May 2012


You’ve found THE house and you’re ready to take the big step and write an offer.  But what is the right price?  Should you start low or come in at full price?  Should you offer more than asking price to seal the deal?

Determining the best offer price is based on a variety of factors, the first being the price of comparable properties.  Your Realtor will research sales and current listings, usually going back no more than 6 months.  She will try to find homes that have a similar number of bedrooms and baths and square footage.   She will also look for properties in the same or similar neighborhood of the same age.  Other factors she will consider might be upgrades and amenities, such as a remodeled kitchen or swimming pool, or view.  The more like the home you hope to buy, the better the comps.

Reviewing the prices of the comparable sales and listings will usually give you a reasonable price range.  The next step in determining your offer price is to look at the condition of the home.  If there are obvious repairs needed, such as new carpet or paint your offer price might be at the lower end of the price range for the comps.  On the other hand, if the home is in move-in condition or has other outstanding features or upgrades, your offer price should be closer to the top end of the range.

Another important factor is the competition.  How long has the home been on the market?  How long were the comps on the market?  Are you competing against other offers?  Is there a scarcity or over-supply of similar homes in this price range?  As with any commodity supply and demand are important factors in determining price.

And finally there is an emotional component.  If this truly is your dream home and you can’t bear the thought of having your offer rejected, you might be inclined to offer above the asking price and even above the comps.  Just be aware that if you are getting a mortgage on the property and it doesn’t appraise as high as you are willing to pay, the difference will most likely have to come out of your pocket.  You should also be cautious about buying at the top of your personal price range or depleting your savings as it will be difficult to enjoy your dream home if you’re house poor.

As I noted in a post earlier this year price isn’t everything when it comes to getting your offer accepted, but it is the most important factor.  Work closely with your Realtor; listen to her guidance, ask questions and carefully weigh all of the factors.  In the end the decision is yours so please, do everyone a favor and don’t waste time with a ridiculously low offer!  If you want the house, bid like you mean it…you might not get another chance!

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Wells Fargo Incompetence Spells F*O*R*E*C*L*O*S*U*R*E*

 

I am livid.  Seeing red, as they say.  Here’s the short version:

  • Steele Group Realty took a short sale listing  because the sellers were in a loan modification program, but the husband was still unable to get a job, so the payments were not possible.  They listed as a short sale on 5/11 with  a scheduled foreclosure sale date of 5/30.
  • All seller documentation was submitted on 5/16.
  • 5/23 an executed offer with a full price, market  value offer was submitted.
  • Offer was uploaded into the Wells Fargo system by an employee who labeled the file “Customer Correspondence”.
  • 5/25 – 5/30 I am in contact with Wells Fargo short sale and foreclosure department nearly every hour to obtain a  postponement of sale date.  I made  sure that the review of the file by the short sale set-up department was  escalated.  Once they approved that this was indeed a viable short sale offer, the foreclosure would be  postponed.
  • 5/29 a processor in the short sale set-up  department reviewed the file, and did not see a file labeled “Offer”  in their imaging system, despite the fact that I had already confirmed with supervisors that the offer and all supporting documents were there.
  • 5/29 the processor who was apparently unwilling,  to look through all of the files, no matter how they were labeled,  determined that there was no offer and therefore declined the short sale option and approved the foreclosure.
  • House went to sale this morning at10:30 a.m.

I honestly can’t get over the failure of this system.  I have been on the phone since 7:00 a.m.this morning, trying to push through another review….to no avail.

This is just wrong, on every level.  Had the file been correctly labeled originally this would be a different outcome. Had the person in the set-up department taken an extra five minutes and reviewed all files, this would be a different outcome.

Buyers and sellers are devastated.  I spent hours and hours, and everyone loses, even Wells Fargo, who will now have to pay to re-market the property.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  A clerical error by a non-decision maker has changed the lives and business outcomes of many. There is no excuse for this level of incompetence in my book.   I have never lost a short sale and this doesn’t sit well.

La   Mesa is one of San Diego County’s best kept secrets! Easy access to major freeways, charming downtown village and some great restaurants.  This year, to celebrate La Mesa‘s 100th anniversary, the 4th Annual Taste of La Mesa – Taste of the Century will include expanded venue & restaurants! Eat your heart out with tastings from 30 local restaurants! Tickets are on sale now!

DATE: Monday, June 11, 2012

Time: 5:00pm to 8:00pm
VIP Tasting: 5:00 – 6:00pm
(VIP Tasting continues through 8pm)
General Admission: 6:00 – 8:00pm

Where:
La Mesa Community Center
4975 Memorial Drive
La Mesa, CA 91942

Cost:
General Admission: $35 (6 – 8 pm)
VIP Ticket: $50 (5 – 8 pm)
VIP opportunity includes “Up Close & Personal” tasting with our food vendors, restaurants and beverage providers exclusively between 5 – 6 p.m. VIP Ticket(s) includes “Preferred Parking.”

Beverages: Pricing does NOT include beverages. Alcoholic beverages may be purchased for $5.00 per glass.

For information about purchasing tickets and to see a list of the participating restaurants, click here.  Bon appétit!

 

To learn more about some of the great homes available in La Mesa, just give me a call!

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to attend a seminar sponsored by Bank of America which was designed to help agents who negotiate short sales better understand the new systems they have instituted.  And in fairness, I do believe that the banking giant is trying to streamline the chaos we’ve been dealing with for the past several years….I’m just not sure it’s really working.

I have recently been involved with three B of A short sales, two as the listing agent and negotiator, and one as the buyer’s agent.  Short sale listing #1 was a Cooperative Short Sale, similar to the HAFA program.  It was managed through Equator but took nine months to close.  It was a total nightmare. Listing #2 is a VA first mortgage that is NOT handled through Equator and requires a separate secure email system, (this one has also taken way too long).  And finally, the short sale purchase has a B of A equity line that also does not use Equator or any system, and in fact was moved to three different offices.

So what I’ve learned is that there is no ONE system that is used by B of A, and it totally depends on the loan type.  Now I’m no systems analyst, but it would just seem to make sense to me that ALL short sales should be introduced into Equator as pretty much all the same documents and forms are required.  The file could then be assigned a negotiator in a particular department depending on the loan type, but at least ALL files would be in the same system.

The one good thing that came out of the seminar was that it qualified me to receive access to their new online escalation tool.  So now when I seem to be getting nowhere, and have exhausted the phone and email protocol, I can escalate the file and receive a response to my concern within 24 hours.

If you live in San Diego County and have questions about a short sale, and want to know if it’s right for you, please don’t hesitate to give me a call for a confidential consultation.