Real Estate War Stories…Part 1

What if you knew the answer to the most often asked questions when it comes to buying or selling real estate?  Would that give you an advantage and help you make better decisions?  Of course it would!  Well that’s exactly what I want to do for you…share all the best questions and answers.  Along the way I will also provide insight on the top pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Look, real estate is a tricky proposition and no two transactions are alike.  Even seasoned agents come up against things they have never experienced from time to time.  I’ll get it started and I’ll ask you to contribute by asking me anything about real estate you’d like.  I’ll share those in future posts.

Question #1:  What is the first step I should take when buying a home?  

Surprisingly, I get this from both buyers and sellers who have to sell before they buy.  And depending on where you are, the answer can be different.  The simple answer is to contact a Realtor who can help you get started, however it goes deeper than that.  If you are a buyer I would suggest you contact a mortgage lender who can start the pre-approval process and help you understand how much you can afford, what down payment options exist, and what your monthly mortgage will be.

Now here’s the catch, avoid the one-size fits all or loan of the month pitch.  Every borrower is unique and a good lender will ask about your goals, personal financials, discuss options, and tailor a program that meets your specific needs.  This is probably the largest financial transaction you will ever make and you need to work with reputable professionals who really have your best interest at heart.

Now, about that “contact a Realtor first” option.  It’s not a bad idea to reach out and ask a Realtor for a referral.  Contrary to popular belief, Realtors do not get anything for referring a lender, in fact it’s illegal to do so with the anticipation of something of value in return.  We do it because we know everything hinges on the financing and when we can tap into professional relationships with people who have a proven track record of getting the tough deals done, well it just improves the odds of a smooth transaction.

If you need to sell before you buy I would suggest contacting that Realtor, or, if you have been happy with your current lender, contact them directly.  Keep in mind the market and rates may have changed since you got your current mortgage, but be sure to ask about any current client loyalty programs, rate breaks or discounts on loan fees, etc.  At the end of the day your current lender wants to keep your business and may offer you incentives.

Now it’s your turn!  What questions do you have?  Send me an e-mail to smartREsolutions@gmail.com and I will post and answer in a future post.  Thanks!

 

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CA Bureau of Real Estate issues alert

BRE

Recently the Cal BRE sent out an alert to all CA real estate licensees titled, “Supplemental Disciplinary Advisory to Real Estate Salespersons Who Mislead Consumers into Falsely Believing that They are Brokers –and a Concurrent Caution to the “[Ir]responsible” Brokers Who Permit or Support Such Practices.”  Whew!  So what does that mean exactly?

This alert was a follow up to a similar one sent in September 2015.  Basically what Cal BRE is doing is cracking down on sales licensees who are marketing themselves as a team, group, or other entity, “which may mislead consumers into falsely believing that such salespersons are real estate brokers.”  You see in CA there is a two-tiered licensing system, salesperson and broker.  A salesperson licensee MUST hang their license with a broker, who is responsible for that licensee, and must provide a certain level of over- sight.

Over the past decade we have seen a rise in the “Team” concept, whereby sales licensees build teams of agents, typically under a broker, and promote and market the team brand.  That is perfectly OK per Cal BRE as long as certain guidelines and laws are followed.  For example, if you use your surname, along with the words “team, group, or associates”, you are good to go as long as you also display the Cal BRE license number of one of the team members.  Rules also dictate that the responsible broker’s logo be displayed in a conspicuous manner in the marketing material.  So, “Lopez and Associates” would be OK.  Also, if an agent works as a solo practitioner they cannot promote themselves as a team or group.  There must be two or more licensees working together.

I think where the confusion sets in is when an agent decides to use a Ficticious Business Name, or FBN.  In this scenario the agent must first file the FBN statement with the county they work in, pay the fees to do so, and also publish the FBN once a week for 4 weeks.  They must then submit the FBN statement to Cal BRE for approval, and the FBN cannot be used or promoted until approved by Cal BRE and attached to the managing brokers license.

The moral of this story is, “Do the right thing.”  By simply following the rules you can avoid scrutiny, monetary fines and customer service issues that can arise.  The rules are in place to protect the public interest and insure a level playing field for all practitioners.  For more information and full details you can follow this link.

Got my learning on…

One of the things I love about real estate is the opportunity to spend time with big thinkers.  I know a lot of brokers and agents who prefer to work alone, and I’ve done that as well.  But there is just nothing better than being immersed in an environment where people are sharing ideas and best practices, asking questions, and genuinely working to better their lives and businesses.

This all happened for me this week at the Keller Williams MAPS Spring Masterminds event in Los Angeles.  It’s no secret that Keller Williams has been named the top training organization, across all industries multiple times by Training Magazine, it’s events like this where is all comes together.  Masterminds is all about collaboration and transparency.  It’s where people discuss real issues affecting their business and bank accounts.  There’s no BS and no slacking.  And while we discuss the numbers, we must remember those numbers represent people. And a true leader is measured by how well their people are doing.

Big thinkers have a common thread.  I see them as people who will take risks, and also lift others up.  One of the neat things about my company is we understand, fundamentally, that the more people we surround ourselves who are successful, or we can help achieve higher levels of success, the more successful we all are.  This creates a collaborative environment where everyone can win.  It reminds me of a quote, “I’m not interested in competing with anyone, I hope we all make it.”  Now that doesn’t mean we are not competitive, it just means we are dog eat dog about it.  Does that make sense?

Anyway, big thinking inspires.  It creates growth.  It builds communication.  It drives us forward.  If you’re going to do something why not GO BIG?

 

 

Not so boring market stats…

It’s no secret that San Diego is in the midst of a once in a generation type sellers market.  My question is, “Do you really, really get that?”  I mean really?  If you are in your first home, a “starter home” type property, now may be the best opportunity you ever have to cash in and move up.  Now, there are a few considerations and challenges:

  • Prices are high
  • Inventory is low
  • Interest rates are holding

So what does that mean?  High prices will benefit you as a seller, so that’s good!  The flip side is you will pay more for that move up property.  The questions is, “Will it be worth it?”  I bet yes, if you are planning to buy your home for life…where you will be for the next 15-20 years or more.  That’s the trade off, get what you want now for the long haul.

Low inventory means your options might be limited in some price ranges and locations.  Keep an open mind on these things and you should be OK.  One word of caution, as this is an EXTREME sellers market, don’t low ball!  Come in with your best offer out of the gate and understand you probably will be in multiple offer situations.  Focus on the end game…your “Forever Home”.

Interest rates and loan options could be your saving grace.  You can get into a home for less money out of pocket, and a monthly payment that could be close to your current payment.  Find a good lender who will work with you to create a loan that works for your situation and not try to push you into “the loan of the month”.

Below are some visuals on a few core metrics I track to gauge the market.  This data is pulled from the SANDICOR MLS using a platform called InfoSparks.

 

 


If you’d like to see market stats in your neighborhood, please let me know. I can pull this down to the zip code or community level and would love to share what your hyper-local market looks like.

RED Day. Renew. Energize. Donate.

RD1RED Day is Keller Williams’ annual day of community service. Each year on the second Thursday in May, every Keller Williams office shuts their doors and, as a group, gives back to their local community.  With over 160,000 KW Associates around the world, that’s a lot of giving back!

This year KW Chula Vista spent the day at Trolley Trestle.  This organization is overseen by South Bay Community Services and offers affordable, transitional housing for former foster youth and/or homeless youth while they finish school or complete job training. They welcome emancipated youth ages 16-24 and parenting youth.

RD2

KW Chula Vista associates, staff and affiliated vendors, spent the day helping the residents clean and organize their apartments and community spaces.

If you would like to support this amazing organization please click through and make your donation or volunteer!  Trolley Trestle Donations.

You can also check out this short video to learn more.

Welcome to Real Estate Life.

Family

Hey everyone. Man, it’s been a minute since I updated my blog!  So long in fact, that I decided to completely scrap the old and relaunch with a new look and updated design.  So welcome to Real Estate Life!

Of course I spent several years publishing The Real Estate Rap, and decided to keep all that content (well most of it anyway) in tact.  So there are a ton of old posts you can check out…or not…if you’d like.  I am making a commitment to post twice a week, with a different flavor than I previously did.  The focus will be more on the lifestyle of an active real estate professional in San Diego.  And really more like the lifestyle of a family of Realtors, who live, work, and play everyday in our amazing part of the world.

If you didn’t know, my wife Kathy, is a fabulous Realtor as well!  In fact she is a Top 10 performer with Keller Williams in La Mesa.  She works all over San Diego, mostly by referral, and is one of the best negotiators I know.  Our son, Cooper, just graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship.  Cool, right?  Oh, and he also just got his real estate license making him the 3rd generation of Realtors in our family.  Kathy’s mom and step dad got it all started for us way back in the day.

So there you have it.  A newly revamped blog, some background on who the heck we are, and a look into what you can expect going forward.  I hope you’ll check in later as I promise to share some shenanigans from a fun event I’m going to tonight sponsored by the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors.  Fun fact…in real estate, if you play your cards right, you’ll get plenty of free food and drinks!  Later!

 

What is the # 1 challenge facing the San Diego real estate market today?