Posted in Charlotte, Cornelius, Davidson, General Real Estate Market, Huntersville, Iredell County, Lake Norman, Mecklenburg County, Mooresville, tagged Five Star Professional, Five Star Real Estate Agent, Home Buyers, homebuyers on October 2, 2012 |
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I’ve never been one to toot my own horn, but an occasional blast is OK I guess. This is true particularly when one is in a business where clients have many choices of service providers such as real estate. So, I’ll take this opportunity to let you know that for the second straight year, I’ve been voted a “Five Star Real Estate Agent” in the greater Charlotte area market. This is for real estate activity during 2011. Most of my work is in southern Iredell and northern Mecklenburg counties, but does extend into north Iredell and the neighboring counties- Catawba, Cabarrus, Rowan, etc..
The survey is directed at recent homebuyers who have the opportunity to rate their real estat agents both positively and negatively. According to the Five Star Professional website, “real estate agents are evaluated by consumers based on customer service, integrity, market knowledge, communication and negotiation skills, closing preparation, helping you find the right home, marketing the home being sold, and overall satisfaction.”
The Five Star designation is given to less than 7% of the real estate agents working in the subject area who got the highest ratings. These designated agents will appear in the December issue of Charlotte Magazine.
If you participated in the survey, thanks for your support. My goal is to be sure that my clients believe they’ve received service from me that was top notch and exceeded their expectations.
You can go to the Five Star Professional website HERE and see what other professionals in several financial oriented fields have been selected.
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It looks like the economy is starting to pick up some steam. As a result, we’re seeing more people moving from one part of the country to another. Sometimes they have the assistance of a company relocation department to help them find good real estate professsionals to help them. Often, though, they are on their own in finding Realtors to help them sell their current home and find a new home in their new location. Yes, they can just “Google” the area to find local Realtors, but that’s somehow not as satisfying as having a real estate professional recommended to you based on their history and performance. As in all types of business, a personal referral is the highest quaility referral because the results reflect on the referring individual. They want to be sure they recommend a highly qualified person for the job.
Coldwell Banker makes it easy for me to arrange a great referral. We have people all over the world who are relied upon by their local relocation departments to help people who are leaving or entering our area. I’m one of those Realtors, and often get the opportunity to work with people who have a need to list or buy property. When someone I know needs to move from any area to any other area, I can help them connect with one of these excellent agents through our Relocation Department. They don’t have to add the worry of finding a good real estate professsional to all the other concerns of moving. Our “Relo” staff will contact their counterparts in any part of the world and use their knowledge of qualified agents to recommend one to the folks needing their service- no more “choose and hope.” The client can be assured that they will have a chance to interview a superb professional who can smooth all the bumps in the road.
So, if you know someone who’s thinking of moving and in need of a recommendation for a real estate professional in the area from which they’re moving or to which their moving, I can help. Just have them contact me. I’ll explain everything about the process. My greatest pleasure from this business is having the ability to make what can be a scary process of moving into a really pleasant experience, and make great new friends as we go through the process.
Call me. I can help.
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I was visiting my daugher in Chapel Hill last Sunday for Father’s Day and saw an article in her Raleigh News and Observer that caught my eye. It’s a column by Amy Hoak of MarketWatch on why mortgage rates are so low. It offers a good fundamental explanation of why we’re seeing such low rates and gives some idea of what may change that in the future. It also has some additional interesting info quoted from Clear Capital such as, “Clear Capital recently reported that national home prices were up only 0.1% in the second quarter, from the year-early period. That’s far from the 3% to 4% appreciation expected in a healthy market.” They go on to say that this is a first in quite some time, but still a necessary first step.
If you’re interested in the state of the real estate market both in terms of interest rates and home prices, I’d recommend you take a few minutes to read this well-written article HERE.
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Many people in the real estate buyers’ market become interested in homes that are governed by home owner associations (HOAs). Sometimes after they’ve bought their home, they discover that something they want to do with their property is prohibited by the CCRs- Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions- of the subdivision. For some homeowners, these restrictions seem excessive, and worth bucking. The trouble is that when they bought the property, they also agreed to abide by the rules set up originally by the sudvision developer and later overseen by the Homeowners’ Association of which the buyer is a member and pays HOA dues. This was covered in the avalanche of words and papers that are part of the purchase contract and closing paperwork. New home sales reps and Realtors should be sure that their buyers are given the opportunity to review the CCRs before they sign the paperwork.
If you already live in a subdivision with CCRs and you’ve never taken the time to read them, now’s a great time to do that. It may keep you from doing something to your property that will run afoul of the HOA and waste time and money. If you can’t find your copy, your HOA or management company can provide a copy. They are also in the public records and can be found on your local Register of Deeds web site, although sometimes it takes some digging to find them. If you need some help doing this and are in the Mecklenburg/Iredell/Lake Norman and surrounding counties, I’ll be glad to help. Just call or email me.
The degree of detail and restriction of different CCRs varies all over the map. Some are fairly limited and others quite extensive. They all are there to help protect the value of the properties owned by the HOA members, but various developers and HOAs differ on how much control and what details are necessary to do this. Ultimately, if owners and HOAs disagree, things can get serious up to and including foreclosure on a property for failure to pay dues or fines.
Radio station WFAE recently addressed these issues on Mike Collins’ show Charlotte Talks. He hosted several knowledgeable folks there to talk about the ideas behind HOAs and CCRs, and discuss issues and trends in that world. It’s slightly less than an hour long, but worth listening to if you live in a planned community or are thinking of buying in one. A link to the show is HERE.
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I was talking with my bride yesterday about the differences in our work schedules. She’s a teacher in the Mooresville school system and has short-term and long-term lesson plans to follow, and specific things to accomplish. She works very hard to make all those things happen on time and with great academic results. Sometimes, it puts a heavy load on her to get it all done by the appointed time, but she gets it done. I, on the other hand, have long-term plans, short-term plans, intermediate term plans and spur of the moment plans in relation to helping my clients finally either sell a property or buy a property. When I wake up in the morning, I have some specific things I want to accomplish. They may have to do with marketing my services, marketing my listings, searching for properties for my buyers, or working on the details of upcoming closings. As it turns out, it’s a rare day when my morning plans match my end of the day accomplishments. That’s because the business of real estate has a tendency to be somewhat reactive to unexpected results on inspections, appraisals, repairs, calls from brand new clients, calls from current clients, and a myriad of other things that will throw off the plans for the day, or week or month.
Real estate agents have to be very flexible, creative and understanding of everyone’s priorities in order to keep from going nuts. They’ve also got to have those characteristics to keep their clients from going nuts, too! I’ve often told my clients that one of the unappreciated roles of an effective real estate agent is to act as a “shock absorber” for their clients. We know that clients, both buyers and sellers, are excited and somewhat anxious about making their plans work. Good real estate agents put considerable effort into managing all the variables and surprises than can crop up to make the path to a closing a bumpy one. We do our best to anticipate those bumps, but “stuff” does happen in spite of our best efforts. That’s when a good understanding of the process and good relationships with our service providers can help smooth out those bumps.
I’ve had 3 buyer closings on the books for several months, and I took special care to spread them out on the calendar. But “stuff” showed up on two out of three, and now this week I’ll have all three closings within two or three days. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to have these three closings, but that’s not how I’d plan them. We just have to take a deep breath, and do what needs to be done to make all clients involved happy. If we do that and remain calm, the visit to the closing table will be a welcome finale to the long transaction process, and there’ll be no last-minute surprises.
Surprises are great for Christmas, but not for closings!
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Yesterday Coldwell Banker held a meeting in Charlotte to give their area agents additional information about the effective use of all the technology that they make available to agents and their clients in marketing and buying homes. I attended and added some useful tools to my repertoire. I’m a pretty “techie” guy for my age- my bride says I spend too much time on computers- but I continue to just be amazed at all the cool tools we have available to us. When I started in the business ten years ago, our technology uses were pretty much summed up with basic cell phones, a simple agent web site and understanding how to use email. I was quite familiar with all of those things then, but little did I know how much more would be added to the tool kit! Ever since then, keeping up has been kind of like trying to drink from a fire hose. Social networking, blogging (!), texting, virtual tours, QR codes, Google tools, computer tablets plus many more technologies all have come about as important or potentially important tech tools that agents must evaluate, learn and apply in order to make the most of their time and efforts in effectively working for their clients, both buyers and sellers.
If you’ve kept up with digital technology over the last 20 years, you’ll notice that there is always a constant stream of tech goodies coming on-line that the developers absolutely guarantee will be the answer to everyone’s prayers. “They’ll transform your life for the better. They’ll save you time. They’ll enable you to leap tall buildings with a single bound! (dating myself)” Of course, also if you have the perspective of looking back on those 20 years, you’ll understand that some of these goodies catch on, and other flame out of existence pretty quickly. Case in point- when’s the last time you drove by a “Talking House?” The folks selling this stuff to real estate agents are constantly coming up with new gadgets. Back when real estate was booming, they could sell plenty of shiny things to new agents who’d hope that their investment would pay off with lots of new business. Most often it wouldn’t, and many agents spent plenty, made little, and eventually dropped out of the business. But back then, there were plenty of newbies coming along to replace them. Now, not so much.
The point here is that it’s good for us agents to keep up with technology and use it when it benefits our clients. Thankfully, Coldwell Banker United, Realtors, my company, makes a large investment in providing tools which are actually useful and the training on how to effectively use them. It gives us a great advantage over many other companies and agents. However, there’s no technology that can provide experience, good judgement, good negotiating skills and knowledge of all the pitfalls to avoid that defines a good real estate agent. When you’re thinking about using the services of a Realtor®, please do find one who uses lots of technology to your advantage, but remember that it all comes down to a contract handled by agents with good people skills and knowledge of real estate law that helps all parties achieve their real estate goals.
Come to think of it, if you’re in the area and need some help on real estate, just call me!
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