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The Return Of The Ugly House - 06/30/09 02:47 PM
Several times during the last week, I've gone through homes that are ugly and/or inhabited by total slobs or compulsive hoarders (albeit of very pretty things). All three houses had "good bones", built before 1920 and with no improvements made in 40 or more years. One looked like Granny's house and had been hastily empied out after Granny went either to heaven or a nursing home - then nothing else was done. The other looks like a young family bought an old fixxer upper, had a bunch of children, and forgot to fix up - or to clean up. The third (19 comments)
How To Read A Real Estate Ad - 06/27/09 11:14 PM
Whether it's Craig's List, your local paper's classifieds or the Multiple Listing Service information, there is a special language to real estate. So as you head out to tomorrow's Open Houses, here are some tips to use your time wisely. When the description starts out with the bold print, the not bold print is what it really means: Bring Your Imagination: the place has not been staged and looks like ordinary people live there. Bring Your Decorator: Martha Stewart would not approve. It has carnivorous wallpaper, shag wall-to-wall, and cat claw marks on the grasscloth. Bring Your Architect: the back half (13 comments)
Washington's Cleveland Park: Market Report - 06/27/09 10:01 PM
Cleveland Park is a neighborhood of great architectural diversity. There are small row houses that sell in the high $600's and historic mansions with price tags in the $4.5 million range. Some are on tiny lots, with just enough room for the house and a postage stamp garden. Others have expansive lawns and gardens. And so far this year, the demand has been for the smaller homes at a relatively low price point. The list of homes currently for sale includes two in excess of $4,000,000. And they are bringing the averages up. The highest selling price year to date is (3 comments)
Homeowner Warranties: The Devil Is In The Details! - 06/27/09 05:41 PM
There have been a bunch of times when I've included a homeowner's warranty to get a transaction done. And I'm constantly amazed at what I'm finding in the fine print! Now, I am one of those nutty people who actually read fine print, at least some of the time. Most people do not. But if you are either purchasing a warranty as part of a listing agreement or including one as part of a sales contract, here are some important questions you should be able to answer: How much are service call deductibles? If the dishwasher is acting weird, how much (6 comments)
Posh Washington: The Watergate - 06/25/09 01:14 PM
The next time you fly into Washington's Reagan National Airport, look to your left as the plane comes in for a landing. There you will see the Watergate, a complex that includes a hotel, office building and coop apartments. It was built in the late 1960's, and has been home to many members of Congress, diplomats, cabinet secretaries, and an infamous White House intern. The apartments are spacious and most of the 600 units have large balconies. They also have spectacular views, usually of either the Potomac River or the Washington Monument. If you are a music lover, you can (8 comments)
No Sales Meetings? - 06/25/09 10:27 AM
Yesterday I was thinking about a colleague who moved to a new real estate brokerage a few years back and was telling us what a great place it was. And one of the things he loved the most was that there were no weekly business meetings. And that's a good thing? Our meetings are Tuesday mornings, and I rarely miss one. But I have to say that my broker makes them interesting. It starts with the agenda she passes out, always with a funny little quote. Today's? "Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth." That would be (104 comments)
Ladies Who Lunch! - 06/23/09 09:34 PM
Yesterday, Chris Ann Cleland found her way to downtown Washington, DC, and we took advantage of the chance to meet for lunch. We had tapas in Chinatown at a little place across the street from the National Museum of Crime and Punishment (yes, we have museums for just about everything in this town). Over the years, I've had the chance to meet many of my blog buddies in person, and if you are new to Active Rain and haven't tried it, I really suggest that you do! I've subscribed to Chris Ann's blog for a while now and have enjoyed reading (24 comments)
"Designed to Sell": It Only Works When The Price Is Right - 06/20/09 10:29 PM
If you've ever seen "Designed to Sell", the HGTV hit, there's a moment at the end when, after the first Open House, the sellers are gleefully picking through multiple offers - or they are saying that they are going to hold out for the right one. Today, I showed a house where the sellers were hold outs. Now, I wasn't blown away by the staging in this house to begin with. And I was stunned when the seller told me that HGTV had done the living room, dining room and master bedroom. It was just OK. Lots of browns and tans (35 comments)
Sometimes It's OK For The Seller To Be Home For The Showing! - 06/20/09 09:31 PM
Yesterday, I showed a lovely granny house in Chevy Chase, a close-in DC suburb. It's a large, stately home with pillars that reminded me of a lovely antebellum Gone With The Wind sort of place. The 1920's vintage home was well taken care of and sort of reeked of years of love, happy family holidays, wedding receptions, and decades of memories. It was almost like you could tell this house had taken wonderful care of the people it sheltered. And granny was there! Normally, it's best for the sellers to be far away when their homes are shown. But sometimes you (10 comments)
Patience? A Virtue? - 06/17/09 08:57 AM
When I am sitting on an unratified contract on another agent's listing, patience is not a virtue that I tend to manifest. Now I work in an allegedly declining market, but that doesn't mean that the buyers call the shots - at least not when the house is at a very low price, in excellent condition and staged to be an outrageous flirt with every buyer who walks through the door! We wrote a good, solid offer that, while not totally perfect from the sellers' perspective, was at consistent with recent comps. And there is one other offer that came in (20 comments)
I Saw A Really, Really Gorgeous House Today - But..... - 06/16/09 10:36 PM
This house was totally amazing! It was marry for money gorgeous. It was marry old and ugly for money gorgeous! But there was this one little thing! The house was wearing a scent that I call Eau de Kitty Litter! It did not pass the sniff test. Not to be judgmental or anything. OK, I am being judgmental! But I am planning to put my house on the market, and it has not only tow pussy cats in residence, but also Willie the Labradoodle who sometimes smells a bit funky. And Yikes! Oh, well, maybe I'll just have one of those (28 comments)
Pat's Favorite Newbie Of The Week - 06/13/09 05:45 PM
In February of this year, Hannah Williams, aka "Helpful Hannah" wrote her first blog post on Active Rain. And you know what? She really is pretty helpful! During this past week, I learned something from two of her posts. The first, HelpfulHannahs Free Video tip on ZILLOW has some really useful information on how we can use Zillow to market ourselves free! In this day and age when every marketing dollar really counts, free is good. It's really good! The second she posted this afternoon, using the Seesmic desktop tool with Twitter. If I read more posts like this one, I (10 comments)
Walking In On Naked People! - 06/13/09 02:43 PM
When you list a house that you are living in, it's really, really important to get the showing instructions clear. Really, really clear! There have been many posts written here on Active Rain about how important it is to make our listings user-friendly for buyer agents who want to preview or show them. Agents are less likely to show a house with complicated arrangements needed to get the front door open. Fewer people looking at the house translates into reduced exposure to the marketplace, which in turn means longer time on the market and a lower selling price. When the property (19 comments)
When A Colleague Calls For Showing Feedback - 06/13/09 07:52 AM
Yesterday, I got a call from the listing agent of a place I showed last week - someone I didn't know at all. He was polite, started off by apologizing for not following up immediately and described the house to jog my increasingly unreliable memory. And it turned out that I loved his listing. My buyers liked it a lot. It was easy to see, showed very well and was, I thought, the best house we saw that day. We actually had a very pleasant conversation and he told me that of all the agents he called, I was the only (41 comments)
Arnold's Lilies - 06/12/09 11:16 AM
Arnold is my next door neighbor. He's what some of us might call an old hippie - his old car boasts bumper stickers like "Love Animals, Don't Eat Them" and "If You Don't Go Within, You Go Without - Meditate!". He's a wonderful neighbor to all of the single women on the block, as he possesses significant handyman skills. Arnold was literally born in the house next door, and when he was a little boy, he planted some lily bulbs in his front yard and in the little garden strip between our houses. When I first moved into my house back (19 comments)
Two Years In The Rain! - 06/10/09 11:31 AM
Two years ago today, I tripped over Active Rain. I started off by looking around the place, and stumbled across some puzzling posts. I'm going to sell me a house!!!! by Broker Bryant caught my attention, and then, of course, I clicked the link to, um, just what is a TLW? And I discovered How About A Little Patsy Cline With That Whine...Roar! Is this site for real? Is there any serious real estate talk on Active Rain? Well, yes. And before I continue, I must admit that I have learned so much from Broker Bryants serious posts, especially on short (22 comments)
There Is No Excuse For This One Here In Washington, DC! - 06/09/09 08:50 PM
Today, I went out to preview a bunch of houses with colleague and blog buddy Ed Schneider. And we say a whole bunch of nice houses, and a few that were not too exciting at all. But there was one that could have been a total WOW House except for one leetle tiny thing! Here in Washington, We don't see a whole lot of swimming pools. And when we do, especially when the house is for sale, the pools are usually crystal clear and inviting. So the house today was pretty high end and listed by a company that specializes in (33 comments)
A Short Sale Rant, And This Time It's Not About A Bank! - 06/06/09 01:43 PM
As I was putting together a list of properties to show some buyers, I noticed that none of the places I intended to show were shown as foreclosures or short sales. And a lot of these listings were in one of the few DC neighborhoods where we are, in fact, seeing some "troubled assets" on the market. The showing instructions on some of them showed they were vacant and on Sentrilock. A couple of others had people living in them or combination lock-boxes, so I had to call a couple of the agents for access. In talking to the listing agents, (21 comments)
Pat's Favorite Newbie Of The Week - 06/06/09 08:27 AM
On January 10th, Karen Parsons-Fiddler wrote her first blog post on Active Rain, and since then she has clearly become addicted to both blogging and the Rain! Karen is, first and foremost, a Laker's fan! And while she does write a bit about her favorite team, most of her posts tell her story of working in a the challenging southern California market. Yesterday, she wrote a post that caught my attention, Equity Sellers.....Still a Buyer's Market on Those. While she in many ways stated the obvious, there are still many buyers who would rather chase after a "deal" on a foreclosure (4 comments)
Buy High? But Why? - 06/05/09 06:47 PM
Last night, I was showing houses to a couple buying their first place together. And like many of today's buyers, they are pretty nervous about their timing. Has the market bottomed out yet? If not, how much lower can it go? You know, the questions that almost everyone is asking these days. And it makes me wonder why people were so fearless when they found themselves in bloody bidding wars a few years ago. As prices escalated and homes sold for way more than their already outrageous asking prices, buyers didn't seem to mind fanning the flames of a red hot (15 comments)
I Found A Little Treasure Trove Today! - 06/05/09 06:11 PM
A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for E-Pro. And each time I log on and inch my way through the learning materials, guess what? I actually learn something new! Today's find was the section on Realtor.org that contains Field Guides with information on a bunch of subjects useful to all of us. Want to find out about stress management? There’s a guide for that! What if you are looking for materials for a buyer interview? You can find a field guide with tons of information, from Buying v. Renting to explanations of the home inspection process.We’ve all heard that (14 comments)
It's Certainly Raining, But I Am Not Active! - 06/05/09 01:27 PM
This morning I woke up with every intention to go into a full workahaulic frenzy. Then, I drove over to Capitol Hill, got drenched trying to preview a bunch of places and came home after House Number 2! I wonder if the guys at work at the Capitol are feeling as non productive as I do right now? And I have to remind myself that, unlike members of congress who get regular checks every couple of weeks, I only get paid when I produce results! So guess I'd better just get over it and sell a listing - or at least (12 comments)
It's The Marketing. No! It's The Price! - 06/03/09 03:52 PM
This afternoon, I got an email from an agent inviting me to a broker's lunch tomorrow afternoon so I could preview his listing, which is being offered with a hefty coop commission to the buyer broker who sells the place. But here's the catch. It's priced for more money than it was worth on the best day in 2007! And it is in one of the few neighborhoods in DC with short sales and foreclosures. I'm familiar with the house, because I sold it in the 1990's. It's changed hands once since then, and it doesn't look like it's had a (26 comments)
Is Listing Your Home As A "Private Exclusive" Ever A Good Idea? - 06/03/09 08:40 AM
In Washington, we are starting to see a comeback of the "private exclusive", the practice of listing your home "quietly" - no signs, no listing on the Multiple Listing Service, no way of letting colleagues from other brokerage firms know that you want to sell. So here is the sales pitch a company might use to convince you to go this route: They can sell your home "in house", meaning that your listing agent and the other agents in his or her firm know about it and can show it to any clients they might have. Selling in house benefits the (16 comments)
Pat Kennedy -- author of The Irreverent Guide to Real Estate -- gives you a look at life on the streets as a real estate broker in our nation's capital. And her blog is peppered with great advice combined with humor!
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.