Full Video Transcript
Hey, everybody. Thanks for tuning in. My name is Pat Wilver. I’m one of the co-owners of Trophy Point Realty Group. I was a third ID veteran stationed here from 2014 to 19, and I decided to stick around Savannah after I got out of the army. We’re here today to talk a little bit about some things to consider when doing a PCS move. So we’re gonna start off with selling a home. We’re gonna, we’re gonna assume that you’re selling a home wherever you’re coming here from, and we’re gonna go over some, some tips and tricks in that regard. If that’s not the case, if you’re not selling, feel free to go ahead and skip ahead past this section, because it’s not gonna be super relevant to you. Now, when you look at selling, there’s a couple things to consider. First of all, is the, is the, the money factor, the monetary factor.
And that is, “Hey, if I sell this house, can I take the equity that I have in that house and take that cash and go put it to use somewhere else that’s gonna make me more money than if I were to hold onto this house and rent it out?” And if all you care about is the money, that’s the only question you wanna look at. If the answer is “yes, I can find a better use for that money elsewhere,” then you should sell you should sell or you should at least refinance and pull out some of that money. Also personal preference comes into play. Maybe you don’t want to be a landlord. Being a landlord can, can kind of be a pain. And some people just don’t want to do that. And that’s perfectly fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. So that’s the reason to sell. And then third, you might have to sell maybe you can’t qualify for a second mortgage.
Maybe you can’t you can’t qualify for a second mortgage or maybe you’re having a divorce or changing your financial situation where it’s just not feasible for you to to actually keep onto that house and then buy a second one. So those are the three main considerations. So let’s take a look here. Next slide. Alright. So factor one that we look at is money. So we already kind of talked about this a little bit, so let’s just go ahead and go to the next slide, but we’ll get a little more detail. So this is an example. Let’s say you can sell your home and put $50k in your pocket or you can rent it out and make $5,000 in profit each year. And that’s, let’s just say that that’s your cash profit. That’s your, your cash flow. The cashflow of about $450/month.
That’s a, that’s a really good cash return on your equity. Actually, that’s, that’s really good. You, if that was me, I’d probably wanna look at, hold on. How do I hold onto that rental and buy something else? If I was making that much cash that’s, that’s pretty solid. Especially if you bought that home with a VA loan and you don’t have any money down, that’s, that’s pretty sweet. So, but let’s say you’ve got that $50k of equity and you know, you’re not gonna cashflow or maybe you’re gonna be cash negative. That’s gonna be a situation where, you know, look, look possibly to selling that property. And, and there is some other options too, we’ll talk about later. You don’t necessarily have to sell, if you have a lot of equity in your home, you can look into into a cash out refinance perhaps, and you can pull out some of that money, not all of it, but some of it and your cashflow will probably go down a little bit, but that’s, that’s a way to hold onto your property.
So personal preference, right? So we, we kind of talked about this. Do you want to rent, even if the numbers don’t necessarily add up? You can, you can do a HELOC which basically you know, as a line of credit, that’s tied to your home, that you can, you know, take out money. A lot of people use those to renovate homes, people who flip houses like to use HELOCs for those or cash out refinances, put a new 30-year loan on, pull out some cash. Other personal preference – do you wanna be a landlord? There’s property management, there’s answering tenant questions and issues quickly, there’s covering maintenance items. You know, it’s, the air conditioning goes out, you know, boom, there’s probably a $7,000 bill that you, you have to cover. So that’s, you know, some people don’t wanna do that.
And then, you know, maybe, maybe you have a use for that equity outside of, outside of making money as an investment. Maybe you’d need it to make a down payment on your next house. You about to send your kids to college. Maybe you have some credit card debt that you’d like to pay off. That’s, that’s a use, that’s a good use of that equity. And that might be a reason to sell outside of, you know, looking for a better investment. So necessity, right? Maybe you need to free up your VA entitlement. It is possible to have two VA loans at the same time. I actually myself have done that. There are some things you need to go to. You’re gonna want to talk to a good lender about your situation and, and ask a question. Can I get a second VA loan?
And if so, you know, in my case, when I got my second VA loan, I had to bring some money to the table as a down payment. So you, you may have to do that. Especially if the house you currently own on your VA loan is, is worth a good amount of money. So maybe you need to free up that VA entitlement. Maybe you need to maybe you just can’t qualify for two homes at the same time. Maybe you’re starting out your career in the army. You’re not making a ton of money yet, or maybe you’ve got a lot of other debt obligations out there or your credit’s not so great. Again, that’s a lender question – you have to ask if you can even qualify for a second mortgage. Like we kind of talked about maybe you need to access home equity in order to make the next purchase. And then of course changing your financial situation, divorce, things like that. Sometimes will make it necessary to, to sell a house, even if you don’t want to.
All right. So let’s look a little bit into renting out your home after you move away. So let’s say that you decided you want to rent out. What does that look like? Here’s the bottom line up front. If you, if you want to self-manage, if you want to not have to pay a property manager, then you need to already have connections with handyman, contractors, and other vendors that you’ve worked with and you trust. It’s very difficult to, to self-manage from a distance, unless you already have these relationships built. And there are people that, you know, you’ve worked with before and you trust them. So if you’re going to PCS in three months and you’re trying to self-manage and you haven’t built any of those relationships, yet, it, it might be a little bit too late to do that. So that’s important. So let’s talk about, you know, what are some landlord duties, right?
Well, the hardest one is really placing a tenant. It’s finding that tenant placing in under property. This is very, very difficult. I tried to do it once from a distance and it just didn’t work out. I ended up hiring a friend of mine who is an agent. This is before I became an agent and I was still in the military, and I just hired him to find me a tenant. It’s gonna be very, very difficult to do from a distance, not necessarily impossible, but you’re gonna have to pay somebody to do something. If you pay an agent to do it, and they’re doing this as a one-off I’d probably expect to pay one month on rent and commission for them to do that work. Maybe if they do you a solid, they do it for cheaper, but you know, me personally, I, I don’t really even like to place tenants.
It’s a lot more work than it’s worth to me. Unless it’s a rental property, that’s really close to where I live and it, and it’s not a burden for me to drive over and show it. So we’re also, you know, figuring out tenant issues and questions. Tenant calls you, Hey you know, the, “the sink’s clogged” the, you know, “I locked myself out” or, “Hey, I think there’s something wrong with the, with the stove”. These are things that come up. And, and what makes it difficult, this is the important contingency plan, right? You know, what, if you’re at NTC, what if you’re deployed? What if they can’t get ahold of you? Who, who a) is gonna answer the phone when you can’t and b) who can make a decision, say if you’re out in the box at NTC and say, you just went out and you got 10 days and air conditioning goes out and it’s summertime, you know, who’s, you need to have somebody who can make that decision for you while you’re not around, because your tenants are not gonna wanna wait 10 days for you to get back from the box to approve a $6,000 repair, right?
So that’s important. That’s very important. That’s something, if you don’t have a good answer to that, you should just have a property manager to handle that for you property management, typically a low-margin business. So it’s a natural incentive for property managers to cut costs. There’s, there’s some good ones. There’s a lot of bad ones, most real estate people who do property management, they typically do it as a way to keep their their past clients kind of in-house and top-of-mind, because eventually down the road they’re gonna want to sell. And, you know, you want to be the first person they think of. So a, a lot of the incentive to do property management, it’s not so much to make money on the management. It is just to kind of keep your past clients kind of in the, in the circle, right?
So get recommendations – investor Facebook groups are a good place to go, you know, find your local area and search on Facebook for real estate investors. Ask some, ask some people there. You know, if not, Google, call around, I find referrals typically to be the best. And then cost, you know, in this market is typically 10% plus tenant placement fees. And the Savannah market is typically a half a month rent is tenant placement. Other markets are as high as a full month rent, tenant placement. And you also need to vet these people, right? So interview a couple, don’t just go with the first person you talk to. Go meet with them, check out their offices. It look organized, you know, do they, do they speak well? Do they write well? Ask them, you know, what kind of software did they use?
Are they using a professional software like Appfolio, or are they, you know, old school or, or no software at all? How many properties do they have under management versus how many people on staff? Right. If they have 300 properties under management and only one person on staff, that person is gonna be overwhelmed and they probably won’t be doing a good job. And then it’s also good, I think, to call as a tenant. You know, look up a property they’re advertising, pretend to be a tenant. “Hey, I’d like to see this property.” How responsive are they? Right. do they get back to you or do they kind of just, you know, let things slide? Because I, I see properties sometimes, you know, listed for rent that are at a good price that should have rented. And they don’t. And I, a lot of the times it’s because the property managers are just not following up with those leads. So you don’t want that to be your house.
All right. So let’s, let’s say you decided to sell, let’s say selling’s the best best decision for you. And instead of going that route. So hey inventory is super low, right? The pretty strong seller’s market, even with rates going up as they are we still find it’s a pretty strong seller’s market. So you think the house will sell itself. Right? And that’s not always the case. There are a few things that you can do to get every dollar of equity possible out of the sale of your home while – and this is bold and underlined – making the process smooth and easy. Because you got a PCs move. You there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of steps and a lot of moving pieces that go into selling a home. And it’s, you know, a lot of work when you’re also trying to clear post and, you know, figure out the, the kids schooling situation and find a new house where you’re moving, et cetera.
So the first steps, right? So we have here, number one, call trusted agent, as soon as you can. Of course, I’m an agent I’m incentivized to get you to use an agent, but there, there are really two big reasons why I recommend that. And one is I myself will use an agent in a market that I do not understand. Other markets that I invest in. I use an agent, even though I’ve done a hundred plus transactions here in the Savannah/Fort Stewart market. I just do that because there’s so many different things and it’s not just, you know, figuring out what the market value of the home should be, but there’s different customs and different things that people do in different markets. That if, if you don’t know how those things work you know, it’s, it’s, you’re gonna be missing out on some things making it difficult on yourself and possibly leaving money on the table as well.
If you don’t know an agent, like I said, I always say, ask your friends for recommendations first. Right? That being said, your friends might have worked with a dud and not even known it. So you still want to vet these people, but, but ask and always talk to a couple different agents. You want to, you want to interview them, you wanna make sure that they return your calls, right? If you’re talking to, if you’re talking to somebody who say they take, takes them a day to get back to you, right. You know, typically either they’re, they’re too busy, you know, to take you on or they’re just lazy. One, one or the other. And I’ve been there before where I’ve, you know, sometimes forgotten to text people back. And that’s when I decided to start bringing on new agents onto my team, because I knew that I was getting busy to the point where I myself could not provide the level of service that I need to.
So I hired more people and, and now we do that. And take a peek at some of their listings. Right. you always wanna ask them “Hey, can I see some of your old listings?” Or if you go on Zillow and you search that agent you’ll, you’ll see their old listings the ones where they represented the seller, look at some of the photos. Did they, did they look professionally down or were they cell phone pictures? How did they sell? Did they go under contract quickly? Things like that. You know, the good thing about when you’re trying to vet a real estate agent is it’s very easy to look at their past work, because it’s on Zillow, it’s on realtor.com for you to see, you know, how they are. And how much deal flow they have. Are they doing 20, 30 deals a year or are they doing two or three?
You probably don’t want to work with the guy that’s doing two or three or the person that just started. Unless that person is working with a, you know, a team like mine, where they have people that they can reach to for guidance and, and wisdom and things like that. Our, our younger agents, we always take them under our wing and their first few months in the business, until they’ve established and they got rock and rolling, we, we help them every step of the way. So not necessarily bad to work with that rookie, as long as that rookie’s got a mentor, that’s helping them out, right? Sometimes I find rookies are the best because they have the most time and they’re putting in the most work. And they’re so scared about doing a bad job, that they can be very, very, you know, really very good.
As long as they’ve got some guidance. So what it’s next, right? Call your agent and look at some look at some, what are some home improvement projects that we can do, right? What, what’s some stuff that we can do to add some value? There might be some very easy things that you could do to add a lot of value to your home, um depending on what you’re looking at. So here’s some examples, you know, you can mulch the flower beds, replace your beat-up doorknobs, fixing dents in the drywall, touching up paint, easy things. This is something, if you’re a little bit handy, you know, you can take, you know, the two months before you go to move and you can just work on that, you know, Saturday afternoons and get that done. And I think it’s good. That’s why you wanna call an agent sooner rather than later, because you can agent in your house six months before, you know, you’re gonna move, um they can go over some of that stuff. And that way you’re not stressed out trying to get all these projects done right in the last month before you PCS. And then there’s some bigger projects too that you might want to hire out to a contractor. Maybe your flooring is really beat up and it’s time for some new flooring. Maybe your kitchen cabinets are just trash and maybe you want to, you know, do a little bit of a bigger project. That might be worth it. That might not. That’s why you want a listing agent’s help. So your agent should be able to ballpark you what it’s gonna cost, estimate how much value it’ll, it’ll add to the home and then provide recommendations for good contractors who will do the job, right and at a fair price.
So there’s some things not to do, right? If you’re, if you’re in a cheap, cheap, old starter home and all the homes around you are cheap starter homes it’s not gonna get you a bunch of money to put in stone countertops. Okay? It’s just probably not gonna be worth it. Go for butcher block. It’s gonna be a lot cheaper. It looks nice. Like for real also the real hardwood flooring, you almost never, it almost never makes sense to put real hardwood flooring. I met a couple sellers who wanted me to sell their house and they were just bragging, “oh, I put this real hardwood in, it costed so much money. It’s gonna add so much value,” and it’s, they never want to hear it when I tell them it’s not, it’s not gonna add value because every other house in this neighborhood has the laminate floors, the vinyl plank floors, buyers here are totally satisfied with that.
They’re not gonna pay you $15,000 more for their hardwood that they don’t really care about anyway. Right? so yeah, take a look at recent sales in your neighborhood. You know, what, what do they look like? And of course, again, talk to your agent. They should know. And you know, anytime you’re thinking of any home improvement project, maybe you just moved into your house and you’re thinking, “Hey, you know what, if I do this?” Call your agent, ask him, “Hey, is this gonna add value?” and just because it won’t add value doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t do it. If you want to do it for you because you would enjoy it. But that way you at least know you know, how much money are you gonna invest in this project versus how much will you get out when you sell it?
So getting to the market, right? Talk to the lender and figure out how much your debt to income ratio can support a second mortgage. If you can get approved for second mortgage, I recommend buying your new home and moving into it. Before you sell the old one and that way vacant houses typically are able to sell for more 1) because you are going to, it’s gonna be a lot easier for agents to schedule appointments. They can just show up versus having a schedule, makes it easier on you as well. Also you can really do a deep clean, you can really make sure everything’s perfect. And you know, especially I know when, when I was in the military and even now to an extent, because I’m kind of cheap. I had just had all this beat up furniture because I was PCSing all the time and it all looks terrible.
And sometimes it, I haven’t, you know, sold a house PCSing. I kept everything I bought as a rental. But if you were like me and have beat-up, ratty furniture, it’s better if that stuff’s out of the house, right? Staging, staging is sometimes good even in this hot market. I recently did a, a renovation project, a flip it was a beautiful, gorgeous flip. And I spent, you know, about $2,000 staging and I think it was worth every penny. Sometimes it makes sense. Sometimes not – depends on your situation and you don’t necessarily have to stage all the rooms. Sometimes just a few little decorative pieces can go a long way. Your agent should know who a good stager is. So let’s take a look. This is the timeline. This is a rough timeline. So let’s say, you know, June 1st is your move-out day, right?
These are your kind of big touch points here, right? So you want to do the cleaning after you move out. You want to do the staging after that if, if that’s something you’re gonna do. The day after that, professional photos, photos take a day or two to get back, boom, listing’s live on the seventh, right? If it’s priced well in this market, you know, if it’s priced well, you typically under contract – say you list on a Friday morning. Typically by Sunday night, Monday morning, you figured out who’s gonna buy your house. Right? Couple days later, buyer’s gonna do their inspection, a couple days after that they’re out of due diligence. And that means basically they’re buying the house unless it appraises low or they somehow don’t get approved for the loan. Takes another week after that, and then we can typically expect to close typically in 30 days.
So June 10th, July 10th, typically 30 days is that that’s most contracts that we’re seeing, right? So we’re looking at about a 40, 45 day period between the time you move out and the time that that house is being sold, more or less. Now what this doesn’t account for is sometimes an, an inspection happens and a buyer backs out. Well, that’s gonna add, you know, five days, five to seven and days on your timeline or it doesn’t appraise and the buyer backs out. That’s gonna add about 20 days onto this timeline. Those are things that happen. It’s it’s, you know, anytime you go under contract on that house, just keep in mind that it’s not, it’s not happening until the, the money hits your bank account, right? So always, you know, don’t start making big plans until you’re getting closer to that, to that closing time.
Alright. So getting to the market, so hey, most people won’t be able to move out before listing that’s okay. We just modify that timeline. You know, you get the, you get the cleaning done while you’re still living there and we just work around the schedule. That’s not so big a deal. The big thing is, try to take it down some of your trinkets some of your different photos and stuff because you want to have the house be as neutral as possible to appeal to the widest amount of people. And so that they can imagine themselves living in the house, right? If it’s all, you know, all your personal effects and all your trinkets, well, they’re gonna come in and that’s still gonna be your house, not theirs. You want them to walk through the home and, and imagine their own personal effects on the wall. Also, you know, try to keep the moving boxes, put them in a garage, put them in a spare bedroom. It’s much better if all of your random junk is in one spare bedroom and, you know, buyer can open a door and say, oh yeah, this is where they’re stashing all their stuff versus having moving boxes all over the house. So yeah.
All right. So here we go. There’s a couple things that we can, we can look to do to make the, make the transition easier. Right now in this market, sellers are pretty successful in getting a seller rent-back period. And what’s good about that is you can, you can basically sell your house, say you sell your house on June 30th and you still live in it until July 30th, right? That allows you to do two things. One, it makes your move less stressful. And two, the biggest thing is it makes purchasing your new home in your new duty station a lot, lot easier because it is very difficult right now, if you make an offer, say you’re going to Fort Carson and you make an offer. And in that offer, it says, “Hey, this is my offer and it’s contingent on my house in Fort Stewart selling”. That offer is probably not gonna go anywhere.
It’s probably not gonna get accepted. So if the house is already sold, you don’t have to make that that contingency, right? So that’s a good thing about that. Especially if you can’t qualify for that second mortgage without selling the first home, that’s a great thing to look at. And that’s, that’s why you want, you know, we see this next bullet point, lots of moving pieces, right? The agent helping you sell your home and the agent that’s gonna help you buy your new home and the lender that’s gonna give you the money to buy your new home, should all be kind of touching base about your situation, because you know, the, the, the agent that’s gonna help you buy a new home and the lender are gonna have information that the agent agent who’s helping you sell your home needs to know. So make sure that, you know, you trust both these people. If you don’t know someone, you know, in a duty station you’re going to you know, ask, ask your agent. If you ask me, “Hey, do you know a good agent in Carson?” “Yes, I do.” “Lewis?” “Yes, I do.” Bliss, Hood, you know, Bragg. I, you know, so especially if your agent does a lot of military PCS moves, they I’m sure they know somebody where you’re going. Somebody who’s good.
So what’s the relationship look like? You know, you can be as involved as, as you want to. Most of the time, you know, our clients don’t wanna be involved cause they have a bunch of stuff going on. They don’t have time to worry about it. That’s why they hired us. You should hear from your agent at least once a week typically, you know, at least once a day, your first weekend on the market just kind of keeping you updated, “Hey, we got these offers,” this, that, “let’s, you know, let’s pick a time to talk about all of them.” and then you sit down and you go over all the offers and the pros and cons each one, you pick one, you go under contract. Once you go under contract, you know, it shouldn’t be an everyday kind of thing, just as things come up you should hear from your agent. Um you know, it’s best to let your agent do the job that they’re good at, but always trust with verifying.
Don’t be afraid to ask why. It’s something sometimes I forget to explain why upfront. I just assume that people know things that, you know, they shouldn’t know, or they wouldn’t know. And so, you know, I like when my clients ask me, “Hey, why are we doing this?” “Oh, well, this is why we’re doing it because of, you know, this thing.” never talk to buyers. Don’t talk to buyers, do not talk to buyers, do not talk to buyers. I have never seen a seller talk to a buyer and do anything but give the buyer information that the buyer can use as leverage. It’s best not to talk to them. Really, whenever buyers are looking at the house, you should not be in the house. Couple reasons – one, you know, they’re not going to, they’re going to feel rushed. They might feel like you’re looking over their shoulders.
They’re not gonna say the things to their agent that they want to. But two, the biggest thing is you never do anything good by talking to those buyers or especially their agent. I love when I’m working with a buyer, I love when the seller’s in the house and I just love to talk to them and I put on my friendly face and I’m I’m friendly, but I’m always trying to get – what kind of information can I get that’s gonna help me negotiate the deal? You don’t want to be there. All right, so, Hey, let’s move on to buying, right. How do we buy? So when do you make your money in real estate? It’s not when you sell. It is when you buy, right? You make your money when you buy. What that means is if you pay too much now, it doesn’t matter what happens in the market, you’re gonna be in a tough spot later. You know, why I like owning real estate is the homes tend to appreciate over time. And every month, you’re paying off your mortgage balance instead of paying off your landlord mortgage. And you, the other good thing is too, you buy a home, you own a 30 year fixed mortgage. Your payment’s not gonna change. Whereas rents have traditionally always increased. So how do we do it remotely? When we look at some, some quick things, let’s say, you’re, you’re gonna be somewhere for only a year. Maybe you’re going to you know, Fort Benning for the captain’s career course or something, probably don’t buy there. Right. I, I didn’t buy when I went to the career course. It’s probably best to rent. Unless you just find a smoking good deal, which are kind of hard to find in this market.
Right. do you believe housing prices would be worth more when you, when you leave? So say you’re PCSing to a duty station that just got word that they’re gonna lose a whole brigade that might make a big impact, right? A negative impact on the housing prices. So, you know, do a little research on the local economy you know, like Savannah Savannah’s growing Fort Stewart’s growing. It’s, it’s the only the only port it’s, it’s the only armored assets on the east coast, the only armored assets within 50 miles of the deep water port. I don’t think Fort Stewart’s going anywhere, right. It they spend a bunch of money modernizing the brigades that, you know, so anyway, I’m bullish on Savannah and on the Fort Stewart market. And then will you be able to cashflow the house as a rental when you PCS?
It’s always something to look at. If, if you expect that you’re gonna be somewhere for five years, that’s not so much of a consideration because in five years, you know, there might be some fluctuations in housing prices, but typically in five years you’re gonna see appreciation not only in housing prices, but in rental amounts. So that should be a, a little safer, but I think it’s always good, like, “Hey, can I at least break even, if I have to rent this place, can I at least break even on it?” “if something crazy happens to the economy and I have to rent this thing for a year or two after I PCS, can I?” And, and at least kind of break even it’s a, it’s something important to look at. So here’s an example. If you’re going to Stewart and you’re buying a house in the mid $200,000 price point in Richmond Hill, those places usually run for $1700 to $1850 a month give or take.
And here’s some of your numbers here. So with your mortgage property management costs maintenance, vacancy reserve, you’re looking at, you know, roughly two to $300 every month in cashflow. So, so that’s good. All right. Awesome. and in addition to, you’ve also got increases in your equity that come from paying off your mortgage every month and from appreciation. So I I’d say that’s a good deal. And, and don’t forget these property taxes and insurance is not the same everywhere. It’s different in Richmond Hill than it is in Savannah. And, you know, it’s, which is different than it is in Texas and North Carolina. So if you’re going to on different market, you know, these numbers might be a little different for you. And also this mortgage payment, I mean, rates are going up, right? I did just edit this, you know, two months ago when I did this slide, it was $1100 a month.
You know, now it’s closer to $1200, it could be more or less whatever. So key players, right? It’s real estate. And we’ve, I, I think I’ve hit on this a lot. They should put your interest first. They should be candid. They should have a decent background with recent transactions. And communicative is, is the biggest thing. If they’re responsive and they get back to you quickly and they, and they work hard and they have some work ethic ethic, that is probably the most important thing that you’re looking at. Home inspector, right? I have my home inspectors that I like and I use over and over and over again for my own transactions and for my clients. I found that every time a client wants to use their own home inspector, it doesn’t go well. I, I had a client use one that he wanted to use and the inspector ended up missing about $20,000 worth of foundation issues that should have been found. So lender, you know, I have lenders that I like to work with. And again, I find when clients bring their own lenders, I’m typically not too satisfied. Although sometimes I am, I have found some good lenders from clients of mine, but I’d say four times out of five, they bring me a, a terrible lender. And now as always trust but verify, right? Look at reviews, Google, Facebook, Zillow, things like that.
So get acquainted with the area, right? If you can, fly out. Even if it’s a couple months before, and you’re not even ready to buy yet, just fly out. Tour some neighborhoods, meet up with your agent, drive around for an afternoon with them and, and get to know what you’re looking at. That’s important. All right. You can’t always do that though. So Google street view goes a long way. If you’re looking at a house and you can’t go see it, pull it up on street view drive kind of “drive” around the neighborhood on street view, and check the check, the date stamp on that imagery. If it’s from 2008, you know, it’s probably not good imagery anymore, right? And then check the overhead map, right? Are you close to an airport, interstate, railroad check the commute, you know, you can go on Google and you can, you can put the commute from that address to where you’re gonna be on post and you can, can actually set your arrival time to say, “Hey, I want to arrive at 0630” or really probably 0615 at least.
And see what, you know, you can see what gate traffic’s gonna look like. And as always, your agent should be able to provide insight as well. So common pitfalls, right? Generally, you know, your homes built after ’85 are gonna be up to current building standards, except some of those between like ’85 and ’90, you’re gonna have polyline plumbing, which isn’t that big of a deal really, but they don’t use it anymore because it has had some issues. If you’re buying something that was built in 2005, there’s probably nothing majorly wrong with it, right. You know, big ticket items: HVAC water heater is, you know, they typically have a 10 to 15 year service life $5k-10k for an HVAC, depending on how large your house is. And typically $1,000-$1500 hundred bucks to get a water heater replaced.
And people always freak out about water heaters. Like that’s really not a super expensive item. And then your roof, 25 to 40 years, depending on the type of shingle. $5K-$10K to replace those roofs, typically different markets are different. You know, I was talking to somebody who’s doing stuff in Virginia and he says, he typically has to pay a lot more than that. This is, this is for, for my market in Savannah, kind of what I typically pay for a roof. So, you know, it’s always the old houses you gotta watch out for. But the newer houses are typically pretty easy, especially for me as an experienced agent who does a lot of renovation projects, I can typically know pretty well, whether the inspector’s gonna find major issues. Virtual tours, right? So you’re, you’re remote. What I like to do is, you know, I got a little stabilizing gyro and I run it on wide angle lines at 60 frames per second.
And I send the videos. I don’t FaceTime because FaceTime gets grainy. I’ll send videos keep them kind of short so they send easily on iMessage and WhatsApp. And I, and I give narration, I can kind of anticipate the questions that somebody would ask on FaceTime and I’ll say, “Hey, these counters are made out of this. And this flooring is made of that. And you know, the flow in the shower is good, et cetera.” you know, some people, especially if you’re a really, really kind of picky person, maybe you want to get some short term rental set up for the first couple months that you are, you know, do your PCS, get a short term rental, and you know, actually go that route. That’s not, there’s not anything wrong with that. And of course, if possible, you know, you, it’s not very efficient for you to fly out when you’re viewing homes, right?
Especially in this market, you’re gonna probably lose some bids before you lock one up, so lock it up. And then during your due diligence period, when that home inspection’s going on, if you want to see it, then fly out or drive out and, and take a look. It’s definitely, definitely what I would recommend. So here’s, here’s how we kind of lock them down, right? It’s like, like I said, this is a seller’s market. So what do we do to win offers? Well, number one is price. I mean, cash is king, you know, how much money you coming in with. That’s the most important tied into that is kind of the escalation clauses. So we can say, “Hey, we’ll pay you $225k, but if you have a higher offer, we’ll go up to $235k to beat it,” something like that. No seller closing costs, right?
It’s hard to get to sellers to pay your closing costs. I, I don’t ever recommend that people ask for closing costs in this market. Typically your average home that people buy here in the Fort Stewart market, you’re looking at $6,000 in closing costs for like a low $200,000 home. And if you up to $500,000, you’re probably looking at closer to like $12k, $13k in closing costs, just to give you an idea of what that’s gonna cost. An appraisal gap, you know, that’s that’s a way to win. You say, “Hey, if it appraises low, we’ll pay the difference up to $10k in cash,” boom, you know. Large earnest money deposits. Your earnest money is a deposit that you make within a couple days of going under contract that gets sent typically to the closing attorney to hold onto. And that’s kind of your good faith thing.
It means, “Hey, first of all, I’m in the financial financially secure enough position to make this deposit. And two, if I don’t fulfill the terms of the agreement that we agreed to, that you get to keep that money. So if it’s the day before closing and I back out of the deal you keep that money, right?” It’s a little bit of security. Option money is that’s an optional thing. And that basically says, “Hey, I have this due diligence period where my earnest money is, is refundable, but you get to keep, you know, $200-300 bucks regardless. If I back out during due diligence, because I find some problems, you still keep that money.” it helps keep your due diligence periods tight. You’re not gonna get a two-week due diligence. Okay. A couple years ago used to be able to get a two-week due diligence. Nowadays, I don’t recommend any more than 10 days and really 5 days should be enough time to get an inspection done on most houses.
This is an important point. You don’t need to pull all the available levers, right? I, I won one. Oh, here’s the most important – seller’s needs and wants, right? So I find out from a seller one time that he needs to sell his house before he can buy a new one. So we offered him a 45-day rent-back and that’s what won us that bid. There were higher bids, but we offered the rent back and we won it. So it’s always important for your agent to ask that seller’s agent, “what do you need? What do you want? What are things that we can do to win this bid that are important to your seller?” so that that’s an important piece as well. Awesome. So that pretty much ties it up guys. You know, this isn’t a live thing, so there’s not gonna be question and answer from the audience.
This is a recording. I encourage you, if you have any questions leave us a comment. Send us an email or, or a text. We’ll put some contact information up. We would love to talk to you. And there’s a lot of, this is a very general try to make this somewhat fast. There’s a lot of information in your specific situation that we probably didn’t cover. So hopefully now you at least know what questions you should be asking. Please reach out to us, ask us the questions, ask how we can help. Even if you’re not doing business in Savannah or Fort Stewart. And you’re trying to go somewhere else. If you happen to see this video and maybe you’re moving from Carson, to Bliss, give us a shout. We’re happy to recommend friends of ours out in those markets and help you out. Thanks, guys!