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Archive for August, 2009

Advice on new listings

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, August 28th, 2009

Three bits of advice I would give potential new sellers who are considering listing their property:

1) When you fax/email your listing docs, include your marketing remarks with the original information. This is your chance to boast about your property’s best features. Use this area to separate your property from the others by including specific information about your upgrades. Don’t simply write, “highly upgraded”, tell the buyer exactly what upgrades your property features.

2) Do not change your phone # during the listing period. When you pick a phone # to list as your main point of contact in your MLS listing, consider your future vacations, etc… Whatever phone# you choose to utilize on listing day 1, try to ensure this is a phone # you will have with you throughout the duration of the listing.

3) Add your photos to your listing as quickly as possible. Do not wait 3-4 weeks to add photos, try and your photos within 1 day of your listing going active.

HAR – Largest Association of Realtors in US

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Inman News is reporting that the Houston Association of Realtors(R) is now the largest association in the country. HAR has surpassed Long Island, totaling about 24,000 members. The positive of this for a seller is the centralization of so many Realtors(R) into one system. It allows a seller to expose their property to 24,000 different Realtors(R) by listing their property in one single MLS.  (HAR) My opinion is that this type of large single MLS system benefits the consumer much more than an area like LA, where you have 3 different MLS’s in one city.

So why wouldn’t a typical Realtor(R) prefer 1 single MLS as oppose to multiple systems in a given area? You end up with situations like NWMLS in Washington State. They have so much power they can essentially make up rules to increase revenue to the MLS anytime they wish. (forcing Realtors(R) to only use MLS lockboxes and assigning high dollar automatic fines to Realtors(R) for petty violations)

Arizona anti-deficiency statute update

Donald L. Plunkett, Jr. Donald L. Plunkett, Jr.
Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

With the budget mess in Arizona, it is not clear whether Gov. Brewer would veto a revision to the new bill SB 1271, the anti-deficiency bill which allows banks to go after you for a deficiency judgement unless you lived in the house for 6 months.  Many experts feel this bill will have a negative effect on investment properties, second homes, and investing in general in Arizona real estate.

The Arizona Association of REALTORS is pulling out all the stops and most of the local associations (Prescott, Central Arizona – Payson, Tucson, Phoenix, etc.) have emailed us with an urgent Call to Action.  They want us to contact the governor and urge her to sign HB 2008.

Here are the talking points on why SB 1271 is bad:

  • Removes any incentive for a lender to work with a borrower of a distressed loan
  • Places the burden solely on the borrowers, allowing banks to conduct “risky” lending without consequence.
  • Bankruptcy cases will increase dramatically since protection against deficiency judgment as been removed.
  • Family owned property for children going to college or elderly parents may lose their anti-deficiency protection if the trustor did not occupy the home for six consecutive months.

Leveraging the MLS monopoly – NW Arizona edition

Donald L. Plunkett, Jr. Donald L. Plunkett, Jr.
Monday, August 17th, 2009

We recently received a letter from the Bullhead City/ Mohave Valley Association of REALTORS® informing us that a new rule had been put into place.  ALL listings MUST have an ASSOCIATION lockbox installed.*  I put the asterisk there to indicate that if a seller refuses to have a lockbox on their property, they can a.) state in writing that they do not want one and b.) not have any other lockbox on their property (e.g. contractors lockbox), and still avoid incurring fines.  The lockbox vendor (GE) has been aggressively pushing this policy among many MLS’s.  It not only will cause more lockboxes to be purchased by agents, it will stifle any threat of competing lockboxes in those MLS areas, be it mechancial lockboxes or other electronic systems.  For instance, if one brokerage wanted to use a safe, competing electronic lockbox that only their agents could utilize, or if a group of luxury agents wanted to utilize their own private lockbox system, they would face fines.

We will comply with this and other rules.  We don’t really flinch when new rules like these are passed, we just adapt and continue to sell properties.  It is interesting, however, to see how companies like GE are able to tap into the local MLS monopoly and generate tons of money.  An agent in Bullhead City, Kingman, or Lake Havasu City, cannot say, “This rule is unfair,” and then quit the MLS.  They would be out-of-business, completely unable to sell residential real estate in Mohave County.  The MLS is so powerful that it has a degree of control over many aspects of the agent’s business (in this case, property access and lockboxes).

As a seller, this is just a demonstration of the MLS’s power in selling homes.  A seller should tap into this medium and take advantage of it, rather than fight it.  Just as you may not have liked the power Microsoft exhibited over the PC business when they were exhibiting what some would argue were monopoly-like forces, it still would have been wise to learn its products since most employers were utilizing them.  Over time, there may emerge competitors like Linux that provide an alternative, however, in residential real estate, this is many, many years away in my opinion.


J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Realtor.com is back up and working properly as of early this week. The photo issue was resolved as of Monday morning.

We have added two new features to the website. At the top right hand corner of the webpage, you will notice a link to our Twitter page. We will use this to alert everyone of new states we move into, new MLS’s we join, new MLS rules and regulations that affect our clients, as well as just everyday activities. We are thrilled to see that a handful of our current sellers have already started to follow our tweets.

The bottom right hand corner of the homepage will display our most recent blog entries. These will automatically update on the homepage after each new blog entry is published. This will help distribute important information to our clients as quickly as possible.

Realtor.com update

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, August 7th, 2009

As of 6pm this evening, Realtor.com’s photo tool is still not functioning properly. What this means is that agents can not log in to Realtor.com and manually add photos. This problem has been going on for the majority of this week. I was told this morning that the problem would be fixed by later today. (after being told yesterday it would be fixed by last night)

To work around this problem, we are reliant upon the MLS feeding the photos to Realtor.com. (some do some do not) Unfortunately, every agent across the country is suffering this same problem with Realtor.com right now.

Update: 7pm Realtor.com states this problem will be fixed by early this weekend.

Real Estate Gurus

Donald L. Plunkett, Jr. Donald L. Plunkett, Jr.
Thursday, August 6th, 2009

We list properties for investors on a daily basis.  The flat fee MLS program is perfect for them because they are 100% capable and experienced in selling properties and prefer to negotiate deals themselves.  We also get questions from prospective investors of where to get started.  You need to be very careful.  There are far more books, seminars, mentoring services, etc. we DON’T recommend than the few books that we do recommend.  Much of what the purported real estate gurus teach you is either illegal or unethical, and almost none of what they teach will work in the real world.  The most comprehensive rating of the gurus out there is available at real estate author John T. Reed’s website.