The Importance of Earnest Money

Why Do I Need Earnest Money?

When you are purchasing a home the amount of money for a loan application, a home inspection, actually anything and everything you have to pay for can feel very overwhelming. The days of low to no down payments are largely past and markets everywhere seem to be running thin on inventory, earnest money may well be the most important negotiating tool you’ve never heard of.

What Is Earnest Money?

When you make an offer on a home, part of that offer can include a little show of good faith on your part, in the form of cold, hard cash (well not actual dollar bills… you can write a check or send a wire). Generally, one to three percent of the offer price is pretty normal for an earnest money deposit. However this can vary widely based on market conditions. The more you put up, the more serious you appear to the seller. But what happens to that money?

Earnest money is literally just a show of faith. When you go to the closing, it is credited towards the cash you need to close, which is made up of line items like your down payment, your closing costs, and your prepaid items. It will simply be applied in full as a credit in your closing documents, reducing the amount of money you need to bring with you on the big day.

Here’s the one thing to be cautious of; if you were to default on the contract, the seller may be entitled to some or all of that earnest money. However, plenty of situations exist where you can cancel, and your earnest money will be refundable, such as:

An unacceptable home inspection. This all has to be stipulated in your contract; there are no givens in a real estate transaction, but there are things that are reasonably standard. Having an unacceptable home inspection, if the seller is not willing to make reasonable repairs, can be a cause for terminating the contract and getting your earnest money back.

Your financing falls through. Again, you’ll need a financing clause or addendum to ensure you’re covered in this event, however, because financing is so important to real estate transactions in general, they are pretty standard. If your financing falls through due to no fault of your own (you’ve been laid off, your bank closes, a co-borrower dies), you should generally be able to reclaim your earnest money. The specifics will be in your real estate sales contract, so pay close attention (and hire an agent who will pay closer attention).

The seller can’t close. There are a few rare situations where a seller can’t close the transaction. These are incredibly uncommon, but they do happen once in a while. For example, you might find out that the seller only believed they were the owners of the home. This can occur when a parent dies without a will, forcing the property into probate court even when it’s clear an only child will be the sole heir.

And in the case that the seller can close, but chooses not to for whatever reason, you would be entitled to get your money back or, in many cases, you can force the seller to honor the contract.

What Is an Earnest Money Note?

In some markets, you may have an additional option for earnest money, known as an earnest money promissory note. This is essentially an IOU that accompanies the offer. On the note, you’ll specify exactly when you’ll either turn the paper into actual cash or forfeit the offer entirely. Though these were once very common, they’re far less so today. If you choose to use an earnest money promissory note, be sure to describe in great detail why you’re not able to provide earnest money on the spot and how you will remedy this.

For example, if you have some stocks you were going to cash out for your down payment, but didn’t want to touch until you were really ready, you may need time to sell enough to cover the earnest money. In that case, specify this as the reason and say that you’ll initiate a sale on a certain day, then convert the note on that day. Make sure to leave yourself a little leeway, because if you fail to perform, you can suffer serious consequences.

Generally speaking, earnest money promissory notes can be considered a sign of a weak offer, so you should inquire before taking that leap.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…. Jeff

ERMA BOMBECK: AT WIT’S END with safe practice performances December 2020

After its successful online run, The Las Vegas Little Theatre is overjoyed to be able to welcome patrons back to the theatre for a Live in person performance of a hilarious one woman show ERMA BOMBECK: AT WIT’S END.   Of course, due to safety and health regulations, things will be a bit different than all of us are used to. They plan to follow strict safety guidelines including reduced capacity, 6-foot distance with seating and mandatory masks.

They must maintain a 25-foot distance between the audience and the stage so the first row for seating with be the 6th row. There is NO SEATING in the first five rows which means patrons MUST be able to climb stairs in order to attend the performance.  Seats will also be socially distanced so there will be a limited number of seats per row.  

Wisecracking and charming, iconic humorist Erma Bombeck takes us through her journey from homemaker, to popular syndicated columnist, to feminist crusader and more. ERMA BOMBECK: AT WIT’S ENDis directed by Vegas Valley Award Winner Walter Niejadlik and stars local actress Gillen Brey, this one-woman show is a hilarious, poignant look at Bombeck’s ambition to define herself beyond the roles of wife and mother—while still embracing how these “ordinary” things can bring extraordinary joy. 

The play was written by sister-playwriting duo Allison Engel and Margaret Engel. This clever show pulls largely from Bombeck’s famed columns and best-selling books, chronicling her life as a suburban housewife and how she used her wit and wisdom to charm her way into the hearts of readers across the country.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at www.lvlt.org. 

ERMA BOMBECK: AT WIT’S END will perform

Saturdays, 12/5 & 12 @8pm and

Sundays, 12/6 & 13 @ 2pm

For tickets and information, visit their website at www.LVLT.org or contact the Box Office at (702) 362-7996 during regular box office hours (Mondays 4pm – 8pm, Wednesdays and Fridays 10am – 1pm, and Saturdays 9am – 12pm).

Disclaimer – This is the information we have today – things change rapidly these days. 

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…. Jeff

Hot Flooring Trends for Homeowners

Installing new flooring in your home can make one of the biggest impacts on your home’s appearance. It reflects your style and personality, as well as your lifestyle. The right floor can make it easier to keep your home cleaner, and set the mood for a cozy living space. There are certain trends that have been a lot more popular than others. Here’s a brief list of options that should make your flooring search a little easier.

Hard Flooring Options

Hard floors are any kind of flooring with a solid, and generally non-porous, surface.  Hard flooring offers many benefits. The materials are more resilient to regular use, so wear life is longer. And cleaning is easier because there’s no fibers to capture things like pet hair, loose skin cells, dirt, and microbes. Some of the most popular hard flooring options include:

Vinyl Plank

Vinyl Plank is designed much like laminate flooring, with a tongue and groove locking system that creates a watertight seal when properly installed. The difference between vinyl plank and laminate flooring, however, is that vinyl plank is made from solid vinyl, rather than being several layers of different materials sandwiched together. It’s a great choice for wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms, and for households with pets and children. As a bonus, vinyl plank is available in a huge range of patterns, from synthetic marble to high variation wood-like floor patterns.

Wood-look Porcelain

Wood-Look Porcelain Tile. If you want something that will last longer than vinyl plank, but still look like wood, wood-look porcelain tiles are a great option. They look like wood planks, but are made from extremely durable porcelain. It’s an option that’s very permanent and will last for many, many years to come. They can also be purchased in the high variation wood patterns, though the effect is less obvious than with vinyl plank since there is grout between the tiles.

Terrazzo

Terrazzo. This might be the coolest flooring you’ve never heard of. Although its popular, many people don’t know the term for it. Terrazzo is that tile flooring that’s made from concrete with lots of inclusions like glass, shells, or other interesting bits mixed in. It looks great in mid-century modern homes, or those decorated in the style. And since concrete is extremely durable, it will last and last.

Reclaimed Wood is sometimes referred to as “architectural salvage.” When a building is being torn down, firms can sometimes acquire the materials, especially if the building is historic. It can be labor intensive to install reclaimed wood floors, but you’ll end up with a totally unique look and keep building materials out of the landfill, so it’s kind of a double win.

Area Rug

What About Carpet?  Sometimes they’re in, sometimes they’re out.  Usually there are some people who are still really into carpeting even when their popularity is waning. Right now the trend in carpets is to opt for carpeting in limited spots, like using carpet runners for stairs.

Carpet tiles are seeing some popularity, especially since they come in a ton of fun colors and tend to have a very low nap, making them easy to keep clean. If you want more carpet, look for large area rugs or keep your carpet in low-use rooms like bedrooms. “Maximalism” is making a big comeback, encouraging big patterns and colors with big personalities. Clashing is the new matching.

Once you know what kind of flooring you’d prefer, you may need to find someone to install it. Some flooring shops have an in-house flooring installer, but you can’t always rely on these experts to be as expert as you’d like. seem.  Not every flooring installer installs every kind of flooring, so be sure to ask them about their areas of expertise before you make your final decision.

There are many companies that install flooring. Feel free to call me – Jeff “Vegas” Howard, your Realtor for life as I have a list of professional and reputable firms for you to consider.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…. Jeff

Would you like to have a spa-like bathroom?

Don’t you just love an invigorating shower?  Well then it may be time to consider a renovation to an expanded shower or a remodel of the entire bathroom.

One of the biggest trends in the last few years is to eliminate the tub and have a nice size walk-in shower.  You can have a bench and shelves for shampoo and body wash.

Then there are the options of shower heads.  The rain head is very popular, or you can have a normal showerhead, body spray hand held, plus you can combine two or three.  The groupings are endless (well not really endless, you know what I mean).

The entire process for the shower replacement takes about three weeks.  Most of the work is done off premises and then the ripping out of the tub and installation in your master bathroom should take about two days.

Now you are ready to put in a freestanding tub and I know that the claw foot tubs are quite popular. If you are going to replace the sinks experts suggest going with rectangular sinks as they look more modern and are larger.

Renovating the master bathroom is a good investment.  When you want to sell your home it adds money to the asking price, as long as the style is broadly appealing.

There are many companies that remodel bathrooms from just the shower to a total makeover.  Feel free to call me – Jeff “Vegas” Howard, your Realtor for life as I have a list of professional and reputable firms for you to consider.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…. Jeff

The Summerlin Annual Dog Calendar will go on Sale this month

Dressed for Haloween

Summerlin residents are in love with dogs, even if they don’t have a furry family member at this time.  One bright spot in 2020 is the annual Dog Calendar – this will be its third year in publication.

Loves the Golden Knights

Downtown Summerlin does the work on it and chooses the cute dogs seen in the calendar.  Each calendar is priced at $10 and proceeds go to The Animal Foundation – a very worthy cause. Each month will be represented by one dog and the thirteenth dog will be the cover model.  They will be photographed in different spots in Downtown Summerlin. The calendars will be available for purchase at each Downtown Summerlin Concierge. The Animal Foundation is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of animals in the Las Vegas Valley.

Summer Time in Summerlin

For more information visit www.summerlin.com or call 702-832-1055.

Downtown Summerlin is part of a planned urban center that services the entire Las Vegas Valley.  The first phase, which included retail shopping, restaurants and entrainment opened October 2014.  Today it has expanded to include being the home to the City National Arena, practice facility for the Las Vegas Golden Knights, The Las Vegas Ballpark, the minor league baseball stadium.  In addition Downtown Summerlin is home to two Class-A office towers. 

Christmas

Also residential units of all types are planned.  Over 4,000 attached residences planned to be added to Downtown Summerlin.  This will be comprised of condominiums, apartments, lofts and brownstones. Two luxury multi-family developments – The Constellation and Tanager are already opened.

What can I say the master-planned community of Summerlin just keeps on giving people what they want.  If you are interested in a doggie calendar, call them, If you are interested in seeing property call me – Jeff Howard, your Realtor for life.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…. Jeff

Redpoint and Redpoint Square– the last frontier?

Summerlin, located on the west side of the Las Vegas Valley is developing the last remaining land in the master-plan.  The two villages are called Redpoint Village and the second is Redpoint Square.

The two villages offer an interesting and diverse mix of residential homes, townhomes, mixed-use office and retail developments and of course lots of parks, open space and trails – something Summerlin is known for.  Did you know that Summerlin ranked number 3 as the top selling master-plan in the country?

Redpoint Village will be located along the northern border of Far Hills Drive, and is a key gateway into Summerlin West, with eight new single-family neighborhoods from top Summerlin homebuilders, including Woodside, Toll Brothers, Taylor Morrison (formerly William Lyons Homes), Lennar, Pardee and Pulte.

Redpoint Square

Travel a bit north of Redpoint is Redpoint Square, featuring a mixture of single family attached and detached homes from builders including Richmond American Homes, KB Homes, Toll Brothers, Taylor Morrison, Lennar and Woodside.

Redpoint Square, is beginning to take shape with its first neighborhood. now selling, Moro Rock by Richmond American Homes.  There are two duet town home models priced from the high $200,000s.  Redpoint Square will be suited for first-time buyers, millennials, families, executives, and retirees.  Luxury home living opportunities will be available too. 

inside model home

According to Danielle Bisterfeldt, vice president of marketing for Summerlin, Summerlin West is the next chapter in the community’s 30-year history as one of the country’s premier and top-selling master plans.

Bisterfeldt stated “Situated on elevated topography overlooking the valley, the Summerlin West area boasts an elevation that is more than 4,550 feet above sea level at its highest point, creating an abundance of vantage points and vistas. Summerlin’s higher elevations, which deliver temperatures up to 5 degrees cooler than the Strip, support a greater variety of naturally occurring vegetation, a characteristic indicative of the community given its location along the valley’s elevated western rim.”

Construction at Redpoint Square

“Perhaps the greatest distinction of Summerlin West, with Redpoint and Redpoint Square, will be its greater diversity of home products that will make the area truly multigenerational,” she said. “Summerlin West will boast a greater volume of smaller and attached home products that encourage a more experiential lifestyle and are well-suited for first-time homebuyers, millennials and retirees who prefer smaller-footprint living. At the same time, Summerlin West will feature many single-family neighborhoods in a variety of sizes and price points, along with estates and luxury living opportunities. The goal is to create a truly diverse region of the community that will resonate with a wide variety of homebuyers seeking a 21st-century lifestyle.”

This year Summerlin is marking its 30th anniversary and it offers so many amenities. They include more than 250 parks of all sizes; resident-exclusive community centers, pools and events; 150-plus miles of interconnected trails; 10 golf courses; 26 public, private and charter schools; a public library and performing arts center; Summerlin Hospital Medical Center; houses of worship representing a dozen different faiths; office parks; and neighborhood shopping centers. Downtown Summerlin offers fashion, dining, entertainment, Red Rock Resort, office towers and the City National Arena, which is the Vegas Golden Knights practice facility. The Las Vegas Ballpark is a world-class Triple-A baseball stadium and home of the Las Vegas Aviators.

If anything sounds interesting to you contact me – Jeff Howard -your realtor for life.  Now is an excellent time to purchase a new home as mortgage rates are historically low.  I can introduce you to a trusted lender too!

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…. Jeff

Home Security Systems

The days of leaving the door unlocked are long gone in most neighborhoods of Southern Nevada, as well as the rest of the country. 

I was reading an article about home security systems in Money Magazine and learned that more people have installed some type of security to their home in the last couple of years – even if that is just a door camera.

Among a homeowner’s worst nightmares is having your home broken into.  Besides what was taken monetarily you have lost something greater – your sense of security.  In today’s new normal world more people are spending more time at home and a security system seems like a good idea to deter burglars from coming into your house while family members are home.

Money Magazine has a list of best home security systems and they cover different price ranges.  If you don’t have a security system it would be wise to consider one before something happens – it just might prevent an incident.  The following is the list:

  1. ADT: Most Versatile Options for Home, Commercial, and Small Business Protection
  2. SimpliSafe: Best No-Contract Option
  3. Frontpoint: Best DIY Home Security Setup
  4. Protect America: Best Selection of Options and Features
  5. Vivint: Best for Home and Vehicle Protection
  6. Ring: Best Complete DIY Option
  7. Google Nest: Best for Smart-Home Integration

All of these are good options it just depends how much security you want in your home.  If you are not sure contact me -your Realtor for life- and I can help you find a professional that can help you decide.  I have a system and my family sleeps a lot better knowing the house is secure.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…. Jeff

What Types of Plants Do You Plant in Fall?

Fall in Las Vegas is a little bit like spring in reverse. A lot of plants start winding down as winter approaches. The fall can be a time for laying the groundwork for spring plants and creating dazzling garden displays.

What to Plant – Fall planting can be somewhat tricky, mainly since the plants that prefer to be planted in the fall can vary widely depending on how cold it gets during the winter months. In Las Vegas you can bet on many of these being excellent candidates:

  1. Spring bulbs. Tulip, daffodil, crocus, allium, hyacinth, lilies, and even iris are great choices for planting in the fall. They don’t generally need to be lifted, so they can be planted in those short days before the first frost hits. You’ll reap the fruits of your labor when the ground starts to warm up again.
  2. Perennials. A huge range of perennials do great when planted in the fall. Bleeding hearts, rudbeckia, sedum, coreopsis, garden chrysanthemums, asters, hostas, and many others are not only great for end of year color – they also will reliably return year after year to put on a dazzling show.
  3. Shrubs. Looking for some show-stopping fall color? There’s no better time to choose and plant these kinds of shrubs than in the fall, when they’re at their best. Look for shrubs that produce berries and sport lovely fall foliage like nandina, viburnum, pyracantha, and beautyberry. These will provide your local neighborhood wildlife with a little extra forage, and give you some extra fancy natural holiday decorations.
  4. Trees. Most trees thrive when planted in the fall; it’s their best season! Planting your young trees in the fall, well before your first frost, gives them time to establish their roots without risking drying out. Not only do you increase the odds that your trees will survive by choosing to plant them in the fall, you’ll skip all the major maintenance required to nurse a fresh, new baby tree through a hot summer. It’s really a win-win.

When to Plant –Timing is everything when you’re planting in the fall. It’s not enough to ensure that the ground is unfrozen and workable; you should also give your young plants time to grow and spread their roots before they go dormant for the year. You can look up the first frost date in Las Vegas on a reliable gardening site like The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Count back six to eight weeks and plan to plant your garden at that time.

Protecting Plants – For the most part, fall plantings won’t need a great deal of protection as long as they’re planted in a timely manner. What they will need is lots and lots of mulch. It doesn’t really matter what kind of mulch you use, so long as it’s biodegradable and can be piled on deep.

Las Vegas can see snow and freezing temperatures in different areas of the valley, in those areas go for about four inches of mulch per planting, evenly distributed across the top. Wait to cover the crowns until you’re actually at risk for frost, but the root area of the plant can be covered the day you plant it. These kinds of mulches help the plant retain moisture and acts as insulation to keep the warmth from the sun in the ground longer.

As your plants die back for the year, mulch the entire area, making sure to carefully check tender plants for new growth as temperatures rise in the spring. When you see those little green sprouts popping up, uncover them (but leave the rest of the mulch) so they can continue on their upward journey.

Not Sure What to Plant This Fall? -If you’re going to do it yourself, just ask the folks at your local nursery. They are full of knowledge and great ideas. If you want to just hire the job out and don’t know who to hire, It’s ok, you have me – Jeff Howard your Realtor for life.  I can help you find a landscaper or other plant expert to help you choose and install your fall landscaping.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…. Jeff

Maintaining Your Kitchen Garbage Disposal

We all love our garbage disposal and we take it for granted that it will work every time we throw some bits of debris and turn it on.  That of course is how it should work if we maintain it correctly, however like any home appliance something can go wrong.

What not to put in the disposal – first of all don’t overload it.  If you have a lot to get rid of put some of it in to grind away.  When that is gotten rid of put another small amount of debris and repeat.  Also do not put banana peel, fruit pits, rinds of watermelon or any melon, all of these can form a clog and wrap around the blades causing the blades not to work.

Also stay away from stringy foods, rice, potatoes or beans – they can swell up with water causing a clog.  Don’t throw grease down the disposal either.  They can cause a film of on the blades making them less effective, plus cause an unpleasant odor.

Never put non-food items down the disposal, it cannot break down anything but foods.

A very good thing to do is to run your garbage disposal once a day even if there is very little in there.  This will keep debris from building up or corroding the interior of the appliance.  A very good thing to do is drop a few ice cubes down the disposal every so often – this will keep it clean and sharpen the blades.  Don’t forget to run water before, during and after running the disposal.  Do you know that lemon peel in the disposal will make it smell nice and kill germs?

Most garbage disposal units last around five to ten years and, if you don’t have a home warranty, replacing it is a good DIY project for the moderately skilled person with a bit of plumbing and electrical knowledge. Or, just call me, your Realtor for life, and I will recommend someone that can install it rather quickly for a fair price.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…. Jeff

Top Home Selling Points – Kitchens, Baths, and Decks/Patios:

For whatever reason the time has comes time to sell your home, and of course you want it to look its best so you can get the best price, quickly. If you’re trying to figure out the best parts of the home to give special attention to, there are definitely areas that buyers are looking closely at -the kitchen, bathrooms and decks.

Considering the Kitchen – A lot of people feel the kitchen is the heart of the home so homebuyers will want to make sure that the kitchen meets their needs and is kept clean and tidy as well as updated with new appliances. Most potential buyers are looking for a big, open kitchen with modern appliances and usually a few key features like a dishwasher or kitchen island.  Obviously, your kitchen will not always have everything that buyers are looking for, however you can do your best to unclutter the space so it looks fresh and clean.

A Focus on Bathrooms – All the bathrooms are very important rooms in a house. Homebuyers want to be confident that things will work well in the bathroom when they’re in there. There’s a lot that goes on in the bathroom, though; beyond the obvious, this is also where people get ready in the morning, take their showers or baths, brush their teeth and fix their hair.

Potential buyers are looking for a certain WOW factor when they see a bathroom.  Nice looking fixtures as well as cleanliness is especially important.  Make sure the lighting is correct and the bathroom has sufficient mirrorsMost bathrooms only have a limited amount of space to work with, but you’d be surprised how much of a difference you can make with a few tweaks and upgrades.

Enjoying the Deck/Patio – Not every home has a deck/patio, but those that do always get oohs and aahs from potential buyers. A lot of homeowners want to be able to enjoy their time outside of their home, and having a deck or patio can make this a lot easier since you can set up tables, chairs, a grill or anything else in a secure and flat area outdoors.

If you have a wood deck, take the time to make sure it’s recently painted or stained and is otherwise in good condition. A deck can make a big impression, but an ugly or damaged deck can make the wrong sort of impression on your potential buyer.

Sprucing Up the Whole Home –There are other parts of the home that you can make changes or updates to if you’re getting ready to sell your home. General repairs, remodels or upgrades can interest potential buyers regardless of where they occur. You might want to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls with neutral tones.

As your Realtor I will come to your home and advise you what to do to help the sale be quick and at the right price – after all I’m your Realtor for life.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…. Jeff