North Texas Real Estate Blog

Aug. 19, 2017

Don't Be Like That

Why won't you buy my house

Why won't anyone buy our house?

When a perfect plan falls apart...

This has been a great year for me and for the area real estate. I love this business and I love what I do. However, it is not all butterflies and rainbows. There are times when transactions fall apart. I've written previously about some of the things that can kill a deal

I have recently encountered a troubled listing and want to open up about it, so that potential seller's can benefit. These sellers encountered a series of unfortunate events. One could write a book about as long as the original one with that title about issues that crop up when selling a home. Sadly, most of the problems on this particular home sale could have been prevented.

Root Cause Analysis...

There is a method of problem-solving in software development called root cause analysis. It is where the team examines the errors in a program to determine how they originated and how to prevent the problems from repeating. This same method can be applied to a home sale.

Examining this particular troubled listing, shows that it fell apart because of negligence - plain and simple negligence. The owners did not routinely maintain the home. Inspections repeatedly showed issues from simple and basic, to complex and costly. Buyers, having seen the lengthy inspection report, got worried and moved on to a different home.

A Tarnished Reputation...

Once a listing goes under contract, then goes back on the market, then goes under contract, then back on the market, and on and on, it begins to develop a reputation. Many buyers get anxious and leery about it. A buyer begins to wonder why no one else wanted the home time and time again. They are more apt to back out at the slightest hint of a problem – even if it is solvable.

Now, with a tarnished reputation, the home sells for less than it should.

Lessons Learned...

Another tool I learned from my project management experience is to take a step back at the end of a project and record the lessons learned. This is done for the benefit of the next project and published for other teams so they can prevent mistakes. In that same way, I want to publish my client's experience so that other homeowners can benefit from it.

If you are thinking about selling your home, you will focus a lot on the presentation of what a buyer initially sees. That is extremely important to do, but it is only the cover of the book. The judging comes later. Buyers are going to have the home inspected. You won't be able to hide the condition of your home behind a curtain or rug.

Make sure that you keep your reputation clean from start to finish. Perform routine maintenance on your home. Make repairs and updates as necessary. Don't wait until it is too late.

Help is Here...

I have mentioned my software background a few time in this article. It is fitting that I end it with some software tools that help you get the job done. There are some great websites and smartphone apps out there that can assist you in successful home ownership. Check them out – and then use them. You will have a better living experience both now while you are living in the place, and later when you are ready to sell.

Bright Nest Bright Nest is a nifty app for your smart phone. You install it, set up a few items and let the app do the rest. It brings you tips and how-to information, gives you a schedule of when to do certain things. My current item is to clean out my refrigerator. That is why I am here writing this blog post - it is called avoidance. Yeah, they are not fun tasks. That is why they are called "tasks" and not "delights". It is necessary though. Trust me, when you are ready to sell your home, you will be glad you followed a plan.

Download this app either for apple or android.

 

If smartphone apps are not your thing, then look at some of these articles on home maintenance. This one from Texas A&M offers some great advice on home repair and lists out how long you should expect household items to last. It will help you budget for the inevitable. 

I also found this awesome calendar checklist. It gives you a maintenance schedule that you should follow on a monthly basis. The company is based in Michigan so ignore the basement talk. 

Finally, Homespot takes it a step further by getting you signed up on the web and sending you regular reminders on home maintenance. This is great for busy homeowners who won't always remember to check the app or a checklist on their own. It puts the request right in your inbox! 

Ready To Sell...

When you are ready to sell contact me. I can give you a professional assessment of your home's value in today's market. Together we will work to make your home sale a complete success!

 

Posted in Selling a Home
July 9, 2017

Do you think that credit score app is legit?

Should you rely on a credit score app when you are ready to buy a home?

I am not writing this to denounce the online credit apps out there. Rather, I want to set expectations about your credit score and your ability to qualify for a mortgage loan. You see, those nifty apps you can get on your phone, Quizzle, CreditKarma, CreditSesame, etc. are excellent indicators of your credit. However, the scoring models that they use are not the same models that lenders use. When you are ready to buy a house - you want to rely on the same models that banks use. 

What is the difference between the credit models?

The online credit tracking services use a scoring model called Vantage. The majority of mortgage lenders use the FICO scoring model. Both methods will give you very similar results/scores. The difference is the means that they use to get there. There will be varying differences between the models and the scores that they produce. It is pretty safe to say that a person with poor credit will reflect poor scores with both models. Similarly, a person with excellent credit will shine on both systems. 

The difference comes down to what do you want to do with the information. If you just want to track your score, protect yourself from identity thieves, and quickly catch errors, then you may want to consider using one of these apps. If you are ready to buy a home, then you need to talk to a lender. A lender will look at your FICO score and make recommendations on how to improve it to qualify for the best loan products. It is important that your actions to improve your credit will reflect most favorably on the FICO model. 

Do you know the best way to improve your credit score? 

Your mortgage broker does. This is why I always suggest my buyer clients begin talking to a lender several months ahead of buying a home. When mortgage lenders make inquiries on your credit, they have very little if any impact on the credit score. However, the plan that they give you to improve your score will have a tremendous impact. 

Paying off credit cards may sound like a great plan. However, your lender may have other suggestions. They may propose getting your credit balances to a more favorable percentage across the board. They know all the ins and outs of achieving optimal credit worthiness.

 Are you ready to buy a home?

Start with a plan. Do you need a plan? I've got one

I often write about buying a home. It is my passion and I love helping others reach the goal of home ownership, whether that be buying for the first time, upsizing, or downsizing. I've covered it all and will make sure that you have a great experience. 

One of the first things I will tell you if you will be taking out a mortgage, is to find out about your credit. The best way to do that is to talk to a lending expert. Now that you know what you can afford, check out the homes that suit your needs right here

 

 

 

May 23, 2017

Have You Been In Limbo?

Deciding on house

You are not alone!

Chances are, if you are putting your home on the market, you are not the only one. We see it especially this time of year as the school year ends - a lot of homes hit the market. We also see a lot of buyers out there looking at homes. Here in Texas, we have a great housing market, and 2017 has been a banner year. 

However, just because it is a seller's market, and spring season, does not mean that EVERY home is going under contract in a matter of hours. That happens at certain price points but not all of them. This often causes confusion and frustration on the part of the seller. 

What really happens in the market?

There is a phenomenon that happens when several homes hit the market in a single neighborhood. Some of these homes go quickly and some wait a long time to get sold. What is causing this? It is all about PRICE and PREPARATION. The homes that are priced competitively and staged/repaired expertly are the ones that sell. Homes that are priced just a bit higher than its counterparts, or homes that need new carpet or a coat of paint, sit on the market. They actually drive buyers to the better homes. This graphic illustrates my point. The homes in the white zone - the limbo zone - are just not good enough compared to the other homes on the market. Buyers who view these homes, choose the homes in green over them. They choose them because they are better priced and move-in ready. (The homes in RED clearly belong to owner's that really don't want to sell)

Avoid limbo land

Lucky for you, I have a plan!

Before I list a property, I have my seller's check out the competition. I only want to work with sellers interested in being in the green. You can't have success if you are in limbo. We will scrutinize each available home and determine how we compare. 

We will analyze the pricing and trends to pinpoint the best price for your home. I bring in a staging professional to make sure that your home stands out in the crowd. We will also review any deferred maintenance that needs attention before your home hits the market. 

We repeat this evaluation on a weekly basis until your house sells. 

Are you ready to sell your home? 

Check out some of my other articles on selling a home. Request my Seller's Guide. Then give me a call and we can discuss our plan to keep you out of limbo.

 

 

Posted in Selling a Home
May 4, 2017

The Dark Side of Selling Your Home

Why I don't sell a home before it publicly lists

I call it the dark side of the industry - owners persuaded to sell their home before it is put on the market. Somehow people have been convinced that this is a good thing. Agents actually brag about selling a house before it hits the market. I don't do it and I don't think it is good for home owners. Who actually benefits when a home is sold before it is listed publicly?  Let's break it down and see where the benefit lies when a home is sold before entering the market.

Does the seller benefit by selling their home before hitting the market?

It should be glaringly obvious that the seller does not benefit financially to sell their home before exposing it to the entire pool of buyers in the market. It may sound exciting - even brag-worthy. The truth is, the only benefit is that the seller doesn't have to clean the house and be displaced for showings. There is no financial benefit at all. Since the entire pool of buyers was not aware of the home, the seller cannot be sure that he got the highest and best offer. There are a lot of qualified buyers out there, many willing to pay over asking price and some offering better terms than others. In my opinion, the seller loses the most in this situation. When I represent a seller, I will not allow the home to be sold until maximum exposure is given to the property.

Does the buyer benefit by purchasing a home before it hits the market?

This one is a bit tricky. I do believe that in some cases a buyer can benefit by finding a home that has not hit the market yet. It is often difficult for some buyers to purchase a home when a home sells in a matter of hours - for over asking price - to cash buyers. Some buyers can't compete with that. In those cases, if a buyer has an opportunity to purchase a home before the competition, then they should. I have often scoured neighborhoods looking for unlisted homes for my buyers. However, there are other times where this is not the case. Often, buyers are better off letting the market show the seller that the price is off target. A well-timed offer to a desperate seller can put the buyer in the driver's seat of a great home purchase.

Does the agent benefit by bringing their buyer to their seller client before the home hits the market?

Yes. This is exactly why I don't do it. It goes against the agent's responsibility to the client. I've always been told to follow the money. My investigation into this practice has revealed that the agent benefits the most in this situation. My source tells me that a particular large brokerage chain actually pays their agents a higher rate to bring their own buyers to their listings. In doing this, the agent is profiting more than if they had exposed the listing to the market. Not only that, they are collecting commission fees for services barely rendered.  And bragging about it. This is the dark side to the industry. Granted, it is possible for a broker to have a listing client and a buyer client that mutually fit together. It is possible that after maximum exposure, the best situation for both buyer and seller is within a single brokerage. It does happen, but it should be handled carefully.

 

 

 

 

 

April 24, 2017

Does It Make Sense To Sell Your Home?

Making sense of selling your home

Making The Smart Decision To Sell

Once you have made the decision to sell your home, you should examine your finances and determine if you can afford to get your house ready to enter the market. In order for your house to sell for top-dollar, it must beat out the competition. Otherwise, you will only drive buyers to other people's homes.

Next, ask an experienced real estate agent like myself for a comparative market analysis to make sure you know the value of your home in its current state and its improved state. This should also include an analysis of the costs to sell your home. Once you have these numbers you can deduct any liens on the property, such as a mortgage note, and determine your home equity.

Finally, if you've lived in the home less than 2 years consult your accountant about possible capital gains implications.

Now that you have examined the financial aspects of selling your home, you should feel confident in moving forward. Start right here to make your plans to get your home on the market. When you are ready, contact me to get started. 

Posted in Selling a Home
April 6, 2017

Allen Texas 2017 Quarterly Report

1st Quarter Results Are In!

Yes. It is good to see the market thriving like it is. It is one of the many reasons we love Texas and we love the Allen area. Take a look at the report here. If you need these same details for any other community in the North Texas area, just send me a request. I'd be happy to provide all the information you need.

 

March 29, 2017

12-Question Survey On Selling Your Home

Are you sure you are ready to sell your home?

How Can You Know If You Are Ready To Sell?

Whenever the “hot market” buzz takes over, it is tempting to put your home on the market to see what happens. If you believe that homes all around you are selling like hotcakes, then yours should too. Right?

Even in a crazy hot market, there are homes that sit on the market longer than they should and there are homes that do not sell at all – even ones right next door to a home that sold in a matter of hours.

A “hot market” is not necessarily a reason for YOU to sell YOUR home.

Let's separate the frenzy from the fact and determine if you are really ready to sell your home. Take a look at this handy checklist and see how your prospect of selling looks for YOU.

Checklist To Determine If You Should Sell Your Home

How Did You Do?

If you answered YES to many of these questions then you are likely ready to make it happen. Give me a call for a complimentary evaluation of your home. I've got an incredible marketing plan that gives my clients the most success in any market.

 

 

Posted in Selling a Home
March 15, 2017

Fish on Friday

Silver Spoon Fish

Looking for the best fish in Collin County for Lent?

During the Lenten season, many Christians spend the time fasting. It is traditional to abstain from eating meat on Fridays. You can read about the tradition here and here.  If you are looking for a great place to eat fish during Lent, look no further than the Silver Spoon in Allen. This wonderful little Pakistani restaurant in West Allen has been a great addition to the area. I've added it to my growing list of favorite places to eat in Collin County.

Ever since the guys from Silver Spoon have settled in the area, I have become obsessed with this fish dish. Friday or any day. Season of Lent or any other season of the year. I eat this fish about once a week. If I weren't so afraid of being judged by the wonderful and welcoming owner, (he already knows me and my hubs as regulars) I would probably be in there 3 times a week. 

About this fish - it is absolutely perfect. It is perfectly seasoned and perfectly crusted. The flavor is not strong or "fishy" but delicate. Served over a bed of fluffy biryani rice, this dish is altogether satisfying. The lunch plate comes with a bonus of two samosas. I've only had the beef samosas, but they do have a veggie version so you can keep your meat-fast on Friday. 

Reasons to celebrate on Friday

Many great things happen on Friday. It signals the end of the work week for many. It brings on a great reason to hit up my favorite fish joint. And it heralds a fresh batch new homes to hit the market. Check out the newest listings in Collin County right here. If you find a home you want to see, just let me know. Once I finish my fish plate, I will be there to help you out. 

 

Posted in Around Town
March 3, 2017

A Buyer's Checklist

how to buy a house

A Complete Checklist From Beginning To End

Buying a home can be an overwhelming task, especially for a first-time buyer. That is why I have developed a checklist to help you understand what you need to do to accomplish your goal of home ownership. 

Before You Start

Before you even begin your house hunt, get these tasks knocked out. If you are taking out a mortgage you need to seek approval from a lender. It is important to know what you can afford, what you feel comfortable spending, and what may need to be done in the next 30-60 days to get your credit in the best shape possible. I have a great source of reliable lenders right here. Once you start looking you will want to keep in mind the 10 commandments of obtaining a home loan.

Next, find a great and local REALTOR® to represent you. The agent you use will greatly impact your home purchase. Don't go it alone as you need someone advocating for you. I suggest that you interview a few agents and find the one that you feel most comfortable with. Here is a list of 7 critical questions to ask your potential agent.

Now that you have enlisted an agent that you are confident in using, sit down and discuss your game plan. Let your agent know your price range, your desired home features, your timeframe and anything important to you. Talk about your schedule, how it will work to set up showings, the logistics of your household. Let your agent know your level of experience in buying a home. Get ready - it is about to get REAL!

Find and Purchase a Great Home

Steps to buying a home

If your agent is up to date on current technology, you should start receiving daily notices of homes that hit the market and price changes on properties that meet your criteria. Make sure that these notices are from the actual local MLS and not one of the national portals. The national portals tend to lag behind the actual market. (No sense in getting excited about a home that is not even for sale) You can start your own search right here

Work with your agent to have the right tools on your smart phone to effectively interact together. I like to make sure my clients are using a good mortgage tool and a good property tool. I also provide access to school and neighborhood statistics on the spot as we tour homes. 

Get your finances ready to get a contract. Your agent should explain to you the money that will be needed immediately after securing a contract on a home. It moves pretty quickly when an offer is accepted, so it is best to be prepared prior to the frenzy that starts at contract time. 

Tour homes with your agent and negotiate an offer on your favorite. This is where careful selection of your real estate agent comes in to play. Make sure that you understand the actual value of the property and that your agent knows how to win in a bidding war. Congratulations! You've bought a home, but there is much more to do...

From Contract to Close

Checklist to purchase a home 

Now that you have a contract to purchase a home it is time to do the most important work - make sure the home is right for you. Start with an inspection and negotiate any needed repairs on a home. Then do further due diligence such as investigating further any issues brought up at the first inspection, having the home appraised to be sure you didn't pay too much, verify the survey and easements on the property, get assurance that the title can be transferred to your ownership, and look over the HOA rules if there are any. 

Once you know that the home is good, start to plan your move. Hire movers and transfer utilities. Perform a final walk thru and verify that all the repairs that you negotiated have been completed. Gather all the required items you need for the closing. Sign the paperwork and get the keys to your new home. Your new journey is about to start!

I've Got This!

I love working with buyers and have these and so many other great tools and resources to help you along the way. As a buyer, you don't typically pay anything for my services. I can't imagine a better deal. You can download this complete checklist here. When you are ready to get started just give me a call

checklist for buying a home

Feb. 15, 2017

Seven Critical Questions To Ask Your Agent

You Can't Trust One Of The Largest Purchases You Make To Just Anyone

How can you ensure that the agent you recruit is qualified to guide you with the biggest financial decision you will make – one that will impact your next 5 -10 years?

Unfortunately, many people choose a real estate professional based on the idea that all agents are basically the same. They sign with the first agent that comes along, only to realize too late that they should have shopped around.

The following questions are designed to help you avoid that mistake by equipping you with what to look for when selecting an agent to represent you.

Once you have compiled a list of names referred to you based upon a great experience, use this guide to help you determine which agent is best for YOU. We recommend interviewing at least 2-3 real estate agents. 

Download The Questionnaire

Download my free question sheet here. No strings attached. No form to fill out. 

Ask Your Agent These Important Questions Before You Enlist Their Help

Can you send me some information about yourself? Look for professionalism and consistency. Do an internet search and find out if they have a presence online. Check out their website, blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, etc.

How do you approach your work with buyers? Look for a businessperson that has a strategy to match the current market conditions. Find out if you will be working with the same person from start to finish. If there is a team involved, interview all the people you will work with along the way.

How many homes have you closed in the last 12 months? Be sure that the agent is active and selling homes full time. Also be sure to distinguish between personal performance and brokerage performance. A good rule of thumb is a minimum of 10 - 15 transactions for an agent. Why settle for less?

How long have you been in business? Albert Einstein once said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” Longevity in this business does not always translate to success but you should look for someone who has been in the industry for a minimum of three years. The fall-out ratio for agents in the business less than three years is 80%.

What will you do to keep me informed? Do you want daily or weekly reports from your agent? Will this person be able to accommodate your expectations? Determine what you expect during the transaction process, express that to your agent, and find one that will give you the attention and the time that you deserve.

What is the best way to get in touch with you? You should know exactly how to get through to your agent or agent's assistant.

How will you best represent my interests? What if I want to buy a home where you represent the seller? Absolutely do not hire someone that you don't believe will represent YOUR best interests at all times. Have the agent give you examples of how they represent their client. Remember that finding the home is the easy part, true representation begins when you sign a contract and continues through negotiation and closing. 

Ready When You Are!

I would be happy to talk to you and answer these or any other questions you have about buying or selling a home. Feel free to give me a call or inquire via email to get the process started. I have the tools and resources you need for success in this market. I look forward to hearing from you. 

 

Posted in Buying a Home