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This house is SO MUCH FUN!

This is a continuation from the prior post where they staged people having fun in every shot. No, they aren’t ghosts. I pixelated their faces for privacy concerns. Which is a shame because they had the biggest, fakest smiles on pretending to be having SO MUCH FUN!

We hate to leave, sob, sob…

This one took me a second to figure out when I first saw it. At first I thought that it was just bad timing, but then I noticed that nearly EVERY picture on the MLS listing had people in it. Then I noticed that each photo appeared staged to catch them in the act of enjoying the home. So then I took another look at the first photo, and I think they were trying to show how sad they were to be leaving such a great house. Got to admit, very creative!

For buyers with one leg shorter than the other…

I THINK they were trying to show you how great the view is, but either the house is hanging at a 45 degree angle off the face of a cliff, or the floors aren’t quite level, or a major earthquake hit just as they snapped the photo?

Your very own swamp!

“Oohhh! The pool matches your green eyes! You gotta buy it now!”

Drive-by shooting…

“Let’s see, 123 Main St…., yep, there it is.”     [Screech….]     Click.     “Um….good enough!”     [Vrooommmm…..]

“Gee, hope I get home in time for Dancing With the Stars!”

$30K to do a short sale?

Bank of America recently made a MAJOR announcement in regards to their short sale program. They may pay a short sale seller from
$2,500 to $30,000 at the successful completion of a short sale. This is NOT for all BofA short sales, so the details are important. This is only for BofA’s “pro-active” short sale program, which means the borrower and/or their agent must approach BofA PRIOR to receiving an offer. You must start this process by 12/31/12 and close escrow by 9/26/13. I asked BofA if this was just for first mortgage loans and the rep on the phone said they thought so, but couldn’t confirm that 100%. The exact amount the homeowner will receive is determined by a calculation involving the value of the house, the mortgage balance and several other factors.

Not all BofA loans will qualify for this program. If you don’t already have a relationship with a real estate agent, give me a call and I can start the ball rolling for you with BofA to find out if you qualify. I’ve closed many of their pro-active short sales so I’m very familiar with the process. In their pro-active program, you don’t even put your home on the market until they have approved the short sale ahead of time. This means when
you do go on the market it is as a “pre-approved” short sale and the response times are much faster this way.


Free loan mod/short sale seminar

Updated for 2012. New loan mod/short sale laws and incentives will be discussed along
with the following topics:

  • Who is a good
    candidate for a loan modification vs. a short sale?
  • Can lenders
    pursue you after a short sale, foreclosure or loan modification?
  • Impact on your
    credit score and waiting period to buy another home.
  • Which lenders may
    pay you up to $30,000 to do a short sale.
  • Discussion of the
    “1099 issue” and the two big exceptions to it.
  • How the
    expiration of the Mortgage Forgiveness Act at the end of 2012 affects you.

June 12th at 6 pm or 7:30 pm or June 16th at 10 am or Noon. All will be the same
one-hour presentation including time for Q&A.

Presented by: Brian Sharp, Certified Distressed Property Expert.


925.998.9712  Email:


How Sellers choose offers – Part I

I get calls from buyers now and then saying they’ve written 10-12 offers with their agent and
they want to fire them and use me instead because they are sure their agent is
“doing something wrong…” I’ll ask them if their agent is not telling them
about properties, not returning calls, frequently not available to show
properties, not looking out for the client’s interests, etc. Usually that’s not
the case so I tell them their agent seems to be doing a good job for them. It’s
just tough right now because there are SO many more buyers than there are homes
for sale. I thought it would help if I went over some general ideas about how
sellers choose offers. I’ll discuss regular sellers (those with equity), then
short sales, and then bank-owned properties in a series of articles.


For regular sellers,
usually their main concerns are price and terms. Price is obvious, the higher
the better. There are some sellers who really care about who is moving into
their home, so the buyer’s “story” matters, but for most sellers, the bottom
line is the main concern. Although if the highest price offer is getting a
loan, and the price is higher than recent comps, there may be an appraisal
problem. So if the second-highest offer is all cash, or has a big enough down
payment where they can waive the appraisal contingency, they may get considered
even though they aren’t the absolute highest. Terms are also important. If a
buyer is asking for a lot of credits, that lowers the seller’s net. Sellers are
also concerned about how fast or how slow the transaction will close. Some
sellers want a fast close, some want a longer close, others want to stay in the
home after close of escrow. Of minor concern will be items that the seller
wants to take or leave (fans, speakers, playstructure, washer/dryer, etc.). The
more the buyer agrees with these choices, the more the seller will like their
offer, even if they aren’t the highest. A good agent will ask the listing agent
what is important to the seller, besides just the price. NEXT WEEK – SHORT

Loyalty to your agent

Nearly every day I get a call from someone about one of my
listings. I always ask if they already have an agent. Often when I ask that, there
is a pause, then they say, “…um, no. We don’t really have an agent. We want
to go through you.” I always probe a little more at this kind of response. What
I find most often is that these buyers HAVE been working with an agent for a
while, and their agent is actually doing a good job for them. But the buyers
are calling me directly thinking they can cut a better deal, or get a jump on a
listing before other buyers.


Most of the time I think you are better served by finding an
agent you like and trust and tell them exactly what you are looking for, and
then commit to them that you will buy a home through them. This doesn’t mean
you can’t look for properties on your own, but when you find one you like,
bring it to your agent’s attention rather than calling the listing agent directly.


Most of the listings in our market are either bank-owned or
short sale. When the listing agent represents both buyer and seller in these
types of transactions, the listing agent, makes more money, but the buyer’s
agent commission doesn’t come off the price of the house. And as far as getting
a jump on the other buyers, that may be true on that ONE listing, but even
then, many banks insist that the home is on the MLS for at least a few days
before they’ll review offers, so everyone has a shot at it. But if you don’t
get that particular home, the listing agent may or may not tell you about any
new listings because they think you only want to work with listing agents. And
your buyer’s agent is now thinking you are going to try to go around them again
next time, too. It’s better to get an advocate on your side in the form of a
buyer’s agent, who will beat the bushes to find the home that meets your needs.
When you commit to them, they’ll commit to you.

So how is the market nowadays?

In a word – schizophrenic. Just can’t seem to make up it’s
mind what it is. A decade ago, I could confidently tell someone that I truly
believe the market would be higher one year from that moment. Five years ago, I
could confidently tell someone that I truly believe the market was going to be
lower one year from that moment. But now, it’s truly a guessing game, and there
are lots of sound, logical arguments to be made for all three possibilities –
prices up, prices down, or prices flat.


Those that say prices are headed up will point to the number
of homes for sale that is dropping like a rock. Down more than 50% on average
in our area compared to last year. They’ll also point to low interest rates and
multiple offers on properties. They’ll also point to the positive signs in the
economy and the recent rise of the stock market.


Those that says prices are heading down will point out that
despite the reduction of inventory, the number of solds is down on average in
our area, and that median home prices are about what they were a year ago. They
will also point out the recent $25 billion foreclosure settlement could lead to
banks finally releasing a flood of inventory on the market, which would tank
prices. They point out all the people who are current on their homes, but
drastically upside-down, and say those are defaults waiting to happen. They
will also point out that unemployment is still WAY too high, that people are
fearful, and that the stock market rise is a bubble waiting to burst.


Those that say prices will stay steady contend that the only
reason we have multiple offers on properties is mostly due to investors writing
offers on cash-flow properties. They will bid market value, but pull out as
soon as the price goes up. Most of the other buyers are FHA-buyers, where the
home HAS to appraise for the sales price, and the appraisers are being told to
be conservative this time. With stricter lending guidelines, we just don’t have
the environment where prices can raise rapidly like before. This group also doesn’t
see banks dumping a ton of properties on the market, but they do see a steady,
measured approach, which means more inventory to come, just not a flood. Personally
I’m in this last group, predicting flat prices for now. So buy if it makes
sense (payment not much more than rent) and you don’t need to move in the near

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