buyer (28)

Finding the Elusive Starter Home

Finding that Elusive Starter Home

Starter-Home-300x169.jpg?width=300The past few years have brought several changes in the real estate industry. The housing bust of 2006-08 led many people to either sell or walk away from their home. As the market is continuing to rebound, many investors have scooped up homes at affordable prices and are offering them as rental properties. In addition, other investors have bought homes at discounted prices with the sole intention of selling them at near-full value for a profit. So the question remains; how does a first time homebuyer find an affordable starter home?

Consider a Different Location

Too many times a young person or couple will buy a home in hopes of expanding their family. That leads to choosing a home that is convenient to good schools, nearby shopping and plenty of entertainment activities. However, for people that may be a few years away from starting a family, the location should be different. Buying a home within the city limits, for example, where the owners can be extremely close to work, could be a better fit.

Consider an Older Property

Younger people often get caught up in the dream of buying a new home and settling in with the smell of fresh paint and recently rolled carpet. However, new homes usually have a much higher price than older homes.

While it is true that an older home may either need a bit of repair before purchase or more maintenance compared to a newer home, the savings in purchase price can often offset the repairs and maintenance expense. In addition, young ambitious people may be able to tackle some, or all, of the maintenance and repairs on their own which can save them more money in the long run.

Tone Down Expectations

A starter home is simply a way for most people to get experience with the entire home buying process. This means that potential buyers should look at the home as a learning experience. Most individuals can get by with far fewer amenities than what they are accustomed to. Or, instead of giving up nice amenities, it is possible to buy a much smaller home and save up for a bigger home in the future.

Have Financing in Order

Since there seems to be a bit of competition for starter homes it is wise to have the financing in place before looking for a home. Putting an offer on a home with a firm pre-approval letter from a local mortgage lender will make the whole process smoother and give you a better chance of getting your offer accepted.

It may take some time, but with a little patience and realistic expectations a qualified borrower can find that starter home that will set them on the path to achieving their financial dreams.

↓↓Start your home search today!↓↓

[Janesville Area]

[Madison Area]

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Rock Realty Client Testimonials

"Mike is simply the best Real Estate agent I have ever dealt with!!!He sold my house in such a short time which is what I needed to move quickly..I would recommend him to anyone who is looking to buy or sell a home..very honest and caring person..Explained everything to me so that I could understand exactly what I would need..He went above and beyond in my Real Estate closing.....always got back to me immediately with any questions I was asking...super person!! He takes care of his PEOPLE! Which is hard to find today!! Thanks again Mike...I really appreciate all your hard work!! Definitely referring you to all I know!"

Cindy J. (Janesville, WI 53545)
Rock Realty Home Seller Client

Rock Realty Client Testimonials

Thanks for the compliments, and Congratulations Cindy on the sale of your home! Congrats to Michael Collins on another successful Rock Realty closing!

Are you considering purchasing property in the Janesville Wisconsin area? Click below to start your home search!

Janesville, WI Real Estate

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Rock Realty Client Testimonials

"Michael Collins did the impossible he SOLD my house! When I put my house for sale everything that could go wrong did but Michael never gave up and did everything he could to sell my house. I recommend Michael Collins if your looking for a real estate agent! He is hard working and trustworthy!"

Michelle M. (Madison, WI 53704)
Rock Realty Seller Client

Rock Realty Client Testimonials

Thanks for the compliments, and Congratulations to Michelle on the short sale of your home! Congrats to Michael Collins on another successful closing!

Are you considering purchasing property in the Madison Wisconsin area? Click below to start your home search!

Madison, WI Real Estate

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Milton Wisconsin Home Sold

Lake-Lot-in-Edgerton-WI.jpg?width=300Just Sold! 1303 E Koshkonong Dr, Milton Wisconsin 53534

We are happy to announce a recent home closing in Milton, Wisconsin. Although, this bank owned home may be a tear down, the lot and location really were ideal. Being just steps away from Lake Koshkonong made this REO property a super buy, listed at just $34,650. Congratulations to our Rock Realty buyer, Keith! We can't wait to see what you do with this great lake lot in Milton!

If you are thinking of selling or buying a home in Wisconsin, our home buyer specialists would be happy to assist you. Give Rock Realty a call at 877-774-7625. We are a full service real estate brokerage.

 Madison Wisconsin MLS ListingsMadison, WI Homes for Sale


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Rock Realty Client Testimonials

"We found Mike online, and, due to positive reviews, phoned him with a request to view houses in the Madison area. We gave Mike no more than one or two days notice, but he was happy to devote the whole of his weekend to us. Our entire house-hunting experience proceeded in similar fashion. We were hunting for houses long distance, so we would wait until an opportunity to travel to Madison presented itself, phone Mike, giving him one or two days to prepare, and show up to view houses. The process took roughly one year to complete. It was long and difficult, but Mike was always pleasant, never complained, made an effort to make himself immediately available, and was never pushy.

Mike is not like many real estate agents who simply want to make a sale, any sale. Instead, Mike made an effort to help us make an honest assessment of the properties we viewed, often pointing out problems himself. Mike left us with no doubt of his honesty and his dedication to his clients.

In addition, since we were shopping long-distance, Mike, with some help from his associate Bethany (who we found to be similarly pleasant and eager to be of service), even took hundreds of high definition photos of properties which he viewed in our stead, often with only a single day's notice. Mike, or one of his associates, would then promptly email the photos to us to view.

During the house-hunting process we changed our minds a number of times, imposed last minute requests, and even had some near melt-downs, but, through it all, Mike was responsive, cheerful, and level-headed. We cannot overstate how hard Mike worked on our behalf. We highly recommend him to any home buyers."

Graham S. & Janet H. (Middleton, Wisconsin 53562)
Rock Realty Home Buyer Client

Rock Realty Client Testimonials

Thanks for the compliments, and Congratulations on your new home Graham & Janet!

Looking to purchase a home in Wisconsin?? Contact Rock Realty! We would love to help!!

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Rock Realty Client Testimonials

"Mike & Matt,

Thank you so much for helping us find our dream home! We love it! Thank you for the many hours spent in research, travel, phone calls, and emails. Thank you for being open & honest with us every step of the way! We felt we could trust you 100%. We really enjoyed working with you and highly recommend you to others.


Kevin & Abby G. (Madison, WI)
Rock Realty Home Buyer Client

Rock Realty Client Testimonials

Thanks for the compliments, and Congratulations on your new home Kevin & Abby!

Looking to purchase a home in Wisconsin?? Contact Rock Realty! We would love to help!!

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Rarely Discussed Tips for Buying that First House

Lots of solid information is available online that discusses items for first time home buyers such as choosing the right loan, working with a reputable lender, and arranging a proper budget. While those items are very important, there are some other items that don't get the same publicity but deserve great attention.


Buyer Beware

It cannot be stressed enough: there is no such thing as a perfect home. One home that seems to have a great outside appearance may need significant work on the inside. Another home that is appealing both indoors and out could be located in a terrible neighborhood. Take some time to look over the home as closely as you can. Ask some friends or relatives to come by and inspect the place. If something looks wrong, consult with a professional inspector.

Don't Sign Something that is Unclear

Most people that are buying a home for the first time are not aware that there are LOTS of forms to sign. This does not mean you should sit at the closing and closely read every single word. Many of these items are simply legal documents designed to protect the borrower. However, it also does not mean you should be confused about the process. During the closing process, ask the closing agent or your lender questions about the paperwork that you are signing to be sure you understand everything.

Allow for Improvements and Vacations

Very few people buy a home and leave everything as it sits for the duration of their home ownership. Most people like to add variety by changing out the carpet, adding fresh paint and updating the appliances and light fixtures. All of these things take money, whether they are done now or 5 years from now. Don't pick a home that is at the edge of your affordability. Leave some room for making a few improvements as well as saving up for the occasional vacation.

Don't Buy With Just Your Heart

It is true that most people will live in a home for a number of years. For this reason, they need to be quite happy with the major features of the property. However, falling in love with a property that is over an hour away from your job will make your commute quite tough, and add misery to your life. It is important to find a home that makes you happy and is practical for your situation.


photo credit: joelplutchak via photopin cc

Avoid Unpleasant Features

Just as some people fall in love with a home and buy it based on one or two features, some people loathe one or two features of an otherwise suitable place. It is a bad idea to try and put up with something that makes you unhappy for the sake of owning a home. For instance, some people despise yard work. Buying a lovely modern home, with modern appliances, and in a good area may sound great until you realize the yard is monstrous. All those hours spent mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, cleaning around walkways and other items may actually irritate some people to no end.

Related posts:

  1. Tips on Buying Your First Wisconsin Home Tips on Buying Your First WI Home Getting that first...
  2. Tips for Buying a Wisconsin Short Sale Tips for Buying Your First Short Sale A short sale...
  3. Bad Choices People Make When Buying a Home Bad Choices People Make When They Buy a Home All...
  4. Tips for Picking the Right Wisconsin Home Tips for Picking the Right Home Finding the home that...
  5. Tips for Purchasing a Foreclosure Tips for Purchasing a Foreclosure The housing slump that has...
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The SMART Way to Buy Your First Short Sale

Buying a short sale in Madison Wisconsin is quite common right now. The impact of the financial recession has resulted in numerous foreclosures and has left some people with no option but to sell their home for less than the mortgage balance. Buying a Madison area Wisconsin short sale will require a bit of patience and a smart plan.

Understanding the Short Sale


Obviously, the best reason to buy a short sale is for the savings. Most of these properties are discounted as much as 20% off the market price. Buyers can save a considerable amount of money by negotiating the right deal with a motivated seller. However, a good price should only be one consideration. There are other things for the buyer to be aware of such as:

* In order to get a contract on a short sale, it is best to be the first person to contact the seller or selling agent. Being first puts you in more control of the transaction.

* Just because a property is being offered as a short sale does not make it a great deal. Some properties may need extensive work before they can be deemed a safe living environment.

* Banks typically frown on ridiculous low offers. A successful short sale will require you to offer a reasonable amount. This is where an agent can really come in handy.

* Based on the current number of short sales, banks are swamped with these requests. The process for moving the offer through the chain of command does not always progress in an orderly fashion. This requires the buyer to be flexible about a closing date.

All of this means that buying a short sale requires a solid plan; a plan that will get you in front of the right seller, with the right offer.

Putting Together a Good Plan

Follow this outline to help you develop a plan for buying your first short sale.


1. First and foremost, you need to meet with a real estate agent that has experience in short sale transactions. This will save you lots of time and trouble throughout the process. The agent can have a conversation with you to determine the type of house you need and look for possible short sale targets.

2. Determine a plan for responding when a short sale becomes available. Decide with your agent how the information will be communicated to you and how soon you can look over the home.

3. Set up a meeting with a local mortgage lender. Getting the financing secured ahead of time will help get your offer approved. A lender that is familiar with short sale transactions would also be beneficial since the closing may happen at any time and the lender will need to be prepared.

Understand that a short sale which seems like a good deal will likely draw attention from several buyers. The person that responds the quickest, with the best offer and the best plan in place, will likely win the bidding war.

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First Time Home BuyerThe real estate industry is just like any other major industry segment. The people that work within the industry use specific phrases and words that are not too common in other types of work. Understanding some of the common jargon will help first time buyers feel a little more comfortable with the process.


Mortgage – This is a loan that provides the financing for the purchase of a home. Buyers will sign a promissory note that explains the terms of the loan. The interest rate, amount borrowed and number of payments required to repay the debt are all laid out in this document. A mortgage is different from a car loan or a credit card since a piece of property is used as collateral for the loan.

Appraisal – This is a report that explains the home's value. A professional appraiser will inspect the home and then compare it to other similar homes in the nearby area. Based on common criteria such as location, square footage, age and amenities the appraiser assigns a market value to the property. This is slightly different from a home inspection. A home inspection is designed to point out any areas in need of repair or replacement. An appraisal simply decides how much a home is worth as it currently stands.

Contingency – These are requirements spelled out in the real estate contract that must be completed or met in order for the sale to go through.

For instance, most contracts will have a contingency concerning the appraisal. If the home is not worth the sales price then the buyer may be able to get out of the contract.

Escrow – This refers to the funds, assets or securities being held by a third party separate from the buyer and seller. The buyer will place funds in escrow as proof that they wish to go forward with the sale. Once the seller has met the conditions of the contract the funds will be released.

Disclosures – The buyer must be informed of various details by the seller prior to the purchase. Each area will have slightly different requirements for the disclosures in their location. An example would be the location of a home in a known flood zone. This would affect the homeowner's insurance and could affect the buyer's ability to pay.

Closing – This is the last phase of the property purchase. All parties involved in the transaction will meet at either an attorney's office or an escrow agent's office (title company). The seller, buyer, and any attorney will typically attend the closing. At the closing the seller will receive funds for the transaction and the buyer will sign the necessary documents for the loan. The deed will be transferred from seller to buyer. Finally, the closing costs will be paid based on the agreed terms in the contract.

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Considering the cost of purchasing a home it would make sense that buyers would take necessary precautions to see if the home has any problems. A home inspection can point out any problems, if they even exist. The following list represents some pointers to consider when ordering a home inspection.

Review Credentials of the Inspector


It is wise to choose an inspector with engineering qualifications. The inspection process may discover some problems that would be best suited for an engineer to review. If that is the case, and your home inspector has no engineering certifications, then you could end up paying for the inspection of the home as well as an inspection by an engineer. A Professional Engineer designation is offered by the state and governed by a state board as well. You may ask for the inspector's designation before hiring him or her to look at your home.

Be Part of the Inspection

Do your best to coordinate the inspection with time that you are free. These inspections will typically last one to two hours. Going along to look at the home can give you a chance to see the home through the inspector's eyes. While it is a given that you will receive a copy of the report, and hopefully accompanying pictures, being present when the home is reviewed will allow you to hear and see the inspector's reaction to the condition of the home. It will also give the inspector a chance to actually show you an area of concern and perhaps provide some suggestions for how the issue can be resolved.

If Something is Confusing, Ask Questions

Home inspectors are trained professionals. They understand the structure of a home along with its working systems such as the plumbing, electrical and heating/air conditioning system. This means that the inspector may use terms foreign to you. Ask the inspector to explain any observation or issue that you do not understand. Buying a home does not mean that you have to be as knowledgeable as a general home builder. However, you should feel comfortable that the home is safe for living and that there are no immediate problems demanding expensive repair. Conversely, if the home is in need of serious repair and you have the ability or resources to fix it then you could negotiate with the seller to lower the home's price.

It is important to try and remain impartial about the home inspection. If the inspector finds some significant problems that will require a great deal of work and expense to rectify then it may be wise to consider buying a different home. However, it is also a good idea to remain rational. If you are looking at a previously owned home then you should expect that the home is not perfect and may need attention in a few areas. Just like buying a used car can mean saving some money in place of some small sacrifices, getting a used home can save many buyers some money if they are not afraid of doing a little clean up and some simple projects like a little painting or wallpapering.

Tips on your first Home Inspection - Original Post
Wisconsin Short Sales 


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Avoiding Problems with Your Mc Farland Escrow Account

If you are using a mortgage to purchase your first home it is highly likely that the lender will request that you use escrow in order to handle the annual homeowner's insurance and taxes on the property. This is reflected by an additional payment on top of the interest and principal payment that you make on the home loan. Ideally, the lender will review this account every year to see if there are overpayments or underpayments and change the escrow accordingly.

Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world and companies do make mistakes. Here are some important facts to help you understand the basics of an escrow account.


Property taxes are usually reviewed one year after a home has been purchased. At this time the property will likely get a new assessment, which can drastically increase the tax amount. For people that are buying a previously owned home this will usually not be an issue, although you should look at what the current assessment value is. If you are buying a brand new home, or if you have just built a home, then the previous tax amount was based on an empty lot. The existence of a new home will greatly improve the lot's value and subsequently change the tax amount.


Before finalizing the loan you will be asked to provide proof of insurance from a licensed insurance agent. The location of your home may dictate a few extras that might not be prevalent in other areas.

For instance, if you are considering the purchase of a home that is close to a river or lake then you may be in a flood zone and subject to flood insurance. Homes that are located in extremely rural areas may be subject to higher premiums if there are no fire fighting stations in close proximity to the home. It is vital that you speak to your Realtor® before buying a home to see if there are any conditions about the home that would result in a higher insurance policy.

Reviewing the Escrow

Every year your lender should mail you a letter that goes over the escrow account for the previous year. It should list all of the payments you made to the escrow account as well as any amounts disbursed from the account to cover your expenses. You should also contact your homeowner's insurance agent and the local tax assessor's office to see if there are any upcoming changes for your tax bill or your insurance bill.

How to Handle Property Tax Increases

Going back to the early example of someone buying a new home or building a home, there is the expectation that the property tax amount will increase tremendously. If the increase is more than $1,000 then the lender will possibly add $2,000 to the escrow account in case the taxes increase again the following year. This presents you with three choices:

  • Accept the new escrow amount and pay the additional $167 monthly amount
  • Ask your lender if they will spread the extra amount over the next two years to make the monthly amount lower
  • If you have the funds, offer to pay the increased tax amount yourself so that your escrow payment does not change.
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FHA|HUD $100 Down Payment Program

Wisconsin Short Sales
Madison Wisconsin Short Sale Realtor®
Janesville Wisconsin Short Sale Realtor®
Beloit Wisconsin Short Sale Realtor®



Although it is hard these days to still find a true no money down mortgage loan, there are a few programs that come pretty darn close. Take the HUD|FHA $100 sales incentive program as an example. The loan officers over at Inlanta Mortgage have brought this newer mortgage program to my attention. I have included some excerpts from their HUD FHA $100 Down Mortgage Program blog post below.


Just like every bank out there, HUD has also seen a rash of foreclosures over the last few years. When someone defaults on a FHA mortgage, HUD may end up owning that property since they insured the borrower against default. HUD is not in the business of owning or renting properties so they came up with a unique sales incentive in order to sell these homes.

HUD has offered a program to allow for a qualifying borrower to purchase a single family home with only a $100 down payment requirement. The borrower can finance the cost of the home + the 1% UFMIP as long as the value is supported by an appraisal. The home buyer may increase the offer and ask for a seller credit to cover closing costs and then would only be required to bring $100 to close. This is a great deal if you can find a property that is eligible. We have a link we’ll post below to get you to HUD’s website where these eligible homes can be found in your area.

The requirements for this program:
Home must be an approved HUD home
Single Family Residence
Owner Occupied

I'd be happy to help you find the perfect HUD home for you! Don't forget about our home buyer discounts available. Call me at 608-921-8536.

Home Buyer Credit

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Today in the Mercury News there was a story about how first time home buyers who need to purchase with loans are getting beaten out by investor cash buyers who often offer less than traditional buyers for foreclosures.">

Has this happened to you? If so, I may have the answer, buy a short sale!

In a short sale the seller owes more than the property is worth and has to have the bank forgive the difference between what is owed and what the house is worth.  The seller decides who has given the best offer, signs it, and sends it to the bank for approval.  THE BANK DOES NOT DECIDE WHICH OF SEVERAL OFFERS IS THE ONE THEY WANT, JUST WHETHER OR NOT THEY WILL ACCEPT THE OFFER THAT IS PRESENTED TO THEM.

Most banks have said very specifically they want the highest offer, and do not think cash offers are more attractive than ones with loans. This is in direct conflict with what they seem to prefer on foreclosures.

Since most investors try to pay significantly below market value if you make a higher offer, which is closer to market value then your offer will have a much better chance of being accepted, especially if there are not issues which would make the house unlendable.

Sure you have to wait longer for an answer from the bank, and some will not close, but lenders re speeding up the process and you can be happily ensconced in your home usually in 2-6 months instead of still looking 18 months and 15 offers later.

So if you are looking for good deal (though probably not a steal) on a home and are tires of losing to all cash offers find a short sale and enjoy home ownership.

If you have any questions about buying or selling a short sale in Santa Clara or San Mateo Counties please feel free to contact me.

Marcy Moyer CDPE

Keller Williams Realty

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I was in church this past week and the pastor spent the whole message going over the value and reasoning behind the Sabbath. For those of you that aren't church goers, the Sabbath is the 7th Day of the week. Traditionally most Christians celebrate it on Sunday, but some denominations like Seventh Day Adventists and Jews celebrate it on Saturday. Muslims celebrate a special day of prayer and rest on Friday.  No matter how you flip it though, most religions agree that there should be a day out of the week that you DO NOT WORK!!!

I'm as guilty as many of you reading this blog in that I might have a "day off", but that just means I don't go into the office. I STILL spend 2-5 hours in my home office or on my cell phone answering emails, returning calls, etc. SO.....for the last two weeks my family and I have challenged ourselves to do away with the TV, internet, phone, fax, email, Facebook, and whatever other electronic addictions we possess for an entire 24 hours.  IT WAS DIFFICULT....but a few things happened:

  1. I found myself with more time to spend with my kids. I read  a book I'd been waiting to start for months.
  2. I took a nap and felt more rested going into Monday than I have in months
  3. My business didn't burn down. The urgent emails I felt like I needed to address, waited until Monday morning for a response. 


I'm curious for those of you who have been in the business for a while, do you have a day of complete rest?

If not, do you think you could be a better agent, father, or husband by taking one day truly off ?

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The Sky is Falling! Get Your Bucket!!

The Sky is Falling! Get Your Bucket!! (edit/delete)

The sky is falling, the sky is falling! According to the Chase-shiller index we have ar130704423467847.jpgentered a double-dip economic recession. Clear Capital reported the same thing for the housing market nearly a month ago. Zillow added that home prices are dropping about 1% per month this year. The headline read, "First Quarter Brings More Dismal News For Housing Market." With that headline you can guess where the article went.

ar130704419772927.jpgThe sky is falling! Well, that's one way to look at it, or it could be the biggest buying opportunity in nearly two decades. A lot of people were priced out of the real estate boom of the early to mid-2000s. The escalating prices of available properties made it impossible for them to buy. So, they settled in and started renting. They have sat back, saved their money and now they have enough money saved to buy the house that alluded them five years ago and they have a nice down payment.

For a lot of these formerly sidelined buyers, this market is ripe for the picking. Many buyers overbought in the mid-2000s, and now the real estate landscape is littered with wonderful upscale short sales and foreclosures. It's a buyers dream.

So, for those Realtors who have been walking around with a sad depressed face, I say, "Take that sad face off, put your 'I'm going to be a top producer' face on and get outar130704416533473.jpg there and beat the bushes." First-time buyers and sidelined buyers have the potential to be a major force in this market turnaround.

There is another group evolving in this market. The people who were wiped out in 2008 are stabilizing and coming back into the market. This is a great group to get your investors involved with. If your investors would become short-term mortgage holders that would give this group a hand up. The real risk to the investor is the potential that the buyer may default, but many of these people were swept away by forces other than own fault. They are trying to do everything they can to get back on top of things. The worst case scenario for an investor is that he would have to foreclose. In that case, he would simply have the house he bought anyway. It's a win-win.

ar130704426097051.jpgSo, Realtors, put away that "sky is falling" umbrella, pick up a ar130704429252875.jpgbucket and catch the rain of re-positioned buyers. The clouds are full of opportunities and it's beginning to sprinkle. We can pull this country out of this hole one buyer at a time. So, everyone, heave-ho!

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Are Homebuyer's Unethical by Nature?

Ok I will grant you this is an REO forum but I believe we all help buyers at one time or another and what I am about to say might irk a few colleagues but then again let's have some dialogue on this! Here I go:

I was reading on another blog how this one agent wanted to inject his own comission bonus into a purchase agreement and the overwhelming consensus was that it was illegal to do so. It seemed to get hung up on that one fact alone,not just the offer being submitted was "lowball". Yet a less than market price can be but not necessarily is an injustice to a seller and may even be an insult if it was priced in accordance to its condition and the area. The buyer is not being serious just throwing a figure at the seller. I mean really lowball too! not just 10% off list price.

Homebuyers are sometimes their own worst enemy in my own experience. I mean how many of you would just go to the first doctor, lawyer, or mechanic that you run into? No one I think. Yet I see homebuyers on openhouses that want to talk to the listing agent, thinking obviously that they will get a better deal. Sometimes I wish the California DRE would outlaw dual agency for real estate salespersons, drastic but it solves the problem.

It happened to me recently that a couple that was referred to me wanted A PARTICULAR property. After I found out some information about it, I emailed them (I only had an email address) and they were appreciative and told me they were going to drive around and see what was available that weekend as the property the inquired about was not available to show. As time wore on the property became available and I emailed them about 3 times to set a time to see the property. She replied that they put an offer on a house and she would let me know Monday if she still wanted to see LeFloss Ave. I asked her if they went through the listing agent , if they called a number on a sign, etc. and proceeded to tell her about dual agency , how buyer's agents do more than turn keys,and how they are short changing themselves on truth in representation. She thanked me for the advice and I guess it did not matter to her as she said they would let me know on Monday if seeing Lefloss was necessary.

Another more onerous ploy is someone that I have been working with for 8 months trying to find a home in another city. I set her up with my trusted loan oficer as well. I spent a long time dealing with her constantly changing specifications and eveny time I would change my showing criteria to what she wanted, she would find something wrong with the homes I showed her or say they wanted too much (she wanted quality so I showed her homes on the upper side of her approval range.) We even were going into contract on a home 15 miles further east but she backed out after the listing agent could not or would not get the bank to honor a previously quoted price.

She eventually was first shopping loan officers as she was very conscious about loan costs. Funny thing is they were all within dollars of each other! Then it turned to me...she said she was being honest but she was having a "local" agent shop for her as well! I told her all agents see the same properties on the listing system, and pointed out if she was not shown a property that she drove by, it was because that property did not fit her criteria. I handpick the properties to show my client. I also told her that I spent alot of time learning about what she is looking for and that she would have to retrain another agent. I hope she did not go off a sign like above! I literally put her on the top of my priorites.

Therefore that does it. Out comes the Buyer/Broker agreement! I am tired of disloyalty because I work hard for my buyer clients. I thought being free and by choice would make them feel comfortable but then how much does a homebuyer know about what really happens during an escrow? Would they not prefer to see only homes that fit their needs and desires? Or do they want to buy a home like they buy bread at Walmart? Homebuyers need to learn about agency and how a dedicated buyer's agent can protect their interests.

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A Bit of Everything.


This fall promises to be very good for me in real estate. The media may indicate that things look bad, but since August, some of my oldest prospects (3 yrs+/-) have decided to get serious about purchasing their first home. Pricing in the Southern California area continues to struggle to climb and does so ever gradually. The bulk of my deals are related to short sales in some form and banks apparently still take an inordinate time to approve things. I can tell you that GMAC is fairly quick since I have a listing with them as the sr lien holder, but for my buyer interested in a US Bank...the listing agent told me it would be several months for an answer. Bank of America and Chase seem to promise more speed, about a month of wait time each or so I am told. We will see if I close a couple this month.

Adding to the fuel here is the continued bidding war that easily discourages my buyers. I really think we need more inventory on the market as there are several buyers that are presently renters that would love a chance to own.

Reopro's Direction

My Realtor association currently has a program funded by realtors for first buyers that will GRANT up to $7000 for a home provided that they a) can qualify for a loan and b) buy in the association service area, subject to available funds. Last year they paid $225,000 in assistance. There are other requirements as well but I think we could promote ourselves by giving back to the community. Make this plan universal. Secondly since REOpro is given a referral when we obtain business here, a great member benefit would be free Realty Pilot since it is required to receive work. I had to drop Realty Pilot due to no work but would bring it back if I received work from it. I have to sell this to the CFO in my wife and she is very keen on money leaks. She hit the roof when I recently told her how much I spend on lead generation. I have also considered too making a future donation as I close deals this fall.

Code of ethics

And now for the cutting stuff!

I still notice that the REO agents in my area, particularly the market dominator or two still insist that they run the show but sometimes they falter. So here it goes

  • Be accurate with your listings: if there is a potential FHA issue, please tell me in the listing remarks. Don't tell me that my offer was rejected due to type of financing if it has foundation or other problems. You just wasted my and my clients time.
  • Please put your OWN phone number if you use a combo box to get the combo. Or use the Supra box which is better. Don't just put the office number because they go home at 5 and I show property at 6 pm.You might actually get an offer.
  • Stop asking for cross approvals! My loan officer says that everytime we do that it injures my buyer's score, because they pull credit again. If what Jesse says is right about our size, the banks will know that we are a force and they will not be able to dictate terms. Side item: This invites corruption as somehow the deals that are financed by the REO lender are the ones that get accepted.
  • Have you noticed your property has code violations? Saw a REO that had a city notice posted a few weeks earlier...was now fading on the front door. Cities want all of your REO's registered at city hall. They have to keep the neighborhood to standard. I know I would be personally inspecting my inventory at least once a week.
  • Please give me a number that I can contact YOU....not some vague email that answers all questions supposedly. Yes I do want to know how many offers you have as my client wants to have a chance at buying it. I may have to also advise you of wasp nests or bee hives that need rapid attention. Maybe I need to know a little about the house you are selling.
  • By the way I really do want to thank you for a pleasurable transaction when all is said and done. Actually had a listing agent/investor tell me that he could not wait to get into escrow withme again because I was easy to get in touch with....does anyone want to move to Pomona or Chino? I can make it happen for your client! Imagine what would happen to our profession if listing agents hugged buyer's agents? Ok , I will settle for Starbuck's!

Anyway good night everyone...hope to hear from you soon.

John Accornero in the Whittier/La Mirada area

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Underwater but not drowning!

Yes it is true. I am one of the homeowners underwater. I recently disclosed that to a friend and her reply was 'I won't tell anyone'. Nice gesture on her part but totally not necessary. Within the last week I was approached by a financal adviser who volunteered to review my docs on the premise that his company has been able to negotiate through the Courts and prove that the current lien holder was unable to provide a deed to coincide with the loan thereby allowing the mortgagor to obtain the property free and clear from the current mortgagee. Although he qualified his statement by saying he could not give me legal advice he suggested, as a friend, that I stop making payments toward the mortgage as being in the foreclosure process would add a sense of urgency to the Court. The written contract requires a minimum $1500 non refundable fee and a promise to expunge negative credit bureau reports if/when the suit is won as well as other stipulations too detailed to enumerate. My point is this: Yes, I am underwater but I am not drowning. I cannot in good faith arbitrarily stop making my house payment. Not only does it go against my personal grain; I do think that a Court would see that I was intentionally attempting to pull one off on the lender. Despite the fact that the lender may deserve it since I have been negotiating, to no avail, with them for more than a year to modify my loan to a fixed rate at minimum. However, this seemingly rampant rush to jump overboard seems to be exacerbating the current dilemma in the housing market. Yes, I am underwater but still able to row the boat. If I loose my oars I will need to rethink. For the time being I will continue my trek to shore and my a diligent effort not to become a statistic for foreclosure.Linda Landry, REALTOR ® Exit Realty 1st Choice Tucson, AZ
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Motivated Buyer

No doubt this has happened to you more than once but it is my first experience.I have been networking with several lenders doing funding expo's and first timehome buyer workshops. I was pleasantly surprised this week when I was givena lead from one of them. Her LSR was complete and she was searching for arealtor being dissatisfied with her prior agent. She'd been shown the only propertyshe wanted and needed to see it again and most likely make an offer.Her prior agent said it was not worth either her or the agent's time to write an offeras it would be a back up offer and it was a short sale 'possibility' (ie: not yet lenderapproved). Naturally I was willling to assist her and I asked her if she'd signed aBuyer/Broker agreement and she said she had not. I wanted to ensure she hadn'tas if the transaction did go through there was no reason to ask for trouble. At anyrate we saw the property and we did write an offer for her. She also signed aBuyer/Broker agreement to work with me exclusively through the end March 2010.Why is this important? She is obviously a motivated buyer and there is a greatpossibility she will not obtain the property she has her eye on. However, if shedoesn't I am the agent ready, willling, able and signed on to work with her. BTW,she is renting and her lease expires the end of November and she can only gomonth to month for 90 days. Sweet!
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The government's First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit program expires November 30, 2009 -- a scant 60 days from today (10/1/2009).Considering it can take up to 60 days to close on a home, first-time buyers have 2 weeks at most to find a home.Buyers not under contract by October 15 have little chance of meeting the November 30 deadline and, therefore, little chance of claiming the tax credit.This is especially true for purchases involving short sales and foreclosures.Congress passed the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit program as part of the 2009 economic stimulus plan. IRS Form 5405 outlines the program criteria and includes the following stipulations:* Buyer may not have owned a "main home" in the past 36 months* The home may not be purchased from a parent, spouse, or child* Adjusted gross income for the household must be below $95,000 for single tax filers and $170,000 for joint tax filersThe credit is capped at $8,000 or 10% of the purchase price, whichever is less. And don't forget -- the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit is a true tax credit. It's not a deduction.This means that a tax filer who claims the full $8,000 and whose "normal" tax liability is $5,000 would receive $3,000 cash from the US Treasury when their tax return is processed by the IRS.If you can't close by November 30, 2009, though, you can't claim the credit.The clock is ticking. If you're planning to use the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, the time to act is now.
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