How to Submit a Successful Architectural Review Application

Screenshot 2018-09-07 12.36.28Every season brings a new opportunity to express your individuality as a homeowner through colorful expressions of flowers and hardscapes as well as changes to your home’s exterior.

Beautiful landscaping, exterior color refreshes or changes, adding creature comforts such as shade trees or screen porches, or to make necessary repairs or updates to your yard or home can maintain your property’s condition and increase property values, if done correctly. If you live in a neighborhood with a home owner’s association (HOA), you must abide by the bylaws and covenants of the community with any changes to your lot or structure to avoid penalties and fees. The purpose of the HOA approval process isn’t control but protection. To protect all homeowner’s property values, every neighbor must apply for approval of projects that influence the overall appeal and value of the neighborhood. The process of getting approval to make your desired changes is easy!

Although different homeowners associations and community subdivisions have different rules and regulations, they all aspire to maintain and increase the property values of the neighborhood to the benefit of the homeowner, the community, and the local real estate market. Before making a request to your Architectural Review Committee (ARC), be sure that you understand what’s required of your specific community. Most associations require that before you make any changes to your lot or building a request for architectural review must be submitted to the board of directors and/or its appointed ARC.

Screenshot 2018-09-07 12.56.21ARC members are volunteers from your own neighborhood who have a vested interest in maintaining property values. Most ARC’s have the right to automatically deny incomplete forms or requests. And generally your time line for consideration begins only with a complete application. Once a complete application is received, written approval should take fewer than 30 days.

Approval of an application is subject to your association account being up-to-date with no outstanding fees in order to for your application to be considered by the ARC. No work on a project should be started until approval is received in writing from the ARC. Once approved, the homeowner is responsible for the timely completion completion of the project and the prompt removal of any debris. It’s also the homeowner’s responsibility to comply with zoning building codes and laws of all governmental authorities and to be aware of any easements that exist on your property. A land survey will reveal any easements (areas not to be disturbed or built upon) or encroachments (areas where other people’s property such as fence or building extend onto your property).

The architectural review committee has a higher authority than that of any county or city codes.

Most architectural review committees have an online application process but they may also have a street address to send the application to as well.

A completed application consists of the filled Architectural Request Form, a detailed description of your project showing the nature, kind, shape, height, and materials of the project. Color samples and representative photo are also usually required. If you are making any permanent changes such as installing a shed, fans, or pool a certified land survey is required showing the location of your home, property lines, and any easements on the property.

If you are installing an in-ground pool, additional patio area, or other concrete areas, the impervious surface calculations are also required. Be sure that you are staying within the maximum allowable percentages for impervious surfaces allowed by your county and/or city. Realize that this might also impact your water bill as the runoff will be increased.

When installing a fence, your adjoining neighbors signature is required agreeing to the installation.

The best way to avoid any delays to your application and project is to have the required checklist items included and application completed with no open items. The application will require your name, your phone number, your address, your email address. Also required is the name of the person or company performing the work, their contact information, as well as your desired start and completion dates.

Screenshot 2018-09-07 13.07.39Following these guidelines and using the provided checklist for required items will help you submit a successful ARC application. Your neighbors will thank you for beautifying your home and lot and helping to preserve and increase property values.

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Chrystal Safari Roy

Chrystal Roy is Broker-in-Charge of Real Estate Realty LLC (RER) and Principal and Broker-in-Charge of The Safari Group LLC of RER as well as on the Architectural Review Committee of her neighborhood.

Her favorite things about the neighborhood include its diversity, friendliness, small size, empty pool (usually) and convenience to all the necessities that make life easier. When she isn’t glued to the computer screen or driving around in her mobile office selling real estate, she enjoys spending time with her husband, six sons, her first sweet smelling year old baby granddaughter, fur grands, swimming and water aerobics in the neighborhood pool, writing inspirational and professional help books, streaming her favorite movies and cooking homemade meals. You can reach her at Chrystal@TheSafariGroup.com
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WANT TO GET A $150-$250 MONTHLY RAISE?

Call us to LEVERAGE YOUR TAX REFUND OR Get $15,000 IN DOWNPAYMENT ASSISTANCE FROM THE STATE TO BUY A HOME!!

Chrystal Roy and the Team at The Safari Group LLC of Real Estate Realty LLC has known for years that buying a home provides long term financial benefits. But how do today’s renters become tomorrow’s buyers? We share tips for you to develop strategies to move from paying someone else’s mortgage to paying your own, increasing your net worth and having a legacy for your family.

It’s a Good Investment

If you are currently renting, use our Rent vs Buy Calculator to help determine which option provides the most economic benefits for you over time. Rent payments go straight into the pocket of the landlord – and at the beginning of the next month, you’ve got nothing to show for it.

Build Equity

With each monthly mortgage payment you make, a portion goes toward reducing the amount you owe on your loan, which increases your equity. As your home increases in value, it creates more equity for you.

Enjoy Significant Tax

Owning a home can reduce the amount you pay in income taxes each year. The mortgage interest and property tax payments can be deductible from your Federal Taxes and State Taxes. As well certain closing cost and loan discount points.

Deductions

Owning a home can reduce the amount you pay in income taxes each year. The mortgage interest and property tax payments can be deductible from your Federal Taxes and State Taxes. As well certain closing cost and loan discount points.

Build a Strong Credit History

Once you have purchased your dream home and is consistent in paying the mortgage loan on time, it demonstrates to other lenders that you are a good borrower and the risk of you defaulting on a loan is low. This strong credit history will be helpful in the future when you need other loans for buying a car, making improvements to your home, or paying other major expenses.

Contact US to qualify for NC’s $15,000 in Down Payment assistance and we’ll help you make your next move!

Chrystal Safari Roy | REALTOR® | Investor | Broker in Charge | REAL ESTATE REALTY LLC

WE BUY HOUSES TOO!

ATC School of Real Estate MASTERS DESIGNATION | Luxury Home Specialist | Certified Military Residential Specialist | HUD Registered Agent

704.562.1030 | e: Chrystal.Roy@RERCharlotte.com | Text for Faster Service

SouthPark Towers 6000 Ste 1200 Fairview Road Charlotte, NC 28210

Closing Checklist for a Buyer

Buyer’s Closing Checklist

ADDRESS: _____________________________ DDD _____________

 Get copies of finalized contract to __ buyers, __ lender, __ attorney, and __ listing agent

 Enroll Home Warranty, if applicable

 Send HW invoice to closing attorney

 Send referral sheet, if applicable, to closing attorney

 DEPOSIT earnest money check (within 3 days of acceptance NC, 24 hrs SC)

 RECORD Due Diligence Date for future reference on calendar and file

 MARRIED OR NOT MARRIED – Will all buyers attend closing and sign? Y N If no, arrange for POA

 Complete Buyer info Sheet closing with attorney ___________________ _____Date:_______

 Clear any continued contingencies: ____________________________

 For Home and Termite Inspections – utilities on Y N Date: ____________

 INCLUDE RADON with independent home inspection? http://www.epa.gov/radon

 10 days from closing, transfer utilities in your name for date of closing

 10 days from closing request loan commitment letter

 Get update from lender – has loan package/funds been sent/wired to attorney

 Review HUD statement with buyers

 3 days before closing make sure sellers have Driver’s Licenses, Power of Attorney if not attending closing, and

 Send Wiring Instructions, if applicable for attorney

If my team and I may be of help to you in the sale or purchase of your home, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  All consultations are complimentary and confidential.

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cbs isarealtorLogoChrystal Safari Roy, Team Lead of The Safari Group and Broker in Charge of Real Estate Realty LLC, an Investor-Centric Real Estate Firm bringing you from Purchase to Portfolio located in SouthPark Towers, has over 22 years experience in investing, personal property management and residential real estate sales and is a licensed REALTOR® in North and South Carolina.  As a MASTERS Designation holder, she is a specialist in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, and is a multi-million dollar producer.  Chrystal is a Certified Military Residential Specialist, Luxury Home Specialist, and HUD Registered Agent.  View all our properties at RERCharlotte.com.  Equal Housing

What is the Buyer Agent’s Role in a Purchase Transaction?

Or, WHAT SHOULD YOUR BUYER’S AGENT DO FOR YOU?

VOCABULARY

The field of real estate is full of a specialized vocabulary. One of those vocabulary words is ‘fiduciary.’ Fiduciary means to promote another’s best interests. When you have a fiduciary relationship with a buyer it differs from that of a fiduciary responsibility toward the seller.  Because of this, it’s often difficult for an agent to represent both parties in dual agency, but it can be done well if it’s done right.

SPECIAL AGENT

A real estate agent, broker or REALTOR® becomes a special agent of the party to whom heScreenshot 2016-04-30 13.54.48 owes fiduciary duties. When representing the buyer, fiduciary responsibilities include keeping the buyer on track with his overall goal, as well as giving professional advice about how to navigate the complicated process, and complex legal documents needed to purchase real estate.

FROM CONCEPT TO CLOSING

The first goal of an excellent buyer’s agent is to understand the concept that the buyer has in mind. Then the agent must uncover all the major and minor details that would contribute to success or failure of the project, and provide strategies to eliminate the problems.

If for example, if the buyer doesn’t have realistic expectations, the buyer needs additional information to understand the market and the often complicated processes complete with ever-changing legal documents,  legal strategies, and lender requirements.

CREDIBILITY

Once the realistic expectations have been set, the buyer must position himself as a credible buyer by getting his financing lined up for the ultimate goal of closing Screenshot 2016-04-30 13.58.12on the purchase. This includes understanding the time line, the purchasing power, and specific limitations or expectations dictated by the financing program.  Remember, with champagne taste on a beer budget, you can fall in love with a property that ultimately you can’t qualify for.  An excellent buyer agent becomes your project manager who will keep you on track with not only redirecting you back to the criteria you said was most important, but with the flexibility of changing when your criteria changes, but also in making sure that you don’t fall in love with something ultimately you can’t purchase.

DUE DILIGENCE PROCESSES

Now it’s time to find the property that best fits the current and perhaps future needs of the buyer.  Once the property is identified, your agent  Screenshot 2016-04-30 13.59.58utilizes information used by an appraiser, who ultimately must support the sales price on behalf of the lender, to calculate the apparent value range that becomes the offer price using the industry’s best practices. Without this step, the buyer could make an offer that was influenced by the list price of the property established by the homeowner or the listing agent, who is paid to bid against the buyer, and ultimately spend $1,000’s or more with inspections and the Appraisal to discover that the appraisal is tens of thousands of dollars lower than the list and sales price.

Failing to include this step as a buyer’s agent is not representing and promoting the buyer’s best interests.

AVOIDING STICKER SHOCK

Another concern that the first time home buyer’s agent should have is in determining the ultimate ability for a rental client to become a first time home buyer. Some things to consider during the first buyer interview is to discover if Screenshot 2016-04-30 14.01.10sticker shock will be a factor in the purchase. This is the difference between what the prospective buyer is paying as a tenant and what his mortgage will be and how that compares to any lifestyle changes that might occur as a necessity of paying more than one is used to paying for housing. A way to gauge if a tenant buyer is ready to become a homeowner is to have him or her put back the amount of different between the current rental rate and the mortgage into a bank account for 6 months and not touch it. If a first time buyer can put that money away for 6 months and not touch it, that anticipated mortgage payment should be very comfortable for him.

VOR

Another consideration for a first-time home buyer is verification of rent, also known as VOR. Although this is not requested until about 10 days before closing,Screenshot 2016-04-30 14.02.37 it can stall or kill a deal.  it’s important to interview the first time home buyer early on in the process at the time of pre-qualification to discover if he has had any late rental payments in the 24 months preceding his closing on the loan. If there have been any late payments, the lender needs to know right away so it can be reviewed with the underwriter. Once the underwriter gives the go-ahead you can proceed to getting in the car to find THE ONE!

There are many other behind-the-scenes activities that the REALTOR®, or special agent, will be performing or supervising for the buyer in promoting the buyer’s best interests.  Be sure as you interview the REALTOR® to partner with you in your transaction that the REALTOR® is knowledgable and experienced in getting you to closing as smoothly as possible as your special agent and project manager.  For a Closing Checklist of behind-the-scenes activities you REALTOR® will be performing for you, click here.

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chrystal

realtorLogoChrystal Safari Roy has over 20 years experience in personal property management and residential real estate sales and is a licensed REALTOR® in North and South Carolina.  As a MASTERS Designation holder, she is a specialist in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, and is a multi-million dollar producer.  Chrystal is a member in good standing of the Charlotte Regional Association of REALTORS®, North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, and National Association of REALTORS®.  Call her at 704.562.1030.  Text for faster service. Equal Housing

 

What’s the Difference Between a Due Diligence Fee and Earnest Money Deposit?

earnest-money-deposits-1031-closing-costs

Both North and South Carolina real estate Offers to Purchase and Contract are structured such that both an earnest money deposit and due diligence fee may be offered and negotiated between the parties. Many buyers and sellers ask, what’s the difference between a due diligence fee and the earnest money deposit? Both the earnest money deposit and the due diligence fee are credited back to the buyer at closing. If buyer doesn’t close on the transaction however, earnest money deposits and due diligence fees are handled differently.

due-diligenceAn earnest money deposit is offered by a buyer as ‘skin in the game’ and is refundable under certain circumstances. In our market a $1,000 earnest money deposit it is typical for most purchases. For offers in a multiple-offer scenario however, the seller may find a larger earnest money deposit more attractive because it means the buyer is willing to risk more.

A buyer may, for any reason or no reason, terminate a contract with refund of the earnest money deposit if he has met the due diligence date deadline and communicated his termination in writing prior to 5 o’clock of the business day of the date given for the North Carolina contract. Although the contract states that the earnest money it is to be refunded to the buyer if the terms are met, be aware that the seller must sign a specific document to release that money back to the buyer.

The due diligence fee is basically an offer from a buyer to the seller to take the north-carolina-due-diligence-feehouse off the market for the due diligence period, typically from 10 days to 3 weeks or more, depending upon the overall duration of the transaction.  In a typical transaction where Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner is the seller, a due diligence fee may be paid.  However, if the property is owned by a bank, no due diligence fee is paid.

A due-diligence fee is similar to a reservation fee. It is nonrefundable. Period.

Prior to advising a buyer on structuring an offer, a Buyer’s Agent has the fiduciary responsibility (the responsibility to promote the buyer’s best interests) to consider all aspects of an offer that may put the buyer’s due diligence fee at risk, including inspection time frames, availability of scheduling home inspectors, termite inspectors, appraisers and any other conditions deemed important to the buyer, and for the reports to be returned for review.

For additional questions on this or any other real estate topic, feel free to give me a call!  Text for faster service: 704.562.1030  Who do you know who’s thinking of buying or selling real estate?  SEARCH for your Dream Home or learn more about what clients who work with me are saying here: TheSafariGroup.com

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cbs isaChrystal realtorLogoSafari Roy, Broker in Charge of RERCharlotte, an Investor-Centric Real Estate Firm bringing you from Purchase to Portfolio located in SouthPark Towers, and Team Lead of The Safari Group, has over 20 years experience in investing, personal property management and residential real estate sales and is a licensed REALTOR® in North and South Carolina.  As a MASTERS Designation holder, she is a specialist in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, and is a multi-million dollar producer.  Chrystal is a Certified Military Residential Specialist, Luxury Home Specialist, and HUD Registered Agent.  Search for your Dream Home at TheSafariGroup.com.Equal Housing

How to Buy a Better House for Less Than Paying Rent + Reduce Your Taxes Every April 15

You can buy a better home than your current rental property and reduce your tax bill every April 15th.

Many renters who’ve never owned a home are unaware of the specific benefits of home ownership.  Not only will owning a well-chosen home help you grow an appreciating asset increasing your overall net worth, but it can also reduce your taxable income and reduce your tax liability every April 15.  The end result is that the home you purchase will cost LESS per month than the rental over the year, and you’ll have a better property with no chance of price increase, and control over what you do to make it home.

Here’s how it works:

Screenshot 2016-04-03 14.46.40

In this example, the future home owner is paying rent perhaps between $1100 – $1300.  It’s possible to purchase a home for $265,000* and pay a mortgage payment equivalent of only $1316 with the Estimated Tax Benefit.  That includes:

Principal, Interest, Taxes Insurance and PMI.

What would you rather pay?

  1. $1300 a month on a property that can never be yours or increase your net worth OR pay
  2. $1316 a month for a beautiful property that’s yours?

You’ll be paying someone’s mortgage, why not pay your own and also reduce your taxes to Uncle Sam?!

For a private and confidential strategy session meeting, give me a call.  704.562.1030 Text for Faster Service

*This specific scenario figures a down payment amount of $9,276 and up front PMI Fee of $4,475 at an interest rate of 3.875%, dependent on the borrower’s personal credit scores.

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My first experience calling a REALTOR® ended in him hanging up the phone on chrystal (2)me.  Turns out, I ‘didn’t make enough money’ as a college student to be worth his time.  I didn’t give up! I found a builder, built a brand new home, and never looked back.  Call me.  We’ll see what you need to put into place to move from renter to homeowner!  Late is not too late.

Marital Property and Proceeds in North and South Carolina

Screenshot 2016-03-29 08.17.23*Consult your licensed and admitted attorney in your state for legal advice.  This post is sharing my own experiences as an experienced REALTOR® licensed in both NC and SC.

In North Carolina we have a saying, ‘It takes one to buy and two to sell real estate in North Carolina.’

Generally, if both husband and wife appear on title, both must sign documents (mortgage, rescission and TIL); If only one spouse is on title to property being mortgaged, individual state law applies.

North Carolina is what’s called a dower state. Properties purchased by a married couple is a marital asset even if only one buyer signs documentation (unless that property is purchased by an entity*) and the property is equally owned by both parties, each with rights and responsibilities to the property. When making a purchase, if the intention is for each spouse to protect the others’ marital rights to the property should one spouse pre-decease the other, the closing attorney should include both spouses on the title with rights in common, or as directed by your closing attorney.

Properties owned prior to the marriage are not necessarily marital assets unless Screenshot 2016-03-29 08.45.56the non-signing spouse completes major updates to the property as a major investment in the property.  Each scenario must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

In the case of a spouse inheriting a property, the non-inheriting spouse must sign all documentation to list and sell that property. Often the non-inheriting spouse tells me, ‘That’s not my property and I don’t need to sign.’ Signing to list and sell, and ultimately to close on that property’s sale is for the non-inheriting spouse’s protection.  The spouse who did not inherit the property is signing away both his rights and his further responsibilities to that inherited property.

In contrast, South Carolina is not a dower state, it’s a Homestead (owner Screenshot 2016-03-29 08.48.24occupied) state and common law jurisdiction – what’s hers is hers, what’s his is his. Any husband or wife may freely and individually buy or sell any property with no benefit or responsibility to the other party. As long as the spouse is not on title, the spouse will not be required to sign, and perhaps more importantly, not be due any proceeds.

In the case of a married couple who has purchased a home together, but with only one spouse on the title in SC, if the other spouse wishes to receive a portion of the proceeds from closing and the parties don’t agree, that non-titled spouse must be awarded a court order for the proceeds to be divided.

*A Caveat – properties owned by an entity, such as an LLC or Corporation, or an interest owned by a Trust follow different rules of law and the above doesn’t apply.

NOT INTENDED FOR LEGAL ADVICE – Consult your favorite real estate attorney for full details.

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Chrystal is a REALTOR®, Broker in Charge of Real Estate Realty LLC, a boutique firm specializing in working with investors, and principal of The Safari Group LLC, a local,cbs isa homegrown real estate group, specializing in all phases of the residential and small business real estate market, including First Time Home Buyer, New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, Foreclosures, Short Sales, Portfolio Development, Luxury Homes and GREEN Features.  Contact her at 704.562.1030; TXT for faster service