Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Let's Make Movies

I know, I know, I'm supposed to be a Realtor, so why am I making movies? Haven't you heard? Visual tours are all the rage, and some of those slideshow templated freebies, are worse, yes I said worse, than nothing. If you like to fool with pictures and write, and I do, rather than using a templated site like the free ones, (which is, OK, I concede, somewhat better than nothing), you'll want to run a You Tube channel. The freebies are useless when it comes to setting up and running a You Tube channel. So, here are some tips for storyboarding - and more to come. http://video-editing-software-review.toptenreviews.com/how-to-make-a-movie.html In preparation for the next phase of my real estate career I have purchased a new all-in-one computer with touch-screen, a 1 TB hard drive, great graphics card, and everything I need to make it fast and grand and perfect for recording and uploading to YouTube. There's only one thing missing - Your Listing! But it's the fall of the year and my phone is ringing with happy potential buyers passing through and I have to go take them around the valley. I am working on your movies as time allows. I'll send you an updated link as soon as I have one. Video is the next big thing in real estate advertising, and I'm embracing it although I promise, the learning curve is somewhat daunting. Lucky for me, one of my clients Robert Humphrey was the film trainer for the US Military and literally wrote the book, the three books, for Military film makers. He's taken a look at my visual tours and says he'll help me. How cool is that? So, I've bought the equipment, I'm prepared to do the work, now I just need to squeeze a few hours out of my schedule. It'll be worth it, you'll see.

And sorry I had to turn off comments, somebody publishing under the name Pushpendra Yadav started publishing advertising nonsence in my comments and emailing me every 2 minutes. "Omaxe Constructions is amongst the large Real Estate Development companies in India and has executed more than 120 prestigious Industrial, Institutional, Commercial, Residential and Hospital construction projects.
Omaxe " It would seem like Omaxe Construction (s) might like to know the firm they've hired to do advertising is causing some trouble with a Real Estate Blogger in Western Carolina.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 2012

I had my left hip replaced on June 26th in Tryon, NC by Dr. Rosenberg and came home to recover. I followed Doctors instructions and for the first two weeks post op was home bound and pretty groggy with pain meds. "How badly did it hurt?" Everyone wants to know and I've gotta tell you, as far as I'm concerned, it hurt more before surgery than afterward. Now granted, I'm recovering, and I'm not brand new, raring to go but it's not bad. I knew I'd made the right decision when I sat on the side of the bed and dangled my legs for the first time.

As a consequence, there was no July Newsletter, everyone had to get by with updates from List Hub and Trulia, but there weren't any complaints. We did stay in touch and I don't know how this happened but real estate started selling. I've had a few more sellers call Clayton in, including Steve and Dawn on lot 89 Big Rock Road, their lot was way overgrown and Clayton put a crew on it and even cut a trail to a huge view. I don't have pictures, yet, I can't get out to the rocky overlook with my cane, but soon, and very soon. I'll be posting pictures.

Meanwhile, here's a picture for you:

This fine specimen was slithering across a driveway on Yellowtop. I believe he would have hung around but he didn't particularly want his picture taken. Luckily the people who were with me saw him, too and we all have interesting pictures on our iPhones as a consequence.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Welcome Friends

Welcome! Beides old newsletter posts you will find lots of information on the real estate blog: http://kdsfarm.blogspot.com . It’s nice to have posts handy, like Home Staging Tips and Can You Say Syndication? And I can post things and reference them without being redundant. As unstable as the real estate market is today it’s good to know there are some things we can count on.

Data feeds. Here’s something we can count on. Like Murphy’s Law, “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” If there’s a data field in your listing that says 3.5 acres, it may be picked up by some sites as 3 acres, and some as .35, and some not at all. This is due to the vast difference in mapping data fields. If you match A to A, there’s no problem, but it you’re using the alphabet and you go to 27 well, then… things just got interesting. I can not map data fields in our system or change how they are mapped, but I can make corrections if needed in the MLS and sometimes by logging into an outside account I can turn off fields. As real estate becomes standardized across the nation we will see some improvements, until then, bear with me. If you find your listing on a website with something weird in it, let me know. I’ll fix it if I can and if not, we can get pretty creative in the public remarks.

To those of you who have had your lots cleaned up thank you. Local landscape firm owner/operator Clayton Self has completed several. If you’d like to keep him on for maintenance, Clayton will be happy to put you on a regular schedule. Since he lives in Bostic and his crews start and end up here, he can swing by your lots, and get these small jobs without sending an entire crew from town. Call him early in the morning 828 245-5213; you‘ll probably have to call before 8 to get him. Call later and his wife, Pansy, will take your call and have him call you. If I need to meet him or direct him to your property let me know and we’ll get together. Clayton is NOT the only firm in the area, Scott Mayhew with All Quality Landscaping 828 245-9245 and Brad Ford 828 245-9309 with BRS Landscaping are both excellent. These are all local companies. I can only recommend firms because of the problems that arise if someone gets hurt doing a job for you on your property. An accident could be charged against your homeowner’s insurance – lot owners? That could get as complicated as data field mapping. I don’t want to go there.

I’ve been really busy getting things together so someone can step into my shoes and run my business for a few weeks. Dropbox has been a large part of that and I’ve nearly met my 2GB limit. Dropbox is a file sharing program that synchs automatically across several devices. I have it on my desktop, laptop, and smartphone. Files are always available and I don’t have to duplicate an upload because they synch. I can add documents from any of my devices and they’ll be in my Dropbox folder. If you need file storage “In the Cloud” Dropbox will host up to 2 GB for you free. I’m soon going to need more storage and you can help me get it for free. Dropbox will bonus me and help you get started with a free account and plus a 250 MB bonus if you’ll join with my link: http://db.tt/3ZwnKPu  Remember to install Dropbox in your computer after signing up, otherwise we won’t get the 250MB bonus.

If all goes as planned I will be having my left hip replaced June 26th. I have lined up buyer’s agents, Teresa Lederer and David Brackett, and my United Country Broker / Owner, Annette Stover (who can help with anything at all) 828 286-2313 while I’m out. I am having the least invasive, anterior, procedure and expect to be using a walker for a couple of weeks. Since it is typically slow here in the summer, with a peak in the spring and in the fall, this is the best time for me to have this done. So, I’m taking a two week “staycation” and taking care of me. I’ll return to limited duty after two weeks and expect to be back at my desk in four and hopping rocks across creeks in eight. If you need me you may reach me at home. 828 245-3886.

Someone called and said they were publishing a menu for Becky’s Country Store and asked if I was interested. When I found out I could run my QR code which opens my personal website, and gives me an opportunity to invite buyers to Be My Guest and use the MLS on me, for free, I decide to try it. KDMcCall will run on a smart phone. Let’s see if I get any calls. (Proof Attached).

There’s always something happening in real estate. I like to send my Newsletter out the first week of every month. The reason this letter didn’t get out the first week of the month is because I had buyers and sellers.

This is a good thing!

Hope you are well and that life is treating you fine and remember if you don’t hear from me, I need to hear from you.

 KD McCall

Bostic Real Estate Trends, June 2012 with Karen D McCall

See Bostic Real Estate Trends. Bostic average and median listing prices - Trulia.com

I love graphics, don't you? It's easy to see, at a glance that the average list price is falling and the number of listings is rising. Because real estate follows the laws of supply and demand, we would say the market is trending down, as supply rises, prices fall. While I love graphics, I do not love what this graphic is saying about current market conditions.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lauren Donaldson, Take Better Photographs of Your House Part 1

Taking Pictures of your House on Houzz.com

Saturday, June 9, 2012

116 N Mitchell Street Rutherfordton NC 28139

116 N Mitchell Street Rutherfordton NC 28139 for sale.

Walk To Town

The above link in blue, should open to a slide show in Picassa, it's partly an experiment to see if you can use a Picassa slideshow URL in a blog, and to see if you can use a Picassa slide show in a blog to drive web traffic. I am very curious to see it this will "Google" in the next few days. In the meanwhile, perhaps you are interested in a Rutherford County Historic home, here's a lovely old gal, and at well under $150,000 she's a nice buy.

Here's the real estate blurb:

Historic Rutherfordton Home, built in 1927. Classic town home with a hip roof, nearly 4 square, with 5BR/2BA, all large with high ceilings, heart pine floors, and great flow for entertaining. With a garage and a workshop out back, it's a classic town home from the era. Facing the road you have the traditional 9 windows and a door. A covered porch makes the home inviting and would have been used by the family throughout the summer. The porch and door to the right opens to an office, typical for professionals in the day. A undercover patio out back has been added for grilling and outdoor activities. The Firedepartment next door is a good neighbor, and dispatches with lights only, not lights and sirens. You can walk to town. If you love older homes you're going to love the plaster walls and deep baseboards, the stairwell that leads to a landing upstairs. The home is charming and elegant, has central heat and air, but has not been fully rennovated. If you are interested in acquiring and rennovating an older home, in a charming town, look twice at this 1927 brick street front home. Furnishings negotiable. MLS 37957

And if you're interested in lovely antiques, you will find some really lovely ones here and they are for sale, if you're interested let me know and I'll put you in touch with the seller. And if you'd like to see her showcased on the my site at United Country: 116 N Mitchell Street Rutherfordton NC 28139

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What Can I Offer Sellers?

In the REAL Talk Real Estate Experts Digest a REALTOR named Joe says he's looking for something he can offer sellers so they'll fill out his Capture Form then he can follow up and get the listing. Following are my comments.

Do you have a listing presentation? What do you offer that other agent's don't? For instance, I'm putting together an expired letter, it'll read something like this:

Dear Mr and Mrs Seller,

Your property with XYZ Company recently expired. This is a really tough market. Do you think it would have made a difference if your property had been marketed? Really, seriously and deliberately marketed with:
  • Visual Tour hosted on YouTube
  • Syndicated Online Exposure (3,000 plus feeds)
  • Hyper-Local Print Marketing (with the Real Estate Book and Homes and Land)
  • National Franchise = National Exposure on Specialty Websites
  • Local, Regional, and National Website distribution
  • Franchise advertising in 60 magazines and 100 newspapers to drive on and offline buyer leads
  • Personalized URL with QR Codes 
This, in addition to what nearly every REALTOR offers: local MLS listing with an IDX feed and a yard sign, online photo hosting and syndication to Zillow, REALTOR.com, Trulia...

You can build a capture form around nearly any criteria. Who in your market do you want to list? Are you looking for any seller or a specific group of sellers? What would be an item of value to them? Information? Service? A Guarantee? Home Warranty? Answer these questions and you'll be well on your way to targeting your market and creating a capture form that will attract the clients you want to work with.

I rarely use lead capture and I do NOT use Lead Capture on the website I maintain for my buyers. I hate to be captured and I'm not going to do any capturing. Internet shoppers want to find what they're looking for. Toward that end I push my listings as far as possible, with as much power as UnitedCountry.com and their publications can put behind me and with as much power as I can get from my own syndicates. I PUSH listings, via several vehicles I manage. It's called funnel marketing, I don't have time to go after people. I am using search engines to drive traffic to my listings. People come to me. I field phone calls from self-qualified customers instead of running down targeted market leads. I help people, instead of convincing them. What I do involves no coersion, it involves overcoming no objections, it involves cooperating with and helping people to get what they want. It involves bringing together two halves of a real estate transaction with skill and finesse. It involves negotiation skills, tactical skills, human relations skills, and technical skills. If you acquire these skills, you'll be plenty busy without capturing leads.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Home Staging Tips

Friday, May 11, 2012 and I was meeting with a home owner to discuss staging her home for resale. Her home is absolutely lovely, in a desperate reach to find something wrong I suggested that she refold the towels in her linen closet so they would be tidy when you opened the door. "When buyers open doors," I said, "and they find towels folded, precisely, just so, when they open closets and they find clothes hung on identical hangers, just so, they feel like they're buying from a persnickety homeowner and they trust that the meticulous attention to detail carries over into everything, mechanical, and maintenance, and usually it does."

In an effort to help her with some staging tips, and this sort of seller needs no help, the house is immaculate, I dug around online and found this absolutely brilliant offering with a share button. Thank you twice Julea, once for writing the piece and again for sharing it.

10 Home Staging Tips to Make Your Listing Look like a Model Home 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Interior stylist Julea Joseph produces the blog “Reinventing Space” and is a home stager and interior designer based in Chicago. Joseph launched her home design business, Reinventing the Space, in 1999. She also stages model homes for builders and has appeared on HGTV’s “My First Place.” Learn more about Joseph at her web site and blog.

Realtor Magazine has some great online material too. Home Staging Guide: http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/staging-tips here you'll find several links to articles that, if you're preparing your home for sale would make sense to peruse. Some of them will be interesting, as with anything, take what you want and leave the rest. I saw one about curb appeal, I think I'll pop back over there and read it.

Call me if you have questions.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 2012 - Newsletter For Sellers

I’ve set all of the sellers I work with up with List Hub and you should begin hearing from them the first of every month. I expect to get online viewings if we’re not getting showings. I’ve been working this area for about 10 years and we have always had Internet interest. Sometimes a picture might need to be changed – when you go online to look at property and you keep seeing the same ole - same ole - it's boring, you've seen it, it's market stale – a listing that people aren’t looking at. I don’t care how old your pictures are if you’re getting clicks! Sometimes people WANT to see a spring time picture in the dead of winter or a fall picture in the summer. The point is to get your listing in front of as many eyeballs as possible. And clicks are eyeballs, click throughs are looking for more information.

As you know, price ALWAYS sells so the one way you can guarantee a sale is to reduce your price by $10K every month until you have multiple offers. That’s how the foreclosures sell. The asset management firms reduce, reduce, reduce, and reduce until they have bidding wars. Trust me, it’s effective, it works every time. For those of you who can not or do not want to go there, let’s hang in. I am building inventory and hope when things begin to turn around that I have to hire assistants.

It’s a lot easier to do the newsletters since I left Constant Contact. Although it was a super program, it wasn’t as easy as typing a note. If you want to see what I’ve been up to with bells and whistles visit me online at my real estate blog from there you can go to my website and over to Golden Valley. I’ve been using some of Home and Land’s visual tours to supplement my YouTube tours – they’re online at my United Country Real Estate Website, I look a little smug, in that picture, I was probably trying not to laugh. Listings are in order by price, wait for yours to flash by and click on it, or use the scroll key to fast forward and click on it.

I held a Broker’s open house this week at Smokey’s Den and served lunch. We had made to order deli sandwiches, with pickles, chips and called drinks. I fixed sandwiches in the kitchen while the Broker’s toured the house. Luckily I think this is great fun! I’m fortunate, you see. I love taking pictures of houses, I still haven’t opened a door and not been curious to see what lay behind it. I love houses, I love land, I do not, however, love chiggers and I’m getting over being slam eat-up with ‘em. I picked them up setting signs and checking lots. Consequently, I’ve contacted a landscaping firm to see about getting some of your lots cut. The grass is growing and it’s high, too high in some cases to drive into. So, I went around with a maintenance sheet and have made a list of lots to revisit with my local landscape guy, Clayton Self. We’re going to see what it’s going to take to clean up your road frontage (and maybe more). I’ll be in touch if your lot needs work and I hope I have a price for you. Several of you have already had your lots cleaned up, thank you! It’s hard to show property when potential buyers are scared to walk on the lot.

I choose Clayton because he lives in the area and has been in the business for years. He’s good, he can readily follow up with his crew, their work is excellent, he has experience, equipment, and last but certainly not least insurance. The same may be said of Brad Ford at BRS Landscaping, Brad's firm handles a lot of Fall Creek's Developments and he's good, too. Located between Rutherfordton and Lake Lure, BRS has a lovely roadside location, and a public storefront is in the works.

The Zillow reports came in, as did Trulia, and List Hub, and they’re all screwy, mostly on account of all of the account maintenance I’ve been doing. Your property is online, the reports I’ve signed you up for will arrive automatically.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bostic, NC 28018

My Trulia Carousel this morning shows 208 properties on the market in Bostic. Since we know 40 properties sold in Bostic last years that leaves us with ~ 5 years of inventory on the market. 208 divided by 40 = 5.2.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New Property Evaluation

Hi Mike,

Glad to hear from you this morning. Listen, I’ve put up a real estate facebook page and a real estate blog – I’m trying to post semi-regularly – which means, when I have time and when I have a topic that needs to be addressed. And this is a topic that begs addressing. Check it out http://kdsfarm.blogspot.com or you may just visit KDMcCall.com and click on the blog link. For Golden Valley I’m still posting, you can visit the GoldenValleyNC.com and click the blog link there as well.

Sitting at my desk with my morning coffee, I've been looking at short-sale information. A whole lot of us are upside down on our properties and I think as these tax valuations come out this is going to be the case. I just got our evaluation yesterday and it's about what we owe on our note. If we had to sell, had to add a real estate commission to the tax value, we'd be underwater. It's unusual for tax value to be greater than market value, but  in Bostic, from October 2010 to October 2011 that was the case for 90% of the properties sold.

But let me get on to your question. Why did the county evaluate your two properties so differently? My guess is that there are two different appraisers. That’s very much a guess, as I do not have access to their criteria, and a certain amount is subjective. Like the client who asked this morning, could I maybe get a long term rental? How long is long term?

Same with large rooms, quiet neighborhoods, and expanding waistlines – I would submit that all are subjective.

So, my response is conjecture. But I have a report that shows a certain amount of criteria the appraisers are using for their evaluation, it is much the same a real estate agent uses for a comparable market analysis (CMA). Much of what we do is subjective, like grading lumber, yes there are some hard and fast rules, but there’s a lot of leeway, too. One of the huge problems I have doing CMA's is I am not a person who sees an acre in an acre. I see the view, I see the hardwoods, I see the view-shed, I see the contours, I see the building site, I see the HOA, I see the roads and drives, can you get highspeed Internet, cable TV, cell phone service? I see an acre very differently than, say, an investor, or a builder or the developer's salesman.

A couple of weeks ago, I heard from a homeowner who had purchased a foreclosure and the county was valuing the house at more than the sales price, way more. The homeowner was upset and intended to appeal. I explained: the county is taking into account surrounding property values, replacement costs, just because you bought your house at $29.50 on the square foot doesn’t mean it’s actual value is $29.50 per square foot. You got a deal – right? It’s like this – let's say you bought a car from your brother-in-law in SC for $565.00, it’s worth $4,000 according to Kelly Blue Book. When you bring that car into the state of NC, is it now worth $565.00? Of course not, and we all understand that. Well, it’s the same for real estate.  And why would your brother-in-law sell you a car for $565.00? Maybe because you conceded the dining room suite in the estate sale, the one your wife’s sister was so keen on. Maybe, maybe not…You got a deal. That doesn't change the value.

Why did the county evaluate your two properties so differently? The honest answer is I don't know. Will it hurt to appeal? Hmmm. Let me remind you that 90% of the property in Bostic in 2011 sold for less than tax value. If that continues through 2012, how will that affect your market value, and is that important to you?

I've been answering questions in blog posts when the topics are like this one, timely, relevant, and like the insurance issue, are about something you and I need to know about. (See: GoldenValleyNC's Blog - mapping service some of the insurance companies have subscribed to - are you more than 5 miles from the fire department). See February 10th at http://goldenvalleync.blogspot.com/.

It's nice to have something to write about this morning. Thank you for your timely, relevant, newsworthy question. It's questions like this that make the real estate blog worthwhile. Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

CrackerJack Agent - Article Profile - How to Calculate Capital Gain

CrackerJack Agent - Article Profile - How to Calculate Capital Gain

In this straitforward piece, Jennifer Pendzick shows you how ro calculate capital gains. You may be much better off with a 1031 Tax Exchange, but be advised this has to be done BEFORE you sell your property. If you've already closed, you're too late.

Friday, January 27, 2012

How Much Does It Cost To Buy A House?

"Exactly how much money would that be with closing and other cost?"

This is a question from an actual email I received this week, and it's not the first time I've addressed the question. The answer is not as simple as you might think, because it depends, it depends on a lot of things. But here goes, here's my answer, if I've been vague or left you with questions, call me. I'll answer your questions and edit this post for clarity. I have always said these things should be taught in High School, but until they are, let's work together.

How  much exactly will depend on several things, and it will largely depend on what kinds of loan you qualify for. The loan I told you about is an FHA Loan. I put a mortgage calculator on my blog, just for you, so you can play with different scenarios.  http://kdsfarm.blogspot.com/ .

Now, remember when you’re looking at this PITI. The acronym, p-i-t-i, stands for principal, which is the principal amount of the loan, the first i stands for interest, that’s what you’re going to see with a fully amortized loan, that’s the figure the calculator on my blog will give you, the principal and interest. But there’s more… the t stands for taxes, which in this case (on $114,000) is $551.00, and the second i is for insurance.

The lender will escrow – in other words collect and hold – money to pay interest, taxes, and insurance. They don’t want you to get behind, they want to start you out ahead so when you buy the house and go to closing they will hold 3 months. They'll break it down into a monthly amount… let's take the taxes: $551 divided by 12 = $46.00 which will be added to your payment. And so will your homeowner’s insurance (required on a mortgaged home). I don’t know how much that will be without calling your insurance provider or calling one for you. That's another thing that depends. I have a nice deal with Allstate because I have my cars and my homeowner’s with them. My lender, Bank of America collects the taxes and insurance from my payment and pays those bills on my behalf. You’ve heard people talk about their house payments changing? This can be because insurance and taxes fluctuate. There’s another reason a loan amount may fluctuate it's called an ARM, which stands for an adjustable rate mortgage. That’s when you get a super-duper interest rate, but the rate adjusts with prime. And right now prime is  low so ARM’s are not a good option. There’s also an interest only loan, again, that’s not a good option for an average home buyer either.

Another thing how much will depend on is how much are you going to put down on the home? If you put down the minimum to qualify assuming you paid full price for this house (and we’ll talk more about that when you hire me as your Buyer's Agent) at $114,000 the down payment would be $3,990. There’s may also be a fee, called a loan origination fee, aka points, on a bank loan.

I found this really super link to the Federal Reserve Site: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/settlement/ with a Settlement Costs Worksheet! Have a look at that.

Here’s the thing, buying a home seems like an awful lot, but in an effort to cover every little thing, well, you have to cover every little thing. A real estate agent should be well versed in these things and should be able to help you make a good decision.

Have you ever heard of Truth in Lending? Each and every real estate transaction will have a HUD Statement. This breaks down the exact costs. The closing attorney, the attorney you pay to handle the transaction, he’s YOUR attorney by-the-way, he or she will prepare a closing statement, and cover it line by line to make sure you understand exactly what each cost is. Your real estate agent should cover these items, too, so there are no surprises at closing.

If your grandmother is going to give you some money for closing, that’s OK as long as it’s a gift and does not have to be repaid. Mortgage companies do not allow you to borrow your down payment. You have to have some cash on hand, to buy a house. $5 or $6,000 on a house in this price range ($100,000) will take you a long way.

Now, it's time for you to go to your bank. That's the best place to start. Call your bank and find out if they loan money for mortgages. If they don't I can send you somewhere else. Even if they do you might want to check around and see if you can get a better interest rate or a lower loan origination fee.

So, how much does it cost to buy a house? It depends, it depends, it depends.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Realtor.org - Research Commentary

Wrapping up 2011, NAR chief economist, Lawrence Yun, reports the rise of existing-home sales. Record low mortgage interest rates and lower sales prices have continued to entice buyers. Are we on our way to a sustained recovery? See Lawrence Yun in this 2011made for REALTOR TV video.

And in this YouTube video, a commentary by Yun following the unpresidented housing boom and bust "700 billion here, 800 billion there..."  Now, the mortgage interest deduction has become an issue.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reasons People are Buying Homes Today

The second most common reason people cite for buying a home now is affordability. What's the first reason? Find out here:

Primary Reason for the Recent Home Purchase

On January 11, 2012, in Did You Know, by T.J. Doyle, Marketing & Communications Manager a blog post was added to the Economists' Outlook Blog, which follows housing stats from the National Association of Realtor's esperts.