Top 5 Ways of Owning a Home is Washington State…What You Need to Know

Unlike other real property assets, real estate ownership can take several forms, each of which has implications on how ownership can be transferred and can affect how they can be financed, improved or used as collateral.

Each of the types of title methods has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on an individual’s particular situation and how one wants ownership to pass in the event of such things as death, divorce or sale. The most common of these methods of holding title are as follows:

  • Joint tenancy
  • Tenancy in common
  • Tenants by entirety
  • Sole ownership
  • Community property

Home ownership in WashingtonJoint Tenancy
Joint tenancy occurs when two or more people hold title to real estate jointly, with equal rights to enjoy the property during their lives; in the event of the death of one of the partners, their rights of ownership pass to the surviving tenant(s).

Advantage
The advantage of this method is that the parties in the ownership need not be married or related.

Disadvantages
The downside is that any financing or use of the property for financial gain must be approved by all parties and cannot be transferred by will after one passes. If the parties are not married, in order to get out of the title, they must petition the court to divide the property or order its sale.

Another large disadvantage is that a creditor that has a legal judgment to collect a debt from one of the owners can also petition the court to divide the property and force a sale in order to collect on its judgment. In this method, each of the owners takes a risk in the other’s financial choices.

Tenancy In Common
With tenancy in common, two or more persons hold title to real estate jointly, with equal rights to enjoy the property during their lives. Unlike joint tenancy, tenants in common hold title individually for their respective part of the property and can dispose of or encumber it at will. Ownership can be willed to other parties, and in the event of death, ownership will transfer to that owner’s heirs undivided.

Advantage
Tenancy in common allows for one owner to use the wealth created by their portion of the property as collateral for financial transactions, and creditors can place liens only against one owner’s particular portion of the property.

Disadvantage
Any liens on the property must be cleared in order for a total transfer of ownership to take place.

Tenants By Entirety
Tenants by entirety is ownership in real estate under the fictional assumption that husband and wife are one person for legal purposes. This method conveys ownership to them as one person, with title transferred to the other in entirety if one of them dies. This method can only be used when owners are legally husband and wife.

Advantage
The advantage of this method is that no legal action need take place at the death of one’s spouse. There is no need for a will, and probate or other legal action isn’t necessary.

Disadvantage
Conveyance of the property must be done together and the property cannot be subdivided. In the case of divorce this type of title automatically converts to a tenancy in common, meaning that one owner can transfer ownership of their respective part of the property to whomever they wish.

Sole Ownership
Sole ownership can be characterized as ownership by an individual or entity legally capable of holding title. The most common sole ownerships are held by single men and women, married men or women who hold property apart from their spouse, and businesses with corporate structure allowing it to invest in or hold interest in real estate.

In the situation of married persons wishing to own real estate apart from their spouse, title insurance companies will typically require the spouse to specifically disclaim or relinquish their right to ownership in the property.

Advantage
The main advantage to holding title as a sole owner is the ease with which transactions can be accomplished because no other party need be consulted to authorize the transaction.

Disadvantage
The obvious disadvantage is the potential for legal issues regarding the transfer of ownership should the sole owner die or become incapacitated. Unless specific legal documentation such as a will exists, the transfer of ownership upon death can become very problematic.

Community Property
Community property is a form of ownership by husband and wife during their marriage that they intend to own together. Under community property, either spouse has the right to dispose of one half of the property or will it to another party. Outside of real estate, property acquired during one’s marriage is usually deemed community property.

Real estate that is acquired during a common-law marriage will also be considered to be held as community property. Anyone who has lived with another person as a common-law spouse and doesn’t specifically change title to the property as sole ownership (which is legally transacted with approval by the significant other) takes the risk of having to share ownership of the property in the absence of having a legal marriage.

 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Home

Let’s Take a Look at What it Cost to Buy a Home

The cost to buy a home is not limited to the number you offer or what you see on the flyer! And while most home buyers are very savvy when it comes to ‘crunching the numbers’ when it comes to the month to month requirements of home ownership, the conversation of what will it cost to buy ‘YOUR’ home should be had long before you head off to the closing table!

Whether you’ve purchased real estate in the past or are looking to become a homeowner soon, knowing exactly what it cost to buy a home can be a real eye opener if you don’t know the right questions to ask…or more importantly, who to ask!

Who is the best to help me understand how much it cost to buy a home?

Although your REALTOR® or just your agent (Yes, there is a difference) is arguably your first line of defense when it comes to protecting you and your investment, they may not always have the exact answers to your financial questions and the overall cost to buy a home.

This is not to say he or she is not educated or a wealth of knowledge and information about the home buying process and market conditions. But, sometimes the best professional to know what you’re exactly going to pay…to the penny…is a member of your team that you may not even know!

Meet the Team

Of course your REALTOR® is the best resource for the obvious cost to buy a home such as the cost of an inspection. But, getting to know who is handling your title and escrow for instance, can be a excellent resource for knowing where all those closing dollars are being spent.

Having a knowledgable person who is handling your closing paperwork will allow you to get a strong indication of your overall ‘Out of Pocket’ expenses that are not usually discovered or talked about during the flurry of activity of buying a home.

Below is a quick breakdown of who and what are involved in the transaction when figuring the cost to buy a home: 

  • Appraisal
  • Homeowners Association
  • Insurance Binder
  • Well and Septic Inspection
  • Lender
  • Credit Report
  • Private Mortgage Insurance
  • Title Policy
  • Escrow Fee (Closing Costs)
  • Property Taxes
  • Utilities (Gas, Phone, Sewer, Water, Garbage, Cable, Internet, Alarm System and good old fashioned Electricity)
  • Moving Expenses
  • Rekeying your doors

Knowing the cost to buy a home after you bought the home

The above list may be something many buyers have planned for. But, what about all those ‘goodies’ after you close? These are expenses new homeowners can put off but it’s not long before you have to address certain items to insure your largest investment keeps its value.

  • Paint – You will ultimately want to put your own ‘stamp’ on your new home. Best way to do this is with a fresh coat of paint. An expense that can be put off but your heart wants what your heart wants and sooner than later…you will want to paint believe me!
  • Windows – Upgrading your windows to a more energy efficient system is a common first expense. This can save you hundreds if not thousands in energy bills in just the first few years of homeownership and money well spent!
  • Landscaping – I’m not talking about a complete redo but you will want to maintain your lawn and pretty flower beds and that takes a lawnmower, flower food and more than likely, a whole bunch of new flowers and pretty pretty’s from your local home and garden center.
  • Appliances – This can wait but it’s not a bad idea to at least have a budget for a dishwasher or dryer just in case the worst happens and they conk out on ya!
  • Furniture – Also considered more of a luxury than a necessity but you know as well as I do that you never have enough furniture to fill up your new home!

Of course the one cost to buy a home you NEVER have to concern yourself with…

You never pay your REALTOR® a commission when you buy your home! That’s right…some buyers are unaware that the cost of working with an experienced and knowledgable Real Estate Professional like myself is absolutely FREE TO YOU!!! 

To learn more about the cost to buy a home or a more in depth breakdown of what I’ve covered here, please contact me directly at the information below and I’d be honored to answer all your home buying questions!

 

 


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


Home Buyer Education Class

Is 2014-15 the year you become a Home Buyer?

Please circle the 20th of September on your calendar and join us for a 5 hours journey that’ll give you a ton of information and valuable takeaways to help you achieve the dream of homeownership!

We’ll be covering everything from:

  • The difference between a Pre-qualification vs. a Pre-Approval letter
  • How to conduct a property search
  • The REALTOR®/Home Buyer relationship
  • Lending
  • Home Inspections
  • And, Escrow, the Closing process & how Recording works.

There will be a lender, escrow officer and REALTOR® on hand to answer your questions.

Who will be there…

  • McKenzie Kelly with Prime Lending
  • Escrow Officer Gail Van der Hoeff from Lewis County Title Company
  • And a Home Inspector*

What we will cover…

  • How to apply for the bond program – to be revealed at the class by the lender. (Not all Lenders qualify to do these loans)
  • What that program will do for home buying power
  • I’ve added a few links to help you get started

http://www.wshfc.org/buyers/downpayment.htm
http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do?pageAction=pageLoad&requestInfo=DirectProgramInfo&NavKey=loan

Upon completion of this course buyer will have met the requirements to apply for the state bond down payment assistance program and the USDA direct loan.

Home_Buyers_Education_Class

Click here to download the home buyer class flyer


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate


What is Title Insurance?

Are you curious about what Title Insurance is and more importantly…who pays what and how much?

Title InsuranceHere is a simple breakdown of which policy is paid by the Seller and which is paid by the Buyer…and how it protects both parties in a real estate transaction!

What the Home Seller Title Insurance Policy looks like.

Title insurance for property owners, called an Owner’s Policy, is usually issued in the amount of the real estate purchase. It is purchased for a one-time fee at closing and is valid for as long as the owner or his/her heirs have an interest in the property.

Only an Owner’s Policy fully protects the buyer should a covered title problem arise with the title that was not found during the title search. Possible hidden title problems can include:

  • Errors or omissions in deeds
  • Mistakes in examining records
  • Forgery
  • Undisclosed heirs

What the Home Buyers Title Insurance Policy looks like.

Title insurance for the home buyer is really not for the home buyer at all. Rather, the policy is intended for the mortgage lender. And aptly enough, it’s called a Loan Policy. Most lenders require a Loan Policy when they issue a mortgage loan. The Loan Policy is usually based on the dollar amount of the loan and it protects the lender’s interests in the property should a problem with the title arise.

It’s also important to note that the Loan Policy does not, in fact, protect the buyer but again, insures that the property is protected against any title defects and although paid by the buyer at closing, does decrease each year and eventually disappears as the loan is paid off.

I hope you found this brief explanation of Title Insurance helpful. If you have an questions about this or any other part of a real estate transaction, don’t hesitate to contact me!


Janet 
SimonsI am passionate about Real Estate and eager to answer all of your real estate questions! Text or Call me at 360-880-2356 or email me directly to ask about Buying, Selling or Investing in today's Real Estate Market - serving Lewis County & Thurston County, WA.

Janet Simons | Certified Residential Specialist | Real Estate Broker
Mountain Valley Real Estate