Avoid Halloween Horror Nights in Real Estate Transactions

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Recently, at a visit to Universal Studios with my family, I found myself surrounded with advertisements for Halloween Horror Nights. As we were traversing the park, moving through the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it came to me that there are many similarities between the process of buying or selling a house and the attractions at Universal Studios. If all goes well, it can be like a Day in the Park With Barney, but more often it can be like Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster!

In order to avoid turning a real estate transaction into Halloween Horror Nights, here are 10 tips you can share for a smooth ride:

  1. When making decisions about how to proceed with a real estate transaction, it often feels like Doctor Doom’s Fearfall. By understanding the emotional and psychological factors that drive decisions, and how to balance them with the numerous financial issues it keeps matters on a more even keel.
  2. To avoid a visit from the Blues Brothers, get all agreements and understandings in writing, including listing agreements and contracts involved in the sale and purchase.
  3. Keep your assets from going down Dudley Do-Rights Rispa Falls by understanding the difference between the appraised value and the market value of a property. The appraised value is based upon recent sales, but the market value takes into account current market conditions.
  4. Avoid a rerun of the Revenge of the Mummy, by making sure that any probate or trust documents are in order and drawn and reviewed by a qualified Florida attorney.
  5. There are as many moving parts to the factors that affect a credit score as in the wild Transformers ride. In order to preserve a higher credit score, understand what might have a positive and negative impact on a FICO score. It is not always obvious, and sometimes actions can cause the opposite effect than what might be expected. A legitimate credit counselor or mortgage broker can advise the best ways to keep good credit intact.
  6. At the Horror Make-up Show, we see what makeup and special effects can do to cover up what is underneath. Make sure that what you see is what you get – all inspections should be performed by qualified and licensed professionals.
  7. Follow the example set by our favorite monkey, Curious George. Check for open permits and liens prior to listing a house for sellers, and during the due diligence period for buyers.
  8. It always takes more time and energy to pack up – and unpack – a whole house full of belongings. Avoid the chaos that we see with those adorable little Minions in Minon Mayhem by scheduling extra time before and after a move to get settled.
  9. The attraction Twister – Ride it Out reminds us that the unexpected can always be around the corner. Weather any storm by saving up reserves for repairs and emergencies, and make sure that there is enough money put aside to close and move!
  10. No one wants to hear from The Terminator at the end of a contract period. For buyers, get a thorough prequalification from a trusted mortgage professional, and for sellers, make sure that a potential buyer is properly prequalified prior to signing a contract.

At the end of the day, as we were leaving the park, while chomping on one of Homer Simpson’s giant doughnuts and remembering the fun we had from Jurassic Park to Hogsmeade, our heads were spinning. I often feel that way at the end of a real estate transaction. Although there are many similarities, the difference is that with real estate, there are no actors, robots, creatures or fictional characters. Only real people – families who are counting on us to make sure that their walk in the park has a happy ending! Laurie Dubow

Tony Vain Investigations
Golf Expert Witness

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