Posts Tagged ‘real estate

14
May
13

Stuff Real Estate Agents Say

realtor

You say ‘cramped,’ agent says ‘cozy

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying a home, but beware of the misleading or downright dishonest things real estate agents sometimes say to make a sale.

In the competitive world of residential real estate, facts often are spun to generate buyer interest. Insiders call it “puffing.” Although agents may be held responsible for telling outright lies, there is plenty of leeway to stretch the truth.

Why say a house is small or cramped when you can describe it as cozy? If it has worn carpet and a leaking roof, a creative agent may describe it as “rustic” or even “quaint.”

Rhonda Duffy, an agent with Duffy Realty in Atlanta who advocates high industry standards, says using “fluffy language” to describe a home is common. “No seller wants us to say, ‘This is the ugliest house you’ve ever seen, but I am sure it will suit somebody.'”

What follows are examples of stuff real estate agents say that can be described as “puffery.”

‘It’s in great shape,’ except for the leaks

When an agent tells you a home is in excellent condition, be cautious. Perhaps it’s true, but the term is used so often that it has become an industry cliche with little real meaning.

Agents have plenty of horror stories about competitors who lured them and their clients to undesirable homes with grandiose descriptions. Kristie Weiss, a real estate agent in State College, Pa., recently visited a perfect-looking home only to find that a plumbing problem was sending water from the kitchen sink flowing into the basement.

“It may look pristine,” Weiss says. “The floors are gorgeous, and there are brand-new countertops and cabinets, but it needs a new heating system (or) it needs a new roof. There could be brand-new shingles, but what if they didn’t do the sheathing underneath?”

She recommends having a professional inspection before making an offer on any home, regardless of the appearance or an agent’s glowing description.

Peekaboo! ‘Enjoy the ocean view!’

For some homebuyers, the ultimate dream is a house within sight of the ocean. In coastal cities, agents are quick to mention ocean views, even if they are obscured by trees or buildings. In San Diego, longtime real estate agent Gary Kent, with Keller Williams Realty, says it’s not unusual for house hunters to visit such homes, only to wind up asking sellers to point out where the ocean is. Kent says the answers often go something like this: “See that tree? Look a little bit to the left. That blue stuff is water.”

Hawaii real estate agent Randy L. Prothero recalls taking a client to see such a home. “I took him to this property, and if you stood on the roof with a 30-foot ladder, you might see the ocean through the trees,” he recalls. “We call it a ‘peekaboo view.'”

That kind of exaggeration may bring people out to view homes, but it won’t close the deal, he adds. “I find that really annoying. It wastes everybody’s time.”

‘Remodeled kitchen’ — with old counters

Kitchen upgrades can raise the value of older homes. Owners install modern appliances and granite countertops to spruce things up. The problem is that the term “remodeled” can be loosely interpreted. Prothero says he has visited remodeled kitchens only to find worn-out, 40-year-old cabinets still in place. Weiss has had similar experiences.

“I tell the truth in my listings,” Weiss says. “I will not say ‘completely remodeled kitchen’ if it is only new appliances, but there are a lot of agents out there who do. You just have to be very careful. There may be new countertops, but what kind? You never know until you get into the house.”

One phrase to watch out for is “a kitchen with everything within reach,” she adds. That’s agent-speak for really, really small.

‘2-car garage’ that fits 1 SUV

You’d think something as easy to define as a two-car garage would be difficult to exaggerate. Unfortunately, it’s common for agents to attempt to pass off a large one-car garage as adequate for two vehicles.

Weiss says the widespread use of large SUVs makes it important to make sure the home you’re buying truly has enough space for your cars. “A good buyer’s agent should say, ‘Pull your cars in the garage, let’s make sure they fit.'”

Another thing to watch out for is two-car garages that have been modified to hold washers and dryers or storage areas. They may look standard size, but might not provide enough room for two cars.

A ‘fixer-upper’ that requires a rebuild

Fixer-uppers can provide wonderful opportunities for buying homes at bargain prices. If you’re handy with a hammer and don’t mind making multiple trips to the hardware store, this may be the house for you. It also could turn out to be a money pit.

Generally, a fixer-upper is considered to be a home that requires more elbow grease than money and construction expertise. The problem is the term often is used to describe homes that are badly in need of major repairs that are beyond the skills of your average homeowner.

Buyers don’t always realize what they are getting into, says Kent. When he hears “fixer-upper,” he goes into detective mode to find out just how much needs to be done to make the home habitable. “Basically, it says the house needs work,” he says. “So you are put on notice.”

The ‘I’ll get a better price’ empty promise

Real estate is competitive, and everyone looks for an edge. Unfortunately, some agents make promises they can’t keep in order to get your business. A common ploy is to tell you they can sell your home for much more than other agents say it’s worth.

“We call it buying the listing,” says Prothero. “Usually the Realtors who do that fall into two categories: They are weak agents and probably don’t understand the true value of the property, or they don’t have any active listings, and they will do whatever it takes to get one. Some will take the listing knowing they can’t sell it at that price.”

Promises to sell homes for unrealistic amounts should be disregarded, Weiss says. Not all agents are equally skilled at marketing, but it’s not likely that one can get you far more than your home is worth. “That is just plain supply and demand, simple economics.”

Thank you to Emmet Pierce of Bankrate.com for this article
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10
May
13

Happy Mother’s Day

Title Junction would like to wish all the mom’s out there very Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you for all you do!

mothers day

 

Before I was a Mom –
I slept as late as I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed. I brushed my hair and my teeth everyday.

Before I was a Mom –
I cleaned my house each day. I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby. I didn’t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous. I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom –
I had never been puked on – Pooped on – Spit on – Chewed on, or Peed on. I had complete control of my mind and My thoughts. I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom –
I never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests…or give shots. I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom –
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put it down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life
so much. I never knew that I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom –
I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn’t know that bond between a mother and her child. I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom –
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay. I had never known The warmth, The joy, The love, The heartache, The wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.

30
Apr
13

Social Media and our Title Company

social media

Social Media…”living in the now”…these are all familiar terms to those embracing the newest trends among the internet and broadband alike. But certain terms like impersonal and generational also tag along with it. This is our opinion on Social Media and how it relates to our business.

Let’s get into the Pros and Cons if you will. If you ask me, it has almost become a necessary evil for business owners to dedicate some amount of time to Social Media. An evil in that Social Media, to be successful, is time consuming and if not done right can deter business, but necessary in that without social media, your business could be missing a wide range of clientele and a vast need for the “now”.

At Title Junction we have embraced, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and ActiveRain as our main focus among the Social Media sites. First let’s take on the uber-sites, Facebook and Twitter. The pros of each different, but equally effective. Facebook, the un-doubtably the more social of the two is a great way to show a more personal side of our team at Title Junction…posting networking pictures and fun status updates allows a more relaxed environment for connections to occur. Opposite the spectrum is Twitter, directed more towards the informational junkie, it is a great way to prove ourselves valuable by posting interesting and useful topics and thus increasing followers. With both of these proving successful for our business, we have also observed the downside or “cons” to each site among other users. One being the slippery slope of becoming too “social”. When picture updates become too risky and twitter updates show to be invaluable, it often repels business, and defeats the purpose. This leads us to Linkedin and Active Rain, both completely different, but respectively worth while. We would define Linkedin’s purpose to be completely business…it is a great hit on Google for hopeful clients to get in touch with us, with email and all of our contact information listed directly on our profile. But it is equally ineffective when it comes to relationship building; we find a minimum of contact interaction and a lack of user interest. Finally there is Active Rain, most beneficial is the ability for us to target a specific crowd and relate to each blog and user for our common interest, Real Estate. It is fantastic to see Active Rain now adding links to Twitter and outside blogs, truly embracing the power of connectivity. As I conclude, my final opinion is optimistic; I look forward to the future of business and Social Media.

23
Apr
13

Four Signs Buyers Are Really Ready

buyYou have prospects who contact you expressing an interest in purchasing a home, but how do you know if they’re really serious — or able — to purchase a home?

MRIS, a large multiple listing service serving the Mid-Atlantic region, asked its real estate member network for some of the best signs for understanding whether potential buyers are really ready for the task of taking on home ownership.

Here’s what they found:
~ Buyers are increasing their savings: MRIS suggests home buyers save enough money for six months of mortgage payments and at least 3.5 percent of the purchase price for a down payment and closing costs. Buyers also haven’t forgotten about moving and possible home repair costs in setting up a savings
plan for a home purchase.
~ Buyers have their credit in shape: Home buyers know their FICO score and know how it can impact the mortgage rate they get.
~ Buyers know what they can afford: Home buyers are already pre-qualified for a mortgage so they know how much they can afford, what types of loans they can qualify for, and set a comfortable monthly mortgage payment goal.
~ Buyers are not making other major purchases: Big-ticket purchases, like a car, should be put off until after they buy a home. Potential buyers ready to go know that it’s best to keep their cash reserves high to prove to lenders they can take on mortgage debt.

Thank you to Old Republic National Title, Real Estate Digest for this article
09
Apr
13

Real Estate Agents Remain #1 Tool for Finding Homes

realtorDespite Google, smart phones, social networking and traditional advertising, the most common method for people to find homes is through a real estate agent, according to the most recent Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey.

The survey found that 20 percent of buyers said their real estate agent helped them find the home they purchased, followed by Realtor.com, 17 percent; and word of mouth, 16 percent.

Renters said the most common way they found their dwellings were word of mouth, 34 percent; sign on the outside of the building, 11 percent; and Craigslist, 11 percent.

In deciding on neighborhoods, 20 percent listed “convenience to job” as the most important factor.

Real Estate Digest, Old Republic National Title, Mar 2013
19
Mar
13

6 Legitimate Reasons to Think Twice Before You Buy That House

think twiceBuyer’s remorse is no joke. It has killed many a home buying deal. But buying a home is serious, life-changing business, so some level of deliberation, concern and even rethinking the whole thing, before signing on the dotted line, is actually sensible and smart.

So it can be tough to know the difference between (a) the normal, unwarranted buyer’s remorse every home buyer should expect, think through and move past, and (b) the mental alarm bells that should be heeded because there is truly good reason to revisit whether this purchase is the right thing to do.

Home buyers, we’re here to help. If you’re suffering from a case of buyer’s remorse at any stage before your contingencies are removed, list out the things that come to mind when you fantasize about backing out of the deal.  If your list contains any of the following items, express your concerns to your spouse or co-buyer and your agent. Then, consult with your mind and your heart about whether you’re ready to move forward – or not.

    1.    It’s too expensive.  If you’re buying a house in 2013, it’s completely understandable to have a moment of panic at the sound of the price you’re paying or the sight of all those zeros. It’s a big purchase you’re making, possibly the biggest one you ever will, and those who enter into it with not even the slightest twinge of being nervous might not be taking it as seriously as they should.

That said, fears that a home are too expensive vis-a-vis the other recently sold homes in the neighborhood or the town’s market and future appreciation prospects in general are worth exploring and evaluating before you decide on your offer price or sign a final counter-offer. Your agent can help you understand the complex interacting factors you should consider, including the likelihood of the home to appraise at a given price point and the historical data on sales and home value trends in your area.

    2.    It’s too expensive for you.  For years, I’ve heard buyers express concerns about being ‘house poor,’ meaning that they spend so much on their monthly mortgage payments that they are too broke to do much else. Unless you’re fortunate enough to live in one of those parts of the country in which it is less expensive to own than to rent a home, it’s almost inevitable that there will be some sort of lifestyle revision you’ll need to make post-homeownership.

Most people who have been renting for a long time will find themselves having to make some sacrifices after they buy, in terms of eating out less, going out less, splurging on vacations, clothes and other discretionary spending – this is just par for the course, sensible, and not a good reason not to buy.

On the other hand, there are occasions in which buyers are approved for mortgages beyond what they can truly afford and maintain financial integrity, in terms of still having enough money left over post-mortgage payment for saving, investing and other monthly budget line items that the mortgage banks don’t consider (e.g., children’s school tuition, medical expenses, etc.). If you have set yourself a home buying budget lower than your lender has set for you, get and stay clear on what the wiggle room is – if any. If you feel like you’re exceeding it or getting in a red zone with a particular property, heed those internal read flags.

  3.    The location is not quite right.  I’d probably rank location choice right up there in the top 3 home selection regrets I hear after the fact from home owners.  Clearly, the location you can live in is limited by your budget – you can’t expect to live in Beverly Hills on $100K.  But I’m talking more about the various location choices and judgments every buyer has to make within their price range:

  • between a home in the city, near work, or a home in the quiet suburbs where you get much more space – and a much longer commute,
  • near shops and conveniences, or off the beaten path
  • next door to a school or at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac
  • in a row of townhomes with shared walls and an HOA or in an older neighborhood with lots of land between homes –

    you get the gist.

Location compromises should be made carefully and consciously. If that electrical pole in the front yard really bothers you and you talk yourself out of that concern, ask yourself: are you going to end up hating to drive up to your house every night?  The neighbors who seem to take a lot less care with their yards now might become a real thorn in your side over time.  That extra 20 minutes of commute time might not be as minor a lifestyle change as you can talk yourself into believing – in fact, researchers have found that the longer commutes lower overall happiness, so don’t lengthen yours without serious consideration.

In particular, don’t dismiss noise and traffic concerns without giving it real thought – a friend of mine quickly moved his young family out of the home they’d bought in a new town when they realized that the street was so busy that it was nearly impossible to even pull in or out of their own driveway – much less to let the kids play outside.

To finish reading 3 – 6, CLICK HERE  

05
Mar
13

More Home Owners Have Equity Again

equityWith home prices inching up, more Americans are emerging from being underwater — owing more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth.

Several reports have tried to estimate how many home owners came out from being underwater last year. CoreLogic reported that for the first nine months of 2012, about 1.4 million borrowers moved above water. Zillow recently estimated that 2 million home owners last year emerged from being underwater. And J.P. Morgan Securities reported that the number of underwater home owners fell from 11 million to 7 million last year.

“Estimates can vary for a number of reasons,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Underwater borrowers can move back to positive equity by paying down their loan principal or by seeing prices rise. Properties can also ‘exit’ negative equity when they go through foreclosure or when the bank approves a short sale. In those cases, borrowers aren’t being returned to positive equity — instead, they simply cease to be borrowers.”

Many of the largest home gains across the country came in areas that had a high number of underwater borrowers. “If this correlation persists in the coming years, the underwater problem could fade much faster than implied by the speed of national house prices appreciation,” Goldman Sachs researchers told The Wall Street Journal.

 

Source: DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS



Jennifer Ferri, Owner

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