Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I am absolutely amazed at some homes that I show!

I’ve sold over a thousand homes since I started in real estate back in 1988, and you know, I’m still totally surprised at what people are thinking when they put their home on the market.

Case in point. Not long ago I showed a home and the condition was listed as “updated” in our mls. No other details were forthcoming, but the buyer liked the exterior and at least was interested enough to want to see it. Once we arrived we noticed immediately that the home needed a new roof, so I guess that wasn’t the “updated” that they were referring to. Undaunted, we entered the property and found golf clubs in the foyer, lots of shoes, coats, and a full trash bag waiting to be taken out, and a sign that asked us to take off our shoes. Ok… ??

So we complied and started our tour. The d├ęcor was “early cluttered”, with accents of piled magazines and a dead plant in the living room. The dining room was empty, but the chair rails had seen good use over the years, and the carpet showed a definite path from the kitchen, through the dining room and living room to the front staircase, and no updating.

Now, I may be picky here, but the kitchen hadn’t seen a scrub brush in decades. There was a dirty grease build up in what seemed like every nook and cranny, and a stove that hadn’t been cleaned since it was purchased, and still no updates.

The family room was actually presentable, with one sofa and the obligatory Wii game console on the television stand and a folded blanket. Not bad here. At least there wasn’t a pathway, and the hardwood floors, wait, I mean Pergo floors looked almost new. Could it be?? Yes that was the “upgrade”, obviously installed by the homeowner after a class at their big box lumber store. Yes Sir, it was an amazing sight to behold. So we saw it. An “upgrade”. Just one, but at least it was an upgrade, not a professional job, but… Cool… But not cool enough to make us go any further.

This was really a waste of time if I had ever seen one. My buyers were laughing uncontrollably at the thought that the seller actually allowed people to see their mess, and they even hinted at that they should have a scoring system in place at the door so when we left we could leave a scoring sheet from one to ten rating their performance. You know, the same sort of system seen on “Dancing with the Stars” where each contestant gets their comments and a scoring paddle.

Personally, I think the agent should have given them the lecture that homes need to be maintained properly and they should be kept “CLEAN” for showings, and if a home is in need of dire repairs, it should be so stated in the listing. After all, not all buyers are willing to purchase a fix-up. That’s what short sale and foreclosure homes are for. Enough said. – Fauna MacKillip

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Downside of Short Sales and Foreclosures

Face it… Everyone wants a deal and when you are purchasing a new home, there is the perception of getting a really screaming deal if you can snag a short sale, or even a foreclosure. I understand the thought process here and I’ve had several really good deals close over the past year that have been short sales, but unfortunately, I have seen the reality of these deals too, and most of the time you have to be really cautious about how you approach the transaction.

In the past 6 months I’ve had three very interesting transactions that involved short sales vaporize after spending as much as 9 months leaving the buyers high and dry having to start all over looking at homes. I’m not going to bore you with a blow by blow description of the process, but I will tell you that each of these sales blew up because of an unforeseen circumstance that affected the sale. Two of the deals fell apart because the properties were flooded when pipes broke, even though the properties were winterized, and the third deal fell apart because of an administrative error on the part of the lender that allowed the property to slip into foreclosure at the last minute, leaving the buyers to find new properties after waiting for their “deal” to happen.

They endured months of camping out in rental properties while living out of boxes and suitcases and still had to turn to the retail housing market to find their replacement homes. In each case here, the buyers found a better home, at a really good price and were able to close their transaction without incident. Why? Because the homes were occupied by sellers that were motivated to sell their homes and were there to take care of business.

There is no real moral to this story, except that every day there are deals to be had in both the resale, and the distressed property markets. The reality of the sale is determined by what the market is doing on any given day. Supplies of resale homes reaching the market have stabilized leaving much better values to be found, and lenders, with all of their built in bureaucracy, are not giving the deals that they were back when they were over supplied with homes and new policies have slowed the flow of distressed homes reaching the market, once again adding stability.

My professional opinion of the current market is simple. If you are set on trying to get a distressed property, you must be prepared to change course at a moment’s notice, and have your bags packed for a long process to get your deal closed. On the other hand, I think the best values right now are found in the resale market because these people are motivated, and their homes are not tied up in the bureaucratic process. Deals can be found anywhere, but you really have to do your homework and be prepared to change course. Remember, for every house you like, there will be homework involved to make sure it is the “right” one for you.

As a professional Realtor®, I’m here to help you with your real estate needs. If you find this article helpful, and you would like more information, please give me a call at 303-798-8700.