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    First Time Buyers

    December 8th, 2009

    cart(by Robin Polder) With the recent extension of the $8,000 First Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit program, the 2009 procrastinators have been given a temporary reprieve.  But, we have been warned, this is probably the last time for this program!

    The perennial dilemma for First Time Buyers is, “Where do I start?”  And, the answer is always the same: Find a good, knowledgeable REALTOR® who has a proven track record and solid reputation for taking care of the Buyer.

    Friends and relatives who have recently purchased are a good source for referrals, but we recommend that you take the initiative and interview at least 3 different REALTORS®.  If it takes more than 3, so be it, but the feedback we get is that 3 or 4 interviews gives the consumer a pretty good feel for a good agent.

    Next, you want to take a list of questions for each of the agents to answer.  The following is our suggested list:

    1. Are you a full time REALTOR®?

    While this sounds silly on the surface, you need to know a good percentage of agents are part-timers.  You want a full time agent for the very best service and for so many additional reasons!  Not the least of these being the fact that new listings come on all day long and could get sold before your part-time agent gets home from their “real” job!

    2. How long have you be actively selling real estate?

    You want someone who has been actively selling for at least the last 3 years.  Why?  You are buying your first home, the largest investment you have made to date—this is not the time to be working with a rookie!

    3. Can you tell me approximately how much I qualify for on a mortgage?

    There are over 40 different lenders in DM and not all of them carry every one of the 15+ different financing plans.  An agent who knows the ins and outs of basic pre-qualifying and the different financing programs is invaluable!  You should walk out of that initial meeting with at least 3 different financing plans that you qualify for that give you 3 distinctively different mortgage amounts—and, you should have a complete breakdown of your monthly payments on those plans in writing.  If they can’t do this now, they can’t do it right before you sign a purchase agreement.  You never want to sign a purchase agreement without knowing how much is it going to costs me to get in (down payment)  and how much is it going to cost me to stay in (monthly payment)?

    4.  If I use you as my REALTOR, whom will you represent?

    There are 3 ways an agent can operate when writing an offer:

    A. Buyer’s Agent

    B. Seller’s Agent

    C. Dual Agent

    A Buyer’s Agent represents just the buyer in the negotiations and  pledges loyalty to that Buyer.  A Seller’s Agent does the same for the Seller.  A Dual Agent represents BOTH the Buyer and Seller in the same transaction!

    Obviously, you want someone who is fighting for the best price, the best terms, and looking out for you: a Buyer’s Agent.  There is a form, required by law, that both you and the agent must sign declaring whom the agent is representing at the first meaningful contact.  If they aren’t willing to give you exclusive Buyer’s agency, my suggestion is to keep on interviewing!

    Robin Polder

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    Des Moines-Private Property Protection Program

    December 4th, 2009

    (by Mike Sheridan)

    If you own a residential property in the city of Des Moines, Iowa, and you have a foundation drain or a roof leader that drain
    into the sanitary sewer, or if you have a basement floor drain that does not have a backwater valve to prevent the sanitary
    sewer from backing up into your basement, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the City of Des Moines to have
    these problems corrected.
    A client made me aware of a program the City of Des Moines has to help property owners protect their basements from water
    damage, and to help reduce the overuse of sanitary sewers.
    If you have a licensed plumbing contractor perform any of the following modifications to your property, the City of Des Moines
    will reimburse you for the cost, up to a maximum of $1,000:
    1. Have a sump pump installed to direct foundation drainage to your yard or to your storm sewer.
    2. Have a roof leader disconnected from the sanitary sewer and redirected to your yard or to your storm sewer.
    3. Have a backwater valve installed in your basement drain to prevent the sanitary sewer from backing up into your
    basement.
    The purpose of this program is to protect homeowners from damage and to reduce the storm water that finds its way into the
    sanitary sewer system. A large percentage of the water that goes into sanitary sewer systems is water that does not need to
    be treated, and as a result, many municipal sewage treatment systems are overloaded. I’ve attached a full explanation along
    with an application.
    If you know someone who owns property in another city, you might want to suggest that they check with their city government
    to find out if they have a similar program.

    If you own a residential property in the city of Des Moines, Iowa, and you have a foundation drain or a roof leader that drain into the sanitary sewer, or if you have a basement floor drain that does not have a backwater valve to prevent the sanitary sewer from backing up into your basement, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the City of Des Moines to have these problems corrected.

    A client made me aware of a program the City of Des Moines has to help property owners protect their basements from water damage, and to help reduce the overuse of sanitary sewers.

    If you have a licensed plumbing contractor perform any of the following modifications to your property, the City of Des Moines

    will reimburse you for the cost, up to a maximum of $1,000:

    1. Have a sump pump installed to direct foundation drainage to your yard or to your storm sewer.

    2. Have a roof leader disconnected from the sanitary sewer and redirected to your yard or to your storm sewer.

    3. Have a backwater valve installed in your basement drain to prevent the sanitary sewer from backing up into your basement.

    The purpose of this program is to protect homeowners from damage and to reduce the storm water that finds its way into the sanitary sewer system. A large percentage of the water that goes into sanitary sewer systems is water that does not need to be treated, and as a result, many municipal sewage treatment systems are overloaded. I’ve attached a full explanation along with an application.

    If you know someone who owns property in another city, you might want to suggest that they check with their city government to find out if they have a similar program.

    MORE INFORMATION

    @MikeSheridan3

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