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For Buyers Category

Five Tips For Short Sale Buyers

Whispering Woman

Here are some great warnings to heed if you’re considering a purchase of a short sale home. My favorite of the 5 tips is the last one.  Check it out HERE.


Title Insurance? What The Heck Is It?

Title Policy

I’ve help a lot of buyers find their dream homes.  I’ve witnessed so many signing appointments (where buyers sign their final loan documents) and seen so many HUD statements that I could explain them in my sleep.  One section on the HUD that most buyers have questions about is the title section (1100).  The most frequently asked question is: What Is It? Read the rest of this entry »

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Would you buy this house?

Ugly Home

But He’s Got A Great Personality!

Just when I thought I had run eHarmony parallels into the ground, up pops another great article!  This most recent eHarmony article spotlighted a user’s dilemma about dating a man who met all of her criteria except one.  He was the perfect man for her but for the fact that she wasn’t physically attracted to him.  She asked if she was being shallow by placing so much emphasis on physical appearances. Read the rest of this entry »

eHarmony & Real Estate

oddcoupleShe’s Out Of My League

Okay, let me say up front that yes, I do sometimes read these relationship emails that come spamming across my computer.  And yes, I do find the topics entertaining as well as informative from time to time.  I also think that, like many things in life, there are parallels to be found across broad and diverse topics.

Take this most recent article on eHarmony for example. It used the 2010 movie “She’s Out Of My League” as the premise for their article, so I figured I could use their article as the premise of my blog post!  Imagine this headline from eHarmony – Should You Date Someone “Out Of Your League”? This was an interesting article that touched upon several things to consider when assessing a potential date/mate. You can read the relationship article HERE.

Now, imagine that same title as a real estate article with a few words replaced.  It could become the headline I’ve written below.  In fact, I’ve used eHarmony in the past as a starting off point for another blog post.  You can read that prior post HERE.  Hey, when the well is dry, you still gotta find water somewhere, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Garbage In, GarBage Out!

FlowchartBack when I was still in school, I thought seriously about being a software programmer.  I took many programming classes, and to this day, still remember the phrase (GIGO) that my instructors instilled into my little brain. My takeaway from that phrase was that no matter how good my programming skills may have been, it would never be good enough to correct or convert bad data (input) into good, meaningful results (output).


I’ve created the new acronym above that describes the current situation that I’ve been seeing lately. First let me define the term and then I’ll explain the circumstances under which it is occurring.

GDIGO – Good Data In, Garbage Out. How does this happen? Bad programming? Laziness? Unscrupulous marketing ploy by competing real estate companies? Maybe a combination of all of these factors??


A buyer client is looking to purchase a condo in Seattle, WA. He emails me a list of MLS numbers (this is how properties are indexed in our Multiple Listing Service) that he’d like for me to investigate on his behalf.  I pull up the information for him and see that 90% of the homes on his list have either sold or expired, rendering the list useless to him, and a waste of time for me. Read the rest of this entry »

A Cow For A Refrigerator?

money in the hands


The single biggest stumbling block in a real estate transaction. It can cause a deal to fall apart, or it can keep it together. Read the rest of this entry »

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Foreclosures – A Bargain in Deed?

Types of Deeds

Or Was it a Special One?

Okay, I admit that this is probably not the best play on words, but if you’ve ever considered purchasing a bank owned property, you’ve no doubt heard about Bargain and Sale Deeds or Special Warranty Deeds, right? Read the rest of this entry »


Zesstimates: New and Improved?

new and improved

Better, But Still Room For Improvement

A recent post on Zillow.com boasted of version 3 of their Zesstimate algorithm.  If you’re not familiar with Zillow, or their Zesstimates, it is an automated valuation tool, designed to help sellers (and buyers) determine the value of their home. In past years, it has garnered some praise, but even more criticism for its inaccuracies. In fact, back in 2006 I wrote a post about Zesstimates and how bad they were.  You can read that post here.

Shortly after my post (not that I believe I had any influence on them, as it was more of a coincidence than anything else), they developed version 2.0 which allowed homeowners the ability to add information to their database with the hopes of generating more accurate data.  Many homeowners flocked to the site, eagerly correcting the erroneous information that was stored in their county tax records, with the hopes that by entering updated information, they would see their zesstimates soar thru the roof, thereby affirming what they inherently believed from the start – that their home was the most expensive (or rather highest valued) home on the block. Read the rest of this entry »


Time for a Check-Up?

Credit Bureaus

Question: What Do Your Body, Teeth and Credit Have In Common?

Answer: They all need annual check-ups…

Believe it or not, your financial well-being is just as important as your physical well-being.  Maybe even more so, because if you are in financial trouble, chances are, your health will be affected either by stress to the body, or because of an inability to pay for healthcare.  So, take a minute and get a credit check-up.  The best part of the check-up is that there are no waiting lines, no shots, and no office co-pays.  It’s FREE, but only if you know where to go…

Don’t Believe Everything You See On TV

You’ve seen the commercials and have probably got that jingle stuck in your head.  You know the commercials I’m talking about, right? The one where some young guy and his band sing a song about how his credit got screwed up and now he has to a) live in his parent’s basement or b) drive an old beat up car…

The stories have merit, but if you go to the website that is advertised in the commercial, you’ll see that it’s just another company wanting you to spend your hard earned money on something you probably don’t need. The lure is a FREE CREDIT REPORT, but there’s a catch to all of this… If you read the fine print you’ll realize that in order to get your free credit report, you have to sign up for a trial membership in their credit monitoring program.  You will end up paying $14.95/month for something that isn’t necessary.

Instead, if you want to know what’s in your credit report, go to the official site at AnnualCreditReport.com where you can truly order your report(s) for free.  You can receive a free report from each of the three reporting agencies once per year.

Who Cares About My Credit?

Your credit rating is a very important part of your life, and it affects you in many ways, from what interest rates you are charged on credit cards, consumer and mortgage loans, to how much you’ll pay for home and auto insurance.  Check out this recent article for ways to increase (or decrease) your credit scores.

What are your thoughts? Do you think credit scores are over-rated? Have you been turned down for credit?

Why You Need An Inspection

Furnace leak

Furnace leak

I’m writing this post as I sit at a client’s home waiting for the many contractors to complete repairs that were discovered during the buyers’ inspection. Normally, the homeowner would handle the juggling of the contractors, but since my clients live out of state, this task falls upon me as their real estate agent.  I don’t mind though.  This is just one of the many services that I provide to clients when they hire me to help them sell their home.  Besides, it gives me an opportunity to write my Blog posts.

Do I Really Need An Inspection?

This is a question that I get from many first time homebuyers. Their inquiry comes not necessarily from a lack of understanding of the benefits that home inspections provide, but rather from a financial standpoint.  Let’s face it, home inspections aren’t cheap.  A typical home inspection can cost anywhere from $400-$600. Most first time homebuyers are on a shoestring budget, and have a difficult time parting with that kind of money.  But, the answer is a resounding YES!

What do I get for my money?

Peace of mind.  You receive a report that details what is wrong with the home and a list of potential items that could cost you big money in the future. It is very similar to a doctor visit.  Think of it as a home check-up.

Uh oh… The Inspector Found Some Problems.

That’s fairly typical. No home is perfect, and in fact, homes are much like living, breathing creatures. Changes occur over time, and problems pop up. That’s why it’s a good idea to have your home inspected every few years, as a preventative measure. Take a look at the photo above. What appears to be a small insignificant leak turned out to be a bigger problem in disguise. The cause of the problem? Laziness. If the original installer of the furnace had just taken time to glue the fitting as required, none of the moisture issues would have occurred. And, if my homeowner had an inspection, this problem might have been caught before much of the damage had been done. Every once in awhile, I come across a home that is well cared for and no problems are noted in the inspection report. When this occurs, the buyer invariably shows disappointment and/or concern that perhaps the inspector isn’t “looking” hard enough. Apparently, some buyers try to justify the inspection on a cost per issue basis, and the more problems that are found, the happier the buyer is.  But, perhaps they shouldn’t be…

The Problem Buyer

I have a good friend and client (let’s call him Rich) who I had helped purchase a home many years ago.  He was a problem buyer, but not in the way that one would imagine by this description.  In fact, he was (and is) a great client who was very rational.  Rich’s problem was that he kept falling in love with homes that had major issues. In fact, he made offers on 5 homes before he found a home that didn’t have major structural issues associated with it. Rich had inspections on 4 homes that he ultimately walked away from because of the inspection problems found. But, through it all, he kept calm (even after spending nearly $2000 on inspections on homes he would never end up buying). His logic was that it is better to spend $400-$600 and find out now than to save the money and have bigger problems down the road.

I had An Inspection, But He Missed Some Things

One of my favorite shows on TV is Holmes on Homes. Mike Holmes is an inspector in Canada with a reality TV show that focuses on home inspections gone bad.  I’ve been helping buyers and sellers for over 15 years, and have been fortunate with inspectors.  The key is to find a good inspection company and stick with them. I’m always baffled when buyers balk at spending a little extra for seasoned inspectors and instead opt for the discount inspector that they found online or through some coupon deal.  A good inspector is worth the money. If you’re not convinced of this, just watch an episode of Holmes on Homes!  If you’d like the name of a few inspectors I’ve used in the past and trust, drop me an email.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with me? Leave a comment…