How to Meet Your Neighbors: Icebreakers Even Introverts Can Pull Off
Want to know the secret of how to meet your neighbors? It’s this: Stop waiting for people to swing by with an apple pie. These days you have to be proactive and get out there yourself!
So how do you do that?
Granted, whether you’ve just moved in or lived someplace for eons, many find this simple act of reaching out amazingly hard. If that sounds like you, it’s OK: It’s all about knowing a few icebreakers. Here are a few that even the shyest of shy can try.
1. Hold A Garage Sale
This project doubles as decluttering—and works whether you’ve lived in a place for years or just moved in and didn’t get a chance to fully purge before you packed up for your new digs.
Not only will a garage sale provide you with a clean slate, it’s also a low-key way to meet your neighbors. Even if you don’t make a sale, you might be meeting your new best friend for the first time.
2. Ask To Borrow Something
Tools are one of the more popular items you may not have dug out of the box yet but find you’ll need right away. Don’t be too shy to ring the neighbors door and ask to borrow that hammer or screwdriver.
And remember, this is an equal opportunity endeavor: Sooner or later you’re bound to have something a neighbor might need, from a rake to cup of sugar. Go ahead and let your neighbors know to stop by “if you need anything”.
3. Do A Good Deed
Sometimes the best way to break the ice is to look for a way to pull someone out of it.
Three years ago, during an East Coast polar vortex, one of our client’s was leaving their home at 4 a.m. to attempt to get to work when he happened to see water gushing out of his neighbor’s garage. No one was home, so he called the fire department.
A sprinkler system had burst on the third floor and was destroying their home. Our client ultimately broke into the home but only to turn off the water and managed to save the home in the process.
Once his neighbors returned from their vacation they were very appreciative and are close friends to this day.
Not that you have to wait for disaster to strike. There are opportunities year-round; from plant-sitting during Spring Break and Summer Vacation to offering to clear leaves from gutters in the Fall or shovel snow in the winter. Who could refuse? And now you’ve got a friend whom, odds are, you can depend on in a pinch, too.
4. Find A Common Cause
Last summer a feral cat had a litter of kittens in the yard of one of our client’s homes. Concerned about their welfare—not to mention the number of cats already roaming her neighborhood—our client went door to door to bring the issue to her neighbors’ attention. Ten houses down, she found a neighbor eager to help the free-range cats. Today, cats in their community are well cared for—and these two neighbors are fast friends.
When you work together toward something that matters to you, you can’t help but bond.
Don’t have a passionate cause of your own? Then get involved in an HOA or local community group.
Volunteering is one of the best ways to get to know people because you move quickly past small talk.
5. Sometimes, Going Online Is A Good Idea
So maybe you want to be part of your community but work crazy hours. Or you’re always shuttling your kids from one after school activity to another and your schedule looks like that of an air traffic controller.
Maybe your nearest neighbor is a mile (or more) away. If meeting your neighbors “IRL” is a challenge, then maybe you do need to pick up that tablet or smartphone and join a local online group.
Have a goal though. Try and build relationships online that will lead to offline interactions.
You hear that? Your iPhone addiction actually can lead to meaningful connections outside your front door.
How did you break the ice with your neighbors? Do you have any tips to add to our list? Sound off on The Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page or our Twitter or Instagram feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICEtm email newsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox. You may unsubscribe at any time.
What Is a Real Estate Agent’s Commission?
Ever wonder what exactly a Real Estate Agent does? Are they worth the commission? Ever wonder if you’re paying too much for commission? Even consider going it your own via FSBO?
You may have a great Agent and they don’t communicate with you all they’re doing. Or, you may also have a rock star agent and who’s doing so much it hasn’t even occurred to you all the fine details going into your home sale.
Here are a few facts that might help you sleep at night and have some peace about residential real estate commissions:
1. Real estate agents are sole proprietors
That means that even if they are a part of an agency, they are small business owners and cover all their own costs and carry all the risk. Do you own or have you ever owned your own small business? Then you know you wear ALL the hats and all the responsibility falls to you. Not to mention, your rather high tax rate!
They invest in you and your home. If they take on a listing, that means they’ve calculated the cost of marketing, photos, and time – lots and lots of time. High quality marketing – online and offline – and maybe even virtual tours. All that cost money. There’s considerable overhead if you are active in the field.
They have no salary and no real predictability in income. One deal may have to last them many months or maybe even longer.
2. The sale of your home may be covering for the loss of another
Deals fall through ALL. THE. TIME. Your particular sale may go pretty smoothly – great! I guarantee you it has ended up covering for a major loss on another deal. It’s the nature of business.
3. The real work begins once a contract is accepted
It may feel like all an agent does is show up sometimes for an open house here and there and put a sign in the yard. Or every time they come over, they’re telling you things you need to spend money on. But the real work is done behind the scenes and is intensified once an offer is accepted. Getting to the closing table is more and more challenging.
Pat Vredevoogd-Combs, a former president of the National Association of REALTORS, testified before the House Financial Services Committee on Housing to stark federal complaints about residential real estate industry pricing.
She submitted a list of 184 things that Listing Agents do in every real estate transaction as a part of her testimony to the committee. She stated, “By all accounts the general public is not aware of all the services that agents provide to sellers and buyers during the course of the transaction, probably because most of the important services are performed behind the scenes.”
Here is the list of (just) 184 things residential real estate agents do:
1. Make appointment with seller for listing presentation.
2. Send a written or e-mail confirmation of appointment and call to confirm.
3. Review appointment questions.
4. Research all comparable currently listed properties.
5. Research sales activity for past 18 months from MLS and public databases.
6. Research “average days on market” for properties similar in type, price and location.
7. Download and review property tax roll information.
8. Prepare “comparable market analysis” (CMA) to establish market value.
9. Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex layout.
10. Research property’s ownership and deed type.
11. Research property’s public record information for lot size and dimensions.
12. Verify legal description.
13. Research property’s land use coding and deed restrictions.
14. Research property’s current use and zoning.
15. Verify legal names of owner(s) in county’s public property records.
16. Prepare listing presentation package with above materials.
17. Perform exterior “curb appeal assessment” of subject property.
18. Compile and assemble formal file on property.
19. Confirm current public schools and explain their impact on market value.
20. Review listing appointment checklist to ensure completion of all tasks.
Listing Appointment Presentation
21. Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections.
22. Review agent and company credentials and accomplishments.
23. Present company’s profile and position or “niche” in the marketplace.
24. Present CMA results, including comparables, solds, current listings and expireds.
25. Offer professional pricing strategy based and interpretation of current market conditions.
26. Discuss goals to market effectively.
27. Explain market power and benefits of multiple listing service.
28. Explain market power of Web marketing, IDX and MLS.
29. Explain the work the broker and agent do “behind the scenes” and agent’s availability on weekends.
30. Explain agent’s role in screening qualified buyers to protect against curiosity seekers.
31. Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan.
32. Explain different agency relationships and determine seller’s preference.
33. Review all clauses in listing contract and obtain seller’s signature.
After Listing Agreement is Signed
34. Review current title information.
35. Measure overall and heated square footage.
36. Measure interior room sizes.
37. Confirm lot size via owner’s copy of certified survey, if available.
38. Note any and all unrecorded property lines, agreements, easements.
39. Obtain house plans, if applicable and available.
40. Review house plans, make copy.
41. Order plat map for retention in property’s listing file.
42. Prepare showing instructions for buyers’ agents and agree on showing time with seller.
43. Obtain current mortgage loan(s) information: companies and account numbers
44. Verify current loan information with lender(s).
45. Check assumability of loan(s) and any special requirements.
46. Discuss possible buyer financing alternatives and options with seller.
47. Review current appraisal if available.
48. Identify Home Owner Association manager is applicable.
49. Verify Home Owner Association fees with manager–mandatory or optional and current annual fee.
50. Order copy of Home Owner Association bylaws, if applicable.
51. Research electricity availability and supplier’s name and phone number.
52. Calculate average utility usage from last 12 months of bills.
53. Research and verify city sewer/septic tank system.
54. Calculate average water system fees or rates from last 12 months of bills.
55. Or confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report.
56. Research/verify natural gas availability, supplier’s name and phone number.
57. Verify security system, term of service and whether owned or leased.
58. Verify if seller has transferable Termite Bond.
59. Ascertain need for lead-based paint disclosure.
60. Prepare detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact.
61. Prepare detailed list of property’s “Inclusions & Conveyances with Sale.”
62. Complete list of completed repairs and maintenance items.
63. Send “Vacancy Checklist” to seller if property is vacant.
64. Explain benefits of Home Owner Warranty to seller.
65. Assist sellers with completion and submission of Home Owner Warranty application.
66. When received, place Home Owner Warranty in property file for conveyance at time of sale.
67. Have extra key made for lockbox.
68. Verify if property has rental units involved. And if so:
69. Make copies of all leases for retention in listing file.
70. Verify all rents and deposits.
71. Inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled.
72. Arrange for yard sign installation.
73. Assist seller with completion of Seller’s Disclosure form.
74. Complete “new listing checklist.”
75. Review results of Curb Appeal Assessment with seller and suggest improvements for salability.
76. Review results of Interior Decor Assessment and suggest changes to shorten time on market.
77. Load listing time into transaction management software.
Entering Property in MLS Database
78. Prepare MLS Profile Sheet–agent is responsible for “quality control” and accuracy of listing data.
79. Enter property data from Profile Sheet into MLS listing database.
80. Proofread MLS database listing for accuracy, including property placement in mapping function.
81. Add property to company’s Active Listings.
82. Provide seller with signed copies of Listing Agreement and MLS Profile Data Form within 48 hours.
83. Take more photos for upload into MLS and use in flyers. Discuss efficacy of panoramic photography.
Marketing the Listing
84. Create print and Internet ads with seller’s input.
85. Coordinate showings with owners, tenants and other agents. Return all calls–weekends included.
86. Install electronic lockbox. Program with agreed-upon showing time windows.
87. Prepare mailing and contact list.
88. Generate mail-merge letters to contact list.
89. Order “Just Listed” labels and reports.
90. Prepare flyers and feedback forms.
91. Review comparable MLS listings regularly to ensure property remains competitive in price, terms, conditions and availability.
92. Prepare property marketing brochure for seller’s review.
93. Arrange for printing or copying of supply of marketing brochures or flyers.
94. Place marketing brochures in all company agent mailboxes.
95. Upload listing to company and agent Internet sites.
RELATED: Your Custom Home Marketing Plan
96. Mail “Just Listed” notice to all neighborhood residents.
97. Advise Network Referral Program of listing.
98. Provide marketing data to buyers from international relocation networks.
99. Provide marketing data to buyers coming from referral network.
100. Provide “Special Feature” cards for marketing, if applicable/
101. Submit ads to company’s participating Internet real estate sites.
102. Convey price changes promptly to all Internet groups.
103. Reprint/supply brochures promptly as needed.
104. Review and update loan information in MLS as required.
105. Send feedback e-mails/faxes to buyers’ agents after showings.
106. Review weekly Market Study.
107. Discuss feedback from showing agents with seller to determine if changes will accelerate the sale.
108. Place regular weekly update calls to seller to discuss marketing and pricing.
109. Promptly enter price changes in MLS listings database.
The Offer and the Contract
110. Receive and review all Offer to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyers’ agents. 111. Evaluate offer(s) and prepare “net sheet” on each for owner to compare.
112. Counsel seller on offers. Explain merits and weakness of each component of each offer. 113. Contact buyers’ agents to review buyer’s qualifications and discuss offer.
114. Fax/deliver Seller’s Disclosure to buyer’s agent or buyer upon request and prior to offer if possible.
115. Confirm buyer is pre-qualified by calling loan officer.
116. Obtain pre-qualification letter on buyer from loan officer.
117. Negotiate all offers on seller’s behalf, setting time limit for loan approval and closing date.
118. Prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptance or amendments to buyer’s agent.
119. Fax copies of contract and all addendums to closing attorney or title company.
120. When Offer-to-Purchase contract is accepted and signed by seller, deliver to buyer’s agent.
121. Record and promptly deposit buyer’s money into escrow account.
122. Disseminate “Under-Contract Showing Restrictions” as seller requests.
123. Deliver copies of fully signed Offer to Purchase contract to sellers.
124. Fax/deliver copies of Offer to Purchase contract to selling agent.
125. Fax copies of Offer to Purchase contract to lender.
126. Provide copies of signed Offer to Purchase contract for office file.
127. Advise seller in handling additional offers to purchase submitted between contract and closing.
128. Change MLS status to “Sale Pending.”
129. Update transaction management program to show “Sale Pending.”
130. Review buyer’s credit report results–Advise seller of worst and best case scenarios.
131. Provide credit report information to seller if property is to be seller financed.
132. Assist buyer with obtaining financing and follow up as necessary.
133. Coordinate with lender on discount points being locked in with dates.
134. Deliver unrecorded property information to buyer.
135. Order septic inspection, if applicable.
136. Receive and review septic system report and access any impact on sale.
137. Deliver copy of septic system inspection report to lender and buyer.
138. Deliver well flow test report copies to lender, buyer and listing file.
139. Verify termite inspection ordered.
140. Verify mold inspection ordered, if required.
Tracking the Loan Process
141. Confirm return of verifications of deposit and buyer’s employment.
142. Follow loan processing through to the underwriter.
143. Add lender and other vendors to transaction management program so agents, buyer and seller can track progress of sale.
144. Contact lender weekly to ensure processing is on track.
145. Relay final approval of buyer’s loan application to seller.
146. Coordinate buyer’s professional home inspection with seller.
147. Review home inspector’s report.
148. Enter completion into transaction management tracking software program.
149. Explain seller’s responsibilities of loan limits and interpret any clauses in the contract.
150. Ensure seller’s compliance with home inspection clause requirements.
151. Assist seller with identifying and negotiating with trustworthy contractors for required repairs.
152. Negotiate payment and oversee completion of all required repairs on seller’s behalf, if needed.
153. Schedule appraisal.
154. Provide comparable sales used in market pricing to appraiser.
155. Follow up on appraisal.
156. Enter completion into transaction management program.
157. Assist seller in questioning appraisal report if it seems too low.
Closing Preparations and Duties
158. Make sure contract is signed by all parties.
159. Coordinate closing process with buyer’s agent and lender.
160. Update closing forms and files.
161. Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale.
162. Select location for closing.
163. Confirm closing date and time and notify all parties.
164. Solve any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc.) or in obtaining death certificates.
165. Work with buyer’s agent in scheduling and conducting buyer’s final walkthrough prior to closing.
166. Research all tax, HOA, utility and other applicable prorations.
167. Request final closing figures from closing agent (attorney or title company).
168. Receive and carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy.
169. Forward verified closing figures to buyer’s agent.
170. Request copy of closing documents from closing agent.
171. Confirm the buyer and buyer’s agent received title insurance commitment.
172. Provide “Home Owners Warranty” for availability at closing.
173. Review all closing documents carefully for errors.
174. Forward closing documents to absentee seller as requested.
175. Review documents with closing agent (attorney).
176. Provide earnest money deposit from escrow account to closing agent.
177. Coordinate closing with seller’s next purchase, resolving timing issues.
178. Have a “no surprises” closing so that seller receives a net proceeds check at closing.
179. Refer sellers to one of the best agents at their destination, if applicable.
180. Change MLS status to Sold. Enter sale date, price, selling broker and agent’s ID numbers, etc.
181. Close out listing in transaction management program.
Follow Up After Closing
182. Answer questions about filing claims with Home Owner Warranty company, if requested.
183. Attempt to clarify and resolve any repair conflicts if buyer is dissatisfied.
184. Respond to any follow-up calls and provide any additional information required from office files.
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So You Think You Can Be a Landlord? 7 Things to Consider…
First-time homebuyers are a declining group. Historically, 40 percent of homebuyers have been first-time buyers, calculated yearly from July to June. But that percentage continues to shrink, even if the true homeownership rate among millennials climbed ever so slightly last year.
If you’re already a homeowner, your wheels might be spinning right about now — if people aren’t buying starter homes, then the rental market has to be booming, right? It is in many areas, particularly where unemployment is low, the population is high, and homes aren’t overpriced.
You might think you’re ready to become a landlord, but learning how to be one by trial and error is not necessarily the best way.
Here are seven tips to consider before you take the plunge:
1. Ideally, you want to live near your rental property
That way, you can check on it periodically (after giving your tenants proper notice), take care of repairs yourself, and show the property when it’s time to re-rent it.
2. Know landlord-tenant law
Most states have specific landlord-tenant provisions that cover issues such as security deposits, what sort of access to your rental property you can expect to have, and how much notice you need to give your tenants when you want them to leave. There also are federal laws you need to know, such as habitability and anti-discrimination laws.
Ron Leshnower, real estate attorney and author of Fair Housing Helper for Apartment Professionals, says that “many landlords gloss over housing discrimination laws because they assume that as long as they’re not racist or sexist, they needn’t worry about fair housing violations.”
But fair housing liability traps can arise in many ways, so it’s important that you fully understand the law and ensure that you aren’t breaking it.
FREE DOWNLOAD: New Jersey Landlord-Tenant Law
3. Make sure you can enforce the rent being paid on time
This seems like a no-brainer, but if you get too friendly with your tenants, you might just let them slide a couple of weeks here and a partial payment there. Before you know it, your tenants are six months behind.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat tenants with respect. Creating rapport shows respect and makes the job of collecting rents and dealing with repair requests that much easier.
4. Screen potential tenants
It’s worth the time to do a background and credit check on all potential tenants. Use an online tenant-screening service for this. Credit score alone is not always a reason to accept or deny an applicant, but it is a useful screening tool. You should also conduct an interview and check their references.
Your Patrick Parker Realty Listing Agent takes care of all of this for you. We run all prospects through tenant-screening after completion of an application. Don’t underestimate the importance of using a Listing Agent when renting.
5. Customize the lease
If you don’t hire an attorney or a property manager, you can use a standard lease form from Nolo, for example, but you should tweak it to fit your situation. For example, if you allow pets, specify how many, what kind, and any rules that apply.
Again, this is where having a Listing Agent will come in handy. They have the lease custom to your state’s laws and applications and will walk both you and your new tenant through any customization should it be needed.
6. Inspect the property regularly
Always do a move-in and move-out inspection. This should go without saying. Take pictures to establish a base line and complete a Rental Property Condition Checklist and suggest your tenant do the same and submit it to you so you’re on the same page from the get-go.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Checklist of Rental Property Condition
Consider having language regarding inspections clearly written in your lease documents. Maybe you want to conduct an inspection at six months. If you find problems, consider issuing a compliance notice and re-inspecting in 30 days. Eventually you’ll find whether or not this will be necessary in the future.
7. Understand this is not a get-rich-quick scheme
Being a landlord is not just sitting around collecting a big wad of cash each month. You’ll need to spend some money to ready the property for tenants, buy landlord insurance, register as a landlord in your town, acquire a C.O. and pay property taxes. If you’re taking out a mortgage, be prepared to fork over at least a 20 percent down payment.
Think of being a landlord as part of your overall investment strategy and realistically aim for getting around a 5 percent return on your investment.
Are you a Landlord with tips to share? What lessons have you learned? What lessons have you learned the hard way? Sound off in Comments, on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook or Twitter pages and don’t forget to sign up for the monthly Patrick Parker Realty eNewsletter for more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.
New Jersey Landlords Need to be Careful with their Accounting Methods
Most American businesses keep track of their charges and receivables using a “first in, first out” method. The central principle of this method, referred to as “FIFO,” is to apply customers’ payments toward their earliest balances first, and then toward their later balances. New Jersey landlords had also accepted the FIFO method of accounting until relatively recently, when the State Supreme Court ordered that eviction complaints follow a specific format, in which tenants’ unpaid charges are specifically set forth in detail.
Using the FIFO method, for example, if a tenant failed to pay rent January and February, the next payments that the tenant did remit would be applied to January and February. That application would certainly create a gap in later months in which the payments were made. In the event that the eviction complaint followed the same methodology, it might appear that the tenant owed rents from March and April (or whatever the most recent months were), when the two missed payments were really from January and February. This method is unfortunately confusing for tenants who may show up to Court with receipts to prove that they paid certain rents, only to find that the receipts that they produced do not refer to the missing payments in question.
Given new requirements of eviction complaints, I often wondered how a Court would rule when faced with a situation where the tenant could demonstrate that he or she had no idea which rents were owed, and therefore, could not prepare an adequate defense for trial. Fortunately, I received my answer a few weeks ago, when I was waiting for one of our matters to be reached for trial. From the gallery, in the rear of the Courtroom, I watched as another attorney struggled to demonstrate to the Judge that the unpaid rents set forth in the Complaint, did not refer to the actual months in which the payments were missed, but rather, they referred to the most recent months. The attorney continued her explanation to the Judge with a futile statement about standard accounting processes.
The Judge responded that he was familiar with standard accounting practices, but remarked that they were not adequate to enable the tenant a fair opportunity to prepare his defense. The Judge, accordingly, dismissed that matter, with an instruction to the attorney that she could refile the matter, if she redrafted the complaint in a way that showed the tenant the specific months in which the payments were missed.
In light of the Court’s decision in that matter, we have also began to examine our own matters to make sure that that the statement of unpaid charges properly coincides with the months in which the tenant failed to make those rent payments. In cases where the ledger has multiple entries of missed payments, it is also advisable to include a copy of the ledger in the eviction complaint.
Patrick Parker Realty rental experts can help you list your property, find you a qualified tenant and guide you through the process. Contact us at 732.455.5252 to get started!
5 Myths About Buying a Home
Once upon a time buying and selling a home was simple. You took your time to view properties, made an offer conditional upon inspection and financing, you went back and forth on price and you moved in. Unfortunately, times have changed. Let’s take a look at five myths that may no longer hold true in today’s breakneck housing market.
Myth 1: Closing Costs are a Drop in the Bucket
A lot of first-time homebuyers make the mistake of not budgeting for closing costs. Closing costs typically add up to between 1.5% and 4% of the purchase price of your home. If you’re buying a home for $500,000, your closing costs could end up being as much as $20,000. Closing costs cover everything from your home inspection, real estate lawyer fees and land transfer taxes. It’s important to budget for them, as you bank won’t foot the bill, you’ll have to come up with the funds yourself.
Myth 2: It’s Always Better to Buy than Rent
There’s a misconception out there that it’s always better to buy than rent. While buying a home makes sense in a lot of cases, it may not be the best move for everyone. As mentioned, closing costs can add up to a lot. You have to recoup your closing costs just to break even when selling your home. Unless you have a steady job and you plan to stay in your home for five years or longer, you’re most likely better off renting.
Myth 3: Real Estate is a Better Investment than the Stock Market
With the housing market booming across the country, why invest in the stock market when you could invest in real estate? Although real estate has posted impressive appreciation in recent years, it hasn’t outperformed the stock market.
Myth 4: Location, Location, Location
We’re often told the three most important factors in real estate are location, location, location. While there’s no denying location matters a great deal, you don’t necessarily need to purchase in your dream neighborhood in the here and now. If you’re not ready to sacrifice size for location, you may consider buying in an upcoming area. If you see a lot of houses being topped up, it’s usually a good sign a neighborhood is on the upswing.
Myth 5: You Can Get a Great Deal if You’re the Only Buyer
A common tactic for sellers is to list their property below market value to drum up interest. Sometimes sellers list their property $50,000 or more below its true market value in hopes of a bidding war. While this tactic often works, it doesn’t always, especially during slower months.
So what if you’re the only bidder, the seller has to give the home to you for your lower offer, right? Wrong. Some sellers actually refuse the lower offer and relist their home at a higher value.
RELATED: About Our Negotiation Process
As your Buying Agent we are committed to your best interests. Contact a Patrick Parker Realty professional will help you discern myth from fact.
6 Tips for A Successful Home Search
You know those movies where the two lovers look into each other’s eyes and the music tells you that volumes are being spoken without any words? Yeah, well, that ain’t the way it works when you’re house hunting. Words — lots of them — are your friends, so start talking with your agent early and often.
So what’s the best way to communicate with your real estate team to ensure home-seeking success?
These steps will ensure you are keeping the lines open and the info flowing during your house hunt:
1. Sit down with your agent NOW
You do have an agent, right?
Especially in competitive markets, you’ll find yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t have someone watching the market and working your case every single day.
This person is your adviser and advocate throughout the process. Make sure “good communication skills” is one of the criteria you bring to bear on your choice of agent.
Meet face to face as soon as possible to form a bond, to lay out your needs and budget, and to learn about the many steps involved in a successful real estate purchase. These are things you don’t want to be hearing about on the fly.
2. Get your expectations set early
Whether you’re buying or renting, tell your agent to give you the facts of the market right between the eyes. This isn’t the time to sugarcoat realities.
Ask her for recent data on list price-to-sale ratios to prepare yourself to make over-asking offers if necessary. Ask about ways to compete on things other than price — doing a pre-offer inspection, for example, so as to waive the inspection contingency. Learn about the need for speed, if any.
Sometimes with rentals, it can be a game of hours. Sometimes you should go in ready to sign.
3. Don’t be shy, be honest
Your agent can’t do her job without accurate information about you.
Don’t hold back on your likes and dislikes, your financial situation (clarified by early contact with your banker or mortgage broker), and your reactions to the properties you see.
Create boards on Trulia and add properties you like and don’t like (even if they’re out of your price range) and invite your agent to collaborate. Everyone talks about personal style in a unique way, so it can be helpful to show, not tell, when it comes to what you want.
This is no time to be polite, so say what you think at open houses and private showings (though privately to your agent, not within earshot of other buyers, listing agents, or sellers).
Each opinion and observation that you voice tightens the focus of your search and offers clarity into what you’re after.
4. Establish a foolproof way to connect
When properties move quickly, every minute can count.
Tell your agent in order of preference the way you want to be reached (email, text, call), and whether you should be hit by all means at once if there is a hot property.
And ask your agent how they are most quickly reached. Tell them you want their “bat phone.”
5. Be systematic
Avoid flailing about. Make sure your agent and you have a search methodology in place so that forward motion can occur.
Try the “benchmark” approach: At the end of every showing, rank the property against others you’ve seen, always searching for the one place that’s come closest to “right.” Share your approach and rankings with your agent. Remember, the more they know about your preferences, the better they are able to serve you.
Properties will topple properties, a certain discipline is brought to bear, and your search will develop a rigor and logic of your own making.
6. You are not a loser
If you’re continually seeing properties at your price point that just don’t satisfy, don’t feel like you’ve somehow failed.
The market is the market, and sometimes you have to adjust your sights. Compromise comes along the four vectors of real estate: size, condition, location, and price.
If price can’t change, talk candidly to your agent about adjusting one (or more) of the three others.
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Patrick Parker Realty Signs Lease for Expansion and Relocation of Their Main Office in Bradley Beach
With a goal of maintaining growth, superior client service and job creation, Patrick Parker Realty has expanded and relocated to a new main office location at 523 Main Street, Bradley Beach.
Bradley Beach, NJ (PHANTOM POWER Marketing) March 30, 2015 – Patrick Parker, Broker and Owner of Record at leading Bradley Beach Real Estate firm Patrick Parker Realty, announced the brokerage has moved their headquarters to support the rapid growth of the business and ongoing client service and relations for which they’ve become known throughout the area. The new office space is located at 523 Main Street. With remodeling and refurnishing of this historical location now complete, the move is effective immediately.
With the goal of maintaining growth, superior client service and job creation, along with a strong commitment to community involvement, Patrick Parker Realty remains in the heart of Bradley Beach – just a 2 minute walk from their previous office – now conveniently located next to the Bradley Beach train station at the corner of Brinley and Main.
“Our growth has been so exciting and more space is essential to continue to support that growth,” said Parker.
“With careful consideration and help from my team of seasoned Real Estate Agents, we have outfitted a new space that truly reflects the core values on which Patrick Parker Realty was founded and has grown. Values of Integrity, Responsibility, Collaboration, Innovation, Compassion and Community that have served our clients and the Monmouth County Jersey Shore area at large.
“Plus, our new location reflects our commitment to make Patrick Parker Realty a great place to work and thrive professionally, and we’re thrilled to be able to punctuate that effort this year with our move and new space,” continues Parker.
Keeping the brand’s headquarters in Bradley Beach was a priority for Patrick Parker Realty. Their new corner office location includes open workspaces, greater energy efficiency, creative and collaborative spaces for their team, varied meeting areas for clients and partners, continued access to the area’s talented work pool and work-life amenities such that the Bradley Beach area affords.
The new Patrick Parker Realty corner office location at 523 Main Street is easily found via Google Maps or any GPS tool or application. For more precise directions you may call 732.455.5252 or visit http://patrickparkerrealty.com/contact/.
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About Patrick Parker Realty
Patrick Parker Realty, an independent boutique brokerage located in the heart of Bradley Beach is your local market leader. We understand the demands of a changing real estate market and avail ourselves of the latest industry information and tools to ensure excellent results.
Our seasoned Real Estate Agents are committed to providing all of our clients, from first time sellers to veteran real estate investors, quality and friendly service. We walk you through every step of the sale process offering the guidance, feedback, and expertise needed to ensure your complete satisfaction.
Patrick Parker Realty is more than just a brokerage; we are your strategic marketing partner boasting a dedicated marketing department to effectively promote your house via modern channels that yield the quickest, most effective results. We do this by monitoring the latest technologies, using effective communication methods and leveraging our knowledge of all things real estate so our efforts are informed by activities that yield results.
5 Mistakes Landlords Make
With home prices skyrocketing, more homeowners are looking to subsidize their mortgage by becoming landlords. The decision to become a landlord is not one to be overlooked. Many first-time landlords make the mistake of assuming that all they need to do is wait for the checks to start coming in. As you’ll soon see, there are plenty of mistakes you can make along the way.
Mistake 1: Not Remembering Time is Money
As the saying goes, time is money. As a landlord, you want to bring checks to the bank. When your property is vacant, your tenants are delinquent on their rent, or you’re doing repairs between tenants, you’re losing rent. Instead of pushing the envelope and asking for a really high rent, you’re better off asking for rent that is in the ballpark of comparable properties. You’re not making any money if your property sits on the market for six months without any interest from tenants.
Mistake 2: Not Property Screening Your Tenants
All it takes is one bad tenant to ruin the cash flow on your rental property. Not only is evicting tenants a headache, it can take months and cost you thousands in rent. Screening interested tenants ahead of time is time well spent. Asking for the contact information for the previous two landlords, proof of employment (letter of employer and/or paystubs), and performing a credit check, is a good idea. If any tenant hesitates to provide this information, it’s a red flag, as this is standard information most landlords – and Agents representing landlords – request.
Mistake 3: Not Knowing Landlord-Tenant Laws
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to keep up to date with the latest landlord-tenant laws. Tenants have right – you can’t simply enter your tenant’s premise unannounced. In most cases you’ll have to give your tenants 24 hours’ notice. The law is different depending on the state in which you reside. It’s important to take the time to familiarize yourself with the law.
Mistake 4: Assuming Being a Landlord is a Passive Investment
With great power comes great responsibility. The decision to become a landlord is not one to be taken lightly. When you’re a landlord you have a lot of responsibilities. If you aren’t willing to wake up at midnight to repair a burst pipe, you’re probably not suited to be a landlord. Being a landlord isn’t as simple as owning an investment portfolio – you must be willing to dedicate the time and money to take care of your property.
Mistake 5: Forgetting to Budget for Maintenance and Repairs
Owning a home is expensive. Not only do you have to cover the utilities, you’ll also need to cover ongoing maintenance and repairs. Homes need TLC – repairs like a new roof and windows can set you back thousands. How much should you set aside for repairs? A good rule of thumb is to budget 3% to 5% of the value of your home every year on maintenance and repairs. For example, if you have a home valued at $600,000, you’ll need to budget up to $30,000 each year.
1. Tax breaks
The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home.
Real estate has long-term, stable growth in value. While year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing-home sale prices have increased on average 6.8 percent each year from 1972 through 2012, and increased 89.5 percent over the last 10 years, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
Unlike rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will increase.
The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.
Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.
8 Things to Know Before Buying a Vacation Home
Here are eight considerations to make before plunking down on a vacation home:
Spend Time There First
Don’t even think of buying a vacation home until you’ve visited the area a few times. It sounds basic, but you better be sure you simply adore and can’t get enough of that beach town before you commit to buying there, since you’ll be spending a great deal of your free time there in the future. Unlike hotels and timeshares, owning a vacation home doesn’t allow you the option to change destinations if your tire of the scenery.
Explore some of the most popular Jersey Shore Vacation Home Communities
Know All Your Costs
Just like your primary residence, you have to understand the total price of ownership including property taxes, insurance, and any other carrying costs. Remember, even when you’re not there, you’re still being charged for water, gas, electrical, trash removal, landscaping, and other maintenance services. Be sure to include all these overhead costs into your budget, because nothing ruins a ‘perfect vacation home’ like being in over your head financially.
Who Is Going To Watch When You’re Away?
Speaking of costs, there’s one more expense specific to a vacation homes: management fees. If you plan to visit infrequently – and are even considering renters while you’re away – make sure you find a local property manager that will maintain your home. It will cost extra, but so will the damage from those frozen pipes or leaky roof, especially if it goes unnoticed for a long period of time.
Not Every Day Is A Vacation
Expect that the first weekend of the season becomes an unrelenting (and very un-relaxing) spree of vacation home maintenance and repairs. In fact, a good number of your ‘vacation’ days may spent at the local home improvement store. It’s a house, not a hotel, so it needs just as much year-round upkeep as your primary home.
You’ll Want A Rental Income Option
A smart vacation home purchase is one that incorporates rental potential into the equation. If managed correctly, some of your costs can be offset by allowing renters while you’re away. And from a long-term investment standpoint, rental income may allow you to build equity and eventually pay the property off. Analyze nearby vacation homes, talk to the local Shore-area Agents at Patrick Parker Realty, and look online to see what’s renting (and for how much). And don’t forget to research occupancy rates; how often people are renting is important, too!
Could Be A Battle
Many popular vacation spots are areas that have a ‘high’ season. Clearly on the Jersey Shore, the high season is summer. This type of seasonality becomes a battle when the rental demand for your vacation home collides with the timeframe you want to use it. So if you’re planning on maximizing your home’s rental income, be prepared to give up some of that peak-season vacay yourself.
Safety Never Takes A Vacation
Check crime in the area on Trulia before you buy, especially if you’re going to leave the home unoccupied for long stretches of time. A break in or other crime at your vacation home can be particularly frustrating when you’re not around. And don’t forget to add the cost of a security and alarm monitoring systems to your budget.
Getting There Is (Not) Half The Fun
How easy will it be for you to get to your new vacation home? Your best options are accessible ones. While it may sound romantic to have an ocean front getaway, if it’s a plane ride, a rental car and three-hour drive away, you can be pretty sure it won’t get much use.
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