Condo or Single Family Home?

Some home buyers may opt for a condo over a single-family home for a number of

reasons. A condominium can provide a less-expensive entry into the housing market,

and is a low-maintenance downsizing option for seniors. However, misconceptions

about condominium ownership abound, which can often keep potential buyers from

considering them as an option.

Many home buyers view condo fees as an additional expense, compared with owning a

single-family residence. However, it’s important to look at what’s included in that figure.

Typical condo fees generally include a contribution toward the building’s upkeep and

maintenance, but also may include heating costs, water, sewer, garbage-collection fees,

and even electricity and cable TV, in some cases.

Even well-managed condo associations may have what is called a “special assessment,”

which is an additional fee that condo owners must pay when the regular condominium

fees are insufficient to pay for a major repair. Not unlike living in a single-family home,

even homeowners who routinely save money for repairs may encounter major

unforeseen expenses, such as foundation or roof repair.

A Few Ways to Boost Real Estate Showings

With pending home sales rising by 5% in March (as reported by the National Association of Realtors) you might be asking why your property isn’t getting as many showings as you would like.  Here are some tips to help you boost your showing rate.

  • First and foremost take a good hard look at the price.  Most properties that lack showings are priced to high when compared to their competition – lower the price.
  • Second, consider offering a time sensitive commission increase to the buyer’s agent to increase the traffic to the property.
  • Third, offer to pay closing costs.
  • Fourth, if the property is need of some cosmetic work, offer and allowance to enhance it’s appeal.

When is an offer too low to submit???

Lowball offers can break the link Will your offer break the Buyer-Seller link?

When is an offer too low to submit? 

I ran into this issue again just yesterday..in two different price points, and with two different results….

Offer #1:  This custom home has been languishing on the market for 390+ days.  It’s absolutely gorgeous, views, location, quality..literally everything.  Reduced in March and still no offers..My Buyers loved it, but as with ALL buyers right now, they want to purchase it for less than the List Price..much less. They are not looking for an investment home, nor a property to “flip”, simply a vacation home that they will own and live in for 1/2 the year.   The LP is over $1.5m unfurnished.  Our offer was much lower and Furnished (at least partially).  I called the List Agent because I’ve learned my lesson over these past crazy years.  Some Sellers will look at anything and respond..and some are insulted and it will just make them crazy.

The List Agent suggested that I “put it in writing”.  An offer in writing holds alot more water than an offer that is verbally tossed about.  In this higher price point, where the properties are plentiful and are sitting for a very long time, being reduced pretty regularly..I think the Seller would be wise to look at it and counter.  This is a shaky market and my Buyer is trying to be aware of that, but also make a good, solid, CASH offer that would give the Seller a solid profit.  We wrote the offer.  We’ll see how it goes.

Offer #2:  This Buyer is looking strictly based on investment potential and rental income upside.  The price point here is $150,000 or less.  This is the market that has pretty much settled, not alot of inventory and Investors such as my client will be up against first-time buyers, who are willing to pay a bit more because it will be their home.  The List Agent for the home that we wanted to write on, told me, “We got an offer just below List Price last week and the Seller turned it down.  He wants List Price”.  I cannot blame him.  At $96/sf and a great location and a home that is in good shape..he’s now above market.  We did not write the offer and are still looking. 

An offer is “too low” if the Buyer will NOT respond to it..period!!!  Listen to the List Agent, hear them.  They are in contact with their Seller and know their motivation and financial situation much better than anyone else.  If they tell you, your offer will NOT be looked at..believe them and move on.  This holds true for a Short Sale OR a standard Sale…

Home Buying Myths..or maybe Dreams???

#Home Buying Myths..or maybe Dreams????

Home Buying Myths..or maybe Dreams????  Whenever a first time home buyer thinks about buying, there is often alot of emotion tied up in those thoughts.  It’s a dream come true in many ways, and so many Buyers come into the process with unrealistic expectations and extremely high emotions.  If you’re looking to Buy, don’t let your heart control your head..this is still first and foremost..a business transaction.

1. “The Perfect home is out there!”  Not!  So many new buyers tend to focus on the one thing that’s wrong with a home instead of the 7 things that are right with it!  Buying a home is an exercise in compromise.  You can’t have it all.  Decide which items on your wish list are true “Deal Breakers.”

2.  “My Home will speak to me.”  Really??  Buyers so often get caught up in how the home “feels”.  Homes can be staged to evoke certain feelings.  Don’t overlook reality because of emotion.

3.  “But it says in the Listing discription..”  Listing agreements, agents, even tax rolls can be wrong.  Count the bedrooms and closets yourself, bring your tape measure and a notebook.

4.  “If they accept my offer right away..it was too high!”  This would be “Buyers Remorse”, and it’s common in our uncertain market.  If you are comfortable with that price for that house, stick with it.  In a business deal, the idea is to make all parties feel like winners.

5.  The Value of my Home will increase…eventually”  Not necessarily.  In fact, forget that when you are buying a “home”.  Unless you are an experienced Investor or Flipper, don’t expect your home to increase in value over a certain amount of time.  Buy it to live in, take the mortgage Tax deductions, and enjoy!

Short Sale Servicers; Many don’t know any more than we do!

Loss Mitigation departments Short Sale servicers leave us feeling like this…

Short Sale Service Departments; Nobody knows nothin..

well, this in tongue in cheek since some of the personnel I talk to do seem to know SOMETHING.  However, I’m going to relate a true story for those of you who may be calling your Loss Mitigation departments and actually believing what they tell you….

‘Chase Loss Mitigation..may I have your Loan # please?”

“Yes, it’s 9999888999. ”

“Thank you for that information.  Now if you’ll just answer some questions about the property…”

And so I do.  Loan #, Borrowers names, socials’, property address, living there or not…blah, blah.  Then my well-trained Loss Mitigation expert says, “Your negotiators name is Lisa P”

“Can you connect me to Lisa P?”

“NO, I cannot.  That’s outside our guidelines, but if you’d like me to leave her a voicemail, I can try that.”

“Well, may I speak with her manager”

“No, that’s outside our guidelines.  We are not able to give our manager’s names or contact information”

“May I speak to YOUR manager?”

Pause….”uh, no, that’s outside my guidelines…..”

Click.  I’m done with this one.  Re-dial.  Same number, same department, different voice.

‘Hello, this is Chase Loss Mitigation.  My name is Michael, how can I help you?”

Same exact information exchange. 

Michael:  “Your negotiator is Lisa P.  Let me see if I can get her for you and if not, I will get you to another negotiator for this file, since I can see it has been assigned quite awhile ago.”  Ah-ha!  I’ve struck GOLD with this one…

Michael comes back on…”Apparently, now your file has been transferred to Texas and I have another negotiator assigned, let me give you her personal name/phone # and fax #”….and so he does.  I thank him, hang up and call her directly…

You see the issue????  Hours on the phone/file is not unusual.  They hope, they want you to go away.  Tired and discouraged.  This article from today’s New York Times talks about how the new report has found that the Servicers indeed did awful thing sduring the Foreclosure mess but…..no penalties!!   And so it goes…http://tinyurl.com/6bnqh8n

Include or Not to Include a Buyer Allowance

What do you think when you see a listing which advertizes and allowance for carpet or appliances. I don’t know about you, but I normally think – what else is wrong with the property?

I recently came across an article which offers words of wisdom regarding providing a Buyer Allowance in the listing description. To read the article follow this link:

Read more: Don’t Offer Buyer Allowance in Home Listing | REALTOR.com® Blogs

Which Web Sites are the Best to Showcase Your Property?

As of February, the top ten sites in terms of most visited real estate websites are as follows - according to the latest rankings from Web metrics firm Experian Hitwise:
1. Yahoo Real Estate
2. Realtor.com
3. Zillow
4. FrontDoor Real Estate
5. Trulia
6. Rent.com
7. MSN Real Estate
8. Homes.com
9. ZipRealty
10. Apartment Guide

Make sure your property is visible on at least the top five.

Survey: Buyers, Sellers Optimistic About Housing

The National Association of Realtors Weekly Report, quotes an article in the Daily Real Estate News published on March 14, 2011 that states:  ”Nearly 70 percent of buyers and sellers say they believe the housing market and property values will recover in the next year or two, according to a new survey by Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services Inc.

What’s more, 86 percent of the more than 1,000 buyers and sellers surveyed believe real estate is still a good investment despite the souring market conditions in many areas the past few years.

Those surveyed said they also are ready to buy: Six in 10 respondents say they are more interested in buying real estate and 59 percent say they are optimistic about buying now with recent momentum from the economic recovery. They also believe they can get a better deal now because of lower prices.

But many survey respondents said that buying a home relies on them being able to sell their existing home. About 67 percent respondent said they are concerned about getting a fair price for their existing home.

“This survey clearly demonstrates that Americans continue to be optimistic about the real estate market and believe that home prices will rise,” says James Mallozzi, chief executive officer of Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services. “A key take away from the survey is although consumers recognize that it is a good time to buy, they are concerned about their ability to sell their homes. This is one of the reasons the market is still struggling to recover.””

5 Real Estate Scams Every One Needs to Know About

In an article written by Melissa Dittmann Tracey who is a contributing editor for REALTOR® magazine, she outlines  5 Real Estate Scams everyone should know about. They are:

1. The Foreclosure Rescue Scheme
2. Loan Documentation Fraud
3. Appraisal Fraud
4. Illegal Property Flipping
5. Short Sales Schemes
To read the entire article, follow the link below:
http://www.realtor.org/rmolaw_and_ethics/articles/2010/1008_law_mortgagefraudscams

What’s going to happen THIS year in Real Estate?

Shopping for your home Home Shopping; Skip the Predictions! 

What’s going to happen this year in Real Estate? 

As your Realtor, the best I can do is keep you informed…truthfully.  It is my job to keep up on statistics and this would have to do with the dire predictions regarding the dropping median price in our Valley.  I DO believe it will continue to drop throughout this year.  Why???  Because the median is where half the homes priced above that number sell and half the homes priced below that number sell..it is a floating number entirely dependent upon the price points of various areas.  Here in the desert, we are now experiencing a large drop in the higher end markets, thereby pulling the median down.  On the other hand, I know of developments where I have Buyers waiting to find that house in THAT development..they are waiting for the Short Sales and REO’s to come along.  The home they buy is not going to pull the median down because they will pay more..possibly having to raise their initial offer above List Price because there are other Buyers thinking exactly the same thing!

Stay Focused!  Keep your eye on the exact thing that you want..don’t be swayed by the media.  Follow the SOLD comps for a period of time with regards to what you are looking for.  If those SOLD comps are only making lateral moves, expect that price/sf to remain the same..perhaps even go up slightlyy because BUYERS are setting that price/sf. 

Stay Focused!  If you are buying in a higher priced market, and are willing to wait for that home that you have your eye on, you ay get it for less. 

If you are a Buyer that is very flexible with regards to floor plan, orientation of the home on the lot, upgrades in the home..you can sit and watch the market until the home comes up that suits you.  If you are a Buyer that will ONLY settle for a particular floor plan on a particular street in a particular development, then pull out that SOLD comps for the past 6 months to a year and study them.  Don’t wait too long..there is still pent up Buyer demand for many areas of our desert.