December 19, 2018

Sugar Land Bluebonnets

Communication Breakdown

There is an old Led Zeppelin song called communication breakdown. I don’t remember the words but I do remember the great guitar licks. In today’s world we often reference the lack of communication with our significant others, our children, our bosses and even our friends. It’s true we don’t communicate well and we often repeat words to make sure that we are understood. There is a married couple that I have worked with in Real Estate for many years. If I tell the wife or the husband anything, the other one knows of the conversation. This is the exception to the rule. In most cases whatever I say to one spouse I have to repeat the exact same to the other spouse. Maybe they are testing me so see if I am consistent. We hear what we want to hear. We process what we hear and interpret in a manner that most agrees with our own thinking. This gives us confidence, at least the person in the mirror agrees with me. We need to know that there are others out there that think like we do. Communication works best when both parties come away with a clear understanding of the other person view.

You would think that texting would alleviate the problem, because we are now stating what we mean in writing. Of course that makes sense, but have you ever received a text that sounds like it’s from a spy movie? What did they mean by that? What did that acronym mean?  I agree that shorter is often better but communication regardless of the length should be most important. So the next time you see OMG that could mean “often misunderstood genius” or something else? Be clear and don’t be afraid to say that you did not understand the answer and could you explain it again please? UNTEY,M

Until Next Time

Enjoy yourself, Matt

Heights Area

Heights area close in.

It not just a job it’s an adventure

It not just a job it’s an adventure. Sounds like an Army commercial. It could be applied to many careers but it probably fits best for a Real Estate Agent. In our market, in a course of a week we could meet people from at least 10 foreign countries (probably more), meet wealthy people that own a business, meet poor people that need assistance, and  all others.  We are out in the public. We go to many areas that you might not visit, or don’t know about. We go there to evaluate Real Estate or to check out neighborhoods for potential customers. We go there to learn. We enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. The smell of Magnolia blossoms in the breeze.  We go there because we are curious. This is our nature.  Is it dangerous, sometimes. Is it fun, sometimes. Is it profitable, we hope so. Is it tough work, that depends on the amount of effort. Is it an adventure; All the time. So if you’re looking for adventure consider the US Army or possibly Real Estate?  Until next time. Matt

How to purchase a home; the easy and best way.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to purchase a home.  You just need some sound advice from  qualified professionals and the rest is easy. In today’s market the first thing you need to do is talk to a bank, a credit union, a mortgage company or where ever you are getting the money from. This one needs to be repeated. The first thing you do is check on financing. In our market you will be required to submit a pre approval letter with the offer. Even if the offer is cash you will be asked to verify where the funds are coming from. For some reason people don’t want to do step one. Step two is to view areas and or homes with an agent that knows the business of Real Estate. Picking a friend at the office, a relative who is just started in Real Estate or someone working part time is usually not the best idea. Step three, write an offer, entertain counter offers, agree (or not) then proceed to inspections. Step four, meet me at closing. Sounds pretty simple. It is simple if you secure your financing and hire the right people. Most horror stories usually begin with incorrect information about financing. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. The nightmares continue when you choose an inexperienced agent or an agent with their own agenda. Don’t be afraid to go “Donald” Trump on the loan officer or the agent, simply say “your fired”. This year with be my thirtieth year as a licensed Real Estate professional. I want your home buying experience to be as pleasant as it should be. Until next time, Matt

Do you need to pay a property manager?

This is what has happened in the past seven days. A man owns a couple of properties and one has been vacant Balancefor the past 12 months. He calls me often for my advice and my connection to different trade people. He self manages his properties. He and wife have full time jobs. He is a great example of pinching pennies and blowing dollars. He won’t hire me to manage his properties because he doesn’t want to spend the money. This one is easy math. I told him that he had lost over $14,000 in potential income while he was deciding on what to do with his vacant house. It needs some repairs and he didn’t want to spend the money. This doesn’t take a genius to figure out he needs a professional to assist him.

A potential buyer wants another investment property. He also wants to self manage, again to save money. He asked me about where to purchase and what kind of home ect. He lives in Sugar Land one of the best Real Estate markets in the country. I suggested he purchase a single story home in Sugar Land because of the great schools, great location and city’s zoning and planning structure. While he believes what I am saying he still wants to search other areas. So we looked at other areas and he found a house that he liked outside the city limits with a good school district. The house is almost 3,000 square feet with all bedrooms up. I will gladly sell anyone what they think they want. This house with all bedrooms up will eliminate potential renters. The steps will be hard on some people. In our market master bedroom down is a preference. The resale of the home may not be as quick because of all bedrooms up. The house is big and when it comes time to replace flooring, carpet and paint there will always be a lot of square feet to deal with. The cost will be high. The property is 25 miles away so it will not always be convenient to see or maintain.  For investment it important to look at a property differently. Many people look at the house from the stand point of living there. For investment you need to see it differently.

The next investor that I will mention, I have known for years. He has four rental properties a  lake house and a very nice private residence. He also does his own management and maintenance. Over the years I have mentioned to him that I know some good repair people that work at reasonable rates and most important, they do the work quickly. He has thanked me for my input but continues to do it his way. Recently he called to ask the name of the repair man. After using the repair man on what turned out to be a major job he is now using him all of the time. He has figured out that his time may be better spent with his family. He has realized that the contractor can do the job faster and cheaper than he could do by himself.

These three examples are not difficult to understand. Each person wants to save some money, as we all do.  As we age we start to see things a little differently and as capable as we might think we are at doing things we realize that we can accomplish a lot more with proper management skills.

Until next time , Matt

 

Can we make this any harder?

Online Order SystemFor the past 2 years it has been difficult to obtain financing to purchase homes. With more governmental requirements and stricter guidelines the prospects for borrowing money to purchase a home have greatly diminished.  In addition here is what it’s like to be practicing broker. Every home that you place an offer on has to have a preapproval letter. I agree with this. Finding out how  to pay for a home and finding out what the costs are, is prudent on the buyer’s part. This is way it should be. Now enter the banks. The banks are selling short sales and foreclosures. Short sales are when the bank is accepting an offer below the loan balance. Foreclosures are when the bank gets the property back after the existing borrower defaulted on the note. Banks don’t really want to do short sales but the other option is to foreclosure. The foreclosure process is costly and lengthy for the bank. So the answer is to motivate the buyer’s, the agents and the banks to get this debt off of their books, right? This would make sense. In the real world her is what’s going on.

The government foreclosures have an auction. The agent must make a sealed bid within a certain deadline, usually 2 to 4 weeks away. If the offer has any mistakes in the way it was written or presented it gets rejected. The buyer has to wait to see if they are the winning bid. If you are an agent who works with this bid process you know to tell the prospective buyers to pay more than full price to get the home. So the buyer waits and finds out they didn’t win the bid. While they waited they missed out on homes that were potentially better.  A nongovernmental foreclosure often has rules and exact guidelines from the agents in the local Multiple Listing Service. Some of the instruction state that if you do not do exactly as the instructions state your offer will be rejected. As agents we attend a lot of training to keep up with the ever changing markets, but we cannot be expected to know each and every  procedure of different banks in order to facilitate our customers.

Now that I have scanned the potential listings for a buyer and read every detail, I am ready to show homes to prospective buyers. As I prepare an offer I notice that the bank is paying a Realtor fee of two percent of maybe two and half percent. Commission fees are arbitrary and are not set in stone. I understand that but the word that comes to mind is motivation. The bank should be very motivated to get the debt off of their books, shouldn’t they? Many home prices are below 100,000. I recently attempted to sell a house at $70,000. The commission was 2.5%. The half percent is $350 dollars. If the bank offered the house at $71,000 it would sell at that price with no questions asked.

Short sales are long and difficult with no guarantee they will be accepted. My favorite one in today’s market is when a prospective buyer offers cash. This is simple and easy? I wish it were. Every agent is requesting proof of funds. In most cases to show proof of funds you have to show a stranger your bank statement, or retirement account or other forms of personal information. Remember you have to show this before you have an accepted offer. Of course they tell you to black out the account numbers. This is all backwards. If a buyer wants to pay cash, tell them thank you and don’t question them. If the buyer signs a legal binding contract and is a cash buyer who doesn’t perform, they will be in default. If you are concerned that they may not have the cash ask for higher earnest money.

As we all work our way through tougher times is would make sense to make the buying process easier not more complicated. There is a lot of mistrust out there and when you make the sales person talk in three different directions it doesn’t help matters.

Until next time,

Matt

 

Leaving money on the table?

Another way of saying this is, I want to sell my property for the highest price and minimize my cost so that I can get the maximum amount of dollars. I hear this frequently from sellers. When a potential seller calls me and wants to know what the market value of his home is; I do my market analysis in detail I and look at the home. Based on statistical data and 30 years experience, I give the seller a dollar amount or a range depending on the situation. As a broker with a few years of dealing with this I understand the seller wanting to maximize their profits and I also understand that the seller wanting to start out a little higher. I also agree with this because experience has taught me that I don’t have all of the answers. I would also like to sell for a higher amount because the commission is often times based on a percentage.

Recently I listed a home at $148,000. This is about $9,000 higher than I thought it should be listed at. This opinion of value is based on the MLS data and the condition of the home. So I suggested to the seller that the list price should be around $144,000. Even though I feel the price should be lower but let’s see what happens . Fast forward a few weeks. We had some initial showings and then nothing. The initial showing gave the seller a false sense of the value. Keep in mind that you could have 100 showings but without an offer there’s something wrong. Now there are more homes listed in the same market and the prices are lower. This house is now the second highest priced in the neighborhood. As the seller continues to pay taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance on a property  what is true net profit?

So in short, lower the price, sell the property and take the money and move on to your next venture. The money in your pocket is real and other is just a guess.

Until next time,

Matt

 

What’s in a name

We all grew up buying products from a name brand. There were no internet avenues to get customer feedback or ratings. If you had a Sears sewing machine you probably had a Kenmore washer. If you bought Heinz ketchup you probably like their pickles too. I will soon be going into my 30th year in Real Estate. I have been licensed under the Realty Executives name for the past 23 years. Recently the Broker owner and The Realty Executives corporation dissolved their franchise agreement. What does that mean to you and for me. In one word, nothing. Here’s why. Like I mentioned I have been at Realty Executives for the past 23 years. In that time I have given out at least 20,000 business cards. promotional data and calendars, all with the Realty Executives Logo. To this day I am asked often and frequently if I am still working at ReMax. I have never worked at ReMax and over the years I have attempted to explain that. In the past 10 years I have given up and when asked if I still work at ReMax, I just say yes. It is easier and non confrontational. My point is that we no longer pay attention to the Corporate branding. We pay attention to results and service. It is ok to ask “what’s in it for me”. With a lot of help I have my own web site and my own logo. I am very happy with this and I hope you will enjoy it with me. So if you don’t remember the company name or logo, that’s ok as long as you remember the quality service you get when you contact me. Thank you. Until next Matt

 

A Glass Half Full, Feng Shui, life lesson

Many of us (me too) have seen a glass half full or half empty. I was attending an open house one day and the agent that was holding the open house kept talking about the great Feng shui of the house. After listing to him speak I couldn’t help myself to state what baloney that was. The glass was half empty. I went on to dismiss his theories one by one. At my conclusion of dismantling his Fen Shui he just shrugged his shoulders and walked off. Another agent who was present pointed out to me that he was not a big Feng Shui believer either buy made a point that I will never forget.  He said perhaps I was right or he was right, what difference did it make as long as the buyer believed it or endorsed it. As I paused to consider the well made point of the second agent a bright light went off in my head. It didn’t matter what I though, I am merely the facilitator of the transaction. If I were to keep my narrow view point of Feng shui I would have not availed myself for an opportunity to sell a home or many homes. When I realized I was cutting off my nose in spite of my face I realized I was the unenlightened one. From that moment forward I became a Feng shui believer. I went on to research and read up on Feng shui and a lot of it is common sense. I will write more about in a future Mindful Moment. Until next time keep an open mind to others view points. Matt