Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Weeding out Homes For Buyers

When I first meet a buyer I like to take them out for a 'Get Your Feet Wet' day. I really don't expect the buyer to find the perfect home on the day they take their first ride in my car. I can't remember ever having that happen....really, ever.

We will have talked on the phone to discuss their want list. What areas, what price range and what amenities.  I believe I have slightly touched on this topic before but this is more about what I do than what changes of their minds they make.

I do my Realtor research, schedule several showings and in the car we go! And, on that first day, sometimes the second, I keep fairly quiet. Offering not much in the way of opinions, just listening. Watching and gathering their emotions and thoughts.

Things they have said on the phone, don't always match what they see when we are sprinkling their toes with the first water drops of a home search excursion. 

That first day tells me a lot about what type of people I am going to find a house for. What is important to them to make their family happy in a home. And, it's not always how big the family room is, or how many trees are in the backyard.

That day tells me how an open floor plan feels to them. How claustrophobic they get with the neighbors house looming over them while looking at the backyard of the house with the fabulous pool. How sensitive their hearing is to white noise vs. no noise of the neighborhood up on the hill.

Wet toes tell me if they truly are do-it-yourselfers, like they said they were, or if they really need a 'model home' house.

And, once that first or second trip out with my clients is done, their feet are wet up to their ankles and we are rocking! And, I have a much better understanding of who they are and what will make them happy.

So, I weed out homes. Search, network, view. All for the sole purpose of finding the right house for them.  I weed out the ones that are too noisy, the ones that the neighbors can see right into their backyard. I remove the ones that don't have a big enough kitchen. Ones that need too much work.

Almost all of my clients I communicate with just about every day or so. And, most of my buyers I give them complete free reign to our MLS. We send notes back and forth to each other. When they say, "What about this one?" I know there just aren't enough trees on the block. I know that the dining room won't fit their lifestyle. And, I know that the one that has the door that opens up to the deck that they say "What about this one?" is already on our list to see on our next ride in my Lexus.......and that just may be the one that soaks them all the way up to the top of their head!!

Honk, wave, and see if there are wet foot prints by the passenger side of my car the next time you see me with a client! You'll know it's been a good day!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Referral Network - I Love Realty Executive Agents!

Just a shorty today. Not super opinionated either.

I work with a great group of agents at Realty Executives out here in Santa Clarita. We help each other every day. Selling listings, networking for buyers. And, we even help people with painters, electricians and landscapers. Sometimes, selling furniture or rescuing animals as well.

Yes, we really do.

At least once or twice a week, one of us has a client that needs some type of service done on their home or some help with something not even house related. So, we send out an e-mail to all of our associates and BAM! we get several replies back.

Nothing is better than a personal referral. Sorry Yellow Pages, no letting of the finger walking here.

This morning it was a painter and floor re-finisher. Last week, furniture. Once it was tile in a bathroom. Sometimes it's a little more personal.

A few weeks ago it was a dog that was displaced by foreclosure. One agent sent out the e-mail, posted it on Facebook and many of us got involved. Was the dog saved? You bet.

Was the furniture sold? Don't know, but probably. Did I get a painter referral? Of course, and already forwarded it to my client. Floor Re-finisher, not yet, but surely will. And, the painter referral I received? He needs the names of the floor people I get. So, we continue to network and help each other.

I wouldn't work for any other company.......we're like one big happy family....I think we're the best.....and the Daily News readers think so too.......

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Santa Clarita - 'The City of New'

I do the majority of my business in the Santa Clarita Valley. It's where I've lived for almost two decades so I know it well. I do help clients in the San Fernando Valley, and I know the regulations that are different from here, but I don't know the town, as much as I should, to call myself a specialist there.

Santa Clarita has been around for many years, constantly growing and changing. We have homes that are over 50 years old and then, reason for this blog post, many, many homes that are less than ten years old.

So, I nick-named SCV the 'City of New' quite some time ago and I still frequently call it that. 

Everyone loves the shiny new car, the new dress, the new shoes, the new fish in their aquarium (for Mike), the new golf clubs. And, I've found that most buyers, shopping for homes in SCV, like newer houses better than older homes.

Now, I'm not saying people don't like the charm of older homes, with mature trees and frequently bigger lots. I am only telling you what I've seen over the last decade of selling homes here in SCV.  Because SCV has many newer homes, that seems to be what the clients gravitate toward. And, really, for a while, we had a lot of new construction going on which made the kitty of newer homes larger.

There is less to do with newer homes, less to repair, less carpet that needs to be changed, less tile that needs to be replaced with granite, less single paned windows that need to be changed to dual-paned, less galvanized plumbing that should probably be switched to copper.

The newer homes are like the shiny new toy for your childs' birthday!

The reason I bring this to your attention is just to think about my favorite thing, re-sale. While you are buying a home that has had a lot of upgrades, over the last 30-40 years and the trees are nice and big and shady? It's still an older home. And, when you have the competition of all the new ones, it does make that home a tad harder to sell.

There is a buyer for every home, absolutely. But, when buying and selling homes in the City of New, I see that the buyers are entranced more with shiny and new than shady and older.

Me? I want a nice big rambling old single story on a few acres with lots of big shady trees. But, I'm not one that always goes with the majority. ;o)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Inventory Increasing - REO Incentives Should Help

Although inventory is increasing, slowly, but still increasing, there are all kinds of ways to help buyers get into properties. Read the info below about buying REO properties. There are a quite a few in the 'shadow', but release 'em, we'll help ya buy 'em, and the incentives make everybody happy!

Special Offers

New Buyer and Selling Agent Incentive on HomePath® Homes

Fannie Mae is offering buyers up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance and a $1,500 bonus for selling agents on HomePath properties through December 31, 2010.
Buyers and selling agents must meet the following qualifications to be eligible for the incentive:
  • HomePath property sale must close on or before December 31, 2010 and close within 60 days of offer acceptance
  • Only owner occupants purchasing a HomePath property will receive up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance
  • Only selling agents representing owner occupants purchasing a HomePath property will receive a $1,500 bonus. To be eligible for the agent’s bonus, the initial offer must be submitted on or after September 23, close within 60 days of offer acceptance and close on or before December 31, 2010. No bonus will be given for investor purchases.
  • Buyers and selling agents must request incentive upon submission of initial offer in order to be eligible. 
Note: Offers submitted after November 15, 2010 may be difficult to close by incentive deadline of December 31, 2010.
Terms & Conditions:
  • The 3.5% seller contribution is to be used towards closing costs, including a home warranty, if desired and available.
  • Retail and public entities are eligible for the incentive however pool and auction sales, and sales to investors are not eligible.
  • Fannie Mae reserves the right to remove any property from promotion or end the promotion at any time. Any dispute over the payment of a bonus shall be resolved by Fannie Mae in its sole discretion.
  • Buyers should consult their lenders for guidance on financing. Lenders and mortgage products may impose their own limitations on the use of the 3.5% incentive. For example, the lender may consider the incentive a Seller Contribution and limit the amount to 3.0%. In those instances, the remaining 0.5% will no longer be available to the buyer.
 Courtesy of

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Complete The Purchase Agreement, Fill in all the Blanks

When we are writing an offer for a buyer on a prospective home, there are many pages to complete.

Back in the day, we did it all by hand. Hovering over the contract to make sure we didn't miss a single spot. Now it's all in cyberspace and computerized. Wonderful! I love it, I can write a contract from any computer, anywhere that has Internet access!

I still hover over every spot the cursor bounces to so that I don't miss anything. And, I go over the contract 2 to 3 times to check again.

And, fortunately it 'prints' in blue with a yellow background to make it easier. You'd think it was a no-brainer!

Many times however, when I am representing the seller, I see an incomplete offer or one with mistakes. Some spots are like a multiple choice, I get that. But, some are just missed, like they didn't go to a single 'Contract for Dummies' class. I bet some of you can spot the error in the above contract and you're not even a licensed Realtor!

But, my company, has regular brush-up sessions for our agents. New contract classes when there is a change. We are taught over and over again not to make a mistake.

Because if we do, that's just a lawsuit waiting to happen.  I read the below article this morning and it prompted my blog subject. It's a great article and makes me laugh. The author seems to have my personality and she's not even in California. Maybe I should contact her and make friends!

Remember to have your agent review the contract with you and look for missed or mistaken could save you a large headache later.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Realtor With a Personality

Right now I've got 3 clients under Short-Sale contract waiting for approval. And, a few more not under contract. We keep looking at other properties, but one of them is so unique and so perfect for this particular client we have a hard time motivating ourselves to look at anything else. And, we are (imagine my thumb and forefinger together) 'this close' to written approval!

So, we keep in contact. I let him know what's going on with the Short-Sale and any new possibilities that are out there. He calls me if we haven't spoken in a few days.

This client is the 'Whisper' house client blog I wrote about a few weeks ago. I've been telling him to read the post since I wrote it. But hey, life gets in the way and he hasn't taken a moment to read it (nor give me the music CD of he and his brothers band!) until the last couple of days.

He called me yesterday to say hello and tell me he read the post. He then says just the nicest thing. That I'm not what he thinks a typical Realtor is. That I don't treat him like just a client. That a lot of people may not know about my personality and that I should utilize that somehow in advertising.....something along those lines.

I laugh and laugh and laugh. When I write my posts, preview and subsequently read them....I think, boy oh boy, anyone who knows me realizes that they are always written completely by me. I don't have a professional blog poster that I pay. All of them come from my head and today, from my heart.

Thank you  RG, for realizing that I am a human being first, Realtor 2nd. I am a successful Realtor in a difficult time, and I think, it has a lot to do with my skills and a little something to do with my personality, most definitely.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm Looking For New Listings

The last few weeks, my prospecting has been more aggressive than usual. I don't like to be the type of Realtor that just calls about Real Estate. I like to talk with people about all kinds of things when I get them on the phone. I'm not just a Realtor you know.

But, with the low inventory, and most of them being Short-Sales, I've been using a valid statement that most people would think is bogus.....and frequently is.

"I've got about a half dozen buyers I'm working with right now. If you know of anyone, with or without equity, that is even slightly thinking about selling? Pass them my info, maybe we can get a buyer and seller together quickly."

It's the truth. I've never used a B.S. line in my career. I've knocked on doors in particular tracks looking for a seller to match with a buyer. I've told buyers I have upcoming listings they may be interested in, and I do this to match with a seller.

It is what I do. But, particularly now, I've been vamping it up. Have to. Have to get my people into homes or I get frustrated for them. They get depressed. And, then my counseling has to kick it up a notch.

So, if I call you, or knock on your door? And, tell you I've got a buyer or a seller? It's true, let me know if you hear anything.  It doesn't always pan out. The seller doesn't always have what the buyer wants, the buyer doesn't always like what the seller has. But, the more momentum that I put out there, the more likelihood of something coming together for my clients.

And, I do what I do.....for my B.S. here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Open Houses - Should I or Shouldn't I?

When I first started in Real Estate I did Open Houses like there was no tomorrow. I did one almost every Sunday and probably about every third Saturday as well.  And, it paid off. Well, I sure think it did. I ended up meeting a lot of people, learned a lot about the tracks in Santa Clarita and made several extra sales that I could attribute to the Open Houses I had done.

Over the years, I've cut way back on hosting them. When I take a new listing, I like to do them for the introduction to the neighborhood. I want to get feedback and maybe find a neighbor that has a friend that is thinking about moving into the neighborhood. I'm pretty forthright with my seller, letting them know that an Open House is not the top way to get a home sold.

It does help with feedback on condition and price though. The general publics' opinion. I prefer pricing suggestions from my associates, and their visits without an offer written, tells me over-priced. And, I share all information with my clients, whether from public or professional.

I've noticed some of the 'big-dogs' doing open houses a lot more lately. I consider myself a 'little dog', FYI.  And, although I feel I'm working my tush off, I am considering getting back into the Open House mode. It's a lot of work, repetitive work, turn-around is good....if you make a connection.

You see, I'm not a pushy saleswoman. Never have been. I'm an honest, shoot from the hip, tell it like it is lady. If I meet someone and we make that connection while hosting, then I know we'll do business together and form a relationship.  If someone breezes through and won't look me in the eye, I don't even bother asking them to sign the register.

Challenge starts with the juggling of regular clients that want to see me on the weekend and spending 1/2 a Sunday doing an Open House. Well, maybe I'll just start with two a month.....for now......and see what kind of connections are made.

Hope to meet another seller that decides to list, and it's the perfect property for one of the buyers I couldn't go out with because I was hosting an Open House!!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

MLS Info - Can be a bit of a Gamble

Some of the information entered in our MLS is automatically placed there. Based upon the APN, it auto-populates the entries in several different spots. Those we can almost always count on to be correct.

There are many more, about 9 pages worth of information, that a Realtor needs to input so that the MLS is accurate in the listing presentation to other agents and the general public.

Therein can lie one heck of a problem. Quite of bit of it is subject to the inputters opinion. 1/2 bath, that's the one with a toilet and sink, right? Yep. And a full bath, should have a tub/shower, sink and toilet, you'd think so. That infamous 3/4, what's that? No tub, but a shower. And, to muss things up a bit more, we keep having things added, or changed, so that it is easier to input or makes it easier to know what the property has.

Goodness, when we added the Special Conditions? That threw a wrench in it. And, it was put there for Short-Sale info, REO info. Good stuff, need to know stuff......if it's put in the MLS right.

Phone numbers are all over the place. Sellers phone numbers should never be in the public remarks, neither are gate codes. Well, we see them now and again.

Lockboxes that are supposed to be at the property, based upon the MLS, aren't always there. Maybe a combo box, with no mention of the combo in the agent private remarks on our printout that is in our hands. There's a little check-box for this one.

And, my favorite notes on the MLS print-out sheet? In ours it's the little teeny print down at the bottom in blue:

The accuracy of all information, regardless of source, including but not limited to square footages and lot sizes, is deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be personally verified through personal inspection by and/or with the appropriate professionals.

The purpose of this blog post? To remind everyone that we really do need to inspect, inspect and inspect. Really need to view lots of properties almost as if we haven't read anything but the price on the MLS.

But, even that is erroneous sometimes, more often than the good agent would like to see, I can tell you that.  A house that should be listed for 450 is listed for 375?  Gets clients excited unnecessarily and causes more frustration for client and agent alike.

So, go with an agent that recognizes the errors, purposeful or not. One that knows at least a little something about what kinds of things may be wrong. One that does a tad of research on title records or looks for old listings that may tell you if that's a 1/2, 3/4 or really a full bath with that downstairs bedroom......or, really, should they just have called that bedroom an office when you see there is no closet once you actually get there?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Current Short-Sale Story

I think it's going to be okay.....I hope. My client really wants this home.

Right now I'm working with about 1/2 dozen buyers, one seller fixing up their home in prep of showing, but mostly buyers.

Obviously, a lot of the properties we are looking at are Short Sales. Yuck! But, I have to show properties, don't I? Something will stick and we will get a buyer into a house to make it their home.

I've got this one buyer that we've been working together for a few months. Atypical time period. We've written offers on probably a dozen or more houses. I can't recall a single Traditional listing in the bunch. We look in San Fernando Valley and Santa Clarita Valley. What he wants isn't so hard to find. His financing makes it a little challenging to get accepted though.

We did get him under contract on a Short-Sale (SS) in northern SFV about a month ago. Great property, okay house. Really, the location and property is what sold him on the house. It's just perfect for him. Really fits who he is. Remember the 'Whisper House'? This is it.

Yesterday I get an e-mail from the listing agent that he needs more financial information from my client about his loan or, and it felt a little threatening, he would have to consider one of the six other offers he had sitting in back-up.

We've been in this for just about 30 days now, but it's been moving along at lightening speed and we've been thrilled.....until yesterday mornings' e-mail.

Needless to say, me, and my buyers lender, got our feathers in a ruffle (or whatever that phrase is) !

Remember, everything with a SS is contingent upon the SS lender(s) accepting the terms of the offer.

So, delicately, but firmly, we go through at least a dozen e-mails back and forth, with the lender CC'd in. Talking with my client to let him know we have a little hiccup and he has to consider sending private info to the listing agent.....we're not liking that, but he's (close the little one's eyes here) truly orgasmic about this he's ready to do that if need be.

The agent promises that he really wants my buyer to get this property, said he didn't expect it to move this quickly, but felt that he needed to protect his client by making certain this loan would close.

Completely understandable. Wish it was done at the beginning, but we all understood. So, near the end of yesterday we send everything to him with personal info blackened out, and his associate is reviewing it this morning to provide the confidence he needs in this final SS hour.

Hoping that it all works out, we have scheduled another visit to the house this afternoon. I am on edge of course though!

Life and times of a working Realtor in the fall of 2010....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Naming of the Properties...Some Not So Good

When I'm out with clients, generally we see one house and something reminds us about another house. And, my client says, 'Remember the house with the blah blah blah?' And, because I look at sooo many houses, sometimes it's just hard, close to impossible, to know which one they are talking about.

Unless, we name it. Or, I should say, 'Nick-Name' it. The Whisper House, The Sun Valley Noisy House, The Piss House, The Flip that Ran Out of Tile House, The Guitar House, The Guy in the Shower House, The Poop House, The Black Bathroom House, The Cracked Ceiling House.....the list goes on. These are just the recent ones!

It helps both myself and the client that I'm working with. And, my husband can keep up better too! LOL

Now, we certainly don't let the seller know we've nick-named it, nor the listing agent. But, between myself, the hubby, and my clients, it works well to help keep track of homes. And, it makes for a little laugh in a tough market!

I can't remember all the Nick-Names my clients and I have given out to prospective properties.....I wonder which past clients will share......Hmmmm??

Monday, September 13, 2010

Santa Clarita Stats

I checked our MLS for statistics this morning. Didn't look into every tiny detail. Just the general consensus.

Still hovering around 1150 Active listings. 500, really exactly 500, in Escrow taking back-up offers.....probably a lot of short sales. And just over 400 in Pending to close escrow.

Best news is we got 259 closed in the last 30 days.

Now, I'm going to write a blog about the poor information we sometimes get in the MLS....another day. But for this post, our MLS info is further dissected as follows:

Of the 1150 Active?
457 are Short-Sales
134 are REO's

Of the 500 in Back-Up?
387 are Short-Sales
21 are REO's

413 in Pending?
229 are Short-Sales
83 are REO's

And the 259 closed escrows in the last 30 days?
86 were Short-Sales
45 were REO's

That would make about 1/2 Standard most categories.

Hmmmm, don't know about you, your agent and any other buyers or sellers out there, but this certainly doesn't seem like total reality. I'm working with buyers in lots of different price ranges.....and we're seeing mostly Short-Sales and REO's.

But, it doesn't really matter at this point. I know I keep saying this, but it is what it is. We find whatever house a buyer can call home and we write an offer. Try to get accepted and hope to close an escrow....REO, Short-Sale or Standard Sale.

And, my peeps know this, it's always 'Onward & Forward!' if we don't get our first choice..or second...or third...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

IRA for Real Estate? Really? Yep!

We all may have noticed that when Real Estate is up, Stocks are down. And Vice Versa. We have retirement monies in Stocks, bonds, mutual funds and maybe some Real Estate. Somehow in some sort of IRA, presumably.

Right now, we know Real Estate is down. Oh yeah, very low pricing to be had. What you may not all know is that there is a way to cash in on that without having cash in your pocket.

You can, and should strongly consider it, roll money from one IRA into a Real Estate IRA and not be penalized.

There are a couple different ways I've discovered, but I am not giving tax or legal advice at all. YOU need to speak with your financial planner, tax advisor or attorney before you consider doing anything like this. Agent disclosure here.

What I've found is that you can have a Real Estate IRA that is self-governed. You make all the decisions. You set up this IRA and any monies related to it go in and out of that IRA account. You cannot live in the property, you can't take profits from the property, until you are ready to retire. This is just another avenue to have retirement income when you are retirement age. I like it!

There are also syndicate type Real Estate IRA's where you pool money with other investors and are just in the background watching your Real Estate IRA progress and then cash in when you retire.

Some require a custodian, some do not. There is a lot of information on the web. Not every financial institution does this type of IRA. Your existing IRA custodian or advisor, may have to refer you out to another party.

If you discover, after doing some research and getting the legal/tax advice recommended (more agent disclosure), that this is something you are interested in....then call me and I'll help find the property for your Real Estate IRA!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Checking in on the Public Real Estate News

I have the L.A.Times Real Estate section favorited on my computer so I can get to it without too much trouble. I look at the topics written for the public viewing every couple of days. Some is good, some is overly optimistic, some is overly pessimistic, some I just dislike reading in general, and yet, some I enjoy and publish to my Facebook page.

Although this market of REO's, Short-Sales, foreclosures, etc. are hanging around for longer than I'd like, it is a great opportunity for buyers and some sellers too.

Interest rates are amazingly low. Come on, under 5%, fantastic. Prices on homes are lower than they've been in over a decade. That's wonderful for traditional buyers and investors. And, there is a bit of inventory....albeit challenged inventory.

I'm only doing a quick post here.

Just get through the hard work on buying a property. And, sellers with still equity that want to move up? It's great, because what you want to buy is lower too!

People always want to buy and sell Real Estate, and right now there are some really good deals to be had.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Are You Tired Of Me Yet? The Buyer Who Is Concerned About Me!

I work with buyers and sellers alike. Whomever is referred to me, that's who I take care of. And, either way, I throw everything I've got into it. Just who I am.

A lot of people have experience with Realtors. Someone has generally bought a house in their past. And, even if they haven't, they have an idea how the searching for homes process goes.

Look and look and look til you find one you like, make an offer, get accepted, and close escrow.

Not so currently. Now, look, and look, and look, and look, and wait a minute, look some more....and oh, my we're still looking....and look, and, keep looking. Until you find the one you like, make an offer, get accepted, and close escrow!

So, in the car we go, and I show and show and show some more. I will show until the right house is found. I think my highest number of homes was seventy-four. Crazy, huh? And, that was a few years ago.  I don't care how long it takes, ask my past clients, as long as we find the right home.

But, every once in a while I get a client that feels almost guilty about how many homes they have looked at. 'Are you tired of me yet?' was the most recent. Are you kidding me? Really, it's my job. And, I want you happy now and in the future.  If I put you into something because I'm tired of're not going to think too fondly of me in the future when someone needs a Realtor now are you? And, I'd feel pretty crappy about myself as a good human being. Not going to happen.

I will guide you, the best I can, if I think you are missing out on something. My Realtor had me come back to a house I thought was disgusting the first time I saw it, but she knew what I really wanted and I loved that house after I moved in back in 1992.

If I think you are making a mistake, I will gently tell you. If I think we can't find what you are looking for in that price-range, I will tell you.  But, if I know that house is somewhere on the next horizon....we are gonna find it!

I never get tired of finding the right house for you to call home, never. Tis what I do, and what I always will do.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why I Refer a Mortgage Broker to my Buyers

Home purchase loans can be found all over. Internet, Banks, Credit Unions, and Mortgage Brokers. My top choice is a Mortgage Broker. And, not going to lie, I do have a favorite....for good reasons.

Internet loan processing, or pre-approvals are common place. They offer rock-bottom pricing, what's not to make a buyer want to go there? But, do they come through in the end? Not as well as we'd like, not without a few challenges. The last buyer I had that used an Internet lender did save a chunk of money, but the lender was in another state. Although he said he did many California transactions, he still thought that the phrase 'Close of Escrow' meant the day the buyer signs their loan docs in escrow! Yikes! Thank goodness for the fact that myself and our escrow officer were diligent in educating he and his processor to the difference. I think they were in that their program over there? Or, really, was the Internet lender just stupid and trying to cover up? Don't know, don't it closed, but with maximum headache!

Banks are another lender of home loans. Checking with your local branch is great. Maybe the manager is a personal friend. But, how many choices do they offer? What different types of loan programs do they have? How competitive are they with themselves and if you're a circle that doesn't fit in their square peg, then what?

Credit Unions, local usually. Great source of monies for home loans. Similar to banks though, if you don't fit in their program, where do you go?

So, the Mortgage Broker is the one that can provide loans through many different lending institutions. Ones' we never heard of and certainly would never, ever have found on our own. So they do work harder for the best loan for you. They do have to have an in with all those money givers. They do have to know, pretty dang quickly, which lender is offering the best rate, price, fees.....etc. And, they are usually local to the area where the buyer and chosen property is located.  Knowledge of local custom....vital. Fitting the circle in a circle and a square in a square, that's what they do.

I've got a favorite, not naming names here, that I've known for 20 years. Never let me down, even in a really tough situation, still closed the deal.  Priceless, as the commercial goes.

I always tell buyers to check with two or three. Let them know you are shopping around, sometimes a little break can be had. But, what's that old adage? You get what you pay for? Very much so, right on the money!

And when you are about to close escrow on the home of your dreams? You want to be sure the right lender is getting you your right money at the right time.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thanks for Thanksgiving - Yep a Little Early This Year!

Last year was my first Thanksgiving Holiday with my now husband. Don't worry, we'll get to Real Estate in a minute here. We were diligently cutting, basting, cleaning, table setting....when my cell phone rings. On Thanksgiving Day! I look down at the number, some 818 number I absolutely didn't recognize.

Figured I'd better just answer it now instead of having to retrieve the message later. Thank goodness for the hands-free ear piece. So, this nice animated lady says she is driving around the neighborhood where my newest listing is and 'Can we see it?' Mind you, I'm busy cutting celery for my turkey stuffing. I say absolutely you can.....but not today. And, that's how our friendship started. She laughed and said of course not today.

We scheduled for the Saturday, if I'm not mistaken, after the holiday of 2009. She came with her husband and a family friend to meet me at the home. I, because this is what I do, had arranged a few other homes to look at as well. So, the one I had listed, wasn't the right house, just didn't do it for them. Neither were the 3 or 4 others. But, in that short time period we were together that day, we connected. She and I may have connected over the hot-flashes I was having, yes I'm almost 50. He and I connected over my no B.S. attitude. But, the connection was made. I think back now, and I think it was the honesty factor for all of us. I told it like it is, they had a mildly different idea about how it should work, I told them how it does work.

We surprisingly found the perfect home for them fairly quickly. She kept saying it was his baby. Whatever he picked, that was A.O.K. with her. So, the majority of my house search process was with Mr. Buyer. And, he was good. No B.S. with this guy and no B.S. back at him.

When we found the home, it was just he and I. I had called the listing agent several times, to view the property, with no success. Finally called her broker to get him to have her call me back. (She was much better once we were in escrow on follow-up). We walked into the home and I turned around to look at him and said "She is going to love this place". Now, as I type this, I can't recall how I knew so much about what she wanted, about how the place would feel to her. But, he and I both knew it. Mr. Buyer called Mrs. Buyer and told her our thoughts. She again said, whatever you say honey. I trust you.

We negotiated the offer, and I did something stellar for them. He called me a Star when I told him what I was going to do. Thought I was just the best. But, I was honest, I gave something back to them because it made them happy. It got them their home. What is was, doesn't matter now. It got them the house that I knew was the perfect home for them.

Fast forward almost a year now. They are in their home, puttering in the garden, painting grape leaves on the walls, removing wallpaper and making salads for their friend, that happens to be their Realtor, for lunch.

And, we have a great relationship. A great friendship. And Saturday, after my delicious salad for lunch, when I was leaving to go see a current client....she reminds me that she will always contact me on Thanksgiving day. The day we met on the phone.

What's that thing...Kizmet? That's what brought these people to me and me to these people. And, I'm looking forward to having her over for salad at my place next time.....with a longer piece of my time puzzle etched out.....we just have too much fun when we are together and I know we didn't get caught up completely this time!

All of my past clients I remain friendly with. Stay in contact on a regular basis with notes, calls and e-mails. Some, it's just Kizmet....we are going to be friends....good friends.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

When I feel like a NAG!!!

I'm piggy-backing on the last post about common courtesy. Talking about Follow-Up and how I feel like a Nag, but still do it.

When raising my children, now 21 & 25, I was constantly reminding them to do something or another. Nagging is the way they would definitely describe it. And, unfortunately, nagging is sometimes what I feel like I do in Real Estate as well.

Follow-Up is vital when working with clients. We follow-up with sellers to make sure they are prepping their home for sale, thinking about the disclosures, signing their escrow instructions, doing the agreed upon repairs. We follow-up with buyers to make certain they are doing their loan application, looking at the listing information we sent them, signing their escrow instructions, contacting insurance companies.

All sorts of things, and only very few mentioned above, we have to follow-up on to assure things are being taken care of.

Now I am self admittedly a little OCD (and proud of it LOL), but I do a lot of follow-up. I am one of those that needs to know, needs to make certain that the T's are crossed and the I's are dotted....and.....crossed and dotted correctly. Sheesh, is that really so hard?

So, when (and here's the piggy-back part) I'm trying to ensure that all is happening the way it's supposed to be? And I'm not getting a response....The Nag kicks in. When a client says they'll do it tomorrow, The Nag kicks in again. When an agent doesn't forward me a document? Nag again.

It's part of my Real Estate world. It's what makes me certain to have a complete file. Certain that my client is protected properly and taken care of efficiently. But, I am sure that clients and other agents think I'm a bit of a nag.

Follow-up, Nagging, call it what you like. If that's what it takes to cross my T's and dot my I's? I'm still going to do it!!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Real Estate Common Courtesy / How My Momma Raised Me

One of the things I am proud of in my business is the response time I strive for. Two hours or less, and you'll hear back from me. Unless, of course, I've got my phones turned off for the evening. And, that I will do what I say I'm going to do. Sometimes, of course again, that takes longer than 2 hours, dependant upon the task at hand.

I received a phone call from a company looking for an agent to send referrals to. I get these all the time. But, they wanted to make certain that if they sent me a client, I would follow-up with them within 72 hours. 72 hours? Are you kidding me, I work with the 2 hours or less time frame.

Working with a new client last year showing property. My phone kept ringing while we were in my car. 'I don't like to interrupt my current client time with a phone call', I explained as to why I wasn't picking it up.  However, as I watched the clock move forward, I had to retrieve the messages and return the calls. New client completely understood, and other clients received the response time. All good.

Now, when I am on the other end of the response time? Frustration and wonderment of Common Courtesy kicks in....huge. I call agents, contractors, dental offices, all the time. I understand that we all get busy. But, we also have text messages and e-mail right at our fingertips. And, with the current Smart Phones, we have them right where we are, at all times, unless we have turned off our phones for the evening. I get the evening thing.

But, I don't get the lack of common courtesy. What happened to that? If the person I'm trying to reach is that busy, they need to hire some help. If they don't want to return the call, put a message on their voice mail that answers what we are calling about. If they can't get into a long conversation, send me a text. Goodness, when I call two times about your listing that my clients want to see? And, you don't call back to say it's not available (even though it is active in the MLS)? What kind of courtesy, let alone service, are they showing? None, the worst, zilch.

And certainly, not the way my momma raised me. I give credit to her regularly. She raised a good group of kids. And, the way she taught us to be courteous to others is the way I treat people I come in contact with. Call me, I'll call you back. Text me, I'll text you back. E-mail me, same thing. All in under two hours.

Unless, and one more of course, I've turned off my phones for the evening.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Social and Business Networking

We're all pretty much using some form of networking these days. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and all the others. I use Facebook, blogging and my firms e-mail system for Networking.

I do utilize them all differently though, at least for the most part.

If you are doing Social Networking, Facebook is great. It's free, and you can post or comment from anywhere. I get to keep up with past clients, do all-calls out to people for things I need for clients, read silly stories about goings-on in the FB world too. And, hopefully, keep my friends and family current on my life as well.

I use FB for business networking too. Attach my Blog links, attach News article links, attach my Web-site links. All to get the word out of what my buyers and or sellers need. It may not always seem like I'm working for their needs, not at that exact moment, but the end result is to take care of a, or in the future.

This Blogging is to let the reader know something that they didn't know already. Something about Real Estate, me, or just a great story to tell. And, when I write them, and they are all written by me, I feel like I'm talking to someone, explaining something, telling a funny. Of course, there is notification on my website that direct people here, my e-mail signature and my FB gets a blog link too.

My company, Realty Executives of Valencia, has a great networking tool as well. With several hundred agents connected, we can get answers and solutions to client needs really quickly. We can get listings sold, windows fixed, REO victim dogs adopted out. See, it's not just about selling homes in my business.

This post is just to let you know how I network with people. It's a vital tool in my business and my life. If you tell me you need something, then someone, somewhere, that I network with, is going to help me to help on it!