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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Seller Incentives May Just Get the Job Done

Sellers providing an incentive to a buyer just may be the proverbial cherry on top of the sundae according to some.  Frustrated with the looky loo’s traipsing through your family room at dinner time without making an offer?  Some buyers may need an extra nudge to get them to buy.

Getting a potential buyer to pull the trigger can be through various incentives and some sellers are smart enough to understand this strategy.  We’ve long seen sellers offering a home warranty protection plan to the buyer, but we are also seeing incentives taking on a more creative flair. 

Customized incentives seem to be catching on according to an article in Realtor Magazine, and they’re getting results.  How about a (sizable) gift card to the local Home Depot so the buyer can redo the counter tops or get a new vanity for the powder room?  Maybe it’s a credit at the local garden shop/nursery to update the landscaping.  How about a credit towards closing costs?  Other ideas include a year’s worth of HOA dues paid by the seller or the pool service pre-paid for a year.  Find out which seller incentives are tempting buyers here.

If you’re thinking about selling, have staged the home to its best potential and still need to stand out from the crowd, considering an incentive to the buyer and promote it prominently! 

As an agent myself, I'd love to know some of your ideas for incentives - let me know what's worked for you as a seller, or what you'd be attracted to if you were the buyer.  Post your comments and let's see those ideas!

Giving the buyer an incentive may just may be your ticket to the sold sign rider out front!

Photo from Flickr courtesy of stevendepolo.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Home Takes Center Stage for the Holidays

There's no place like home for the holidays and here's the December, 2011 Market Watch from the market gurus at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.  A new consumer survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate confirmed that the majority of Americans wouldn't have it any other way. Approximately four in 10 respondents (39%) say their holiday get‐togethers include 15 or more family members and friends, and more than half (54%) say they stay overnight with their families so they can all be in one household during the holidays.

Additionally, the survey of nearly 1,000 people found:
  • More than three‐quarters (78%) of Americans "deck the halls" by decorating their home for the holidays. The vast majority (67%) say they decorate some, without going overboard, while 11 percent say they "go all out." Only 21% don't decorate at all.
  • Most people claim they've never snooped for presents. 77% of respondents said they have never looked for stashed‐away presents before it's time to open them. (Only 23% freely admit to peeking around)!
  • People gather in spots where they can mingle and graze. When asked which room is most used during the holidays (the kitchen, dining room or living room / den), the kitchen and living room are split almost evenly as the most popular spaces (41% and 43%, respectively), while 12% said the dining room is the most frequented area.
We all have a favorite memory or tradition that involves the holidays and being home with friends and family. We cook and share food, host parties and bring everyone together in our homes. At Coldwell Banker, we recognize that a home is more than just a place to live. This is true more than ever around the holidays.
Holiday events, memories and traditions underscore the emotional side of owning a home in a fun way, highlighting the role of family and their homes as central holiday headquarters. Watch this man-on-the-street video created by Coldwell Banker that showcases just how intertwined home and family are for some.

Here's the latest market trends for select ares. If you'd like trends for an area not listed, let me know and I'll get that to you.

Wishing you happy memories, continued traditions and Happy Holidays to all!!

Photo from Flickr courtesy of mikebfotos.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More on the Intertwined Sticky Tricky Cobweb Net called Short Sales

There’s no doubt about it, short sales are going to be around for a while.  But they’re not for the newbie nor for those with a short fuse.  Buyers and sellers both need to take a deep breath, cross more “t’s” and dot more “i’s” than you ever thought possible and remember, “it aint over ‘till the fat lady sings.”  And in some cases, that fat lady could be singing and knocking on the door some six years after the short sale closes.

Yep. Nothing’s easy with a short sale and nothing is short either!

Real estate attorney and short sale guru Scott Drucker gave some great insight and advice the other day about short sales that buyers, sellers and the real estate agents on both sides of the transaction should note. 

Before I go on further, you’ll need to note:  I’m not an attorney and make no claims to be one.  If you’re looking for an expert, seek one out and get legal expertise.

Many know that Arizona is an anti-deficiency state.  Not many know what that means and/or what they need to know or do to ensure the lender isn’t knocking on the borrower’s door some six years later wanting to collect the amount owed.  Some agents are telling their sellers incorrect information about a deficiency release and the law suits are ramping up.

Here’s a few notes – just the tip of the iceberg, mind you – you and your agent must consider:

Before the property closes, the seller will want to obtain a written deficiency waiver.  Ah, you may say that sounds simple.  Trust me, it’s not.  More often than not, the waiver the seller gets may not be adequate.  The language in it may be unclear and not sufficient enough to prevent the bank coming back looking to collect the amount owed.  If you were a seller on a short sale, pull out the deficiency waiver and read it.  Better yet, have an attorney read it and give their opinion. 

I’ve seen short sale homes under contract for 2, 3, 4 or even 6 months or longer.  If we’re lucky, the buyer will hang in there because they love the home.  The unfortunate part is that a seller may have to cancel the transaction just before it is scheduled to close because the language from the lender does not adequately release the seller of the debt.  That leaves the buyer with nothing. No home, countless months and emotions that have been wasted and they’re back to square one. And, the seller loses the home to foreclosure and gets a hit on the credit.

Scott often talks about the 3 magical words he looks for in a deficiency waiver: release, waive and deficiency (or “full satisfaction of the mortgage debt”).  And, the release needs to apply to both the lien and to the debt.

If you’ve been down this road, you likely have a 1099C.  Just because you were issued a 1099C, that does not release you of the deficiency.

My advice to you, a potential seller considering a short sale: Get legal advice from an expert like the folks at Mack Drucker & Watson.  They offer a couple of different programs – affordable programs that will keep you back side covered.  From a consultation and document review from start to finish to a full service negotiator on your behalf.

Photo credits: Cobweb from Flickr courtesy of Jonathan Camp. Debt photo from Flickr courtesy of alancleaver_2000.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Future is Bright for AZ Jobs

Sunshine isn't the only thing drawing people to Arizona - according to a recent report, the Arizona job outlook is also bright.  Opportunity is knocking Arizona - in fact, according to new research, Arizona ranks #3 in terms of adding jobs over the next few years.  Employment in Arizona is expected to increase 2.8% over the next 5 years according the research.

That's great news for Phoenix area real estate - Read Where the Work is Heading in the latest issue of Realtor Magazine for full details and other states that made the list.

Photo from Flickr courtesy of Aaron Gustafson.

Monday, December 5, 2011

November’s Priciest Home

If you’ve been following the areas priciest homes this past year, many have incorporated the Tuscan or Spanish influence and overlook the valley in far North Scottsdale.  As we round the final stretch for the year, November’s priciest home takes us back to Paradise Valley – and, it’s as far from traditional as can be.

Perched in the heart of PV between the Biltmore and Scottsdale gives November’s priciest home at
5937 N. La Colina Drive
prime billing when it comes to location.  Simple clean lines give way to some of the valley’s most spectacular views in this modern contemporary home.  Turns out the architect who designed this beauty was Charles Schiffner, son-in-law of Frank Lloyd Wright.  The home was marketed and sold by auction, with no reserve.

Closing at just over $450 a square foot, buyers Garel and Karen Westall of Carlsbad, NM came in with the highest bid.  This modern gem spans 9,500 square feet and features 4 bedrooms, 5 ½ baths including the gymnasium-sized steam shower in the master, a home theatre, a sleek and fully equipped studio/guest house and a spit-shined 4-car garage.  The home sold for $4,345,000 in the all-cash transaction.
Master sitting area.
Home theatre.

Here’s the details:

Listed September 1, 2011.  Auctioned October 20, 2011. Closed November 10, 2011.
Total days on the market was 45 days.
Original list price was $5,000,000.  Final sales price was $4,345,000.
Sales price per square foot: $456.26.

Photos courtesy of ARMLS.