August 18, 2010

Soldiers Reunion Day - Newton NC - August 19, 2010

That's that time again in Newton, NC!

Tomorrow is the 121st Soldiers' Reunion Day held in Newton, NC.   Things kick off at 9am tomorrow with a whole day of events, shows and food!

The main event is the Soldiers' Reunion Parade which begins at 5:00pm

If you're new to the area, this is something that you truly don't want to miss!

And when you get hungry, don't forget to come visit me at the First United Methodist Church Newton to grab an excellent hamburger or hotdog, along with all the fixin's and some tasty desserts, too.  I'll be cooking most of the day, so drop in for a visit.

Hope to see you there.

For more info you can call 828-464-3906

You can also visit the City of Newton Facebook Page for additional details

August 17, 2010

I'm Gay. Will You Be My REALTOR®?

Okay, so I get a phone call from a lady that has found some houses on the Internet that she'd like to take a look at and she was looking for an agent that could help in purchasing a home.

"Well, I'd be glad to help," I said, "what properties have you got picked out?"

Then she says that before we get to that, she's got some questions for me.  Sounds reasonable, right?  So, she begins by saying, "I've got a fiancee."  Okay, I said.  "and my fiancee is a woman."

Okay, I said.  So she continues with "is that going to be a problem for you?"

Hmm...no, I'm married, I really don't need another one, so she's pretty safe! :)  (yeah, she didn't think it was that funny, either)

She just wanted to be sure before she continued because two other REALTORS® had already hung up on her when they realized that she was gay.

REALLY?  Okay, I've got some questions for you, Ms. Buyer.  Do you have a job?  Have you, or can you get pre-approved for a loan?  Do you intend to buy?  Yes, Yes and Yes.  I don't have a problem, then.

Seriously, I was completely floored when she told me that two other agents had completely blew her off simply because of a sexual orientation.  Let's forget for a minute the possible legal ramifications from that for a moment.

Did these agents have so much business in this down market that turning away a willing, ready and able buyer made sense?  Does that make sense in any market for that matter?

Are there really still people out there in this day and age that are so homophobic that they really would not do business with a gay person?

Well, for me, all I need to know are a) do you want to buy a home and b) are you financial able to buy a home.  Beyond that, you could be a one-eyed purple people eating democrat wearing golf shorts and a tye-dyed T-shirt, with a pony-tail down to your ankles!  You're okay to me.

August 14, 2010

Soldiers Reunion - Cruisin' & Car Show - Newton, NC

It's time again for Newton, NC's Soldiers Reunion Crusin' & Car Show!

The fun starts tomorrow, Sunday, August 15th, 2010 in downtown Newton, NC.

The Car Show begins at 2:30pm and the crusin' starts at 6:30p

Cars will start rollin' in a lot earlier though, and I'll be at First United Methodist Church Newton, serving up hamburgers, hotdogs and all the fixin's from lunch on, so come enjoy the day and get some great food, too!

The Soldiers Reunion has been going on since 1889 and is actually a week long event, consisting of various activities throughout the week, mostly in the evening hours, with Thursday, August the 19th (Soldiers Reunion Day) being the main event with activities starting at 9:00am with the Soldiers Reunion Parade kicking off at 5:00pm

For more information on the complete list of events, you can visit the City of Newtons Calender of Events website.

For specific info on tomorrow's cruisin' car show, check out their facebook page Soldiers Reunion - Cruisin' & Car Show

Come out and enjoy the fun!  See ya there!


For additional information, please call City of Newton, 828-695-4300.

August 05, 2010

Pricing Strategy for Today's Real Estate Market

Pricing, especially in today's general real estate market, is important.  Agents tell sellers (correctly) that pricing it too high means that there will be NO offers on the home, not just that it will take longer.  Sellers are usually fearful of pricing "too low."  There's no such thing really, but that's another blog post.
Yes, in today's market, correctly pricing a home is very, very important.  Yet, I've seen over and over again so many agents who got the price in the right ballpark yet they're still not getting any offers and very little showings.
Well, if it's priced right and that's the most important thing, then what gives?!
In short, it's missing the price points.  Price points are more than just getting a property in the right price range.  Price points are about helping the buyer find the property in the pricing range THEY are looking.
Why these price points are being missed by so many is because most agents are still using what I'll call the "Wal-mart Pricing Strategy."  This pricing strategy is where you list just under your price.  Example: $199,900 for a $200,000 house.  Seem familiar? Just like the "It's only 99 cents!" approach.
This is the old standard used by agents from the dawn of time, I think and carried on by their younger brethren because they were trained to price houses this way.
Why is this a big deal, you ask?
Simple, this price strategy does not take into account the Internet or the consumers ability to now do online searches without the benefit of an agent.
In the old days, you, as a buyer, would call up an agent and say, "I'm looking to buy a house in the $200 to 225,000 price range."  The agent would run the search and, usually, search for $190-235K houses.  Hit a little lower and a little higher than the range in order to get ALL the best possible matches.
NOW, however, the consumer can search directly for homes via the Net.  Most of the major home search websites such as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com have went to an input block for price ranges, but several others, including most agent/MLS driven searches use the dropdown boxes.  If you've got one, take a look at it.  See how it has specific price points?  Most use the $25k increments.  Some $10K.
Whether it's dropdown boxes or input, the consumer rarely runs searches like an agent would.  If they're looking for $200-225K homes, that's what they'll input into the search.
So, back to the point, why is this a big deal?  Okay, let's look at your $199,900 priced house again.
If someone ran a search for $175K to $200K homes, you come up, but you're on the high end.  You're going to have to have a top-notched show-ready home to compete, in most cases.  You're goal should be to be the best, and one of the cheapest, on the $200K-225K home searches.
BUT WAIT!  You don't come up on any of those searches!  You're $100 too low to show up.  Dang it!
That's why it's important to not only price your property well, but set it at the correct price point, too.

7 Tips on Buying a Foreclosure

With the market what it is today , foreclosures and REO properties are the talk of the town.  I talk with several buyers through the week that are interested in buying a foreclosure in the Hickory, NC area because they've heard it's the best way to "get a deal."  That may be true, but before you think about looking at foreclosures, here's some tips to help you decide if a foreclosure is really the way you need to go.foreclosure sign

First, let's define what we mean by 'foreclosure' and REO propertie
s.  The term 'foreclosure' is used in a lot of different situations, but here we're referring to when the bank as actually taken possession of the property, become the owner, and has listed it for sale.  "REO" stands for Real Estate Owned Property; a term that banks use once they have foreclosed and become the owners.

Okay, on we go!

  1. Get qualified for a loan before you begin your search.  This is PRIMARY.  And I mean fully qualified.  REO's generally want a fast sale and they expect to have a good prequal letter or proof of funds (if you're paying cash).  At least in the Hickory, NC area (and I'd presume elsewhere as well), you don't have a financing contingency on foreclosure properties.  
  2. Understand that REO's will usually need work.  Sometimes lot's of work!  I say this because I've shown buyers that said that they don't mind some TLC, but then balk at the smallest problems.  If you're not handy, or don't have a plan to fix up the home, buying a foreclosure may not be the best bet for you.
  3. Foreclosures are rarely in 'show' condition.  Similar to above, even if the home needs very little actual repairs, it may be completely trashed.  You have to be able to look past the mess and see the possibilities of the home.
  4. Foreclosures are truly sold "As Is."  Most homes are sold as-is in NC, but in a standard contract, you have a 'condition contingency.'  Like the loan contingency, in the Hickory, NC area at least, many REO's have removed ALL contingencies from the offer.  In a nutshell, that means that finding damage during an inspection you may have missed will not be a contract contingency to help you get out of the contract and retrieve your earnest money.
  5. Be prepared for a Bid War. Especially if the home is already priced right for the condition.  There will be a lot of people interested in the property, especially investors, and they will bid higher if it meets their numbers.
  6. Don't wait to make an offer.  Many people that are interested in a foreclosed home as their primary residence will often wait on making an offer on it.  Sometimes, it's because of the condition, but in a lot of cases, it's because they want to wait to see "how low it'll go."  If it hits the market over-priced, that may work, to a point, but usually what happens, is that they miss the opportunity to make a bid at all because someone else didn't wait.  See #5.
  7. Don't get discouraged. You may miss out on a few foreclosures, even if you do get your offer in.  That's just part of dealing with foreclosures.  Still, if you think a particular house was the "IT" house for you, you may still have a shot.  This is still a tough market, especially concerning financing.  Many times with foreclosures, something happens in the deal that prevents it from closing and it goes back on the market.  So keep checking until it says "SOLD."
If you're interested in buying foreclosures in the Hickory NC area, sign up for my Foreclosure Hunter Program today or give me a call.
photo courtesy of Andrew Bains flickr photostream

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