Empty Promises…the so called guaranteed offer.

Even if you haven’t tried to sell a home recently, you have probably heard commercials on TV or on the radio where a real estate agent guarantees sellers an offer on their home within 30 days. Or maybe you’ve heard the gimmick of if we don’t sell your home in 30 days, we will buy it from you for cash.

It doesn’t matter if you live in small-town USA or in the metropolitan areas… There is almost always one real estate agent or company using this gimmick. But it is just that, a gimmick.

And being fair… These companies or agents are indeed bringing the seller an offer within 30 days, or offering to buy the home from the seller. so they are technically fulfilling their promise. But quite simply… the offers that are being guaranteed are well below market value.

For example, let’s say you have a home that the market value is $200,000. The “Guaranteed” offer you will receive on the home might be something like $120,000.

The company or agent is doing this because they are fulfilling their promise to bring you an offer… But they know that they can flip the house for say $160,000 fairly easily. This making the agent or the company around a $40,000 profit. And if the agent isn’t doing it themselves, they have an investor who is willing to make the purchase and do the flip.

Granted, there may be potential sellers who may want to take advantage of this. Folks who have a home they are desperate to sell and they don’t care what they sell it for. But that scenario quite frankly is less than 1% of the sellers in the market…or maybe even less.

And let’s be honest… Do you want an agent who is trying just to get a quick sale and make profit on your sale, or do you want an agent who is working to get your top dollar for your house. In many of these scenarios, 60 or 90 days would’ve produced a market value offer on the home anyway. And almost all sellers would rather get top dollar for their home versus a quick lowball offer.

So the moral of the story is that gimmicks and fads do not work for most. Having a reliable and consistent company or agent is the way to go. Dockside Properties and I are the Realtors who use hard work and dedication to sell homes, not gimmicks or tricks.

Give me a call at 757-894-1479 or online at http://www.bobfaithrealtor.com . Serving Virginia and Maryland.

COVID-19 and the real estate market…

Just like every other profession, real estate sales will likely be strongly impacted by the unprecedented COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus.  I wanted to express a few thoughts on how this virus has impacted the market so far and what we see looking ahead.

Although the virus has been around for several months…for the most part, it started to affect the United States in March of 2020.  Each week, sometimes every few days, found Americans dealing with new restrictions to their work and livelihood.  While some debate that the restrictions are too much, just as many debate that they are not enough.  But this is not a conversation about whether the restrictions are warranted or not.  But the fact that they exist either way and that they are impacting our lives.

Restaurants have shut down or been reduced to delivery and/or pick up options.  Movie theaters and other entertainment have been closed.  Most schools have been closed.  And many businesses have switched to working from home or limited hours.  In Maryland…these restrictions are to continue through the month of April with school closures to be revisited later in the month.  While in Virginia, schools has been closed through the rest of the school year…not to reopen again until after Labor Day….some six months from now.

As for the Realtor community…there are more and more restrictions put out as to when and how we can show houses on the market.  And probably more importantly…many communities such as Chincoteague Island, Trails End, and others are closed to guests and visitors.  Which in turn means that even if buyers were comfortable with coming to the area to looking at property, the buyers can not gain access to these communities to see the property.

These restrictions will likely continue until at least the middle of April and most likely all of April…depending on which suggested timeline you subscribe to.  Obviously, we all hope to get the “ALL CLEAR” sooner rather than later, but it is definitely one of those situations where you hope for the best, but expect the worst.  Locally, we have seen a sharp decline in showings.  And whereas, we can’t do much about the decline in showings or restrictions…we can try to compensate and plan for the reopening of these communities when the time comes.

Dockside Properties has adjusted how we advertise some properties.  Keeping in mind that more people are likely at home surfing the web, we are increasing targeted online advertising.  We have also increased radio and video advertising, such as virtual tours and slideshows.  For the most part, we have not reduced our print advertising…but at the same time, we know less folks are picking up newspapers these days.  We are also working on upgrades to MLS listings…this may include updated photos, changes in descriptions, or other similar adjustments.

There are also a few other things to keep in mind.  Whereas there are a lot of restrictions to show homes.  It is fairly easy to show vacant land.  In some cases the agent does not need to be present.  That is not an encouragement for buyers to start driving around and look at land, but since it would be very easy to “social distance” in that situation looking at land may be an option.

Another option out there is to make “sight unseen” offers on homes.  I am not suggesting that someone buys a home having never seen it…but perhaps a buyer sees a home they like online and their timeline does not allow them to wait a month or more to start looking.  That buyer could make an offer on a home and add a contingency that they can view the home prior to settlement, at the earliest possible moment.  This is not a normal process in a normal situation.  But these are not normal times.  Clearly there is a risk that the buyer may dislike the home and walk away.  But for sellers who NEED a buyer ASAP and for buyers who NEED to buy a home ASAP…this may be an option.  Clearly, both parties would need to be comfortable with that chance that the deal may fall through after the buyer views the home.  The creativity and “outside of the box” thinking is endless.  But it is creative thinking that will help minimize the disturbance to the local real estate market.

Again, I am not encouraging folks to be out and about looking at property.  Safety should be everyone’s top concern.  But rather, there are options for those where it essential to relocate during this time of crisis.  Dockside Properties and I are here to support our clients.  We are not just sitting around doing nothing.  We are ready to go full speed ahead as soon as we get the green light to do so.

Please give me a call if there is anything I can help you with.  I can be reached at 757-894-1479.  On see current listings at http://www.bobfaithrealtor.com .CoronaVirusHeader-Final-2

My Realtor Anniversary

March 2020 marks my 15 year Anniversary as a Realtor. And I am proud to have served all 15 years at Dockside Properties.

I first agreed to start my career at Dockside because of the family oriented feel of the agents and staff. And I continue to stay at Dockside for those same reasons and more.

Dockside is a “mom and pop” company but pulls statistics that competes with and often beat many of the franchise competitors. We give our clients the results of a franchise with the service of a smaller company. The best of both worlds if you will.

As I start my 16th year…I would like to thank all my past, current, and future clients and customers. One of my sayings this year is, “ You don’t need to have 20/20 vision to know that Bob Faith is the clear Realtor choice in 2020.

Give me a call at 757-894-1479 or email me at robertmfaith@outlook.com to find out why.

Also online at http://www.bobfaithrealtor.com

Appreciation of my Clients and Customers…

I have not blogged in a while…but I had this on mine and thought my blog was a good place to express my thoughts.

March 2020 marks my 15th Anniversary as a Realtor. When I first got my licensed in 2005…I had no intentions on doing it as a career.

But, by November of that same year, it was clear that being a Realtor full time was what was best for my family.

My business grew in Trails End and Chincoteague Island. And continued to Captain’s Cove, and elsewhere on Virginia & Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

I have always kept in mind my roots and what got me to where I am today. I am always appreciative to my past and current clients and customers who have used me for the real estate needs. The loyalty of my clients is truly humbling.

And I look forward to my further customers and clients who make that initial decision to hire me to represent their best interests.

I realize that I can’t list every property or help every buyer…but I appreciate the clients who do put their trust in me. I work very hard for my clients. I am always honest and upfront with them…giving the best possible guidance available. And I feel the results often speak for themselves.

So in closing…thank you to all my past, current, and future clients. You make all the difference. My company is big enough to handle you needs, but still personal enough to care about your individual needs and goals

Please call or email me anytime at 757-894-1479 or robertmfaith@outlook.com .

Online at http://www.bobfaithrealtor.com

HOA Packets…

HOA stands for Home Owners Association.  So in turn, the HOA Packet is a packet from the Home Owners Association.  Typically, this is a packet obtained as part of a real estate transaction in a community that has an existing Home Owners Association.  In fact, in most cases it is a requirement that the seller provide this information to a buyer prior to settlement.

The HOA packet is usually a very important part of the purchasing process.  Every HOA community has it’s own set of rules and regulations (often called By-Laws or Covenants).  Whereas most communities have some very common rules, some of these rules can be very unique.  Common rules could be leash requirements for dogs or quiet hours.  Uncommon rules could be special rules for property usage or rules around use of common amenities.

It is the seller’s responsibility to provide this informational packet to the purchaser.  If there is a real estate agent involved…often times the real estate agent will handle requesting and/or delivering the HOA packet to the buyer.  Communities will often charge the seller for the creation of this information.  So it is something that is not usually requested until there is a serious buyer who has a contract on the property in question.  Once received…the buyer has three calendar days to review the packet and may withdraw from the purchase for any reason connected to the information within the HOA Packet.

The most important thing in this process is that the purchaser actually read the HOA packet.  Most questions and confusions that develop later in the sale or even after the settlement could have been answered and addressed in the HOA packet.  Unfortunately, most buyers do not read the information in the packet.  Many times buyers think they already know the information.  Maybe they know someone who lives in the community, or maybe they have read information from an unreliable source…such as Facebook.  For that matter, the information they have could simply be out of date.  This is why it is important to read the HOA packet as it is required to be current and up to date.  The seller, nor the real estate agent, can be held liable for errors or omissions in the HOA packet.

Any seller or real estate agent can answer questions asked about a community.  Real estate agents often have reliable information…but not guaranteed to be up to date.  For example, if an HOA’s rules change…it may not be common knowledge right away.  Hence the importance of the HOA packet.  The packet should be considered the ultimate and accurate source of information for the buyer.  On the chance there is a question the HOA packet does not answer or if there is something that is not clear…those three days are the opportunity for the purchaser to ask the seller, real estate agent, or community property manager about the question or concern the buyer has.  Ultimately, the property manager should be the best source.  In theory, they should be the most current on the information.

By not requesting to be released from the purchase contract and by completing the transaction (or purchase) the purchaser is agreeing to accept and abide by those rules and regulations.  Since the buyer was given a review time and elected to still purchase the property…the buyer no longer has the recourse of stating they were not aware of rules and regulations.  Some HOA packets can be lengthy and three days is not always a lot of time.  But that three days is determined by the Federal Property Owners Association Act…so there is no leeway on the three days.

Purchasing property is a exciting part of one’s life.  It does not matter if it is your first home, your vacation home, or an investment property.  But every purchaser should take the process serious.  From the purchase contract, to the HOA packet, to the settlement documents.  Each part of the process is very important and necessary for a successful purchase.  In addition, once the buyer becomes an owner…they should monitor changes and potential changes in the HOA rules and regulations to ensure they are up to speed on any changes that may affect their ownership of the property.

If you are interested buying or selling property on Virginia or Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  Give me a call at 757-894-1479 or by email at robertmfaith@outlook.com .

How raising the minimum wage threatens home ownership…

There has been at lot of talk over recent months and years about states raising the minimum wage.  On the surface…folks think it is a great thing…but this a conversation on why it may not be all that it is cracked up to be.

Every state has different minimum wage.  Locally…the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour (which is the Federal minimum).  Several states have discussed raising whatever their state’s wage is to give or take $15.00 a hour.  And as I mentioned earlier…the average Joe thinks…great…that is double what I make now.  But let’s explore what happens when a wage change occurs.

Generally speaking…anyone getting paid less than $15.00 will now get an increase in wage.  So in turn…businesses will need to raise rates, product costs, and labor charges to compensate.  So for example, that gallon of milk that local you pay $2.80 a gallon for…will now cost you say $4 or $5 (as a guess).  Prices of everything will go up very quickly after the wage goes up.

Employees already $15.00 an hour or above will not likely great an equal rate increase.  If say an employee makes $17.50…and another employee makes $11 an hour.  The $11 employee will go up to $15.00.  But the $17.50 will likely stay at $17.50.  May not sound fair, but that is likely what would happen.  It actually happened to me in my younger days when the minimum wage was $4.25 and it went up in the 1990’s.  I was making more than the minimum wage…my co-workers all got a raise and I did not.  Which is the common practice…mainly because the employer can’t afford to do it.

But here is where is will hurt home ownership, that which the Realtor prides themselves in helping accomplish.  Employees at entry level jobs (at $7.25 or slightly more) will find themselves unemployed.  From the teenager just starting out, to the less skilled worker, to folks trying to start over.  Fast food employees, retail clerks, wait staff, dishwashers, mail room clerks, the list goes on and on.  Self employed individuals will also struggle.  They will not be able to double their costs just because the cost of living has gone up.  They will increase their rate some…but their customers (who may also be struggling due to the increase of the cost of living) will not be able to or willing to pay a higher rate.

This will also in turn put a higher need to be qualified and educated in order to be employed.  But due to the higher cost of living…college tuition will also go up, and parents and young adults may find it even harder to afford a college education.  Thus, putting our society in a lose/lose, rock in a hard place situation.

It is all of these reasons that a wage increase will affect home ownership.  Less individuals will be employed in general and unemployment will increase.  There will more renting and less buying.  Even if we balance out in a few years and adjust…we as a country will be in the same general place we are now.  The employee may make more an hour, but since they are paying more for products and services…will be taking home or saving about the same as they are now.  So what then??? Raise minimum wage again?  $20 an hour?  $25 an hour?  Where does it stop.  In that instance…in theory only…you could reduce the minimum wage and accomplish the same thing.  Cost of living would go down and individuals would still have the same take home or savings.

There is no way to predict the future or the impact.  And with neighboring states already raising the wage…a state is almost forced to match the increase to not lose residents and employees to nearby states.  So this is not a message suggesting that a stop in wage increase is likely…but more of an understand and opinion of how it could have a negative impact on individuals as a whole and ultimately the housing market.

Thanks for reading.

Bob Faith
Dockside Properties
757-894-1479
http://www.chincoteaguehomes.net

 

Bob Faith is the #1 Volume Sales Agent on Virginia’s Eastern Shore for 2018.

I am very humbled to report that I have been announced as the number 1 agent in volume sales for all of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. This includes all agents participating in the Eastern Shore Assoc. of Realtors MLS.  Dockside Properties in turn was the top Volume firm.

Number one in volume means I closed more deals and assisted the highest number of clients, more than another other agent on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.  It shows the amount of respect and trust my buyers and sellers have in my experience and expertise.  And I appreciate each and every one of my past, current, and future clients and their business.

This does not include our going business and activity on Maryland’s Eastern Shore…which doubled from 2017 to 2018…and is already had a great start in 2019.

If you are interested in selling or buying a home on Virginia’s (or Maryland’s) Eastern Shore…give me a call.  It does not matter if your home is worth $50,000 or $500,000.  Or if your buying an affordable campground lot or waterfront home with all the bells a whistles.  I will provide you with fair & honest representation…and will provide results in competitive market.

I can be reached at 757-894-1479 or robertmfaith@outlook.com .

Online at http://www.chincoteaguehomes.net

Common Contract Questions – Part 4

In the final part of Common Contract Questions…I wanted to move from the purchase agreements to the Listing Contract and Buyer Representative Contract.  This is the document a seller or buyer signs with their Realtor to create a relationship.  A listing contract is used when you are putting your property on the market.  And the Buyer Representative is used when you are hiring a Realtor to work with you as a buyer to look at homes.

In both cases there is a start and ending date.  These forms are used to create a relationship.  The Realtor is committing to work with you and look out for your best interests.  In turn, the buyer or seller is also committing to work with that Realtor for the duration of the time in the agreement.

So the important thing to know that this too is binding…just like a purchase contract.  All parties need to honor the agreement.  For example, if a Realtor lists you home for say six months…you can not sell your home on your own or with another real estate agent during that time period.  If you sell your home independently or with another agent…you still may be required to pay a commission due to the agreement.  So in cases of when you have tried to sell your home without your Realtor…you have cut off your strongest ally and advocate…and will still end up paying for those services – or – in cases of using a second Realtor…you may end up paying double the commission since you ultimately agreed to work with two Realtors.

With that said…if you can document that the firm involved is not properly looking out for your best interests (such as not advertising as agreed upon or not properly presenting offers), then you would have grounds to terminate the agreement.  The property not selling halfway through the agreement is NOT a valid reason for terminating the agreement.

The same can be said about the Buyer Representative agreement.  If you agree to have a Realtor help you find a home…you can not just decide to use a different Realtor without the agreement expiring or you terminating the agreement for just cause.

And it is a two way street.  A firm needs to honor the agreement, and can also terminate with just cause.  Say if the seller is chronically not allowing the home to be shown or the grass is always 6 foot tall.  The firm could terminate since the home is not “showable”.  Discuss what a Realtor needs you to do to keep your property “show ready”.

In all four parts of this blog series…the message to understand is that all contracts are binding.  They should be understood and respected.  Your Realtor is your biggest advocate.  They want you to succeed in your goals.  Communicating and discussing your concerns is the best way to have a successful transaction.

Thanks for reading…

Bob Faith – Dockside Properties
757-894-1479 – http://www.chincoteaguehomes.net

***This information is for general use only.  It is not meant to replace the advice of a Realtor or attorney specifically involved in a certain transaction.

Common Contract Questions – Part 3

In part three of Common Contract Questions…I want to discuss the settlement date.  Contracts from state to state are different.  But here are some basic tips.

The date written in for settlement in a purchase contract is almost NEVER the date the settlement will actually occur.  In most states, the attorney or settlement company is in charge of the settlement date and they will schedule it with the party or parties involved.  There is no need for both parties to be present at the same time…or even at all.  The seller can do their settlement at one time and the buyer at another time.  Or one or both parties may choose to do the settlement electronically or by mail.

A closing by mail (or any other means when a buyer or seller is not present) is more common for land settlements, settlements involving an estate, or other simple transactions.

Different states have different wordings in their contracts.  Dockside Properties is licensed in Maryland and Virginia…so lets use those states as an example.  The Maryland contract has wording that say that the settlement will occur “on or before” the date filled in.  This means that if the settlement is not going to occur before that date…an extension is needed to keep things moving along smoothly.  In Virginia, it is very different.  In Virginia, the contract reads “on or about” the date filled in.  That gives the parties involved a certain flexibility to schedule settlement.  On or about is pretty vague.  But the idea is that if you are scheduled to goto closing on say March 15th…and one or more parties can’t meet until say the 20th…then all is well as long as everyone has communicated the intentions to close on a agreed date.  But every attorney has a different opinion on how much flexibility on or about gives you.  Talk to your attorney or Realtor about this if you have concerns.

Ultimately, the important message here that just because your contract may have a certain date in it, do not assume that is the date you are going to closing.  Contract your settlement agent (usually the attorney or title company) handling the transaction early on in the process to discuss when you would like to settle.  Do not wait until right before for the date in the contract to ask when settlement will be.

Thanks for reading…

Bob Faith – Dockside Properties
757-894-1479
http://www.chincoteaguehomes.net

***information in this blog is for informational purposes only.  It is not meant to replace the guidance by a Realtor or attorney involved in a particular transaction.