Posts Tagged ‘Rachel LaMar’
For many real estate agents the paperwork involved in the sale of a home can be difficult, but it is also of utmost importance. Unfortunately a large percentage of agents lack either the knowledge or patience (or both perhaps ?) to properly handle this task, and this needs to be addressed in our industry.
From a legal standpoint there are agents who, on almost a daily basis, are setting themselves or their clients up for potential lawsuits. Here’s a great example: three times in the last week alone I have seen poor examples of paperwork skills, from sloppy and missing papers, to erroneously filled out disclosures (where the agent obviously did not review the client’s disclosures before presenting them to the buyers’ agent, me – this happened twice in the last week, by two different agents), to sending disclosures that are not on correct, updated forms.
Paperwork is of utmost importance in a home sale, as what one says, or neglects to say, could subject one to liability down the road. Now, it is understandable that most agents are not attorneys, but there are still ways for any agent to master paperwork skills, and here they are:
1. Broker responsibility: In my professional and legal opinion, no paperwork should go out for signatures without broker review…yes, even for those very experienced agents. Those who want to avoid this can get a broker’s license. But in all reality there is just not enough oversight in our industry and this leads to lawsuits. Personally as a broker I would NEVER want someone out there representing my company who is doing a sloppy job! Every broker should have such a clause in the employment contract – either the broker or a designated person inside the company should review everything before anything goes out for signatures. Call me over-the-top, but this is how I would do it.
2. Better training: this goes hand in had with the above: brokerages simply need to have more and better training. When an agent joins a firm s/he should learn how to handle paperwork, and that includes going through EVERY form…tedious but it will ensure better skills and fewer lawsuits. Many agents have probably never actually read many of the forms anyway. Furthermore, there should be training sessions held whenever new forms are released to make sure all agents understand any changes.
3. Have a checklist in your file: Every agents should have a checklist so they can see what papers have been fully executed and which still need to be submitted for signatures. This is imperative – those agents who fly by night and have no idea what forms are required are just asking for trouble.
4. Use a transaction coordinator! This is a GREAT way for anyone to stay on top of paperwork, and a very simple way, albeit at a cost (but you can shop around) to avoid potential legalities down the road. Make sure your TC is experienced; the best way to find one is to ask around and then interview the recommended person/team.
5. Review all paperwork filled out by your clients before sending them off to the other side: this is especially important if you are the listing agent and your client is filling out disclosures. You need to review them and see if your clients have failed to answer any questions, or left out information of which you are aware (e.g. if there is an HOA and the client did not check the box so indicating – this has happened several times in paperwork I have received from sellers).
6. When in doubt: ASK! There is always someone you can ask for help when you are not sure about which form to use or how to fill out a particular form. It is more important to admit you have no clue than to just “wing it” and submit paperwork that may contain errors.
Anyone can fill out paperwork correctly, so there is no reason to ever send over papers that are faulty. Use the above points to make sure you protect your clients, and you will not only be a hero, but you will be acting in a professional manner and doing the right thing.
Many real estate markets across the country, including here in San Diego County, are currently experiencing seller’s markets, due to low inventory levels and increased demand for homes. Many homes receive multiple offers and are priced over neighborhood comparable sales values, and there are also many situations reported where buyers will remove appraisal contingencies in their offer (meaning they are willing to pay any value over the appraised value so that their offer has a higher chance of getting accepted).
With higher sales prices in many neighborhoods it is hard to make sense of the comparable sold properties, which may show values that are lower than the asking price of a home that buyers want to purchase. It is often difficult even for agents to counsel buyers on how to handle some situations, because no one wants to see her buyer overpay for a home, but at the same time we do not want to see our buyers lose out on home they love. What should buyers and their agents make of all this, and how do they know what to offer in order to get their offers accepted?
1. Comparable sold properties. Obviously the first place to start is with the comparable sold properties. If there have been recent sales in a neighborhood the task of coming to the right sales price is easier, because one usually will see an upwards trend in prices over the last several months or since the start of the year. As agents we really have to compare the recent solds to the subject property to see what similarities and differences the properties possess, then we need to balance them out and add on for price increases. Sometimes this is not as easy as it seems though, and we really need to dig in and do our homework.
For example, on a recent listing we asked for a price over comparable sold value in the neighborhood, but we knew there were a few homes pending in there for prices higher than what showed on the MLS, and those homes were never placed on the MLS, so the appraiser would not have seen them pending. We had to explain this to both the buyer and the appraiser. So sometimes you have to go beyond what is listed in the MLS and have a title representative pull listings that are being sold by owner or by out-of-area agents who might not have put the home on your local MLS.
2. Area Increases. If there are no recent sales in the immediate area, and no recently sold similar properties nearby, then the focus should be on older sales, taking into consideration price gains in the area or in the county. If you can show that prices have increased substantially in the area, say 10%, yet cannot find comparable sales in the immediate neighborhood, you can still apply the increased percentage in value to the home that you are trying to purchase.
Here in San Diego many areas have increased abut 10% since prices started rising, but there are specific neighborhoods where prices have increased more that that…it is important to get a good understanding of what values are doing in the neighborhood in which you wish to purchase a home.
3. Appraisals. Appraisers seem to be “with the program” lately. At the beginning of the year when prices were just starting to climb, many appraisers were not appraising homes with increased sales prices, or they were making it more difficult for buyers to move forward with the purchase because appraisals were not coming in at value. Now however, there generally are enough recent sales within or surrounding a community that allow the appraisers more room to see the growing values.
If an appraisal does not come in at value there are obviously choices – the buyer and seller can either renegotiate the sales price, or the buyer can choose to pay the difference between the sales price and the appraised value.
It is definitely not an easy task to find value in a home where there are no significant recent sales comparables, but it can be done and you can get your appraisal to come in if you do your homework.
The following is a guest post from Rikk Miller. Rikk is a professional financial writer and Market analyst
Which place would you pick if you had to choose one place to live in the world? Wouldn’t a 9,000 square foot oceanfront mansion in La Jolla be a good idea? Currently this property is being listed at $20,950,000 and is just waiting for the right homebuyer to set his hands on it. If you’re wealthy enough to put down 2 million without a blink and if you could afford to pay off a mortgage monthly payment of $100,000 excluding insurance and taxes, this might be the right property for you. Yes, when it comes to San Diego, some of the world’s richest people live here but so do others who go to work every day to earn their daily living. The real estate market in San Diego runs the extent of small homes that sell for less than $100,000 to prime luxurious properties that cost about millions of dollars. No matter how much you can afford on mortgage loans, there are some things that you need to know about the beautiful real estate market in San Diego.
A constant recovery in median home price – Signs of positive recovery
Studies reveal that the median home prices in San Diego hit record low levels of approximately $286,000 in 2010. Although the San Diego economy bottomed out in 2010 and soon started recovering after that. According to reports by Data Quick, the median home price in San Diego County in 2013 was $360,000 in the month of February. While this staggering increase is excellent, the home prices are close to 30% below their November, 2012 level. Data released by Trulia shows that there was an increase of 27% in the median home prices at which the homes were sold in 2013 than in 2012. By the end of April, 2013, the average listing price was $657,908 and this figure too saw an increase of 1.7% from the previous month.
San Diego boasts of being one of the most profitable markets for flipping houses
Did you know that with the present market condition, flipping houses still continue to be one of the hottest and most profitable trends as the county starts emerging from the housing crisis? In fact there are some portions of the country that witness exponential growth and the people who are eager to invest in San Diego real estate would rather be happy to know that this remains one of the most profitable markets with regards to flipping houses. Even though things are getting better, there still remain a large number of discounted real estate property opportunities around the US. If you wonder where the most profitable real estate markets are, San Diego will certainly be counted one among them.
Even though the real estate prices have gone up steadily, it is still a good time to invest your dollars in buying a house in San Diego. Mortgage loans are still hovering around their record low levels and buyers are being able to snag great deals, especially if they’re interested in buying bank owned properties. However, qualifying for mortgage loans is not as easy as it was 5 years ago but with a stellar credit rating and a low DTI ratio, it is pretty possible to grab a mortgage loan within your means. Renting a home in San Diego will cost you more than paying off a mortgage. As the real estate market is rising, building equity will become easier and effortless.
The job picture in San Diego is getting better day by day and homebuilders are also building homes here. You’ll love the weather, beach and there are excellent schools for young children. Unless the Fed and Ben Bernanke put a halt to their QE policy and allow interest rates to shoot up, the mortgage rates will remain low and you can well afford a home in San Diego.
Deciding whether to purchase or sell a home is possibly one of the most important and expensive financial/emotional decisions you will make during your lifetime. It is one that has not only financial consequences, but also legal ramifications. If done correctly it can be the catalyst for your future – during your lifetime, for your retirement, and to take care of your family after you are gone. That is why choosing the right real estate agent is so important. So how do you do that?
I was inspired to write this article after an ad I saw in my local paper by a real estate agent. The ad focused on the quantity of sales he has completed this year, inferring that the quantity makes him a great agent with whom to work. I realized immediately that this is the mindset of the average buyer or seller – let’s find the agent who has the most sales, because s/he must be very experienced. Personally, I think there is a big gap here so I thought I’d break it down.
Sure, there are agents out there who sell a LOT of properties, many of whom are very skilled at what they do, and likely have many happy customers. Personally, I have had MANY calls from buyers and sellers who have worked with mass-production agents (2 just this month), and I hear a very different side of the story. Many of these people tell me they were treated like a number, that they rarely (if ever) got to speak with the agent after initial contact, and that they were not satisfied with the overall handling of their purchase or sale…these people wanted QUALITY treatment and did not feel they received it.
When choosing an agent to work with, here are some things you may want to investigate:
1. Contact person: Will you be dealing directly with the agent throughout your purchase or sale, or will there be others involved? Make sure you know who will be your contact person, and if it is not the agent then make sure you meet that person(s) before you start working with the agent (assuming you are ok with not being able to deal directly with the agent).
2. Workload: Ask the agent how many clients s/he is currently working with; if the agent has a multitude of clients you can follow up with setting your expectations throughout the course of the transaction, and finding out how the agent will be able to dedicate time to you and your needs.
3. Referrals: Get the names/contact information for at least 3 past clients, and find out how they rate the agent on communication, availability and overall quality of service
I do not have a personal goal to be a mass producer. My theory is to provide excellent service, so that my clients keep coming back and send all their friends, relatives and neighbors to me. This quality of service is more important to me than selling a higher quantity of homes. But there are agents out there who handle a multitude of clients at a time and are successful. It really comes down to what makes you feel comfortable, and finding the right agent to meet your needs.
Some people may like the quantity agents, and for them that is great (and you may even be able to find one who provides both quality and quantity). I believe the most important characteristics in a real estate agent are not only their experience, knowledge and ethical standards, but also the quality of their work and the way they treat their clients.
It feels great to be blogging again, and I am sorry I have not posted for over a week! I do have an excuse: the spring home sale season is well underway! I can’t remember being this busy in a long time – not since the early 2000s; it has been incredible! If you are wondering what is going on out there in the North San Diego real estate market here is an overview:
Slight rise in inventory. Although we still do not have a surge in inventory there have been increases, enough so that local agents are able to show several properties to buyers in most cases, rather than just one! According to Housing Tracker, inventory has increased on a national level 13.5% so far this year. In San Diego county there were about 7540 homes listed on the MLS as of the start of this week, which is about 100 more homes listed than the same time last month. The lowest inventory level we hit here in San Diego county was in February of 2013, and the last time we had inventory levels higher than right now was in December 2012…so although inventory is still low from a historical perspective, there is some comfort in knowing that it is rising slightly.
Multiple offers/quick market times still dominate. Yes, we are still seeing many new sales with multiple offers, and usually within days of listing. Buyers have to present their strongest offers in order to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Cash buyers are still in the game and often outbid those requiring lender approval. It can be frustrating, but there are always things that can be done to present the strongest offer possible, even in multiple offer situations (for more on this click here)
Prices are still rising, especially in some areas or neighborhoods. Prices continue to rise in most areas, and San Diego is no exception. The challenge with area appraisers to find higher values in pending property sales finally seems to be getting easier, as many appraisers are now applying the faster growing values into their analyses. For those who are afraid we are approaching another bubble, you can rest assured that will not happen so long as prices stop rising drastically at some point and level out. My guess is that this will happen by the end of the year. For more of my perspectives on the bubble possibility, click here.
Distressed inventory declines. According to market research firm Core Logic, the number of seriously delinquent mortgages has fallen about 33% since the peak (3.7 million) in January 2010. This is good news for buyers who are not finding as many short sales out there. But I must say that they are still out there, and that they are as painful as ever. I am personally awaiting for lender approval on two short sales that have been contingent for a long time – one since December of 2012. Lenders’ promises that short sales were going to get quicker never came to fruition and I don’t believe they ever will (but that is the subject for another blog…stay tuned!) More good news: foreclosure filings also fell to a 74 month low in April, according to RealtyTrac.
Loans may be a tad easier to obtain. There is growing demand for home loans, and application levels continue to rise. In order for banks to improve mortgage assets they will need to address the demands. Also, the Federal Reserve recently discovered that 8% of banks loosened mortgage credit conditions in the past 3 months (ending in April) – now you may laugh and say that 8% is not a big number, but it is a start. Also, according to Realty Times “27 percent of banks plan to up residential mortgage assets over the next year and know they can’t do that without taking on a little more risk.” Good news for borrowers.
All in all the market seems to be shaping up and we are well on the road to recovery. Luckily spring time came along right when the market started climbing out of the doldrums, and it seems we will have a strong spring and summer sales season.
Just listed! If you are looking for a beautiful coastal home with a phenomenal backyard, you have found it! This 5 bedroom home is beautifully maintained and offers custom paint and flooring throughout, lots of light, and a backyard that will make your home the place to hang out – for quiet relaxation or with friends and family…all in the wonderful coastal gated hilltop community of Mar Brisa.
• 5 bedrooms, 2336 square feet
• Full bedroom and bathroom downstairs
• Popular floorplan with downstairs bedroom
• Located in the gated hilltop community of Mar Brisa
• Bright and open
• Cathedral ceilings
• Custom tile downstairs and upgraded carpeting upstairs
• Custom paint throughout
• Open family room with fireplace, adjoining kitchen
• 3 car garage with epoxy flooring and overhead storage
• Ceiling fans, recessed lighting
• Built in desk and shelving in downstairs home office
• Built in entertainment center
• French doors with disappearing screen in kitchen
• Wood blinds
• Peek-a-boo ocean view from upstairs northeast bedroom
• Community park across the street
• Resort-like community pool, spa, tot lot and exercise lot
• Carlsbad schools
• Low HOAs and no mello roos taxes
• Close to shopping, dining, beaches, transportation and highways
The backyard is truly special and offers the following features:
• Built in seating area
• Custom built in eating area and bar
• Wine refrigerator
• Custom fountain
• Outdoor shower
• Outdoor speakers
• Bamboo privacy fencing
To view this home please contact me at 760-310-9466 or Rachel@LaMarRealEstate.org. MLS #130022121