Update 9/2015 to this 2007 post. Frankly.com, the unique home search site will now be exclusively for the benefit of our clients after a 10 day no obligation trial, that means signing one of these contracts. Read below to better understand it, and watch this VIDEO on why.
What is an “Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement”? This is a contract that a buyer is oftentimes asked to sign by a buyer agent Realtor. In part it commits the buyer to use this one agent exclusively for several months.
Bottom line, Deadlines… I don’t like them, they can hurt you, but sometimes they are necessary.
If you have read my other posts on bidding wars and putting in offers to buy Virginia, MD or DC homes for sale, you know that I obsess with the art of negotiations. How you put in an offer matters. Want me to prove it? I can send you a 20 minute, non-public raw video I made of an analysis I did for a 7 contract bidding war. We were on the listing side. I compare and ridicule the 7 offers. You can then see how to make your contract stand out and see me yell (at the screen) for not-so-sharply written contracts and how that hurts the client. This shows you what not to do. It shows you a spreadsheet analysis and how to make your offer the best in each column… except maybe the price. I prefer my clients win with the lowest offer or at least not the highest offer. (this private link is only for people not currently working with an agent)
Back to deadlines. I don’t like them. Why? Experience. Seems logical to put in an offer and put a deadline of X days or X hours. Logic won’t win you a home (more…)
Update 7/10/2013 Just got PreMLS.com and have launched in 6 cities in the US.
The legend has it that once upon a time there was one book per real estate office that had each real estate home for sale. Likely updated MONTHLY! Then the data moved to computers, but only for agents to see, and then the data went online where the agent OR the buyer could check it WEEKLY for new homes.
Then consumers demanded faster, so Realtors got fancy and delivered DAILY email alerts for new listings. That was earth shaking. But that wasn’t good enough. Sites like FranklyMLS.com started offering nearly INSTANT ALERTS for new listings. Beating out other buyers.
But now the time has come. To be even faster. Even more Instant-er!
Are we talking mere seconds? No. How about going Back to the Future and knowing what will be on the MLS BEFORE IT HAPPENS!! And in a large quantity! Possibly 10-20% of the marketplace one day.
How is that possible?
Consumers demanded it, so Frankly made it, and the Agent community embraced it.
More and more I am seeing the technique of purposefully underpricing a listing in order to create an artificial bidding war. It is a very tempting pitch from your listing agent, but don’t fall for it! They may want you to underprice in order to sell your home quickly and to move on. Their goal might not be to net you the highest amount. And it doesn’t work, in my opinion.
Example (ass described in the video)
Listing 1, our listing. $429,000, sold for $432,600 or 101% of list.
Listing 2, not ours. $399,000, sold for $433,000 or 108% of list
One might initially think listing 2 did better. However, #2 was listed a month after #1 went Under Contract fast (so they should know that it went near full price, and newer listings in an up market tend to ask for about $2,500 more). Listing #2 was nearly identical, but two floors higher plus a fireplace. Two floors is about $6,000 in value, a fireplace, maybe $2k. Yet they only got $400 more on a place worth $8,000 more. The result of underpricing to create a bidding war… a loss of $7,600-$10,000 in value. Oops!
Why doesn’t it work? Bidding War Exhaustion ™,(more…)
A “Back-Up Offer” is an offer that is submitted when a home is already Under Contract (as seen on FranklyMLS with the strikeout line) with another buyer. (sidenote: this post kinda conflicts with my “this home is not available” post on the FranklyMLS blog, feel free to call me out on it).
If the seller signs it, it becomes the “Back-Up Contract.”
Does it happen often?
Sure. My guess is 10-20% of deals. Especially in the first week of being UC. I once had a listing with 4 contracts that fell out!
How does one put in a back up offer?
The second potential buyer will submit, preferably with their buyer’s agent (which should be an exclusive agent), a regular 20+ official contract with an addendum that outlines the details of the “back up offer.” This offer becomes ratified when it is signed by both parties. Then, in the event that the first contract does not perform, then the back-up offer immediately becomes the “primary contract”.
Disclaimer: Do not believe the post title, it is a hyper exaggeration. Your results may come in under $1,000,000 in savings.
But why save Trillions, when you can save Billions?
Ok maybe a bit much, but quote is the cliff notes:“FranklyRealty.com got me more money than I ever would have imagined.” Why exaggerate when you got that?
With all those compelling options buyers and sellers have today, I think I need to go into more detail explaining exactly how a great agent can help you NET more and more importantly win a home when inventory is tight.
This client is the perfect candidate to explain exactly what we do. A year ago his approach to real estate was typical “I’m smart” (oftentimes a lawyer or professional) and “I will go For Sale By Owner, FSBO, tosave money selling and I’ll be really smart and I will use a rebater tosave on buying.”
But then he got educated. Read almost every blog post in this Blog and became a convert (ie. even smarter than smart). He took the leap and used Frankly Real Estate and is here to share his experience with others considering FSBO, Rebating or your mom’s friendly Realtor (which is an upcoming post, so make sure to subscribe!). Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking going solo via FSBO (see best post ever on “saving” $20,000 via FSBO) or Rebaters.
Heck, my long standing moto has been “I used to rebate, but then I got good”.
P.S. What do you all think about an informal (rsvp required) home buying seminar for repeat or 1st time home buyers in the $500-$1.3M range (too many seminars out there for the $100-$300k range buyer). I thought the concept was cheesy, but was like “actually it could be pretty cool.” You in?
p.s.s. Did you see my tweet on how my HGTV stars/clients are selling their Arlington home 3 years later? Here is the listing: AR7949281 it looks amazing.
This post may self destruct, for it tells too much! Yep, I might remove this post after my 1,000 subscribers get it in their inbox (are you signed up, do so in the upper right). Hopefully the competition doesn’t get to it. (I have already had one request to take it down)
So you have probably read newspaper articles about bidding wars on homes for sale in the Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia area. Especially houses in Arlington Virginia.
The inventory is tight and people are off to the races. Sometimes 5 offers, sometimes more.
This site is mostly about buying and selling real estate in Virginia, MD and DC, but most don’t realize that I also like to take an active role with the lending process. Kinda spot checking to make sure things look right and bringing up “oh, I hadn’t thought of that, type stuff.” Those little things can make a $15,000 difference. Does your agent do that?? (again, why you shouldn’t hire a buyer or listing agent based on bullet points, but instead based on a brain)
Anyhow, today I wanted to discuss something that came up with a blog reader via my online chat (see right column). He was heading down the path of a 10% mortgage, even though he had more cash. He wanted to be “conservative” and have a cushion.
(sidenote: I love that word. I once used it on a brother of a friend of mine. He was telling stories about his life that nobody believed. I said respectfully that what he was saying was awesome, but so awesome that it was Un-Believe-able to my mind. Beyond my ability to
comprehend. But in a “if it is true, you are a God” complimentary way.)
This buyer trick is like that. Maybe this will start to explain to you what a great thinking agent can do for you. Give you that leg up. None of this comparing agents by the length of their bullet point list of offerings. (see video on not picking a listing agent by comparing bullet point lists)
What if I told you, you could get systematically alerts for new listings BEFORE THEY HIT THE MLS (more…)
FPP stands for Frankly Price Predictor and it is the coolest new feature on FranklyMLS.com. So cool, it is patent pending.
The goal of FPP is to predict a home’s closing price, IF IT SOLD TODAY. Disclaimer: Please do NOT take it seriously.Consider it more like a TOY (at least for now).
FPP uses historic listing data (see below) to predict the price. It is NOT an AVM (which uses tax data and home data). Try a search for Arlington Condos.
An “AVM” is an Automated Valuation Model. The focus is on“value,” and it is for every home, listed or not.
Tools like Zillow’s Zestimate and Cyberhomes, use public data and recent sales. Many consider them wildly inaccurate. But heck, it makes for GREAT marketing! (Hats off to the Zillow team!). How “accurate” are they? In a Zillow report, the DC area is one of their most “accurate” areas, yet not even 50% of homes close within 5% of the Zestimate. So over 50% of $500k homes are off by over $25k!
Are Zestimates better than tax data, sure! Will we still show Zestimates on FranklyMLS? Sure. The more data the better, right? Is it better than a Realtor combing through comps, heck no (and they disclose that it is not a Realtor replacement).
How is FPP different than all those other “AVMs” or Automated Valuation Models are “value” estimators? (more…)
Long time no post. In part because we just had a baby! Hartly Jose LLosa and have been settling into the new house on Lake Barcroft. (see more below).
Also I have been posting a weekly video column for INMAN news called the Wheel Estate Cam. The video blog is mainly broker to agent focused advice.
This is video #30 on the Fiduciary Duty of Realtors and it is particularly relevant to consumers buying real estate in Virginia, DC and Maryland. Also it gives you a glimpse into how we work.
American U. Law School Update: Just two light semesters left! (I overloaded the courses pre-baby)
Our House Update: We bought a house on Lake Barcroft in Falls Church, Virginia.
While it has had major money pit-type problems (see my 10 favorite upgrades), I absolutely love living on a 135 acre LAKE only 8 miles from DC. If you are considering buying on or near this secret gem (Lake Barcroft), let me know and I can take you on a private boat ride of the homes for sale (requires lender pre-qual letter).
More information (including Youtube videos & Twitter posts) on the LAKE… at what better domain than my new and raw LakeBarcroft.com
Cliche closing statement: I’m not posting as frequently here, but I am posting on Twitter @franklyrealty and Inman (above). And of course, you can still contact me for your Virginia, DC or MD real estate needs, and no.. I’m not too busy for you, see here!
Ok, this is kinda tricky to explain, so bear with me.
I feel strongly that ultimately the seller should pay for all (actually “most”) closing costs. But not in the way that you might be thinking. And this type of post will lead to the 101 hyper technical “but what if” scenarios (more…)
I hate the new appraisal system and non-local appraisers. (see video below)
Let me explain. The government came up with a brilliant idea to curb another housing meltdown!
Assuming (you know what they say: It makes an “Ass out of you and Ming”) most lenders and appraisers were fraudulent, they decided to put a great wall of china in between the lender and appraiser.
So instead of having a “reliable” and experienced local appraiser, they instead farmed out the process (and sometimes to a company they own) to a company that would then find an “independent” appraiser. 1 problem is, the appraiser has no accountability.
Also problem #2 is now another middle man has to make a cut, but the cost to consumer is the same. The result? The cost to the appraiser goes down. The result? NON-LOCAL APPRAISERS.
You know you are in trouble in Northern Virginia if your appraiser gets out of the car with a cowboy hat & boots.
So if you (Mr. Appraiser) don’t know the area, what are you going to do? Pick the wrong houses and appraiser more conservatively (they can only get in trouble if they appraise a place too high, so why not just make it come in lower. It also takes more work to come in higher). An appraiser’s job is not to be conservative or aggressive, but to be as correct as possible.
Recently we had a listing where a bank promised that they used local appraisers. The appraiser came from Purceville! Over 50 miles away! The appraisal made comments about Ballston and Rosslyn being where the jobs were. As if Clarendon was 2nd fiddle and not desirable. (If you aren’t from the area, like the appraiser, you wouldn’t know that Clarendon is the most expensive and nicest place in Arlington, see Arlington Rap )
Even before the appraisal system was mixed up, I would always warn my buyers “hey if it comes in higher than what you paid, don’t really celebrate. Sometimes appraisers like to come in higher, just to make you feel good, and oftentimes they aren’t really “real” in my book.” Why would I burst their happy dance?
Because I warn them that the flip side (a low appraisal) is also possible.
Just because an “appraiser” says something has a value of X, that doesn’t mean it is the “true” value. While some might argue there is no “true value” or “it is worth what somebody is willing to pay for it“, I’m referring to the other problems with appraisals.
1) BANK SALES IN COMPS
Appraisers usually include bank sales on the MLS. These are homes that are oftentimes underpriced, they get 7-20 offers and the all cash offer wins. NOT THE HIGHEST OFFER. So a $400,000 bank listing might get bid up to $415,000 with an “all cash” buyer, and 3 other buyers had offers in for $435,000. What is it “worth?” Well the appraiser says $415,000, but the market says $435,000. And this isn’t even going into whether a regular, properly marketed identical listing would sell for $450,000. So what is the “value?” of this $415,000 closed home?
For some people this means NEVER being able to buy a home. They live in areas that are full of investors buying with all cash (like WOodbridge). Those sales then drive down the price of a regular listing but not enough. The appraisal will still be low, and the 3% down FHA buyer doesn’t have the money to make the difference (yes, I got emails on this).
2) SHORT SALES
Similar to the above, but the seller has NO interest in trying to get full market price. Actually the banks expects to sell them for 5-15% off market price. The seller just wants a patient buyer, oftentimes an investor. And as I have written in all my other Short Sale posts, these deals will go 3-6 months and oftentimes never pan out. So yes they have to sell for less, to compensate the buyer for the hassle and high chance of never closing. Many buyers will not even look at short sales. So are these good comparable for an appraisal? I think not.
3) MARKET UPSWING?
Oh my! Could it be? Could it be possible that homes and condos in Arlington are actually selling for more than the low in June 2009? Yes. In reality they are (this is the first time I have said anything about the market going up), yet the appraiser is more likely to call the market “steady.” All you need is a small 1-3% increase for a $500,000 place to now be selling for $515,000, yet the appraiser won’t adjust for that.
4) LOW INVENTORY
Rarely will an appraiser adjust for low inventory. IE, Ain’t nothing else out there to buy in this price bracket. Good appraisers will see this and understand supply and demand.
SOLUTIONS TO LOW APPRAISALS?
So this is what I see happening. When a low appraisal comes in, the buyer oftentimes freaks out. It is the buyer agent’s job to warn them about this (see post above) and then discuss what they want to do. About 1/3rd of the time the buyer will walk (until it happens to the next property!), 1/3rd of the time the seller will just drop their price and the last 1/3rd get new appraisers or work it out.
1) DEMAND A LOCAL APPRAISER
Put it in the contract (as the lister) that you will only entertain a local appraiser. Maybe give it a 15 mile range. If the lender can’t do this, make the buyer get a new lender and new appraisal if somebody non-local does the appraisal.
2) GET A NEW APPRAISAL. CHALLENGE IT.
Either the buyer or seller can get a new appraisal. Yes, my buyers have hired new reliable and local appraisals. Why? Because the buyers have been to each home in the area for the last 3 months and they know the value. While a bank won’t flat out accept the new appraiser, it can be used to challenge the first appraisal.
3) PAY THE DIFFERENCE
While it might be painful, it might be the only way. Especially if you have gone through it a few times, if you start all over, it will likely happen again (unless you are willing to wait 3 months for a short sale to MAYBE close).
Appraisals falling short is occurring in about 50% of transaction. IT EVEN HAPPENED TO ME! The home I bought did NOT appraise. Yes, I paid well over the “appraisal” price. (yep soon that will be a good post, make sure to subscribe to the blog).
Thanks for hearing me out. Now I can warn my clients with a link to this post instead of giving a limited explanation to the appraisal problem. The goal is not to pressure a buyer to increase their price. I really hope this didn’t come off that way. Instead the goal is to explain the process and for buyers to not ignore their own perceived “value” and ignore their Realtor, when some $20 an hour newbie appraiser from West Virginia says otherwise.
UPDATE: Paul Todd, has a brilliant comment. You are brilliant! Paul says, when the appraiser calls, ask exactly where they are from. If they aren’t local, then refuse access and make the lender pick another appraiser. Wow, great idea.
Written by Frank Borges LL0SA- Broker Owner FranklyRealty.com and FranklyMLS.com
Too frequently, I get an email from somebody that has been following my blog and tweets for months and is now ready to buy!
I get the details of this person’s dream home, including number of bedrooms, lot size and location (don’t get me wrong, most buyers still do their own searching). But then they end the email with a catch. “Oh, but the only problem is our maximum is $400k.” Meanwhile, homes in this area sell for $550k. What to do with buyers wanting the (more…)
A Brilliant marketing executive came up with the idea of promoting the “Starter Home” (not to be confused with the “starter wife”). Buy a small home or condo… stay in it for two to four years, use the increase in value, “equity,” and buy a bigger a house.
Problem is an assumption was made: Maryland home prices will go up! And why not? Real estate went like 60 years without 1 annual drop nationwide. It was a no brainer. But when people don’t think, bad things happen.
Are you better off buying in Virginia DC and MD AFTER the tax credit expires? Maybe.
Everywhere you turn (even CNN.com) you read about the $8,000 1st time homebuyer tax credit and how you need to “Buy Now” (anybody remember that NAR ad from 2006?). Gotta hurry up before the Dec 1st Expiration!
(Sidenote: that expiration means you need to CLOSE by then. If you are looking for a short sale gamble, and you want the credit, you better get it under contract NOW. And everyone else, don’t be an idiot and schedule your closing on the 1st. At least close a week early. There will be a backlog, and hiccups, and you might miss your tax credit.)
So Warren Buffet says whenever you see a herd running in one direction, you are supposed to walk the other way. (more…)
Cartus relocation company is a CROC! (that is an opinion, for more opinions Google Cartus sucks).
Actually many “relocation” companies that are supposed to help the employee are just fronts for making profit. And they have such a compelling pitch! How could an eligible buyer actually decide to bypass them?EASILY!
I’ll explain exactly why you might want to bypass your relocation company AND how you can use PART of their system to your benefit and ditch the other part.
Why am I picking on Cartus? Cuz I was robbed. I got this email the other day:
Hi, I’m moving to Virginia with my job in a month and my fiance and I are a big Frank fan! (more…)
Today I continued my research on the hunt for details on a possible upcoming influx of bank properties (due to a lift of the bank foreclosure moratorium) and to see if consumers are buying properties directly from the banks at the courthouse.
So, I went to the courthouse steps in Arlington Virginia to see today’s scheduled auctions. First of all, all 3 homes set to be auctioned off (more…)
A couple of weeks ago Fannie Mae and Freddic Mac (backing most home loans) lifted a Bank Foreclosure Moratorium. I was concerned that the recent 80% drop in bank foreclosure inventory might be a temporary blip with an oncoming tsunami of bank foreclosures.
After hours of dead end research. I decided to call my buddy… Jim Cramer from CNBC’s Mad Money (more…)