Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite: Bed Bug Issues in Real Estate Sales

Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite: Bed Bug Issues in Real Estate Sales

It’s a nightmare scenario. A buyer moves into their would-be dream home, only to find uninvited residents: bed bugs. As infestations rise nationwide, bed bugs are increasingly affecting real estate sales transactions.

Know the Signs

Bed bugs are equal opportunity pests and “dirty” has nothing to do with it. These masterful menaces hitchhike their way into luxury apartments, suburban homes, even the local library and theater. Though not known to carry disease, their nighttime shenanigans are cause for severe physical and psychological discomfort. How can you identify these pests?

– Like mosquitoes, they come out at night to drink blood, leaving behind itchy red welts on their victims.

– With apple-seed-like bodies, bed bugs hide in the nooks and crannies of mattresses and sheets.

– They often leave behind dark fecal/blood stains on linens, mattresses, box springs, and carpets.

– Pearly-white, pea-sized egg deposits may be found along headboards, electrical plates, baseboards, and window casings.

– White, rice-like, exoskeletons from moltings are often found under area rugs.

Discuss Disclosure Dilemmas:

Seller Beware

Though real estate sales agreements are broad, and don’t typically list bed-bug-specific issues, this doesn’t mean sellers are off the hook. Failure to list a bed bug infestation could be seen as a breach of disclosure of latent defects, leaving sellers liable for litigation.

Buyer Beware

Until states begin to incorporate bed-bug-specific realty regulations, hiring a pest control company, in addition to the typical home inspection, could be money well-spent.

Don’t Delay

If home sellers or new residents come across bed bugs, advise residents to seek professional help ASAP. Some home remedies are dangerous, and tossing bug-ridden items spreads bed bugs to neighbors. Bed bugs reproduce rapidly, and infestations can be costly to treat: $250-900 per room, and up to $5,000 for extreme infestations. Timely treatment is imperative.

Don’t let your career fall victim to bed bug bites. Stay informed on the latest issues effecting real estate sales with Properties Online today.

How Blockchain Technology Could Transform Real Estate Listings and Marketing

How Blockchain Technology Could Transform Real Estate Listings and Marketing

Tired of the redundancies, errors, delays, waste, and exorbitant fees that have been part and parcel of real estate sales transactions since the dawn of time? From portal conundrums that create property search snafus, to transactional miscommunications that lead to seemingly endless delays, it may finally be time to stop the insanity.

Meet Blockchain Technology
The latest advancement in real estate sales, blockchain tech could allow for the creation of a universally accessible real estate information and records database – once an international standard for the collection of property data is created.

What is Blockchain?
Originally developed as an accounting method for Bitcoin, blockchain is now used in a variety of commercial applications. Utilizing distributed ledger technology (DLT), it allows participants in an industry, such as the extended real estate community, to track digital transactions without central recordkeeping. Any document can be inserted.

Once introduced, ledgers are permanent, unchangeable, and cannot be deleted, making them meddle-proof. The blockchain community owns/controls the information collectively, which is automatically distributed, making information easily visible, verifiable, and trustworthy.

How Could Blockchain be Used in Real Estate?
Enabling the execution of real estate transactions without the need for third parties via smart contract, blockchain technology could easily facilitate real estate sales proceedings digitally. Paired with IFPS, syndication of the world’s real estate network is possible. (Interplanetary File System(IFPS), is the technology that enables email/information transfer from one computer directly to another without the need for a third-party server, such as Google.)

Each property receives a unique identifier (hash) for permanent recording on a global ledger. Sellers will benefit from increased exposure, buyers receive access to localized, user-curated data – provided all parties get on-board. With universalized data standards, the sky could be the limit.

Could blockchain technology be the key to releasing the real estate sales chains that bind you? Tune in on new developments with this emerging tech with the help of PropertiesOnline today.

Things You Don’t Know About Mold that Could Land You in Hot Water

Things You Don’t Know About Mold that Could Land You in Hot Water

Mold is a hot-button topic in real estate sales. Today’s tightly-sealed, more efficient buildings provide an ideal environment for its growth, and as public awareness of the issue grows alongside multi-million-dollar mold settlements, it pays to stay on-point when it comes to evolving mold legalities.

You Aren’t Required to be a Mold Expert – But You Can’t Stick Your Head in the Sand

While it’s not up to you to detect and diagnose mold issues, you must be knowledgeable and aware of the basic signs of mold to protect your clients (and your reputation). Red flags include:

– Musty, mildewy odors.

– Stained walls, ceilings, and baseboards, from common to multi-colored varieties.

– Plumbing leaks and drainage problems.

What to Do if You Suspect Mold & Why You May be a Target

Unfortunately, for most states there are no standard practices in effect – though that is rapidly changing. California recently enacted the country’s first mold legislation, listing standards for acceptable indoor levels and requirements for home seller disclosure.

In the wake of recent lawsuits and legislation, home inspectors and pest control operations are rapidly adjusting disclaimer legalese to limit their liability, with homeowners insurance companies commonly limiting compensation. Thus agents should be prepared for the possibility of agent liability with buyer clients in real estate sales involving mold issues.

Tips to Reduce Liability and Protect the Health of Your Real Estate Career:

1. Be diligent about checking for red flags, including odors and visual cues.

2. If you notice mold, carefully word disclosures, avoiding ‘black mold’ and ‘toxic mold’ verbiage. You’re not offering expert analysis. Be generic: Note ‘mold-type’ or ‘mildew-like’ staining/odors and their location(s).

3. Refer clients to ‘contact a qualified specialist for review,’ insisting potential buyers have their own, independent home inspection conducted.

4. Get to know mold experts in your area. Provide a list, but do not recommend particular vendors.

Real estate sales problems growing like mold? PropertiesOnline can help.

What to Know About Regions Where Home Prices Are Increasing Faster Than Incomes

It’s no news to agents, real estate trends point to the continued appreciation of home prices. What does this mean for sales?

A Shortage of ‘FOR SALE’ Signs Drives Prices Higher
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Chief Economist noted a lack of listings in the housing market is driving prices higher. Despite already high prices, bidding wars are not uncommon.

Wage Stagnation Complicates Matters
American wage growth is being left far in the rearview, with home prices increasing at staggering levels twice that of income growth. On an annual basis, wages are growing just 2.6%, with a less than expected 0.1% rise in February. Stubbornly stuck, lackluster hourly earnings have been well-documented on government employment reports.

Prices Now Higher than the 2006 Peak Before the Housing Crisis
To add insult to injury for income-strapped buyers, national home prices have risen 6.2% annually based on the most recent S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller survey, to levels now 6% higher than their peak before the housing crisis.

Lack of Supply Lags On
A housing shortage continues to constrain the market, with the absolute number of units on the market nearing record-low levels. Though homebuyers have tried to step up the pace, new homes are not filling market shelves fast enough. And this insatiable demand is horrifyingly happening before the peak of Millennials entering the housing market.

Mortgage Interest Rate Rises but a Minor Speedbump
In current market conditions, the fact that mortgage rates are at around 4-year highs isn’t offering much relief. Those hoping rising prices are among passing real estate trends are out of luck.

The wave of increased housing demand is expected to continue, bolstering steady growth and affecting the economy over the next 4-5 years. The supply crisis is not letting up, and neither are gains in home values.

What real estate trends are taking their toll on your bottom line? Stay in the game with the help of Properties Online today.

Five Signs That Sellers are Itching to Unload

Five Signs That Sellers are Itching to Unload

Every seller wants to sell their property – otherwise they wouldn’t be listing. But sometimes sellers get a bit carried away. And smart real estate buyer’s agents know the signs: The signs sellers need to get out of Dodge. With the right foresight, you and your clients can snag a sale fast – and at a great price.

Five Signs the Seller is Itching to Sell:

1. The listing is screaming for a buyer.

Common signs include multiple price reductions, asking price below market value, and ‘cash only’ transactions.

2. New family additions.

Multigenerational family situations, from beds in the family room or den bearing in-laws, to a crib crammed into the corner of the closet of a parent’s bedroom, are bright, flashing neon signs sellers need to move – and yesterday.

3. Sellers answer questions candidly and quickly…

Noting problem areas such as the need for a new roof or past flooding issues without batting an eye. Sellers don’t usually disclose such information, in hopes of eking out every last dollar from the sale of their home. But desperate sellers will, in hopes of preventing any last-minute sales snafus that could have them waiting ever longer for another seller to come along who is capable of catering to such issues.

4. The seller doesn’t live in the house anymore.

Real estate buyers agents should know right away, if the home is vacant, it’s game-on. The seller cannot cover two mortgages over an extended period of time without their finances taking a serious hit.

5. The home is listed as an estate.

Heirs to an estate are often anxious to sell the home of the original owner, and are often more willing to move on price in efforts to liquidate assets and move-on.

Stand out from the average real estate buyer’s agents, bringing more to the table with the help of Properties Online today.