Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wind Power Talks at JLF Event

Wind Power Does Not Help Economy or Environment, Experts Say

While state law requires North Carolina utility companies to generate 7.5% of their energy using renewable resources by 2018, they don't tell you: "Electricity generated from the wind is inefficient, extremely expensive, and bad for the environment, argued scientists and economists at a forum sponsored by the John Locke Foundation Dec. 5, at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington."

Like many of the green movement's supposedly great ideas to save the planet, this one is no panacea. Wind run plants, according to the article, "cover more tnan 1,000 times the surface area of a conventional facility."

So, I'm thinking if you've got a hundred acres of pasture or so, you're not using, and you don't mind the sight and sounds of several hundred windmills, and you have deep enough pockets to build the grid, knowing it'll be several generations down the line before you get a return on your investment, one you'll never see... why you're probably a good candidate for this technology. Now, if they can figure out how to store electricity generated by wind power plants, well then, that would be another story.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sell Low - Buy Low, Should I Make a Move Now?

My best articles come from letters to clients. This is one from "Eric" who said, "We are exploring our options and aren't sure what we should do." Here's my response:

Hi Eric,

Thanks for following up with me. It sounds like you've got some decisions to make, but nothing that can't wait a while. This market has made a lot of people unsure of what they should do. Do you live in Western Carolina?

My thought is that while it might be OK to make a lateral move right now - sell low, and buy low - moving into an altogether new situation requires a different sort of investigation. And with this market in flux... every week a different expert pops up to say: We're at the bottom! Invest your money today; we'll strike it rich. And at the same time another expert on another channel chews thoughtfully on the end of a pencil and says "Bottom? Really? Not with all of the shadow inventory. Until that clears, we're still going down. And here's our National Real-Estate-Expert, Miss Smarty Pants, to weigh in on the REAL real estate news this week." And the cameras roll.

We don't know what to believe.

My thought is that this is the time when you follow your heart. Play the theme song from Annie: The Sun will come out tomorrow, betcha' bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun...

Do what you feel is in your families best interest, for today, and for the long haul. If you can stay in your home, STAY! Make it more comfortable and stick this out. Laura Allen, a local business woman, has been selling some of her household goods online. She said she can't afford a bigger house so she's going to declutter, rearrange, redecorate and make the one she has feel bigger. Smart girl!

A lot of people have to relocate - and it comes down to this - do you HAVE to sell or can you STAY. Whatever you decide you've got some work in store, whether it's the work of putting your house on the market, or redecorating for the long haul, now is the perfect time to get started. 2012 is just around the corner.

Whether you sell or stay here are some links you might want to explore.

See: Video from the National Association of REALTORS: Inside An Energy Audit 

See Video from the National Association of REALTORS: The Staging Pro 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

By the way, Eric, in writing this note I realized I've stumbled onto a good topic for my New Year's real estate column! If you see this in print....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Real Estate Syndication

Real Estate Syndication, "Distribution Trumps Destination" so says Saul Klien in this fantastic video that explains real estate syndication in a way that absolutely makes sense.

This morning as we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday I've just got to say, Thank you to Saul Klien, who has been a leader in real estate and real estate technology. I took my e-Pro certification under Saul's Internet Crusade before the National Association of REALTORS took over the class and that was one of the smartest/bravest/best things I've ever done.
Syndication Overview
View more webinars from yveszx

I specialize in a second home and land market that requires a good understanding of technology. Most of my real estate transactions are with out of area buyers and sellers. I utilize and enhance marketing and syndication of listings with tools like visual tours. I've talked with a lot of you about syndication and explained how important it is, but Saul Klein nails it.

Our MLS Board offers syndication through List Hub. United Country offers syndication through their online partners as does The Real Estate Book and since I rarely work with clients who won't participate in syndication, you can safely assume your listing is syndicated.

Now in our rural area, we occasionally get some errors, particularly mapping errors, some I can fix and some I can not. Sometimes we find off the wall examples of data feed errors, like $17,000 appearing at $1700, but, the technology is improving everyday and while I can't make changes to your listing on every little site, like "typepad" and "hothomes", I want you to understand that I am covering the bases and have accounts with the big guys.

Real Estate Syndication - made easy - watch and learn from one of the big guys, Saul Klein whom I am grateful to "follow" in RealTown.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Get Preapproved? Prequalified?

Get pre-approved, pre-qualified, who me? Why should I? Do you think I would misrepresent my buying power? You're the third REALTOR who's asked me that.

Well those other two didn't explain pre-approval. Pre-approval, and I'm using this interchangeably with pre-qualification, is a good thing. It enables you the client and me the REALTOR. Right this minute I've got three potential buyers on the fence. I'm writing this for them because they evaporated when I asked them about finances. I'm the REALTOR so finances are none of my business, right?


As your Buyer's Agent I am your hired professional. I'm getting paid to represent you and if you don't have any money, and you don't have any credit, then you can't buy a house, period. I can't help you; I can only hurt you.

Here's why I am telling you to get pre-approved:

1. I need to know what our price range is so I can find and show you homes you could buy, not more home, or less home (unless that's what you want), but just the right home.

2. I need to know if there are any smudges on your credit report we could be working on now to get you a better rate on interest later.

3. I need to know when we present an offer that we're presenting a strong offer, and you need to know pre-approval could help you win the house in a multiple offer situation.

4. I need to know who we'll be working with. We need a mortgage officer who can tell you exactly what interest rate you qualify for, can give you numbers, explain PITI (Principle, Interest, Taxes, Insurance) and tell you what your payments will be at your price point.

5. I need to know what mortgage options are available to you. Looking for a home that qualifies under FHA is different than a home that's going to qualify for VA, and the FHA and the VA change their requirements, not as often as Adobe upgrades their reader, but often enough.

6. I need to know you're qualified to buy a house BEFORE I put you in my car and drive you all over the 566 square mile Rutherford County to look for the perfect place and THEN find out you have a little credit problem. I am a self-employed business person. It's my money going in the gas tank. If you're honest and tell me Maybe Someday you'll buy a house, then Maybe Someday I'll take you out to look at houses. Sometimes I preview homes, and I like to have company when I'm going to look at vacant properties.

I want to help you buy the most house for the least money. I want to help you get into a home that can be a tax shelter as well as a family shelter for years to come, so get pre-approved, will ya?

Here's the harsh reality.

Champagne taste on a beer budget - ever heard that? You want to see houses you can't afford - maybe you'll make an offer and get a $200,000 house for $75,000 - really? It does happen, but you should know one of the stipulations on making an offer on a deal like this is "Proof of Funds" that has to go in with the offer.

You just need a cheap fixer-upper because you're handy and so are your friends/family members, but you don't have any money. And about this, I am sorry, but banks only loan money to investors on fixer-uppers. They loan money to people who have money. Banks aren't going to take a chance on you. I hate it - but unless you've got a wealthy friend of family member who'll front you the money you're out of options. Banks aren't going to loan money on anything but a move-in ready house, because if you miss a payment they want a house that's move-out and re-sale ready.

You've got credit problems? I can't solve them for you, but I can help.

Owning a home has long been called The American Dream. Helping you find a home, putting you in a home, well that's my dream. When you walk into a house and say: This is it - I get goosebumps. And after you move in I nod my head when I drive by and feel good. This is a real feel-good business.

But when you fall in love with a house, and I can't help you get it, then I feel bad, and you feel bad, and the seller feels bad, and their agent feels bad and it's bad.

What's worse? When I drive by your house and know you're losing it. Boy do I feel bad. Even after you move out, when I drive by that house, I feel bad. If you get in trouble, I will help you any way I can. I can not make your payments, but I'll list your house, and help you make a plan, and give you boxes if have to move out. And that's really bad....

Listen, the last thing I want to do is to help you get more house than you can afford. So do yourself and me a favor. Get pre-approval/pre-qualified.

Get preapproved. It's a good thing.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Unbranded Virtual Tours

One of the things people don't know about real estate practitioners is that many of the Multiple Listing Services do not usually allow agents to post "branded" visual tours. Branding is material with your name, signage, logo, verbage, anything that would promote your work as in advertising. This is not permitted in visual tours. This is because Multiple Listing Services are purveyors of a system called IDX (Internet Data Exchange). IDX is part of an agreement agents, joining the MLS, make to work with one another, to cooperate, by sharing listings. This means if, for instance, Carol McCall at Re/Max Retro posts a listing into the MLS, I, Karen McCall, over here at United Country, Country Lanes Real Estate am free to share Carol's listing with my clients. Now, I don't want to send Carol's branded visual tours to my buyers and sellers and promote Carol's business. I have agreed to share pictures, to share listing details, to share information, but I have not agreed to advertise for Carol.
Pursuant to keeping a good working relationship with my fellow REALTORS, I have set up an unbranded virtual tour channel on YouTube. This is so that all of the members of the Rutherford Board of REALTORS can send my/your listing to their clients, without sending an advertisment for yours truly.
I understand that in business to put a lot of work into setting up a program you aren't going to get credit for doesn't seem to make a lot of sense - and it wouldn't - except that I know any of my fellow MLS members can share my/our visual tour with their clients and that any of them can bring a ready, willing and able buyer, and sell your property. If my visual tour of your property helps another agent to bring a buyer I'm all for it. I would sooner have 120 agents shareing your listing with thier clients than to have a branded showcase tour trumpeting my achievements online.
Please, feel free to visit my unbranded YouTube Channel anytime. Below you may watch a short tour. I try to keep tours under 2 minutes long. The point is, not to show everything about the property, the point is to pique a potential buyer's interest so that they'll want to see the home in person.