Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fabulous Older Homes

Let's recap what's popping this month:

June 1st -- my first ever, most wonderful radio open house broadcast live on MAGIC 95.1.
I really got a lot of calls, texts and emails from the radio broadcast. Still getting a lot of wash from it and that's the point. I have listings that need to be sold, people.
Watch for more radio...we're going to do more with MAGIC and Z.
Geesh...lots of rain this year to offset the drought from last year! Farmers having a hard time getting in the fields and home sellers are having an awful time trying to keep the lawns mowed around properties.
The listings in SoIL are scarce and, mostly, the majority are older homes. Some in great shape but need a touch of paint.
Still, its a good time to lock in the deal before interest rates really zoom up.
For the most part I've been kept jumpin' this month trying to close a deal in Scheller with a contract I wrote in December. See? That 45 days to close your contract looks sweet now, doesn't it?
The Scheller deal involved a lot of survey/non-survey issues - Plat Act and Warranty Deed - ugh. I did tell you I got into this business not to do paperwork and I am not a lawyer!!
We closed it Monday, June 24, and the buyers and sellers couldn't be happier.

This is what a closing looks like. The people change and the venue changes but its always a group sitting around signing papers. This is a life event for a lot of people. One of the biggest ones; like marriage or the birth of a child. And it looks pretty much like this.

Two other closings happened in short order for me this month. A couple sold their first house on Friday and bought their second house yesterday, Wednesday. You hear a lot of about deals where the closing on the first house and the second house happen on the same day. I really tried to get this done. Had it scheduled but the second house was a short sale, and, you guessed it: one of the big banks was involved so dragged it out.

Even my best efforts couldn't get them everything they wished for. <sigh>



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Real time real estate

Life is not a reality TV show.

In real estate I hear about HGTV all the time. I even started watching the channel so I could better estimate what expectations were.

In House Hunters we have a thirty minute search of properties which yields a "find" and a "decision" but we don't follow that purchase to the closing table. We have no idea how many days, weeks, months were consumed while filming the search as I totally doubt that only three properties were viewed. It is good TV to show us the final three but in real life? Depending on the market, buyers will have more options or no options at all.

I like Love it or List it because the realtor on that program does start to show you how difficult it is to find some one's dream location. That program also starts to show how difficult it is to reconstruct a house. The contractor almost always finds some major "issue" that needs to be solved eating away much of the reno budget. But, see...that's what real life is really like. In reno jobs you must expect set backs and budget sucks. Otherwise you are just living in Oz.

Property Brothers shows us some real life negotiations and how they fall through, plus, more importantly, this program shows some hard reality with pricing....sometimes you have to pay more than you wished to get the house you want. I'm actually partial to this show, too, because we always see a diva whining about the cost of the fixer-upper they are going to buy. "Why's it so expensive? I don't wanna pay more than this. This place is a dump." Yeah, well, that's what the market will bear, sweetie, so either pay up or keep renting.

If you aren't an HGTV watcher but want to buy some real estate, I do suggest you start to watch these. Also take the time for House Hunters International -- there's a wake up for you. Other countries where people live without central air and heat, where water heaters have to be turned on, where there is no such thing as a Master Bedroom much less a Master Suite. This show, I like to point out to my clients, is more like house hunting in SoIL. Because there are plenty of little houses in our small towns and cities that have a lot of charm but no master bedroom and no dining room. You have to make do with what's there in your price range.

Especially now.

Interest rates took a big leap up over the weekend. Starting about Wednesday of last week they started to climb and now they are hovering around 5%. This is going to be the new norm. These low interest rates where not going to last forever and those who waited? Maybe waited too long.

If you keep waiting; riding that fence waiting for even lower prices: ((foreclosures and short sales are getting scarce and, although you will still get a steal, you will not get a $200,000 house for $20,000 anymore)) AND you will pay a higher interest rate for the money you borrow. Housing prices are going up.

Bidding wars are a real thing now, not just in California, but here in SoIL.

Interest rates bottomed and are rising again.

If you want that house -- be prepared to buy it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Happy Anniversay to Me.

I'm starting my 5th year as a realtor.

It is a career path I'd never imagined for myself but one that sorta chose me. I had a good run as a news gatherer and I enjoyed (mostly) that lifestyle. Never knowing what the day would bring, having lots of irons in the fire all at once and everything seeming to "pop" at the same time.

I liked that. NO. That's not right. I cherished that. Was proud of my ability and agility -- able to stir all the pots at once, decide on the spot what was priority and what could stew just a minute longer for a fuller flavor.

I held on to that career fearing a very dull life without it. I really didn't know what my particular skill set could be used for once the hunt for news was over.

In real estate I have found a home for my skills. I didn't think I'd enjoy this career;  had felt I was settling for a lesser life. I was...more than reluctant...I was recalcitrant, contumacious. All those steadfast, hard, and stubborn reactions usually reserved for uncooperative or hostile interviews. I girded my loins; marching into this new career prepared to do what was required and no more.


I really do enjoy this game. A new friend has told me I am a finder:  Someone who finds what others lack, what others need, what others hide.

Because real estate is so much more than finding a house for a buyer or a buyer for a listing. Real estate is about finding a home for someone; finding a way for them to actually close the deal.

This new career of mine, one that I've finally embraced, is about solutions to problems.

Now, I have never liked being the go-to for 20 questions. Ask my friends who pepper me with their questions! I shut the whole thing down; will clam up to the point of either leaving the room, or, if unable to escape, I will fall asleep. ((One of my friends told me this was passive-aggressive)) Personally I believe folks get caught up in asking questions, not hearing the answers, so over stimulate themselves by asking more questions. Watch your over-questioning ((passive/aggressive)) friend/family sometime and see if they don't just get more and more giddy/gleeful/rabid as they ask over and over and over and over....zzzzzzz...huh? What?

I steadfastly believe if you can't get some answers within 3 questions you are -- Asking the wrong questions. I am faithful to the query of Why? But with real estate I've learned to branch out to the arena of What?

As in: What are you looking for? What have you done to secure financing?

If you can answer those, I'm your realtor. We'll find you home.

If you're a seller I ask: Why and when. Then we move into how much and how long. Pricing a listing to sell quickly is different from pricing it to get what the seller wants. I get to explain the market, the trends I see. I take the pulse of the market all time -- I chat with people in supermarkets and gas stations. Strangers will tell me the most personal details; while queued up, waiting for a cashier.

These past few weeks I've been working the phone as four deals were teetering on closing this month. One I have been working since December and I'm pleased to report I have a close date next Monday! Two deals where penciled in for Friday. One has been moved to next Wednesday. <sigh> One was scheduled for the last Friday of this month and has been moved into July.

All the while I've been showing some property to three different clients, working the marketing on all my listings, negotiating sales contracts on several deals, and adding a listing last week.

I like this pace. Its almost newsroom quality timing.

Crafty Red Fox

As summer solstice approaches....

Uh, oh..and yikes! Solstice is tomorrow! And not a minute too soon 'cuz right now I can use the extra daylight! Yes, my days are that long!

Here's my newest listing:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Rally 'round

Not a whole lot of real estate info in this offering. Over the weekend my Rotary club put on a Youth Rally.

We had severe competition for the weekend: sunny day, fishing, boating, a circus was in town, several towns had festivals, carnivals and car/vehicle shows, the local motorcycle shop had a huge promotion involving...what else? Helicopters! With motorcycles! Sheesh.

But we had a strong showing for a start up event. Kids from 11 - 17 showed, signed in and selected their choices of workshops.
We made some mistakes (ordered too much pizza) and had some really great insights provided by kids and volunteers.

Watch out for next year's event: Jackson Williamson County Sunset Rotary Rocks.