Relo Companies. Scam or Yes Ma’am.

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…)

  • 31
  • May
  • 2009
Posted in Buying Advice | 93 Comments »

Courthouse Step Foreclosures. Deal Or No Deal?

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…)

  • 28
  • April
  • 2009
Posted in Buying Advice, Virginia Foreclosures | 20 Comments »

Bank Foreclosure Moratorium Lifted. Frank Calls CNBC & Jim Cramer.

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…)
  • 21
  • April
  • 2009
Posted in Buying Advice, Press, Virginia Foreclosures | 13 Comments »

Terms, the New Money for REO and Short Sales

Ever heard somebody say “Cash vs loan? Money is money, the seller doesn’t care, as long as we show up to close.”

Sorry, but that was so 2000-2007.

With Banks, REOS and Short Sales, money is playing second or third fiddle to TERMS, TERMS, TERMS. Banks are taking 2-4% (more…)

  • 17
  • April
  • 2009
Posted in Buying Advice, Short Sales, Virginia Foreclosures | 12 Comments »

Boy Is It Hard to Find A Listing Agent/ Realtor in VA

This is part 1 of a new series on picking a Realtor to list your home in Virginia. Make sure you subscribe to the blog.

Wow, do I feel for you! It is REALLY hard to find a good Listing Agent/Realtor… anywhere (not just Virginia).

How do I know? Because I’m going through it right now! I’m helping my brother pick a Realtor to sell his house in Texas (yep not doing FSBO since I want him to net more).

Overcoming his hesitations are EXACTLY like customers here. It is HARD to cut through the BS. Here are some typical questions he had and my answers. (He was amazed that I had a blog post for everything. Also I apologize for jumping around.)

1) I taught him to not fall for the oldest trick in the Realtor book… the Buying a Listing Trick (recommend a high price to win the listing, just to drop later, which nets the client even less). He got that, so he warned the agents he was talking to that he wanted real pricing and he would NOT pick based on the highest price.

2) When he mentioned staging, one Realtor’s reply was Sure we can do that, or we can list, wait two weeks and then stage it. That might save you some money.(more…)

  • 9
  • March
  • 2009
Posted in Listing Advice., Staging | 19 Comments »

Auctions & Bankruptcy & Bring All Offers in Great Falls Virginia

I went to an Open House today for a $3Million+ “Auction” in Great Falls Virginia today. What a spectacle.

Funny how buyers think they are the only ones buying. As I pulled up, I was rerouted to the next street down to take the “shuttle!” About 20 Mercedes Benz, Lexus, and BMWs lining the road.

At the right price there are always buyers looking for “bargains.” In this post I want to unravel the new techniques in trying to move (sell) mansions and estates in Great Falls Virginia. It also relates to other areas as well.

System #1: Auction
Auctions are sexy. Make sure to get a bunch of people in a room and (more…)

  • 1
  • March
  • 2009
Posted in auctions, Luxury Homes, Virginia Foreclosures | 8 Comments »

Alert: Short Sales ARE CLOSING! But New Tricks!


They are the best deal in town, by far. More so than bank deals. But if you don’t read this carefully you will be FORKED!

In case you are new to the world of home shopping, there is something called a Short Sale. You need to read the details (more…)

  • 12
  • February
  • 2009
Posted in Buying Advice, FranklyMLS 101, Short Sales | 22 Comments »

MLS Data, Uncovering Gems & Meet Jeff Royce

After 82 blog posts, I have never re-posted or written a post about another blogger’s post.

However, today (actually earlier this month, but I never completed the post) I saw a post that I know took 4 hours to write, and is very informative. Also it gives me a chance to introduce Realtor Jeff Royce. He has one of the best blogs around for Fairfax Homes (that was for Google Juice), and after 11 years in the business he just came over to from Re/Max. Welcome Jeff. (more…)

  • 30
  • January
  • 2009
Posted in Buying Advice | 4 Comments »

Too Busy For You? Nah.

I got the best feedback of the year yesterday. Somebody said they wanted to use me as their agent, but they thought I was too busy for them. They signed up another agent and they were disappointed.

Then they recommended my blog, Youtube and to 3 friends. They also liked what they read and saw. But each one also thought I was too busy.

So to dispel this, I made a video (I didn’t have time to write it out*). (click here if you don’t see video)

YouTube Preview Image

Not too busy


  • 16
  • January
  • 2009
Posted in Buying Advice, Too Busy For You? | 12 Comments »

Redfin Increases Fees 50%. “Advantage” Leaves Off Seller Subsidy. Oops.

Update 11/2012: Redfin does it again! Congrats! First they increase fees by 50% (post below in 2009), then 3 years later in 2012 they cut their rebate yet again, this time almost in half for a typical $475k homes. A 0.88% rebate, down from the 2008 2% rebate. And there is no more firm-wide published % for the r ebate, so the % rebate continues to drop quietly (based on a $600k home in April 2012, vs Nov 2012). Nobody will be the wiser. Unless you follow my blog.

So I’m a big fan of Redfin. I love their MLS search engine (better mapping vs. my faster and don’t worry, they love a good debate, as long as they get link love (helps with Google).

This is a 2 part story. 1) Redfin Increases rates and 2) Fuzzy Math on Redfin’s “Advantage” calculation.

Part 1:
Many people might not know, Redfin two months ago increased their buyer agent commissions by 50% (more…)

  • 6
  • January
  • 2009
Posted in Buying Advice, Realtor Rebates, Redfin | 27 Comments » at 5Million. Now: Streetview, 4x faster, More data

After 5,000,000 page views served and 40,000 Wiki added photos, (Frankly MLS) has done it again.
A new round of 1sts for MLS Search engine features! And you might have been wondering what I was up to.


  1. First with Keyword search of remarks, subdivisions, zips, city, schools, agent name etc. (like Arlington bank owned)
  2. First Wiki site. (more…)
  • 19
  • November
  • 2008
Posted in Buying Advice, FranklyMLS 101 | 15 Comments »

Stocks Tank, Luxury Homes Volume Down 50%- Week Over Week

So the stock market is crashing to the worst week ever (I think due to off books Enron style account, see 07 warning).

So how will that affect the housing market for luxury homes? Don’t care? Then don’t read this.

I had a theory- albeit obvious – that those buying luxury homes over $1 Million in Arlington (more…)

  • 10
  • October
  • 2008
Posted in Luxury Homes | 11 Comments »

My 07 Prediction & Where I’ve Been… Youtube & Wedding & Law School

First my thoughts on the $700,000,000,000 bail out… I told you so!

Read my blog post from 12-2007 entitled: SIV= Imagine Enron, Bank Wide. (I posted it on my more frequent, but less polished blog on ActiveRain)

The #1 problem is OFF-BOOKS accounting! All of these sub-prime loans are hidden. Nobody knows how much exposure all the banks have.

Secondly, people have been emailing me asking what I’ve been up to and why I haven’t posted more frequently. Well, as some of you might know I’m in night school at Washington College of Law at American University. (I should be reading right now (more…)

  • 22
  • September
  • 2008
Posted in Virginia Foreclosures, Youtube | 10 Comments »

Don’t Buy Our Listings! Staging Required

Don’t Buy Our Listings!?
Because they are Too pretty. Too staged. Too well marketed.

Our listings NET sellers more (not buyers). Many agents will tell the sellers, “I can get you top dolla‘ “ (or they BUY a listing) and then turn around and tell buyers “this is a great ‘deal’!”

Well, you can’t have it both ways.
Is it a good deal for the seller or the (more…)

  • 5
  • August
  • 2008
Posted in Listing Advice., Staging | 18 Comments »

Buying Bank? Hurry! & Wait…

I just got a bank owned / REO property under contract. Was previously $800k, and it was now listed for $400k.

We had to bid on 6 properties before finally “winning” one (ask how we “won” without having the highest offer too!). Wow was that a pain. And people say it is a “buyers market” with tons of inventory? If a home is priced right, it will sell FAST. The key is to get daily MLS email alerts! (or ask for hourly)

So, I haven’t figured out to what degree the hassle was with the listing agent or with the bank (more…)

  • 30
  • July
  • 2008
Posted in Buying Advice, Virginia Foreclosures | 11 Comments »

FranklyCRA: A Comparative REALTOR Analysis. Unleashed.

(Warning long a** post, but my best of year.)

FranklyCRA: A Comparative REALTOR Analysis. Unleashed.

Imagine legally eavesdropping onto the conversation of the listing agent, with buyer in tow.

You know, the one that goes like this, “Well, in my experience I think you should…”

Well what if I could tell you there was a way to know what that experience exactly was? Trends that the other agent repeats. Yep, and I have been doing it for 4 years.

A REALTOR friend that I taught this technique to, and works for one of the big boys said, “No Stop, (more…)

  • 22
  • July
  • 2008
Posted in Buying Advice, Frankly CRA | 98 Comments »

Admin Fees, MSNBC & 515+ Comments.

In case you missed it, MSNBC’s front page linked to their RedTape blog which ran a little piece on bogus Admin fees. My 2007 admin fee post fueled part of the article. So far there are 515 comments over there, and 5,000 unique visitors over here.

I hate admin fees. Never charged them, never (more…)

  • 12
  • July
  • 2008
Posted in Press, Shady Agent Tricks | 11 Comments »

Don’t Use Tax Assessments to Value a Home! now offers in the spreadsheet view a % Difference between the Tax Assessment and the List Price. But I’m here to tell you that I see too many buyers giving TOO MUCH weight to the tax records and tax assessments. (So why offer it? Well cuz you want it anyway).

Problems with Tax Assessments on the MLS:

1) The MLS freezes tax data (more…)

  • 2
  • July
  • 2008
Posted in Buying Advice, Tax Data | 12 Comments », 1st to Scrub for Short Sales & Post Article

In a long list of “1sts”, is now the 1st Virginia/DC/MD MLS search engine that scrubs for Short Sales! (maybe the 1st in the nation). Also see my quote today in the
Wash Post, and my other articles defining Short Sales

On the spreadsheet results page, try a search for Alexandria, if you see an asterisk next to the price, that means it is “probably a short (more…)

  • 15
  • June
  • 2008
Posted in Buying Advice, FranklyMLS 101, Short Sales | 21 Comments » 101: DOMM vs DOMP Days On Market

New Series: 101

#1 What is the difference between DOM-M and DOM-P?

Both of these terms refer to Days on the Market for a house for sale.

DOM-M stands for Days on the (more…)

  • 4
  • June
  • 2008
Posted in FranklyMLS 101 | 21 Comments »