Category Archives: Ask Betsy

Q. I am interested in a house that is owned by a relocation company? If I want to buy it, how does that work?

A. The process of buying such a home is a little different than in a traditional sale. In relocations, a seller generally tries to sell the house on their own for a certain period of
time and if the house does not sell, the relocation companies buys the house from them. So instead of negotiating with the seller who lived in the house, you will be dealing with the listing agent who has been hired by a representative of the relocation company. In general,
such houses are aggressively priced to sell. In addition, they are generally sold “as-is,” but the companies typically do numerous inspections and make repairs before putting the
house on the market. (Request a copy of all the reports from the listing agent before putting in your offer.) The final big difference is that relocation companies have special and very lengthy disclosures that you will need to include in the offer.

Q. What is a reverse mortgage? I’ve heard my friends mention this but am unsure of what this is.

A. A reverse mortgage is a way for people 62+ years of age to tap into their home equity. The goal is to keep people in their homes as they age and/or provide a steady income stream. Borrowers take out a reverse mortgage or line of credit against the equity which is due upon their death or when the property sells. One needs to be aware of some caveats. While property taxes and homeowner’s insurance still need to be paid yearly, 10% of such mortgages are in default due to nonpayment. In addition, while the original intent of reverse mortgage was to provide an income stream, almost 70% of folks are opting for a lump sum payment. If you budget well, this could be fine but some are finding themselves without funds later in life and losing their homes.

Q. I’ve been working with a Realtor to buy a house. On weekends, I like to go to open houses and for- sale-by- owner homes on my own to see what I like. Is it okay if my Realtor doesn’t come? I don’t want to bother her until I narrow down my choices.

A. Yes, it is perfectly fine to view houses without your Realtor. However, to ensure that you and the agent are protected in the sale, I recommend you tell the open house agent or the FSBO seller that you have an agent with whom you are working. The same holds true if you see a home you like and call the listing agent off the sign in the yard. If you fail to mention you are working with an agent, the listing agent that shows you the home could be under the impression that they are working with you and they may expect compensation from the sale. To avoid any confusion, clearly state from the onset that you
are working with a Realtor.