Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thinking about buying?

If you are serious about purchasing a home you need to be serious about having ONE agent work for you. There is no cost to you and having an agent work in your best interest will get you the most for your money. I have written up the top ten reasons to have one person work for you:

1. Buyer Agent versus Listing Agent: A buyer agent is keenly attuned to a client’s needs and more accustomed to negotiating for specific concessions and have no conflict of interest with the seller. They exclusively represent your personal interest in attempting to negotiate the overall best transaction regardless of which home you may be considering. You as a buyer may jeopardize the leverage that you create by working with the listing agent.

2. Hidden Conflict of Interest: A listing agent or seller’s agent while they may not take you only to their listings will possess a variety of conflicts which you may or may not be aware of. It may also be a seller in which they are trying to establish a relationship with or trying to gain the listing on the home itself for future business. Your interest in the home may further the listing agent’s ability to further develop a relationship with the seller. Again this may outweigh your agentʼs desire to negotiate the best transaction on your behalf.

3. Parallel Interest: Working with one agent maintains a similar focus and interest between the agent and the buyer. There is no risk of the agent pushing a particular home or transaction for personal gain. Working with multiple agents will create an environment where the only opportunity for the agent to be compensated is in a transaction whereby you pick the home that they have shown you. The listing agent has now become, in a sense, a used car salesman pitching you a product rather than providing a value added service.

4. Equal Access: A common misconception is that different agents have access to different spaces and that by utilizing one agent as opposed to multiple agents you will miss out on opportunities in the marketplace. This is simply not true. All residential space that is available is listed on the multiple listing service for residential real estate. This service allows agents to search any and all available space in the marketplace. All agents have access to the same information.

5. Resources and Services: When you hire an agent to represent you, typically the services and resources he brings to the table are his personal skills. If you are looking for an expert to assist you throughout the entire selection, negotiation and provide the best service then a buyer representation agent on an exclusive basis is certainly good business sense.

6. Control/Authority: By hiring a single agent you are empowering them to represent your interests. Your agent can then have specific discussions with the seller’s agent with regards to your requirements and make the claim that you are his client. Once potential sellers are aware that the agent has the ear and attention of the decision makers she will command a much greater respect from the seller in the negotiation process. By working with multiple agents you have eliminated any control or specific authority that could be assigned to the agent.

7. Time Management: There is no question that your time is extremely valuable. By utilizing multiple agents you have doubled or tripled the amount of effort that is required on your end to deal with the various individuals and digest all of the information presented. If you hire one real estate agent who understands your needs completely they can then decipher this information for you and present it in an intelligent fashion which will allow you to make informed business decisions without wasting any significant amount of time and effort.

8. Comprehensive Services from Start to Finish: The process of securing a new home can be very complicated and time consuming. By utilizing agents on a non-exclusive basis not only are you duplicating your own time and effort over an extended period of time but you are also exercising multiple individuals who at some point may lose interest or the desire to provide detailed, accurate information. By working with one agent who ultimately will be compensated when the transaction is signed, regardless of when that is, you ensure that the advice you receive is in your best interest.

9. Time is Money: Not only is this phrase true for you as a decision maker for buying a home but it is also true for a residential real estate agent. Any agent who has the time to work on a transaction without a 100% commitment from his client obviously has more time available than they know what to do with. I guarantee you that successful real estate agents do not work on a non-exclusive basis because they have better things to do with their time than work with people who have not agreed to give them the same level of commitment that they are willing to provide

10. I Don’t Like Signing Agreements: While some buyers perception may be that by signing an agreement authorizing an agent to represent them they are then locked in to utilizing that agent for an extended period of time. In the event that the services are not meeting your expectations or your requirements, goals or objectives have changed you have the ability to terminate the relationship. There really is no risk in authorizing one agent to work on your behalf.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Best of Solana Beach

just a 30 min recovery run in the middle of our san diego winter! sorry if it makes you sick! i was running!

i love solana beach. now you know why... enjoy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Considering Selling?

Here are my TOP 5 things to think about when you are considering to sell your home:

· 1. Your house will get the most activity the first 30 days it is on the market. Knowing how to list your house at a competitive price and having an effective pricing strategy will get your house sold.

· 2. 3 out of 5 buyers last year were under the age of 45 years old. The marketing activities we will focus on are the actions of those buyers to get the most exposure for your home.

· 3. Prepare your home to be shown. Knowing how to emphasize the positive selling points and aspects of your house to attract buyers can be the difference of selling it today or sitting on the market for an extended period of time.

· 4. Is it the right time to sell your home? There is an emotional tie to having owned a home and at the end of the day you must have a clear understanding of your goals and your purpose for selling.

· 5. The most important choice you will make when selling your home is who you chose to work with, how passionate they are about selling your house and the level of service they provide.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tax Time!

Yes we are approaching spring time and in the financial world it means... drumroll... tax returns! Not usually the most exciting thing that happens all year but if you are informed about some of your claims you can save yourself a lot of money!

My best example of savings in 2010 are for the the tax payers, who were first time buyers or buyers of a new home, as their primary house in which they live, are receiving a tax credit for up to less then 5% of their purchase price not to exceed $10,000! Tax payers have to apply for the credit in equal amounts over the 3 successive tax years beginning in the year they purchased their home. That means they are receiving up to a $3,333 credit per year just from buying their first home.

This example of course is not to say to run out to buy your first home- as those come with a lot of their own expenses- but be aware of your tax credits! Ask your accountant or look at your state's website. Here in CA, find out information here:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

All in a days work... sort of

Getting into the real estate gig has been a fun challenge. Coming from a much more casual work atmosphere in the past, I thought I'd share some of the 'behind the scenes' of a real estate agent.

1. Wearing 'professional casual' clothes. Seems simple: no jeans. It seems there is a fine line to getting real estate 'ready' for the day. I always have to think about what I have on tap for the day. Am I seeing clients? I am just stopping in at the office? do I have a meeting with the 'big wigs'? Not to mention my 'professional' repertoire is very limited so it requires a lot of mixing/matching.

2. Getting to the office requires some preparation. Computer: check. MLS card/token: check. Notes from previous days phone calls: check. Snack: check. Sweater when AC is blasting: check.

3. Arrival to office: say hi to everyone. Manager, other agents- usually 5-6, receptionist. Pretty much now need to know everyone on a first name basis. Lucky for me I have a good name memory!

4. Get to work: call prospective buyers back. Research some home sales for prospective clients/listings. Get a few general questions answered from manager. Do more research on how to gain clients.

5. Attend or host open houses. These are the most fun so far. I get to talk to complete strangers about their biggest investment they probably will make or have ever made. Not to mention I get to talk about 'home' amenities and other comparable properties on the market. It feels like I am a personal shopper for a home buyer. So much fun!

Other then the list above the behind the scenes is a lot of computer time at home. Which is very comfortable of course- it can be done in sweats with a hot cup of coffee!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A short sale solution? or not?

It is an interesting market right now. As I am trying to drum up some business I've researched a lot of homes that have received notice of default from not making their mortgage payment. These home owners, whether they like it or not, are in financial trouble if they cannot make their payments. With home values much lower then they have been in the past a lot of owners are upside down on their mortgage as well.

With past first hand experience in these types of situations we see home owners that have a ton of stress and are in fear of losing their homes. A lot of people we have found are going first to the lenders. They do not want to lose their home so they try to re-fiance their loan. If the home owners are qualified lenders can help. Sometimes they can help and other times home owners are waiting in the dark about the future of their property.

My first suggestion to the distressed owners is a back up plan. Home owners in default end up without a choice on whether or not they will get a loan re-financed. In many cases lenders cannot help. While home owners are waiting they should be looking into other options. Banks have been working with home owners in selling their home for less then the value of their loan. The short sale usually sells for 85% of what a similar, non distressed property would sell. Where as a foreclosure is only about 60% of the value.

While the short sale gives the home owners in default an option other then foreclosure it may create problems for prospective buyers. These short sale listings come with lower listing price however they also come with a much greater lag time. Buyers have to wait for the banks to approve their offer. Most times only full cash offers with highly qualified buyers are accepted. The lag time is not ideal for most buyers in the situation. Buyers do not have the patience to wait 4 months to find out an offer was rejected. In a more conventional sale waiting to hear about an offer should take only days. We have also seen frustration with buyers who are qualified with a competitive down payment but not a full cash offer. They are usually out bid by offers that are all cash. Investors and more fully qualified offers are the ones accepted.

Solution? You have to weigh the options. As a home owner in default I highly suggest a back up plan to sell. At least get your home listed on the market so you are prepared to show the banks you are trying to sell your house rather then let it go to foreclosure. Your credit score can be turned around in 24 months from a short sale. A foreclosure on your credit takes 7 years. As a buyer in this market you have to be realist about your expectations. A realtor helping you should be able to give you guidance in your specific situation if they have had experience dealing with short sales. Do not expect anything and be willing to play the waiting game. If not- buy something conventionally. Regular market value listings and interest rates are low making it a great time to buy.