Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Q: We want to close early on our house sale so that we can close on the new home we’re buying in Tacoma, but we need to have a couple more weeks in our Vashon house to get ready to move.

We think the buyers of our Vashon place might let us rent the house back for a few weeks.  They said they talked to you and you advised against that.  Can you tell us why?

A: Most lenders won’t be happy with a rent-back to the sellers.  It can look to them as if the buyers are really buying an investment property, not an owner-occupied home, which is a different loan package.  It might look like fraud.  Next, there is insurance to consider.  If there is a fire in the house during the time the sellers are renting back, the buyer’s insurance might refuse to pay, claiming that they did not insure a rental, they insured an owner-occupied home, and the owners were not occupying it.  The sellers’ insurance won’t pay because the home is no longer owned by the sellers.  This has actually happened.

Another issue, which has personally happened to me (that may be why I caution against rent-backs), is the possibility that the rental period ends and the sellers don’t leave.  This puts the buyers in the sutuation where they may have to evict the people they bought the house from.  Nasty!  Same problem if there is damage.  Will the seller be putting up extensive damage and security deposits to rent back for just a few days or weeks?  Not usually.
It’s always very difficult to close on one sale while you’re buying another home.  Often both buyers and sellers end up storing their household goods for awhile. Both buyers and sellers should think through all of the possible scenarios when they approach a transaction.  Don’t rely on the possibility that the other party to the transaction can accommodate you, especially last minute.  You might try to renegotiate the closing dates for both your Vashon home and your new Tacoma house.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Some Quick Tips To Get Ready For Winter!
(Many people have asked me to run this the first part of November every year)

1. Clean the gutters! Water can penetrate into your walls and roofing and cause serious mold problems.

2. If you haven’t done it already, have your furnace serviced and cleaned for the year. This is critical if you use a fuel like oil, propane or natural gas. This makes your furnace safer, and saves you big bucks by running more efficiently.

3. Be sure you’re ready for power outages. Battery powered lamps are good, flashlights for all family members and a battery powered radio for weather news. Never use portable propane, kerosene, gas heaters or charcoal grills in the house.

4. Clean decks and walkways now so the moss build-up won’t be too slippery. Put down non-skid strips or outdoor carpet on slick wood decks and stairs.

5. Look around your yard for objects that can get lost under a few inches of snow. You sure don’t want to step on a rake you forgot was there!

6. Have your car serviced and checked out for winter driving. Install new windshield wipers. Have ice scraping tools in the car and keep water, a flashlight and a warm blanket in the trunk in case you get stranded.

7. Try not to use portable electric heaters in the house and if you must, unplug them when you leave home. They can cause fires. So can holiday lights and Christmas trees. Turn them off when you leave the house. I know that’s hard but many fires have started from faulty holiday lights.

8. Speaking about fire safety, be sure to clean out dryer vents and range vents to prevent fires.

9. Have the chimney cleaned if you use wood heat. Fireplaces and woodstoves are a major source of house fires.

10. Go to VashonBePrepared.org for their emergency readiness list. You will find that it’s a big help.

11. Drain water lines and store your hoses and tools.

12. Last but not least, stock up on hot chocolate!