New Agency Laws!

It’s July and the summer has started. As things heat up and buyers rush into the market, they are faced with new challenges and require proper representation. Virginia Association of REALTOR® (VAR) has developed and passed legislation that will enhance the agency relationship and disclosure requirements. These new laws go into effect on July 1, 2012 and as with any legislation, the actual language can be boring and dull so I’ve tried my best to briefly explain everything. If for some reason my explanation isn’t enough or you’d like to learn more, please visit VAR’s site at www.varealtor.com/agency.

What has changed?

  1. Inform the consumer: The law is to make sure consumers are fully informed about the real estate services they’ll receive and the nature of the relationship with the licensee.
  2. Mitigate REALTOR® liability: The law is designed to protect licensees by making sure full disclosure is provided and the nature of brokerage relationship is reduced to writing. It’s to eliminate much of the consumer confusion that can come back and bite the licensee.
  3. Discourage opportunisitic dual agency: The law is intended to make sure that licensees who practice dual agency are fully informing consumers about the risky nature of that relationship.
So, what does this mean for you?
Once you’ve found a REALTOR® you want to represent you, you need to enter into a written brokerage relationship that will outline a minimum of the following:
  • what services the REALTOR® will provide;
  • how long the REALTOR® will provide those services for; and
  • what fees will be charged and how they will be paid.
VAR has created a very informative flyer that will help you understand the changes of this law and better answer any questions. You can view the PDF document by going to the following link: Your Realtors Role – Understanding Your Options.

Now if you’re ready to start looking for homes or are interested in selling your home, please contact me at 703-577-4320 and I’ll be happy to further explain the agency relationship and help in “Giving Your Dreams An Address!”

Questions to Ask A Listing Agent?

The kids have finished school, the pools are open and it’s the perfect time to sell your home! Summer is typically the ideal time to sell homes because people are generally feeling “warm” and have a better desire to move before school starts again. So as you interview various agent, make sure to ask these questions to find the best agent:  Continue reading

How Many Showings Does It Take?

The interest rates are as low as 4% and fixed for 30 years and has generated a lot of buyers in today market almost making most of the Northern Virginia area a “normal” market. This has lead to a lot of seller’s getting lots of showings but no offers.  Is it possible to have 30 showings and no offers?……YES!

This is something that has been really hard for some sellers because they tend to get discouraged about their home not selling.  If you’re not a seller that has an over-priced home, chances are you’ve had lots of showings but no solid offers! So you’re probably wondering “Why haven’t I gotten any offers yet?” This could be for various reasons, here are two of the most common reasons that I’ve heard from some of my buyers lately: Continue reading

Renting Your House!

Whenever you decide you want to move into a bigger home, you have to decide what to do with your current home. For most people, selling is the only option in order to qualify to get a loan on a new home. But for a small percentage, the option to rent is always available. There are many reasons you may choose to rent, it could be because the market isn’t there to get the sales prices you want or you have a temporary job assignment for a few years. Whatever you reasons may be, here the pros and cons of renting your house:  Continue reading

Benefits of a Home Warranty!

It’s only a matter of time before your dishwasher starts to leak, the dryer overheats or a pipe breaks and floods the basement. With the current economy, most of us don’t have money laying around to be able to pay for a new dishwasher, dryer or fix the basement pipes and replace the carpet! In times like these it’s important to have home warranty! A home warranty is a type of insurance that covers different types of household items, major appliances and pay for the repair of the covered items in case they break down. Some types of home warranties may even pay for replacing the damaged appliances with new ones.

A home warranty can be beneficial for both buyers and sellers.  Before I start discussing the benefits for each, here are some of the appliances that are routinely covered by most home warranties: Continue reading

Short Sale In A Nutshell

Short Sale ManWhether you like it or not, short sales are part of real estate and they’re not going away anytime soon. Roughly 40% of home sales in today’s market are short sales or foreclosures! Distressed properties are well worth their value but before you get involved in the short sale, it is important to really understand the basics.

What is a short sale?
Short sale  is defined as a sale where the debt owed against the property exceeds the property’s market value. The lender normally incurs a loss and must agree to the sale in writing, thus preventing a foreclosure if the home sells.

What are the seller’s benefits?
The number one benefit for the seller is that they will avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy, both of which Continue reading

Pitfalls of Pricing High!

Pitfalls of Pricing High!With modern technology, real estate information is readily available and buyers are more educated and informed than ever before. The chances of you pricing your home high and selling it to an uneducated buyer are slim to none. Whether you plan to list your home or already have an overpriced listing, consider these dangers as you implement your marketing strategy:

  1. PITFALL #1 – TIME: Historically, the first 30 days on market are the most critical for any home since it’s the greatest potential for new buyer traffic. Often seller’s think that if they start high they can always come down later. Even though the price can be brought down later, you’ve already lost on your best buyers during the 30 days. Another downside is the time the home sits on the market. From the buyer’s perspective, the length of time a home sits on the market can be a sign for red flags since it could mean a possible sign of unmotivated seller or just problems with the home itself.
  2. PITFALL #2 – COMPETITION: An overpriced home not only sits on the market but also helps the competition. It is a cue to the buyers that they can get the same or similar home just down the street for a cheaper price. A buyer will choose a home with fewer amenities and less upgrades if there is a large price difference. Continue reading

Is Your Home Overpriced?

Overpriced Home

In the current real estate market, price remains a core factor in determining how quickly a home will sell. You are almost shooting yourself in the foot when you list it a high price. Here are some signs to determine if you home is overpriced:

  1. Homes on the same street or subdivision are selling for a much lower prices.
  2. You’ve factored cost of improvement into your sales price.
  3. You are getting no or a handful of showings per month. Continue reading

You Covered?

I am sure you’re aware that hurricane season has officially begun.  As hurricane IRENE makes it’s way up the Atlantic and U.S. Eastern shore, we can do nothing but prepare ourselves and wait.  However, this hurricane is a big risk to any real estate transaction that may be closing early next week.  If you’re a buyer, seller, loan officer or Realtor working on a transaction that is schedule to close at the end of this month, YOU MUST READ THIS!

Many insurance companies are not issuing home owner’s policies because of hurricane IRENE!!

If you’re the seller, you need to make sure that your current coverage includes hurricane damage.  If you’re not covered, you need to find someone that will cover you, otherwise you may be paying a lot out of pocket expenses to fix any damage prior to closing.

If you’re the buyer, you may not be able to get an insurance policy which is required if you have a loan.  This can delay your closing and your earnest money deposit could be at risk if you fail to close on time.

If you’re the realtor or loan officer in this predicament, you need to contact your clients and make sure they’re covered.  If not, you should come up with viable alternatives.  Some suggestions include calling around until you can find a company that will give you a policy (there are still a few left) or extend settlement date into September.

Have a great weekend and stay dry!

Hurricane Irene's Path

Hurricane Irene's Path

You only have ONE chance!

First ImpressionsYou only get ONE opportunity to make a good first impression, so you want to make it count!  By following these guidelines, you’ll enhance the attractiveness of your property and reduce the time it takes to generate serious offers.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
How your property appears from the outside is important.  To make a good first impression on a buyer, you must have a clean driveway, freshly mowed lawn or trimmed hedges to work wonders.  Make sure to do a critical inspection of the exterior.  Pay close attention to the windows, shutters, screens, gutters and paint.  Also, don’t forget to keep the front door clean and clutter free.  Nothing creates a larger unfavorable impression than these small exterior items.

CLEANLINESS COUNTS
As the buyers enter your property, the cleanliness makes a great appeal to continue or walk out.  The most important is the front hallway, kitchen and bathrooms.  If the property is owner occupied, make sure to do a room-by-room cleaning before leaving for work each day.  If you have kids with heavy traffic stains on carpets, make sure it is steam cleaned or replaced if necessary.  The same goes for hardwood flooring and tile, make sure it is polished and isn’t damaged or cracked.

LESS IS MORE
Clutter makes a poor impression.  In closets, cabinets, kitchen counter-tops and other storage areas like  basements, remove anything not needed for daily housekeeping.  To make each room look larger, get rid or donate unnecessary furniture.  Walk through the property and think : “Less is more.”

REPAIRS
Make sure everything is in good working order.  Dripping faucets, squeaky steps, loose doorknobs, faulty appliances can quickly create a bad impression and reduce the value of the property.  A new washer may only cost $400-$600 but in the eyes of the first time buyer, the costs are multiplied to $1000-$1200.  A few hours on repairs, whether by yourself or a handyman, can pay big dividends when an offer is made.

LITTLE THINGS COUNT
It’s easy to improve the appearance of any room.  You may want to replace worn rugs or small pillows, put new towels in bathrooms or brighten up a room with a vase of flowers.  Avoid using strong scents as they can be disliked by some buyers and may trigger allergies for others.  Soft neutral scents are a great way to create a welcoming atmosphere and help the buyers mindset when writing an offer.

PULL TOGETHER
Get all the members of your household to pull together when it comes to getting and keeping your property ready to view.  By getting everyone into the habit of spending a few minutes tidying up every morning for an afternoon showing, you improve your chances considerably.

If you need a professional opinion on what you can do to improve on the first impression your property makes, contact me today!