Survey: More Buyers Make Offers Sight Unseen

The number of buyers making offers sight unseen—meaning they haven’t physically visited the property is on the rise, according to a survey of recent home buyers conducted by real estate brokerage Redfin. Thirty-three percent of respondents in 11 major markets say they made an offer on at least one house sight unseen. These types of offers are more common when working with foreign buyers and in markets where homes are selling quickly, real estate professionals say.

New uses of 3-D photos, video tours, and virtual reality are giving some buyers enough confidence to purchase a home without an in-person showing. The Wall Street Journal reports that some real estate pros are conducting property walkthroughs with long-distance buyers remotely via FaceTime, Skype, or WhatsApp. Some agents are working with technology companies to create 3-D photo and video tours within the virtual reality space to make long-distance buyers feel like they’re at the property in person.

Source: “Buying a Home Sight Unseen Is Easier Than Ever – and More Common,” The Wall Street Journal (June 22, 2017) [Log-in required.]

Can a Mortgage Rate Buy-Down Save a Deal?

As home sales slow in some markets, more sellers may consider hooking potential buyers by offering to lower their mortgage rate. Mortgage assistance may help offset rising prices and the much-predicted looming rise in mortgage rates.

Some real estate professionals have begun touting “seller-assisted, below-market-rate financing” on for-sale signs outside of listed homes. They’re also offering interest rate buy-downs, a marketing technique most commonly used in new-home sales by builders.

Some sellers are offering to lower buyers’ long-term monthly mortgage expense—for the life of the loan—by paying money upfront to the buyers’ lender to reduce the interest rate. For example, the seller may pay two to three points on the loan; a point is 1 percent of the mortgage amount. This would reduce the buyers’ interest rate by about one of half of a percentage point. When sellers pay points, they’re paying interest on the loan in advance.

From 2006 to 2009, mortgage rate buy-downs on resales were common, says David H. Stevens, chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

While rate buy-downs aren’t always the best move for sellers, housing experts say it’s one option that real estate professionals, sellers, and buyers may want to explore in the interest of saving a deal.

Source: “Mortgage Buy-Downs Can Spur Home Sales,” Los Angeles Times (July 27, 2014)

Real Estate Agents “Move Up in Public Opinion”

Real estate professionals rank higher than lawyers, business executives, and advertising practitioners when it comes to the public’s perceptions of honesty and ethics, according to a recent Gallup poll. Their highest rating yet in the poll, since Gallup began measuring Americans’ perceptions of honesty and ethics of 21 professions since 1976.

In the survey, 20 percent of respondents gave real estate professionals a “very high to high” rating on honesty and ethics. Fifty-seven percent of the Americans surveyed rated them as “average” when it comes to honesty and ethics.

The professions that scored the highest in honesty and ethics belonged to the medical profession, with nurses, pharmacists, and doctors — who were all at the top of the list. Members of Congress, in which only 7 percent of respondents rated them “very high to high” when it comes to ethics and honesty — the lowest on record.

Source: “Housing Prices Show Signs of Stability,” The Wall Street Journal (May 29, 2012) and “Record 64% Rate Honesty, Ethics of Members of Congress Low,” Gallup (Dec. 12, 2011)

More Buyers “Eye Unlisted Homes” as Options!

As housing inventories shrink, more buyers are reportedly finding their perfect home in properties that haven’t even been listed on the market yet. Our “Buyers Broker/Agent” objectives when working with clients are to seek and show these, FSBO’s, etc!

“Such back-pocket deals used to involve mostly luxury homes where buyers and sellers wanted to keep the sale hush-hush,” The Star Tribune reports. “But lower-priced houses are becoming a bigger part of the mix because even those are in short supply.”

As real estate professionals we are helping buyers sniff out these unlisted homes by working to identify sellers who would like to sell but are unsure if the market will give them enough on a sale. We find these sellers through referrals and also by home owners who once listed their homes for sale but removed their homes from the MLS after they lingered on the market. Please provide your objectives and we’ll work for you!

Source: “Impatient Buyers Target Homes Before They go on Sale,” Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (April 28, 2012)

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Is that Rental Home in Foreclosure?

More “accidental” landlords are surfacing as home owners turn their underwater homes into rentals to try to come up with some extra cash. But some of these accidental landlords are still unable to keep up with their mortgage payments and may become delinquent on their mortgage. So what’s this mean for the person renting their property? 

Some renters may suddenly be served with an eviction notice when they discover the property they are renting is being foreclosed upon, and only having days to vacate. 

One new Web site, CheckYourLandlord.com, allows renters to check rental properties in the U.S. to see if there are any notices of default filed against the property.

Renters, or real estate professionals who represent them, can also stop at the county recorder’s office to check the status of a property. 

Source: “Renters Can Search Their Home for Foreclosure Notices for Free at CheckYourLandlord.com,” Marketwire (Nov. 30, 2011)

 For assistance in the Sierra Foothills, El Dorado, Placer, Amador or Sacramento Counties of California visit: www.sierraproperties.com or www.dougandbudzeller.com

Can a Groupon Get Buyers Moving?

More small businesses, including those in the real estate industry, are catching on the Groupon bandwagon, creating a deal to get potential home buyers moving. It can create buzz about your business, too. 

Groupon, which launched in 2008, offers daily deals on products and services and boasts more than 115 million subscribers in 175 North American markets.

However, recent news reports from around the Placerville, El Dorado County, California regions note you should beware of expiration dates.

Article by Fox Business News highlights how some real estate professionals are using Groupons: “Through list marketing, a real estate agent could send out a promotion to local residents offering home sellers $500 back at closing for $25. The agent could offer the deal October through December, which are typically slow months for home sales. To foster loyalty, the agent could send a similar deal out next year, but only to her previous customers.”

Source: “How to Build Your Own Groupon,” Fox Business (Nov. 8, 2011)

The Other Victims in the Foreclosure Crisis: PETS!

More real estate professionals report finding pets left behind in abandoned homes from home owners who had been evicted from their properties due to foreclosure. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Animals had estimated in 2009 — the most recent statistic — that up to a million animals would be left behind in foreclosed homes, shelters, or outdoors from the foreclosure mess.

The animals often are left behind without food or water, suffering a slow death of starvation and dehydration — unless they happen to be found in time by a real estate professional surveying the property. 

Some real estate professionals are reaching out to help the forgotten pets. For example, Cheryl Lang, president of Integrated Mortgage Solutions in Houston, formed a nonprofit group, No Paws Left Behind, a network of those in the real estate industry. Her group has rescued at least 1,000 animals nationwide since it started in 2008. 

Source: “Foreclosure Pets Often Left Starving in Abandoned Homes,” Asbury Park Press (Oct. 26, 2011)

 Anyone in the western El Dorado County, Placerville, CA. regions may contact organizations like the Grace Foundation of El Dorado County for assistance. They also accept monetary donations and volunteer assistance…here’s there website: http://www.thegracefoundationofnorcal.org/

Home Buyers Want a Deal–or a Steal?

Buyers are still looking for homes, but they won’t settle for anything less than a great deal, say real estate professionals. 

Regardless of buyers’ high desires these days, the homes that are selling tend to be the ones where sellers price their homes the most competitively. 

“When you have realistic sellers, then we have competitive bidding on houses and you might even see that price go up,” Batterton told WBAL-TV. “When you have an unrealistic seller, then you have a house on the market for a long time, and it just depends.”

Full article at source: “Realtor: Realistic Sellers Can Find Buyers,” WBAL-TV.com (Oct. 11, 2011)

Other Placerville, El Dorado County, California information at: www.dougandbudzeller.com

Appraisals Blamed for Home Sales Falling Through!

Appraisers are increasingly taking the heat for more transactions being canceled or delayed after more appraisals reportedly are coming through that don’t meet the contract price.  

In August, the National Association of REALTORS® reported that 18 percent of real estate professionals saw contracts fall through when lenders rejected loan applications or appraisals came in lower than expected. About 11 percent reported they had a contract canceled in the previous three months because of “low” appraisals. 

“When an appraisal comes in low, it puts doubt in the mind of the buyer as to the true value of that property,” Richard Kassouf, the broker-owner of New Hope Realty in Brunswick, Ohio, told Cleveland.com. “And it gives them a crisis that they have to deal with, where they have to come up with more money for the down payment to allow that transaction to be completed. Or they have to negotiate the price down.”

Complaints from home owners filed nationwide about low appraisals are skyrocketing, according to states’ commerce departments. 

But appraisers say it’s not their fault. They argue that many people just don’t realize how much home values have dropped since the housing boom. Plus, appraisals have become more challenging due to fewer sales available to use as comparables and the high number of foreclosures bringing down values. 

“Appraisers were blamed for the run-up of the market when prices were high, and now they’re being blamed because prices are low,” says Ken Chitester, a spokesman for the Appraisal Institute. “Both can’t be true. Appraisers are doing the same thorough research and thoughtful analysis that they’ve always conducted. So, in short, don’t shoot the messenger.”

Source: “In Rough Real Estate Market, Appraisers Feel Heat for Home Sales That Fall Apart or Lag Behind,” Associated Press Newswires (Oct. 2, 2011)

Other Placerville, El Dorado County, California information at: www.dougandbudzeller.com

Is Your Web Site Mobile-Friendly?

One-third of Americans–or 35 percent–own a smartphone, and many are using their phones to access the Internet–sometimes as their primary way of accessing the Web, according to a new Pew Internet Project survey. The findings provide even more reason for real estate professionals to look at their web site and ask: How mobile-friendly is it? (Read: The Mobile Web for Real Estate)

The high adoption of smartphone usage among the public has also prompted more real estate professionals to adopt savvy marketing techniques that require a phone, such as QR codes on real estate signs (read more).

About 87 percent of smartphone owners reported accessing the Internet or e-mail on their smartphone, including two-thirds–or 68 percent–who say they do on a typical day. What’s more, a quarter of smartphone owners say they mostly go online using their phone, rather than their computer.

Smartphone usage is highest among the financially well-off and well-educated, non-whites, and those under the age of 45, according to the survey of more than 2,000 adults.

Source: “Smartphone Adoption and Usage,” Pew Internet & American Life Project 7/11/11 

Other articles relating to the Sacramento and Placerville, California regions at: www.sierraproperties.com