Friday, November 14, 2008

How to Bring Out Home's WOW Factor

Home prices have fallen and many homeowners are mortgaged to the hilt. This makes it difficult for some sellers to justify spending a penny to get their home ready for the market. However, when buyers have a choice, they pick the best. They want a home at a good price, in a good location, and one that they can move right into without having to do any work.

If you're a seller who's selling in a market where there is competition from distressed sale foreclosures or from other sellers who offering their homes in top condition you will be at a disadvantage if you don't fix up your home before selling. It will take longer for you to sell and you could sell for a lot less than if you had invested time and money in properly preparing your home for sale.

There is a lot you could do to get your home ready that doesn't cost much money- it takes time and hard work. For instance, most people have too many personal possessions in their homes, particularly if they have lived there for years. Decluttering benefits you in a couple of ways. You won't pay to move things you no longer need or want. More importantly, buyers will be better able to see what your home has to offer instead of focusing on your things.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: It's worthwhile to consider hiring a home staging decorator. Some sellers need only a consultation of one to two hours. Ask the stager what you should keep and what should be moved out before you start showing the house. Also, get recommendations for furniture and artwork arrangement. The way you live in your house is not necessarily the best way to show it off to prospective buyers.

Today's buyers have alot to think about when they buy a home. Are they buying at the right price and time? Will the house work for the long term? Can they qualify for and afford the financing they need? It helps the process along if you can create an ambiance that enables a buyer to fall in love on the first visit.

THE CLOSING: You need to create the WOW factor so that when buyers walk in they say, "I better act quickly. This house won't be on the market for long".

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

There Are Agents, And Then There Are Agents.

Yes, it sounds confusing. That's because the term "agent" is often used in a casual manner, referring to any real estate practitioner.
But agent also refers to someone with whom you've established a formal agency relationship-someone who represents your best interests in a real estate transaction and owes you fiduciary responsibilities, and requires:
reasonable care and diligence

For many years, real estate was practiced in such a way that agency relationships were only extended to sellers. This all began to change in the 1980's, when buyer agency started to gain momentum in residential transactions. That's why it is very important to talk to the agent or broker early in your working relationship about his/her agency status. You may find yourself working with someone who is actually negotiating for the seller, not you the buyer. So, the best way to be certain your interests are being considered and protected is to sign a buyer agency agreement with a trained buyer's representative, which clearly establishes client-level services and spells out what services you can depend upon.
If you have any other questions regarding agency relationships, I will be glad to assist you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 authorizes a $7500 tax credit for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a home on or after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009. Here is basic information about the tax credit. I strongly encourage you to consult a qualified tax advisor or legal professional with specific questions pertaining to your unique situation.

Q. Who is eligible to claim the $7500 tax credit?
A. First-time home buyers purchasing any kind of home-new or resale.

Q. What is the definition of a first-time home buyer?
A. The law defines that buyer as one who has not owned a principle residence during the 3 year period prior to the purchase.Ownership of a vacation home or rental property not used as a principle residence does not disqualify a buyer as a first-time home buyer.

Q. How do I claim the tax credit?
A. It's easy. You claim the credit on your federal income tax return. No other applications or forms are required. No pre-approval is necessary; however, prospective home buyers will want to make sure they qualify for the credit under the income limits and the first-time buyer tests.

This is just a few questions that are answered. For a more complete list of questions and answers, please go to

I specialize in working with first-time home buyers. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have regarding purchasing a home or qualifying for a loan to purchase your first home.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Buyer Representation

Buying a home is no small matter. Besides being the largest financial transaction you may ever undertake, it's probably also the most complex. There are so many good reasons to work with a qualified real estate professional-especially a trained professional who has earned the Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR) designation, representing best in-class buyer services.
When you look for an ABR before you look for a home, you'll be served, not sold. Your interests become their interest. And you'll be working with someone who has gone the extra mile by completing specialized training in delivering the best in buyer-representation services. Plus a REALTOR who has an ABR Designation also has an established track record, with proven experience in representing the concerns of home buyers.
I am designated as an Realtor and an ABR. I also specialize with helping first-time home buyers. So, if you have any questions about today's market, or want to find out if you qualify in buying a home, I will be glad to assist.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pricing a critical step in today's market

When selling your house, establishing a price is probably one of the most important, yet difficult things to do.
One way or the other, $10 or $20 thousand is real money.

This is your house; you've put a lot of blood, sweat and tears in making this place a home. You've got more than just money invested in this place and you've worked hard on making it just right. So, when you're ready to sell, how do you put a price on all of that?
First, there are a few things that have nothing to do with the value of your house. The hard part of this is that they're usually things that can mean a lot to you, but in reality, they may not contribute to the value of your home.
Some, but not all, of what's irrelevant in the market value of your house, includes the following:

The assessed value-
The amount owed on the mortgage-
What the neighbor says-
The price of the house you want to buy-

So,what should you consider when putting s price on your house? The sales price of homes similar to yours is a good place to start. This gives you a pretty good indicator of the market value for yours. But, market value might not necessarily be the same number you select for your list price.

However, we are now in a buyer's market. The way you price your home will be a little bit different.
What usually happens to an overpriced house is that no one even comes to see it, and it just lingers on the market. Plus, no amount of advertising or market wizardry is going to get a buyer interested in a house that's unreasonably priced. Once the days on the market begin to pile up, the house becomes "stigmatized". Even after the seller begins to price reduce the home, it's often too late; now in the end, sellers usually take less for the house than they may have gotten if it were properly priced out of the gate.

Another important consideration in pricing your house is what's called "price point". If the buyer wants to spend something around $450,000, their agent will probably search the homes in the $400,000 to $500,000 range. But, if you put your house on the market at a number like $509,000, you don't even show up on the radar screen for that $450,000 buyer, and they might end up spending close to $500,000 for a home, missing your home.

How you price your house can have a greater impact than just about anything else you do to sell it, and if you get it wrong out of the box, it can be difficult to recover.
Work with your agent, and do your best to be as objective as possible. We know that's hard, since it's your home and your money. Everyone thinks "their" house is the best one on the block, and, to you, it may be. But, you're pricing the house for the market, not for you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Re/max Golds Fall Event

Hello Everyone,
Just wanted to let you know of an upcoming fall event that we, Re/max Gold is having on Friday October 24,2008. We are having a chili cook-off (Open to the public to participate), face painting, maze, pumpkin painting, moon bounce, food, drinks, and much more. The special for the night: Re/max hot air balloon rides (weather permitting). I would like for you to come out and visit us. Meet the agents, come meet me! If you have any real estate questions, or even questions about loans, we will have the answers for you. The event begins at 3:30 p.m. and runs until.
If you would like to come out, drop me a line; kinda like an rsvp. We just want to get an idea of how much food we need to have on hand. Hope to hear from you.
My office number is 410-827-4653 and my cell is 443-786-4200
c u then.

Monday, September 29, 2008


The buyer of a property being sold in a short sale need to be aware of several key issues. The contract is usually contingent upon the agreement of the seller's mortgage lender to accept the net proceeds of the sale as full payment for the debt. This can, and is often, a long process. So, this could very well delay an anticipated settlement date. You will often know which homes are listed as short sales in the multiple listing services, either directly stated in the remarks, or have wording such as "requires third party approval".

I always like to recommend that if you are considering to purchase real estate, seek competent legal and financial professional help, or deal with a real estate professional with experience with short sale transactions.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Hoemowners and homebuyers in today's real estate market face unique challenges. Of special concern are issues such as foreclosures and short sales.
Many homeowners facing rising interest rates on their sub prime rate mortgages and flat or falling home prices, are being advised to use a short sale to help them out of the difficult situation of mortgage delinquency or foreclosure. However, in my contact with the public, I'm finding many who really have no idea what a short sale is.
So, what is a short sale?
A short sale is an "arrangement" between the current owner of a home and the current mortgage lender holding the mortgage to accept an offer for less than the total amount owed to pay off the home loan which also includes other obligations such as closing costs, property taxes, transfer tax, and/or commission.
This "arrangement" may even help you if you find yourself in life changes, such as a divorce or job transfer which may force a sale of property. Perhaps you find yourself in an "upside down" situation, meaning that you owe more than you can potentially realize from the sale of your home.
As always, if you are considering a short sale, or any real estate transaction, it is important to seek competent legal and financial professional advice. Be sure you deal with a real estate professional with experience with short sale transactions.

The Maryland Association of REALTORS has created a Resource Guide to assist you in meeting the challenges of potential foreclosure. It includes general information about foreclosure and "short sales", as well as articles, publications and useful links. Go to and link to "Legal Affairs" Consumer Short sale and foreclosure Overview.

Now, if you are a buyer of a property being sold in a short sale, there are several key issues you need to be aware of. I will discuss this on my next blog. So stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Queen Anne County Recordation Tax Update

There may be those in Queen Anne County who were unaware of this fact:

On August 5, 2008 the Queen Anne's Commissioners approved County Ordinance No. 08-17; the ordinance that raises the recordation tax rate for Queen Anne's County to $4.95 per $500. ($9.90 per $1000) This Act shall take effect on the forty-sixth (46th) day following its passage, or September 20, 2008.
This is a 50% increase!

This may have a negative impact on potential buyers who were looking to purchase here in QAC, which may be complicating the real estate market just at a critical time when homeowners and potential buyers are trying to struggle out of the impact of the sub-prime loan crisis???

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Professional Etiquette

Being a listing practitioner and a selling practitioner, I handle many aspects of a real estate transaction on a regular basis. When the market slowed down, I kept hearing what a good thing the slowdown would be because it would weed out all the less skilled real estate "pros", leaving only the "good ones" behind. However, there is still a need for us to remind each other about some basic business rules and common courtesies we should be extending to each other and to our clients.
So consider the courtesy of when you schedule an appointment: Please, always show up for those appointments. If something occurs that keeps you from making your appointment or if you are going to be more than 15 minutes late, call to let the listing agent know.
Another practice to remember is to give feedback on a property that you show. The sellers are anxiously waiting to receive information regarding the showing; what the buyers thought and what their agent thought. It helps me as the listing agent to know how my listing compares to others shown and why the buyers didn't like the home so that I can make adjustments to the property appropriately.
This is actually a class offered to real estate agents. I hope you will consider taking it the next time it is offered in your general area.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Look! First Time Homebuyers!

In times of turmoil, it's easy to overlook the obvious. Like the fact that NOW is the perfect time for first time homebuyers.
To start with, the higher amount of inventory gives first time buyers more choices than they have seen in years. Next, a lower price of entry is making better neighborhoods avavilable to first-timers--areas that never used to be considered for starter homes. Finally, there are also higher conforming loan limits in many markets.
Now, if you are considering buying a home for the first time, let me know. I specialize in helping first time homebuyers. I'll be waiting to hear from you!

Kent Island, Maryland Is The Place To Live

Kent Island is located just on the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. In spite of its small size, 4.2 miles wide and 15 miles long, it offers up large helpings of wonderful shore habitat that can be explored on foot,by boat, car, or bike. There are currently 199 active listings on Kent Island, of which 52 are waterfront. We also have New Communities coming to Kent Island that fit EVERY family's price range.
I have lived here since the 80's. I have seen it grow, and I still wouldn't want to live anywhere else. We are centrally located to mountains and ocean. Two hours in either direction, and you will have either mountains or ocean. We are close to Washington DC and Baltimore.
So, if you're thinking about moving and haven't thought about beautiful Kent Island, give me call or email me to set up a time to take a tour of Kent Island and/or look at homes in the area.