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NO PERMITS? NO DEAL! BELIEVE IT! - 07/31/09 11:46 AM
Yes. Not having permits is a deal-breaker. Believe it! It happens again and again. We find a lovely home. Client loves it. We write an offer. We look into the remodeling, expansion, improvements. Then we discover the work was done without permits. "But they were done by professionals." Uh-huh. If they were professionals, they would have known to get permits, and then to have them finaled by the inspector. "But they just changed appliances and the counter top." Uh-huh. Are the appliances EXACTLY the same? Were new electrical outlets and wiring required? "The seller doesn't want to get the permits. (6 comments)
ATTENTION, BUYERS AND SELLERS: are you listening to your REALTOR? - 07/29/09 07:44 PM
Whether or not you believe the media's hype or stories of doom and gloom, there are factors that you should consider in the decision to buy....or to sell. In one of my escrows that crashed, my seller said she thought I was working for the buyer; while on the other side, the buyer's agent said his buyers accused him of working for the seller. When all the other agent and I were trying to do is to find a common ground and mutually acceptable compromise.
I have a long list of Do's and Don'ts....but here are some that I just have (4 comments)
REO AGENTS: SELL, BUT DON'T TELL? Even when there are inspection reports available? - 07/29/09 01:27 AM
The issue is: if inspection reports are available, these inspections are material fact. They're relevant to the property. And if they are available, disclose them. So why won't the REO agent mention this in the MLS, or offer them to prospective buyers? My clients finally got accepted on an REO on which they overbid against other buyers. Because we had only 7 days to do our inspections, the buyers ordered the following inspections: home, pest, roof, chimney. During the inspections, we were told that the much-needed repairs are more severe and more extensive than what the buyers were willing to undertake. (16 comments)
Is it my imagination, or have SOME REO AGENTS BECOME MORE RESPONSIVE? - 07/28/09 04:32 PM
Several months ago, I ranted about REO agents not giving us buyers agent some respect, or not being responsive enough. Lately, though....on several offers I've written on behalf of different clients, I was quite surprised to find the following improvements: Supra lockboxes --- maybe it's because it is now required by our local MLS boards to have EVERY listing posted on our MLS that specify a lockbox to use SUPRA lockboxes instead of combination locks). I hate it when the combination is wrong, the key is missing. Such a waste of time. Updated MLS remarks --- some specify that MLS are "correct" (3 comments)
>SIGH< When escrows fall out - 07/28/09 01:37 PM
This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time. In the last two months, I've had four escrows fall out for different reasons. And it surely hasn't been easy. I need to pull myself up, and say "NEXT!" But maybe it will help if I.....>DEEP SIGH<....vent.
Escrow #1 on a triplex. Our agreement said the seller WARRANTS that this is a triplex. Problem is, city's permit history show they inspected 3 units; but county recognizes only one house. Seller insists it's a triplex. But unless this is the case in both city and county, this is not (7 comments)
RENTERS BEWARE! Scammers on craigslist, yahoo, etc - 07/27/09 11:25 AM
Keep telling folks to WATCH OUT for scammers who say they are out-of-town/out-of-country landlords who want to rent their homes. This is an ongoing problem. For the last two years, unscrupulous scammers and thieves my listings as for rent on craigslist and yahoo. People have called me to tell me they've applied to rent the place, but are confused as to whether the properties are indeed for rent, or are they for sale? And I am not the only one who have run into this problem. Potential renters looking for a "good deal" respond to an ad. They communicate via email (2 comments)
Many reasons to SMILE - 07/26/09 02:54 AM
A very good friend who knows Gary and I love and foster dogs sent us this link to a truly delightful video. When you click on this link http://www.imtiredonline.com/smile/ Turn up the volume and SMILE!
And then hop on to YouTube and see the wonderful work that some volunteer organizations do to contribute to the welfare of our animals. And it's so amazing to watch animals rescue other animals in trouble Dog rescues man being gored by bull or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA9pw53WaKQ&feature=related Dog rescues another dog hit on a busy highway or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2qSakxWt54 Dog rescues struggling dog in the pool or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztZE9o6kMn0&feature=related (14 comments)
CONVINCE ME! I haven't been a REALTOR as long as some of you have been, but very recently, I've experienced this first hand. It's mind-boggling that it's a challenge to convincingly validate to sellers why there is a lot of truth in this. Today, I am thinking about this adage again because I just submitted an offer a day after the listing came on the market. My (7 comments)
What's your excuse for not taking your own picture for your listing? And why copy mine? - 07/21/09 09:47 PM
Why, oh why can't or won't agents take pictures of their own listings? Not even ONE? With so many inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras today, and with many phones equipped with cameras (and some with video), it's an absolute disservice to the seller if the agent won't even post at least ONE picture of the property. And those out-of-MLS area listing agents can certainly get a reciprocal agreement to post their listings AND picture on the local MLS. We are not supposed to be using someone else's photos without getting permission (geez...something about copyright....that's all). This is not the first time this has happened. (18 comments)
Architectural Gems in Alameda CA - 07/21/09 04:53 PM
Alameda CA has always enchanted me. And now that I live here, I continue to enjoy the small-town charm. I've never lived in a place (besides San Francisco) where there are so many delightful Victorians. Yesterday, I needed cheering up....so I drove around, snapping pictures (from my car) of some of the homes and architectural details that caught my eye. Thought I'd share a few.
After taking these pictures (and a few others) I felt better ---- immediately! I will keep my camera handy and take more HAPPY pictures. Geez, I LOVE THIS ISLAND CITY!
CYBER/VIRTUAL HOME STAGING. Great concept! But....but....but... - 07/20/09 04:25 AM
We've heard and read about cyber or virtual staging for at least two years now when the concept was introduced. San Francisco Chronicle featured this story today (geez --- what took them so long?) And we've also heard that staged properties sell faster, and at higher prices than non-staged homes. We also know that recent National Association of REALTORS studies show that 87% or more of buyers and sellers go on line to look at homes for sale. So it seems natural to blend cyber staging with online marketing. For agents and their sellers who are strapped for funds and can't (25 comments)
TOO MANY INSPECTIONS! When it becomes invasive - 07/18/09 06:44 PM
My seller is out of sorts due to the number of inspectors that the buyers want done to the property, following the pest inspection and the home inspection. This is not the first seller who has complained to me about this, but the question begs to be asked: when do inspections get to be too much and become invasive? Certain things were tagged by the property inspectors that triggered a series of other inspectors who specialize in different things. In one house, my seller works at home. So he had to vacate his home office multiple times to allow the inspectors to (10 comments)
DON'T HATE ME because I'm different (Innovative) - 07/18/09 03:09 PM
Open house: a waste of time? This goes for folks who say doing open houses is a waste of time. I like doing open houses: 15% of my business last year was a result of clients whom I impressed during open house.It's the battle of the old versus the new way of farming, or generating business. Some folks prefer to do it the way they've always done it --- walking their farm areas, door hanging, mailing Just sold/listed postcards, etc. And some of them are really good at it and do get a lot of new business that way. But others, like me, (15 comments)
WIDE ANGLE LENS for your point-and-shoot digital camera for only $39.95! - 07/18/09 01:03 AM
Sometimes, it feels like I've just crawled out from under a rock. Where have I been? At a REALTOR.com seminar yesterday, I won the raffle for the wide-angle lens attachment for my point-and-shoot digital camera. That was my introduction to Magnetic Lenses. Go to www.MagneticLenses.com. Although their website is woefully devoid of any before and after pictures comparing a non-wide angle shot to one with wide-angle, I saw enough comparisons during a seminar that I am sold on this product. And I can't believe it's so inexpensive! $39.95 for a wide-angle lens? For a digital camera? Wow!
Simple to use lenses for (14 comments)
"U.S. Economy: Housing Starts INCREASE to Seven-Month High" - 07/17/09 03:33 PM
According to Bloomberg.com... We need more news like this! According to this article "Housing starts in the U.S. unexpectedly rose in June as construction of single-family dwellings jumped by the most since 2004, signaling the market is stabilizing even as unemployment worsens. The 3.6 percent increase brought starts to an annual rate of 582,000, the highest level since November and followed a 562,000 pace in May that was higher than previously estimated, the Commerce Department said today in Washington." "The construction figures are the latest evidence that the meltdown in the housing market that triggered the financial crisis is nearing (4 comments)
BEWARE: Foreclosure hunters on the prowl. IS THERE A REALTOR IN THE HOUSE? - 07/15/09 05:24 PM
My co-worker was showing a foreclosure that was just listed in Alameda. It was priced aggressively, in a very desirable neighborhood. When she and her clients arrived at the property, there were literally throngs of people going in and out of the house. It was so busy they thought there was an open house. NOT! Turns out that another realtor arrived to show the property to her clients, but that folks came to the property and wanted to see it, too. That realtor made the mistake of leaving the door open, so folks came in. And they came. And they came. That realtor (43 comments)
In 2008, short sales and foreclosures represented barely 6 % of total sales the first half of 2008. During the same period in 2009, that increased to 25%. This is somewhat sobering (and humbling). At the same time, median price dropped from $619,674 to $549,481 or 11.5% decrease in market value. What is encouraging is that the number of (0 comments)
"Can I use the first time buyer tax credit as my down payment?" - 07/15/09 02:32 AM
This question gets asked over and over again. And the answer is, "It depends." This seems like the right time to reiterate that real estate is local. GENERAL INFO Buyers have to qualify for that tax credit that equals 10% of purchase price, or UP TO $8,000. On FHA loans, the tax credit can be be PART of, but not THE down payment. See: Who/Where/How/What/When to use the $8,000 first time buyer tax credit with an FHA loan EXCEPTIONS But.....but.....yes, there are exceptions ... some state housing finance agencies have developed their own tax credit bridge loan programs, so buyers in states whose (4 comments)
Have to relocate, but can't do a short sale? How about a lease-purchase? - 07/12/09 01:42 PM
Next month, friends of mine are relocating to Hawaii for a job promotion and also to be closer to their family who are still in Hawaii. They asked me to list their house for sale. But upon learning that they got their loans modified the value of their home is less than what they paid for and therefore can't be listed a the price they want there are two different lenders, which would make a short sale difficult ....they decided to rent the house for a year while they try to get their loans consolidated and perhaps in a year, sell (3 comments)
Once you're in contract, withdraw all other offers you've written for a buyer - 07/12/09 12:52 PM
In this sea of REOS and short sales, where it is extremely competitive in specific price brackets and locations. it is not unusual to write several offers for a client although we are discouraged from the practice of writing multiple offers. Back in February, I had written an offer on a short sale with two lenders....as of mid-July, the second lender is still in negotiations. It is looking very unlikely that this short sale will ever be approved. At the time we wrote the offer, the listing agent said the property was under contract before but the buyer backed out. She (13 comments)
If HOA forecloses on condo short sale subject to lender approval....who prevails? HOA? Bank? - 07/08/09 05:35 PM
This woman buys a condo for her brother and sister who unexpectedly die within a year of each other. Later, the woman tries to rent the condo, where the rents barely cover the monthly mortgage and HOA fees. The HOA slaps her with a hefty fine because under their rules, the quota for rentals is filled, and she can;t rent out the condo to non-family members. She appeals. Deaf ears. Closed minds. No compromise. Since she can't rent it out, she doesn't have any money to pay for the condo and the HOA fees. So she tries to sell the condo (3 comments)
WRITING OFFERS IS "GEICO CAVEMAN STUFF....REAL ESTATE BS...." - 07/06/09 08:10 PM
In a recent post, I told about a buyer who "just" wants an agent to write an offer and get 75% of the agent's commission in my blog headlined "I've already done the work and found a house. I just want an agent to write the offer ... Most of the responses and comments supported the idea of telling the buyer TTFN (ta ta for now) in so many words. Except this one particular commenter. I decided to post this separately and see what other people will say. From Real Estate Radio USA: http://www.realestateradiousa.com/blog (7 comments)
Broker barbecues at the office --- just one of the things our broker does for his agents - 07/05/09 04:05 PM
Just one of the fun things we do at our office... Usually, for one Friday of the month, we hold a Brown Bag lunch with our broker, during which we discuss events and issues pertaining to real estate. It's an informal roundtable discussion. However, the brown bag luncheon was scheduled on July 3 when only a few of us didn't take off for the long July 4th weekend. So last Friday, my broker, Michael Studebaker, of my company, Gallagher and Lindsey in Alameda CA, did something fun: he barbecued pork --- AT THE OFFICE! He set up a barbecue at an alleyway behind (6 comments)
"I've already done the work and found a house. I just want an agent to write the offer ... - 07/05/09 02:00 PM
...and give the buyer 75% of the commission." This prospective buyer found me on Trulia to ask me if I can write an offer for her. She said she already "did all the work." She has found a house. She "just" wants the agent to write the offer and handle the paperwork." In turn, she wants the agent to give her 75% of the agent's commission as a "gift" Let's see....assuming a sales price of $300k at2.5% commission to the selling agency, that's $7500 total commission. Assume that the realtor has a 70% split with his/broker. $1875 gross commission (25% of the total commission that (116 comments)
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