Wednesday, May 30, 2018

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!

Judy Ryan - Franklin TN Realtor

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.

Maureen Fukumoto - Mililani 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, 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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Texas Hill Country - What is it?

You may have heard the term "Texas Hill Country" before but not really understood what it means. It is technically a 25 County region in central Texas featuring tall, rugged hills with granite or limestone. It includes the second largest granite dome in the United States, Llano Uplift.

The area reaches into portions of the two major metropolitan cities of San Antonio and Austin. The following are the counties within the boundaries of the Texas Hill Country

  • Bandera
  • Bell
  • Blanco
  • Burnet
  • Comal
  • Coryell
  • Crockett
  • Edwards
  • Gillespie
  • Hays
  • Kendall
  • Kerr
  • Kimble
  • Lampasas
  • Llano
  • Mason
  • McCullouch
  • Menard
  • Real
  • San Saba
  • Schleicher
  • Sutton
  • Travis
  • Val Verde
  • Williamson

Texas Hill Country also has a font association with architecture, music, and the food culture. It's quite different from normal text and culture that influences the southern end of Texas. This area is also known as the center of the Texas Wine industry and there are three American viticultural areas located in Hill country including Fredericksburg and Bell Mountain.

It's home to several historical and national treasures such as the Alamo, haunted houses, nature trails, preserves, and the beautiful Hamilton pool, a natural oasis preserve located about 30 miles west of Austin. This natural preserve focuses on habitat protection and restoration. The beautiful 45-foot waterfall creating a gorgeous swimming hole is a great day hike but you do need reservations.

From backcountry roads to fantastic barbecue at the Cooper's Old Time Pit to the stunning views along old farm roads, Texas Hill Country is a beautiful place to not only visit but the call home. If you are visiting or maybe you've just moved here and are exploring our region seven the most amazing things to check out include kayaking down the Medina River as it winds its way on down to Bandera. Perhaps you can smell the lavender even before you reach Blanco, an hours drive outside of Austin. May through July, the lavender blossoms.the hillside as Blanco is known as the lavender capital of Texas. Speaking of scents, when the peaches are in full bloom in August and September, the smell of the ripening fruit wafts over the hills and then the smell of rosemary, thyme, and other herbs catch your attention at the Fredericksburg herb farm. Texas Bluebonnets bloom around mid-March through April and are just one of the many native varieties of plants, flowers, and trees throughout the Texas Hill Country.

After you've taken in the Flora, check out the minerals and rocks of the Texas Hill Country. Topaz, the state gem of Texas is found in Mason County, just an hours drive from Fredericksburg. You can literally find these gorgeous stones lying throughout the ground in granite outcroppings, creek beds, and ditches. Residents are free to hunt these beautiful stones at Lindsay Ranch.

Speaking of ranches, Texas Hill Country has some of the most spacious, authentic and vivacious ranches and farmlands in the country. In Gillespie County, residents can choose an 8-acre equestrian ranch in Tierra Linda complete with your own Airpark, outbuildings, stables and beautiful ranch homes. Whether it's gated or just welcomes you with a large fence post entrance, the ranches in the Texas Hill Country are unlike anything in the nation.

Whether you are planning your vacation to the Texas Hill Country or planning a move, the Hill country is unlike anything this country has to offer.

Thank you to Tommy Taylor with - Visit the website for more on Tierra Linda Ranch and the Texas Hill Country.

Image adapted By Billy Hathorn at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Monday, July 25, 2016

Is Your Home Inspection Totally Independent?

Did you know as a homeowner you have the right to choose whatever home inspector you want? Many first time buyers and even long time buyers don't realize this. They simply agree to whatever home inspector their agent or escrow chooses but this could backfire. You want an independent inspector that has your best interest at heart, not someone in the agent's back pocket who's only goal is getting the deal closed.

When you buy a house you will typically have an inspection contingency to go along with the offer. This means that you want to check out the home with a professional inspector before agreeing to finalize the sale. If for any reason you don't like the inspection or don't agree with something you can cancel the sale altogether. You will typically get your earnest money back and move on to another home. This contingency is known as a general inspection contingency. This contingency is always recommended by your buyers agent but there are several different types of inspections that might be available to you such as a "Specific Inspection Contingency". This is much more limited. If the buyer finds a defect in the house the buyer will give the seller three days in which to agree to make the repairs. Once the seller responds, the buyer has two additional days to decide whether to accept it or to terminate the contract.

Read more: 8 Important Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector

Most contingencies are of the general variety. However, what a lot of buyers don't know is that they have the right to choose their own inspector. Of course your buyers agent will give you options, referrals and references on whom to choose but it is ultimately up to you whether or not you choose that real estate inspector.

The inspector is working for you, the buyer, not necessarily the seller or any agent involved. You want someone that is not going to be an alarmist, meaning they won't scare you out of buying the home, but they will honestly and un-piously talk to you about the home, any issues that might arise and how to repair them or best proceed in the real estate transaction. While they cannot give any legal advice or even real estate transaction advice, they can offer their own expert advice on the property itself and its integrity.

Read more: How Much Does it Really Cost to Own a House?

You should always accompany the inspector when they tour the home. They will look at crawl spaces, foundation integrity, roof, attic, electrical, plumbing and make sure all the appliances work and make notes as to what may not be working and what could potentially be a hazardous issue. It is extremely important to pay attention as this is the ammunition you will need to go back to the seller asking for repairs, replacements, money off or if you choose to cancel the transaction.

The next time you need a home inspection it's perfectly fine to go with the buyers agents recommendations but understand that you have the authority to choose whomever you want.