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Archive for July, 2008

Down Payment Assistance Programs

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, July 31st, 2008


This could lead to a problem, not just in AZ, but also NV could be hit. We receive offers involving down payment assistance on a regular basis in both Arizona and Nevada. Essentially, the seller agrees to contribute 6% of the selling price to the buyer. 3% is used for the down payment and the remaining 3% is used for buyer closing cost. These programs have been used effectively throughout both states over the past 6-12 months. By taking these away, the federal government will be eliminating a major source of financing. I would estimate that 15-20% of offers we have received over the past 6 months have included some sort of down payment assistance program. While I agree with the author of the article that we will very likely see a quick spike in sales on the lower end, the question becomes at what cost? By eliminating one of the few viable financing resources available, the federal government might be putting more strain on the markets that need the most help.

Just before listing date

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

After all basic repairs have been completed and the property has been cleaned, I moved along to my virtual tour. I had the photographer take 12 still shots and 6 panoramic shots. For the scrolling panoramic shots, I chose the most important rooms in the house, front elevation, living, kitchen, master bath, balcony/views, and master bedroom. As with these shots and any other property shots, you want an abundance of light in the rooms being photographed. Avoid darker rooms w/out windows, etc…

After the virtual tour was completed and extra keys were made for the lockbox, the box was installed and the property was listed on the MLS. I am very particular about about the input of the MLS listing and what things I choose to put in the listing. In order to be competitive with competing properties, I am choosing to offer a 3% co broke to the buyer broker.

The listing itself does not require the buyer agent to contact me prior to showing the home. 24/7 the agent can visit the property at their leisure for a broker preview or with their clients. In the remarks, I chose to write a marketing piece about the views, community, etc… I uploaded the list of upgrades to the MLS by attaching this a PDF file to the MLS listing. This allows me to use my remarks in the best way possible, while stll being able to tell the other agent what upgrades have been added to the property through the use of the attachment. Finally, I uploaded the virtual tour and photos at the time of the listing date.

J. Andrew English – Real Estate Broker

Listing Prep – Prior to List Date

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, July 28th, 2008

Every few days I will add details regarding the step by step process of the listing process and what things you should be considering doing. The outline will reflect the details of a property I have for sale in the Austin, TX area. The first entry will concern those things which should be dealt with prior to your listing date.

Step 1: Minor Repairs – Investigate your property to determine what visible defects may deter the buyer from submitting an offer. Walk through the property and critique clutter, cosmetic appearance, basic functionality, etc… On the subject property, I noticed the following items.

Touch up paint throughout

Clutter in master bedroom

Burned out light bulbs

Air Filter needing replacement

Kitchen Counter Clutter

Pulling of weeds and other basic landscaping

Garbage disposal replacement

After completing these minor visible repairs, the next step I took was to have the property cleaned. This includes hardwood floors, granite, windows, etc… I will continue to have this service completed once every 2-3 weeks until the property closes escrow.

The last visible adjusment I made was adding a few new landscaping touches, such as potted plants outside the door and basic tree trimming. We are essentially preparing the property for our photos and virtual tour to be taken.

Selling my Property

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, July 25th, 2008

Over the next few weeks I will be outlining the step by step process of the listing and selling process of my property in Austin, TX. The goal will be to show sellers the different processes of getting the home ready, taking photos, filling out the MLS profile sheet, reviewing the listing, handling showings, acquiring feedback, receiving offers, negotiating offers, the escrow process, inspections, etc… all the way up until the close of escrow. Every few days I will write an entry on what is happening, how I am responding to those things, and what I am expecting in the upcoming days. By outline the home selling process from my point of view, sellers should be able to get a better understanding of the things they should be doing to sell their homes.

Anytime I sell a home, I always list it under our brokerage. Everything is always done under the Congress Realty name under our systems. I truly believe in our brand name and have had high success in selling all of my previous properties under the Congress Realty brokerage name. These entries will begin early next week outlining the step by step process all the way to closing.

Setting your home up for success

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

A common seller mistake is personalizing their home too much for showings. You want your buyer to envision their belongings, photos, paintings, etc.. throughout the house. Try to avoid magnets, photos, etc.. all over your fridge. Go easy on family photos and very unique art pieces in bedrooms. Remember, you want your buyer to envision themselves in the home, not you the seller. One way to do this is by eliminating clutter. While you may love that old couch upstairs in the loft, your buyer will not. By removing it, you are opening up the room and allowing the buyer to envision a game room or study area, etc… It’s all about the buyer being able to see themselves in your home. Another example is your master bathroom, keep toothbrushes, personalized towels, etc.. away from the eye’s viewpoint. Clear counter space of any personal items and store them away during showings.


J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

We are pleased to announce that J. Andrew English has been granted a Real Estate Broker license in the state of Nebraska. Congress Realty, Inc. has completed all paperwork for the secretary of state and is now ready to begin our expansion into Nebraska. We will begin by adding both the Lincoln MLS and Omaha MLS within the week. Our website will be updated with our Nebraksa information, listing forms, amongst other pertinent info in the upcoming days. We are extremely excited to bring our innovative programs to the many property owners of Nebraska.  If you have any questions, please contact Andrew at 800 657 6579 ext1.

Curb Appeal

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, July 21st, 2008

Much is made of staging and interior decorating for home showings. However, lets not forget that the very first thing your buyer will see is your exterior elevation when approaching your home. This is a combination of the home itself and landscaping. Your exterior should be kept clear of trash, weeds, receptacles, etc.. don’t leave cars parked out front, etc.. You never know when a drive by will see your sign out front, thus, when the home is on the market, the exterior should always be well manicured. (not just the day you take your front elevation picture)

Yards that are not well taken care of will almost immediately notify the potential buyer that the rest of the home hasn’t been cared for. You want to display a sense of pride in the property. When the buyer drives up to you property, you want that “wow” factor created by your front elevation.

NV HOA Resale Packages

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, July 18th, 2008

If you live in Nevada, you want to be aware of the HOA resale certificates Rules/Regs. To summarize, if you reside in a community with CC&R restrictions, you must provide a resale package to your buyer within 10 days of acceptance of the offer. To acquire this package, you simply contact your HOA and let them know that you need a resale package. They will then either mail this out to you or email it. Once you have the docs, fwd these on to your buyer.The point of this is to allow your buyer the opportunity to review the HOA docs prior to closing escrow. The resale package will include such things as the updated CC&R’s, updated budget, minutes of the last meeting ,etc… The key is that you give this to your buyer with ample time to review. In NV, this is the responsibility of the seller. This is a very important aspect of the transaction that can not be overlooked. If you do not reside in an HOA community, this is not something you need to worry about.

Arizona Sellers – How to prepare a BINSR Report

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, July 17th, 2008

During the escrow period, your buyer will most likely have an inspection completed on the property. They will do this during the due diligence time period. Once the inspection is completed, the buyer will either accept the premises, reject the premises, or accept the premises subject to the request repairs being completed. A buyer will submit this information on the BINSR document. (this document is available to all AZ sellers through the private client area)

The BINSR is a document that allows the buyer to state their wishes. If the buyer accepts the property in its current condition, they sign the doc stating this and nothing more is needed. If the buyer rejects the premises, the escrow is cancelled. If the buyer accepts the premises subject to repairs, the seller then can negotiate through the form of the BINSR. A seller can choose to make these repairs, offer a credit instead of making the repairs, decline to make the repairs, etc… the buyer will then be able to respond to the seller accordingly. All of these negotiations are done through the 3 page document known as the BINSR.  If you have any questions on how to fill out the BINSR doc or general questions about Arizona procedures, give us a call at 480 471 9393.

Earnest Money

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Earnest money is commonly referred to as a good faith deposit from the buyer. In the most simplest form, earnest money is the deposit used to open the escrow. Typically, earnest money is in the form of wire transfer or check and is deposited with the escrow officer. The funds are not held by the seller, but instead in a neutral escrow account. At close of escrow, the funds are applied to the purchase price on the final settlement statement.

The amount of earnest money offered can vary greatly on a # of factors. These include agreed purchase price, length of the escrow, type of property, other contingencies, etc.. How earnest money dsputes are handled varies by states. Each purchase contract can be different in how it outlines each parties duties within the transaction. Most often, the breaching party will be in default and will not retain the earnest money in the event of a cancellation. However, this can vary greatly by state and you should also pay very close attention to your individual purchase agreement. (as they can all be different) For state specific questions regarding earnest money, please email english@congressrealty.com for further details.