Wednesday, April 23, 2008

First Time Home Buyers Should Know About Restrictive Covenants!

Before purchasing a new or existing home, first time home buyers should ask many questions of their Accredited Buyer Representative……..
  • How much will I pay in annual taxes?
  • What will be the amount of my annual homeowner insurance premium?
  • Is the home serviced by a municipal sewer service or do I pay a separate company for my sewer service? (In Richland County, Palmetto Utilities provides sewer service to several Northeast Columbia communities.)

    Here’s another good question a.k.a. The Question of the Day……….

    Is the home located in a neighborhood that has restrictive covenants?

Residential real estate developers have been known to establish nonnegotiable restrictions and conditions of ownership in residential communities. These restrictions and conditions are listed in the Neighborhood Homeowners Association's (HOA) Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) attached to the title of the property.

By not meeting the terms of the CC&Rs, the HOA could impose penalties that can range from placing a lien on your home to home foreclosure.

HOA CC&Rs commonly impose annual regime fees (that could possibly increase your monthly mortgage payment) and govern neighborhood standards such as acceptable home exterior colors, the maximum height of a fence and the acceptable location(s) to install a satellite dish (a requirement of the Patterson household).

Anyone can ask first time home buyers questions like......How many bedrooms or bathrooms? Do you want brick or vinyl? These are important questions.

However, there are OTHER QUESTIONS that should be answered. Knowing whether you are willing to live in a restricted neighborh0od should be decided BEFORE YOU SHOP for a home.

Postscript -- Here are some real examples of Homeowner Association covenants at these sites:

East Lake Homeowners Association Site --------------------- East Lake Restrictive Covenants

Forest Glen Homeowners Association Site ------------------ Forest Glen Restrictive Covenants

Oak Pointe Homeowners Association Site ------------------- Oak Pointe Restrictive Covenants

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Most Common Question Asked by First Time Home Buyers

“What is the first step in the process of purchasing a home?” This is the most common question asked of me by first time home buyers. My answer is always the same. “You need to hire a team of professionals!”

Have you seen the commercial with a man sitting at his kitchen table while on the phone with his doctor? The doctor starts by saying………

"Hey Bob…… have you disinfected the area?...Good....Now make a three-inch incision between the fourth and fifth abdominal muscles." The worried-looking man on the other end of the phone stares at the knife and says………."Shouldn't you be doing this?"

"It's really straightforward. Listen, I gotta go. I'll talk to you later." The doctor hangs up the telephone and leaves this poor guy to his own devises. Most of you would say….this is an unrealistic commercial. No one would make an attempt to perform that act.
Literally, I would agree with that statement. However, let’s dig a little deeper into that state of mind.

If we had termites or some other serious infestation, wouldn't we hire a pest company to treat the home? If we had a plumbing leak behind our clothes washer that caused water to seep into the walls (personal experience), wouldn’t we hire a plumber?

Not only would we hire these professionals. We’d even agree to pay their fee.

Consider this. There are several first time homebuyers shopping for homes while sitting at their computer with a knife in their hands.

Purchasing a home without hiring a team of professionals could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs, mortgage interest, and home equity. There are several aspects to buying a home.

If you are a first time homebuyer, YOU SHOULD NOT BE WORKING ALONE!

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

MLS! - What Does Soccer Have to Do with Buying a Home?

While doing some spring cleaning in my office for an upcoming event (that will prompt me to post a press release in the future…….stay tuned), I received an unexpected “walk-in” buyer.

“Mr. Patterson…I drove here from Boston and saw your ad in one of the local real estate magazines. To be closer to my family in Eastover, I am here to buy a home and 40 acres of land. Can you help?”

You all know my answer to that question!

I lead the New Englander to my conference room and began the Buyer Interview.
After some initial chit-chat, I asked……..What is your goal in this real estate transaction?

“I’d like to buy a big home with little money!”

“Well…’Mr. New Englander’, let’s scan the MLS database for homes that meet your criteria.”

“Mr. Patterson…..MLS! What Does Soccer Have to Do with Buying a Home?

“Mr. New Englander”……..I don’t understand.

“We have a soccer team in New England called The Revolution. They play in the MLS!”

No. No. No………MLS stands for the Multiple Listing Service.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a database which allows real estate brokers representing sellers to share information about properties with other real estate brokers who may represent potential buyers.

By conducting an initial buyer interview with MLS at my fingertips, I bring more efficiency in the home searches of first time home buyers or those relocating to Columbia and Irmo, SC.

When meeting with a Buyer Agent for the first time, you should already have answers to these Top 10 Basic Questions that will be asked during a search of the MLS database………..

1. Have you been pre-approved for a mortgage? What is your desired monthly payment?

2. What area of metropolitan Columbia, SC interests you? (Northeast Columbia, Irmo, West Columbia, Lexington, Blythewood, etc.)

3. Are school districts important to you? Do you have a preferred school district?

4. Are you against being in a neighborhood with restrictive covenants?
5. Do you have a preference between an older home and a newer home?

6. How many bedrooms and bathrooms?
7. Do you prefer a ranch-style or two-story home?
8. Do you require a fireplace, garage or hardwood floors?
9. Do you have a preference between brick or vinyl exterior?
10. Do you have a preference between homes on crawl spaces or slab foundations?

By answering these questions before accessing MLS, you could save yourself $3.20+/gallon in gasoline costs and possibly put yourself on the fast track to finding your next home.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Why Are You Having Trouble Selling Your Home?

Homeowners and readers of The Patterson Files have given me some inspiration. When I began my "Why Aren't Buyers Coming to See My Home?" series of posts, I did not expect the amount of interest in that topic on my blog. I was pleasantly surprised. Look for more of those posts in the future.

For this post, let's slightly shift the focus. There are some homeowners that experience a large amount of buyer traffic when putting home on the market. However.....ALL THEY HAVE IS TRAFFIC! Sellers want offers and contracts! If you are reading this post and you fit into that category, I have a question for you.

Why are you having trouble selling your home? Exposure to the market could be an issue! Pricing could be an issue! What are some other challenges with selling a home?

Take a Look at this Guest Contribution from Akanke Cadden
with in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
(954) 302-4377 /

If this hits home, address the issue BEFORE YOUR NEXT SHOWING!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Why Aren’t Buyers Coming to See Your Home? – Part Deux!

When I posted my first installment on answering the aforementioned question, I saw about four times more traffic in a short amount of time. Since I want my readers to know that I’m paying attention to their interests, let me hit you with my second answer to this popular question.

I’ve been known to answer questions with questions. This post will only support that reputation. You are wondering……Why Aren’t Buyers Coming to See Your Home?

Let me ask you a question. Is your home PRICED TO SELL?

Pricing your home is both an art and a science. Achieving the optimal price is the result of conducting OBJECTIVE research into comparable properties and a gut feeling about your property in relation to the current market. If you gut isn’t giving you the desired result, go and look at your competition.

Visit homes for sale in your neighborhood and analyze their asking price. If you home doesn’t show as well as your neighbors’ or isn’t priced as aggressively as your neighbors’, you might want to reconsider your asking price.

Price is the number one factor that most home buyers use to determine which homes they want to view. Furthermore, most Accredited Buyer Representatives will limit a buyer’s home search and their showings by analyzing the blend of price and value that is desired by their buyer client.

Even though the PRICE of the home is set by the homeowner, the VALUE of the house is determined by the buyer through influence from their research or from a real estate professional. (Note…I purposely used home and house in the same sentence.)

Attention Homeowners………..Try to avoid allowing your enthusiasm to impact your better judgment. Overpricing is a mistake that can cost sellers thousands of dollars.

As a proud member of the Council of Certified Residential Specialists, we would like to share some reliable guidelines to use for pricing your home……


  • How Quickly Do You Need To Sell (click here for examples of recent sales)

  • The number of homes on the market in your neighborhood or immediate area

  • Availability, Flexibility and Affordability of Financing

  • Sale prices of homes sold in your neighborhood/area during the past six months.

Factors that should NOT affect your asking price include..........

  • Your purchase price for the home. Remember........Buyers Set Value!

  • Today's cost to build your current home.

  • Your emotional attachment to the HOME. (It's a HOUSE to the buyer.)

  • The opinions of friends and neighbors....UNLESS that neighbor is a member of the Council of Certified Residential Specialists.

In Part Three of this series, I might give you some video for your viewing pleasure.