Blog - Archive for ‘Consumer Resource’

The Future of the real Estate Agent Part 1

April 7th, 2014

With so many people using technology to find their dream home does the Real Estate Sales Agent add any value?

Though technology has given greater visibility to the consumer there are still many unknowns once you’ve targeted the property you want.

A Real Estate Sales Agent can add value in many ways, below are just a few:

1. Relationships – Your local agent may have a relationship and experience in working with the seller’s broker and sellers’s sales agent, there are advantages to this. How about the escrow company, title company, inspection company, other professionals such as plumbers, electricians, roofers, painters, geologists, engineers, pest control companies, designers, architects, mortgage lenders and movers, an experienced sales agent can be your resource to all of these services providing important insight and recommendations.

2. The inside track – The sales agent can offer the inside track information on the targeted community and possibly other property coming on the market not yet visible on the MLS’s. Are you curious about the vacant lot next to the property you are considering, how about that boarded up house or construction site around the corner? These items may impact the value of the property you are considering.

3. Expertise – So you find a property you want and now what? The Real Estate market offers all types of property sales, some of them are Trust sales, Short sales, Probate sales, Bankruptcy sales, there is court confirmation required, properties subject to overbid, online auction, the property is in REAP, the list goes on. Your agent can help in maneuvering through the myriad of different properties sale types and processes.

4. Customer Service – There are so many players in just one Real Estate transaction, you have the agents, escrow company, title company, inspection companies, insurance providers, deadlines to meet on top of your already busy schedule. Your agent can bring all the pieces of the puzzle together, trouble shoot and smooth out any issues that may arise while keeping the line of communication open with your best interest and experience in mind.

For more information and to discuss your property needs and objectives call me 310-498-4942 or e-mail paulcruz@associatesregroup.com

Building blocks, it’s only the beginning

December 15th, 2013

 

Bringing Buyers and Sellers of Real Estate together is an everyday activity in my business. However now it’s taken on an added meaning. It began over lunch with a friend discussing work. I shared I felt compelled to work on housing for people who could not otherwise afford a home, quite a departure from the luxury market I worked in. It seemed unfair to me that while somebody could afford a million dollar house, there was another family somewhere else homeless or near homelessness. I certainly did not have the means to go out and start building homes but thought of how I could align myself with someone who did. It was that week I read a Tweet about the launch of Giveback Homes, their goal of creating social change through the act of buying and selling organized my thoughts. By utilizing a percentage of my commission I could help build homes for families in need and my contributions would go straight to the field to get the job done.  Now I thought what if I took this and proposed to my investor and developer clients, “I will find you the land to build a house here and by using me to buy the land and then sell the finished house a percentage of the buy and sell commission will be donated to this great cause”, this would be a win win situation as they will not only be improving communities here but also abroad. We would also collaborate on rehabilitation of dilapidated property and more recently finding multi-unit buildings to re-hab and offer beautifully updated apartments for placement of the disadvantaged working through our local organizations. There’s a lot of work to be done but in the next blogs I’ll be sharing interviews and updates on some of the projects underway. For more information on getting involved in this social change movement contact me or share this link with your Real Estate professional http://givebackhomes.com/members/paulcruz/

5 common pitfalls that will keep your home from selling.

May 13th, 2013

Sellers avoid these 5 common pitfalls that will keep your home from selling.

1. Pricing too high – Be realistic, have your agent research the sales comparables. Take notice of the differences between your property and the other properties that have sold. Ask your agent how these differences may affect your price.

2. Property doesn’t look its best – Curb appeal is very important, a freshly painted front door & trim, a green mowed lawn, a house that is clean, organized and fresh smelling makes a huge difference. Ask your agent about staging tips to make your home look its best.

3. Bad photography or no photography – You have about 3 seconds to make a positive “best” first impression, make sure the opening picture is a stunner, then, support it with as many beautiful, clean crisp pictures as you can. Don’t make the mistake of having no pictures at all.

4. Making it difficult to show and or Owner will show– Making your property easy to show, after work, in the early morning and on weekends, bodes well with busy buyer schedules. Being flexible will guarantee many more showings. Once a showing is scheduled, step out of the picture and let your agent run the show. Buyers like to browse and get a feel for a home without the owner in the next room or listening in.

5. Not responding to an offer, refusing to negotiate – Nothing can turn off a buyer or their agent quicker then not responding to an offer or refusing to negotiate a serious offer. Engaging the buyer and their agent means you care and this will increase your chances of reaching an agreement. Simply turning up your nose and not responding just means a missed opportunity.

For more tips on getting your home sold contact Paul Cruz 310-498-4942, PaulCruz@AssociatesREgroup.com, www.AssociatesREgroup.com

Is it the bottom yet?

January 2nd, 2013

Is it the bottom yet?

I know you’re tired of hearing it, however, 5 years into one of the worst economies ever there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Sure there are those who will preach dooms day, but all scare tactics aside, if you’re waiting for the bottom to hit, you should know it’s already behind you.

News of the Fiscal cliff, Shadow inventory, European economic woes, China deflation, Natural Disasters cannot change that today you will pay more for a piece of Real Estate then a year ago, then two years ago. However, the cost of money continues to be historically low. You can’t go wrong if you start looking to buy today, get qualified for a mortgage or just find out what you need to qualify. Even if you decide not to buy Real Estate but want to research other investment opportunities you’re not going to go wrong.

We are at a pivotal moment in our history, taking some action to plan for your nest egg is the smart way to go. If following the DOW is not your thing then check in with me on how you can buy in this market and pay yourself to keep a roof over your head.

Paul Cruz

CRUZ MITCHELL CALLIS, Associates Metrohome, www.AssociatesREgroup.com

The Seller “Who, What and When”

November 15th, 2012

The Seller “Who What and When” – 3 simple things to look for in a Buyer

So many escrows today just barely make it past the inspection period, or the opposite they make it to the finish line and fall out. Below is The Seller Who, What and When to ask in deciding what buyer to open escrow with:
Who is the Buyers lender? Who are they, how qualified is this buyer, what is their time line for handling this transaction, how will they trouble shoot any issues, who will be your main contact are just a view questions to ask.
What is the buyer’s motivation? Buying today can be very competitive. Buyers who have been looking for a while have experienced being up against multiple offers and losing out, others may be investors looking for the best deal and return on investment.  Whatever the motivation, needing a house to live in after endless searching and finding that one that is the perfect fit may be one of the better bets. Ask why does this buyer want this house; get to know them and their situation. It will help you make the right decision.
When will they lift contingency? With any offer there will be a contingency period for inspection, loan and appraisal. Most lenders will require at least two weeks some three for the complete loan approval and appraisal. However, the inspection period can move pretty quickly, the shorter the inspection period the more likely you have a motivated buyer. If they have requested a long time you should get to the bottom of why.

Paul Cruz, Realtor

9000 W. Sunset Blvd. 11th Fl., West Hollywood, CA. 90069

(310) 498-4942

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Location. Location. Location

October 26th, 2012

When shopping for a home one thing always holds true, location, location, and location. 

Here are some tips on making the right choice. Check the schools – Finding a property in a desirable school district will keep you a step ahead. There is no end in sight to the rising costs of providing a good education. Not only may your family reap the benefits of this now but when it comes time to sell as well.

Find a school http://rsi.lausd.net/ResidentSchoolIdentifier/
Check the schools ranking http://www.psk12.com/rating/index.php
Check for crime – Visit the local law enforcement office or check on line.

Having a chat with an area officer can give you some direct insight on the safety of your family. Research the community – A simple GOOGLE search can reveal a wealth of information on a community. Is there a community center or a local meeting coming up you can attend?

Drive the area to see how neighbors keep their homes; visit on the weekends and at night. Walking the neighborhood can also be very revealing; do you feel welcomed and comfortable in these surroundings?

Walkability factor – Proximity to services, dining, shopping, recreation and public transportation have become very important considerations in evaluating the area of your future home. With the unpredictability of fuel costs and the increasing congestion of L.A urban areas having the choice to take public transportation or just walk somewhere has become an important option.

Work with a Realtor – Working with a Realtor can help put more time in your hands to focus on finding the property right for you. Call us today to find out how we can facilitate your home buying process.

Thank You!

Paul Cruz, Realtor

9000 W. Sunset Blvd. 11th Fl., West Hollywood, CA.

(310) 498-4942

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Tips when you are ready to sell

September 27th, 2012

Thinking of putting your home on the market? These helpful tips will guarantee you get an offer in the first two weeks.

Price – Price is the most important, first and foremost. Sellers, you know when you go on line, enter your property address and bingo up comes your property value, well, all the Buyers out there can do the same thing. The Internet provides access to a wide variety of sales statistics and history, it’s open territory to all. Contact a local Real Estate agent and listen to what they have to say about prices in your area.  Paying for a professional appraisal of your property before you put it on the market is highly recommended as well. Get the price right and it will sell.

Home and Termite Inspection  – and then fix what needs to be fixed. You know those pesty termites, that leaky faucet, the air conditioning that works like a heater, oh yeah and the paint, take care of it now it will save you $$ in the long run.

Curb appeal – How many times have you driven through a neighborhood and noticed the house with the well groomed lawn, spring flowers and neatly trimmed hedges, what did you think? Exactly! It’s important. Making sure your lawn is clean and green, your front door and fence are painted and put in some flowerbeds or potted flowers, adding a little color and keeping it clean and neat will make a world of difference on how your home is perceived.

Home Staging – OK you’ve decided on the price, repairs are underway, your watering the lawn and its getting greener, flowers are in…its now time for spring cleaning. Nothing can help sell a house more then the presentation when one walks in the door. Minimizing personal items, getting rid of clutter, keeping it clean and fresh smelling well help perspective buyers feel comfortable and welcome

Lastly, Choose your Real Estate Broker wisely – There is a world of difference in what is required today as opposed to a few years ago. Choosing an agent with experience will get the deal done and not bust.

Paul Cruz, Realtor 310-498-4942, paulcruz@associatesregroup.com

Real Estate News: Short Sales

September 24th, 2012

A short sale is the selling of real estate at a price lower then its mortgage. This is because it has a current market value less then the amount of money owed

on it. In a short sale the borrower needs to enlist a Realtor experienced in the short sale process. The Realtor will meet with the borrower to discuss establishing the current market value of the property, the marketing strategy and how they will work with the mortgage lender to reach agreement on an approved sale price. In order to successfully negotiate a short sale with the mortgage lender the borrower must establish they are experiencing a true financial hardship and can no longer keep up with their mortgage payments. The mortgage lender may agree to approve selling the property at a discount but this decision does not always release the borrower from the obligation to pay the remaining mortgage balance known as the deficiency.

Because a short sale is less expensive then a foreclosure the mortgage lender is usually agreeable to a small loss, the borrower can sometimes mitigate the damage to their credit report and the buyer can purchase a well-priced property in good condition, many times in much better condition then a foreclosure that may have been abandoned.

For more information on our short sale services contact L.A. Metro Home for a one on one consultation Contact Us.

9000 W. Sunset Blvd. 11th Fl., West Hollywood, CA.

(310) 498-4942

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Tips on getting your offer accepted by the seller

August 9th, 2012

Are you in the market for a home, up against multiple offers and no acceptance? Below are some tips to getting your offer accepted by the seller.

How solid is your offer? Shorter contingency and escrow periods, asking for fewer or no seller concessions and allowing the seller to select services show’s them you mean business. Going into a deal with a list of demands sends the message this property may not be the right fit for you.

Are you pre-qualified or pre-approved? Most every approval will have conditions of appraisal and the type of property you select. However, pre-qualifications that require the buyer submit hard copy of information that has only been verified by application or phone may not be received well by sellers. Take the time to get all of what your lender requires so you are as close as possible to that Full Document Pre-approval. It makes a world of difference to the seller.

Who is your lender? Are you working with a credit union, local mortgage broker, small neighborhood bank or large national chain? Each of these will offer a different level and quality of customer service, there may also be important differences in the paperwork flow. Be as transparent as possible on who you are using and make sure your lenders contact person is prepared for the seller to call and verify all your information.

Are you stretched to thin? If you are going into this with not a lot of savings but very strong credit and work history, build your case to seller; include a note from you explaining why you’re an excellent candidate.

Who are you? Tell a little about yourself. An introductory letter letting the seller know about you, why you want the house and how you are qualified to buy the home will give you an edge over the rest. Buying an REO (foreclosed bank owned property) or a short sale will be a little different since the process is less personal, ask your Real Estate agent for the best approach in all cases.

Choose your agent. Do not underestimate the value and experience of your Real Estate agent. The market has changed, there are a lot of Short Sales, Bank Owned (REO,) Probate, Trust & Bankruptcy Sales out there mixed in with the Standard Sale, ask your agent about the differences and their approach to getting your offer accepted considering these various scenarios.

Paul Cruz, Realtor 310-498-4942, paulcruz@associatesregroup.com

 

10 Questions to Ask Your Realtor about Selling a House

July 30th, 2012

 

10 Questions to Ask Your Realtor about Selling a House

  1. Are you a full-time professional real estate agent? How long have you worked full time in real estate? How long have you been representing buyers? What professional designations do you have?
    Knowing whether or not your agent practices full time can help you determine potential scheduling conflicts and his or her commitment to your transaction. As with any profession, the number of years a person has been in the business does not necessarily reflect the level of service you can expect, but it is a good starting point for your discussion. The same issue can apply to professional designations.
  2. Do you have a personal assistant, team or staff to handle different parts of the purchase? What are their names and how will each of them help me in my transaction? How do I communicate with them?
    It is not uncommon for agents who sell a lot of houses to hire people to work with them. As their businesses grow, they must be able to deliver the same or higher quality service to more people.
    You may want to know who on the team will take part in your transaction, and what role each person will play. You may even want to meet the other team members before you decide to work with the team. If you have a question about fees on your closing statement, who would handle that? Who will show up to your closing?
  3. Do you have a Website that will list my home? Can I have your URL address? Who responds to emails and how quickly? What’s your email address?
    Many buyers prefer to search online for homes because it’s available 24 hours a day and can be done at home. So you want to make sure your home is listed online, either on the agent’s Website or on their company’s site. By searching your agent’s Website you will get a clear picture of how much information is available online.
  4. How will you keep in contact with me during the selling process, and how often?
    Some agents may email, fax or call you daily to tell you that visitors have toured your home, while others will keep in touch weekly. Asking this question can help you to reconcile your needs with your agent’s systems.
  5. What do you do that other agents don’t that ensures I’m getting top dollar for my home? What is your average market time versus other agents’ average market time?
    Marketing skills are learned, and sometimes a real estate professional’s unique method of research and delivery make the difference between whether or not a home sells quickly. For example, an agent might research the demographics of your neighborhood and present you a target market list for direct marketing purposes.
  6. Will you give me names of past clients?
    Interviewing an agent can be similar to interviewing someone to work in your office. Contacting references can be a reliable way for you to understand how he or she works, and whether or not this style is compatible with your own.
  7. Do you have a performance guarantee? If I am not satisfied with your performance, can I terminate our listing agreement?
    In the heavily regulated world of real estate, it can be difficult for an agent to offer a performance guarantee. If your agent does not have a guarantee, it does not mean they are not committed to high standards. Typically, he or she will verbally outline what you can expect from their performance. Keller Williams® Realty understands the importance of win-win business relationships: the agent does not benefit if the client does not also benefit.
  8. How will you get paid? How are your fees structured? May I have that in writing?
    In many areas, the seller pays all agent commissions. Sometimes, agents will have other small fees, such as administrative or special service fees, that are charged to clients, regardless of whether they are buying or selling. Be aware of the big picture before you sign any agreements. Ask for an estimate of costs from any agent you contemplate employing.
  9. How would you develop pricing strategies for our home?
    Although location and condition affect the selling process, price is the primary factor in determining if a home sells quickly, or at all. Access to current property information is essential, and sometimes a pre-appraisal will help. Ask your agent how they created the market analysis, and whether your agent included For Sale by Owner homes, foreclosed homes and bank-owned sales in that list.
  10. What will you do to sell my home? Who determines where and when my home is marketed/ promoted? Who pays for your advertising?
    Ask your real estate agent to present to you a clear plan of how marketing and advertising dollars will be spent. If there are other forms of marketing available but not specified in the plan ask who pays for those. Request samples or case studies of the types of marketing strategies that your agent proposes (such as Internet Websites, print magazines, open houses, and local publications).

We look forward to earning your business.

The L.A. Metrohome Team

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