Understanding Closing Dates

When will you actually settle on your new home???

This is a great question. In most real estate contracts, there is a date that the Realtor will enter a date for settlement. It is important for the buyer and seller to understand that this date is an estimate…and not likely the actual settlement date.

You can request a date or the Realtor may suggest a date. But do not call your boss and take off from work that date the day after your contract is signed. There are several factors that come into play when determining a final closing date.

The date that the Realtor puts in the contract is usually a realistic date in the future based on what contingencies (if any) are in the contract. But the contingencies are the key. Whether it is financing, inspections, or the sale of another property…these contingencies control the timeline. In addition to the schedule of everyone involved.

You also need to understand the wording on the contract. For example, Maryland contracts typically say that closing will occur ON OR BEFORE whatever date is entered. So that means the closing needs to occur before that date or an extension is needed. Virginia contracts typically say that closing will occur ON OR ABOUT whatever date is entered. ON OR ABOUT is pretty vague, but most will agree that within a week of that date is acceptable.

Once all or most of the contingencies are met, that is when the parties involved can start getting serious about a closing date. Once the contingencies are met or say there is just one left…you are probably 1-2 weeks from settlement. That is probably around the time the settlement agent will reach out to the parties involved and set an actual closing date. It is usually close to the projected date…but is rarely actually on the estimated closing date.

Moral of the story is 1) Don’t make official plans (taking off from work for example) until you are further along in the process. And 2) Understand that the closing date is a moving target. It can change. It may even change a day or two before the closing if there is a delay. This is normal in the process and can usually be rescheduled quickly.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home on the Eastern Shore of Virginia or Maryland.
Give me a call!!!

I can be reached at 757-894-1479 or robertmfaith@outlook.com. Online at http://www.bobfaithrealtor.com

Dirty Laundry… so to speak..

There’s an old saying… Don’t hang your dirty laundry out on the line, unless you want your neighbors to see your (poop) stains.

As one may imagine, this statement is not specifically talking about your laundry. It’s really talking about your personal business. The more you announce your personal business to your neighbors, your friends, or anyone else… The more of the chance of those statements coming back to haunt you.

And with the Internet and more importantly social media… Anything you post online lives forever. Nothing could be more true when it comes to real estate.

Whether you’re a fan of social media or not… I’m sure that we all have seen a post like this. Your neighbor is complaining or looking for help because the recent storm caused a leak in their house. Or somebody down the street is complaining because they have the worst neighbor ever. Or maybe they are simply asking a question like… Who should I call to get mice removed out of a house.

These things all seem innocent enough on the surface. But you have to consider the fact that people are reading these messages. And since most people remember what they’ve read, Or at least some version of what they read, You should strongly consider what personal information and business you put out there for the world to see

Here’s an example… Slightly adjusted to keep things anonymous. 6 to 9 months ago a soon to be client was posting about how they had a bad leak in their home they were asking for contractors who could fix the leak because there was water getting in the home. As in most cases… Their social media friends jumped in and suggested all kinds of local contractors who could help them out. Which is great, but they had people who had connections they could offer.

A month or so later… The same person goes online asking “what’s the best way to get rid of mold.” Just like before, people chime in with suggestions.

Fast forward a few months later. Having nothing to do with any past issues with the home… The same person gets transferred, and needs to sell their home. They called a local realtor, list the home for showings to begin. Since the leak and the mold and everything else has been fixed, and for the record was fixed properly, there is nothing to disclose to the realtor or to potential buyers.

After a few showings… The listing agent wonders why they’re not making any progress. Then, one day when showing the house themselves, the listing agent happens to run into a neighbor and they start chitchatting. In the conversation the neighbor says something to the effect of…” isn’t that the house that’s full of mold”

Of course the listing agent doesn’t know anything about mold, and like I said, all of those issues were properly fixed, the Realtor questions the seller and does some research. As it turns out everyone in the neighborhood thought that the house had mold issues. And like a lot of neighborhoods… Neighbors like to “gossip” if you will.

So the house in question was dealing with a high stigma that was unnecessary and unwarranted. And ultimately with something the seller and the listing agent dealt with until the day they sold the house.

But it doesn’t have to be mold. It could be other structural issues, neighborhood problems, an odor from a local farm, or anything else. What do you post about your home and neighborhood could potentially affect your future sale or a neighbors future sale.

Now, I’m not saying not to post anything on social media about your personal life. That is a choice each of us have to make. But if you are one of those individuals who likes to post about personal issues you’re dealing with… Consider a few things you can do to try to minimize the damage. Here are three things you can try.

1) Once the issue you had is resolved… Post about the resolution. Post it as a new message, or posted in the same message thread from before. If it’s a verbal comment you made to a neighbor… Make sure the neighbor knows that the issue was resolved. In these situations… Hopefully whoever is hearing about an old issue also hears about the resolution.

2) Go back and delete the old message. Like I said earlier, things live forever on the Internet. But you can minimize the damage by deleting your message after you get the information you need. For example, once you get a contractor to fix your leak… Don’t leave the message on your social media forever. Delete the message, this will minimize the lifespan of the message.

3) Don’t post the message to begin with. Or don’t tell your neighbors to begin with. Rather than reaching out to social media… Do a Google search, or the old fashion Yellow Pages if you’re town still has them. Or if you’re looking for a reference… Ask if you trusted individuals, rather than the general public. A close friend, a family member, the local Chamber of Commerce. These resources are a safe way of getting the information you need without putting your business out for the world to see.

And in closing, even though this blog is focused on the effects on real estate… The same affects can be true with other personal information online. The things you tell your neighbors and the things you post online can also affect you future getting jobs, acceptance to college, or if you’re a business owner…potential customers.

For most people, your home is your greatest investment. You do not want to diminish the value of your home due to invalid or misunderstood information

If you’re interested in buying or selling a home on Virginia or Maryland’s Eastern shore… Chincoteague Island, Trails End, Captain‘s Cove or anywhere in the immediate area… Give me a call.

Bob Faith, Dockside Properties

757-894-1479

http://www.bobfaithrealtor.com

Licensed in VA & MD. EEO

Random Internet Referrals

Referrals can be a big part of a real estate agents business.  And referrals from past clients, friends, and family are even better.  A referral from a past client provides some of the best gratification for a real estate agent letting them know they did a good job with the past client.

But this article is not referrals from these sources.  This article is about referrals from outside sources…usually other real estate agents.  Real Estate agents receiving and sending referrals to and from other agents is in some cases a part of every day business.  In a perfect scenario…the referring agent knows the client, either professionally or personally, and is referring them to an agent who may be better equipped to assist the client or perhaps to a state or region where the referring agent is not licensed to do business.  In return, there is usually some sort of agreed “referral fee” connected with the acceptance of a referral.

For example.  I am licensed in Virginia and Maryland.  But lets say an agent from Kansas is selling a home for their seller who is moving to Virginia.  That agent could call me and refer their seller to me (for a fee) to help their client find a place in Virginia.  In that instance…the referring agent has direct and intimate knowledge of the client and has made direct contact with me…maybe even “pre-interviewing” me.  This is how the “agent to agent” referrals should work.

With the growing use of the internet…a new hurdle has developed.  The “random referral”.  It can happen with a buyer or a seller.  The customer goes on say Google (or any other search engine) or a real estate website that is not MLS based (Zillow, for example)…they put their real estate query in the box.  Let’s say “How much is my home worth”, “Real estate agents on Chincoteague Island, Va.”, or “Houses in Ocean City, MD”.  The search brings up several websites or results.  At this point…the site wants the customer to enter the information about the query.  For example, the address of the house they want to sell, the area they want to buy in or something similar.  Also, the site want the customers contact information.

So here is where it derails.  The site tells the customer that someone will be in contact with them.  The site (which could be based on the opposite side of the country or even out of the country then automatically emails one or more real estate agents who may or may not be an expert in the area in question and tells the agent that the is a customer who needs assistance and for a fee, the agent can have the contact information.  Which the real estate agent has the choice of saying yes or no.  So one might say…”so what?  How does that affect me?”.  And here lies the answer.

First the experience issue.  An inexperienced agent can get this referral just as easily as an experienced agent could.  The customer may get an agent who knows nothing about the town or area in question and will give the customer inaccurate information and answers.  The second issue is the financial issue.  The referral affects the bottomline on what the firm or agent will receive in commission.  Which may affect the service received.  This of course would never be an issue with our firm, Dockside Properties, that offers OUTSTANDING service regardless of the commission received.  🙂

There are other issues in the mix, but you likely get the idea.  The sad thing about this is the most of the buyers or sellers entering this information online have no idea that this referral process is going on in the background and in many cases…were planning to call the same real estate agent “when they were ready” to take the next step.  In some cases…the customer may have been a past client of the agent and just wanted to get a ball park on price without bothering the agent yet.  But once the agent accepts this referral…it is difficult to “get out” of the referral.

So here comes the moral of the story.  If your considering selling or buying a home in the area…don’t go on a random website and try to find out what your home is worth or what homes are in your price range.  And even if a site is more well known…like Zillow, you are still not getting accurate information.  That pesky “Zestamate” is never right (when your done here…go read my blog about Zillow.)  And even though this article is not about social media…that isn’t the best source either.  Social Media tends to only offer up individuals who usually less experienced…sometimes even agents who offer kickbacks for the number of times a person mentions their name….and you probably don’t want the agent who pays for the referrals.  You want a Realtor who is experienced and active in the area that you are looking at.  The best thing for you to do is to call a Realtor in the area you want to do business.  Ask them for information about them, their business practices, and their results.  Then both you and the Realtor will have some rapport and you will have a more solid and successful relationship.

With that being said…if you are interested in buying or selling on Virginia or Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  Give me a call at 757-894-1479 or online robertmfaith@outlook.com .

Thank you for reading.

Good thing I’m a volunteer firefighter…THIS MARKET IS HOT!!!

In March of this year…I blogged about the unknowns we were facing with COVID-19. March, April, and May (which if usually our busiest time of the year) was dismally slow.

However, around Memorial Day weekend…things began to change. Our local market…which includes Virginia & Maryland’s Eastern Shore…has been very active.

Days on the market have significantly reduced. Several homes are selling in a week or less. And most homes are selling close to asking price or even above asking price. Even what would normally be more difficult sales are selling quicker. And since the cheaper properties have sold…leaving higher priced properties, which are also selling quickly. In turn…properties values have gone up, asking prices have gone up, and sale prices are also up. We have quickly gone from a buyers marker pre-COVID19 to a very strong and active seller’s market.

There are two main reasons this is happening. Interest rates are at an all time low. Average interest rates are around 2.5%, but some lenders are under 2% for qualified buyers. That means that renters can now become buyers and investors can grab some great properties at a lower rate. And even though the purchase price may be higher…the lower interest rates make the properties very affordable over the course of 10 or more years. The second reason is more directly related to COVID-19. Most folks can not do their typical vacations. No cruises, no Disney World, no cross country or overseas trips. So some of these same folks are choosing to buyer vacation properties to use themselves so they know they can always have a place to vacation and relax.

We obviously do not know how long COVID-19 will last. But it is expected that current market conditions and low interest rates will stay in place through all of 2021 and potentially into 2022.

Now is a great time to list your property. And Dockside Properties has been one of the leading real estate companies in our region. A majority of the homes our company has listed late summer and so far in fall have sold in about 10 days or less. If you are interested in selling…give me a call. And buyers…there are still some good scenarios for you too.

I can be reached at 757-894-1479 or robertmfaith@outlook.com
http://www.bobfaithrealtor.com

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 .