Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump
May your potatoes 'n gravy
Have nary a lump


May your yams be delicious
May your pies take the prize
May your thanksgiving dinner
Stay off of your thighs

There are two President’s who explain what the Thanksgiving holiday is all about. Two centuries separated them. Yet both have a very common vision for this day.

"Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day. Rooted deeply in our Judeo-Christian heritage, the practice of offering thanksgiving underscores our unshakable belief in God as the foundation of our Nation and our firm reliance upon Him from Whom all blessings flow."  Ronald Reagan – 1986.

Then there is this 3-minute video of the original Thanksgiving Proclamation signed by President Washington 225 years ago. That proclamation so eloquently explains the reason and original intent of that first Thanksgiving celebration. Less than six months earlier the Constitution became the supreme law of the land.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. (Psalm 107:8).

Housekeeping note – The next blog is Monday, December 1, 2014.  Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
_________________________________

Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Can Your Facebook Friends Really Influence Your Credit Score?

Recent news reports suggesting your Facebook and other social media friendships could someday influence your credit score left out a few details — like why that’s not going to happen in the U.S.

After reading news headlines from CNN to Mint.com suggesting that it’s just a matter of time before credit reporting bureaus begin using my social media footprint and friendships to rate my credit, I felt sad that I was going to have to drop all the old friends I reconnected with on Facebook after my high school’s 30th reunion.

After all, I did meet them in my school’s smoking lounge in the late 1970s. Who knows what kind of credit they have now. What if they grew up to become financial lollygaggers?

I put in a call to Experian Director of Public Education Rod Griffin to find out the best way to figure out my friends’ credit scores so I’d know who to unfriend, lest they tarnish my stellar score and prevent me from getting a mortgage.

Griffin told me to take my finger off the unfriend button. Turns out, those companies trying to use social media to determine creditworthiness are in other countries.

Here in the U.S., social media isn’t used for consumer credit scoring. Why not? Because there are some pesky consumer laws in this country that require credit reporting companies to use data that actually predicts whether you’re likely to pay a debt. The data has to be about your behavior, not your friends’ behavior, and it has to be related to repayment, not what you think of Obamacare.

Even if someone could show that posts about hating pink houses corresponded to hating to pay your bills on time, Experian wouldn’t use your hatred of pink houses to calculate your credit score because it’s not related to actual bill-paying behavior.

The data most relevant to credit scoring isn’t who you’re interacting with on social media, it’s your financial track record. A late payment on a car loan is a strong indicator that you’re not going to pay another debt, like your mortgage.

We Americans have other consumer rights that would make using social media in credit reporting tough — like the right to fix mistakes in our credit reports.

If social media information was used in credit scoring, can you imagine the letter you’d have to write to get errors fixed? And how would the credit bureau try to correct errors? Maybe we would write a letter like this:

Dear Social Media Credit Reporting Firm:

I don’t know where you got the idea I’m good friends with Joe Johnson. I’m not. He contacted me after my 30th reunion and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by refusing his friend request. Please make the correction in your files as required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

It Doesn’t Work for Loans, Either – A second federal law would make it really tricky to use your social media postings to decide whether to give you a loan. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act says you can’t discriminate against me because of my gender, ethnicity, marital status, or age.

All of those characteristics appear on the average mom’s Facebook feed. If you stripped out pictures of me (I’m pretty obviously white), my husband (yes, I’m married), and my girls’ nights out with friends (I’m pretty obviously female), there’d be nothing left but pictures of my daughter playing field hockey. And a headshot of me that’s so digitally altered you might not realize you should be discriminating due to my age.

So for now, I’ll remain friends with my fellow Wilde Lake High School Wildecats because finding out what happened to old classmates is what social media was meant to do. But credit scoring? Not so much.

Related:
_____________________________________
Dona DeZube wrote this sponsored article that appeared on National Association of Realtors® web site and is used with permission. She has been writing about real estate for more than two decades. She lives in a suburban Baltimore Midcentury modest home on a 3-acre lot shared with possums, raccoons, foxes, a herd of deer, and her blue-tick hound. Follow Dona on Google+.

Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.


Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What Keeps a House From Selling

One of the puzzles in real estate is trying to determine the mind of the buyer. There are some houses that should sell in a heartbeat. Those seem the most difficult to sell. Others appear on the surface to be tough challenge. Yet those listings seem to sell overnight. There is no magic formula. However there are some things that every seller can avoid to make a better impression on the buyer. And here is the nice part – none of these suggestions concern pricing. Rather, each deals with how to improve the showing itself.

Cleanliness – Let’s reiterate a common theme on this blog. The house is the most valuable capital asset most people own. The buyer wants to purchase the largest capital asset in his life. When a seller presents a house to a buyer, if that house conveys an appearance of neatness and cleanliness, the seller has a competitive advantage over some of the competition. That advantage could also equate in a full price offer versus someone looking to pick up a deal.

Before putting the house on the market or showing it to a potential buyer, take a good look around the house. Pretend to be a buyer.

Expect the buyer to open every closet door there is. Buyers normally do not open dresser drawers, because a dresser is personal property that is not for sale.  Because the closet is for sale, the buyer will open the closet door. They are looking for size, storage capability, and maintenance issues.  Wise sellers declutter their closets to accentuate those features.

The same logic holds true in the kitchen. Anticipate that a buyer will open every kitchen cabinet and inspect kitchen draws. They are looking for lighting, as well as storage capability. Most owners sell the kitchen stove with the house. What will a buyer do? You got it! They’ll peak inside the oven. What price will they give to a clean oven? They will probably pay a much higher price than for a dirty one. Why? Cleanliness shows pride of ownership. If a seller wants top dollar, then show a top dollar house.

Easy Fixes Become A Liability – A buyer wants to be sure the house meets their current and future needs. There is an easy way to tell. Did the house meet the seller’s future needs? There are some telltale signs that the house did not.

A seller needs to reduce, hide or even eliminate unnecessary electrical extension cables. In a kitchen, the easiest way to do that is to keep the kitchen counter tops clean. Having the coffee pot, can opener, food processor, toaster and other handy appliances all use the same extension cable or surge suppressor can send the wrong signal – the kitchen will not meet the future growing needs to electronic appliances. If the food processor and can opener only see usage on the weekends, put them in a cabinet. The positive side effect is that the kitchen countertops now appear more spacious.

Take a look at the computer room. The computer, printer, scanner, fax machine, cable modem, and router all use electricity. Try to determine the best way to hide those extension cables and yet keep them in regular usage.

The ideal electric solution is adding additional outlets. That costs money. That means hiring a licensed electrician. Homeowners need to consult with their insurance company prior to making do-it-yourself electrical modifications.

There are some non-electric easy fixes that a buyer might perceive to be a problem. A throw rug is a great way to preserve the beauty of wall-to-wall carpeting. That same throw rug could be a liability when a buyer visits the house. Remember the purpose of the throw rug. Before the buyer visits, remove the throw rug and store in the car trunk. Be sure to vacuum the entire floor too.

A Good Sniff – Even the cleanest house can turn a buyer off if it fails the sniff test. There are three specific odors that kill real estate transactions.

Many buyers will try to find the front door as soon as possible if there is a lingering tobacco odor in the house. Another unpleasant scent is urine. If the homeowner has either infants or elderly this is a huge concern. The final scent comes from house pets, and especially cats that have a litter box. Some buyers have an allergy to pet hair.

Remember that the buyer is making a huge financial purchase. The seller is also liquidating his largest capital asset. Treat the house as such. Doing so provides a competitive advantage over those who do not realize that the little things really do matter.
____________________________
Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He is a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Relaxing Weekend In Columbus, Mississippi

The last few weeks were extremely busy in Columbus, Mississippi.  There are many activities this weekend as well, just not of the great magnitude as the past few weeks. There is still no shortage for fun and enjoyment on a broad scale. That is reassuring to anyone considering relocating here.  Let’s see what is going on this weekend.

Only one area high school is still playing football. The New Hope Trojans (10-2) must win on the road Friday night against the Pearl Pirates (10-3) in order to face either West Point High School or Oxford High School in the north-half championship game next Friday.

Meanwhile at Skate Zone on Lehmberg Road in East Columbus, there is an all-night skate. This offers a great opportunity for mom and dad to drop off the children before they head to shopping, or dinner and a movie or any other type of activity.

It's Happening Saturday! What?  The 7th annual Holiday Farmers Market is finally here! This year is the biggest ever and just in time for the holidays. Get your local produce, homemade treats and handmade crafts. While shopping, enjoy the music of local Southern Gospel artist Melvin Mordecai. The children won’t be a problem either. There are plenty of children's activities with Mother Goose herself.  The market opens this week only at 9:00 a.m. on the corner of Second Street North and Second Avenue, just a block away from the Lowndes County Courthouse.

Wesley United Methodist Church on Airline Road in East Columbus has their annual holiday bazaar on Saturday starting at 8:00 a.m. with a continental breakfast. There will be crafts, jewelry, books, many other types of gifts, baked goods and even casseroles. The church is on Airline Road near Woolbright Street.

Saturday morning is a day many in this area await with eager anticipation. It’s the first day of hunting for white-tail deer. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries estimates that Mississippi's deer population is about 1.75 million. Hunters harvest approximately 280,000 deer annually.

The hunting on private and open public lands east of I-55 and north of I-20 plus areas south of I-20 and east of U.S. Highway 61, excluding areas south of U.S. Highway 84 and east of MS Highway 35 starts Saturday at sunrise. All hunters need licenses and permission of land owners or hunting permits for public lands.

The bag limit on antlered buck deer is one (1) buck per day, not to exceed three (3) per license year. On private land there is a bag limit on antlerless deer of five (5) per license year with no daily bag limit. On U.S. Forest Service National Forests land the bag limit on antlerless deer is one (1) per day, not to exceed three (3) per license year. Spotted Fawns are not to be killed or molested at any time.

The deer season that begins Saturday ends on December 1st. A second gun season, without dogs however, begins on December 16th.  Hunters can resume using dogs on December 24th for the next four weeks.

There are a number of public lands available along the Tenn-Tom Waterway. Contact the Army Corps of Engineers for location of lands and to purchase the necessary permits.

There are three major universities with membership in the Southeastern Conference within a 2 hour drive of Columbus. Each has a top 10 national ranking in the upcoming college football playoffs. It’s homecoming weekend for top ranked Alabama. They play Western Carolina on mid-Saturday afternoon. About the same time #8 Ole Miss visits the Arkansas campus. Saturday evening #4 Mississippi State hosts Vanderbilt.

Celebrate the Holidays with Floral Design for Thanksgiving through Christmas is a special program with Ralph Null on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at the Rosenzweig Arts Center. Join renowned floral designer Ralph Null as he creates stunning designs for holiday decoration. An auction of more than 50 of his arrangements follows the program.  The RAC is on the corner of Main and 5th Streets in the middle of downtown Columbus.

Anyone have another real estate need this weekend? Please make a private preview appointment at least 24-hours in advance by visiting your REALTOR® today.
_________________________________________
Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Easy Is It to Install and Use a Wireless Thermostat?

Wireless thermostats promise to fine-tune your heating and cooling temps for comfort and savings. We check out the newest one on the block: The Lyric Thermostat

As a home improvement contributor for HouseLogic, I recently received a new thermostat from Honeywell to test. They wanted to know how the thermostat performs, and also if installation is an easy DIY project. Apparently, they figured if I could do it, anyone could.

The timing couldn’t have been better.

The new, wireless Lyric thermostat is going to help us make the most of our newly remodeled home — a four-year odyssey. While we did the typical value-adding renovations, such as creating an open floor plan, we also put a lot of effort into making our home more energy efficient — tightening it up, so to speak.

We doubled down on insulation and made sure to seal all air leaks. We wanted our home to be as cost efficient to operate as possible.

So installing a programmable, wireless thermostat is the cherry on top of our renovation.
Tip: If you’re looking to tighten up your house, don’t overlook your ducts. Some 20% to 30% of air can be lost through gaps and holes.

Tres Chic Automation: Our Lyric ThermostatThe first thing I noticed about the Honeywell Lyric is its ergonomic beauty — smallish, round, and sleek. I didn’t want to install it as much as to cuddle it.

When I unpacked it, I was greeted with a small infographic indicating that, for installation and info on features, I should go online to download an app.

I quickly confirmed I had a compatible wireless router and installed the app on both my iPad and Android phone. With the app fired up, I got clear step-by-step installation instructions.

Installation: An Easy DIY ProjectBasically, you remove your old thermostat, reattach your low-voltage wires to the Lyric wiring harness, and mount the device to your wall. It’s a simple, one-hour operation.

Install tip: Before installation, turn off power to your thermostat at the circuit breaker. If you have a digital readout, you can watch to make sure it goes blank. But many thermostats have battery backup; remove the batteries to make sure power is truly off.

Lyric is fully programmable from the app, and you can create all sorts of custom shortcuts that tell the Lyric to raise or lower temps at the tap of a finger. On my first full Lyric day, I was out on an errand and decided to lower my home’s temps. Firing up the app, I turned the thermostat wheel down a few degrees. When I got home, voila! The temps were faithfully lowered

Lyric can automatically perform that trick for you if you want. By enabling a feature called “geofencing,” the device senses when you and your smartphone have gone a prescribed distance from home — it’s preset to a quarter mile — and temps will automatically be lowered or raised until you re-enter the geofencing zone on your way home.

The Lyric also senses ambient humidity and adjust temps based on overall comfort — a combination of humidity and temperature Honeywell calls “fine tuning” — and not just degrees.

The Promise: Energy SavingsI’m looking forward to getting to know my new thermostat better. It already seems to know me — a proximity sensor makes the displays light up whenever I walk past. Hey there, little fella!

A Lyric website calculator estimates the Lyric will give me annual energy savings of $122, based on my location. I’ll be keeping close tabs on my energy bills, for sure.

Finishing Touches on Energy SavingsWhiz-bang thermostats are great, but you’re not going to get the warm and cozy (or cool and cozy) house of your dreams without some fundamentals. Here’s what else we’ve done during our years of fixing and remodeling:

 – Made sure new windows on the west side of our house had heat-resistant, low-E coatings to cut heat gain in the summer — our most extreme season
 – Bought Energy Star-rated kitchen appliances
 – Added new weather stripping on all exterior doors
 – Installed ceiling fans in the bedrooms for low-cost summer cooling

Believe it or not, we’re not done yet: We’ve got our eye on a bathroom redo next. But, after years of remodeling and lots of DIY labor, we’ve come to the conclusion that we’re home.

Have you installed and used a wireless thermostat? How has it made a difference in your efforts to be more energy efficient?
_____________________________________
John Riha wrote this sponsored article that appeared on National Association of Realtors® web site and is used with permission. He has written seven books on home improvement and hundreds of articles on home-related topics. He’s been a residential builder, the editorial director of the Black & Decker Home Improvement Library, and the executive editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Follow John on Google+.

John added this important disclosure – “This post is sponsored by Honeywell. I received a Lyric thermostat and compensation in exchange for coverage. All opinions and thoughts about this product are my own.”

Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.


Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Smart Solution To Home Buying

Home buyers needing a mortgage have many financial options. Some of these are using a conventional, Veterans Administration (VA), USDA Rural Development (RD), or Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Wait! Let’s add one more option to the list. This is a mortgage offered only to Mississippi residents to purchase a primary residence in Mississippi. And here is the big incentive – there is 100 percent financing available, meaning no money down.

Smart Solution – The Mississippi Home Corporation has a new program called Smart Solution

A Smart Solution Mortgage provides the needed funds to purchase either a first home or move up or move down dwelling. The new program offers competitive interest rates with down payment assistance up to 3 percent of the loan amount at the same rate as the first mortgage for 10 years. Multiple lenders in Columbus have the Smart Solution application for a 30 year fixed rate, or a shorter period if desired.

Buyer Eligibility – One of the key points is that the annual household income cannot exceed $80,000.  Let’s provide an example.  Suppose a married couple want to buy this house. The husband has a $50,000 annual income. The wife earns $30,000.  They qualify for this mortgage.

Now let’s change the example slightly. Again, the husband makes $50,000 and the wife $30,000.  They want to buy a larger house because Momma is getting old and can’t live by herself. Each month she receives a $1,000 check Social Security check. Suddenly, there is too much money in the household.  Even though Momma is not a borrower, her income still counts. Now let’s provide another example.

Suppose the husband makes $50,000 a year but he cannot qualify for a mortgage to do a poor credit history. The wife makes $30,000 and has an acceptable credit score. They can qualify for a mortgage with one important caveat. Mortgage underwriting makes their decisions based on a $30,000 income and not the total household income. The $80,000 only becomes a deciding factor for Smart Solutions eligibility.

Credit score is a deciding factor. The good news is that Smart Solutions has a minimum 620 credit score requirement. Other mortgage options may have a higher minimum threshold.

There are two other small requirements. One is the home must be the primary residence. The other is that the applicants must be US citizens.

Property Eligibility – Any new or existing home inside the state of Mississippi automatically qualifies. Some mortgages do not apply for houses within a flood plain. A detached wired and plumbed workshop or in-ground swimming pool disqualify other houses for certain types of financing. Forget all those exceptions with Smart Solutions.

Any new or existing home inside the state of Mississippi automatically qualifies. Period. End of discussion. This even includes townhouse, condominium, duplexes or manufactured housing.
The Benefits To The Buyer – Here is what makes a Smart Solution mortgage, well smart.  The buyer can obtain a conventional mortgage for 97 percent of the purchase price. In addition, the same buyer can get a second mortgage for the remaining 3 percent of the purchase price. That is 100 percent of the purchase price.

Using a Smart Solution adds one business day or less to the processing time. In the grand scheme of home buying, that added day is really insignificant. Other mortgage packages require a minimum of 3 or business days for processing and property review.

There is an even bigger advantage. The private mortgage insurance (PMI) for a Smart Solution mortgage is about half that of the PMI on a standard FHA mortgage. That in itself is about a $40 savings per month on a $150,000 home.  But, like in some of those television infomercials, there is even more.

Mortgage Credit Certificate – Besides having an acceptable credit score, the borrower must have an acceptable debt to income (DTI) ratio. Simply stated, the lender adds together all the monthly recurring debt, such as loans, credit card bills, and of course a house payment. They subtract that total from the borrower’s monthly income. That is the DTI ratio. In a perfect world, the recurring debt is about 40-42 percent of the monthly income.

A mortgage credit certificate reduces the amount of federal income tax the borrower owes. That might free up income to qualify for a mortgage. Homebuyers must not exceed household income and home purchase price limits set according to federal tax law and MHC guidelines. In no case can the tax credit exceed $2,000 per year.

Bottom Line – Ask your mortgage lender if they work with the Mississippi Home Corporation. Many lenders do. Your REALTOR® knows which lenders are MHC partners.
_________________________________
Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Preventing Problems During A Real Estate Transaction

Real estate professionals have several time-tested clich├ęs. One of them is “it’s not a done deal until it’s closed.” That simply means just because a buyer and a seller agreed on every word in a purchase contract, something can still go wrong. The transaction might not close. Let’s look at a few reasons why and how to prevent unforeseen problems,

Expect The Unexpected – Here is a tip for every home buyer. Don’t schedule a closing for the last minute. Factor in some unexpected delays. Let’s provide an example.

Assume a buyer wants to close on a house on the last day of the month. That is also the day his current lease expires. That way he’s not paying for two places to live. Sounds logical! Unfortunately, it is very illogical.

It is not unusual for last minute problems to arise. These unforeseen events can be anything from a delay with final mortgage approval, to an illness of one of the principals in the transaction to an unexpected change in a legal schedule requiring the attorney to be in court representing another client. This is the time of the year when a major weather event could force a rescheduled closing.  

A tenant may be under the false assumption that they can arbitrarily extend a lease automatically. They may not realize there is another tenant waiting. They may not realize that an extension could also cause problems for painters and other contractors needed before the new tenant takes occupancy.

It is best to plan the closing for two weeks ahead of lease expiration. Suppose the lease expires on November 30th.  Schedule the closing for November 15th. That leaves a two week cushion. And here is what some buyers do not realize. The first house payment is probably due on January 1st. Close on November 30th and the date of that first payment does not change.

From a payment standpoint, moving a closing up a few weeks may not have a real bearing on double paying for a roof overhead. Ask the lender during the formal loan application for the due date of the first mortgage payment. The bottom line is – be certain you have a place live if something unexpected happens.

Refrain From Major Purchases – Hold off on buying that new washing machine, clothes dryer, refrigerator, lawn mower or furniture until after the closing. Why?

One of the main factors in determining mortgage approval is debt to income (DTI) ratio. Buying any of those or similar items before the closing could radically change the DTI ratio. Mortgage lenders perform a second credit check within hours of final mortgage approval. Some lenders even go so far as to doing a second final credit check the morning of the scheduled closing. If there is a change, those lenders are within their rights to rescind the clear to close authorization and halt the transaction.

A buyer can get mad if this happens. The seller will also be very upset. It could be that the seller must close on that house before he has the clearance to close on another. Quite often a seller will close on a Monday for the house he now owns and closes the next day on his new house. That secondary seller also has more than a passing interest in your transaction.

The main thought is to postpone any major purchases that could adversely affect the DTI or cash reserves in the bank.

Avoid The Unknown – It feels more like the middle of winter rather than late autumn in Columbus, Mississippi right now. It would be a huge surprise to close on a house today and discover during the weekend that the heater stopped working.

Hire a home inspector early in the purchase process. Your REALTOR® may be a wonderful person but probably does not have the expertise to test the heating and cooling systems, provide an authoritative estimate on the remaining serviceability of the roof, how fast the water heater dispenses warm and hot water to the faucet, and so forth.  Find out those answers before closing on a home.

Your REALTOR® does have a list of all licensed home inspectors. Your REALTOR® has a list of reputable home warranty companies. A home warranty provides even greater protection from unknown pre-existing conditions. Your REALTOR® has a list of contactors ready to provide assistance and make needed repairs.
____________________________________
Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and  Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.