Tuesday, January 1, 2013
I got my real estate license finally in New Jersey! I am now actively licensed in New Jersey, New York, Virginia, District of Columbia and Maryland. This has been for the last 10 years a goal and dream of mine. I have accomplished this and it is everything I expected it to be. . . exciting!
I closed my first NY transaction! I learned that challenges just make you a better person. Not something I planned in case you were wondering. I entered 2012 receiving my license in the State of New York and discovered after almost 20 years of being a Realtor this is the most difficult state probably in the nation to sell or buy a house in. End of October brought Hurricane Sandy, that knocked my power out for 15 days, and delays in every transaction I had that were absolutely unnerving. Along with attorneys who drag their feet in everything they do with regard to the transaction, I was ready to just throw in the towel with regard to doing business in the State of New York.
Mental toughness and a lot of encouragement allowed me to push through a short sale that seemed impossible and GOT IT CLOSED! It was a small deal and it took everything in me to maneuver through crazy requirements from the bank and the attorneys who tend to not be very cooperative with Realtors. My reward, at the closing I got the best compliment from the buyer's attorney (I was the listing agent) as to my professionalism in the transaction. Well worth the trouble and building my reputation in another State as to my success in closing short sales. 2013 will just be re-strategizing on how to meet the goals set moving forward and not accepting defeat. I guess when they say if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere they weren't kidding.
I moved! This also was something I set as a goal. I kept planning and planning and my plans kept getting moved further and further into the year. All was good as my son ended his Little League Baseball season as an All Star. A shining star was he when he hit the first home run as first at bat at the beginning of the tournament. He then hit another home run that broke the tie for his team to lead. Final inning of the same game he caught the ball that put their opponents out and advanced his team into semi finals. He was MVP for the game. Nice way for a 12 year old boy to leave with memories and experiences that could have only happened because of the delays. The summer moved on and finally on August 25th the truck pulled up and I moved. Several months later than my initial plan but certainly another goal met. I realized what a huge accomplishment this was on Thanksgiving Day when waking up in my bed I said to myself I am finally home for the Holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas brought my children and friends to fill every chair at my dining room table in celebration of the holidays. Dreams made into reality once again.
With so many more accomplishments had, I lead into 2013 with positive momentum and mindset. I leave behind 2012 the doubt and frustration I experienced as just prep work for the future. I realize that sometimes we are put through these difficulties so that we know we can do it. I am now at Step One of my vision. I know that I can put one foot in front of the other and the momentum is a forward push not backwards. I regret nothing and never look back because I only have forward vision.
To everyone a fantastically healthy and prosperous 2013 hope you come along with me for the ride Happy New Year!
Friday, January 27, 2012
When no reciprocity is in place you need to prove education and experience which again was not a problem. What I find the most interesting and the thing that New York State actually has right is asking me to prove who I am.
The State of NY issued me my paper license but instructed me to come into the DMV to have my picture taken or to provide it via email. I had to bring with me several pieces of identification to prove who I am. I am not a resident of the State of NY so there is no driver's license with a picture in place.
They took my picture and then I had to show them my birth certificate, my social security card, my U.S. passport, and my Virginia issued driver's license. They use a point system and each item had a value. These values need to add up to 6 points. The State will then issue my picture real estate license which I understand will look similar to a driver's license.
I think this is an excellent procedure. As much as this was a bit of a hassle for me it was one I do think it should be uniform across the United States. The buying and selling of real property is one of the largest transactions most people make in their lives.
If my Costco card has my picture identification at least my real estate license should also have my picture identification
Friday, October 14, 2011
If you are a first time buyer or not I have the best in the business here to help you understand what is available for you!
9:30 - Registration begins - come enjoy some great coffee and breakfast
10:20 - BBT Mortgage - Loan Officer Kelly Wadsworth will discuss extensively 100% financing - yes 100% financing and you don't have to be a veteran to get it. She will also discuss FHA, VA and conventional financing. You have so many options not to be missed.11:00 - Hulbert Home Inspections - Seth Hulbert will go over this very important part of the transaction what's wrong with the house! In depth explanation of what goes on during the inspection of your purchase.
12:00 - Bargain Boxes and Moving - They will talk about how to move without losing your mind!There will be a Question and Answer session after each presentation. So come sit enjoy and get into that dream house before the Holidays we can do it together. Just summit your registration and I personally will save you a seat.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Yesterday the Fed announced that they would keep rates low and if you were watching the news media today prices might go through another correction depending on where you live as real estate is regional. What better time than now to buy? Well, let's see.
1. Homes are at the best pricing possible in several decades.
2. Your money will buy you more than ever before because today rates have dropped below 4%.
So my advice to all those just sitting on the fence and watching the roller coaster takes its free fall and then the climb back up to only take that fall again step away from the flat screen, computer, Droid or tablet and call your favorite realtor and start getting in the game of building your personal wealth and buy a home. The only person happy with you renting and doing nothing is your landlord. You see he owns what you rent.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Just recently I was showing in D.C. It was a lovely townhouse but then as the buyer and I walked up the stairs . . . THE SMELL . . . hit me . . . cat urine. That overwhelming odor of the ammonia when the box hasn't been cleaned. As we walked into the bedroom there it was the cat box and the mushy stale wet cat food. I have to give you the visual because this is how we see it when we walked in. It did not matter now how great it was we turned and left. So I felt compelled to talk about the unthinkable, the smell in your house.
Smell is a very conscience and sometimes subconscious entity that must be dealt with when selling your home. Smells can turn off buyers either because they are offensive, it can trigger good or bad memories, but more importantly it can cause the buyer to walk out the door and not even want to go back.
So when selling or thinking of selling look around and see what could cause any kind of smell. Your sweet cat, the cute dog, the rabbit and heaven help us all the weasel, can issue odors that will send even the most seasoned realtor running out the door. There are other things that cause smells. Example, we should not be able to smell what you had for dinner the night before.
The house needs to be cleaned, and in place in good order and smell free. Please also know that strategically placing deodorizers full of strawberry, flowery or any super scent will also send me running out the door. The first question that comes to my mind is what are you trying to hide? Now that I have voiced my opinion let me give you a few suggestions.
1. Get a friend or someone who will tell you the truth and have them walk through the house. Point of reference if they are not good housekeepers themselves they are not going to be a good point of reference.
2. Throw the garbage out, clean the litter box several times a day and GET RID OF THE FOOD ON THE FLOOR.
3. Give the dog a bath, clean his living area and again GET RID OF THE FOOD ON THE FLOOR.
4. Big offender is that smell in a basement after water has been there. Get a dehumidifier (make sure you empty it regularly), clean and find the source of water entry. Placing lime in crawlspaces helps to absorb the smell.
5. Call me I always give my sellers my honesty in order to sell their home and how to address smells. My cell 202-344-0045. I am a licensed Associate Broker in VA, MD, DC.
I have walked into plenty of fabulous homes to only have the buyer repelled by the smell. The other thing that occurs is you will see a low ball offer more often than not. That is if we can actually get the buyer to make an offer.
There are so many homes on the market and you must place your home in the best possible position so that you will be remembered because you have a great house and not because I remember that smell.
Monday, May 16, 2011
The story begins on Wednesday when I had met the wife online via a babysitting website. We spoke via Skype and she realized I was a realtor. She asked if I could help and I said no problem. To my shock I actually found condos in their price range and we set a time to meet on Saturday. We found a lovely condo and the buyer handed me an approval letter from USAA.
Now I am no rookie, I have been selling real estate for 17 years. I read the letter and it was genuine they were approved with minor conditions. So we decided we would meet again on Sunday to look at some other condos and then decide. After speaking with the buyer on Saturday evening it was evident that they wanted one of the units they saw that day but we were going to look just the same.
We met again on Sunday morning at another condo and then they decided to write an offer on a unit they saw Saturday. As I started to explain the process now, I started going down the need for earnest money a blank look crossed his face. I am going to need earnest money. They would also have to be ready to pay for an appraisal. They buyer was confused when I asked as he was not told any of this by USAA.
So then he states that he is getting a VA loan and that it is 100%. I said yes it is but you have to put earnest money down otherwise the seller will not take you seriously. Also with the changes in mortgages all appraisals must be paid upfront by the buyer to the appraiser or lender. Any seller concessions paid will be refunded to you at the table but we still need these items. Again, none of this was mentioned by USAA. How could they not mention these items?
At my suggestion I referred them to a lender so that they could speak with another person regarding their mortgage. I went back to do my work and later touched base with the lender who also voiced his concerns regarding back ratios, etc. The question that kept coming back is how did USAA approve them?
In the end, they felt they were not ready to move forward and the buyer's wife was concerned I might get angry because she had taken my time. Never, I am actually relieved because I could see they were not ready for the responsibility that comes with homeownership. They made the right decision for themselves and that is all that matters. I hope that I changed the impression they have of realtors and that we are here to make a dream come true not to start another nightmare.
So here is the moral of the story work with a realtor first. Please realize we go through this process several times a month. We are here to help you reach that ultimate goal. The reason they were so uninformed is because they did not receive a Good Faith Estimate or a Schedule of Initial Fees. They should have consulted with a realtor first. Instead anyone they spoke to just was not interested because the price point was not high enough. Then get a referral so someone can help you.
Buyers, here are your steps in buying a home.
1. Have an initial consultation with a realtor. As a realtor we will refer you to reputable local lenders and guide you through the steps for finding a home, preparing an offer for a home and finally getting you to the closing table.
2. Call the lender and ask for an Initial Fee Sheet. This gives you an idea of the fees they charge. Once you decide on 2 lenders get a Good Faith Estimate from each. This locks them into what they are quoting you.
3. Any questions, consult your realtor so she/he can speak with your lender to get the particulars regarding your loan, parameters, guidelines, etc.
4. Find your home, write the offer
5. Offer accepted then back to your lender
6. Coordination between realtor, lender and buyer
8. Get the keys and move in!
Any questions, please just ask or call me 202-344-0045 or visit my website www.TheNeighborhoodAgent.com
Keller Williams Capital Properties
Friday, December 31, 2010
My career choice took me down the path of real estate, who would have guessed if you had known me 30 years ago. Real estate is an interesting and ever changing industry and if you fear change than this is not the path for you. Everything in my world is constantly changing, from how we look up property, remember the days of 10 inch listing books, to how we show property, paperless contracts and electronic signatures to now we are placing QR Codes on our signs. (If anyone wants to know what a QR code is email me)
2010 has had many endings with many changes I professionally and personally made. I made an important career move from Long and Foster Realtors to Keller Williams Realty in August. I finally closed my brokerage, City Partners Realty in Atlanta, GA in October and now I end 2010 by deciding to move my personal residence. Big changes that would normally invoke fear of the unknown - the future. I welcome the changes it makes life interesting.
I spent the evening ending toxic things in my life and disengaging from negativity so that at the strike of midnight I am bringing in the New Year on a positive note. This year will not include the clink of a champagne glass out of choice because I am ending 2010 on my terms and beginning 2011 on my terms. I am happily saying goodbye to many things and hello to a brand new year 2011 and all the changes it will bring.
I meet many incredible people on this journey I call life. Many of these people are my clients and I love each one of them. Many of these clients after spending sometimes many months with me become personal friends and I have so many of these personal friends now they have totally enriched my life and I want to take the time to thank them for being an important part of my life and for making me laugh.
So I look forward to 2011 which comes in about 3 hours and all the incredible changes it holds for me and my son. I also feel that 2011 will be the year that real estate takes hold again and moves in the right direction. I finally feel we have reached the end of the downslide (ooh a prediction I don't normally make these), but here goes I do think we will see an upward movement in the real estate world. So let's all say goodbye to 2010 and happily welcome 2011.
Happy New Year to each and every one of you who reads me today!