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?

Mortgage Business, Realtor Advice

Does HUD Owe You (or Your Clients) a Refund?

hudseal_teal_1If you are a real estate agent, financial adviser, tax adviser, or attorney –  this a great and helpful message to send to your clients?

If you or one of your clients had an FHA loan that they paid for less than 7 years and then sold the property, they might be eligible for a refund of part of the upfront mortgage insurance premium they paid at settlement.

To see the rules and guidelines for this potential refund, you can go a this page on the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) website and see all the rules and restrictions:

FHA Homeowners Fact Sheet

There is also a special page on the website where you can determine if a refund is owed on a specific FHA loan (you’ll need your case file number from the settlement statement)

Does HUD Owe You A Refund?

If you found this helpful, please forward on to people you know and comment below.  As always, if I can be of any assistance to you or your clients with a real estate financing opportunity please let me know.  I always value and appreciate referrals.

Realtor Advice

Let’s Review “Objections” in the Sales Process

Keep Calm and Handle ObjectionsA few months back (actually 7 months ago) we published a couple of blog posts about the types of objections you might face in real estate sales and how to handle some specific objections.

As the Fall selling season is upon us, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at objections again.

Here are links to my previous posts.  If you have a specific objection that you hear often or have any ideas that might helps our readers, please post in the comments below.

Handling Objections in Real Estate Sales

Types of Objections in Real Estate Sales


Realtor Advice

Why Some People Don’t Trust Real Estate Agents

I recently read an article, written by another real estate agent, about why some real estate agents have a stellar reputation and why some cannot be trusted.

And, this applies to how other real estate agents and the general public perceives them.

I wanted to share with several of the possible reasons why some agents develop a bad reputation.

Inaccurate Description of Homes: The description claims that the home is move-in ready. When the client and real estate agent walk into the home, they find a hole in the wall in one of the bedrooms. Stained carpeting. Water spots on the ceiling. Not only were the client’s expectations not met, it reflects on you if you believed the description and did not preview the home before showing it.

Coaching the Seller when Completing Property Condition Disclosures: The client reads the property condition disclosure and decides to buy the home. However, upon receiving a home inspection, they find out that the roof had been damaged by hail and to fix the problem, the seller nailed the shingles back in place, leaving holes in the rafters. We all know the seller is the one completing the disclosure. However, the buyer’s agent ultimately discovers (because the seller confessed) that the listing agent coached the seller on how to answer some of the questions. Continue reading

Consumer Advice, Realtor Advice

Setting up Hack-Proof Passwords

Save PasswordsIt’s a sad state of affairs—but millions of passwords have been stolen as recently as last week!  Think Home Depot.

So, someone did a study on HOW we choose our passwords in the first place – and here’s what NOT TO DO:


  • Don’t use the same password across multiple websites.
  • Don’t use security questions that anyone can find out about you (e.g., hometown, pet’s name, birth or wedding date).
  • Don’t use “remember me” options on your computer if using a public Wi-Fi.
  • Don’t use common passwords like “123456” or “password.”

Here are some ways to keep your passwords secure:

  • Create longer passwords – It’s recommended that you use a minimum of 10 characters, including numbers and symbols.
  • Use a phrase, song or book title – If the combo of letters and number is difficult to remember, use something easier to recall. Book title: GoneWithTheWind. Song title: ChickenFried. Phrase: Iamawesome.
  • Store passwords in a secure place – A handwritten cheat sheet is okay, but don’t store them in a doc on your computer.
  • Use a Password Manager – You’ll find online services to store all your User Names and Passwords. They are encrypted and all you need is one master password to access all your other info.

Any other ideas?  Please enter in the comments below or email me directly and I’ll publish an up-to-date list.  Email:  jeff.baxter@fairwaymc.com

Appraisal, Mortgage Business, Realtor Advice

Calling all Realtors in DE – An Appraisal Summit Just for You

AppraisalPanelInviteJeffPlease contact me directly to register for this exciting appraiser roundtable.  It will be held locally at the SCAOR office in Georgetown on September 17th @ 3PM.

Contact me at 302-542-8205 or email at jeff.baxter@fairwaymc.com or message me on Facebook or Twitter.

Learn about appraisal issues directly from your appraisers and the president of our appraisal management company.