Who repairs home -- buyer or seller?

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate.com

Home sellers naturally don't want to make repairs to a home they're about to vacate. But homebuyers, equally naturally, want their dwelling to be perfect. So, who's right?

Usually, buyers and sellers negotiate a compromise that allows their transaction to move forward.

But not always, says Kent Temple, broker and owner of Keller Williams Realty - The Temple Team in Mooresville, N.C.

"Buyers think every house should be a new house, and sellers say, 'Why should I fix anything?' At that point, it's one more thing we have to negotiate, and not only does it get contentious, but we lose deals because of it," Temple says.

Real estate contracts differ from place to place, and some places have more than one common or so-called standard contract in use, explains Harvey S. Jacobs, a real estate attorney with Joseph, Greenwald & Laake in Rockville, Md.

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4 factors will influence housing inventory in 2014

By Marcie Geffner - HSH.com

Eager buyers shopping for homes in today's modestly recovered housing markets might be disappointed to discover not many homes are available for sale. This shortage of inventory means home buyers in some areas have but few -- if any -- for-sale homes to choose from.

Consider the Waltham, Mass., area, about nine miles west of Boston.

Gary Rogers, broker/owner of RE/MAX on the Charles in Waltham, says inventory there is "extremely and unusually low" even for mid-winter. Inventory is so low, in fact, that one nearby town recently had zero single-family homes for sale.

"That boggles my mind," Rogers says. "It may have changed as of this morning, but a couple of days ago, there literally was zero single-family homes."

The perception of limited inventory is supported by data, though it's crucial to remember that national numbers don't necessarily match local-market conditions.

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Should you buy a home through the seller's agent?

By Marcie Geffner - HSH.com
With home prices on the rise and for-sale homes in short supply in some markets, it's no wonder home buyers are looking for an edge. Some think that making an offer through the seller's agent, rather than their own buyer's agent, will save them money and provide an advantage amongst multiple offers.
Are they right?
The answer isn't exactly clear since there are both pros and cons to purchasing a home through the seller's agent.
Some listing agents will indeed give the seller a break on their commission if there is no buyer's agent, but that's not automatic, says Ken Pozek, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Northville, Mich. Rather, it's solely up to the agent to decide.
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Surviving in a 'suicide subdivision'

By Marcie Geffner - HSH.com

More than 70,000 U.S. communities are at risk from wildfires, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. Some are so dangerous they've earned the nickname "suicide subdivisions."

If you're buying a home in one of these communities, it's your responsibility to understand the risks and take the appropriate action to try to reduce the chance of your home going up in flames.

While Texas had the most wildfires in 2012, 17 other states -- Alaska, Arkansas, California, the Carolinas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming -- also made the top 10 lists of the most wildfires and the largest number of acreage burned in 2012, according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center.

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