JUST SOLD! – Beacon Square

August 27, 2008

4003 Bancroft Dr.
Holiday, FL 34691

2 beds / 1.5 baths / 1-car garage  $62,850

You MUST see this home. TONS of upgrades! Check out the photos! The bathroom is completely remodeled. Kitchen is light and bright with quality appliances, upgraded counters and cabinets. Large 160 sq. ft. Florida room completely air-conditioned with lots of windows. Neutral-colored ceramic tile throughout and wood laminate in the bedrooms. Squeaky clean! Well maintained! Pride of ownership is evident. Over-sized garage with workshop and built-in shelves. Efficient open floorplan. Corner lot with extra parking on the side. BIG private fenced backyard perfect for BBQ’s and relaxing with the family. Covered screened patio. Located close to incredible shopping, dining and entertainment. WORTH PUTTING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LIST.

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Why the sidearm?

August 18, 2008

gun2The old sheriff was attending an awards dinner when a lady commented on his wearing his sidearm. ‘Sheriff, I see you have your pistol. Are you expecting trouble?’ ‘No Ma’am. If I were expecting trouble, I would have brought my shotgun.’

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Home Inspection Tips for Home Buyers

August 17, 2008

by Brandon Cornett

The home inspection is an essential part of the home buying process. In this article we will talk more about the home inspection, how it works, how to find an inspector, and related topics.

What Does a Home Inspector Do?
In short, an inspector checks the safety and functionality of your potential home. He will focus primarily on the structural and mechanical aspects of the home (as opposed to cosmetic or aesthetic items).

It’s a good idea to get a home inspection as soon as possible after the seller accepts your offer. This will help you determine if there are any major problems with the property — and sooner is better than later. You should also make the purchase agreement / contract contingent upon the home inspection. That way, if the inspection uncovers a major flaw that you’re unwilling to accept, you have a legal way out of the contract.

Don’t confuse this process with the home appraisal process. The appraisal protects the lender’s financial interests in the property. The home inspection protects your interests, as the buyer. The appraisal is the bank’s way of determining whether or not the house is worth the price you’ve agreed to pay for it. The inspection is your way of identifying structural or mechanical problems with the house. Two different things entirely.

Where to Find an Inspector
Finding a qualified home inspector is usually fairly simple. Here are some ideas:

– Ask a friend or coworker who has recently bought a home in the area.
– Ask your agent if he or she can recommend a qualified person for the job.
– Visit the American Society of Home Inspectors website at
– Visit the National Association of Home Inspectors website at

When you find a candidate, ask how many home inspections he has done. Also ask what certifications he carries. The person you choose should be certified by one of the national associations.

Who’s Fixing What?
So you’ve found someone to inspect the property, and he has come back with a list of discrepancies. Now what? When you review the inspector’s list with your agent, you’ll have to decide which items (if any) you want the sellers to repair. Like nearly everything else in the home-buying process, the fix-it list is negotiable. When you submit your list of requested repairs to the sellers, you face one of several outcomes:

– The sellers will agree to fix all of the items.
– They will only agree to fix some of the items.
– They will refuse to fix anything (most common in a seller’s market).
– The seller will reduce the price in lieu of certain repairs.

How you proceed in light of the seller’s response is up to you, with your agent’s input. A good rule of thumb — don’t ever turn a blind eye to a major repair issue just because you’re excited about getting in the house. If you’re an experienced investor and you’re buying the house specifically to fix it up, that’s one thing. But if you’re buying your first home, be conservative and carefully consider each item on the inspector’s list. It will benefit you in the long run.

About the Author: Brandon Cornett publishes the Home Buying Institute, a website full of advice on mortgages loans, house hunting, credit scores and more. Learn more or contact the author by visiting

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Lenders setting short sale prices?

August 11, 2008

short-salesA Realtor sent in a letter to the editor in the October 2008 “Florida Realtor” magazine expressing his opinion that it is wise to allow the bank to set the list price on short sales. Here is the letter:

“If the listing agent determines that the sale of a home won’t satisfy the loan, he or she should contact the bank in first position and notify them that the homeowner wants to market the house for sale, and that the transaction will constitute a short sale. The bank can then do their BPO [broker price opinion] and set the “market price.” Imagine that. In a matter of seven to 10 days, we now have a property on the market, in the MLS, advertised for sale at a price that we know the bank will accept.”

From my experience this just isn’t how the short sale process works. And it definitely isn’t a realistic idea about how to improve it. The first few phone calls to a lender in 1st position are typically to low-level employees in the Loss Mitigation Department. These people aren’t authorized to give the banks bottom line or to order a BPO.

In fact the bank doesn’t want the listing agent to know their bottom line. They actually wish to hide this from them much the same as the seller of the home, in a normal sale, doesn’t want potential buyers knowing their bottom line. The whole concept behind real estate negotiation is to attract a buyer ready, willing and able to pay the highest dollar amount that the current market will bare.

Asking a bank for their bottom line is like walking into a car dealership and asking for their bottom line. No dealer is going to leave money on the table and come right out and tell you what they would accept. Their goal is to sell as high as possible while your goal is to buy as low as possible.

When you bid on an item on eBay why do you think you don’t know the sellers bottom line? Quite simply they are playing their cards close to their chest in hopes of attracting a buyer willing to pay even more than their bottom line. Welcome to America and capitalism.

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Real Estate Auctions – 21 Tips for Home Buyers

August 9, 2008

by Brandon Cornett

You are probably already aware of the rise in home foreclosures that has occurred in recent months. After all, it has been in the news almost daily for several months now.

But what you may not know is that many of the properties that get foreclosed upon end up being sold at real estate auctions for less than market value. What this means to you, as a home buyer, is that you can often save a lot of money by purchasing a home at auction (instead of buying it through a traditional real estate transaction).

With that in mind, I would like to offer you 21 important points about this topic. There are some of the things you should know before attempting to buy a home at a real estate auction.

21 Things You Should Know

1. The process leading up to a foreclosure can last up to five months. It starts when the homeowner defaults on the loan, but it can drag on through various stages, depending on what state you are in.

2. Because of this lengthy process, you need to be flexible, patient and persistent, all at the same time.

3. At some point, the lender will file a notice of default against the homeowner, which formally begins the process of foreclosure.

4. From a legal perspective, there are two types of foreclosures — the judicial and the non-judicial. As you would imagine, the former takes place in court and the latter takes place outside of court.

5. Most foreclosures in this country are of the non-judicial variety, meaning they never go to court before a judge.

6. The non-judicial variety is also referred to as a “power of sale” foreclosure. It allows the trustee to sell the property more quickly (on behalf of the lender) by avoiding a court process.

7. During the pre-foreclosure stage, the homeowner may work with the lender to get back on track with his or her mortgage payments.

8. Also during this stage, the homeowner could sell the home before the bank forecloses on it, typically through what’s known as a real estate short sale process.

9. If the homeowner fails to (A) get back on track with mortgage payments or (B) sell the house via short sale, the property will move along the path to a real estate auction.

10. About 20 days before the real estate auction is to take place, a notice of sale will be posted for public viewing.

11. In most cases, the notice of sale is posted at the county courthouse (in the county where the foreclosed property is located).

12. In most cases, the actual auction will also take place at the county courthouse.

13. In addition to the notice of public sale (which is a minimum requirement), the lender will announce the auction event through other channels as well, because…

14. The lender wants a good turnout at the event, because having a lot of qualified bidders will increase the likelihood of a quick sale.

15. The lender wants a quick sale above all else, because they are losing money and wasting other resources by keeping the non-performing (unpaid) loan on their books.

16. In true auction fashion, the attendees will bid on the property and it will eventually be sold to the highest bidder.

17. After the home is sold, a deed will be given to the successful bidder. This person is now the new owner.

18. The starting price for a home being sold at auction is normally based on the amount owed to the lender (combined with other expenses the lender might have incurred when foreclosing on the property).

19. Overbidding is a common mistake among first-time attendees. This will drive up the price of the home and defeat the purpose of buying through an auction. The purpose for investors is to obtain a property below market value.

20. In most scenarios, attendees must have financing lined up before they will be allowed to bid on a property. For obvious reasons, real estate auctions are typically cash-based.

21. Most homes sold in this way are sold as-is with no warranties of any kind. So if you have the chance to inspect the property before bidding on it (even if it’s just a cursory walkthrough), take that opportunity.

Obviously this article does not cover everything you need to know about buying a home through a real estate auction. Entire books have been written on the subject, and you should read those too. But this article will help you understand the basic process that takes place, and therefore shall serve as a good jumping-off point for your further research.

With that in mind, I recommend you print it out and highlight the areas where your knowledge is lacking. Then, learn as much as you can about those areas. Good luck!

About the Author: Brandon Cornett publishes the Home Buying Institute, a website full of advice on mortgages loans, house hunting, credit scores and more. Learn more or contact the author by visiting

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A simple solution

August 5, 2008

A very successful Real Estate Broker had a meeting with his new son-in-law. “I love my daughter, and now I welcome you into the family,” said the man. “To show you how much we care for you, I’m making you a 50-50 partner in my Real Estate office. All you have to do is go to the office every day and learn the business.”

The son-in-law interrupted, “I hate working in offices. I can’t stand Realtors!.”

“I see,” replied the father-in-law. “Well, then you’ll work in the office and take charge of some the paperwork.”

“I hate paperwork,” said the son-on-law. “I can’t stand being stuck behind a desk all day.”

“Wait a minute,” said the father-in-law. “I just made you half-owner of my Real Estate office, but you don’t like Realtors and won’t work in a office. What am I going to do with you?”

“Easy,” said the young man. “Buy me out.”

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Little bells to scare away bears

August 4, 2008

bear-bellsThe Colorado State Department of Fish and Wildlife is advising hikers, hunters, fishermen, and golfers to take extra precautions and be on the alert for bears while in the Dillon, Breckenridge, and Keystone area.

They advise people to wear noise-producing devices such as little bells on their clothing to alert but not startle the bears unexpectedly.

They also advise you to carry pepper spray in case of an encounter with a bear. It is also a good idea to watch for signs of bear activity.

People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear droppings.

Black bear droppings are smaller and contain berries and possibly squirrel fur.

Grizzly bear droppings have bells in them and smell like pepper spray.

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Maintenance Free House For Sale!

August 4, 2008

I listed a maintenance free house. In the last 25 years there hasn’t been any maintenance.

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Only about 10% of FSBO’s sell (90% don’t!)

August 3, 2008

soldbwhouseIf you’re attempting to sell your home without a Realtor be advised that the cards are not stacked in your favor. Even in a normal or healthy real estate market selling without a Realtor is only successful about 10% of the time. This means that 90% of your fellow FSBO’s never attract a buyer. Eventually, they almost all list with a Realtor.

When you couple the above statistics with the fact that we’re in a declining and almost paralyzed market you have literally close to no chance of ever selling on your own. The only homes that are getting any showing activity are the ones listed with a Realtor and priced attractively. What is an attractive price? In a market completely saturated with shortsales and foreclosures there is only one way to compete….price. You’ve got to price competitively or you’ve got no chance at all. Typically, in today’s market, only those listings priced in the lower 25% of comparable properties are getting shown and getting sold. Everyone else is left frustrated and empty handed.

So what matters most to you? Is your goal to actually sell your home? If so you need your property exposed to the greatest number of potential buyers as possible, and the only way to do this is have your home listed in the Multiple Listing Service. There simply is no way around this reality. And it takes a Realtor to enter a home into MLS. For Sale By Owner’s are only attracting drive-by traffic. The thousands of Realtors with access to MLS don’t even know you exist, and if they do, they will avoid you for a variety of reasons.

Why would a Realtor ever consider showing your FSBO property when there are dozens or possibly hundreds of comparable LISTED homes to show their buyer? Knowing there is a listing means the Realtor can relax and not worry about having to negotiate for their commission with an unreasonable home seller. In MLS all listings clearly show the commission that will be paid at closing and it is guaranteed by a signed legal document called a “listing agreement.” With FSBO’s a buyer’s agent risks a seller changing their mind and refusing to pay the verbally agreed upon commission. In this buyers’ market Realtors avoid FSBO’s like the plague.

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