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Archive for November, 2008

The single most important aspect of selling your home

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, November 24th, 2008

The local MLS. It’s as simple as that. Not Realtor.com, not Zillow, not Trulia, Craigslist, etc…. The local MLS. The local MLS accounts for nearly 80% of all existing home sales and nearly 95% of all home sales through a Realtor(R). Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and Zillow all together combine to account for less than 5% of all existing home sales. So why is this?

The local MLS is a local database for local Realtors(R) to exchange information about property for sale. Let’s look at an example, if I own a property in Santa Cruz County Arizona, why do I want to be in the Santa Cruz MLS if I feel that my buyer will come from New York? Simple, your New York buyer gets online and begins his/her search. Websites that pull back Santa Cruz properties are pulling from the local Santa Cruz MLS. As a result,  thousands of 3rd party feeds are coming straight from the Santa Cruz MLS. Secondly, if the online viewer contacts an agent, there is about 99% chance he/she is going to call a local Santa Cruz expert. However, let’s say they don’t. Let’s say they contact their local Coldwell Banker office in New York. That office will immediately refer the client to the local Coldwell Banker office in Santa Cruz. (or some other affiliate) The#’s don’t lie. More properties sell through the local MLS than any other method of advertising.

Listing your property for Lease

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, November 21st, 2008

Almost all MLS’s across the country have a for sale section and for lease section of the MLS. These areas are two completely different searchable databases. An agent with a potential buyer will obviously search the for sale area of the MLS. On the other hand, tenant brokers will scour the for lease section of the MLS. The lease section of the MLS is a powerful tool for owners looking to cash flow a property. I can almost assure you that you will have greater success in locating a tenant through the lease area of the MLS than posting newspaper ads, signs, etc.. The lease area of the MLS works in the same fashion as the for sale area. The only difference is that the lease area will disclose to the tenant broker certain deposits that are required, restrictions of use, (such as smoking) etc… Commissions are paid in a similar style as well. For example, a property owner can pay the tenant broker a flat fee amount or a % of the gross lease. This amount will differ and can depend upon the length of the lease as well as the amount. Everything else in the listing is the same. The listing will transfer to Realtor.com, Craigslist, etc.. still have photos, marketing remarks,  and so forth. Placing your property for lease in the MLS is just another way you utilize Congress Realty’s listing service to help save money.

New Home Construction

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, November 20th, 2008

If you’re in the market for a home or will be in the upcoming next 12 months. I highly suggest taking a look at new home construction. First, completely disregard the advertised builder price. It means nothing to you. Think of it this way, when you are negotiating with an individual seller who is in financial trouble, you are negotiating with someone who probably only has to sell that one property. On the other hand, when you’re negotiating with a builder, that builder may have 500 existing units throughout the state they need to unload. I can assure you, that same builder has much more incentive to start moving inventory off the books than the individual seller. Many new construction homes througout the west are selling at prices drastically below list prices. It sounds crazy, but you can actually buy new construction at REO prices if you do your homework and you’re willing to be patient. Call us for more information and our buyer rebate program at 800 657 6579.

Seasonal Volume dropping in Las Vegas as expected

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

As is the case nearly every winter, the # of properties being listed in Las Vegas is beginning to drop. Today alone there have been less than 35 properties listed in the Vegas MLS. (by any brokerage) Typically by this time of day it would near 100. As a seller,I want to sell my property when the competition is lowest in number. Here is an example of how I took advantage of this situation 2 winters ago in Boise, ID.

I tried to sell an investment property in Kuna, ID in the summer of 2006. I had no luck because of the vast # of listings available during this time period. As winter approached, I noticed that many of the properties I was previously competing against had either sold, expired, or been withdrawn. I placed my property back on the market the day after thanksgiving when there was only 1 other property in the subdivision. Upon receiving an offer within 1 week, I negotiated the close of escrow to be prior to Jan 1st. By doing this, I was ensuring my buyer would close before the new year. I knew that the new year always brought on a large increase in inventory. Basically, I wanted my buyer to close before the selection of properties he had to choose from was going to increase. (my competition)

In short, as a seller, don’t get caught up in seasonal sale figures. Instead, monitor your competition closely and make your decisions based upon competing properties.

Montana FHA Loan Limits going down in 2009

Donald L. Plunkett, Jr. Donald L. Plunkett, Jr.
Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

We received a note from Western Security Bank in Billings that the FHA limits for Yellowstone County are going down to $271,050 in 2009 (from $292,250)  If your home is in the upper $200’s to low $300’s, you need to seriously consider listing your property now before the potential negative impact of this change.  There is still time to get a property listed, under contract, in escrow for around 30 days, and sold by the end of the year.

Redding, California added to our coverage area

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

The Shasta County MLS in Northern California has been added to our coverage area. By the end of today, Redding homeowners will be able to request and download MLS paperwork from our list now page specific to Shasta County. Tehama County California will also be available through our list now page shortly. We are very pleased to offer Redding Flat Fee MLS Listings through Congress Realty. If you have any questions on Redding or other areas we might be adding in the future, please contact us at 800 657 6579 or via email at info@congressrealty.com

Homeowners can be Fantastic Negotiators

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, November 17th, 2008

When it comes to negotiating price, For Sale By Owners can and more often than not do negotiate the best possible price on their own behalf. The reason? They don’t have a 3rd party in the deal influencing their own decision. Especially a 3rd party who is seeking a payment that is contingent upon a deal being closed. Seller’s who aren’t in a position “of having” to sell can be very strong negotiators. This past week alone we had 2 written complaints from buyer agents concerning one of our sellers negotiating a price above current market value. In both instances, the agent had represented the buyer in the transaction and had allowed their client to agree to our seller’s price. The wonderful thing about both of these situations is that our seller out negotiated both of the agents on price.

How did they do it? Simple, they were willing to walk away from the deal. If the buyer agent has invested many hours driving their client around, writing offers, etc… they are likely to want to close the deal. The minute they realize the seller is willing to walk away from an offer, they become more inclined to invite their client to pony up the additional cash.

Reasonably Priced Homes are Selling in Flagstaff

Donald L. Plunkett, Jr. Donald L. Plunkett, Jr.
Monday, November 17th, 2008

There is a nine month supply of homes in the under $350,000 range; this is above the six or fewer months worth of homes that is preferrable but far below the amount available in the higher price ranges.  What we are seeing in Flagstaff is that home prices are adjusting to levels that match up with local incomes.

Some Realtor comments:

“From a seller’s standpoint, what I see in this market as selling quickly are properties that are priced aggressively, that are very clean and that are easy to get into.  A property will sell in a week that is like that.”
Valerie Caro, Realtor with Common Goal Realty

Another thing going on is that people are chasing the prices that are priced at the very lowest levels on the MLS, “You wouldn’t believe how many calls I got on a $135,000 cabin I had in Parks.”
Jim Snook, Realtor

Realtor.com – NAR Press Release

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, November 14th, 2008

In the past 48 hours, rumors have been circulating all over the internet about FSBO’s and Realtor.com. NAR has issued a official press release putting these rumors to bed. Per NAR, a FSBO can not be listed on Realtor.com without first being listed on a local MLS system. In order to be listed on the local MLS, it must be listed by a licensed broker. (such as Congress Realty or Remax, Prudential, etc..)

If anyone attempts to tell you differently or advertises this information in a misleading manner, please reference the press release below. We know you have many different options available out there in listing your home and we want everyone to have the most accurate updated information possible. Please do not be fooled by any company or individual who states they will place your home on Realtor.com without first listing the property on the MLS.

http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2008111301

Job Losses contributing towards foreclosures

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Declining prices aren’t the only thing driving the increase in foreclosures. As the economy weakens, more and more homeowners are finding themselves unable to make their payments…even when they want to.  Areas of Detroit and Ohio are being hit especially hard. Originally, predatory lending and other lending mistakes were blamed for the large increase in foreclosures. Now, job loss is the driving force behind many foreclosures throughout much of the country.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/11/04/real_estate/job_losses_fuel_foreclosure/index.htm?postversion=2008110705