Monday, April 27, 2015

City of Grand Forks Spring Clean Up Week

It is that time of the year, the annual City of Grand Forks clean up week is May 4-8, 2015. For some people it is like a "holiday" because they will drive around town with trailers and pick-up trucks to load up other people's trash. The saying is true during Spring Clean Up Week, "Another man's trash is another man's treasure."  Looks like there will be great weather this weekend to clean out the closets, garages and sheds and put all your "junk" on the berm for your "Clean Up Day". 

The City of Grand Forks has a few rules for the Spring Clean Up Week.
  1. Have your garbage out by 7 AM on your regular garbage day.
  2. Put your extra trash by the normal place your garbage is picked up (alley or berm).
  3. Please leave room next to your garbage can so the regular garbage truck can complete its route.   Learn more here.

Items the City of Grand Forks crews will not pick up during clean up week. 
  • Commercial Quantities
  • Large Residential Construction Projects
  • Large Piles of Tree Stumps/Branches

What about those electronic items that you no longer need in your home?
On May 2nd, the City of Grand Forks will host an Electronic Recycling Event at the Public Works Facility from 10 AM - 1 PM. Public Works Facility, 724 N. 47th St.   Each resident can bring 1 of each item - 1 refrigerator, 1 DVD player, 1 CD player, etc. 

Learn More about Spring Clean Up Week. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Buying a Home?

Have you ever considered buying a home? At first thought it sounds like a small process - 1) House Hunt >  2) Contact Bank >  3) Close & Move Into Home.  Well I'm here to tell you it is a longer and sometimes more stressful process than 1, 2, 3.  Let me explain the entire home buying process from my perspective as a current home buyer. 

The Home-Buying Process:

  1. Contact Your Lender for Pre-Qualification.  Most real estate professionals require all their buyers to be pre-qualified prior to opening any doors.  Sellers expect buyers to be pre-qualified when their home is shown and the most serious folks enter their home. Most purchase agreements have a requirement date of when a pre-qualified letter will be obtained. Better to have it before you get to that point than losing your buying power in the moment, this can happen during multiple offer situations. 
  2. Let the House Hunting Begin. Once you have been pre-qualified and your lender has helped determine the price you can afford, contact a real estate professional to help narrow your search for you and resource for the entire buying process. 
  3. Finding Your Home. You have found "the one" home. Now you write a purchase agreement, determine the amount of earnest money to "hold" the sale until close date, and negotiate with the sellers on the final acceptance of the offer.  A pre-qualified bank letter needs to be presented with the purchase agreement. Without the letter, your offer may get looked over by the sellers because they may think you are not qualified or a serious buyer. 
  4. Send Your Lender Final Contract. The lender needs several documents from you, the buyer, to prepare for the home closing. This can be a quick process or a lengthy process, dependent on several factors of the home buyers.
  5. Close & Move In. Make sure your hand is shape for the number of signatures and initials you will be making this day. When you write your purchase agreement, you and the seller will negotiate the date of the closing. At the closing, the title company and/or attorney will go over the final settlement statements with you.  The title company and/or attorney will then file the proper paperwork with the county, city, or others after the closing. 
This is the process for lender financed homes.  If you are planning to purchase a home with all cash, you will need to provide a "Proof of Funds" letter before the home search begins and that will be added to the purchase agreement. 

One of the best charts I have found to explain this process can be found on the Doorsteps Blog. 

If you have any questions on the home-buying process, please contact me and I'd be happy to answer any questions. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

What is the MLS and I'm not talking about Major League Soccer?

In the real estate industry you will hear the professionals use acronyms in nearly every single sentence. One of the most commonly used acronyms is MLS and it is not the Major League Soccer. The MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service.  According to website, 

"The MLS is a tool to help listing brokers find cooperative brokers working with buyers to help sell their clients' homes. Without the collaborative incentive of the existing MLS, brokers would create their own separate systems of cooperation, fragmenting rather than consolidating property information."

What does that mean to a real estate client? It means real estate professionals, within the same privately managed MLS board agree to share information about the property for sale and other real estate professionals can access the information and share it with their clients. Of course, privacy and confidentiality are a priority in real estate transactions.  There is information that will not be shared with the public to ensure sellers, buyers and professionals are safe and secure. 

The MLS is a fantastic tool for a sellers marketing plan.  Once a listing is added to the MLS, it connects with many other websites instantaneously, thus reducing a seller’s time and/or professionals time to post to several sites. For instance, when a seller lists their home with me at RE/MAX Grand the home information will be entered into the MLS and instantly show up on sites like:
  • KimberlyEfta.REALTOR
  • All RE/MAX Grand agents websites
  • All other broker websites connected to the MLS
  • All other agents websites at other companies connected to the MLS
The other benefits of the MLS include consistency and rules that all the professionals must follow. This helps with reporting and statistics that the agents can share with clients. 

The MLS in Grand Forks, ND is managed by the Grand Forks Area Association of REALTORS. The real estate professionals pay fees to keep the MLS to make it free to the public to access information. 

If you are interested in learning more about the MLS or my services, please contact me.