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Susan Borrelli

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Displaying blog entries 41-50 of 54

Real Estate Bloopers

by Ron Kowalski

     

     When listing a home for sale, it is important to use images and words in your marketing materials that accurately describe the property so that potential buyers are excited about going to view it – and hopefully make an offer.  The proper spelling of descriptive words is imperative.  One small typo can change the entire meaning of your message and confuse a potential buyer.  But, they can also be quite funny.  So, here are some that I have come across in my 10+ years in the business:

 

Large panty in kitchen (pantry)

Just lusted (listed)

Fresh pain throughout (paint)

Heated poo in back yard (pool)

Backs to tree (trees)

Custom inferior paint (interior)

Large walking closet (walk-in)

Stainless steal appliances (steel)

Remolded bathrooms (remodeled)

Ceiling fangs in all bedrooms (fans)

 

     Yes, these are funny.  But a poorly worded real estate ad, one filled with grammatical errors or typos – whether they’re funny or not – does reflect poorly on your home and on your agent’s professionalism.  Be sure to spell-check all ads, listings, brochures and flyers to ensure they are accurate.

     Even worse than typos, though, are bad photos.  The listing of your property needs plenty of professional photos.  Without them, potential buyers will simply click to another property.  If you fill your listing with dark, unappealing photos – perhaps a shot of a cluttered kitchen counter or a master bedroom shot that makes the room appear smaller than it actually is – you’ll be hurting your chances to make a sale.  Perhaps not so funny, but the photos here are examples of what not to do.

     If you’re shopping real estate professionals to represent you in the sale of your home, make sure to take a long look at their listings. Search for any obvious typos – and look for stunning photos. You’ll need your home to look its best – both in person and in the listings advertising it – if you want to attract offers in today’s challenging home-selling market.

 

If you have any others funny real estate typos or photos, please feel free to post below!

 

 

Multiple Offer Strategies to Help Home Buyers

by Ron and Susan

 

It is no surprise that we are seeing more and more multiple contract situations. The perfect storm is in place – interest rates are at 65 year lows, inventory levels are at extremely low levels, and there are buyers anxious to get into houses. Affordability levels are near all-time highs as well so it only makes sense that buyers are finding themselves competing to get into a home today.

So, the question is how do you win and get the home your client’s desire?

  • Add an escalation clause which allows you to bid up the price above any other offer up to an amount you are comfortable paying. The escalation amount should be an interesting number like $1,150 as most people just do $500 or $1,000 – make your offer stand out.
  • Increase your earnest money deposit to show your interest in purchasing the house. If your down payment is 20%, make your deposit 10%. If you are doing FHA, have your deposit equal your down payment of 3.5%. You are going to be putting the money down anyway, why not do this and attract more attention to your offer?
  • Have a very short time frame on your home inspection contingency and radon contingency if you choose to have them. Also, consider doing the inspection contingencies for informational purposes only just leaving yourself the opportunity to void if you find something so egregious or beyond what you expected. If you and your agent are confident in the home’s condition, you may want to consider eliminating these contingencies but be extremely cautious when not exercising these contingencies.
  • Have a quick settlement date – Ashley Smith with Atlantic Coast Mortgage can close a loan in just 8 days if she has a complete loan application from her clients.
  • Additionally, encourage your loan officer to be proactive and call the listing agent and explain the financial arrangements and status of the loan. Pat Cunningham of Home Savings and Trust was one of the first lenders to mention he was doing this for his clients.
  • Allow the seller to rent back after closing giving them flexibility on when they need to move or to give them time to find a home.
  • Put in a home of choice contingency for the sellers if they have not found a home yet – make the contingency for an extended period of time so they have the opportunity to find the house they really want.
  • If you are so bold, you can have the clients waive the appraisal contingency. In order to do this, you need to work in conjunction with your lender and see if they can get a quick turnaround on the appraisal. If so, have the appraisal done in concert with the home inspection contingency and if it doesn't appraise, you can void based upon the home inspection or on the HOA/condo documents. Not one of my favorite suggestions but it is a strategy you can undertake to help your contract win. Also, if your lender can get a quick turnaround, make the appraisal contingency 5 or 7 days.
  • If you are dealing with a home owner and not a bank or investor, have your clients write a letter along with photos explaining why the house is so important to them and the trials and tribulations of their home buying experience. It can sometimes help to pull on the heart strings of the owners.
  • You can explain to the listing agent, the highest contract isn’t always the best contract. You need to have the right people in place to consummate the transaction not just someone willing to throw a high number just to get the house to only experience remorse later and back out of the contract.

These tips will help you win more contracts. Consult with the clients and make sure they are comfortable with your recommendations prior to implementing them so they fully understand the repercussions of their actions.

 

 

Answers to Last Blog Post on Abgreviations!

by Ron and Susan

 

     If you had trouble with these abbreviations and had to rack your brain for hours on end, don't worry! Even WE had to look up what some of these crazy shortcuts mean. You don't have to worry any longer, because here are the answers to last week's challenge!

 

 “SS appls”   =   Stainless steel appliances

 “LR, FR, DR, Kit”   =   Living room, family room, dining room, kitchen

“w/o LL"   =   Walk out on lover level

“Hrdwd Flrs”   =   Hardwood floors

“frpl”   =   Fireplace

“MBR w/sit rm & wi closet”   =   Master bedroom with sitting room & walk in closet

“S.L. 3-car gar”   =   Side load 3-car garage

“Lux BA w/whirlpl jets & sep shwr”   =   Luxurious bathroom with whirlpool jets &                                                                separate shower

“SGD”   =   Sliding glass door

“Sit Rm”   =   Sitting room

“LL: FF, RR/FP, wet br"   =   Lower level is fully finished: recreation room with                                                   fireplace and wet bar   

“ESIK”   =   Eating space in kitchen

 

     ....All we have to say is, "WOW". The lesson here is don't go crazy with abbreviations. If you do decide to use them, make sure that people will know what they mean immediately and without confusion. TIP: If you want to test out an abbreviation you came up with yourself, show it to 5-10 different people and see if they will know what it means right away. If they pass the test, then you have a green light to use that abbreviation.

Happy Listing! 
 

Abbreviations That Will Confuse Your Clients

by Ron Kowalski

 

Abbreviating may be shorter, but readers may miss the message.

     In my 10 years as a real estate professional, I’ve seen a lot of things that make me say, “what?”.  One area where I see a lot of ambiguity is in the property descriptions for houses for sale in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Communication is VERY important in our industry and being as clear as possible can help market a home more effectively, avoid misunderstandings, and even reduce legal liability.

     As listing agents, we have 400 characters in the MLS to describe the home, showcase the community, and provide any special instructions such as showing times, or to tell a buyer’s agent whether Fido will bite.  I understand that we want to squeeze in as much information in as we can, but sometimes using abbreviations can lead to confusion.

     So, in the interest of having fun, and not trying to pick on any particular real estate professional (because we’ve all done it), here is a list of real estate abbreviations from actual listings in our area.  See if you can figure out what they mean and comment below.  Answers will be posted next week.  Happy sleuthing!

 

“SS appls”                                                          

“LR, FR, DR, Kit”

“w/o LL”

“Hrdwd Flrs”

“frpl”

“MBR w/sit rm & wi closet”

“S.L. 3-car gar”

“Lux BA w/whirlpl jets & sep shwr”

“SGD”

“Sit Rm”

“LL: FF, RR/FP, wet br”

“ESIK”

 

What You Need to Know to Prepare for a Home Appraisal

by Ron and Susan

Here are a few key items to take into consideration when know who you are working with on your appraisal:

 

Did you know there are two types of appraisers?
– Licensed and Certified
Do you know the difference?

  • Larger banks are paying less to appraisers through Appraisal Management Companies.  Almost all of the banks own them so they can make more money.  This is not always a “good thing”.  Often times you will get an appraiser with less experience or one that will rush through the process because they have to make up their income by doing more volume.  Appraisal companies are in place to put a buffer between the lender, Realtor and appraiser to perpetuate a more “arm’s length” transaction.  What has resulted is that the banks are using this as a profit center and not always employing best in class appraisers.
  • Check with the appraiser’s competency and local knowledge.  Ask where they are located and if they are familiar with your property/area.  Additionally, ask how long have they been appraising homes?  Lastly, check and see if they work from home or office?   Many small owner operators work from home and as a result, don’t get exposures to other appraisers.  This lack of networking, idea sharing and updates on the market can hurt appraisals.
  • Education for appraisers is getting tougher.  There is an apprenticeship for 2 years now.
  • There are two types of appraisers – licensed and certified.  Licensed Appraisers can only do values up to $1,000,000.  Certified Appraisers can do any property value.  Additionally, Certified Appraisers must take a test and have a Bachelor’s degree.  Lastly, only Certified Appraisers can appraise FHA loans.

What you need to be prepared for your appraisal:

  • Always bring your own comparable sales – make sure they are good comps so you can build creditability.  Even bring low sales and let them know what the issues were that resulted in their low sale – pet odors, back to power lines, short sale, foreclosure, etc.
  • If at all possible, provide plat/floor plan – proper measuring is critical because if its 100 square feet off the true square footage you will have issues
  • Bulls eye approach – first look in subdivision, then do a radius search of 1 mile, 2 miles, etc. to find the right comparable properties.
  • Use a couple of higher sales, couple of smaller home, the radius approach to finding properties and a couple within the timeframe of settling within 3 months or less
  • You now need to have 5 to 6 comps
  • Provide 1-2 under contract comps as part of your presentation
  • Find FSBO too!  They can help your cause
  • Pass on any and all information you know about your property – list all recent improvements and their cost/value to help support your price.
  • Provide details on other offers if you had multiple offers
  • Provide additional pricing details like the Home Pricing Wizard, RBIntel statistics, and articles relating to escalating prices.

Steps to overcome low appraisal

  • Get a “good” conversation going, kill them with kindness
  • Provide new info that the appraiser might not be aware of when you met initially at the property
  • Be there when the appraiser wants to meet at the property
  • Use their language
    • Beneficial
    • Neutral
    • Adverse

Appraisers need to be concerned with the following items:

  • Safety –  the house needs to be safe, easy to explain
  • Soundness – the house needs to have structural integrity including but not limited to the roof and foundation
  • Security – the house needs to have locks on windows and doors

Integral issues for appraising

  • You have to know the condition and the subsequent ratings of the properties condition.  The rating scale goes from C1-C6.  One is the best and 6 is the worst.  Speak with the appraiser in terms of the condition to get more value for your clients
  • You also have to know the quality of the construction in order to help get more value.  Was the home custom built or was it a cookie-cutter built in the late 70’s with 7.5 foot ceilings?  These rankings range from Q1-Q6

As you see, it is extremely important for you to be a professional agent, do you job thoroughly for you clients and get the results that everyone is looking for from the appraisal process.

 

 

     The real estate market continues to be hyper-local today.  We are seeing multiple contracts in many areas and yet houses are sitting on the market in others.  Prices are rising in many areas while we see price reductions in others.  We see houses staying on the market for mere hours to just a few days in some areas while other markets see houses staying on the market for over 30 days to even longer further out from Washington.  If you are buying or selling it is important to seek the advice of a professional so you know what the market is like in your area of interest to give you the right advice.

     There are some aspects of the market that are not hyper-local.  These areas that are influencing the market are interest rates and distressed property inventory.  Interest rates have been on the rise for nearly the whole month of May.  Don’t get me wrong, interest rates are still great and people shouldn’t be concerned but if you are waiting for them to come back down to make a move, the sage advice is to do something now and don’t delay as it will cost you more in the future. 

    As far as short sales and foreclosures are concerned, their numbers continue to dwindle in Northern Virginia which is great news for everyone who owns a home.  As of the end of May, only 6.1% of the total inventory was made up of distressed homes and they represented only 8.2% of sales in the region.  How does this affect the market?  These numbers have help aid in the rising of prices throughout our area as there are fewer blighted properties, more people caring for their yards and homes so everybody wins.

 

Great Real Estate News for Fairfax County!

by Ron and Susan

 

Check out the link with the latest statistics for Fairfax County!  You may need to copy the URL into your browser.

http://173.203.90.142/HotFusion/get_report.php?action=pdf&agg_type=MONTHLY&f_id=1000&loc_type=4&loc_id=51059&time_period=201305

 

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Susan Borrelli

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall further than they have already. They are assuming that the best course of action is to wait for the bottom in the market and then buy. The problem with this approach is that you don't know where the bottom is until you see it in the rear view mirror, meaning until you've missed it!

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have gone up in the last six months, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, if home prices come down a little further but interest rates go up, it could cost you even more to service a mortgage on an identical home!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates and low home prices, rather than to hope for a further break in prices in the future.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

Short Sale Buyer; Get All The Facts

by Susan Borrelli, Certified Short Sale Expert, CDPE

Before you submit an offer on a short sale, make sure you have as much information as possible about the circumstances of the short sale and how it is being handled. 

First, ask your agent to ascertain, to the best of their ability, the listing agents ability to successfully negotiate the short sale.  If the listing agent isn't doing the negotiating, ask your agent to talk directly to the attorney or negotiator that is working the case. You want to know for a fact that the short sale is being aggressively pursued so make sure the person negotiating the deal can answer questions about the case on the spot. If they can't recall without going back to their file, their case load may be too great which could slow the process. Worse yet, there is a greater chance of error, which could cause the deal to fail. 

Though I can't include every possible question, here are some examples of questions that will help you learn the circumstances of the short sale and how it is being handled:

*Outside the presence of the mortgage lien holder(s), are there any other liens on the property (tax, HOA, other)?

*Has the bank approved the hardship?

*Has a BPO been ordered or completed- if so, when? How long is the BPO good for? Has the bank asked for a new BPO?

*Are the bank assigned asset managers/negotiators responsive?

*Has the second lien holder told you how much they will accept to approve the short sale?

*Do you foresee having to escalate to a senior asset manager/negotiator?

It is better to understand as much as you can about a short sale prior to writing an offer. The process takes months and though short sales are often successful, if the water is too murky, steer clear.

 

Short Sale Success Requires Expert Knowledge

by Susan Borrelli, Certified Short Sale Expert, CDPE

     There is only one way to become a short sale expert- EXPERIENCE. There are only a handful of short sale experts and most people who claim to be an expert simply are not. True short sale experts have successfully stalled scheduled foreclosure dates. They've navigated the most difficult banks and client circumstances and they've helped the most anxious, overwhelmed of clients through the short sale process. Consequently, a short sale expert can reassure an anxious buyer and keep them from walking away from a deal. 

     How can you know whether a Realtor or Negotiator has the experience and knowledge needed in order to give you the best chance of getting a short sale approval? There are specific questions you can ask that pertain to 1) escalating a case 2) negotiation strategies and 3) their ability to overcome difficult obstacles, that could help you to decide. If you would like more information so that you can make an informed decision, call today.

 

Displaying blog entries 41-50 of 54