Monday, November 11, 2019

How to Be a Hyper Local Blogger and Expert

Hyper local posts and longtail search phrases are really what's dominating the industry when it comes to the individual agent competing against the big guys. It's hard to compete for general "[city] real estate" when you're fighting against Zillow, Homes, Trulia, and Realtor. So what is the individual agent or even a small brokerage supposed to do?

Become the hyper-local expert in that area or community. So how do you do that?

First, focus on one area at a time. This can be difficult because agents want to focus on so many different places all at the same time. And I get it, you don't want to be pigeonholed for just one community or neighborhood even though you might live in that neighborhood and really like selling there, you don't want the general public to think that you only service that area. But, by spreading yourself too thin, you won't ring for anything. Focus on one area and when you get really good at that one area and you have several posts and pages all linking together and dominating on that neighborhood, then you can move on. But, being the expert doesn't just mean writing about the area.

Here are four simple tips to being the expert in hyperlocal webpages.

#1. Offer real guidance.

The buying and selling process often goes be on experience. Buyers and sellers want to know that you're utilizing the latest tools, platforms, and all data necessary. They want to know that you have been in the industry for years and understand the needs of the market, how to make an offer, how to negotiate and really provide something that no one else is providing. If you can offer something that the other 100 agents or not, chances are you'll get the deal first.

Related: Can the Listing Agent and the Buyer's Agent Be the Same?

#2. Go deep.

Rather than just talking about a specific neighborhood, a few homes, and price ranges, really go deep to what consumers want. They want information that they may not be able to find on the Internet. Homeowner association or condo dues, what's required for a resident in a particular neighborhood, how good of the schools and are they ranked well for their area? Consumers want to know about utilities, nearby shops, favorite restaurants, and maps so they can map out a commute route getting a good sense of how long it will take to get to work during high traffic times.

More: What is an Up and Coming Neighborhood?

#3. Visit the area.

If you're going to work the area you better know the area and that means walking the neighborhood, talking to other neighbors walking their pets, sending out mass mailers to a hyper-local area, or taking videos and pictures of the homes, the area, or the amenities such as the playground, basketball courts, or community swimming pools.

More: 5 Tips for Moving to a New City or State

#4. Make sure you know the market.

Buyers want to know that they're not overpaying for a house and the sellers one another getting enough for their house. By understanding the markets in particular neighborhoods, listing agents can appropriately price the home correctly from the beginning to get the right amount of buyers to the door and good offers on the table and that might mean underpricing it slightly to get more attention. A great real estate agent will know how hot a particular neighborhood is and may offer a little extra negotiation from the buyer's perspective.

Again, you have to give clients, consumers, and readers something that no one else is giving them. Be the expert in the neighborhood, subdivision, community, or even a small town and expand from there. Once you have built up great report and page authority with the main neighborhood page you can branch out and then link back to it to increase the page authority on new posts and pages for surrounding areas. And remember, once you do that, always put a little snippet at the bottom of your main page discussing the similar communities or nearby neighborhoods. If a consumer doesn't find exactly what they want in one neighborhood you have a backup ready to go.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

8 of the Craziest Real Estate Showing Stories

Over the years of selling real estate you know there are some crazy stories out there. From naked homeowners to sex swings in bedrooms, the crazy stories don't end at the end of the night. Here are a few fun stories from real estate professionals.

Marcus Brown - Portland on the Market

I toured a home with birds with a buyer once. While that may not seem unusual, it was unusual to have all the birds out of their cages. There were literally about 20 parrots, cockatiels, and other birds flying through the home landing on everything including us. Needless to say, the noise and the filth was everywhere as well. I was just worried one would fly out as we tried to leave!

AD Whitehurst - Panama City Beach Condos

Showing a vacant house is always a crapshoot and you never know what you're going to get, especially on homes that have been vacant for a long time. I showed a client a vacant house and found it was not so vacant. We were greeted by a dog at the front door and a well-laid out and furnished house. Apparently, there was a squatter in the house but instead of it being in shambles, they had furnished it quite nicely... only to find out later it was all stolen furniture. No one was home but the house was staged pretty well!

Jackie Barikhan - Lake Forest CA Mortgage Officer

With so many people working on a real estate deal it can be somewhat confusing at times. I remember a deal where our sellers packed up and headed out to their new home only to get a call from escrow stating that the title agent they had been working with was recently fired due to poor work ethic and the new agent found a $150,000 lien against the house! The new homeowners had no idea and were currently on their way to, what they thought, was their new home. Luckily we were able to work everything out and push out closing a few more days. It helps to be in tight communication with all parties, ALL THE TIME.

Erika Phelan - Orlando Buyers Agent

We were showing some buyers a home in Orlando and when we knocked on the door, the owner wouldn't let us in. He said he was afraid we were going to steal all his stuff. I mentioned that this is what you do when you sell your house; you have to let people see it. He was so paranoid that he finally let us in but followed us really closely throughout the house telling us not to touch things, don't look at things, and if we would hurry up.  Needless to say, my buyer didn't want that house and I often wondered if he ever got it sold.

Karen Baker - Sunset Beach NC Realtor®

Dead body? That's what we thought when I showed a home for a client. We knocked on the door and after a few minutes of no answer I used the lockbox and entered the home. After touring around for some time we entered the bedroom to find a man sprawled on the bed in nothing but his underwear. I tried to call to him as we inched our way out of the room but he didn't move. I was worried so I went up to him and touched his shoulder but couldn't rouse him. I looked closer and it appeared he wasn't breathing. We began to get worried so I rolled him over to check his chest and he barely stirred. It seems he had indulged a little too much the night before and was just really hung over. I doubt he even remembered we were there.

Jane Goodrich - NY Photographer

In my work, I often take pictures of homes for the MLS. In one occasion I showed up to a home only to find it had been trashed by angry homeowners the night before. They were being foreclosed on and had literally taken it out on the house. There were feces everywhere, cement in the toilet, live wires hanging from the ceiling and smashed counters. I couldn't believe it. I know the agent wouldn't want pictures in this state. I got out of there fast for fear I would be their next victim.

Erika Rogers - St. George Real Estate Agent

Trying to get buyers and sellers on the same page is sometimes frustrating. I had a seller once that needed a couple days after closing to move out, which was stated in the contract. The buyers had other plans. They kept showing up every day or every other day taking measurements, asking to come in and check paint colors, and wanting to move items in. I kept informing them that they can't do that unless invited by the seller or the home is closed. It didn't stop them. So much so, they showed up in the middle of the night to start plowing up the backyard for a garden! To say they were in a hurry was an understatement.

Bruce Simon - West Bloomfield MI Homes

Holding an open house is always an adventure but never more so when I was holding one and a couple came through to look over the house. I let them browse and after a while, I didn't hear them in the house any longer. I searched the house to find them both in the shower, together, doing "showering" things... It was very awkward when I had to ask them to put their clothes on and leave. Ever since then I have casually shadowed any potential buyers through open houses.

You just never know how exciting the real estate industry can be!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Here are the 8 Real Estate Documents to Keep

I went through a couple of closets this weekend clearing out clutter and organizing things and found dozens if not hundreds of paperwork from past tax returns and real estate transactions. So it got me thinking, what do you need to keep in a real estate transaction and what to toss? It's no joke that when you sign the final closing statements on a real estate purchase it feels like you are citing your life away. There are so many documents to sign and some that literally have you sign to state that you have signed the previous document. With all of these documents what are some of the really important ones and why should you keep them? Thanks to Todd Sherman for his inspiration

#1. The purchase and sale agreement.

The basic purchase and sale agreement is your contract that will have exactly everything you agreed to and the sellers agree to. This contract signed by both the buyer and the seller confirms the purchase price, closing date, and any other details. You'll want to hold onto this document as it contains legal ramifications in case the seller fails to fulfill the duties.

Related: Can I Sign a Real Estate Contract on Behalf of My Spouse?

#2. Your buyer's agent agreement.

You may or may not have signed a buyers agent agreement but if you did, this contract will outline the details of that relationship. It may state who pays the commission, the duration of the contract, terms for terminating the contract and it's a good idea to hold on to this if you have any issues before the transaction closes. Afterward, you probably only need to hang onto it for about a year.

More: How Much Commission Should I Give the Buyer's Agent?

#3. Any amendments, rider, or addenda

Any document the gets added onto the purchase and sale contract needs to be held onto. This could change the original document and if the seller didn't complete something on the amendment or addenda, you have legal ramifications to come back and show them that the document was in writing and approved upon." - Jonathan Smith - Seattle Real Estate Attorney

Related: Who Pays for What in a Real Estate Transaction?

#4. Sellers disclosure form.

This form will show the buyer everything that the seller could possibly think of that is happen to the property. Yes, sellers are supposed to be honest, but just in case, you have something to refer back to. This will include any additions that the homeowner or previous homeowners have completed if the home has lead-based paint or asbestos, any permitted or unpermitted work, and if the home has undergone any major issues such as flooding or pest issues. More: Do Agents have to inform Buyers about previously Discovered Issues? ~ Kelli Howison

#5. Home inspection reports.

Coupled with the seller's disclosure form, these two forms can give you better insight and knowledge about your home. Use it as a checklist and fix things as you go or you have something to refer back to just in case. This detailed report will outline the condition of the home and any potential problems.

More: How to Write up an Offer and What to Offer - Dale Corpus

#6. Title insurance policies.

Title insurance protects the home during the home purchase process. It protects buyers against any claims to the home such as liens against the property or fraudulent signatures. You'll want to hang onto this just in case any other party or previous owner tries to claim the property from under you.

Related: 10 Top Ten Things First Time Homebuyers Should Know

#7. Property deed.

"This is probably the single most important piece of information and document you'll need. When the house officially becomes yours you'll receive the deed. This confirms ownership of the home to you and you alone. It's typically mail to you after the title transfer documents are recorded of the County public records office and it's the only way to prove you are the legal owner of the property." - McCormick Real Estate Agent Stephen Proski

#8. Final closing disclosures.

At least three business days before closing, or settlement where you go in and sign the final paperwork, your mortgage lender will give you the details of the loan including terms, the type of loan, your interest rate, and any closing costs. You may need this for future reference when filing your taxes so it's a good idea to hang onto it. Learn More About the New Real Estate Closing Disclosure Here

As far as how long you should keep these items, if you own the home, keep these documents as long as possible. Once you sell the home and it goes into someone else's name you probably don't need to keep them any longer than about seven years. Even if you need to refer back to something on your taxes, most tax departments will require anything past seven years.

It was great getting rid of a lot of old documents, 10+ year tax documents, and really cleaning out the clutter. But, there are some things to hang onto, especially if you've recently closed on a home.

More Good Stuff:

Monday, October 16, 2017

10 Lessons I Learned During My First Year as a Homeowner

Ahh.. that word "homeowner" just has a permanent and secure feel to it. It means you've settled down somewhere rather fixed, at least for a time. Renting can sound so temporary; like a blip in time that can move and change at a moment's notice. Once you've signed those final closing documents, it's quite a feat to turn around and sell again. It's usually not something you plan on doing, unlike renting. Sure, you can sign a lease, but you can also just pack up and walk away. Not so easy when you actually own a home.

It's hard to completely describe what it's like to own a home until you've been there, but preparing yourself or learning from others is a valuable attitude. My father always said, "you can't make all the mistakes in the world, you have to learn by other people". I've taken that to heart and constantly learn from other people so I can make better decisions and choices in my own life. Here's what other's have said when it comes to homeownership (and maybe a few insights from me).

#1. Monthly expenses are more than a mortgage.

Not only do you have the principle and interest charges each month, but taxes and insurance. These can add anywhere from $100 - $500 or more to the monthly costs. A lender should discuss all this with you because you can pay for taxes and insurance with your monthly mortgage payment or you can pay it all at once. Most of the time, it's easier to add it all together so you have one payment per month. But that may not be all either. You should save money for expenses that come along and for any emergencies.

"We were a little shocked when what we thought we would be paying each month ended up being $300 more! But I'm glad our lender explained everything before we signed AND that we asked!" - Leonard W. Sunny Isles Beach

Read More: 3 Ways to Manage Debt AND Buy a House

#2. You have to fix everything.

No more calling your landlord for replacements or repairs. There's no one to call but you - or a handyman YOU have to pay for. If you're hand yourself, it might not be an issue. If you can repair most things on your own then you can save yourself a ton of money. But if something breaks like a water heater, furnace, or major appliance, it's all on you. This is where a lot of homeowners get bogged down in debt, replacing appliances or having major repair issues and if they have no reserves, it can add up quick.

Related: Should you buy a fixer-upper?

#3. Home may not come with everything you need.

"We were shocked to find out our house didn't come with a refrigerator or washer and dryer. These were added expenses we weren't planning on. Our agent was very new to the business (another issue) and didn't tell us these items were not included in the purchase. Our wallets took a big hit right off the bat."  Mary T. Destin Florida

Make sure you know what comes with the house and what doesn't. If it doesn't come with something, ask about it. You never know what the seller will let you have unless you ask.

More: What if you buy a home with a pool ... and you haven't got a clue?

#4. Don't buy new.

"We were so excited about a new house that we thought everything in it needed to be new too. We maxed out credit cards and lines of credit just to get new appliances like a washer and dryer, refrigerator, and range. Not the way we wanted to start our experience." - Erika R. St. George Utah

There are a lot of places to get great used appliances that have been refurbished. Check online or with other people in your community. Start with the appliances you need and then upgrade as you can.

#5. The yard was a lot of work.

"The backyard is what sold us. We loved the landscape so much that we really didn't mind the little quirks inside the house. But then it suddenly was ours to maintain. We didn't realize how much work it was! We had to buy a lawn mower, trimmer, saw, etc... it was so expensive just to get the materials needed to maintain the yard we so greatly loved. Then there was the time. I just didn't realize how much time it took to keep a yard looking beautiful. I wish I had a reality check before buying a house with an extensive landscape."  T. Taylor - Texas Hill Country

Read More: What if you have buyer's remorse after a purchase?

#6. Get to know your neighbors.

"We didn't really get to know our neighbors because we drove into our garage every evening and went inside and really didn't go out front. Then one day I saw a few of our neighbors talking in the street and wondered what was going on. I decided to be brave and ask them what was going on. They introduced themselves and said that one neighbor saw some suspicious activity around another neighbors house last night and called them to let them know. I was so surprised to realize that these people really looked out for each other. I also didn't realize the value in having a great support structure in a neighborhood until that day. We talked more after that and all became good friends. I love the support and the security knowing we all have each other's back."  A.D.W. - PCBeach

Don't be shy. Sure, some people are just born to be cranky but there are others in your neighborhood that could really benefit from your friendship and support. You never know unless you make a move. Not all neighbors will just come up to your doorstep with a basket of muffins. Sometimes you have to make the first move. But when everyone is looking out for each other and each other's property, those neighbors can be much more beneficial than for a cup of sugar now and again.

Read More: How to find a great neighborhood with great schools

#7. I have way too much stuff.

Do you really want to move with all that stuff? "We realized we had too much stuff when we got to our new place and while unpacking I found a bag of garbage our movers had packed in a box.... a bag of garbage. We realized right then we had to get rid of stuff." Nikki M. San Diego

Don't move with garbage. Don't move with stuff you never plan on using or wearing. Don't say you'll get rid of it when you get to the new house because that's just more stuff you have to pack, move and unpack. Do it before you move. You'll be so thankful when you start unpacking. You won't hear yourself say, "Why in the world did we pack that?"

#8. Do the floors first.

"We moved everything in, got all settled, then decided to redo the floors. Ugh.....Why didn't we do this before we moved all our furniture in? What a pain and hassle that could have been easily avoided." - Peter W. (Westbrook REI)

Before moving anything in the house, decide if you need to paint or redo floors. It will save you so much time.

#9.  You have to spend money on things no one will ever see.

It's kind of like buying tires for your care; necessary, expensive, and no one really knows. Maybe all the windows have lost their seal and now you have to spend $10,000 for new windows. Maybe there was a leak under the house; $5,000 later it's fixed. Nothing to show for it but the satisfaction of knowing you won't be wasting water and your family won't get sick on black mold.

Read More: Is homeownership counseling worth it?

#10. You can do pretty much whatever you want.

This is a fun realization. If you've been bending to the whims and rules of a landlord for years, finally owning your own home is freeing and exhilarating, in spite of all the other responsibilities that come along with it. Sure, if you live in a homeowner's association there are bylaws you have to follow and you can't break the law, of course, but essentially, you can do whatever you want. Hammer a nail into the wall to hang a picture; paint the inside (and maybe the outside) any color you want, tear down a wall (as long as it's not loadbearing) and open a room, remodel the bathroom or kitchen. It's all up to you and no one will tell you that you can't - within reason, of course.

Read More: A simple and concise guide to buying a home

There is something so satisfying about sitting in your own living room or on the porch, drinking your coffee knowing you own this investment. You get to use the investment while it's making money for you. You have an asset now that will build wealth for you and that you can tap into if you need to make an improvement in the future. You are building a foundation for wealth and adding to your net worth. 

More than anything, you are realizing the American Dream. Yes, it's still out there and very obtainable. Once you have achieved this, there is a deep satisfaction that comes with being a homeowner.

More Resources:

What actually happens at closing?

Scared to Sell because you have to Buy in this Market?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

What is a Probate Realtor®?

Do I really need a Probate Realtor?

How do I know I am in Probate?
Can a Probate Realtor really help me?
These are a lot of questions I run across. Probate happens when there is a death in the family and the deceased person’s properties are sold or dealt with according to the local law and code. This can mean many legal proceedings and can take some time. The last thing a person needs is to be confused and frustrated along the way.
Do you need a Probate Realtor? No, you can handle the process yourself but remember, there are codes, laws, details and many issues that arise that may not be your specialty. Using a local Probate Realtor will not only explain everything but help you through it and also conduct a lot of the work for you that you would end up doing yourself.
You’re in probate if you are now or will be an executor of any estate. If you are the one handling the properties and personal belongings of a deceased friend or relative you will need to sift through the details and if there is no will, you must deal with probate with the court systems for the property or items.
How does a Probate Realtor really help?
There are numerous details that accompany a probate proceeding. Without knowing the changing laws and codes, it can be difficult if not impossible to keep current. Using a Probate Realtor that specializes in helping families organize, handle all the court proceedings and make sure all the details are covered is not only a weight off your back but will also help the process proceed much quicker.
Probate Realtor will help fix issues with the home including getting inspections, bids, repairs, upgrades, and consultations. A probate Realtor will invest their time and money to make sure your home sells quickly for the most money the market can bear.  Using a probate Realtor will typically allow repairs and corrections to be made before the home sells and not have to worry about payment until after closing. This can be a huge weight-off for a family that just can’t afford to spend any more money until the home sells.
Probate Realtors help families sell estates quickly and easier than if they had to handle all the details themselves. We often deal directly with the court systems and lawyers to give you a break in the proceedings. We answer questions and explain steps that are necessary for completing the transactions.
So, do you need a Probate Realtor? No. But the alternative may cost you much more time, money and headaches. Give yourself a break and let me handle all the details for you.
 Please contact Deepak Chauhan anytime for a confidential consultation. When the time comes to deal with a family estate, trust the details to a professional Probate Realtor in Orange County.  As your Realtor®, it is his job to make sure you are well taken care of and informed about every step of the home selling process. Let him show you how to get started on your journey. Start your Property Search here to see what is being sold at what price and contact him anytime for a Comparative Market Analysis of your property at or call 949-748-9834 and we will get you put on the right track to get your home sold at the best price in a timely manner.

Article Originated Here: Http:// 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

How to Compete for a Home in a Tough Market

It's no secret the Portland is a hot housing market. Homes are flying off the market, prices are increasing and bids are getting tougher. While there are not as many investors on the market is there were five years ago, homebuyers still find themselves competing with other homebuyers for the same property. Is there a way to beat out your closest competitor? And, what are those ways to make your offer stand out so that you can be assured you get the home you love?

Here are five ways you can prepare yourself ahead of time to compete in a hot housing market when it comes time to present an offer. 

#1. Make sure your finances are in order. 

 Placing an offer is not the time to be concerned about whether or not you are approved for a home loan, have money for a down payment, inspection and closing costs, and how much money you can afford in a mortgage payment each month. You should already have all of these figures in place and ready to go before even looking at one home. Having all of your finances in place ahead of time means that your offer will get looked at first, and if attractive enough, the seller will know that you've already done the financing homework necessary to afford the home. This means you want to speak to a lender about getting preapproved, have a preapproval letter ready to submit with the offer, have cash in the bank for a substantial down payment/earnest money deposit and have extra money for a home inspection. Letting the seller know you are ready to go financially eases their mind that the deal is likely to close.

#2. Submit a solid offer. 

 While you may not always be the first offer, you can submit a fast and strong offer. Make sure you don't insult the seller by asking for everything under the sun with a lowball offer. This is not the time to submit a lowball offer. Have your real estate agent understand the market in the neighborhood and submit a quality, strong offer without undervaluing the property. If you come in either at or just slightly below the asking price, most sellers will know you're serious. Make sure all of the dates comply and agree with the seller. Try not to set out the closing date months in advance but a decent, reasonable closing time with favorable terms.

#3. Consider an escalation clause. 

 In seriously hot markets, and Portland have a lot of micromarket neighborhoods around the area that are incredibly hot, you might want to consider an escalation clause. This means that the buyer is willing to increase their offer if there are other bids up to a particular Price. Let's say that it's a $400,000 house. You're willing to offer $5000 over the highest asking price up to $430,000. The only drawback to this type of strategy is that you'll have to make sure the property appraises for the escalated amount otherwise you'll have to make up the difference.

#4. Let the seller know how much you love the property. 

 Sending a personal letter may seem almost taboo in today's society and something done years ago to impress the seller but it might actually work today. Simply sending a letter, a picture of your family or appealing to a soft heart could get your offer approved. Of course, this is not the end all and it shouldn't be your only line of defense but it certainly can't hurt to let the owner know how much you love their home, appreciate the care and maintenance they've put into the property and how you're planning on keeping up the property for the good of the neighborhood and society.

#5. Consider a pre-inspection. 

 This can be a tricky situation because in a hot market, low-priced homes tend to sell faster than you may not have time for a home inspection before placing an offer. However, you can certainly ask the seller if you can perform a pre-inspection before making an offer to save time later on and so that your offer is serious without a lot of contingencies. As with any offer you'll want to verify all the logistics, legalities and terms with your real estate agent. Using a dedicated buyers agent means that your needs, your price and terms will be the top priority.

If you really want the home, use the tactics here to get your offer to rise above the rest. To get started with your financing preapproval please contact The Palmer Team in Portland today or start your application process here for free.

5 Things to Know Before Buying a Foreclosed Home

If you’re considering buying a foreclosed home you’re probably looking for a bargain. Foreclosure homes typically sell for less than other homes on the market but there are some things you should know before signing on the dotted line.

#1. How to buy a foreclosure home.

There are basically two different ways to buy a home that is in foreclosure. First off, lenders will auction the home off after the owners stop paying the mortgage. These are typically sold at public auctions. However, since most people don’t have a few hundred thousand dollars in cash lying around,  you’ll want to buy the property after  a bank takes ownership of it. These are bank owned properties sold by real estate agents. This is where most people buy a foreclosed home and it is sold in the traditional way.

#2. Buying a home at an auction.

If you’re buying a home at the auction it’s typically not easy and most of these auctions are site unseen. You’ll be competing with professional real estate investors so you’ll need to have several hundred thousand dollars in cash in order to bid. Also, because these are site unseen you have no idea what type of repair jobs you’ll face after the purchase.

#3. A bank owned foreclosure is easier.

Instead of an auction, going through the bank is an easier process and homes sell for up to 40% less than comparable homes that are not foreclosed upon. Once the bank has taken ownership of the home you would make an offer just as you would with a typical sale. There will be a real estate agent representing the bank that will present your offer to the bank and come back with a counter offer.

#4. Banks usually will not complete any repairs.

One of the drawbacks to buying a foreclosure is the bank will typically not conduct any repairs, replacements or alterations of the property. It’s basically what you see is what you get. And this leads into the last point.

#5. You absolutely need a home inspection.

Never buy a foreclosed home without hiring a home inspector. You do have the right to a home inspection before closing on the sale. Many foreclosed homes need a ton of repairs so you want to know exactly what you’re getting into before finalizing the sale. You might determine that after knowing what all needs to be done on the property it’s not quite the bargain you had hoped for.
For more information on home inspections, visit the American Society of Home Inspectors of Western Washington