Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Well Now, Maybe That's Why They Stopped Pestering Me!

So, in case you haven't heard, Zillow is settling a labor dispute, a class action one. To the tune of 6M smackers. For not giving their employees the right breaks/lunches, stuff like that.

For almost 15 years I've been licensed to help people buy and sell Real Estate. I help people I know, they refer their friends to me, co-workers, you name it.....I very, very, very rarely work with strangers. Honestly don't have to. As a woman Realtor, I think it's wise not to.

So Zillow, for years, their employees would call me about their premier program. Paying for a zip code, a special spot, whatever.....to get client leads.

For years I said to take me off that list, I am not comfortable working with strangers, paying for client referrals. I work hard, have a great business, don't want to take the risk.

When I read the articles that kept landing in my e-mail about Zillow's settlement, I thought, well, heck, those people that kept calling obviously worked on some type of bonus system and were likely encouraged to work through lunch and not take breaks to make more money.

That is costing them in the long run. Needless to say........ they FINALLY took me off their call list!

Friday, November 25, 2016

I Am Thankful ~ 2016

While I was reading through all my real estate articles, downloads, websites, for a topic-maker subject, I realized I was very lucky to have the business that I have.

Well, quite honestly, it's not luck at all. It's hard work. It's treating people the way I want to be treated. With honesty, kindness, empathy, sincerity. All of those and more.

So, my quickie blog post today is just saying thank you. Thank you to the people that I've met along the way. The friends that are clients, the clients that are now friends. The people that allowed me to help them this year, years past, and the future years.

I am thankful to have you in my life. For a long time, for a short time, for whatever time you need me to be in your life.

I am smiling, I am thankful. 😍

Friday, November 18, 2016

Story of the Week ~ Rent-Backs & Real Estate

What's a rent back in Real Estate? When the Seller maintains possession after close of escrow. They pay the buyer the costs the buyer has for ownership during that time. The loan, any HOA fees, insurance, taxes. Utilities are paid by whomever is occupying the property.

Usually a rent back is for a short period of time. A week, 10 days. Sometimes, particularly when it's for 30-ish days, a security deposit is left in escrow. Just like when a tenant rents from a landlord. To cover any damage issues the occupant caused to the home.

So, back to the story after the explanation....

My clients are the buyers. Multiple offer situation, they agree to a 5 day possession after close of escrow, then an additional 30 days on top of that. To get the property, they say hell yes....but Seller has to, of course, pay the 30 days of buyers expenses to own the property. See description above if you're confused!

So, we do our final walk through that is the normal part of escrow...prior to closing. Seller agreed to several items to repair/correct/replace & receipts are to be presented to buyers same time. We find the door to be replaced does not match...at all. There are no receipts presented, and the push button key-less entry has been replaced with a regular doorknob.

So, the seller says, he couldn't find the matching door. My buyers found it in 2 places, same day. Seller states he changed out the garbage disposal himself...even though the request for repairs asked for a licensed plumber, and he'll find the receipt. Seller states the push button key-less thingy didn't work so he removed it and put a regular door knob back in.

Needless to say, I'm calling some major BS here...right?

Doesn't matter, we calmly tell sellers agent that these things need to be corrected, per contract, etc. And, they do...well, so we think.

Fast forward, a few weeks after my clients finally take possession and it's about time to release the security deposit. I double check with them to see if there is anything amiss.....sadly it is determined that the seller did not install the new garbage disposal correctly. One fatal piece was not removed for that particular installation. And, damage to the kitchen cabinet was caused by the water going the wrong place. Ah, how we wish the seller had a professional installation done as agreed to.

At any rate, now we are waiting for an estimate to repair the cabinet. Buyer took apart the garbage disposal, read alllllll the directions, put it back together correctly, and the disposal is now working.

And, the sellers agent is not happy. Well, hell, neither am I or my buyers. So, security deposit will not be released until we get this resolved.

How's that for a story? 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Decorating For Me Needs To Be Easy - Particularly For The Holidays!

I'm a minimalist, I don't like a lot of clutter. I add decorative items when I see something I like, but after a few additions, I have to remove other items....just the way I am.

So, Thanksgiving is next week already! WOW. Right around the corner. If you're also anything like me, you're super busy. It's hard enough to know which family is hosting what holiday, prepare the meal menu, organize the serving stuff....but decorate for the day too?  Yikes!

But, there are some very simple things we can do,
 that will make your home feel more turkey like, 
without having to go decoration crazy!

Throw a natural leaf on your table....or a few.....Hello Autumn!

Don't rake your leaves for the day.....Hello Autumn!

Use all those cream colored candles....with a few leaves....Hello Autumn!

And, super easy, add a few fall colored pillows to your couch....Hello Autumn!

Wishing you and your family a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday next week. No matter what, there is at least one thing in your life you must be thankful for.....you!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Two Years Ago.....What A Difference!

Two years ago this time I was helping a Veteran buy his family their first home. Fast forward and we're helping that same Veteran family complete the sale of that same home via a short sale.

A year into their home ownership, bills got away from them, financial life became difficult to manage. Family expenses changed.

So, regardless of if it's helping a Vet to buy their first home, or help them navigate through the challenges of selling their home, we still help.

The buyers were patient, their agent stepped up above and beyond, I put the homes' utilities on in my name when the homeowners moved away, my favorite escrow team was merciless with follow-through. Title rep stepped outside their box and cleared an item from the prelim.

I could tell you more about the process but this post is just about helping people...no matter what.....doing the right thing....no matter what....showing compassion.....no matter what....at all times.

That's it, I'll get off my soapbox, for today. 

Hoping one person that reads this today decides that helping people, 
and being compassionate towards them...regardless of if you think they did right or wrong.....that speaks volumes about who you are....those are the kind of people that I want to be with.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Housing Activity in Santa Clarita Valley Election Day 2016

Just a coincidence that I'm writing a blog post about housing activity during one of the most volatile elections in my life. But, yes, life does go on!

My housing activity report focus' on Santa Clarita Valley and it's surrounding communities. Acton to the east, Stevenson Ranch west, Newhall to the south, and Castaic to the North....and everything in between!

Currently we have only 618 active listings! 

We need more!

In escrow or under contract, 588.

Still closing a wee bit over 300 every month 
with a total escrows closed in last 30 days of 317.

Looking forward to getting more Sellers on the market soon!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Reading Today - Time to Close Blaming Appraisers?

It's funny.....when we're about to close an escrow there is always a last minute scramble feel about it. I actually blogged it a few weeks ago.

There is also the 'blame-game', lender blames escrow, escrow blames lender. Too frequently they blame each other for a delay in closing.

Whatever....let's just close it already.

Today I read an article that states the appraisal process is what makes a 2 week closing take 6 weeks. Oh pleeze. Maybe the actual lender, stated by the article, only works their borrowers file for a total of 2-3 days during the escrow process. But, we have many other pieces of a huge puzzle that needs to be completed to close escrow on a home. MANY, I tell you!

While the appraisal process is challenging, and trust me, we blame them sometimes too, the loan has other challenges. The inspection process can be challenging. Getting through disclosures can be challenging. Negotiating repairs is a pain sometimes too. Just getting the buyers and sellers to turn in their paperwork can be a long process! Trust me, I know this.

Yet, it's all part of what needs to be done to close an escrow. When you've got so many people working on a huge project, buying/selling a home is huge, take your time. Get it done right, let everyone do their job without rushing through it. Rushing causes errors that we then have to fix before we can close.

Stop the 'blame-game', at least for your escrow. 
Let's just work together to solve any issues, and finish up a clean, tidy, escrow!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Options When Your Appraisal Comes In Low

I'm in the midst of a low appraisal right now. It's a beautiful home. The comps that I evaluated with my clients showed that what we agreed to was a fair price. The appraiser didn't think so.

This problem is a mutual problem for buyer and seller but the argument for the value falls on the listing agent.

You have a few options on how to deal with a value problem, we're selecting the fight the value with appraiser option.

A real estate purchase agreement generally gives the buyer an appraisal contingency. If it doesn't appraise at agreed to purchase price, buyer can cancel the contract without penalty.

Now, most buyers and sellers want a contract to stay together. That's why the buyer made the offer and seller accepted, right? Buyers want to buy the home, Sellers want to sell the home.

Options if the appraisal comes in low ~

1) Seller reduces purchase price.
2) Buyer brings in extra cash to close.
3) Split somewhere in the middle, or a variation there of.
4) Cancel the contract, which leaves the Seller with a BOM (Back On Market, Ugh)
5) Dispute the appraisal.

Since the listing agent, buyers, sellers, and myself, all see the value on the purchase price....we've elected to dispute the appraisal.

I've seen the appraisers report, she used some odd comps, didn't use others. So, listing agent is preparing a mathematical argument to the appraisers value. Bringing in comparable sales that are more appropriate, noting the upgrades, or lack of, with each property.

The listing agent has been selling in this particular community for 30 years. I would have to call her and her partner experts in this particular market. They've listed, sold, or viewed, the majority of what is for sale or sold in the neighborhood.

It's taking time, but the fight is worth it. My peeps want the home, listing agents peeps want to sell the home.....the appraiser my stick her ground, but it's worth the fight for sure!