Real Estate News, Realtor Advice

What Every Real Estate Agent Should Know About . . . TRID

What is TRID?

The New TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) that Go Into Effect August 1, 2015…..Are You Prepared?


Realtor Advice

What’s Your Advice to Home Buyers AFTER Closing?

Moving%20PicI recently took a poll and asked several of my real estate buddies this question:“What is your advice to home buyers after they have purchased the home?”

I wanted to share with you some of the answers, and would love to get an email back from you with what YOU recommend to your home-buying clients.

  • Change the locks
  • Change the garage door opener codes
  • Change the utilities into their name
  • Set up an annual service contract for heating and air conditioning units
  • Pay your mortgage on time
  • Check to see if your property is assessed at the correct value
  • Keep copies of closing documents to refer to when it comes time to sell or refinance the home
  • Hire a cleaning crew to clean the home before you move in
  • Suggest upgrades/updates to the home
  • Review where gas and water shutoffs are located
  • Be aware they will be receiving junk mail now that they are homeowners
  • Ask for a referral
  • Get vents and dryers cleaned
  • Get an energy audit done on the home
  • Change washing machine hoses

Please email me and let me what YOU would add to this list!  Just send an email to

Realtor Advice

It’s May 1st – How is Your Year Going?

PanicIt’s true, nothing is ever gained by panic.  Hopefully, at the beginning of the year, you set goals and developed a plan for 2015?  Well, it’s now May 1st and you are 1/3 of the way through the year.  How are you doing?

If you are ahead of your goals and have a full pipeline of clients and potential clients looking for homes or looking for mortgage financing, then congratulations.  Now is the time to buckle down and keep the pedal to the metal – winners don’t coast when they reach a plateau.  Winners pedal harder while others simply coast.  But, the problem with coasting is that you then begin to go downhill.

If you are behind in your production for the year – don’t panic!  Review what you did the first third of the year and see what tactics and strategies are working and which are not doing so well.  Refine the most promising and drop the losers. Develop new plans to reach your goals.  Set a short term to get yourself back to where you need to be based on your numbers.  If you can accomplish that short-term fix over the next two months, you’ll have the second half of 2015 to really blow it out.

Nothing is ever gained by panic.  Thoughtful, realistic analysis of your situation and a look back to how you did things in the first part of the year will tell you what you need to do.  Best of luck for the remainder of 2015.  Let’s do this!

Local, Real Estate News

As of March 31, 825 homes were sold thus far in Sussex County for a total of more than $275 million.

Rising Home SalesThe Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR) has announced a 9% increase in the number of homes sold in the first quarter of 2015 compared to 2014.  825 homes have been sold for more than $275 million and the average sales price increased by over 18% from $246,198 to $262,330.

The strong increase in selling price, while good news for sellers, was probably the result of a change in the mix of sales when compared to the same period in 2014.  Homes closer to the beach markets in eastern Sussex County has much higher selling prices than the county as a whole and this may indicate a stronger resurgence in sales in the resort markets.

Click below for the link to the full press release:

Local real estate market enjoys steady gains over same period a year ago


Realtor Advice

What Types of Listings Should You Avoid?

ListingsAs a Realtor, you were probably taught that there is no such thing as a bad listing. Well, there are certain types of homes and clients that you may want to steer clear of.

Why? These types of homes/clients actually cost you money!

Sellers Who Object to Your Suggestions – If you make suggestions regarding staging, updating and how to improve the home to get it ready to sell, but they object to your ideas or start to argue with you, you may want to reconsider working with them.

Excuses Why You Can’t Show the Home – The conversation might go something like this:

“Just to let you know, I can’t show the home on Wednesdays because that is bridge club day. Oh, and Fridays are out of the question because I babysit my grandchildren. By the way, once a month I host our neighborhood supper club, so you can’t show the home during that time either.”

Here’s the dealio: working with these clients is not impossible, but you may to want to agree on a showing schedule in advance to eliminate issues down the road.

Past Listing Record – You pull up the property on MLS and find they have listed the home five times before. It’s true, not all sellers and agents get along—but five times? If you are contacted to list their home, directly ask the seller why they have listed with five different agents. Ask what they expect from you. You’re facing a hard road if they have listed their home more than three times.

The Odd Home in the Neighborhood – Is it a shack among mansions? Or a mansion among shacks? If the home style or condition is rare in the neighborhood, there are a number of things to think about. How will you price the home? Can an appraiser find usable comps? Will a lender approve the financing (if needed)? If it’s difficult to come up with the “right price,” you should think twice before taking the listing.

Have there been any listings that you regretted taking?

Realtor Advice

Real Estate Terms Most Clients Don’t Understand

Real Estate TermsLet’s face it. Both the real estate and mortgage industries speak in “foreign tongues” (as far as the consumer is concerned).

It creates a lot of confusion and mis-communication, and sometimes results in closings that never happen. I’m listing some of the biggies here so when you use the “lingo,” you might want to think about providing further explanation to your clients.

Good Faith Estimate – While lenders must provide an “accurate at the time” good faith estimate, the costs can vary drastically when it comes time to closing the loan. You may want to suggest that they save some extra money to make sure they have enough money to close.

Pre-Approval – Clients think a pre-approval is as good as gold. But what they don’t realize is that if they change jobs, buy a new car, or miss a payment that affects their credit score, the pre-approval and sometimes the final approval is null and void. In fact, even if the loan is fully approved, lenders must re-verify everything for compliance reasons. Advise your clients not to make a financial move without consulting the loan officer first.

Earnest Money – A buyer may not realize that the earnest money check is actually “cashed” when the offer is accepted. If the deal falls through, the seller may not realize that (depending on the circumstances) they may not be entitled to keep the earnest money. In addition, lenders require a buyer to have a paper trail that the money has not been borrowed. Consider a conversation with the buyer as to why a lender needs to verify the funds.

Comps – When listing a home, you prepare a CMA to help you and the seller determine the listing price of the home. From the buyer side of things, there is confusion when it comes to the appraisal value, the comps the appraiser had used (versus the comps you provided them to determine the offer price) and, to further complicate things, the assessed value of the home for property tax purposes. And if the appraisal does not match the sales price, well, that’s where the deal may start to fall apart. You may want to explain the whole “Comp” concept to your homebuyers before the appraisal is ordered.

Sales Concessions – So the buyer writes an offer and wants the seller to give them the washer and dryer and the TV, and pay closing costs – and because the carpet color is purple, include a $2,000 carpet allowance. What buyers don’t understand is that there is a limit to the dollar value that a seller is allowed to give back to the buyer. It depends upon the type of loan and the down payment. Suggest that your buyers check with the loan officer regarding the sales concession limit they are allowed because if it exceeds that amount, they may have to bring additional money to closing.

So what other misunderstood real estate terms would you add to this list?