Friday, July 29, 2011

Why You Need A Good Good Realtor / Negotiator

When choosing a Realtor, be sure to select one with experience in the particular locale and segment of the market to which your home corresponds. If it is a short sale, the rules, regulations, legal and documentary requirements, lender policies and procedures are constantly changing.  Make sure your Realtor is fully versed in these changes before making your selection.  Also, make certain that your Realtor is working with an Attorney or Title Company that specializes in short sale transactions.

Finally, you as the Seller must be an active participant in the execution of your short sale if it is to be successful.  It is up to you to make sure you can provide all the correct and accurate supporting documents that your lenders require.  These requests may be numerous, and frequent updates and additional documentation may be required throughout the process.  Your Realtor is responsible for securing the most qualified buyer that will offer top dollar for the home, and making sure that all pertinent parties are aware of what is needed to go forward.  Your Realtor will also make sure your Attorney, Title Company and Lenders receive the documentation you provide, but it is up to you to provide it.  Bear in mind that time is of the essence in all real estate contracts, and success relies on the Seller's ability to act and react quickly and thoroughly to the lenders instructions and requests, and for the Realtor/Negotiator to perform his/her function with diligence, responsiveness and in observance of all legal parameters to protect the integrity of the transaction and act in the best interest of his clients.

By working as a team, you can increase your chances of success exponentially.  Communication and collaboration is the key.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Rental Fraud - Landlords and Renters Beware

It appears that fraud in the South Florida home rental industry is just one more indication of how hard times create opportunity for the unscrupulous.  Internet scams on rental properties are on the rise.  I know this because one of my own listings was used by a fraudster to perpetrate a scam on a free classified ad website just this past month.  Sadly, two families looking for a home allegedly fell for the scam and lost money in the process.  In addition, I just heard of another agent whom I know personally to be a first class professional in my area who saw one of his listings on a popular website that offers free classified ads.  It said "Brokers Not Welcome".  Clearly a scam.

My only advice to owners is to list your rental property with a reputable Realtor.  If you are an absentee landlord (you cannot effectively manage and maintain the property yourself due to personal circumstances or logistics), please consider hiring a professional property manager.      

For renters, please use internet resources that promote properties offered by members of the National Association of Realtors in your search efforts (,, .  Free classified ad websites do little, if any, due diligence in verifying the legitimacy of their ads.  Realtors are licensed agents who are accountable to government authorities and are bound by the NAR Code of Ethics.  Beyond that, if something on the internet looks too good to be true, it probably is.  It's ancient advice, but tried and true.

The Impact of Mandatory 20% Down Payments on Home Financing

Call and write your public officials to vehemently oppose this terrible idea. The housing industry is the linchpin of our national economy.  Requiring 20% minimum down payments on home purchases will devastate the country, and undermine the hopes and aspirations of millions of Americans from achieving the American Dream!  If this goes through, home values will be crushed due to fewer buyers being able to buy.  This is a political maneuver to appease the few at the expense of the many.  Thoughtless and potentially catastrophic.  A groundswell of popular opposition is the only thing that will stop this.  It's up to every single American to fight this.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Assets and Your Mortgage Application

Of the four "legs" of a borrowers loan application (income, credit, collateral, and assets), assets are generally the least discussed, yet be the most critical determinant of his/her fiscal strength.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What You Must Know About Home Appraisals

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Americans Bullish on Home Ownership Despite Economy, So Why Won’t Washington Listen?

  • Americans Bullish on Home Ownership Despite Economy, So Why Won’t Washington Listen?

    If you’re worried about the future of home ownership in America, you have good reason. The nation’s economy is struggling. But it’s not just the rising unemployment rate (up to 9.2% in June 2011) that’s deferring home ownership for many. Some outlandish proposals on Capitol Hill are also weighing heavily on the hearts and minds of home owners, sellers, and potential buyers. Read

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Energy Pricing: Make Your Home The Next To Sell In Your Community

What is an Energy Price?

Simply put, an Energy Price is a price that will clearly identify a home as the outstanding value in a community, or put another way, it will make it the most likely property sell next.  Ideally, an energy price results in multiple competing offers that puts the Seller in the catbird seat.

How do you know your price is not an energy price?
      -      Few or No showings

-      Lookers, but No Offers

-      More than 2 weeks on the market with little or no activity

These three also may indicate that agents are using your home to sell alternatives on the market in your area.

-      Feedback

-      You have a deadline (job transfer, another home under contract, etc), and time is running out

-      You can’t make the upgrades that competing homes offer

-      The competition has changed.  Competing homes have reduced their prices, but you haven’t.

How do we establish the price of a home?
The value of your home is almost entirely dependent on what someone is willing to pay for it, how much it appraises for, and how long you are willing to wait to find that person. Most sellers are not in the position to wait for the "ideal" buyer who will pay their "ideal" price. They want to find the optimum price at which their home will sell in a limited amount of time. Today, a market cycle is about 3-6 mos, and appraisers will give the greatest weight to homes that have closed within that time in determine the value range of yours. 

Location is critical.  Bear in mind that a community is not only determined by radius.  For example, Coral Gables and Coconut Grove are adjacent to each other, yet they are completely different markets.
Then, we look at square footage, number of beds and baths, and lot size. Next, we'll want to look at amenities sought by buyers. An attached garage, a wood-burning fireplace, an updated kitchen and baths, and spacious rooms are among the factors that generally increase a home's value. Most buyers want good schools, proximity to work and lifestyle, and quiet safe neighborhoods. Any pluses or minuses in these areas will affect the price.

Perhaps equally important are your reasons for selling and how long you can wait. Typically, the most interest is generated in the first two weeks a home is listed. If you want to sell your home fast, you'll want to price it so that it stands out among comparable homes on the market (Energy Price).  Sellers who try to hold out for the highest price in a fluid market like this one, however, usually regret it. We call that “Chasing the Market”, or as they say in boxing, “Leading with your chin”. 
In the first two weeks, you will attract those buyers with the greatest level of motivation to buy; those that have a real need to act immediately.  After that, you start to see investors, bargain hunters, and people who tend to look for signs of desperation.  When an offer comes in, more times than not it will be a low ball offer.  Then you have little choice but to negotiate the best deal you can.

Remember, it is always best to negotiate from a position of strength.  For a Seller, that is when the house is fresh on the market, buyer interest is high and the Seller has the most amount of time on his side.  The energy, therefore, favors the Seller. 
Finally, sometimes time works against both Buyer and Seller.  We have such a situation right now.  As of October 1, 2011, limits on government backed home loans (Fannie, Freddie, FHA, VA) are scheduled to be slashed by act of Congress.  For example, loan limits for FHA mortgages will drop $78,750 from $423,750 to $345,000.

What does this mean?
For Sellers:

-      Less Buyers, Downward pressure on prices in all value ranges, as lender risk increases and rates likely go up.
For Buyers:

-      Harder to qualify for loans, and less money available to borrow at a higher cost.
Remember, if interest rates go up 1%, principal must come down 10% in order to keep the same monthly payment.  This hurts both buyers and sellers. 

Therefore, if you are a serious Buyer or Seller, there is a window of opportunity that closes in about 75 days.  Now is the time to act.  If you are a Seller, Energy Price your home now to be the next one to sell in your community.  If you’re a Buyer, there’s no point in sitting on a fence that may be collapsing under you.  Act now.   
We are in mid-July.  Buying a home with financing takes about 30-60 days to close, short sales notwithstanding.  On the outside, it will be the middle of September before you can close a deal you made today.  Fortunately, my skills and experience has earned me the ability and reputation for closing your deal a lot closer to 30 days than 60. I'm here for you.  Let me help.

Thank you for your time.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

7 Reasons to Reduce Your Price

One More Reason:   Interest rates are likely going up, which historically creates downward pressure on property values.  A 1% increase in the mortgage interest rate needs a 10% decrease in principal to maintain the same monthly payment.  If you need to sell your home soon, Sellers should seriously consider price positioning their properties to be the very next one to sell in their respective communities.
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Questions You Should Ask Prospective Real Estate Agents When Selling Your Home

Questions You Should Ask Prospective Real Estate Agents When Selling Your Home Your home is one, if not the most valuable asset you own. Mor...