Flipping…

Well, these days you hardly get the ‘flip’ in before the house is grabbed in mid-air. ‘Toss’ is probably a better word. How about “Toss This House”. My goodness, there’s a mad rush for ‘existing’ homes all over the US, with each available home having many, many interested buyers. Multiple offers is the norm. I hate it.

Yep, I’m a real estate agent, but I also appreciate a fair, balanced market. This market supremely favors the wealthier buyers, and my first time buyers are literally shoved aside or intimidated out of even trying. My heart goes out to the excited buyers who have saved and worked on credit score, diligently trying to get out of the rental lifestyle into homeownership. I see, time after time, their optimism turning into disappointment, as their ability to offer above lists price and bring the difference to closing, kicks them out of the running. OR, they are reduced to shopping through the inventory of homes where you can see the ground through the floor, or where outdoor carpet has been flung onto the floor inside. It is ridiculous.

Here’s why this bothers me…in PART…why this bothers me. One day, and you know I am right, people who pay 10, 15, 20 thousand over list price are going to get stuck with that house when the market falls. Think about this: If you offer more than the appraised value right out of the gate and THEN the market falls (or crashes), then you need to sell? Oh boy. You will have to bring that extra you paid out BACK to the table again as the seller, and possibly more, just to be able to sell a home you now have to list BELOW market value. I’ve seen this happen; I lived through a market crash with people who HAD to sell for jobs or family reasons, cashing in tens of thousands of 401K dollars, just to get rid of their home. I understand this is a free market and all of that, and I am a capitalist. But I have also “lived in the future” to a great extent. I tend to view my life as today + ten years out. I’ve been pretty doggone accurate too. And I’ve found that things tend to work out somehow. But the number of home being sold above appraised value deeply concerns me. I’m going to be the one going to listing appointments and giving bad news time after time. I’ve done it; I don’t like it.

Anyway, I started out talking about my young buyers or firsts time buyers and how hard it is to see them getting cut from the running. I hate it and I don’t think it’s fair. So. House tossers. How about this? How about you try buying some smaller homes, putting fewer bells and whistles in them, and giving the entry level buyers a doggone chance?? Spend less on the downstroke…buy TWO! Make them cute and comfortable, safe and warm, and sell them at a price the entry level buyers can afford. And sell them to a owner, not an investor, and give them a chance. YOU had one; why not pay back the opportunity? I say you can spend less up front and still make a profit. In other words, my little first time buyers can live without granite and top of the line appliances. They know they can upgrade that stuff later.

Anybody? Anybody? It is not all about the money, is what I am saying. Man can’t live by bread alone. That’s not me; that came from somewhere else.

Don’t Kill the Deal

Getting Advice from Friends and Relatives about your First New Home

It turns out that I work with a lot of first time home buyers, and I am a HUGE fan of it. I love, and feel honored by, helping people with this first big step in life. Most of my first time buyers are smart, young, professional contributors to society and I appreciate them; and I make it my job to protect their financial input to their purchase. I just love helping them. Nearly all of my first time buyers make it to closing and actually into their first ‘move-up’ home. But not all of them. Some of them never get to the closing table.

I do a good job of helping my clients be ready and able to purchase when they find the home they love. That starts with finding a good lender, getting pre-approved, and looking at homes they can actually afford. In other words, they don’t find out at the 11th hour that they can’t afford the home they chose.

Most often, though, the ones that never get to close are the ones taking advice from ‘friends and family’ behind the scenes. These would be people who do not have a stake in the purchase, or do not have a realistic expectation of the process. In other words, they are not professional real estate agents! For example: Some parents forget that THEIR first home was 1000 square feet and needed work. They walk through the homes with their children with completely unrealistic expectations of the price point, and their child goes forward feeling disappointed. Parents walk through pointing out all of the flaws and elevating their child’s expectations beyond what the child can afford. Sometimes you have to start out without granite countertops and hardwoods throughout. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said this: “You’re going to have to go up in price to get that.” So parents with the best intentions in this case, end up crashing their child’s dream.

Another example is the handyman dad who says, “I can build you a house’. Or…”Find a foreclosure that needs work and I’ll fix it up for you.” Well….first of all, those houses have to be bought as a cash purchase, because no lender will do a mortgage on them. Want to build from the dirt up, handyman dad? You have to pay cash for the land and here, that’s going to start at twenty grand for a lot in a less desirable area, more in the more desirable ones. Think about this: How many people do you know who have a regular job, that can go out and build a house in their ‘spare time’, and afford the cost. Think: Refrigerator, stove, dish washer, water heater, HVAC system, wiring, plumbing, roof, flooring. I don’t have any handymen like that in my contact list. Why? They do not exist.

So yes, family and friends can foul the whole process, and they do. Because they are not real estate agents, they don’t understand the process or market, and they don’t know the ‘rules’ for lending on certain types of property. Do they have the best of intentions? Most of the time, but not always. Some just ‘don’t like realtors’ and some always feel like someone’s out to get them. Those people are never happy, for anyone.

But. There are often parents and family who ARE interested in the happiness and success of their children. How can I tell? They come and meet me, and we sit down together and talk. I answer questions for them, and ultimately let them know that I am honest, excited for their child, and very good at what I do. It doesn’t take long before we are all on the same page and excited for the child buying her or his first home. And that’s the magic formula.

So, if you are a family member or ‘interested party’ who will advising behind the scenes, if I don’t meet you face to face, I expect you to cause problems. Not because you’re a bad person, but because you are not a real estate agent and some of your advice will be wrong, or just plain bad. Talk to me. Bring me your concerns and let’s talk through them. I love a team working toward a common goal. It’s the best way to succeed. Most of all, I want my client to be happy.

Why Work So Hard?

Well, here’s another great reason.  This is a letter of reference from one of my first time buyer couples:

As first time home buyers, we were nervous about finding our first home and establishing a relationship with our agent. Brenda was referred to us by a mutual friend who admired her professionalism and wonderful spirit. Brenda left a wonderful impression after our first meeting. She LOVES first time buyers and helped us to understand the process, was patient and detail oriented when showing us each home, and offered support during each step. She understands the market and takes pride in her work, something that you will see after your first meeting with Brenda. She has a heart of gold and we thank her for making our first purchase special.

-Cameron