Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Appraisals Setting Market Values? New Trend?

There's always a first.  First closing, first fall-through, first family transaction...you get the picture.  There's always a first and usually it's not the last, just an indicator of things to come or a flashing warning sign of things to never involve yourself in again.  Sometimes you see the red flags and despite years of experience, you fail to heed them.  Surely, you think to yourself, this can't be what it seems.  Well, usually it is.  Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, again, you get it.

Because I deal with clients from all over the world, I have learned that past real estate experiences in other locations tend to color the transaction that the client and I are currently involved in.  Sometimes good, sometimes bad.  Poor market conditions, including a glut of inventory, plummeting prices and poor professional guidance can create negative residual reactions for future transactions.  Stay with me.
Poor market conditions in another state, coupled with life-decisions being made regarding retirement and downsizing made my buyers paranoid about real estate values and rightfully so.  Their home, a once stable investment, did not quite bring what they felt it should in today's market, leaving them with a sour taste in their mouths.  Per our conversations, their real estate guidance back home was non-existent.  When I asked questions about marketing, contingencies, financing options, etc. they looked at me as if I were speaking parseltongue. 

Fast forward...we find a house here that meet their needs and is in the price point that they would like to be in.  We have viewed over 50 homes in the past year while their home has been on the market, always toying with the idea of buying before the current home sold.  Now that it was under contract, time was of the essence in regards to finding a place for them to rest their heads.  Now keep in mind, we have viewed tons of homes in a variety of areas, all similar in spatial needs and between a certain range.  We have now located one, which according to my past experience, should mean that this is the best home that the buyer has seen, in regards to condition, location and pricing...(that's how homes make it to number one on a buyers' list).

Time to make an offer.  Rather than sit down and look at comparable homes that are active (we have seen all of these) or take an in depth look at similar homes sold in the past 90 days, these folks ask for an appraisal.  Wow!  Didn't see that coming!  I am used to negotiating a price based on what the buyer and seller feel the home is worth in today's market, getting it under contract at terms everyone can live with and then "verifying" the price and terms with a certified appraisal.  This seemed all backwards--but was it?

The question that I am taking away from this experience is multi-faceted...Who sets the price? What is happening to fair market value in an era of government regulated loans and appraisals?  Since when did buyers and sellers not feel like they have the information to make decisions without being dictated by a third party who knows nothing of their personal needs and real estate desires? 

The biggest problem I see with this "new" direction is the lack of comparable homes that appraisers have to work with.  If there are not three similar homes sold in the past 90 days then appraisers are digging to find homes that are close in proximity but may be quite different for a variety of reasons.  You may say "well they are going to have to do it for the bank appraisal anyway" and you are right, but its funny that once a sales price is set between buyer and seller, unless it is way off base, comps are usually found and adjusted accordingly.  It's this "pull a value out of the air" using any homes that the appraiser may personally deem reasonable, that I am trying to wrap my mind around.

So the question begs to be asked...What are your thoughts on pre-appraisals and do you see this as something you would consider doing or is the notion that you are buying the best house out there for you and your family's needs enough to base price on?

Until Then...


Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankful for Thanksgiving!

Whew!  I am feeling it!  The button on my jeans is crying to be released!  The kick-off to the holiday season began today at our Allen Tate office in Winston-Salem.  With over 60 agents in attendance and everyone bringing 2-3 side dishes and the staff providing turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, let's just say, I don't know how I am going to make it to the new year!  I looked around the room and I certainly was not the only one feeling the love for this mega-buffet.  Plates were bending, folks were eating while in line in order to make more room on their plate, seconds were served and the crock-pot full of gravy didn't stand a chance by the looks of this crowd.  We've been waiting for this...

It makes you really appreciate a group of fellow Realtors under one company that can gather to gather, take time out of their busy schedule and share the harvest with each other.  Sure war stories were exchanged right along beside the recipes, plenty of ribbing about being airlifted out of the room or having the wrecker service drag someones chair to their office, but it's like one big family complete with love and plenty of sarcasm. 

I am thankful not only for such a supportive group of co-workers but also, an amazing company that is always ahead of the technology and marketing curve,  a top-notch year where we have grown our team with two additional full-time agents and a full-time assistant, a market where jobs are being created everyday and my family both at home and at work.  Sure makes my life a lot more enjoyable and for this I Thank God!  Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Luxury Listings...Be the Jewel in the Crown!

As a founding member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, Allen Tate Realtors, has access to amazing exposure for your luxury home by way of their Luxury Portfolio. Luxury Portfolio is a dedicated program of print and internet advertising that focuses on, well, you guessed it, luxury living.   As we all know, every man's home is his or her castle, so first there has to be a guideline as to what determines a luxury listing.  For Luxury Portfolio, a qualified luxury home, must be a residential property price over $750,000.

This figure is the key that opens up a plethora of doors across the world, therefore exposing your home to discerning buyers in every country.  Armed with high resolution photography and photos that resonate the quality and unique attributes of these homes, Luxury Portfolio does more than just throw your home into the mix of the millions of homes on the market--it positions it as a unique jewel among others in the "luxury" crown.

Most of the homes in the Luxury Portfolio have online-floor plans that allow you to view the layout of the home.  The floor plans coupled with a gracious number of quality photos, allows buyers to really get a feel for the home prior to their visit.  The homes appear in a variety of print publications and as sellers, you receive complimentary copies of most of these publications.  Homes in Luxury Portfolio also qualify for Wall Street Journal advertising as well as Unique Homes Magazine which you may have flipped through the last time you were at Barnes and Nobel.  The homes are also stars in their own YouTube channel available to buyers who like to virtually tour homes.

So what are you waiting for?  Thinking of selling your luxury listing?  Give Brooke Cashion & Associates a call/text/email and we would love to sit down and share with you not only Luxury Portfolio, but all of the unique goodies that we have to offer.  It's company and team tools such as these that have given us a "leg-up" in this market, allowing us to increase our business in 2011 over 30%.  Let us share our experience and attention to detail with you! 


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Trick or Weak?

Ok, I did the parent-thing and braved the pouring rain, drove to a different neighborhood so that Maddie could walk with her friends and basically allocated the entire evening to this "holiday".  Much to my surprise (ok, I really wasn't that shocked), kids just don't have the "salt" my generation had when it came to trick or treating.

Not only are costumes bought or basically "stage-quality" these days, but kids just don't have the passion that we had to fill their bags to the brim and to run full-on from house to house before "quittin' time".  Maddie's costume was hand-made by my mother-in-law at Maddie's request and let me tell you, it was such a nice costume that I told Maddie it may very well be her Christmas dress or at least be donated to the Little Theatre.  Tongue in cheek, maybe, but it definitely was nicer than some of the holiday dresses I owned growing up.

I digress...We arrived at 5:30 across town to enjoy chili with school friends and then as soon as we stepped out of the door into the rain, the complaints began in a cacophony from the 6+ kids in the group.  They ranged from:

"I don't want to carry the umbrella will you hold it for me?"..."I don't want to carry my candy bucket, it's too heavy!"..."My feet are wet!"...."My feet are cold!"..."I don't like that candy!"..."I'll just wait here, that driveway is too steep, too far, too dark, too wet"...."I hate this wig"..."Can we go back home?" (this was after two houses!)

Now, all of these did not come from only one kid or even my Maddie (of course not) but let's just say, we left after only an hour of trick or treating.  We made our way home in relative silence and decided that we would do some door to door in our 'hood--which we did.  Just me and the kid...I'll show her how it's done. Well, Maddie lucked up, we hit over 20 houses in under 15 minutes and because she was on the end of our neighborhood Halloween curfew (something else I have NEVER heard of-who imposes a CURFEW on Halloween?!?!), she got tons of candy because of folks trying to get rid of it.  It's all about strategy--SCORE! 

I don't know what happened to Halloween in the past 30+ years, but I do know that we only got these kinds of candy ONCE a year and it lasted forever, sometimes we rationed 1-2 pieces a day to make it last.  Halloweens of yesteryear (circa 1977-87), were so cold, I had to wear layers of clothes that included long johns, gloves and multiple pairs of socks. It always rained that was a given! The houses were at least a quarter mile apart, not a few feet! My costume was usually thrown together out of my closet but if I was lucky enough to talk my mom into a mask from Roses, it didn't breathe at all and it would be totally wet and gross when I took it off.  We started when it got dark and stayed out until the last porch light went out...our parents didn't go with us to each house and we ran until we were drenched in sweat from house to house, shedding layers at will!  We walked three miles up hill and back with 20 lbs sacks of candy...Our bags were overflowing and our energy spent...when we got in, we sorted the candy by category, looked for razor blades and drugs (some of us, even took our candy to the hospital to have it x-rayed) and then we gorged!  We ate what we wanted and our parents did too, always helping us by eating the Bit-O-Honey's and those black and orange candies that no one knew what they were. A scary movie was always on, like The Howling or Twilight Zone and we curled up and winded down...Come on kids!  Next year step it up, train early, let's bring it back old school!!