Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Milton & Marcia Messier
They just don’t have a knack for keeping their home tidy. During the listing presentation, their agent explained to them the importance of preparing and maintaining the home during the listing period. The couple believes their home is fine just the way it is, that would-be buyers should appreciate the “lived-in” look and see its potential. If they want to buy a museum, they should go elsewhere. The Messier’s home has been on the market over 4 months, and they can’t quite figure out why they continue to receive negative feedback, and none of the prospects have hinted at presenting an offer.

The definition, according to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, of tidy reads as follows: 1. Properly filled out: plump 2. Adequately satisfactory 3. Neat and orderly in appearance. So, if you’re a house hunter, tidy is what you’re expecting when your agent opens the door. But what if that’s not the case? What will your thoughts be?

My Advice: Milton and Marcia, you can’t be serious. Selling 101 tells you, along with the counsel of your agent, that when you put your house on the market, your way of living changes until the home is sold. Why? As a rule of thumb, unless your home is marketed as a distressed property, buyers are expecting to walk into a tidy environment. When personal belongings are put away and every space is clean, the home shows better and they are able to picture themselves living there. Your unwillingness to tidy up makes me question your motivation to sell. Feedback is requested for a reason, and if several agents are relaying the same message: dirty house, you should take heed. Get your head out of the sand and clean your house!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Willie & Madi Moneyzworth
These sellers have lived in their home for 25 years. They’ve raised four awesome children and have truly loved every inch of the home. Willie, in particular, has spent tons of time and money making sure everything is up to date and custom-made for them. Madi kept each and every receipt in a large binder and presented it to their agent, just in case anyone needed proof. The Moneyzworth’s have made it clear that they want to recoup every dime they’ve put into the home over 25 years and not a cent less!

Willie & Madi are precious people. We all know at least one couple that is determined to get their money’s worth. It is understandable when you work hard every day and put a lot of time and energy into making your home the place you want to be at the end of each day.

My Advice: Willie & Madi, as adorable as you are, you have to be realistic. Keeping records of repairs and updates is the correct approach to take. However, expecting to get $10,000 back on a $12,000 kitchen remodel you had done in 1990, may not be the wisest thought. Do your research. There are several resources to let you know what remodeling projects will give you the best return. Keep in mind, your city and state may play a huge role in what you should expect to get back. www.Realtor.org, under Cost vs. Value Report has an excellent breakdown of various renovations to get you started.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oscar & Olivia Obliviouz
They’ve just left their friends new home, and they want one too. Being able to decorate, and not to mention the huge tax break they’ll receive, is very appealing to them. They glance at their bills but don’t consider them a huge factor. Instead, they base everything on what they currently pay in rent and utilities.

We’ve all been where Oscar and Olivia are. I mean, the thought of owning something, especially property, gets the heart pumping. To be able to have full creative control of color schemes and landscaping without the watchful eye of the landlord is definitely exhilarating. You are the boss; the head haunch; queen of your domicile; king of your jungle. Who wouldn’t want that? Not to mention the prospect of getting money back at when tax time rolls around. Wow! There isn’t a downside to homeownership! Let’s go for it!

My Advice: There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting the American dream, and on the surface, there seems to be no reason why that can’t happen for the two of you. However, by omitting current bills because you don’t see them as being important, you are possibly setting yourself up for disappointment. Add everything you can possibly think of. This helps your lender give a more accurate reading on what price range you fall into. Remember, just because you fail to mention the bill, doesn’t mean it goes away. You still have to pay it, along with a mortgage. It all adds up, and the last thing you want is to overextend yourself before you move the furniture in.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dustin & Denise DeLusionalz
These buyers stumble upon an Open House sign one bright and sunny Sunday afternoon. The home looks lovely, and they can’t resist. They tell the agent they’ve always wanted to buy a home in the area, and this particular home met every need including price. The only thing standing in their way is selling their current home. They write an offer, with a contingency that they must sale their current home first. What they’ve failed to mention are the stack of Past Due mortgage statements sitting on their kitchen table.

Dustin & Denise aren’t as uncommon as you may think. First, I’d like to defend them. Not a full-fledged throaty defense…more like a little above a whisper. Okay, here it goes: Its human nature to want more. Having said that, human nature also has a way of being unrealistic. When the DeLusionalz made the offer, they were working more on emotion than reality. Sometimes a wing and a prayer or wishful thinking doesn’t work. The stack of past due mortgage statements are just the tip of the iceberg. By erroneously submitting an offer, the DeLusionalz have possibly tied up two to three other buyers and sellers in the transaction loop.

My Advice: Dustin & Denise, please stop. If you can’t make your current payments, why would a bank loan you more money for a more expensive home? Rescind the offer, forfeit any earnest money without a fight, and throw in a heartfelt apology (via your agent). Spend the next six months to a year making your mortgage payments on time to keep you current. Paying down and/or off other bills isn’t a bad idea either. One year may seem like a lifetime, but it’s a good route to take. The silver lining is the two of you will be in a much better position when you are actually able to purchase another home.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Simon & Sybil Seriouz
They’ve decided it’s time to purchase their first home, and began visiting Open Houses in the area. They meet a real estate agent that fit their needs, but they’re not sure what they can afford. Through the guidance of their new agent, Simon & Sybil meet with a reputable lender.

Simon & Sybil are an agent’s dream come true. Meeting with a reputable lender is the most important aspect of the home buying process. Why? It’s simple. Every buyer should know if and what they can afford before running around aimlessly from house to house. One of the worst things that can happen is finding the home of your dreams, only to find out that you’ve been pre-approved for $50,000-$75,000 less. Or much worse, you’ve been declined for a loan.

My Advice: Simon & Sybil, you are on the right track. Most of us don’t go grocery shopping without knowing how much we can spend, so why should the purchase of your first home be any different? Also, when the two of you find your future home, attaching a pre-approval letter with the offer can go a long way. If you aren’t the only offer on the table and the seller’s are on the fence, your pre-approval letter (along with an offer they can accept), may shift the balance to you. Being pre-approved also lets the sellers know of your commitment to the home buying process. Best wishes!

Monday, September 14, 2009

*Disclaimer: The characters are fictitious and bear no resemblance to anyone living or dead. They are make-believe and are used solely for learning purposes. I know, it’s sad, but I have to add it.

I’ve spun the wheel, and the lucky couple for our first dissection are the Privatey’s. Let’s recap:

Percy & Penelope Privatey
These sellers want complete discretion while their home is on the market. They were very clear about their wishes with their agent. There is to be no yard sign and no lockbox on the front door. They also want to be present at every single showing so they can see who is coming in and out of their home.

First, it is solely up to the sellers how they would like their agent to market their home. Having said that, there could be several reasons why they don’t want a sign or lockbox on the front door, and why they insist on being present at each and every showing: The Privatey’s may be going through a foreclosure, which may be extremely embarrassing. A divorce may be in the works. They may have nosy neighbors. Or they could just be control freaks.

If The Privatey’s really want to sell their home, this may pose problems when the agent tries to market the home. Yard signs & fliers are awesome marketing tools. A would-be buyer could drive by the home a million times, wishing to buy it, but because they didn’t know it was for sale, an opportunity is lost. Same applies to mailers. As for the absence of the lockbox and the seller’s insistence on being home… In my opinion, this is not a good idea. The goal is to sell the home to a qualified buyer. In my experience, when the seller is present, the buyer doesn’t preview the home the way they would if they were alone with their agent.

My Advice: Percy & Penelope, if you truly want to sell your home, please take the advice of your agent. Marketing goes a long way in the selling process. If you’re worried about safety, electronic lockboxes are the way to go. They track which agents have come through, so if someone didn’t have an appointment, they have no business in your house and should be reported. The lockboxes also deactivate from 9pm-9am, so you’ll have that extra peace of mind. Also, think about why you have to see who is previewing your home. Hopefully it’s not because of race, politics or religion. Who cares? You’re starting on a different journey. Let another family make memories in their new home.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Okay, we’ve had a chance to look at a few possibilities. On Monday, I’ll point out some of the possible problems that may arise by having certain buyer or seller personalities. As I said before, you may see yourself in some of these characters. The goal is not to completely change you or your personality. This is simply a guide that may allow you to modify some of your thinking so your transactions will have fewer bumps.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Richie & Rhoda Ridiculouz
These wannabe buyers have listened to friends, and friends of friends about the bargains that can be found in the slow real estate market. By the time they’ve finished talking it up, the couple is under the impression that they will be able to find a mansion for less than $350 a month…because that’s the deal someone’s cousin got. They enlist the help of a real estate agent, and she shows them fixer uppers and short sale properties that fit within their budget. They find a turnkey home they fancy, and because of the ridiculous advice of non-professionals, demand that the sellers reduce the home another $25,000, provide a stainless steel appliance allowance, and pay all closing costs.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


UGHH!!! Technical difficulties are the pits! For some unknown reason, I am unable to add pictures to my posts. As soon as I figure out what's going on, I'll introduce you to our final couple.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Willie & Madi Moneyzworth
These sellers have lived in their home for 25 years. They’ve raised four awesome children and have truly loved every inch of the home. Willie, in particular, has spent tons of time and money making sure everything is up to date and custom-made for them. Madi kept each and every receipt in a large binder and presented it to their agent, just in case anyone needed proof. The Moneyzworth’s have made it clear that they want to recoup every dime they’ve put into the home over 25 years and not a cent less!