE:  Selling a house involves a legal and binding contract. Real Estate agents are trained in real estate contracts and know their way around certain situations that may arise.  Contingencies, earnest money, title transfer, due diligence, are examples of terms that real estate agents are familiar with.  In certain situations, the fee paid can be worth the legal experience a real estate agent brings. In some cases, it may save you from certain litigation.

 

 

3.     NEGOTIATIONS/KNOWLEDGE: If you do not have experience in negotiations or have the knowledge to effectively negotiate, you may want to hire a real estate agent.  Not only does an agent have experience in negotiations, they have knowledge in the current market and know certain metrics. For example, houses may be selling at 99% of listing price, meaning you can be more aggressive on the seller side while negotiating. This knowledge can help you get the most for your house.

 

 

Falls Real Estate agents will also do the dirty work. In addition to searching, negotiating, and helping you through the process, are agents are notorious for going above and beyond.  In the past, they have ripped down a shed in the pouring rain, answering their phone at all times during the night, and many other items that show their commitment to customer service.

Falls Real Estate
Sioux Falls Homes for Sale
Address :
230 S Phillips Ave,
Sioux Falls,
SD - 57104
United States.

Tel : 6055530155
Fax : 6055530155
Email : karelstim@gmail.com

Posted in About Sioux Falls
May 9, 2017

Should I Rent or Buy?

This is a question that we hear frequently, especially for first time home buyers. Here is a calculator to help you decide!!

Rent vs. Buy Calculator by MortgageLoan.com

Rent vs. Buy Calculator by MortgageLoan.com
Posted in About Sioux Falls
May 1, 2017

What is the MLS?

What is the MLS?

 

The MLS stands for stands for Multiple Listing Service. It was developed by a collaboration of Realtors who have spent many resources developing a place where transactions can be more efficient.  Technically speaking, the MLS is a place where listing agents place private offers to other real estate brokers in return for cooperation and compensation.  https://www.nar.realtor/topics/nar-doj-settlement/multiple-listing-service-mls-what-is-it

 

However, the MLS is much more than that and as technology evolves home buyers are reaping the benefits of the MLS.  MLS gives certain individuals access to not only their set of data on the website, but they also give access to their API (Application Program Interface). This means that certain individuals can download or transfer data between the MLS and other websites.  In other terms, that data can be shared across the internet for home buyers to see. This is how websites such as Zillow.Com, Trulia.Com, and SellSiouxFalls.com have come into existence. We transfer the MLS data onto our website and share it for potential home buyers to see. However, there are some things you must know when searching for homes on certain websites such as Zillow.com and SellSiouxFals.com.

 

1)    Know the MLS Lingo:

·      ACTIVE – This house is for sale and showings can be scheduled. Contact your agent for more information on it.

·      ACTIVE- Contingent Misc – This house is under contract and typically contingent upon the inspection, appraisal, and financing. More times than not, this house will close. However, it’s something for your agent to keep an eye on.

·      ACTIVE – Contingent House – This house is also under contract, and is contingent upon inspection, appraisal, and financing as well. However, it is also contingent upon the new buyers selling their other house.  These offers typically have what is called a “kick out” clause. This means that after another offer is received, the first offer buyers have around 24 or 48 hours to perform on the contract or let the house go and make way for other offers.

 

2)    You are not seeing everything on the MLS real estate agents see:

An MLS listing has many fields on them, and only a portion of these are shared on a website such as Zillow or SellSiouxFalls.com. Therefore, a homebuyer is not seeing the whole picture of that listing and should always contact their agent for additional information. The main piece that is missing is called “Agent Remarks”.  This is a private piece of information that only the agents will see and will usually give more information about the house such as if the bank has foreclosed on it and showing information.

 

 

3)    The information is not updated in real time:

Many websites will tout their quick upload time, but none of them are in real time. SellSiouxFalls.com updates are information just as quick as Zillow or Trulia, but it is not real time like the MLS. Therefore, information is reaching home buyers just a bit slower than real estate agents. In today’s fast selling market, information is vital. For example, an MLS listing may get uploaded on Sunday night, but because the information doesn’t reach other websites like Zillow until a bit after, the homebuyer may have gone to bed. After getting up and going to work, they check Zillow and see a house they would LOVE to see. However, it’s already under contract.  Information is everything and your agent will have the information quicker than any other website.

Falls Real Estate
Sioux Falls Homes for Sale
Address :
230 S Phillips Ave,
Sioux Falls,
SD - 57104
United States.

Tel : 6055530155
Fax : 6055530155
Email : karelstim@gmail.com

Posted in About Sioux Falls
April 24, 2017

Search Sioux Falls Foreclosures

Sioux Falls Foreclosures and short sales were a hot commodity after the real estate bubble popped in 2008. However, a lot has changed since then so one might ask eight years later, are they still a desirable property to buy?  The answer is "it depends".  Foreclosures and short sales have some advantages and disadvantages that we will discuss in detail: 

 

Advantages:

1) PRICE - This is the most obvious advantage on why someone may or may not buy a house that is bank owned or in foreclosure.  Deals can be made when buying a bank owned property, which is due to how bank financing works. Banks are not in the business of owning homes that are not occupied. They want to sell the bank owned house as fast as possible. This is due to the added cost associated with holding on to the property such as insurance, property taxes, and repairs and maintenance. Therefore, a bank wants to sell the house fast and typically what they have it on the books for. If there is not much owed on the property, a potential buyer may get a good deal. 

 

2) LIEN - Once the bank foreclosures on a house all liens are cleared up. The bank will always provide a clear and lien free title on the house. If there is a lien on the property, the bank will clear that up before selling it. 

 

3) INSPECTIONS - Most bank homes are sold "as is". However, it's a common misconception that you can't do an inspection on an "as is" property. Although the bank may be less likely to do repairs or other maintenance work, a potential buyer can still get out of the contract if the inspection of the house came back faulty. Make sure your real estate agent thoroughly explains the contract with you if you do put an offer in on a foreclosure house.

 

Disadvantages:

1) TIMEFRAME - This can be one of the most annoying parts of buying a foreclosure and especially a short sale. Many times you are operating on the bank's time and you will not get a definitive close date. I know this one personally by experience as I bought my home via short sale.  I waited month's before getting an answer from the bank, and finally one day they said the offer was accepted, you close next week. I was lucky as I had another place to live that was flexible, but that may not always be the case. 

 

2) REDTAPE - Getting connected to the decision maker when buying a bank owned property is a very daunting task. Many simple questions take days to get answered because of this and can be quite frustrating. Be prepared to wait, and wait, and wait when dealing with a bank. When you finally do talk to the right person, be prepared as it may be days or weeks until you can get a hold of them again. 

 

3) DISAPPOINTMENT - When submitting an offer for a foreclosure or a short sale, do not get personally attached to the house. The popularity of buying bank owned properties have brought an influx of investors and house buyers. Shows on TV make it look easier then it is. So when you do put in an offer, prepare to be rejected. 

 

If you are looking for a foreclosure, check out our website to search all Sioux Falls and surrounding area foreclosures. For more information, contact us today! 

 

Falls Real Estate
Sioux Falls Homes for Sale
Address :
230 S Phillips Ave,
Sioux Falls,
SD - 57104
United States.

Tel : 6055530155
Fax : 6055530155
Email : karelstim@gmail.com

 

Posted in About Sioux Falls