Tips for Selling Your Home During the Coronavirus Crisis

Selling a home is a long and arduous process that involves countless complex steps—and this the norm when we aren’t in the midst of a global pandemic! Selling a home today, during the time of the coronavirus crisis, will add a level of safety issues to the process. If you’re trying to sell your home right now, you might have to alter your plans a bit to accommodate social distancing orders and keep everyone safe.

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Here are some great tips from our friend Shirley at Tidy Life Today to help you prep your home for sale and show it to buyers without risking the health of your family.

Double Down on Your Virtual Presence

Thanks to advancements in real estate technology, a lot of house hunting already takes place online. As a seller, you can take advantage of all kinds of online tools to get your home in front of potential buyers without risking an in-person showing or hosting an open house. From social media marketing and 3D tours to remote online notarization, the right tech tools will help you find a buyer and close your sale during the age of social distancing.

Double down on your virtual presence by posting really good property listings online. Write a captivating listing description, take stellar photographs, and shoot a high-quality video walkthrough to highlight your home’s best features. HomeAdvisor recommends planning your real estate video shoot during the day so you can take advantage of natural light. Poor lighting can make your rooms look dismal and uninviting! Try to shoot your video so that it follows the natural route you would take when showing off your home to someone in person, holding the camera at eye level to give your buyers an accurate view of each room.

Stick to DIY Upgrades

Making a few upgrades to your home is a great way to boost your property value and attract interested buyers. But this might not be a great time to have contractors in your home. Keep your family safe by sticking to DIY upgrades! Tool Review Lab recommends simple home projects you can do yourself, like repainting kitchen cabinets and refinishing hardwood flooring. You could also hire a landscaper to tidy up your lawn and enhance your home’s curb appeal with some new shrubs and flowers. Hiring people for home exterior work should be safe since they will not need to enter your home to complete these projects.

Declutter and Deep Clean

With everyone stuck at home under lockdown, your house might look a little messier than normal. Make sure you give your home a good deep clean before snapping listing photos or shooting a video tour. As The Nest explains, household clutter will prevent potential buyers from visualizing your home as their own, and they might even think that your house lacks adequate storage space. Take some time to declutter and clean your home from top to bottom so the whole place sparkles!

Learn Some Staging Tricks

Home staging is a very important component of any successful home sale. Staging your home will give it that “wow factor” that will set your real estate photos and videos apart from other listings in your neighborhood. Fortunately, this is another home-selling task that you can easily tackle yourself. Doing your own staging will not only protect your family from the coronavirus, but will save you a lot of money as well!

After making home upgrades and decluttering, Such the Spot recommends adding some staging elements to create attractive vignettes throughout your home. For example, a coffee mug, a book, a pair of reading glasses, and a couple of soft blankets will turn an awkward corner seat into a cozy reading nook. Feel free to get creative with your staging but don’t go overboard! A little will go a long way.

Selling a home during the COVID-19 pandemic shouldn’t differ too much from a normal home sale. You still have to make upgrades, clean, declutter, and create great online listings in order to sell your home quickly and for the price you want. Some simple adjustments, like offering video tours and tackling home upgrades yourself, will ensure that everyone stays safe and healthy throughout the process.

Is Title Insurance worth the cost?

Title Insurance protects consumers from financial loss and hardship related to unknown judgments and liens, forged transfers, inconsistencies within a property’s title or misapplication of fiduciary funds.

As a soon to be home owner, you may be wondering whether title insurance is worth the cost or not.

You need to know the importance of title insurance and how it can protect you from hidden issues that are associated with buying a new home.

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What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance offers protection against any claim that comes against the ownership of a property.

A “title” is composed of three basic elements.

  • Rights and interests that are disclosed in the public records or by physical inspection of the property, i.e., deeds, mortgages, leases, etc., parties in possession, utility easements, etc.
  • Rights and interests that are not recorded but exist, i.e., limitations imposed by laws and statutes, etc.
  • Rights and interests that are hidden, i.e., forgeries, secret marriages and unknown heirs.

There are two types of title insurance policies are available during the closing process. There is a lender’s policy, and a homebuyer’s policy.

The Lender’s Policy

The overwhelming majority of mortgage loans made in the United States are made by persons who are acting in a fiduciary capacity – by savings and loan associations, savings banks, and commercial banks on behalf of their depositors, and by life insurance companies on behalf of their policyholders. Because they are lending other people’s money (other people’s savings or policyholder’s funds) these lenders must be concerned with the safety of their mortgage investments.

A policy of title insurance provides a mortgage lender with a high degree of safety against the loss of security as a result of a title problem. This protection remains in effect for as long as the mortgage remains unsatisfied.

The Homebuyer’s Policy

The purchaser of real estate needs protection against serious financial loss due to a defect in the title to the property purchased. For a single, one-time premium, which is a modest amount in relationship to the value of the property, a buyer can receive the protection of a title insurance policy – a policy that is backed by the reserves and solvency of the Company. A title insurance policy will cover both claims arising out of title problems that could have been discovered in the public records, and those so-called “non-record” defects that could not be discovered in the record, even with the most complete search.

A title insurance policy will not only protect the insured owner, but also that person’s heirs for as long as they hold title to the property, and even after they sell by warranty deed. The Company will not only satisfy any valid claim made against the insured’s title, but it will pay for the costs and legal expenses of defending against a title claim.

What Does Title Insurance Protect You From?

Title insurance protects you from hidden hazards and claims that may be made after you’ve completed the purchase of your new home. At Nona Title, we do a title search and a municipal lien search PRIOR to closing so that we can fix any hidden hazards. This will help you know if the seller has a “clear title” without legal claims or issues after the fact. We call this a “Green Light Listing”.

Having a clear title means that any levies or liens from a financial institution or creditor, liens from unpaid taxes, or claims from relatives who feel they were cheated when the property was sold by a previous owner are addresses and fixed prior to closing.

the Green Light Listing process and title searches will reveal any title issues and help you avoid them during closing.

Is Title Insurance Worth It?

Title Insurance is worth it because there could be several hidden issues regarding title ownership many years after the home purchase, such as:

  • An oversight during title research
  • An unknown heir
  • An error in ownership history
  • A pending legal judgment or lawsuit
  • A fraud committed by a previous title holder

It is imperative that you protect yourself with a homeowner’s title insurance policy. If a title defect occurs after a loan closing, you may have to deal with legal costs to fix these hidden hazards. This could also lead to a potential loss of your property and all the money you’ve invested in it.

If There is a Warranty Deed on the Property, Do I Need Title Insurance?

When seller has issued a warranty deed offering a clean title, this means that the seller has transferred their risk to the insurer and the lender’s title policy will protect them. What will happen to you? Without a good title policy, you could lose your stake in the home, including:

  • Your down payment
  • The cost and value of any major home renovations/improvements
  • The equity that has started building up

A title claim can arise years down the line, it is in your best interest to play it safe and protect your investment.

What Are the Title Insurance Regulations for Florida?

In Florida, most of the costs associated with title insurance are covered by the seller, including the cost of the title search and the cost of the lender’s title insurance.

The amount of money you’ll need for owner’s title insurance will depend on the price of the home you’re buying. The amount of money you pay for your one-time premium is determined by the regulations of the state of Florida.

Enjoy a Professional and Stress Free Closing Experience

Title insurance is worth the extra cost for anyone who wants to ensure they don’t lose their investment. Our Green Light Listing process ensures that the title is clear prior to closing.

Remote Online Notarization

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With COVID-19 comes new ways of doing business. Although we have always provided mobile closings  as part of our services, we are happy to share that our technology allows for Remote Online Notarization.

WHAT EXACTLY IS RON?

 

RON is when the notary is in one location and the signer is in another. Instead of being physically present in the same room, the necessary connection and verification is done through a secure audio/ visual feed or portal. Because of this, RON is also known as webcam notarization, online notarization or virtual notarization.

 

Digital Terms to Know

You have likely heard terms such as eClosing, eNotarization, eNote and others as technology in the industry has continued to evolve. While related, they are all slightly different and not interchangeable. Let’s breakdown the meaning and function of each term.

 

eClosing

A closing process where one or more of the required closing documents are accessed and signed electronically. There are two categories of eClosings: hybrid and full. In a hybrid eClosing, only some of the closing documents are signed digitally. Other pieces still require in-person “wet” signatures. However, in a full digital closing, all documents are signed electronically.

 

eNotarization

The act of electronically affixing a notary signature and acknowledgement to a document. This practice is authorized in most states. This can still be done face-to-face.

Remote Online Notarization (RON)

An official notarization process that occurs online via a secure audio-visual connection where the signer and the notary are not in the same physical location. A successful RON still includes multiple verification steps. Signatures garnered this way hold the same weight as traditional notarized documents. A growing number of states are allowing their notaries to conduct business in this manner.

eMortgage

A mortgage where the critical loan documentation is created, executed, transferred and stored electronically, as opposed to physically on paper.

 

eNote

A document that must be tamper-sealed and has a special type of digital signature that guarantees data integrity. A timestamp attaches to the signature for an added layer of security.

TYPES OF CLOSINGS:

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BENEFITS OF REMOTE ONLINE NOTARIZATION:

Faster, more accurate transactions

RON allows a notary to get customer signatures in a matter of minutes, not days or weeks. The needed software allows users to require mandatory fields, and pre-signing the documents allows the lender and title agents time to review, which ensures completion and reduces operational errors. Speaking of speed, RON will also help us get the transaction to the closing table faster because it shortens a loan’s life cycle.

 

Safety and security

Utilizing RON reduces risk because it provides the transaction an additional layer of fraud prevention. On the most basic level, it also means that our mobile notaries don’t have to physically travel to clients’ homes or other locations.

 

 

How to pack like a pro

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🧳Plan ahead.
Develop a master to-do list so you won’t forget something critical heading into moving day. This will also help you create an estimate of moving time and costs.

🧳Discard items you no longer want or need.
Ask yourself how frequently you use an item and how you’d feel if you no longer had it. Sort unwanted items into “garage sale,” “donate,” and “recycle” piles.

🧳Pack similar items together.
It will make your life easier when it’s time to unpack.

🧳Decide what you want to move on your own.
Precious items such as family photos, valuable breakables, or must-haves during the move should probably stay with you. Pack a moving day bag with a small first-aid kit, snacks, and other items you may need before unpacking your “Open First” box.

🧳Know what your movers will take.
Many movers won’t take plants or liquids. Check with them about other items so you can plan to pack them yourself.

🧳Put heavy items in small boxes.
Try to keep the weight of each box under 50 pounds.

🧳Don’t overpack boxes.
It increases the likelihood that items inside the box will break.

🧳Wrap fragile items separately.
Pad bottoms and sides of boxes and, if necessary, purchase bubble-wrap or other packing materials from moving stores. Secure plants in boxes with air holes.

🧳Label every box on all sides.
You never know how they’ll be stacked. Also, use color-coded labels to indicate which room each box should go in, coordinating with a color-coded floor plan for the movers.

🧳Keep moving documents together in a file, either in your moving day bag or online.
Include vital contact information, the driver’s name, the van’s license plate, and the company’s number.

🧳Print out a map and directions for movers and helpers.
Make several copies, and highlight the route. Include your cell phone number on the map.

🧳Back up computer files on the cloud.
Alternatively, you can keep a physical backup on an external hard drive offsite.

🧳Inspect each box and piece of furniture as soon as it arrives.

🧳Ahead of time, ensure your moving company has a relatively painless process for reporting damages.

How To Move With Pets 🐈🐕

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🐾Update your pet’s tag with your new address.
Make sure your pet’s collar is sturdy and correctly sized. The tag should also include your mobile number and e-mail address so that you can be reached during the move.

🐾Request veterinary records.
Ask your current vet to send your pet’s medical history directly to the new vet. Have their contact information handy in case of emergency or if the new vet has questions.

🐾Keep a week’s worth of food and medication with you.
You may want to ask for an extra prescription refill before you move. Take the same precaution with special therapeutic foods.

🐾Seclude them from chaos.
Keep your pet in a safe, quiet room on moving day with a clear sign posted on the door. There are many light, collapsible travel crates available, but ensure it is well ventilated and sturdy enough for stress-chewers. Also, introduce your pet to the crate before the trip.

🐾Prepare a pet first aid kit.
Include your vet’s phone number, gauze to wrap wounds or to muzzle your pet, adhesive tape for use on bandages, nonstick bandages, towels, cotton swabs, antibiotic ointment (without pain relief medication), and 3% hydrogen peroxide.

🐾Play it safe in the car.
Use a crate or carrier in the car, securing it with a seat belt. Never leave your pet in the bed of a truck, the storage area of a moving van, or alone in a parked vehicle. If you’re staying overnight, find pet-friendly lodging beforehand and have kitty litter or plastic bags on hand.

🐾Get ready for takeoff.
When traveling by air, check with the airline about pet requirements or restrictions and whether you must purchase a special airline crate that fits under the seat in front of you.

🐾Prep your new home.
Set up one room with everything your pet will need: food, water, medications, bed, litter box, scratch post, and toys. Keep windows and doors closed when your pet is unsupervised, and beware of small spaces where nervous pets may hide. If your old home is nearby, give the new home owners or neighbors your phone number and a photo of your pet, in case your pet tries to return.

🐾Learn about local health concerns and laws in your new area.
If you’re moving to a new country, contact the Agriculture Department or embassy of the country to obtain specific information on special documents, quarantine, or costs related to bringing your pet into the country.

Vocabulary: Agency & Agency Relationships

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The term “agency” is used in real estate to help determine what legal responsibilities your real estate professional owes to you and other parties in the transaction.

▶️The seller’s representative (also known as a listing agent or seller’s agent) is hired by and represents the seller. All fiduciary duties are owed to the seller, meaning this person’s job is to get the best price and terms for the seller. The agency relationship usually is created by a signed listing contract.

▶️The buyer’s representative (also known as a buyer’s agent) is hired by prospective buyers to and works in the buyer’s best interest throughout the transaction. The buyer can pay the agent directly through a negotiated fee, or the buyer’s rep may be paid by the seller or through a commission split with the seller’s agent.

▶️A subagent owes the same fiduciary duties to the agent’s customer as the agent does. Subagency usually arises when a cooperating sales associate from another brokerage, who is not the buyer’s agent, shows property to a buyer. The subagent works with the buyer to show the property but owes fiduciary duties to the listing broker and the seller. Although a subagent cannot assist the buyer in any way that would be detrimental to the seller, a buyer customer can expect to be treated honestly by the subagent.

▶️A disclosed dual agent represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction. In such relationships, dual agents owe limited fiduciary duties to both buyer and seller clients. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest in a dual-agency relationship, all parties must give their informed consent. Disclosed dual agency is legal in most states, but often requires written consent from all parties.

▶️Designated agents (also called appointed agents) are chosen by a managing broker to act as an exclusive agent of the seller or buyer. This allows the brokerage to avoid problems arising from dual-agency relationships for licensees at the brokerage. The designated agents give their clients full representation, with all of the attendant fiduciary duties.

▶️A transaction broker (sometimes referred to as a facilitator) is permitted in states where nonagency relationships are allowed. These relationships vary considerably from state to state. Generally, the duties owed to the consumer in a nonagency relationship are less than the complete, traditional fiduciary duties of an agency relationship.

How to Calculate Capital Gaines

When you sell a stock, you owe taxes on the difference between what you paid for the stock and how much you got for the sale.

The same holds true in home sales, but there are other considerations.

How to Calculate Gain

Your home’s original sales price when you bought it (not what you brought to closing).
Additional costs you paid toward the original purchase (include transfer fees, attorney fees, and inspections but not points you paid on your mortgage). +
Cost of improvements you’ve made (include room additions, deck, etc. Improvements do not include repairing or replacing existing items). +
Current selling costs (include inspections, attorney fees, real estate commission, and money you spent to fix up your home to prepare it for sale). +
Add the above items to get your adjusted cost basis: =

 

The final sale amount for your home.
The adjusted cost basis figure from above.
Your capital gain: =

Download the Capital Gaines Worksheet