How To Prepare Your Kids For Moving

If you feel stressed about moving, imagine what it’s like for your kids. You have a say in the decisions that dictate the how, when and where of your move. Your kids probably don’t.

Children are creatures of habit. Any disturbance in the routine will prompt a reaction, whether it’s a teenager rebelling or a four-year old pitching a fit. It’s normal for them to feel apprehensive and anxious – make sure they know that.

Be honest
Talk to children about what to expect, answer questions, share your feelings and encourage them to share theirs. Make sure they know they can come to you at any time. The prospect of being uprooted from school, sports teams, friends and a familiar house can be traumatic, and the longer your children have been building relationships, the more upset they will likely be. Let them know that you can and will help them through the transition. Every child is different, but overall, kids are pretty resilient; they just need time to warm up to new ideas and get adjusted to major changes in their lives. Let them know why the family is moving and put the date of your move on the family calendar for all to see.

All is not lost
Remind them that moving doesn’t mean they’re going to lose touch with their friends. They can still keep in contact via e-mail, text message and social networks. You may also want to arrange a visit where your children’s friends come to the new house after you’ve settled in a bit.

Be a role model
Kids pick up on their parents’ emotion and state of mind. If you’re frantic and nervous about the move, they will be too. If you keep it together and express confidence, your kids will likely follow your lead. Concentrate on all the opportunities and emphasize all new experiences that lie ahead. This is an exciting time.

Let them help
If it’s practical, let the kids participate during the home search. Encourage them to ask questions – sometimes kids ask the most insightful questions. Look at the house through their eyes and try to think of their concerns. Take extra time to show them where their room will be, and ask them to think about where they want their furniture.

Pick it up, pack it in
Packing is never fun, nor is it tremendously exciting. Younger kids in particular may need a little help understanding the concept. Let them know you’re not throwing away toys; you’re just making sure that they’re packed safely away and that they’ll be available when you get to the new place. Let them write their names on the boxes with colorful magic markers or crayons.

One tip that can really help, no matter the age, is to have a box with just their “important” stuff. This box may contain music, pictures, a favorite book, a stuffed animal or any other valued item. If possible, it should stay with the family during the move. If it must go with the movers, unpack it first to create a level of comfort and familiarity on the first night in the new house.

What’s it like?
If you’re moving to a new city or state, show them where you’re going to live on a map. Also, use the Internet to find kid-friendly attractions and other information about your new town. Allow them to get excited, as this may help counteract some of their nerves. It also helps to get your family back into a comfortable routine as quickly as possible.

We can do it
Moving can be a stressful experience for kids, but as a parent, you can alleviate some of the anxiety by being honest, answering questions and involving them in the process.

Ask your Texas Realtor® for advice or resources that can help ease the transition to your new community. As an expert in the real estate industry, your Realtor® likely helped another family through a similar situation.

For more information about moving or to find a Texas Realtor®, visit TexasRealEstate.com.

Why A Signed Contract Isnt the End of the Sale

Whew. The buyer and seller both signed the contract, so that’s it, right? The house is sold, and everyone moves on. Not so fast. There’s still a long way to go.

Unfortunately, sometimes real estate transactions that start out fine unravel for any number of reasons. But when you’re aware of problems that can occur, you may be able to avoid them. Here are a few to watch for and, if possible, avoid.

The buyer changes his mindThe residential contract includes a termination option, which allows a buyer to get out of the contract for a certain number of days. The buyer pays for this option, and the amount paid as well as the number of days are negotiated by parties to the contract. During the option period, the buyer can terminate the contract for any reason – or for no reason at all. He may get cold feet, change his mind, find a property he likes better, or learn something about the property that he didn’t know when he negotiated the contract.

An inspection reveals bad thingsSpeaking of learning additional information about a property, most buyers hire a professional inspector to examine the home and identify problems. Most of the time, this inspection occurs during the option period. If an inspection turns up something significant, the buyer may decide to exercise his option or he may decide that he still wants to proceed. He also may attempt to amend the contract, either by changing the price or by getting the seller to make repairs at the seller’s expense. Obviously, this introduces elements that can disrupt the transaction or end it altogether.

Financing isn’t available to the buyerIt’s not enough for a buyer to tell the seller how much he will pay for the home. The buyer must prove that he’s able to pay that much. If the purchaser isn’t paying cash for the property, he’ll need a mortgage. And if he can’t get that financing, that’s a deal killer. What happens when a buyer cannot secure a loan depends on how the contract was filled out. In some instances, the buyer may be on the hook for the earnest money – sort of a good-faith deposit – he paid. In other cases, the buyer will receive a refund of his earnest money.

The home isn’t worth the purchase priceEven if a buyer can qualify for the loan amount, the property may not. That is, most lenders require an appraisal of a home prior to making a loan. The lender wants to know that the collateral for the loan – the property itself – is actually worth the purchase price.

Title problems derail the processSome homes have title problems that can grind a transaction to a halt. Perhaps there’s a lien on the property or an easement that affects the quality of life of the property owners. There may even be a claim that the person selling the home isn’t the true owner after all.

And another thing …As you can see, there are many ways a promising real estate deal can crash and burn. Add the following to the list above: agreed-to repairs that the buyer deems unsatisfactory or incomplete; a surprise during the final walk-through of the home, such as an item that was supposed to convey that is no longer in the home; a sudden request right before or at closing; and plain-old default.

Whether you’re a buyer or seller, your Texas Realtor® can help you avoid these scenarios and give you good advice when a potential deal-killer does arise. Sometimes, she may suggest you turn to a lawyer, inspector, engineer, or other professional for assistance; other times, she may be able to put things back on track with a phone call or two. Either way, it’s nice to have someone on your side to help you achieve your goal of buying or selling a home.

For more information, I invite you to visit the redesigned TexasRealEstate.com.

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What Makes A Fair Offer And Asking Price

When you’re buying anything—and that includes a house—you want to be as informed as possible.

One of the most important factors in the purchase of a home is determining what makes a fair asking price and, by extension, a fair offer—one that is more likely to be accepted.
How do sellers arrive at an asking price?First, it’s helpful to know that there are two primary considerations most homeowners use to determine the asking price for a property—and they’re both about motivation.

The first motivation is to sell the house quickly. Sellers in this situation may be more aggressive in their pricing strategy—and that could mean good things for you. It may also mean a multiple-offer situation, so be prepared to act.

Some sellers don’t need to sell in any particular time frame. Their main motivation is to maximize profit on the property. In many cases, the home may be owned outright or be a second home. This can mean the seller is looking for a certain price and will likely be less flexible.

In most cases, though, there’s a happy medium between the two extremes—and that’s where most homeowners end up.

So how do you know if an asking price falls is reasonable?Do your research
As I mentioned at the outset, it’s important to be an informed consumer. The best way to get informed is to do your research. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University (www.recenter.tamu.edu) is a good place to start. The center offers sales data from around the state, which enables you to learn about the local market.

You should look for things like how quickly homes have been selling in a neighborhood and the surrounding areas.

Aside from the seller’s motivation, which you will likely not know, think about what factors may go into pricing a home—renovations that have been done, the general condition of the home, school district, location, and more.
Get help from an expert
Buying a home can be an intimidating, confusing and lengthy process, and I strongly urge you to use an expert to guide you through the transaction.

Texas Realtors® are certainly industry experts, but more than that, we’re local experts who know what’s going on in a particular neck of the woods. Real estate market conditions can greatly vary within a city, so it’s this local expertise that really offers value to you.

From the specific to the general
You may only buy a few homes in your entire life, but most Texas Realtors® conduct several transactions per year—often in the same area. This frequency not only enables us to spot local trends in pricing and market conditions, it also affords a familiarity with the process so there are no stones left unturned, no documents left unsigned, and fewer chances for the transaction to fail.

For more real estate advice, tips and information about buying, selling or leasing property in the Lone Star State, please visit TexasRealEstate.com.