realtor (98)

You Might Be A Realtor, If . . .

You Might Be A Realtor, If . . . (edit/delete)

During a recent real estate class I realized that Realtors speak in code.  As I watched the poor newbies in that class I wondered if they felt like they had ar130468742231915.jpgfallen into a black hole and popped up in some foreign land where they didn’t speak the language.  Those of us who were experienced in the field rattled off conversation that left the new realtors looking bewildered and lost.                 
This revelation led me down one of those spontaneous rambling thought processes that often leads to my blog posts, and it looked something like this:

●    You might be a Realtor if your dining room table doubles as a desk.
●    You might be a Realtor if your car cigarette lighter doubles as a charging station for your laptop or Ipad, Smartphone, GPS, etc.               
●    You might be a Realtor if your idea of a short sale is a contract that ratified in 12 hours or less.
●    You might be a Realtor if your broker is your first emergency contact.
●    You might be a Realtor if you have a wireless printer stored in your car trunk.
●    You might be a Realtor if you have a vanity license plate that says BUYNOW, combined with a window decal “”
●    You might be a Realtor if your first child’s initials are EMD.   
ar130468817529795.jpg●    You might be a Realtor if you’ve learned to put on eye shadow, eat a sandwich and set up your next appointment while driving down the highway.
●    You might be a Realtor if you’re an REO Specialist with no foreclosure experience.
●    You might be a Realtor if your sales team includes your spouse, kids and the
●    You might be a Realtor if the string of initials after your name would make a PhD green with envy.       
●    You might be a Realtor if your Christmas cards include a business card.
●    You might be a Realtor if every up or down real estate news feed inspires you to post, “It’s a great time to buy.”
●    You might be a Realtor if you have interchangeable sign riders that say, “It’s a buyer’s market. Buy today!” or “It’s a seller’s market. Sell today!”
●    You might be a Realtor if you have mastered the art of describing a pole barn as “Beautiful country setting, spacious property with plenty of room to expand and wonderful views of wildlife.”
●    You might be a Realtor if every listing description ends with “This won’t last long.  Act today!”

You get the idea.  So, what would be on your “You might be a Realtor” list?

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Menlo Park Short Sale Approval Today!!!!!

Well, it has taken a lot of months, and 4 buyers, but I finally got approval today from Chase for a short sale in the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park.  So far everyone is delighted, and hopefully we will make it through the loan and property contingencies. 

Short sales are sold "As-Is", period. Banks do not allow any credits, repairs, or other consessions for things that are wrong.  That is why I try to get inspections on all my short sale listings before they go on the market. That way there are fewer surprises at the end.

Nothing is a done deal until it is done, but we have come a long way, and my record is still 100% on getting an approval, and hopefully will stay at 100% on closing.

Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty


D.R.E.  01191194

Federal Government Disclaimer (MARS):
1. You may stop doing business with us at any time. You may accept or reject the offer of mortgage assistance we obtain from your lender [or servicer]. If you reject the offer, you do not have to pay us. If you accept the offer, you will have to pay us commission as agreed to in listing contract for our services.
2. Marcy Moyer of Keller Williams Realty is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender; and 
3. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan.

Marcy Moyer Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto, Ca. Specialist in Trust and Probate Sales

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Are We Falling Apart?

Are We Falling Apart? (edit/delete)

Is it just me or are we as Americans falling apart?  I've noticed a trend on TV lately that has me a little worried.  Let me give you an example.  There is a commercial of a middle-aged lady who can't find her car in a parking lot because she can't remember where she parked it.  Been there, how about you?  ar130446270467597.jpgFortunately for her there is a wonderful company that has created a miniature digital recorder she can carry on her key-chain, and if she remembers to record her location before she leaves her car, bingo!  Problem solved.

In another commercial, I saw that same lady, but this time she couldn't hear.  In this commercial she got another small device, I believe it was called "Loud and Clear,” that helped her listen to her pastor, and birds and even her TV while her husband sleeps soundly beside her.  It looks a lot like a cell phone wireless earpiece.  So it blends right in, in bed.   I did find it a little strange in the same commercial that the same lady was walking around in the woods looking at nature while a guy is hunting nearby who also can't hear without the device.  That really seemed like a scenario for disaster, but I digress.

It didn't stop there.  The same lady shows up in another commercial unable to
ar13044633440283.jpgcut paper on a straight line.  She was so bad with scissors that she had to be isolated in a separate room on craft day.  So, some brilliant company created a cutter just for her.   So now, she can find, hear and join the happy crafters on craft day.  Oh, but her tale of needs weren’t over yet.  She eventually she took to farming.  Yep!  She's growing tomatoes.  Upside-down!  On the porch.  But, here again, she doesn’t know how to water them.  So, another clever company made a ball with a spike attached that automatically keeps her tomatoes watered.  And, if you’re horticulturally challenged, this is your ticket!

Her life is obviously full of challenges because eventually she started having trouble getting out the car that she can't always find without her little digital recorder.  Another entrepreneurial sort inventor created a little round swivel block that gives her the ability to rotate on her seat and out the door she goes.  Best of all, she never wrinkles her slacks.

Just when you think technology has done just about everything they can for her
ar130446302471601.jpgshe realizes she can't sit on the sofa and watch her favorite movie without having body parts exposed to the elements.  What woman likes cold toes?  Or, if her toes are warm toes her shoulders are cold.  So, Snuggie created the ultimate comfort item for her, a human sized fleece bag.  Now, she's nice and toasty.

I have a feeling one of these nights I'm going to see her snuggled up on the sofa staring at her favorite show, and then the announcer will break in and tell the consumer that she would enjoy her favorite show more if she could hear it.  But, she forgot her little digital hearing device that she was wearing at her craft class.  If she could just remember that she got two little digital hearing devices for just $19.95 because they doubled her order when she called right away.  But all is not lost.  She can rotate off the sofa, find the zipper on her Snuggie she can use her new cutting tool to slice her tomatoes and have a nice snack while she looks for her extra hearing device she got with separate shipping.  Like I said, I’m a little worried about us as a country, but I do see a lot of opportunities for witty inventors on the horizon. 


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60 Seconds! What Would You Grab?

60 Seconds! What Would You Grab? (edit/delete)

My life is full of phone calls, meetings, appointments, contracts, leases, emails, returned phone calls, more emails,  deadlines, etc., etc., . . . you get the picture.ar130420334471945.jpg  It's probably a lot like yours.  I was just thinking, "What would I do if I had nothing to do?"  What a wonderful question to ponder.  I need to spend more time thinking about that one because I definitely think it's worth exploring .

ar130420318126449.jpgThat made me think of another question I heard in a movie last year.  In the movie, "Leap Year" Matthew Goode (Declan) asks Amy Adams (Anna) what she would grab if she only had 60 seconds to escape a burning building.  Hmmm, what would I grab?  Now, I'm assuming that is knowing that the family and the dog are all safe and away from the fire. 


What would I grab?  I don't think it would be my files, lead lists, smartphone or laptop, digital camera, storage media, etc., but what would it be?  I'll have to admit I'm a little stumped.  Once my family and the dog are safe there isn't much else that would rise to that critical level.  With online backup programs, dropbox and other resources where a tech savvy modern business person can keep important documents, photos and contact lists, and so on, there isn't much I would need to be back up and running in a day or so.

So, I pose the question to you.  If you only had 60 seconds to escape a burning building what would you grab on the way out? 



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My Week in Silicon Valley Short Sales

This was not a terrible week for me with short sales. In fact, it was pretty good. Here's the summary:


1. Closed a Menlo Park Short Sale with Bank of America, I represented the buyer.  It was smooth, and took 3 months start to finish.

2.  Another buyer is buying a short sale in Sunnyvale.  The file had been lost in bowls of HAFA, (government assisted short sales), but the listing agent managed to find it, get it back to a tradional sale, and we are waiting for a negotiator to be assigned.  we are 6 weeks into it.

3.  My Menlo Park Short Sale Listing with Chase has been in and out of escrow 4 times now.  the investor for Chase wants more money than the house is worth based in its condition.  After being with the latest negotiator 6 weeks we got another response from the investor asking for more money now than what they approved last time.  The buyer has now agreed to the previously approved price and we are waiting to hear back from teh negotiator.

4.  My Santa Clara Short Sale Listing was submitted 5 weeks ago.  It finally got a negotiator this week.


So all in all it has not been a bad week.  Short sales are still long, and can have problems, but all in all there are a lot of yeses so they are worth pursuing if you can not keep your home and want to avoid foreclosure.

If you have any questions about short sales in Santa Clara or San Mateo County please feel free to contact me.


Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty


D.R.E.  01191194


Federal Government Disclaimer (MARS):
1. You may stop doing business with us at any time. You may accept or reject the offer of mortgage assistance we obtain from your lender [or servicer]. If you reject the offer, you do not have to pay us. If you accept the offer, you will have to pay us commission as agreed to in listing contract for our services.
2. Marcy Moyer of Keller Williams Realty is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender; and 
3. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan.

Marcy Moyer Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto, Ca. Specialist in Trust and Probate Sales


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Reflections in the Mirror

Reflections in the Mirror (edit/delete)


While catching up on my blog reading I had a thought.  Of course blog reading should conjure up all kinds of thoughts or you're wasting your time, but this was an "outside of the blog reading" thought.  Or ar130144283996644.jpgat least I think it was.  It doesn't matter. It went something like this, "Are we attracted to people who are like us, or do the people who are like us feel an attraction to us?" 

I've had a lot of people involved in my life over the past . . . . well, good while.  One of the consistent things about the people who end up closest to me is that they tend to be pretty smart, funny, clever and witty.  I'd like to think that's because they are a reflection of me, but is that the way it is?  Regardless, do I gravitate to them, or do they gravitate to me?  Or, do we meet somewhere in the middle by chance? 

ar130144203882696.jpgIf you've ever watched Winnie-the-pooh you know the character Eeyore.  Personally, I like Eeyore, but I've always wondered why he seems so, well, Eeyorish.  He has all these great friends around him that are full of life and energy, and yet, it doesn't seem to bring him up or cause dancing and singing.  I guess he just has an Eeyore kind of personality.  ar130144214122789.jpg

In my life, I don't have many Eeyores.  Most of my friends, family, associates, cellmates (OK, I just threw that in there to see if you were still reading) and clients tend to be more Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger and Piglet than Eeyore.  Of course I get an occasional Eeyore, but I noticed that if they are like Eeyore that they are either smart, funny, clever or witty or some combination of them all.  If they're smart and Eeyorish, I can deal with it because I learn something.  If they're clever and Eeyorish, I can deal with it because they catch me off guard and make me think.  If they are witty or funny and Eeyorish, I laugh and find them amusing.  But, if they are none of these things, I find them draining.  Is that because they are not like me, or because I'm not like them?

I go back to my original question, "Are we attracted to people who are like us, or do the people who are like us feel an attraction to us?" Now, the tricky part.  Are the people who are attracted to you more like Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger or Piglet, or are they more like Eeyore?  I hesitate to use the word "vibes", but are the vibes that emanate from you attracting the people you want to attract?  If there is a big dark cloud outside your front door I have a feeling Eeyore is rounding the bend.  But, if the sun is shining and there is singing and dancing going on you might be attracting a Pooh, Tigger or Piglet.  They all have something to offer your life, but if you're a Tigger kind of character too many Eeyores will wear you down.ar130144270873031.jpg

If you're a Eeyore kind of character Tigger will get annoying eventually.  Knowing which character you are will help you understand what kind of characters you will attract.  If you're in business and you're an Eeyore character, you may have to put on your Tigger face during interactions to keep customers coming back.  Remember, Eeyore wasn't under a cloud all the time.  Sometimes he was Eeyore, but no cloud. 

One final thought.  There is a 3 to 1 ratio at Pooh-ville.  That is probably a good ratio in your life if you're going to be healthy, happy and balanced.  You can only have so many Eeyores in your life before they start bringing you down.  On the flip side, if you're an Eeyore, you need to surround yourself with Poohs, Tiggers and Piglets to help bring a little extra sunshine to your life.  All four personalities can work together, but knowing which character you're most like will help you determine who you need to spend more time with. 


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Sunnyvale Short Sale: HAFA Limbo

Today I got a call from the listing agent on a Sunnyvale Short Sale where my buyer is waiting patiently. The agent said that the file went into HAFA limbo. A new wrinkle in short sale submission is HAFA elegibility testing.  When a short sale is submitted many banks are automatically sending the file for HAFA review, to see if the owner qualifies. the problem is that too often either the buyer does not qualify and you have lost 6-8 weeks waiting for a reply.  In this case the file just got lost in the HAFA department but the point here is that the banks are doing this automatically. The seller has to specifically ask to be taken out of the program when you submit the short sale package or it will go into auto review.  Since up to this point less than 10,000 HAFA short sales have been approved nation wide it is a real long shot. Since not only does the seller have to qualify, but the investors on the loan and all mortgage insurance holders have to approve the pay off.  It may be that the revamped HAFA program may have better success, but until I see those numbers I will not believe it.  My short sale sellers have opted not to roll the dice, but instead try to move on with their lives sooner rather than later.  So now I have another question to ask the lisiting agent before submitting a short sale offer, "Is the Seller applying for HAFA?"  If so, it is a good bet that there will be an extra 2 months added on to the short sale unless they get approved for the buyer, the price, and the investor's ok ahead of time. If not I will remind the listing agent to opt out.


If you have any questions about short sales please feel free to contact me.


Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty

D.R.E  01191194



Federal Government Disclaimer (MARS):
1. You may stop doing business with us at any time. You may accept or reject the offer of mortgage assistance we obtain from your lender [or servicer]. If you reject the offer, you do not have to pay us. If you accept the offer, you will have to pay us commission as agreed to in listing contract for our services.
2. Marcy Moyer of Keller Williams Realty is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender; and 
3. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan.


Marcy Moyer Keller Williams Realty Palo Alto, Ca. Specialist in Trust and Probate Sales


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I'm Firing My GPS!

I'm Firing My GPS! (edit/delete)



I have a love/hate relationship with my GPS.  I'm thrilled to have it, and it has gotten me to many locations I was totally clueless about.  But, then again, it has  taken down roads that were no where near my destination.  Sometimes it has led me to places I have been totally unfamiliar with.  So, you see my love/hate situation.

My GPS has multiple voices.  After listening to each one, I picked Mandy.  Mandy has a lovely British voice that is sometimes a little more formal than most of my driving warrants, but she was better than some of the other choices.  After a few mishaps with Mandy I thought "I need a new GPS.  Better yet, I need a new GPS voice." I brought this up to my wife and that launched a long brainstorming session of potential new voice candidates.  Here's a sample of our list:ar130325667860509.jpg

  • Mr. T - "I pity the fool that doesn't turn right!"
  • What about Dr. Phil -  "Alright, so your life is on a straight path, but you've got to turn right up here.  How's that make you feel?  Turn right!  OK, you didn't turn right.  You're going the wrong way.  You know that don't you? You do? Well, how's that working for you?
  • Paula Dean - "Hey, y'all . . . we're fixin' to turn right just up ahead there, so keep your eyes open . . . "
  • ar130325720350088.jpgFarmer, "Go to the oak tree on the south-side of the 'Y' up there. Turn right at the new fence posts.  You know, since that city slicker ran through the fence last September that fence has been down.  Don't know why it's taking so long to get it fixed.  Do they think the cows are gonna stay in there because they're loyal?"
  • Mushmouth (from Fat Albert) "Hey-ba man-ba turnin' rightca up here . . . man ba.
  • Jack Bauer (24) - "I Know this is a lot to deal with right now, but you havear130325735619158.jpg to focus.  There's a right turn up ahead.  You need to take that.  When you get to the corner, turn right and keep going.  Don't look back!"
  • Clint Eastwood - "There's a right turn up ahead, so you have to ask ar130325678686285.jpgyourself.  Do you feel lucky?  Well, do ya, punk? Take the turn.  Go head.  Make my day!"
  • ar130325730648808.jpgOzzy Osbourne - "Mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble . . . SHARON!  You missed the blooming turn again."

Well, you get the idea.  As an independent realtor, I need good directions to make my work flow smoothly.  My GPS has been an essential part of that work flow, but if it's going to keep getting me lost I'll settle for an entertaining voice.  Mandy, your days may be numbered.  Who's on your list?


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Here's Your $4.00 Fine! Now, stop that!

Here's Your $4.00 Fine! Now stop that! (edit/delete)

The local paper in Winchester does an interesting page every Monday.  On Monday they publish articles from 100 years ago, 75 years ago, 50 years ago ar130308325571912.jpgand 25 years ago.  I'm always most fascinated with the 100 years ago.  Since I wasn't here to remember them they tend to be the most enlightening and entertaining.

This past Monday the first story was my favorite.  It seems that the postmaster had complained to the local city government that too many men were spitting tobbaco on the floor.  There were spitoons all around, but these uncouth city slickers had taken to spitting wherever and whenever they wanted, and since the postmaster was also the custodian of the post office this had to stop!  Besides, it was a health issue.

Local laws had to be amended to make spitting on the floor of the post office a fineable offense.  It could cost up to $4 if the offense was severe enough, and in 1901 $4 was a lot of money.  Well, the story got me thinking.  What would I fine people for if I could stick a $4 fine on offenders?  Here's a partial list:


  • Wearing pajamas anywhere but in your home - cha-ching!  $4.00 please
  • Non-handicapped parking in handicapped only slots - cha-ching!  $4.00
  • Sitting right beside my table in a completely empty resturaunt - Cha-ching!  Move over.  Leave your $4.00 on the table!
  • Wearing too much cologne anywhere - teary-eyed, sneezing cha-ching!
  • Driving 10 miles under the speed limit in the passing lane - cha-ching, cha-ching!ar130308332039163.jpg
  • Talking loudly on your cell phone - we all have them - nobody is impressed - cha-ching!  Hand over the $4.00 and use inside voices!
  • Trying to impress me with your intellect while using bad grammer - cha-ching!  That should be $8.00, but I did set a $4.00 limit.  Your lucky day Sparky!
  • Not returning important phone calls, emails or text messages - cha-ching!  Ante up, $4.00.
  • Playing your music so loud in traffic that my car vibrates - cha-ccchhhhiiinnnnggggg!
  • Chewing with your mouth open - cha-ching!  What was that?  $4.00, spit it up!
  • Butting in line anywhere - cha-ching!  Back to the end of the line Bub.  Oh yeah,  $4.00 please.

You see my dilemma.  There are just to many things to fine people $4.00 over.  Of course we could use these fines to settle the national debt.  What do you think, two weekends?  We should be there in two weekends, maybe three.  Anyway, what's on your $4.00 fine list?  I may need to take out a loan if this ever becomes law!


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A Diamond in the Rough and a Labor of Love

A Diamond in the Rough and a Labor of Love (edit/delete)

Every once in a while you find a diamond in the rough.  Last summer a good ar130317322809684.jpgfriend called to see if I would help him bring an old distressed Victorian back to life.  I'm always up for a challenge, so we met up and surveyed the property.  Whew!  Distressed was an understatement.  He had already cut all of the overgrowth away from the house so you could actually see it, and I'm not 100% sure why he didn't leave right then.

Removing all the trees around the house gave an amazing view of a house that had been idle for 12+ years.  Windows were broken out, the porches were falling down on both front and back sides of the house, the roof leaked, birds lived in the attic, and that was just the beginning.

Inside wasn't any better.  The first floor bathroom was missing its floor.  Rain, snow and birds had been passing through the second story windows for years, ar130317327687786.jpgand they had left their mark.  The walls and ceilings were crumbling throughout, and those were the good features.  But, there was something about that house that had us intrigued.

Strother Adams is a craftsman.  Strother and his brother Davey have rescued more than one structure, and this was surely to be a test beyond most.  For months after that, Davey scraped paint, fixed windows, repaired doors, repaired plaster, built bathrooms with floors, sealed up leaks and did a hundred things I never saw him do.  Strother coordinated plumbers, HVAC contractors, insulators, roofers and others.  My electrical company went in and made the old wiring safe while replacing the majority of it with new 21st century circuitry. 

ar130317050853909.JPGThe kitchen was completely replaced, one bathroom was restored, one more was added and one was cleaned up.  The floors were sanded, plaster finished and walls painted, new trim installed or old trim repaired.  New plumbing and a heating/cooling system was installed, and finally it was finished. 

This ugly duckling had become a beautiful swan.  We had more fun with this property than most we work with.  It had nooks and crannies that most houses don't have.  You could sense little children hiding in the voids between the walls, and you could see a level of 19th century craftsmanship that rivals the best craftsmen of our day.

I love the whole process of buying and selling real estate, but every once in a while a house comes along that begs for a second chance.  I know as realtors, we are in the market to help others buy or sell homes, and that is exciting.  But, I also have the good fortune to be an electrical contractor.  When a diamond in the rough comes along like this one, I often get to be a part of its rebirth.  Then, the buying and selling becomes a second thought, an end result.  ar130317058079831.JPG

The real joy in finding a house like this is seeing it rise from the dust of blight and decay to become a fully restored home where a family will live and kids will grow, songs will be sung and meals will be shared.  People will fall ar13031734068466.jpgin love with all of its vintage 1800s features while enjoying the comforts of our upgrades, and they won't be inconvenienced by outdated wiring, plumbing, heating and cooling systems.  No, they will be free to enjoy a piece of history.  They can absorb its strength that helped it survive the ravages of time, and they will sense the families that once walked through its hallways.  It is a diamond in the rough, and what a diamond it is!

ar130317071491807.JPG                     ar13031708167624.JPG                                            


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California has a lot of disclosure laws for the protection of all parties in a real estate transaction, particularly buyers. There are buyers who do not want to buy a home where there has been a death on the property, and there is a disclosure obligation to disclose if there has been a death in recent years.  This works very well if the seller has to fill out the Seller's Supplemental Disclosure or The Seller's Property Questionnaire and Supplemental and Contractual Disclosure forms. But many trust properties are exempt from those disclosures, and many of those properties would be more likely to have had a recent death.  So what do you do if you want to know if there has been a death on a Mountain View home that is exempt from seller's disclosures?

The answer is really simple, ASK THE SELLER.  What you have to do is for you or your agent to ask the seller's agent to ask the seller directly if the owner died in the house.  While the trustee or executor does not have to fill out the written disclosure asking about a death, they do have to answer honestly. Trust me, the person selling the house will know.

The trust advisory that the buyer is supposed to sign when they make an offer tells you to do that. It says "If the Property is being sold because of the death of an occupant of the Property, and if Buyer has concerns about the manner, location, or details of the death, then Buyer should direct any specific questions to the seller."

So if you are concerned, ask.

If you have any questions about buyer or selling a property in Trust or Probate anywhere in San Mateo or Santa Clara Counties, please fell free to ask me.


Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty


DRE  01191194

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Memories can be housed in stuff, especially as people gets older and they find that objects are needed to jog their memory.  The problem is that very often when it is time to leave the place that has been home for 30, 40, or 50 years, there is wall to wall stuff. The plate on the wall that was handed down by great grandmother is probably not going to be wanted by great grandchild number 1. However, with the normal tensions that arise in settling an estate, and the enormous popularity of shows like Pawn Stars and Antique Road Show, many heirs believe that the house full of stuff they have inherited may be worth something.  Also, if you need to sell a probate or trust home in order to settle an estate this stuff needs to be cleared out.

In order to keep the peace in the family and to make sure that nothing is overlooked the most logical thing to do is get the personal contents appraised.  If the sale is a probate sale, this is already written into code. A probate referee will be in charge of making sure all of the personal effects are inventoried and appraised.  If the property is in a trust, the personal effects are the responsibility of the trustee of the estate.  If you are the trustee, get everything appraised and sold by a professional estate seller.  You can get a company like DGW to come in and take everything to their warehouse to be sold at multiple auctions.  Or you can have an estate sale at the house and then get rid of anything that does not sell.  The point is, get a professional who is trustworthy to sell things for the most that they can sell for.  If there is something valuable these people will know and it will keep the peace in the family.

My only other advice would be go through all the papers, envelopes, and furniture yourself. You never know where mom may have stashed cash for an emergency. You are more likely to find money that way, than in the antique piano that no one wants.

If you have any questions about trust or probate sales please feel free to contact me.


Marcy Moyer

Keller Williams Realty


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Double-Check Everything!

Double-Check Everything!  

I had an interesting experience a few weeks ago that affects the contract forms we use for all real estate deals.  Early this year I subscribed to an online software company that provides all of my real estate forms.  I've used these folks for years, and I have never had any issues.  Actually, I love the ability to have any and all forms I need just a keyboard click away.
I was filling out a purchase agreement with all of the accompanining forms.  I read through each one, made sure I had all of the appropriate forms included in the purchase package.  The buyer scanned the forms, initialled, signed and returned them to me.  I scanned them to a file, compressed the file and sent them on their merry way to the listing agent. 

The next day the listing agent sent them back with a dozen corrections.  Suddenly, the house my client was buying had all kinds of amenities that we knew it didn't have.  I was listed as a realtor in another state, and I was listed as the buyer.  All of the areas that were changed were areas where you simiply check a box.  No address, buyer name, EMD amounts, purchase amounts, etc., were changed.  Just those areas where you have long lists to check with yes/no/na. 

Here's the odd part.  Both the buyer and I had double-checked every form ar130270442675007.jpgonline.  Every form had the appropriate checks and other data.  But, when we printed them out they were slightly different.  There weren't any major changes, but there were a number of odd minor changes.  In our haste to get the offer to the listing agent's client we simply accepted what we could see online and printed, signed and initialled. 

ar130270382370974.jpgThe moral of the story?  Double-triple-quaddrupple check everything.  It didn't hurt anything this time, but it did reveal a problem either in my computer or in the software that could have devastating consequences if not caught.  I approach my computer and this software with great suspicion now, but that's probably a good thing.

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Ten Tips for a Healthy and Balanced Life

Ten Tips for a Healthy and Balanced Life

ar130248553906704.jpg1. Focus - Determine what your distractions are and eliminate as many as possible.  Some things are just that, distractions, and they cheat you out of moving forward.

2. Get Healthy - Eat foods that don't rob you of energy and good health.  Sleep what your body needs.  Exercise consistently, effectively and efficiently.  Avoid fad diets, avoid fad foods and avoid fad exercise.

3. Educate Yourself - Learn more about those things that propel you forward.  Don't seek advice from failures.  Look for people who have succeeded at the place you want to go to and seek their advice, experience and wisdom.  Read good books, listen to successful leaders and learn the ar13024858190234.jpgmechanics of your field of choice.  And remember, everyone pays their dues.  Make every day a learning day.

4. Invest in Healthy Relationships - Reduce the takers in your life, and increase the givers.  Some people only cause you heartache and misery.  And then again, some people bring you great joy.  Ask yourself,  "How do I feel after I've spent time with this person?" or,"How do I feel after I've talked to this person through a phone call or a text message?"  If you're excited and inspired, you've found a fountain.  If you're exhausted, you've found a drain.

5. Make Money Your Servant - Pay yourself first (at least 10% of everything).  Try to give more out of a generous heart..  There is a law of giving and receiving that profits you above and beyond your generosity.  Pay off debts.  The borrower is servant to the lender.  Break the shackles of debt so that it doesn't become a course distraction.

ar130248619105885.jpg  6. Do Something Out of Your Comfort Zone - Go on a canopy glide, go sailing or take a trip to country where you don't speak the language, etc.  It's intense and makes you feel very alive.

7. Bury Your Past - Don't let the past direct the future.  Everybody makes mistakes.  Allow yourself the freedom to get past it.  Others may not want to let you leave your mistakes behind, but it's your choice.  Don't look back.  Images in the mirror are bigger than appear.  Don't look in the rear view mirror.  Your goals are ahead.

8. Renew Your Spiritual Life - A core relationship with God is an anchor in the storms of life.  Some days you need an anchor.  Other days, you need a sail.   A healthy relationship with God will provide both.  Know the difference between a true spiritual relationship with God and one that is only on the surface.   Pray, study God's Word and give Him your time.  I promise, you can't out give God.  If you give Him your life.  He will give you His. 

9. Extend Forgiveness - It's hard to walk up a hill with someone on your back.  Holding anger and resentment toward other people really only holds you back.  It rarely hurts the offenders.  There are people who you may not feel are worthy of forgiveness, but as long as you hold on to their offenses they are still controlling your life.  Extend forgiveness, and throw off the shackles of bitterness, resentment and anger.  If this seems too difficult, refer to #8.

10. Love More & Love Sincerely - Tell those you love that you really love them, and then go a step further.  Show it.  Don't wait for the next funeral to remember all the people you haven't told how important they are in your life. Tell them now while it counts.  You might be the only ar130248571506715.jpgencouragement some people ever get, and you might be the one lifeline someone needs in an undisclosed time of distress. 


Disclaimer: All typos, misspellings (I'm missing numerous keys on my computer) and grammatical mistakes are purely for your entertainment.  Feel free to kackle.

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What Was I Thinking?

What was I thinking? (edit/delete)

OK, I recently had one of those "What was I thinking?" moments, and it reminded me of something.  When my wife was pregnant with our first son she received a piece of advice that I found extraordinary.  It went like this, "Don't do anything once that you don't want to do forever."  Of course we had no kids at the time, and we didn't realize how relevent that would be one day.

Well, we made it through two boys without violating the "Don't do" policy, but then we got a dog.  It's amazing ar130243689675386.jpghow relevent that same advice would have been if I had followed it with my dog.  While I was at a conference my wife and sons went to PetSmart and rescued a 115 lb Rottwieller.  He was called "Hoss."  He was so tall that his head was above our dining room table.  At 115 lbs he looked kind of skinny, but within a year he was 185 lbs, and then he looked a little like a large black tube with legs and a head.

Eventually, we got him on a better eating plan and he has slimmed down to a nice 145 lbs, and he looks healthy.  Now, here's where I violated the "Don't do" policy.  He is very smart.  So, we all have been teaching him tricks.  It really has been fun, and he plays along willingly.  One day he was standing at the kitchen doorway and I asked him, "What do you want?" I taught him how to walk in and tap his treat bag to let me know what he wanted.  He liked it because it ultimately ended in a treat.  He is very food motivated.  I thought it was cute, and I was very proud of our accomplishment.  Then, before I knew it, he had taken the new trick to the next level.  Instead of waiting for me to ask what he wanted he would come in and tap on his bag of treats.  Before I knew it, he was like a rock and roll drummer.  What I thought was fun and cute had turned into a nightmare.  He had to go back on his diet, and we measure the treats out from an undisclosed location now.

What does this have to do with real estate?  Clients can be like Hoss.  It is our responsibility to help our clients find the perfect house, get the best deal and ultimately walk away feeling like they had a good experience.  But, once some cleints learn that we know where the treat bag is, they start tapping.  What was once offered as an extra benefit or a simple favor for a client becomes an expectation with a commissin attached.  Most of my clients have been amazing, but every once in a while I get one that asks for a little extra, and then a little more, and a little more until they are dominating all of my time and keeping me from other more pressing and more profitable business.  I learned with the boys and Hoss that boundaries and balance keep us all happy and sane, and I have found that the same rules apply to real estate clients. So I leave this helpful advice, "Don't do anything once that you don't want to do forever."

Have a great sane and happy weekend.

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Peanut Butter and Technology

Peanut Butter and Technology 

Late one night this week I was getting ready for bed, but my stomach was growling.  What could I eat that wasn't too 4359150354?profile=originalheavy and was quick and easy?  Peanut butter.  I know, anything right before bed could lead to dragons and one-eyed sloths dragging me off for a midnight snack in my dreams, but the growling stomach was going to keep me awake anyway so it was worth the risk.  A quick sandwich and I was off to bed.  No dragons or one-eyed sloths, but a thought did come to mind.  Do you ever outgrow peanut butter?  I know, what does this have to do with real estate, right? 

I posted the question, "Do you ever outgrow peanut butter?" on my Facebook page.  I was surprised at the large response I received from my FB friends.  It's unanimous.  Peanut butter is a staple, and it's here to stay.  Now, what does this have to do with real estate?  It made me think of how we do business today.  I'm a techno-geek so I love all the electronic ways we conduct business today.  I love all of the smartphones, ipads, zooms, electronic lockboxes, drip campaigns, auto-responders, electronic signatures, etc., etc., etc.  But, the reality is that real estate still needs a good dose of peanut butter. 

The peanut butter of real estate is getting to know your client.  It's putting their needs first and making sure they find the best house at the best price.  It's protecting their interest and seeing that they are not taken advantage of by a buyer or seller.  In our electronic environment, the personal touch is still the glue that creates the deal.  No matter how tech-savvy we become, clients need contact, understanding and an advocate.  That's the peanut butter of real estate, and it's here to stay.  Now, if I can just figure out what the jelly is I'll be set.

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The Benefits and Value of Home Staging

5 Simple Things Sellers Should Know About the Value of Home Staging


1: The cost of staging is always less than your first price reduction!

It is a known fact that two things are key in selling real estate….price and location.

So why stage? Many reasons! STANDING OUT from the competition is one, especially in today’s down market where buyers see home after home, without being able to make up their minds.  Very often even the same floor plan comes up repeatedly. Staging makes a home stand out from the rest in a great way! Staging is the surest way to “help” the buyer envision living in the space.


2: Staging does not need to always be a full-blown/fully furnished affair!

‘Staging’ for the purpose of selling means to assess each property, and stage/address issues on a case-by-case basis. Some property conditions may not lend themselves to staging, and that’s fine. Staging is about having the presence of mind to address distractions as needed, (if/when allowed) or financially reasonable.


3: Staging is done with ONE goal - Guiding a buyer’s eye toward functionality!

Too often distractions distract buyers from seeing the true positives in a home. Staging is about removing those distractions, whether it’s a harsh paint color, minor repairs, or just trash and grime. Too many broken “small” details left undone WILL lead buyers to think there are other hidden problems.   


4: Staging is about removing doubt that a property it’s not worth its asking price!

 In today’s market buyers have choices, and they’re able to compare what’s on the market. Two exact floor plans will be set apart by their condition. In today’s market of HUGE homes makes it a daunting task for a buyer to just imagine having to paint an entire house with soaring walls, when there is another exact home down the street for the same price! If there is ANYTHING broken or dirty, it MUST be addressed - otherwise a buyer will feel overwhelmed and move on to the next house. Staging does NOT always mean adding “furnishings” anymore. I can mean addressing the smallest of details and distractions, as supposed to just sticking a For Sale sign in the yard and adding “sold AS-IS” on the MLS! 


5: Home Staging is about helping buyers visualize their dreams coming true!

 When we Stage a home we’re helping buyers gap their lifestyle dream, from what “is”, to what “will be”.   Helping a buyer envision themselves living (hassle-free) in the property, is what Staging is about. When a buyer can see themselves living in the home, wallets open.   


Why should sellers list with REALTORS® WHO STAGE?

Because Staging Realtors consistently do more, and innately go beyond what’s expected to market HOMES (not just houses).  Staging Realtors try to envision and connect the dots with what buyers look for in a HOME. Studies show buyers pay top dollar when they fall in love with THE perfect HOME! 

Here’s an EXAMPLE of how Non-Staging gent and a Staging-Realtor market the SAME space!  

This concept also include Realtors who even though they don't do Staging themselves, they use the services of a Home Staging Professional.

This home was on the market for 63 days with a NON-Staging agent, but on the market for only 7 days after being Staged, by yours truly, before receiving the accepted offer, and consequently TWO backup offers.

By the way, this was an REO listing.








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Buying Foreclosures - How Foreclosures Work

Buying Foreclosures - How Foreclosures Work
What Is a Foreclosure and How to Profit From Foreclosures
By Elizabeth Weintraub, Guide
.See More About:foreclosuresbuying short salesdistressed homesreal estate investors

Buyers should hire a real estate agent who specializes in foreclosures.
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Home buyers who want a good deal in real estate invariably think first about pursuing foreclosures. Buyers have this picture in their mind of a cute little house, surrounded by a white picket fence that is owned by a widowed mom who fell on hard times, but that scenario is generally far from reality.
Why Do Sellers Go Into Foreclosure?

Sellers stop making payments for a host of reasons. Few choose to go into foreclosure voluntarily. It's often an unpredictable result from one of the following:

•Laid-off, fired or quit job
•Inability to continue working due to medical conditions
•Excessive debt and mounting bill obligations
•Squabbles with co-owner, divorce
•Job transfer to another state
Negotiating Directly with Sellers in Foreclosure
Investors who specialize in buying foreclosures often prefer to purchase these homes before the foreclosure proceedings are final. Before approaching a seller in distress, consider:

1.Foreclosure proceedings vary from state to state. In states where mortgages are used, home owners can end up staying in the property for almost a year; whereas, in states where trust deeds are used, a seller has less than four months before the trustee's sale.

2.Almost every state provides for some period of redemption. This means the seller has an irrevocable right during a certain length of time to cure the default, including paying all foreclosure costs, back interest and missed principal payments, to regain control of the property. For more information, consult a real estate lawyer.

3.Many states also require that buyers give to sellers certain disclosures regarding equity purchases. Failure to provide those notices and to prepare offers on the required paperwork can result in fines, lawsuits or even revocation of sale.

4.Determine whether you're the type of person who can easily take advantage of a seller's misfortune under these circumstances and / or put a family out on the street. Oh, critics will argue it's just business and sellers deserve what they get, even if it's five cents on the dollar. Others will feign compassion and trick themselves into believing they are "helping" the home owners avoid further embarrassment, but deep inside yourself, you know that's not true.

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Why Is A Palo Alto Escrow Like a Teen Romance?

The beginning of a Palo Alto escrow is like the beginning of a teenage romance, everything is perfect. You have found your soul mate and all promises are meant to be kept.  You never dream that your heart will ever be broken. It doesn't matter that one party is a jock and the other an intellectual, one is a Democrat and one a Republican, or one likes to party and the other is a vegan. And then reality sets in. I don't think I have to go into gory detail.  Well, sometimes an escrow is like that but hopefully your escrow will have a better track record than a teenage romance.
One way to help things along is to not set yourself up for failure. If you are a buyer or buyer's agent do not expect to get a loan approval in 15 days if you do not have every document into the lender ahead of time. If you are a seller or seller's agent and accepted an FHA loan do not try to make the buyer get approval in 15 days.  If the seller does not get inspections ahead of time do not tell the buyer they have 7 days for property contingencies and then start yelling because the property inspector says there is something wrong with the foundation and they need more time for an engineer to look at it.
Bottom line, do not set yourself up for failure by blowing a gasket over unrealistic time frames. Try to make them realistic to begin with so that the parties can succeed rather than fail.
Marcy Moyer
Keller Williams Realty
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Do You Care About Your Children?

I am not a lawyer or an accountant so please do not construe this as legal or tax advice. However, friends do not let friends leave their estates to probates, so let’s just say I am your friend.
Trust Sale in Palo Alto
As a realtor who specializes in Probate and Trust sales, it does not matter to me whether the estate is being probated, or passed down through a trust.  But it does matter to the heirs, especially now that the estate tax will kick in after a million dollars starting in January, unless Congress  and the administration change it. How likely is that?  They can not even agree to have dinner together so changing the estate tax exemption any time soon is unlikely.
So as of Jan. 1, 2011 when you die your heirs can get the first one million dollars of your estate tax free, but anything above that will be taxed at 55%.  So let’s say you have a home that is worth 1.2 million and a mortgage of $700,000. The estate will be valued at 1.2 million not $500,000 which is the equity. If you have your estate in trust you can set things up to help reduce the taxes owed. Even if you do not have a mortgage on your home, if you have a home in Palo Alto you are very likely to have an estate worth over a million dollars because of the value of your home.  You will probably benefit by talking to an estate lawyer to help structure things to get the most tax free money for your heirs.  I can give you names of some excellent estate attorneys if you need a referral.
Marcy Moyer
Keller Williams Realty
D.R.E. 01191194
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