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Brick Street Realty - Personal. Professional. Preferred.

As the seller’s market continues to thrive across the country, sellers are
wondering how to choose the right offer. The frantic pace of the real estate
market has resulted in multiple offers on desirable properties. While this
may seem like a great problem for sellers to face, how do they know that
the buyer they choose can close on the home? Many times, sellers make
quick decisions and hope for the best, even as home prices continue to
This is where a kick-out clause can help.
A kick-out clause allows a seller to continue to market the home for sale
after accepting a buyer’s offer with contingencies. It also outlines the
conditions under which a seller can cancel, or kick-out, the contract if they
get a better offer.
Most real estate contracts include contingencies. Most common include
loan approval, appraisal, and home inspection. Often buyers will also
include a contingency to sell their current home. A kick-out clause protects
the seller from an escrow that drags on past the agreed-upon time frames.
For example, if a buyer is unable to sell their home or home inspection
negotiations continue past the time frames agreed to in the contract, a
seller can use the kick-out clause to force the buyer to remove the
contingency or cancel the contract.
Once escrow is opened, typically both parties must agree to close the
process. This can cause delays that cost the seller both time and money. A
kick-out clause is one way to ensure the escrow closes on time, and that
there are back-up offers ready to go if it doesn’t.

One of the most important financial considerations of buying a new home is
the interest rate paid on the mortgage. Over time, a higher interest rate can
add thousands of dollars to the true cost of buying the home. When interest
rates are low or steady buyers have greater confidence that they will get a
favorable rate when they go to secure the loan, but in our current
environment of rising interest rates, many lenders are suggesting a rate
lock at the time of pre-approval.
What is a Mortgage Rate Lock?
A rate lock freezes the interest rate on a mortgage for a period of time
before the close of the loan. Typically lasting for 30-60 days, the lender
guarantees the rate will not change during this period for a fee that is paid
when you agree to the loan terms.
A mortgage lock protects the borrower from rising interest rates while the
loan is processed and approved.
When should you lock in a Mortgage Rate?
Lenders will offer to lock in the rate at the time of loan approval. With
escrow periods of 30-60 days, the lock assures the buyer that their rate will
not increase during the time it takes to complete the loan process.
In a period of rising interest rates, as we see today, locking the rate may be
a smart idea. The borrower will pay a higher fee for the lock, as the lender
is also taking a risk, but it could be worth thousands of saved dollars over
the life of the loan. Even a small increase in the interest rate can have a
huge financial impact.

Natural design elements have been on trend for the past few years. Sustainable
wood, stone, and fabrics add simple beauty to spaces in all parts of the home. The
color palette of these materials tends to be soft beiges, creams, and browns;
lovely tones but without a pop of color, create cool, drab rooms that lack
personality. In keeping with the natural theme, designers and stagers are using
plants to add dimension and warmth.
Decorating with plants takes more strategy than adding a pretty pot to a coffee
table. Here are a few tips for incorporating plants into the design scheme that
home stagers use to make a home more appealing:
• Choose Low-Maintenance Plants – Choose plants that do not require a lot
of attention and water. This is especially helpful if the home is for sale.
• No Pollen – Asking ahead of time if a plant can trigger allergies will prevent
issues for guests and buyers.
• Mix and Match – Choose a variety of colors, heights, and textures.
• Showcase Home Features – Bight plants will attract attention. Consider a
tall plant to showcase the ceiling height or a bright bloom to draw the
buyer’s attention to a great view.
• Remember Stands and Pots – Make sure to choose pots or stands that
complement the design of the room.
Home design has embraced sustainable, green themes. Adding lush greenery to a
light-toned room will add warmth and make the home more inviting to potential

Did you know that each year paint and pigment companies work hard to
predict the hottest trends in colors. They choose the “Color of the Year” and
home designers love to infuse new tones and hues into their new designs.
For 2022, Shades of Green will be all the rage. While there is no
consensus about the specific shade of green and the colors range from soft
neutral mists to deep evergreen, suddenly style magazines are boasting
green in everything from furniture to fixtures.
Home designers have wasted no time incorporating these new colors in
their styles. Accent chairs in bright bold Seafoam will instantly add a
modern touch to your living spaces. Backsplashes in olives and cypress
create a new ambiance for the kitchen. A soothing color, green can also
create a relaxing environment in a bedroom or bathroom. Make easy
changes like new linens or towels for a quick uplift.
Paint is also a great way to instantly brighten a room. Take advantage of
the new green colors like guacamole or olive sprig to transform a
neutral-toned room to an interesting, modern space. Doors, kitchen
accents, walls, and furniture are great weekend projects to add green to
your home.
The shade of the year is Green! Soft, bright, blue-tones, yellow-toned, and
everything in between. If you’re ready to make a change, add a pop of color
in any room and embrace the Shade of the Year.

Couples dream of buying a home together, leisurely enjoying a latte while
dropping by open houses to look at remodeled kitchens and manicured
backyards. Today’s market is quite different. Desirable homes are snapped up the
moment they hit the market, often with multiple offers. Homebuyers in this
climate must move quickly. This may require jumping on an opportunity without
both partners adding their input.
Adding more complexity to a heated real estate market is job mobility. The US is
experiencing an unprecedented job market. More employees than ever before
are offering remote work environments. This business climate not only offers
flexibility in living location but also the opportunity to make a career move.
Making a change in location, regardless of the reason, often means one partner
can travel for house hunting.
So, how can you trust your partner to find the right house?
Before starting the home search, it’s important to work together to identify what
features are essential to the new home:
• Size
• Yard
• Bedrooms/bathrooms
• Schools
• Commute
• Community amenities
• Local services; shopping, restaurants, entertainment, gyms, parks, etc.
All these and more should be discussed and expectations set. Fortunately, we also
have extensive virtual tools to use in the home search. Not only virtual tours,
video, and drones, but a simple cell phone can easily take the absent partner on
the house tour in real-time.
Can you trust your partner to choose the right house? With some honest
conversation, careful planning, and technology – yes, you can!

It may seem like there are a million steps to the closing process when buying or
selling a home. A title search is just one of the many stages and title problems
may account for almost 10% of closing delays. As a seller, doing a preliminary title
search can help avoid costly delays at the end. So, what is a title search and what
does it disclose?
In the simplest form, a title search identifies who owns the property. This may
obvious, but surprisingly, sometimes the party selling the home may not actually
have the legal right to do so, at least on paper. For example, in the case of a
married couple, the property might be in only one spouse’s name. Another
example would be a property held in trust or probate; it could take some
paperwork to correct title to allow a sale.
A title search also uncovers any existing liens on the property. This would include
any current mortgages and may find old debt or unreleased loans. Items which
must be paid off or removed prior to sale. Finally, a title search will list any deed
restrictions, such as easements or property restrictions.
If the title search does find any issues, the seller will need to remove them before
the closing can occur. Once the sale is closed, title insurance ensures the new
owner against any title issues that were not discovered during the search.
No one wants unexpected delays during closing. A seller can help mitigate title
issues by running a preliminary title search at the time of listing. This gives them
plenty of time to address any outstanding title issues before it costs buyer and
seller valuable time in delays.

Buying a home is often an emotional decision; perhaps even more so than a
practical, financial decision. Real estate marketing has recognized this for decades
which is why agents have emphasized curb appeal and staging to their clients.
Open houses have featured the smell of fresh baked cookies and soothing music,
all in an effort to appeal to the buyer’s sense of home and comfort.
Many homeowners ponder this question, along with whether they can make
adjustments via remodels or additions. The fact is that our tastes, needs, and
lifestyles change and evolve over time. The past few years have dramatically
changed the way we look at our homes. More people than ever before now work
from home. That cute cottage or condo might have been the perfect home base
for evening and weekend activities, but fall short of the ideal full-time work space.
On the other hand, some homeowners have realized that they have under utilized
their property. During the pandemic, we saw home cooking, gardening, and crafts
boom. Yards have been redesigned to include vegetable beds and fruit trees.
Kitchen remodels have emphasized cooking space and gathering areas for family.
For anyone who has lived in their home for 7+years, it’s natural to wonder if the
property still suits their needs. Families grow and contract, lifestyles and jobs
change, and as life moves on, homeowners should periodically ask themselves if
they would buy their current home today.

Two Ways Homebuyers Can Win in Today’s Market

It’s no secret that many prospective homebuyers are finding the current real
estate market challenging. One of the more unexpected consequences of the
Covid pandemic was the hyper-focus on one’s home. This has resulted in a robust
market where sellers are seeing advancing home sales prices and multiple offers.
While competition is fierce, clearly for sellers to sell, they need buyers. If your goal
is to find a new home this year, there are a couple ways you can maximize your
ability to have your offer accepted.

Two Ways Homebuyers Can Win in Today’s Market

  1. Act Early – There are a couple reasons why home buyers should start early
    this year. With rising inflation, interest rates are likely to rise this year. While
    conventional wisdom may suggest lower real estate prices with an increase
    in mortgage rates, this is a gamble. Lower interest rates can not only save
    homeowners thousands of dollars over a 30-year term, but also provides
    better buying power with lenders, providing more choices.
  2. Buy Now and Move Later – The rapid pace of the current market affects not
    only buyers but sellers as well. In a typical market, sellers often have weeks
    or months to find their replacement property. Buyers can sweeten their
    offer by asking about the sellers needs and allowing them extra time to
    move, offering to close quickly but renting to the sellers for 2-3 months to
    allow them time to find their new home.
    The bottom line is that home loan rates and home prices will likely continue to
    advance throughout 2022. Potential homebuyers who move quickly can maximize
    their buying power and ability to win the home.

There are so many new tech gadgets on the market these days.
Technology should make your life easier and more enjoyable. Here are 5 of
the hottest tech gadgets to try right now.
5 Cool Home Tech Gadgets You Should Try Now

  1. Motion Sensor Night Lights – Hate walking down a dark hallway at
    night? What about navigating the landmine of kids toys in the living
    room. These night lights have motion sensors built-in so they turn on
    as you walk by them.
  2. Logitech Harmony Elite – One stop shop for your home smart
    devices. Harmony Elite is one control that handles all your devices in
    one place; lowering blinds, dimming lights, Alexa, Apple TV, Sony and
    much more.
  3. Rubold Dog Dematting Tool – Make Rover happy and keep
    unwanted hair off your furniture and clothes. This device has rounded
    teeth to avoid scratching and reaches the undercoat without yanking
    the hair.
  4. Ring Beams Home Security Lights – Ring is a household name for
    home security. Now Ring Beams cameras and doorbells add motion
    lighting to enhance security when using the system.
  5. Smart Thermostats – A smart thermostat can not only put your home
    on a schedule, saving money and offering comfort, but also allows
    you to turn on the heat or air conditioning to prepare the home for
    your arrival.
    Home smart devices and technology are improving all the time. With all the
    exciting products on the market, there’s never been a better time to
    experiment with smart technology

Home Inspection Red Flags

Most homebuyers realize that they can’t expect a perfect home inspection report
when buying a resale home. Cosmetic flaws and minor repairs are easily managed
and shouldn’t be dealbreakers. That said, there are some issues that are more
serious and should give the buyer pause if not addressed adequately.
10 Home Inspection Red Flags

  1. Leaky and Rundown Roofing – watch for signs of current or past water
  2. Poor Drainage – drainage issues can cause serious damage to the home
    foundation, siding, and basements.
  3. Foundation Issues – signs of foundation problems can include cracks
    around doors and windows or uneven floors. Foundation problems can cost
    thousands of dollars to correct.
  4. Plumbing Problems – major plumbing issues should be considered carefully
    and further explored.
  5. Pest Infestations – termites and other wood-eating pests can cause
    extensive damage that can be hard to find and costly to repair.
  6. Mold – that “musty” smell could be due to hidden mold and further
    investigation should be taken as mold can be dangerous to the health of
    the family. Depending on the type of mold, it can be very difficult to
    remove entirely.
  7. Faulty Heating System – a malfunctioning furnace can be a fire hazard.
  8. Electrical Wiring – faulty wiring can cost thousands of dollars to repair.
  9. Structural Damage – sagging joists, rafters, and door jambs can be evidence
    of larger issues.
    10.Deferred Maintenance – a home in poor condition could be hiding more
    serious issues due to chronic neglect.
    Homebuyers should be alert to these issues and know the costs to repair before
    concluding the sale. Home sellers should address these issues before putting the
    home up for sale to ensure they get the best possible sales price.
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