Archive for the ‘Seller Specific’ Category

Better Use of Seller Contributions

Creative Utilization of Seller Contributions

 You get a listing, you work with your client to price it right, and you put it on the market. Distressed sale properties come on the market and undercut the price of your listing. You share the new listing information with your client and you discuss lowering the price to combat the direction of the market.

 Is there more that you can do for your client than asking him/her to lower their price? Yes!!

 Use a seller contribution to buy down a prospective buyer’s interest rate which will lower their monthly payment and increase their purchasing power.

 Or let’s say someone makes an offer on your property with 10% down. Why not use a seller contribution, from sale proceeds at the close of escrow, to pay the mortgage insurance premium for the buyer.

Both examples better utilize seller contributions and give hope to people who need some assistance to purchase a home.


Selling Tips That Make A Difference

Selling Tips That Make A Difference

Today’s real estate market is a bonanza for buyers with great credit, and deep pockets. There are great deals for single family residences, condominiums, town homes and land, but prospective buyers are looking for sellers to sweeten the pot. If you’re a first time home seller or you’ve owned your home for a while and want to cash out your equity, “welcome to the NFL.”

This real estate market is a much different animal than years gone by and you need to recognize that and deal with it from the get-go.

Here are some tips that will help you sell your home:

  1. 1.    Price it ahead of the market! When your home first comes on the market, it has to be priced realistically so that it’s shown. I’m telling you that the largest number of showings happens in the first several weeks of a new listing coming on the market. If it isn’t priced ahead of the competition, it will sit and that’s the kiss of death. Take advantage of this initial time-frame by understanding who your competition is, visit those listings, compare them to your home, then price your home ahead of them so you stand out.

2  Know what you’re selling! Do you have any additions/repairs that were done without permit? Is the square footage of your home/lot based on tax records? These are potentially big issues. In any market, buyers don’t want to deal with uncertainties. They want to buy a property where they know the square footage of the home/lot and know that all work done has been done in compliance with local ordinances and by a licensed contractor. If you have any work that has been done without a permit, in my opinion, it’s not good enough to disclose it in the MLS. You should get it inspected by the local building inspector, have him/her prepare a report of findings, contact a local licensed contractor to get an estimate and get the work corrected/ inspected/approved. Additionally, your lot/ home should be surveyed so that the corners are marked and gross square footage is calculated for the home. By doing this, you now know what you’re selling AND the buyer knows what he or she is buying. No surprises! You’re putting your best product forward! Buyers appreciate sellers who take the time to prepare their home for sale and provide current information on the size and condition of the property. Do your listing due diligence and it will pay off!

3  Be Prepared to Lose Some Equity! The longer your home sits, the more money you’re losing. By pricing your home aggressively to begin with, you are positioning your property to spend less time on the market. Which also means that you are also going to lose less equity in the long run. Today’s market is very price sensitive. Be acutely aware of that as you discuss the list price of your home. Don’t let your emotional ties to your property over-ride common sense and market direction.

4  Market Your Property! Work with your Realtor to sell your home. Share ideas. Figure out who your ideal client is and go after them. Have extra property flyers prepared that you can distribute, via email or by hand, to friends/family/ business associates who may be or know someone who fits your client profile. Spread the word about what a great deal your home is. Get excited when you talk about it and share your enthusiasm with others. There’s a certain synchronicity/ serendipity you create when you reach out to others and share a genuine enthusiasm/interest.

Checklist of Seller’s Closing Costs and Credits

For anyone thinking of selling their home, there will be a lot of moving parts in the selling process. One of those parts will be your estimated seller closing costs. This is something your Realtor can assist you with in conjunction with the local escrow/title company.

Following is an overview of potential seller closing costs that any seller should be aware of and prepared for:


__ Realtor commissions

__ Title insurance (where payable by sellers)

__ Escrow fee (where applicable)

__ Survey fee (where applicable)

__ Legal fee (where applicable)

__ Abstract of Title

__ Prepayment penalty, if any

__ City, County transfer tax

__ Pest control inspection fee, in the case of a VA loan

__ Pest control remediation, if any

__ Recording fee

__ FHA or VA points, if any

__ Notary fee

__ Prorated taxes (if not paid to date of recordation)

__ Interest, if paid in arrears (from date of last payment to date of recordation)

__ Prorated rents, if any

__ Security deposits on hand, if any


__ Interest, if paid in advance (from recordation to date of next loan payment)

__ Prorated taxes (if paid beyond recordation)

For assistance with questions on likely seller closing costs, please contact me at 760-934-5088.

For information on Mammoth Lakes real estate, please log onto my real estate website at

Thank you for your time and consideration!

Foreclosure Can Be Avoided!!

If you don’t ignore other alternatives until it’s too late!

Please don’t make that huge mistake. Review, understand and consider all of your options as quickly as possible. The more time you give yourself before foreclosure on your home, the better your chances of being able to take advantage of one of the other alternatives.

So, what am I talking about regarding other alternatives?

1.  Loan Workout. If you’ve been late on payments or are going to be late on an upcoming payment, contact your lender and discuss your situation. First, let your lender know about your employment situation, what you’re doing to resolve the issue, how much time you project it’s going to take for you to get back on your feet and that you’re committed to working with them.  Ask your lender about temporarily reducing your payments so you can reduce your monthly financial overhead. Be creative!!

2.  Loan Modification. This is more comprehensive assistance from the lender and can involve modification of your current interest rate, extending the loan to 40years and making other adjustments to the terms of your loan so that you can afford to keep your property.

3.  Short Sale. When your lender agrees to take less than what is owed on the loan, it is called a Short Sale. Before you go down this road, be sure you talk to a tax adviser so you understand your potential tax liability, personal liability and any other financial consequences. Also, be sure you work with a Realtor so you can get a good idea of the current market value for your property. Once you have that information in place, price your property ahead of the market so it sells quickly and gets you out of this awkward position.

4.  Refinance. If the above strategies don’t work, discuss refinancing with your lender or another lender. Also, be aware of the federal assistance that’s available through the Home Affordable Refinance program. There are certain conditions that apply to these programs!

5.  Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure. This is a voluntary agreement between the lender and borrower where the borrower gives title to the lender in full satisfaction of the loan secured by the property.

6.  Bankruptcy. This is a court proceeding where your debts are settled under the supervision of a judge. There are several different scenarios under Bankruptcy like Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 so again, talk with your tax adviser and have these scenarios explained to you and what your responsibilities are under each one.

None of these are pleasant or fun, but they are reality for millions of homeowners who are feeling the squeeze of a sagging economy, high unemployment and tight lending standards.

Be proactive! Problems don’t get better with time! Contact your lender and do your best to work with them! Nurture and maintain a positive attitude throughout the process!

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment or call me at the office: 760-934-5088.

For information on Mammoth Lakes real estate, please log onto my real estate website at

Short Sale Success Plan

The prospect of selling your property “short” of what you owe can be upsetting and intimidating. Who would have thought that owning your piece of the American dream could turn into a nightmare. Well, this is the grim reality for millions of Americans, but selling short may get you out of a bad situation.

Despite the pressure and awkwardness of this type of situation, a seller has to be at the top of their game. Success depends on not only working with your lender, or lenders if you have multiple loans, but also a qualified buyer who is willing to be patient and committed to the purchase of your property.

To give yourself the best chance at succeeding in this type of situation, please read the following recommendations and incorporate them into your short sale strategy.

Work With A Realtor: Don’t do this on your own. Hire a real estate professional who understands the short sale process, can explain it to you, guide you through it and work hard to get you a qualified buyer.

Do Your Research: Read up on short sales by visiting the California Association of Realtors website and the National Association of Realtors website. Knowledge is power, but applied knowledge is even more beneficial to you during this process.

Talk to your tax advisor regarding tax liability and any other consequences of doing a short sale.

Talk with your Realtor and understand the whole process from beginning to end including documentation, and time-frames.

Talk with your lender about their short sale package and be prepared to fill all requested paperwork out completely, promptly and in an organized format.

Be Proactive: Always remember, problems don’t get better with time!! Work closely with your lender and Realtor to address all requirements, questions and issues as they arise.

Be Prepared: To help yourself and your Realtor, talk with your lender ( even before you list your property ) to determine their short sale eligibility requirements and whether or not you meet those requirements. Every lender is different. Don’t assume anything! Also, ask how your lender treats the shortfall between what you owe and what the property sells for. Will the lender forgive the debt, require you to pay it, issue you a 1099 or say nothing. Get the answers in writing!

List Your Home At A Fair Price: Look at what similar properties have sold for recently as comparables. Provide the information to your lender to see if they will accept those sale prices. Have a strategy to lower your price a certain percentage if no showings or offers come in within the first 30 days, 45 days and 60 days. Price your home ahead of the market so it stands out from similar properties!

Keep notes on all showing activity, feedback from Realtors/buyers and be prepared to provide that to the lender.

Always Keep A Good Thought: Visualize an interested, qualified buyer making a full price, cash offer on your property. Envision a quick, pain-free escrow that transitions you on to a new road and the buyer into their dream home. Win-Win. It can and does happen, but you have to be an active participant. It’s in your best interest to do so.

For information on Mammoth Lakes real estate, including all distressed properties, please log onto my real estate website at

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment or call me at the office: 760-934-5088.

Good Luck!!

To Permit Or Not To Permit?

To be honest or not to be honest? To be forthright or not be forthright? To disclose or not to disclose?

The answer is obvious, but sometimes people make the wrong decision.

Let me share a story about a listing that I was working on earning. I was contacted by the owner and ultimately mailed keys so I could walk the property. The inside was beautiful! Tastefully done and expensive. The work included an entry way, from the garage, that reduced the garage space from two cars to one. A wall was added as was lighting.

In the email correspondence, I asked about permits and the seller responded that the work was done without permits.

Although I can’t prove this, I don’t believe that the Homeowner Association (HOA) for this property was contacted, for their approval, either.

So, not only do we have a permit problem, we also have a potential HOA problem and an additional problem with parking. When any project is approved, part of the approval process involves providing  parking for residents and guests. There is a minimum allowable number of parking spaces. In this case, the work on the garage negatively affected the unit parking space allowance.

The seller and I, ultimately, could not agree on a path to follow so I walked away from the listing.

So, how do you know if you need to get a permit? I asked Troy Rowan who is President of the Mammoth Lakes Contractors Association and he said “ In regards to building permits in the Town of Mammoth Lakes, home owners should know that this is a requirement for any additions or remodels. If there is a question to the limits of this requirement, the Town staff will be able to answer these concerns without trouble.”

So, my next stop on my due diligence journey was to the Town of Mammoth Lakes Building Department. There I spoke with Alex Ramos. I asked Alex a number of questions including the necessity of obtaining a building permit. Here is an excerpt from his response, “ Building  permits provide the means for Building Officials to ensure health, safety and welfare of the building occupants. Building officials review the design and inspect the construction to ensure that minimum standards are met and appropriate materials are used. Building permits are essentially your agreement to do the work in compliance with current codes, like building codes for structural, electrical, plumbing, mechanical and other components of your home.”

Here’s the bottom line. If you live in a condominium/townhome project, contact the HOA first, with an overview of the work you want to do, and get their approval.

Next, contact the Building Department for your local community. Only a Building Official or Building Inspector is qualified to determine if permits are needed or not needed. They will promptly advise you one way or the other. Use their knowledge and services!

Final thoughts. If you’re the owner of a property where you have paid to have non-permitted work completed, you need to disclose this if you intend to sell your property. All parties to the potential purchase, Realtors -potential Buyers-Appraisers-local Building Department, need to be informed of what was done, by whom and when.

By getting this out in the open BEFORE you put your property on the market, all issues can be disclosed, discussed, inspected addressed, approved ( hopefully ) and the property sells without any surprises for the buyer, during escrow or down the road after escrow closes.

Here are some local contacts, in the Town of Mammoth Lakes, should you have any questions about the permit process:

  1. Troy Rowan: President of the Mammoth Lakes Contractors Association: 760-934-2607
  2. Alex Ramos: Town of Mammoth Lakes Building Department: 760-934-8990

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment or by calling me, toll-free, at 1-800-231-0622.

For more information on Mammoth Lakes real estate, please log onto my real estate website at

“ Good judgement comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgement.”-Cowboy’s Guide To Life