Monday, May 28, 2007

Destination Unknown........

Have you ever seen the movie - The Abyss? Actually, one of my all time favorites! This story kind of reminded me of it for some reason. Anyhow, I can't believe what some people will do.....can you pay for this property with non-existent money?

And to think that some Real Estate agents are unethical.......haha!

Website to Sell Nonexistent Real Estate
By JAYMES SONG Associated Press
Posted: Today at 6:47 a.m.
HONOLULU — Real estate is often a
long-term investment. But 10,000 years? Lo'ihi Development Co. will soon start
offering oceanview lots speculators won't even be able to stand on for many
millennia. That's because they're currently submerged more than 3,000 feet below
sea level - on an underwater volcano called Lo'ihi, located about 20 miles
southeast of the Big Island.
His Web site will be renovated in the next
couple of weeks to officially begin selling parcels for an introductory price of
$39.95. Buyers will receive a brochure and a "deed," but much like Internet
groups that claim to sell stars, they probably can't call themselves
"What's the scam?" said Norm Nichols, co-developer of the online
venture. "If you really think there's something here that you can't live with,
nobody's forcing you to buy it. It's meant to be fun."
The Web site
advertises, "Lo'ihi Seaview Estates: Real Estate for the Future. Grand Water
View Front Lots." A photo of the sales office is a raft in the middle of the
Nichols and his business partner, Linda Kramer, both Honolulu
entrepreneurs, envision online chat rooms and newsletters to discuss everything
from street names to what kind of government to install. They want to hold a
"homeowners association" meeting - a boat ride over the volcano - every April
Fool's Day.
Scientists don't really know when, or if, Lo'ihi will break the
surface of the Pacific Ocean. Many guess about 10,000 years, but it could be
much longer than that.
Stephen Levins, head of the state consumer affairs
office, said the offer could be a problem if it were serious. "However, if the
Web site is clear it's a parody and you're not going to be receiving an actual
interest in real estate, that's something else," he said.

Talk about your deep-thinking oysters????...........

Zillow? What's a Zillow?

We have all heard of it! (Haven't we?) Zillow is one of the many "home value" sites out there that allows you to research the "zestimate" of your next potential home or the home that you currently live in . It is a great tool for buyers and sellers but it is not rock solid advice that should be followed to the "T". While I encourage buyers and sellers to be educated themselves and know their market I also ask them to remember that each piece of information they gather is not religious doctrine. Be careful!

While Zillow is a great starting point for research it is best to engage the assistance of a professional Realtor(R) when determining your price point for selling or making an educated offer. Following is an article that explains the benefits as well as the short-falls of Zillow and others that want to be like them.......Also, before reading the article (or after - didn't mean to be bossy there!) I encourage you to visit Zillow and research your own home. Is the information accurate? I know that mine wasn't nor were several of my friends and associates. There is a place for you to edit information, however, Zillow will still override and be the most commonly viewed. Tell me what you think......

When shucking........CAREFULLY shuck!

Getting the Price Right On Home Value Sites

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Is There Something I Should Know?

Wow - to disclose or not to disclose.........what are your thoughts? Interesting article following regarding state laws and disclosure regarding violent crimes, haunted houses and your new homes history.....

A family in Central Florida is outraged that they were kept in the dark about their new house's dark secret: A triple murder and suicide happened within the four walls they'd just begun to call home.

John and Kathy Johnson and their 24-year-old daughter Christina were horrified to learn that their bucolic Lake County ranch home was the scene of such a bloody crime — and worse, that the realtor and seller kept quiet about the grisly homicide.

But on May 5, when the Johnsons moved into the Greenbrier Street residence, a neighbor mentioned that local police Cpl. Michael Mount of Eustis, Fla., gunned down his estranged wife Kim, fellow cop Joe Gomez and Gomez' wife Serena in a jealous rage in February 2006, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

He then shot and killed himself. The crimes took place in what was then the Gomez family's house. A minor in the family inherited the property. "There was no way we could ever stay here," Christina Johnson told the Sentinel as she stood in the master bedroom, where three of the four victims perished. "It would be like living in a morgue."

Her mother, Kathy Johnson, said the family thought about staying in the home, but after finding out what had happened, they were scared to death and felt fearful whenever they were inside.
"We couldn't live with someone dying in the house," she said in a telephone interview with The house cost the Johnsons $227,000, but a Florida state law — one they want amended — allows real estate companies to withhold information about their properties' unsavory pasts, including homicides, suicides or deaths that occurred on the premises.
The fact that realtors are required to tell prospective homeowners about problems like leaky faucets but not about violent crimes and deaths that happened in the houses they're showing stuns Kathy Johnson. "They don't have to reveal that three people died and a person committed suicide in the home," she said.

Larry Beard, the owner of Beard Pippin Properties Inc. — who sold the Johnsons the house — told that his real estate agency was not allowed to disclose information regarding the murders because of the Florida law.

Instead, a court-appointed personal representative for the estate of the former homeowner — a minor in the Gomez family — obtained an order preventing details of the murders from being revealed to potential buyers when the house was on the market, according to Beard.
The Johnsons told their realtor they wanted to put the home back up for sale May 7, and Beard said someone is interested in buying the property.
But the Johnsons will lose money because they have to sell the house for less than they bought it for, according to Kathy Johnson.

Beard said that he keeps in touch with the Johnson family almost daily, and the two sides are not on bad terms. He wishes he could have told them about the tragedy before they bought the ranch house, he said.

"We feel like we should fully disclose everything," Beard said. "It's the right thing to do."
FOX News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans and Audrey Bright contributed to this report.

So, what do you think? Do you know what the North Carolina law is? Does your prefessional representative know?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Holy Certification Batman.....Stop The Presses!

Hi all! Just wanted to update you on some of my continuing education and certifications. Currently, I am a member of ICREA (International Consortium of Real Estate Associations). What does that mean? Well, I can now assist you with acquiring international property. That's right, The Pink Oyster has gone global! Look out world!

I am very excited to announce that my certification allowing me to be a TRC (Transnational Referral Certified) is pending. Following is a list of countries that I will be able to assist you in:

  • Argentina,
  • Australia,
  • Brazil,
  • Canada,
  • Costa Rica,
  • Czech Republic,
  • Denmark,
  • Finland,
  • France,
  • Greece,
  • India,
  • Ireland,
  • Italy,
  • Mexico,
  • Netherlands,
  • New Zealand,
  • Norway,
  • Panama,
  • Poland,
  • Portugal,
  • Russia,
  • Spain,
  • Sweden,
  • United Kingdom,
  • United States
  • Venezuela

Stay tuned for, how do you say "Happy Shucking" in Portuguese? Anyone, anyone?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Everybody Wants To Rule The World......

It's easy to assume that negotiating is adversarial. You, the buyer, are on one side -- the side that wants to buy a property for the lowest price possible. The opposition on the other side is the seller who wants to sell for the highest price possible. You're locked in a tug of war to see which side will win.

Let's flip this thinking and instead of a tug-of-war let's look at this as a problem-solving opportunity. Here are several ways that may help you reverse your thinking and see things from the opposite side.

  1. PATIENCE! If you think an asking price is too high to start - wait. The sellers may be testing the waters. This is most likely if the home was purchased in recent years and a profit from the sale is not on the event horizon. The strategy is to make an offer JUST BEFORE the sellers lower their price. If you wait until they lower the price you may end up paying more if other buyers suddenly become interested. How do you know that they are ready to lower their price? Ask your Realtor to speak with their agent to express "interest". Don't be bashful about expressing your interest - you may just receive a call when the sellers want to see an offer from you.
  2. Be reasonable! When you make an initial offer and there is no competition from other buyers your initial price should leave room to move up in price. However, it should not be so low in price that the sellers are insulted and do not respond at all. It also may give the sellers the impression that you can't afford any more than that initial offer and they feel that there is no need for a counter offer. Keep in mind - this initial offer is to start the ball rolling. This is where you want to open up a dialogue and start the problem solving process.
  3. Don't get so caught up in price that you overlook other consensus building opportunities. Brainstorm with your agent other avenues that you may have to accommodate the seller. Yes, I said "accommodate the seller". Do they need to close quickly? If so, they may give more on price if the closing is sooner. If you get close on price, offer to split the difference to seal the deal.

Just remember, there are many ways to look at the process. Price is just one of many motivating factors. EVERYTHING IS NEGOTIABLE! When you enlist the help of a true-blue, professional agent they will be able to help you brainstorm and make your offer the most attractive! A buyer's agent can be an invaluable tool!

Happy Shucking...............

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.....

Well, well, well. Here is a New Flash that has just come out today. Yes, my faithful followers, you may be hearing it here for the first time. To quote just a bit from the article:

....."Because commission fees "do not tend to vary in proportion to changing home prices," they are considered to be "relatively inflexible," the report states, and the agencies recommend that regulators pursue a detailed study of commission rate and fee practices to better measure price competition in the industry.".....

and, in addition,

....."Some consumers may not be aware of the range of alternatives available to them when hiring a real estate broker, including the types of business models available and the negotiability of fees, for both home buyers and sellers, and/or may not understand the duties owed by their broker." The information could help enhance competition, according to the recommendations.".....

Once you read the full report it may become a little clearer. To paraphrase, the article is basically suggesting that Real Estate professionals are not flexible in their real estate commissions. It also suggests that while the price of individual homes may be different that the majority of Real Estate professionals maintain the same level of commission. Bear with me a moment......I may take a lot of heat for this and I look forward to the debate.

Selling a home that is priced in the median range is much, much different than selling a high end home say $1mil and up. Your clients, your sellers, your market and your advertising methods are vastly different. Liken a home that is in the millions to a Lamborghini. The maintenance on the home is tantamount to that of the maintenance of the Lamborghini. You don't pay just $29.95 for an oil change and have the tires rotated every so often. Your marketing efforts are now shifted to a different set of principals altogether. No longer can you rely on the tried and true methods of MLS, print advertising, mass mailings and networking. Your target market of buyers has been drastically reduced! So, yes, my commission should stay the same for a home priced over $1mil as it is for a home say in the $300's. Not only do I expend efforts along the mainstream, I am continually seeking new and creative ways to seek out those that would prefer not to be sought. I spend my days dreaming up ways to reach those that may not even know that they are ready to purchase a Lamborghini.

On the flip side of the issue......something that many of you may not know about me......I come from a Limited Service background. Yes, I do. While in Charlotte I was Vice President of a wonderful Limited Service company that offered a tiered commission structure. I thought it was wonderful. I still do! I bring that philosophy with me still today. There are always people that want to keep control and that's okay! I personally, (yes, personally as in my own opinion!) believe that there are companies out there for everyone. As I previously enlightened you with the "Working With Real Estate Agents" series this is no different. You MUST interview an agent(s). Don't rely so much on the company name as you do the agent themselves. You have got to find out what their individual business model is. What are they going to do for you? Compare their services to those of others that you interview.

I enjoy the competition from the other companies whether full service, limited service or just a listing company. It gives me the opportunity to relentlessly fine-tune my skills and affirm that for those seeking a true professional, "the future's so bright, I gotta wear shades!"......

I would welcome any questions and/or comments regarding the article. Tell me what you think!

Until high tide..........

Happy Shucking...............

Monday, May 7, 2007

Working With Real Estate Agents - The Final Chapter

Although I have called this the Final Chapter it will never be over. The cReal Estate Commission will continually fine tune the relationships between buyers and sellers and their agents that represent them. That is a wonderful thing, in my opinion. The more defined the relationships are the less likely there is room for misunderstanding.

The last type of agent, for now, is what is known as a Dual Agent. This is, perhaps, the most misunderstood. In a real estate transaction, you may permit an agent or firm to represent both you and the seller. This "dual agency relationship" is most likely to happen if you become interested in a property listed with your Buyer's Agent or the agent's firm. If this occurs and you have not already agreed to a dual agency relationship in your (written or oral) buyer agency agreement, your Buyer's Agent will ask you to sign a separate agreement or document permitting him or her to act as agent for both you and the seller. It may be difficult for a Dual Agent to advance the interests of both the buyer and the seller. Nevertheless, a Dual Agent must treat buyers and sellers fairly and equally. Although the Dual Agentowes them both the same duties, buyers and sellers can prohibit Dual Agents from divulging certain confidential information about them to the other party.

Some firms also offer a form of dual agency called Designated Agency where one agent in the firm represents the seller and another agent represents the buyer. This option (when available) may allow each Designated Agentto more fully represent each party.

If you chose the Dual Agency option , remember that since a Dual Agent's loyalty is divided between parties with competing interests, it is especially important that you have a clear understanding of:
  • what your relationship is with the Dual Agent and,
  • what the agent will be doing for you in the transaction. This can best be accomplished by putting the agreement in writing at the earliest possible time.

Has the confusion level just been compounded? Again, don't worry! When you meet the professional agent that is right for you they will go over the brochure that I mentioned before, "Working With Real Estate Agents".

Thanks for paying attention class and as always - I am here for any questions!

Happy Shucking..............

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Working With Real Estate Agents - Part II

Since you have had the weekend to ponder the duties and services of a Seller's Agent; we'll move on to the Buyer's Agent. Like a Seller's Agent the Buyer's Agent also has certain duties and services to perform.

As an agent that represents the buyer the Buyer's Agent duties are:
  • promote your best interests
  • be loyal to you
  • follow your lawful instructions
  • provide you with all material facts that could influence your decisions
  • use reasonable skill, care and diligence
  • account for all monies they handle for you

In addition to the duties owed to a Buyer by an agent there are services:

  • find suitable property
  • arrange financing
  • learn more about the property
  • otherwise promote your best interests
  • if you have a written agency agreement, the agent can also help you prepare and submit a written offer to the seller

It is important to note that there are also unwritten agreements. Some firms may be willing to represent you and assist you for a time as a Buyer's Agent without a written agreement. But if you decide to make an offer to purchase a particular property, the agent must obtain a write agency agreement. If you do not sign it, the agent can no longer represent you and assist you and is no longer required to keep information about you confidential. Furthermore, if you later purchase the property through an agent with another firm, the agent who first showed you the property may seek compensation from the other firm. Be sure to read and understand any agency agreement before you sign it.

Once you have agreed (either orally or in writing) for the firm and its agents to be your Buyer's Agent, they may not give any confidential information about you to sellers or their agents without your permission so long as they represent you. But, until you make this agreement with your buyer's agent, you should avoid telling the agent anything you would not want a seller to know.

Lastly, a Buyer's Agent can be compensated in different ways. For example, you can pay the agent out of your own pocket. Or the agent may seek compensation from the seller or listing agent first, but require you to pay if the listing agent refuses. Whatever the case, be sure your compensation arrangement with your Buyer's Agent is spelled out in a buyer agency agreement before you make an offer to purchase property and that you carefully read and understand the compensation provision.

Whew, still with me? Again, be sure to ask for the Working With Real Estate Agents brochure from whichever professional Realtor you choose. Have them go over it with you. Don't treat it lightly - you are due duties and services - be sure of what they are!

Later in the week we will move on to Dual Agency.....excited, aren't you?

Happy Shucking!.............

A Walk Through Historic Wake Forest, NC