Posts tagged Buyers

Photos and Floorplans – A Buyer’s Response to my Monthly Note

4949 Lake Tree Ln First Floor Plan

If the “open rate” for my monthly note is only 2% yet it generates this kind of response, I’ll be happy. I’ll lead with “thank you” to the reader who took a great deal of time to email me this response, and for the three stories her response has generated.

Part 1 of 3 …

This month I asked what you (consumers) would change about the real estate process.

A reader responded – (bolding mine)

I wish house listings included a floor plan, even if it were a rough, not-to-scale, sketch. We’d be able to understand better if a house would or would not work for us if we knew the relationships of the rooms to each other. If the agent/photographer is good, we can sometimes get this from the photos — if they are presented in a rational, spatial sequence, and include the transitions from one space to the next — but the quality of the photos is many times misleading (if they look good) or downright awful.

(It amazes me that owners allow their agents to post pictures that are dark, out of focus, include inadvertent selfies in mirrors, or show clutter and junk that could have been picked up and moved out of the field of the photo for 30 seconds.)

Look – providing floor plans isn’t a difficult task; it’s not inexpensive, but neither are houses.

I noted the advent of affordable floor plan technology in 2010. I hand sketch floor plans all the time – just Saturday I drew for a client a house I’d seen a few days’ prior. From memory on a piece of scrap paper, and it worked (maps are useful when combined with verbal descriptions). I don’t know my older daughter’s phone number (which she’s had for 5 years) but can typically recall the layout of a property I saw five years ago.

I’ve written many, many times (and so have my clients!) – since at least 2007 – about real estate photos. The only thing that will change poor photos being used is for consumers to demand more. I send the photos to my seller clients before using them on anything – I want to make sure they both approve and feel good about how we’re marketing their homes.

I’d love to be able to provide recent examples from the Charlottesville MLS of head-smashingly bad photos – photos so bad I wish I could call the seller and ask them what they’re thinking. In one example, I know the agent consistently takes bad photos, and the seller would have known that if they’d spent 30 seconds researching. That the seller permits these photos to be used is confounding, but there you go.

Floorplans – yes, they cost money. So do professional photographers. So do professional Realtors’ services.

Read More

Wave! to the People Visiting your Neighborhood

Free Daddy and His Little Shadow Girls at The Skate Park Creative Commons

I have never shown a house in the neighborhood where the neighbors waving was deemed offensive by my buyer client evaluating the neighborhood.

Two of the criteria I and my clients tend to frequently apply when evaluating neighborhoods and areas is how friendly the neighbors appear to be. Think about it the next time you’re out for a walk. A wave and a smile go a long way.

I drive through a lot of neighborhoods in the course of a week and while there’s not yet an algorithm that measures the waviness of a neighborhood and I haven’t yet seen a smileZestimate for a neighborhood, friendliness is pretty easy to discern.

The family riding bikes together in the middle of the day last weekend? Left a great impression on my clients (and they were all wearing helmets).

Read More

An Easy Way to Track if Your Foundation is Moving

Home inspections. I love them. I love being there with my clients, asking the leading questions that I know they should ask, crawling through crawlspaces (yes, I do that), climbing across trusses in attics (I do that, too) and listening. I like to listen to the questions from the buyers and the explanations from the home inspectors; I learn something almost every time.

Recently I had such a learning opportunity, and I asked Robert Foster with Trebor Home Inspections to answer it again – this time on video.

Come on, tell me you didn’t just learn something!

Read More

Buyers – Do you Think about This when You Post on Facebook?

In January 2012 I noted that you should Choose Your (Social) Friends Wisely – “ They Could Affect Your Ability to Buy a House.

In April 2012 I wrote words of warning to those involved in real estate transactions (real estate agents, too) to Don’t Talk about your Real Estate Negotiations (on Social Media)!.

2014 brings word that lenders are more avidly farming social media to ascertain buyers’ creditworthiness. This makes complete and total sense. I google many (most?) of the people I meet. If deciding to hire someone, checking out their social media profiles is a reasonable step of due diligence. Why wouldn’t lenders check potential borrowers’ social media? (other than the fact that big banks can’t be trusted)

From the Wall Street Journal:

Lending companies … are looking at potential problems such as whether applicants put the same job information on their loan application as they posted on LinkedIn, or if they shared on Facebook that they had been let go by an employer. A small business that draws negative reviews on eBay EBAY -0.95% also could undermine its chances of getting more credit, lending companies say.

“It’s one of the tools we use to do underwriting,” said Sasha Orloff, co-founder and chief executive at LendUp, which is backed by companies including Google Ventures and expects to make 300,000 loans in 2014. “Do you have 4,000 friends but none are that close, or do you have 30 people but they’re very close? There are ways to measure how engaged and how strong your community ties are,” he said.

I can imagine that life insurers would check to see if someone who says they’re not a high risk is prone to skydiving on weekends, or other such risky adventures. Reasonable, right?

In other words – Be careful what you post online.

I do wonder … could lenders one day ask for your gmail login credentials to see your networks? Or if buyers could use “do you check my social media profiles” as a means to evaluate lenders?

Read More

Tips for First Time Home Buyers (in Charlottesville)

Actually, these are some great tips for buyers – first time or repeat – anywhere.

About a month ago I was contacted by Scott Riley, author of Homebuyer Nation, “where first time homebuyers hangout,” and he asked a question – “what is a unique piece of advice I give to my (first time) homebuyers.” While I shared Jeremy’s thought that I’d answer and never hear from him again, I answered. And then was surprised when I Scott sent me a link to the post. Then I was super-happy to see the other 31 contributors to the piece were almost all people from around the country that I’ve both heard of and think highly of (a hard thing to on the inter webs).

What I’m getting at is this – if you’re looking for some great tips for preparing for the home buying process, spend a few minutes looking through the questions at his post, 32 Home Buying Tips from Some of the World’s Most Popular Realtors. What I like best is that the advice given is useful – slow down, take your time, don’t fall in love, don’t buy too much house, use a local lender, use a full-time Realtor – all tips that are practical, applicable and frankly, good.

Read More