Choose Your Lifestyle




Should you wait for home prices to go up?

A week ago I asked the question, Should you Downsize Before You Retire? Today Steve Harney asked the question, Is it the Price of your Home or the Price of your Happiness? Both blog posts relate to doing what’s right for your life today rather than holding out for more dollars.

Yes, this is simplistic and yes, sometimes you don’t have the option of selling today to go on to the next phase of your life. Steve related the story of someone who wanted to move to Florida to with his daughter and grandchild. We had an opposite situation – a young couple with a baby who wanted to move back north to where their families were. In both of those situations, family won over price.

If you’ve decided you’d be happier living somewhere else, make your current home as appealing as possible to potential buyers and price it to sell. We’ll be happy to meet with you and discuss your options.


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Does your real estate agent play well with others?

Does your real estate agent play well with others? That should be something you check out when you’re choosing an agent to market your home. There is a large inventory of homes and condos on the market so there’s no way an agent can show all of them on the first round of homes to show or the second. When an agent is choosing which of comparable homes to show, they’ll consider the following:

  • Is the property easy to show?
  • Can I rely on the description in the MLS to be accurate?
  • Will the agent return my call promptly to confirm the showing?
  • If it’s an “agent accompany” showing, will the agent be there promptly at appointment time?
  • Will that agent make my buyers comfortable or uncomfortable?
  • Will the agent help or hinder the showing?

Yes, your choice of agent does make a difference in how often the property will be shown, and yes, your choice of agent will help or hinder an offer or contract.

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Short Sales

Short sales are sales at a price that’s not high enough to pay off the mortgage. So – the money is short. Sadly, the time to complete a short sale is anything but short. USA Today had an article this morning on short-sale frustrations. We’ve represented both sellers and buyers in short sales and it’s generally a case of Wait – Wait – Wait. We’ve had buyers that didn’t get a lender response for 6 months. Many times buyers will get tired of waiting for months for an answer to their offer and will withdraw. Sometimes the lender will counteroffer and the buyer will decline.  Back to the starting gate. USA Today cites a study that says just 23% of short sale offers actually close. If I had to make a guess from experience, I’d say perhaps only 5% of the offers actually close – perhaps 23% of the offers that get a response from the lender close.

The timing and complexity gets more complicated if there is more than one loan. If it’s a home equity loan, even with the same lender, it’s a totally separate department. Sometimes there are second or third mortgages. Sometimes FNMA needs to approve. Sometimes a guarantor needs to approve. Sometimes the mortgage is owned by multiple investors. And yes – by the time the lender responds, the market may have changed and the buyer may not longer be willing to pay the once-offered price.

It helps if the real estate agent and/or title company checks to be sure the original documentation (financial statements and hardship letter from the owners, brokers price opinion, etc) is complete, as the package will keep getting rejected if anything is missing, so the time line doesn’t even start.

We hear that the government has plans to streamline the short sale process.

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The 3 Ps of selling your property quickly


There are 3 Ps to selling your home quickly:  Price  –  Prepare  –  Present

Price it right.  It doesn’t matter what you paid for it or how much you have in it. It doesn’t matter if it’s “fair”. It doesn’t matter what you could have sold it for 2 years ago. It’s all about what’s actually selling – which do include short sales and foreclosures – and also what other homes are on the market. If you want to sell quickly, price it below those. If you Read the rest of this entry »

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Reverse mortgages and the new housing bill

Reverse mortgages are for older homeowners – the owners are allowed to mortgage their home for cash or for  monthly income, all according to a formula based on the owners ages and the home value. The lender does not need to be repaid as long as the borrower continues to live in the house.

One of the provisions in the housing bill just approved by Congress, awaiting President Bush’s signature, is an increase in the  maximum mortgage amount for a reverse mortgage – it is more than doubling to $417,000. In some high cost areas of the country the amount can be as high as $625,000.

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Is your agent internet savvy? Google them.

Many real estate agents will tell you that they post lots of places on the internet and that they’re internet savvy. Why not check them out? Just google them (go to the google search box, enter their name, and hit enter). This isn’t the only way to check, of course, but when one agent has 86,600 links and another one has 346 links, that should tell you to check further. Unfortunately, this can be complicated when the agent you’re checking has a common name and the number of references refer to more than one person.

As Bill Gassett said:

** In the Real Estate world it is crucial to have an online presence. I know if I was selling my home I would not want to be using a “secret agent”. I would want someone in my corner who knew how to expose my home to the masses online. One of the easiest ways to see if a Realtor will do a good job marketing a home is to see if they have a good online presence.

This can be accomplished by Googling a Realtors name. There should be pages and pages of results!! If you Google a Real Estate agents name and don’t come up with much information it means they don’t know how or have not invested the time to market themselves on the internet. If they don’t know to market themselves, how could you possible expect them to do a good job marketing your home?

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