Archive for the Home Buying Tips Category

Berwick Plantation Legacy Square neighborhood

Posted in Home Buying Tips with tags , , , , , , , on January 19, 2009 by savannahgeorgiahomes
Legacy_square Inside the popular Savannah community of Berwick Plantation, the Legacy Square neighborhood is a newer residential neighborhood of homes built in the past few years and still being built. Current listings offer a variety of sizes and price ranges.  Great for families, amenities include tennis, swimming and a children’s playground.
Legacy Square is a very attractive neighborhood with lots of sidewalks for walking and beautiful landscaping. Many homes are loaded with upgrades including high ceilings, hardwood floors, solid surface counters and large master suites with luxurious bathrooms.
There’s lots of shopping nearby at the Berwick Plantation shopping center and Legacy Square is just a short drive to midtown and historic Savannah, Georgia as well as Hunter Army Airfield and Memorial and Candler hospitals.
Stonebridge is another great neighborhood in Berwick Plantation to consider.
Also, the gated community of The Enclave.
Thomas Tolbert
Realtor / Sales Associate
Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Legacy 
912.303.8405 office | 912.308.6839 mobile (best way to reach me)
thomas.tolbert@me.com
Building Our Legacy By Simply Being Better

MLS HOME SEARCH

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What’s a Home Warranty and why do I need one?

Posted in Home Buying Tips with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2008 by savannahgeorgiahomes
Avoid Costly Repairs!

Avoid Costly Repairs!

Well,  essentially a home warranty is a service contract that covers the repair or replacement of many of the most frequently occurring breakdowns of home system components and appliances.

For about $400.00 you can have peace of mind for a year on your core home systems and appliance of your home, condo or town home. If your heating and air conditioning, plumbing, electrical system, hot water heater, built in microwaves and dishwashers, range or garbage disposal malfunctions you’re covered!  There are even add ons that you can purchase to cover anything from garage door openers to central vacuum systems.

If you are buying a resale home a home warranty is great to have.  Nothing may break down during the year but what if it does.  A major component breakdown like the heating and air could leave you with a huge repair bill.

Who pays for a home warranty?  We’ll like anything in a real estate transaction it’s all about negotiation.  Many times a seller will offer a home warranty at the time of listing but if they do not you can certainly ask them to purchase one at their expense.

I try to negotiate the best possible deal for my buyer clients and I want them to have the piece of mind in having a home warranty whenever possible.  In some cases factors in the negotiation process like the seller contributing closing costs or a great price reduction then perhaps the seller will not agree to pay for the home warranty as well. If that’s turns out to be the case then it would be wise to consider purchasing a home warranty on your own.

Of course. if you are purchasing a brand new home in Richmond Hill, Rincon, Pooler or the Greater Savannah, Georgia area then a home warranty may not make sense.  Depending on the builder and the warranty they provide, the major components and appliances may be covered already by the new construction builder’s home warranty.

As a buyer the MOST important thing you can do is get a Buyer’s Agent so that they can “watch your back” and help you negotitate the best possible deal and terms you can get.  Buying a home is a major investment and you need someone on your side looking out for you through the whole process.  My services as a Buyer’s Agent are at no cost to you as a buyer……. let me know if I can help!

Thomas Tolbert
Realtor / Sales Associate
Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Legacy 
912.303.8405 office | 912.308.6839 mobile (best way to reach me)
thomas.tolbert@me.com
Building Our Legacy By Simply Being Better

MLS HOME SEARCH

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Greater Savannah area foreclosures and short sales

Posted in Home Buying Tips with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2008 by savannahgeorgiahomes

What is a short sale?

A short sale is a situation where a lender may agree to take less than is owed on a home in order to avoid it going in foresclose. This allows the seller to often sell below fair market value just to get out from under their loan and avoid the credit impact of a foreclosure.

How do Foreclosures work?

Typically once a property becomes a foreclosure a market analysis is done and the property is listed at fair market value. But banks are not interested in holding on to the property for a long time, they want to get the home sold and off the books as soon as possible.

Basically the longer the foreclosure home is on the market the more they will be willing to come down on the price. It’s not unusual to see a 10% price reduction every four to six weeks so you can see how you can purchase a foreclosure well below market value.

How do I find Foreclosure and Short sale properties?

As a local Realtor familiar with the market I can identify foreclosures and short sales for my clients and help them through the entire process from beginning to end. Not all realtors even know how to identify these properties but I stay on top of the foreclosure and short sale market so that I can help my client buyers get the absolute best deals.

How do I get started?

Just give me a call or send me an email. Of course my services are free to a buyer. Just let me know your preferred area, single family home, condo or townhomes, your price range, likes and dislike in a home, timeframe for purchase, etc. and we’ll get started!


If you are a seller facing the possibility of foreclosure communication with your mortgage lender is key!  They can discuss your options to refinance and if that is not possible you they may be willing to work with you to negotiate a short sale rather than face foreclosure.  An experience Realtor can discuss the short sale option with you and offer advice, even help find the right mortgage lender.

Please let me know if I can help.


New and resale homes, condos, town homes and lofts.
Investment and foreclosure properties. Vacation and second homes.
Military – Relocation – First time buyer.
Savannah, Tybee Island, Pooler, Rincon, Richmond Hill, Port Wentworth Garden City, Historic Savannah
 
Thomas Tolbert
Realtor / Sales Associate
Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Legacy 
912.303.8405 office | 912.308.6839 mobile (best way to reach me)
thomas.tolbert@me.com
Building Our Legacy By Simply Being Better

MLS HOME SEARCH

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Why You Should Use A Buyer’s Agent

Posted in Home Buying Tips with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2007 by savannahgeorgiahomes

One of the biggest mistakes made by a new or veteran home buyer is to purchase a listed property without the use of a buyer’s agent.  Many buyers incorrectly believe that if they don’t use a buyer’s agent they can get a discount in lieu of paying the full commission to the listing agent.  This is almost always wrong!  The seller enters into a listing agreement with the listing broker for an agreed upon amount or percentage.  Once the property is listed in the MLS, that fee, is shared with the agent who sells that property.  If the listing agent sells the property, they keep 100%.  That means not only do you not get a discount equal to the shared fee,  but you also are letting the seller have an advantage over you in the negotiations.  On the other hand,  having your own buyer’s agent can save you a bundle.

Buyer’s agents are agents who work with home buyers to look out for their best interests and get their client, you the buyer the best deal.  They are paid by the seller or builders listing agent but owe no loyalty to the seller in negotiations,  only their client, the buyer.
Here’s an example.  Let’s say that you are in the market to buy a very a very specific car and walk into a dealership to find one.  Guess who those friendly sales people work for?  The dealer of course.  They’re all trying to get you to buy using every tactic in the book.  Do you feel comfortable?  Of course not.
Now,  what if you could hire an independent consultant to find you the vehicle you are looking for from among all of the dealers in that region.  Someone to handle all of the negotiation, at your direction.  Someone who knows the market and the costs associated with this vehicle as well as how long a dealer typically takes to sell this car.  All of this information is vital to getting the best deal.  To get all of this at no cost to you,  you simply sign an agreement with that individual that outlines the following:
That the consultant is to look out for your best interest (they are legally bound to do so).
You agree to allow your consultant to be paid a pre-determined fee from the dealership in which you decide to buy.
That the consultant will help you find the best deal.  Performance based compensation.  If they don’t find you what you want they don’t get paid.
You agree to work exclusively with that consultant.  (This ensures that there is no pressure on you to buy because that consultant knows that they will eventually be rewarded by their efforts to help you.
You agree to buy from dealerships that pay your salesperson a finders fee.
Now, substitute the car for a house and the consultant for a real estate buyer’s agent and you’ve
accomplished the same thing,  which in real estate is known as buyer’s agency.

Services that Buyer’s agents offer to their clients:

The original purchase price of the home.
Evaluating improvements that the sellers may have made.
Comparative market analysis for similiar houses in the neighborhood.
Knowledge of their local market and experience negotiating the best deal for their client.
Knowledge of special promotions and buyer’s incentives.
Information on property taxes.
The average drop in list price to sold price and the average days on market.
Introduction to reliable mortgage lenders, home inspectors, closing attorneys, etc.
If new construction they can keep you up to date on the status of your home as if goes
through various stages of completion.
You worry about deciding on the perfect house….they take care of the details.
Thomas Tolbert
Realtor / Sales Associate
Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Legacy 
912.303.8405 office | 912.308.6839 mobile (best way to reach me)
thomas.tolbert@me.com
Building Our Legacy By Simply Being Better

MLS HOME SEARCH

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A Buyers Market Can Benefit Both Buyers And Sellers

Posted in Home Buying Tips with tags , , , , , , on November 19, 2007 by savannahgeorgiahomes

Just pick up a newspaper or turn on the television lately and you’ll likely hear the doom and gloom of the real estate market.  You hear about all of the sub prime lenders going under and how home sales are down.  We all know that a slow market is not great for sellers but the truth is that most people selling a home are also buying another home.

It may be difficult for a seller to get what they would have been able to get a year ago in the current market.  With many homes for sale and fewer buyers it definitely puts the buyers in the drivers seat.  But remember,  what you are losing on the sale of your home on the selling end you may be able to make up on the buying end and balance things out.
As a buyer,  a local realtor can help you a great deal.  We are constantly updated with price reductions and buyer incentives and know how to get you the best home for your money.  A good realtor will work hard to help you save money on the buying end to help you to balance out any loss you may have on the selling end.  It’s an ideal time to buy!
Thomas Tolbert
Realtor / Sales Associate
Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Legacy 
912.303.8405 office | 912.308.6839 mobile (best way to reach me)
thomas.tolbert@me.com
Building Our Legacy By Simply Being Better

MLS HOME SEARCH

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Why not just have the listing agent show me a home?

Posted in Home Buying Tips with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2007 by savannahgeorgiahomes


Let’s say you’re searching the internet for homes or just driving around a neighborhood and see a house you like.  You just call the listing agent and ask to see the home, after all it’s their listing, they know it better than anyone.   Sounds like a good idea , but here’s the problem…….the listing agent represents the seller!  The listing agent is bound by a fiduciary responsibility to the seller to act in the seller’s best interest creating an agency relationship with the seller.  The listing agent’s job is to get the best price for the seller’s home and on the seller’s terms.

Sure, the listing agent can write an offer on your behalf and submit it to their client, the seller.
But remember, that agent’s  duty is to get the best deal for their client, not you as their customer.
If all parties are in agreement, the listing agent can represent both the seller and the buyer in what is called dual agency, but that can be tricky because then the agent is limited to ministerial acts and is not allowed to help either party to negotiate the best price.
On the other hand, if you have your own agent,  that agent has an obligation to work on your behalf to help you negotiate the best price and the terms most favorable to you, his client.  A buyer’s agent can give you objective advise on the home, the neighborhood, the current market value of the property, help you with financing, the inspection process all the way through the closing process, looking out for your best interest the whole time.
 When you are ready to begin looking for a home be sure to find the right realtor to represent you as a buyer!
Thomas Tolbert
Realtor / Sales Associate
Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Legacy 
912.303.8405 office | 912.308.6839 mobile (best way to reach me)
thomas.tolbert@me.com
Building Our Legacy By Simply Being Better

MLS HOME SEARCH

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New Homes Communities in the Greater Savannah Georgia area

Posted in Georgetown, Home Buying Tips, Hunter Army Airfield, Pooler, Richmond Hill, Savannah neighborhoods with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2007 by savannahgeorgiahomes


Savannah, Pooler, Richmond Hill, Rincon, Guyton and Port Wentworth have all seen a huge growth spurt of new construction is the past few years.  In the current market there is a lot of competition so builders are offering lots of incentives to attract buyers.  Some may offer to pay closing costs, free upgrades like granite counters or hardwood floor, upgraded cabinets, lighting packages and more.  Typically, the farther out from the immediate Savannah area, the more you can get for your money and often the lot size is much larger. Most of these communities are a short commute from midtown Savannah between 20 and 40 minutes drive.

If you’re not familiar with the outlying areas, a local realtor can give you information to help you decide which communities are convenient to your needs
It always surprises me that so many new construction home buyers just drive up to the model home by themselves.  Remember, that smiling face that greets you at the door works for the seller!  They are happy to see you come in on your own and have an advantage when you come in without your own realtor and can have you in their design center picking out flooring and kitchen counters before you know what happened! 

 A local real estate agent is familiar with many home builders and can objectively provide you with the comparison you need to make a decision.  We’re constantly updated with builder special, discounts and incentives from their competitors and can help you negotiate to get what you want.  I’m often amazed at the flexibility they have when an agent walks in with a buyer.  They know that the agent is looking out for the buyer and are most likely taking them to other communities so they have to be as competitive as they can.

Your own agent can objectively help you decide which community is right for you, and guide you through the whole process.  If an agent accompanies you to the community and signs you in then the builder is the one paying the agents commission, not you, but you will have someone on your side.   

I recently represented a buyer in a purchase in a new homes community for a buyer relocating from out of state.  It was down to the wire and the family was set to close on the property in just a couple of days and move in right away.  They were at their old home hundreds of miles away packing a moving van.  I stopped by their new  home to make sure everything was being finished properly on time.  To my surprise I  found that the gourmet kitchen that was included in the price, with double ovens about to be installed with only one oven and that the surrounding cabinets were being configured around the single oven.  I immediately called a meeting with the sales manager and the builder and got my buyer the ovens and cabinet configuration she had been promised and avoided a disaster.  

Any number of things can pop up,  you really need someone looking out for your best interests.
Whether you choose me or another agent, please do yourself a favor and get your own agent!

Thomas Tolbert
Realtor / Sales Associate
Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Legacy 
912.303.8405 office | 912.308.6839 mobile (best way to reach me)
thomas.tolbert@me.com
Building Our Legacy By Simply Being Better

MLS HOME SEARCH

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