Why Use a Licensed Torrance Realtor?

Why Should you use a realtor®?

All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®.   REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reports that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR® again.

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions in Torrance today usually exceed $800,000. If you had a $800,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $800,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be foolish to consider a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a REALTOR®.

But if you’re still not convinced of the value here are twelve reasons to use a realtor:

1. Your REALTOR® can help you determine your buying power — that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a REALTOR® some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders — banks and mortgage companies — offer limited choices.

2. Your REALTOR® has many resources to assist you in your home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.

3. Your REALTOR® can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents who are REALTORS®have access to a variety of informational resources. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning. schools, etc. There are two things you’ll want to know. First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?

4. Your REALTOR® can help you negotiate. There are myriad negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

5. Your REALTOR® provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your REALTOR® can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written.
reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitations; for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Your REALTOR®, title company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.

6. Your REALTOR® can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.

7. Your REALTOR® can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.

8. When selling your home, your REALTOR® can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.

9. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. Often, your REALTOR® can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of your property. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Your REALTOR® acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc. The
REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires REALTORS® to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients.

10. Your REALTOR® will know when, where and how to advertise your property. There is a misconception that advertising sells real estate. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. When a property is marketed with the help of your REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

11. Your REALTOR® can help you objectively evaluate every buyer’s proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing — a lot of possible pitfalls. Your REALTOR® can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.

12. Your REALTOR® can help close the sale of your home. Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your REALTOR® is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing (or settlement).

Keith Kyle is a licesnsed Realtor with Vista Sotheby’s International Realty with offices throughout the South Bay.  Keith has been a full time realtor since 2005 and a “Top Producer” in the area every year since 2007.  He has helped hundreds of buyers and sellers in Torrance and the Beach Cities and looks forward to helping you as well.  Contact Keith for all of your real estate needs.

State of Torrance Real Estate Market As We Head into 2020

Welcome to our Torrance real estate update for the coming year.   2020 is looking to be another banner year for home sellers as the combination of seemingly endless demand and historically low interest rates means more people will be looking to purchase a home.

View the current homes for sale in Torrance California.

In general the real estate market seems to be slowing down heading into 2020 but for a very odd reason…..each month there are fewer homes hitting the market.  Fewer listings mean fewer home sales.  January saw a very slight uptick in the number of listings so we’re hopeful that is a trend that continues.  Other than that small bump in January, the number of homes for sale has dropped every month since May of 2019

According to Torrance realtor Keith Kyle, “It’s clear that the market is cooling off as there has been an increase in new listings coupled with fewer sales and homes going into escrow since summer.”  The chart above shows that the number of active listings has held pretty steady between 150 and 170 since summer, but the number of sold homes as well as new escrows has continued to decrease.  If this trend continues the market will shift more in favor of buyers and less in favor of sellers.  It’s clearly been a sellers market over the past few years.

The chart below shows the upward trend over the past few months with avarage “months of inventory” of unsold homes on the rise.

What Exactly Is Debt To Income Ratio

One of the key items that a lender takes into consideration when you’re getting pre approved for a loan and during the underwriting process is your debt to income ratio. This tells the lender how much money you owe each month compared with your monthly income to come up with a ratio to determine how much of a risk you are to them.  This ratio comes from adding up all of your debts including mortgages, auto laons, student loans, credit card balances and any other debt you pay off each month to your pre-tax income each month. Lenders have different thresholds that they’ll allow so it’s always good to talk with several lenders.  If you’re not comfortable getting the process started we would be happy to give you several lenders that we’ve worked with and that have earned our trust.

How Buyers and Sellers Handle Home Inspection Challenges

One of the more treacherous parts of an escrow is the home inspection and request for repairs.  Often times the buyer thinks that the home inspection is a “checklist” of what needs to be fixed while the seller either thinks their home is perfect or “it was just fine for us so why does the buyer need things that work fine upgraded or repaired”.  Finding middle ground isn’t always easy.

As the graphic below shows, 80% of home inspection reports show at least something needing to be fixed.  We always recommend to both our buyers and sellers to be reasonable.  On the buyer side stick to actual problems or repairs.  If it’s an issue that the buyer will have to immediately pay for to have repaired…it’s a reasonable request.  The biggest challenge items are either those called out as not up to current code, or items towards the end of their service life.  Buyers need to understand that the statement “not up to current building code” does not mean it’s necessarily problematic.  Codes change all of the time and unless it’s a clear safety issue, it’s usually best to stick with actual repairs.  Items at the end of their service life really depend on the item, the cost and how extensive the rest of the repair list.  We’ve found that asking for everything usually ends with the seller dismissing any repairs….even the reasonable ones.

Keith Kyle is a top producing realtor and Torrance real estate specialist with Vista Sotheby’s International Realty in the South Bay.  Contact Keith for more information on how the home inspection and escrow process works in Torrance real estate.

Why You Should Have a Home Inspection When Purchasing a Home in Torrance

Why You Should Have a Home Inspection – Torrance Real Estate

Whether you’re buying an older home or new construction in the South Bay, a home inspection is an absolute necessity. A home inspection will assess the building code conformity as well as all the systems and structural components that make up the building, such as:

  • Structural elements, foundation, framing etc
  • Plumbing systems
  • Electrical systems
  • Heating and Cooling systems
  • Roofing
  • Cosmetic condition, paint, siding, etc.
  • General Environmental Issues.

When you’ve decided upon the South Bay home you want to buy and you’re about to sign the Offer To Purchase real estate contract, make sure there is an inspection contingency in that contract allowing you to get your own professional Home Inspection. “Pre-Selling” or “Pre-Listing” inspections are not common, however, in some cases, a savvy seller may have had their own structural inspection done which they usually will provide to a prospective home buyer. If they are wise, they will have arranged to have any discovered problems corrected.

However, I still insist that my buyer clients have his or her own independent inspection done. Normally, upon acceptance of the Offer To Purchase, you will have 17 days to have the inspection completed, analyze the report and respond to the seller. We will be your eyes and ears at the structural inspection should it not be possible for you to be present yourself.

In the event that hidden problems are revealed through the structural inspection process, you may do one of two things:

  1. If the inspection reveals conditions that change your desire to buy the home, you may terminate the purchase agreement by notifying the seller in writing and provide a copy of the inspection report disclosing the problems.
  2. You may submit a list of the problems discovered in the inspection report, known as a request for repair, to the seller and request that the seller make the necessary corrections and repairs before the deal is closed, or adjust the price accordingly.

The Inspection Report

When you interview a home inspector, ask him what type of report format he provides. There are several types of reports used by inspectors, such as computer generated reports, the checklist format and the narrative style report. Some reports are completed and generated on site and some may take up to a week to complete. There are good and bad points to all of these formats.

Make sure that the inspector will take pictures that explain their descriptions and potential problems.

Hire an inspector that gives detailed descriptions of the home and potential problems instead of vauge and easily missinterpreted descriptions.

“Bathroom Shower Enclosure: Condition – Minor wear, heavy wear, damaged, rust stains, or chips in enamel finish. Recommend sealing drain and pan at base of tile.”

As you can see, this narrative description includes a recommendation for repair. Narrative reports without recommendations for repairing deficient items may be difficult to interpret, should your knowledge of construction be limited.

Make sure, if you do not understand something, that you ask questions. Items in the inspection report that are not serious quite often can be interpreted by a nonprofessional to be a major factor. A good home inspector should be able to put things into perspective and answer all your questions. If for some reason a question cannot be answered at the time of the inspection, the inspector should research the question and obtain the answer for you.

Take the time to become familiar with your home inspection report. If the report has a legend, key, symbols or icons, read and understand them thoroughly. The more information provided to you about the property, the easier it will be to understand the overall condition. If possible, try to be present when the inspector is doing the inspection. You do not have to be there during the entire process, but if you can walk through with the inspector at the end so he can show you the findings of the structural inspection, you will learn a great deal about the home you are about to purchase.

Who Pays for What During Escrow in Torrance?

Closing Costs – Who Generally Pays What In a Torrance CA Escrow

Keep in mind that the charts below are based on the standard allocation of costs in Torrance.  As with any detail of buying a home everything is negotiable including who pays what costs during the transaction.  In addition not all of these costs exist in every transaction and many are dependent on the lender, escrow company and the details of the offer.

Title Fees

Cost Customarily Charged By/To: Description
Owners Title Policy Title:To Seller Fee for the title policy. Calculated using the sales price.May be reduced if home was purchased or refinanced inthe last 5 years. Insures that the title is as agreedto at closing
LendersTitle Policy Title:To Buyer Title policy issued to lender to cover the amount of the loan.Based on the loan amount unless it is a negative amortizationloan.
Sub Escrow Fee Title:to Buyer & Seller Fee to administer the payoff of loans or property taxes of the seller and collection of funds from the new lender
Document Transfer Tax County: to Seller at $1.10 per thousand of sales priceCity: No transfer tax in Torrance Fee charged on all properties that transfer title – based on sales price.
Record Release/Reconveyance County:To Seller Charge to record the release/reconveyance
Federal Express/Messanger Fees Federal Express: to Buyer & Seller Charge to deliver all time sensitive documents and monies
Title/Wire Fee Banking Instituion: to Buyer & Seller Charge to wire funds to escrow, seller, lenders, etc
Electronic Recording County: to Buyer Charge to electronically record the document
Record Grant Deed County: To Buyer Charge to record the grant deed
Record Trust Deed County: To Buyer Charge to record the trust deed.
Messenger Messenger Service: To Buyer and Seller Charge to special messenger documents during the escrow: Feevaries with distance
Lender’s Endorsement Title: to Buyer Charge for endorsements required by lender to cover “outsidethe normal” risk circumstances

Escrow Fees

Cost Customarily Charged By/To: Description
Escrow Fee Escrow: Each pays own Covers liability assumed as well as standard processing costs.
Demand Fee Escrow: to Seller Charge to request a statement & process involved in getting a payoff figureto escrow on the outstanding amount of the current loan. One demand fee per loan.
Process HOA Docs & Transfer Fee Escrow: Seller Fee for processing required to assign membership for HOA a& copying all governing documents
Document Fee Escrow: to Buyer Covers the cost of all processing required to meet new lender requirements
Loan Tie-In Fee Escrow: to Buyer Covers the cost of all processing required to meet new lender requirements
Federal Express Federal Express: to Buyer For document packages to out of County Lenders.

Lender Fees

Cost Customarily Charged By/ To Description
Origination Fee Lender: to Buyer Charge for lending money at 1% of the loan amount
Documentation Preparation Lender: to Buyer Paid to lender for preparation of final loan documents
Tax service Tax Service: to Buyer Fee charged to buyer to set up property taxes with the state
Wire Banking institution Charge for the wiring of funds to title for closing
Underwriting Lender: to Buyer Fee to direct lender for the process of approving
Tax impounds Lender: to Buyer Collected to create an impound reserved account for the lender to pay property taxes twice a year
Prepaid Insurance Lender:to Buyer Generally 1yr of hazard insurance collected for impound reserveaccount
Appraisal Appraiser:to Buyer Paid directly to appraiser for appraisal of property
Credit Report Lender: to Buyer Paid to credit bureau for report containing 3 credit scores
Processing Lender: to Buyer Paid to mortgage broker for processing loan package from application to closing

Disbursements

Cost Customarily Charged By/ To Description
HOA Transfer Fee HOA Management: to Buyer To transfer ownership and handle new accounting set up
HOA Dues HOA Management: to Seller Paid through month of closing
Fire Insurance Insurance Agency: to Buyer 1 year prepaid premium for Homeowners insurance
Notary Notary: to Buyer

Payoffs

Cost Customarily Charged By/ To Description
Recording Fee Existing Lender: to Borrower Charge for having reconveyance recorded.
Statement forwarding fee Existing Lender: to Borrower Charge for issuing a payoff statement

Credits and Prorations

Cost Customarily Charged By/ To Description
HOA Dues Seller: to Buyer Calculated from date of COA through month-end
County Property Taxes Seller: to Buyer Calculated from the date of payoff through end of period paid for.