Another Random Rambling…

So I signed up with ProBlogger for 31 days to help me write to this blog on a daily basis. Did it happen? No. Did I even bother to read the emails on a daily basis? No again. I did however save each of those emails and neatly store them away for safe keeping so I can refer back to them later. Does that help me write? Not really. So I say to myself, “BAD blogger! Bad, bad blogger!”

I also started up the networking thing again. I’m really excited to get it going, but have I been beating the bushes like I should to get people to show up? Ok, yeah, I have been doing that a bit, but not as annoyingly car salesman-like like I know I should. So currently, I’m planning on having the next one on Monday (January 4th at 6pm in Owasso, OK at Baja Jacks Burrito Shack). OMG, you have got to check out their BYOB, Build Your Own Burrito. It says to ask for as much or as little as you want, they put it together for you and viola! Magic! I only warn you of the jalapeno, if you request them, the cooks don’t seem to understand the term “lite” or “easy”.  Am just sayin. Anyway, I’m geeked to see who shows up. Everyone’s always very helpful and I have a bunch of cards for other people I have met during the holidays that haven’t been able to make it yet. Of course, me handing you a card for someone to refer services when you haven’t asked for them or met them isn’t the same as meeting them yourself, but hey, I liked ’em.

Oh, good grief, here I go again. I’m rambling without a point. It’s after midnight and Allen and I have been running all day long locksmithing, so I guess I’m allowed to be a little off. Besides, at least I’m writing something.

I remember now, I was going to complain about Facebook. I keep getting invites to be a fan of this group or that business or some random person. Even I have a fan page. I don’t have any fans, but I have a page, just in case someone wants to pet my ego. But I guess my issue is that if I ignore the invite it doesn’t exactly tell you that I ignored you, yet I get dozens of irritating invites from you. You see, I am fine and actually welcome getting befriended by just about everyone. Hell, I have almost 300 friends now. Most of you I have personally met at some point or another and I like and respect you. But for me to become a fan on your fan page or cause, I have to really believe in whatever it stands for. I mean, its like politics and religion for me. I’m going to be in one of three positions; “I’m behind you all the way,” “I think you’ve lost yer damn mind” (those are rare), or “sorry, but I just don’t care enough about the subject to become a “fan” of it. So, rarely do I become a fan of anything. I’m a fan of Keller Williams Realty, Keller Cares Charity, and anything that has to do with Cancer, particularly cervical cancer. So I guess my conundrum is that I’m not sure of a PC way of telling someone to please stop sending me invites to their cause or for their business. I’m in sales. I really don’t believe in the cram it down your throat until you buy into it kind of sales tactics.

I know that my sales tactics are gonna keep me in the poor house long before it ever saves me, but I actually believe in customer service and having a relationship with my clients. This brings up two points. 1) My personality is sort of an acquired flavor. Either you really, really like my brutal honesty or I annoy the ever-living [enter favorite obscenity here] out of you. 2) I feel like I’m one of only a handful of people like me in the service industry that treats what I do as an actual service industry position. For example, go to any retail establishment. Any of them, just pick one. Observe the cashiers. Do they smile? Do they make you feel welcome? Do they go out of their way to inform you on the product that you are in search of or even bother to ask if this is the product you really need to fit what you want to do with it? What happened to the customer service industry? Perhaps I’m naive, but I think this has become a gimmick for the majority and mastered by very few.

Ack, sorry, I got on my rambling soapbox again. That’s it. I’m shuttin’ up now. Perhaps I’ll have a point to my ramblings next time.

~B

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Navigating Short Sales: What to Do When the Sale Price Leaves You Short

If you’re thinking of selling your home, and you expect that the total amount you owe on your mortgage will be greater than the selling price of your home, you may be facing a short sale. A short sale is one where the net proceeds from the sale won’t cover your total mortgage obligation and closing costs, and you don’t have other sources of money to cover the deficiency. A short sale is different from a foreclosure, which is when your lender takes title of your home through a lengthy legal process and then sells it.

1. Consider loan modification first. If you are thinking of selling your home because of financial difficulties and you anticipate a short sale, first contact your lender to see if it has any programs to help you stay in your home. Your lender may agree to a modification such as:

  • Refinancing your loan at a lower interest rate
  • Providing a different payment plan to help you get caught up
  • Providing a forbearance period if your situation is temporary

When a loan modification still isn’t enough to relieve your financial problems, a short sale could be your best option if

  • Your property is worth less than the total mortgage you owe on it.
  • You have a financial hardship, such as a job loss or major medical bills.
  • You have contacted your lender and it is willing to entertain a short sale.

2. Hire a qualified team. The first step to a short sale is to hire a qualified real estate professional* and a real estate attorney who specialize in short sales. Interview at least three candidates for each and look for prior short-sale experience. Short sales have proliferated only in the last few years, so it may be hard to find practitioners who have closed a lot of short sales. You want to work with those who demonstrate a thorough working knowledge of the short-sale process and who won’t try to take advantage of your situation or pressure you to do something that isn’t in your best interest.

A qualified real estate professional can:

  • Provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) or broker price opinion (BPO).
  • Help you set an appropriate listing price for your home, market the home, and get it sold.
  • Put special language in the MLS that indicates your home is a short sale and that lender approval is needed (all MLSs permit, and some now require, that the short-sale status be disclosed to potential buyers).
  • Ease the process of working with your lender or lenders.
  • Negotiate the contract with the buyers.
  • Help you put together the short-sale package to send to your lender (or lenders, if you have more than one mortgage) for approval. You can’t sell your home without your lender and any other lien holders agreeing to the sale and releasing the lien so that the buyers can get clear title.

3. Begin gathering documentation before any offers come in. Your lender will give you a list of documents it requires to consider a short sale. The short-sale “package” that accompanies any offer typically must include

  • A hardship letter detailing your financial situation and why you need the short sale
  • A copy of the purchase contract and listing agreement
  • Proof of your income and assets
  • Copies of your federal income tax returns for the past two years

4. Prepare buyers for a lengthy waiting period. Even if you’re well organized and have all the documents in place, be prepared for a long process. Waiting for your lender’s review of the short-sale package can take several weeks to months. Some experts say:

  • If you have only one mortgage, the review can take about two months.
  • With a first and second mortgage with the same lender, the review can take about three months.
  • With two or more mortgages with different lenders, it can take four months or longer.

When the bank does respond, it can approve the short sale, make a counteroffer, or deny the short sale. The last two actions can lengthen the process or put you back at square one. (Your real estate attorney and real estate professional, with your authorization, can work your lender’s loss mitigation department on your behalf to prepare the proper documentation and speed the process along.)

5. Don’t expect a short sale to solve your financial problems. Even if your lender does approve the short sale, it may not be the end of all your financial woes. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You may be asked by your lender to sign a promissory note agreeing to pay back the amount of your loan not paid off by the short sale. If your financial hardship is permanent and you can’t pay back the balance, talk with your real estate attorney about your options.
  • Any amount of your mortgage that is forgiven by your lender is typically considered income, and you may have to pay taxes on that amount. Under a temporary measure passed in 2007, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation Act, homeowners can exclude debt forgiveness on their federal tax returns from income for loans discharged in calendar years 2007 through 2012. Be sure to consult your real estate attorney and your accountant to see whether you qualify.
  • Having a portion of your debt forgiven may have an adverse effect on your credit score. However, a short sale will impact your credit score less than foreclosure and bankruptcy.

Note: This article provides general information only. Information is not provided as advice for a specific matter. Laws vary from state to state. For advice on a specific matter, consult your attorney or CPA.

 

Reprinted from REALTOR® magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

For a printable version of this, click here.

Published in: on October 27, 2009 at 1:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Who gets all that commission anyway?

Not me. Don’t get me wrong, I get some of it, but not nearly as much as you might think.

Are you thinking of selling your house and you just can’t get past the amount of money that you’ll have to pay a Realtor to do it? Without getting on my soapbox about the value of a Realtor and why it really is foolish not to hire one, I’d like to share with you why sometimes being in the real estate business really is a noble cause.

Here’s how that 6-7% of your selling price breaks down. These numbers are just commission, mind you, and do not reflect all the closing costs of title companies, attorneys, local and state governments (taxes and such), or any of the other fees and charges associated with closing on your home. We’re only talking about the commission. That money typically gets split four ways:

1) the listing Realtor

2) the listing Realtor’s broker

3) the selling Realtor

4) yep, you guessed it, the selling Realtor’s broker

Now, all parts are not exactly divided equally here either. So, for simple numbers, lets say I sell your home for $200,000 and charge a 6% commission and I say that I will split the commission with the selling Realtor for 3%.

$200,000      Sales Price       x      6%  Total Commission     =      $12,000

Now divide that in half between the Realtors. I get $6,000 and the selling Realtor gets $6,000.  But we forgot the brokers. Their take comes right off the top before I ever get to see a check with my name on it. Most brokers will take anywhere from 25-50% of the commission, based on the Realtors experience and profit share of the total business the office does. So we’ll say that both the listing broker and the selling broker are taking half, since this is pretty typical unless you are the office rock star and we won’t get into that as their businesses are managed very differently than the typical Realtor. So now my check is $3,000.

But wait, there’s more. Now uncle Sam want’s his part, so lets take another third off and I’m down to $2,000. And then there’s the office fees, the licensing fees, the professional memberships (National Association of Realtors, State Associations and Local Associations), continuing education that is required and the gas to get us where we need to go.

After all that, then we get to feed our family and pay the bills.

Published in: on October 15, 2009 at 5:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What to look for in a Realtor

Here is a list of things to consider when trying to decide on a Realtor.

1) Someone local. BEFORE you choose a Realtor, ask them where they operate their business. I am licensed in the State of Oklahoma and technically, I can help you buy and sell anywhere within this state. But just because I can, does not mean that I am an expert of every inch of every county. And just because someone offices from one location does not mean that they are not an expert in another location nearby. Ask, you may be surprised by how much your Realtor really does know about the community.

2) Someone you are comfortable with. Remember, you may be working with this person for several months.

3) Someone who doesn’t have a billion clients to serve besides you. We all want to get our questions answered in a timely fashion, but if your Realtor is running around trying to serve too many people, how much time are they going to have to dedicate to your needs?

4) Someone who will communicate well with you. Find a Realtor you can contact in several different ways. Email, text messaging, phone calls, etc. There are just too many different ways to get your needs met and your Realtor should be able to meet those needs. Just remember, Realtors are people too. Please don’t call after 8pm unless it’s an emergency or you have an appointment. Realtors have families, personal responsibilities, errands and hobbies too.

5) Someone who is tech savvy. Top Realtors utilize technology  to help them stay informed and to communicate with their clients. E-mail, smart phones, electronic newsletters, websites, digital photography and video allow agents to share properties that they’ve previewed, provide feedback and keep clients updated on developments.

6) Someone with character, has integrity, rapport, and is trustworthy! Remember, you may be working with this person for some time and you want to be compatible. Choose someone with passion, creativity, enthusiasm. Talk to more than one Realtor. You may like more than one but choose the one that you think will do the best job for your money.

Purchasing a home or selling your home should be about you. As personable as your Realtor may be, they are providing a service for you. Choose wisely.

Published in: on October 14, 2009 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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