Surprise, surprise!

Some surprises are nice. Spur of the moment flowers. A beautiful sunset. A new puppy. Others not so much. New home builders are using a new tactic in their fight against rising costs that are catching buyers by surprise.I have clients who contracted with a builder back in February for a new home to be delivered in late July. It is about at drywall stage now. Yesterday we got a call from the agent saying they were going to make a change. They were going to raise the agreed to price from $485,000 to $527,900. A $42,000 increase! Surprise! 

 Is this legal? Yes it is. In the contract it clearly states this can be done by the builder. Does not even require proof of rising costs. My clients had signed this contract before I was brought into the picture. Not sure I could have gotten that changed because almost all local builders are putting this in their agreements. 

 As if this were not enough, they added a 10% escalation clause allowing the builder to increase the price again up to 10% more, at their discretion.If you are looking to buy a new home this year, make sure you get a real estate agent to look over the contract and explain to you what is in it. Or, if you like surprises, carry on! 

When will the balloon pop?

The Real estate market has been in hyper-drive now for the better part of a year. It has been driven by a scarcity of homes for sale on the market. Even before the pandemic we were faced with a shortage of homes to sell. The market responded by bidding up the prices of existing homes. 

 At one point we expected new home construction to help fill in the void of homes, but recent increases in lumber prices have slowed new home construction. As a result, it has not been uncommon for listings to generate many offers and ultimately sell for higher than listed prices. 

 Current home owners are watching their home values rise by double digits in a year. This has truly been a strange market. Will it ever get back to some semblance of normalcy? I believe it will. These high rates of home value increases just are not sustainable. At some point homes will be priced out of reach of buyers. As to when this will happen? Let me dust off my crystal ball... 

But it has to be worth that!

Well, your house is under contract. Took all of a day and you accepted an offer $25,000 above your asking price. Pretty sweet, right? Also negotiated short due diligence times and did not have to give up anything. This surely must be heaven. What could go wrong? 

 If the buyer is getting a loan to purchase your home, or even some cash deals require this, its an appraisal. This is when an appraiser comes out, looks over your home, and calculates what he believes to be a fair price for the home. If this value is below the sales price, the buyer will have to come out of pocket with cash they might not have to make up the difference between the sales price and the lower appraisal value. 

Or, more often, they will ask the seller to lower their purchase price to the appraisal value.I have been seeing recently that appraisers are not allowing these super inflated sales price to go through. The lenders are apparently asking the appraisers to not add in value based on the hot market as they were doing earlier. More and more deals are coming up short due to low appraisal values. 

 So, before you list your home at a price way above what the going values are, remember, you might still get multiple offers at crazy high prices, but the appraisers will shoot down values that cannot be supported by comps. 

 To learn more about pricing your home for sale, give us a call. 

It can be so simple...

There are simple fixes around the home that can make a big difference when getting ready to sell. For instance, my next door neighbor just replaced her mailbox and so did I. They were starting to look old and beat up so we changed out the boxes and repainted the metal support pieces and repainted the numbers. Wow, they look really good now. There was an investment of time and not much money that made a huge difference. 

The neighbor across the street put in wrought iron handrails at his front steps. I am sure it did not take long to do, but cost a bit more than my mailbox. The point is, small projects around the house can improve the saleability of your home without having to spend a fortune to do it. 

 So, if you are wondering what you can do to spruce up your home for sale, but don't want to take out a loan to do it, give us a call. We can guide you to the smart fixes that will get your home sold. 

A good agent can make the difference

Of the zillions of real estate agents in the marketplace today, some really do stand out. Recently an agent called me about a home I have for sale. He explained he had fallen while showing the home and was considering suing the home owner. He went on to complain about the list price and several other items. Fast forward 3 weeks and the same agent is back with an offer. Not a great offer but not bad either. 

 Same day I get a call from another agent about this home. He asks a few good questions about what the seller will deem important in an offer and then explains to me how well this home seems to fit his clients needs. He then sends over an offer. 

This one is a very close match to the first offer.Both are presented to the sellers and they pick offer 2. Why? They still remembered how agent number 1 behaved and were thankful to hear about the second buyers and how much they would love to own the home.

I believe that the sellers were insulted by the way agent 1 dealt with them and really appreciated how agent 2 tried ( and succeeded) to find out what was important to them before sending in the offer.It really is important how agents conduct themselves in the business. 

Even if you are not a dollar short, you can be a day late.

Listings these days go fast if they are priced right. We are talking hours, or at the worst, a couple of days. Most agents are aware of this and act accordingly. Then there are the rest. This is me sitting at my computer solemnly shaking my head to and fro. 

 I am amazed that after 3 days on the market and 4 offers, I still have agents calling and texting me about the home with questions like, how long has the current owner lived there, or when was the roof replaced (They have the disclosure), or other mundane things, without even going to see the property. 

 1 agent in particular started the texting with me by asking how in the world did I come up with the price? Well, I said, 15 years experience, due diligence on my part, and a crazy sellers market. By the way, all our offers are over list price. 

 I guess what irks me most is that these agents would rather nit pick me with inane questions when they should be scheduling showings right away if they have an interested buyer. Then there are the agents scheduling showings a week out and expecting the home to still be on the market. Nope, ain't gonna happen. 

To the Escalators!


Because of this crazy sellers market where multiple offers for the property within hours has become the norm, I have had to resort to new tactics for my buyers. Most new contracts I write have what is called an escalation clause. This does not require the seller to install an escalator in their home, although that would be kinda cool. 

What it does is it raises the buyers offer price by a set amount each time a new offer is received above our offer price, up to a set limit.Another new tactic, which by the way I very much dislike, is making offers on several home at one time. This improves the buyers odds on getting a home. If they end up with more than one offer accepted, they pick their favorite, and we terminate the rest. While this market has been great for selling homes, I really do wish for the market to re-balance so we don't have to jump through so many hoops just to get a deal done. 

 To learn more about ways to improve your odds in this market, give us a call.

Great Story Telling

Down through the aged great story tellers have been celebrated. Back in the day, before TV or Radio, yes young'uns there was such a day, people entertained themselves with stories. Thankfully great authors ( and bloggers, too) are continuing this tradition, but it seems to be dying out in the general population. 

I find that the Real Estate universe is also not immune. Pull up any listing on your local MLS system and read what the agent has written. "beautiful 3 bed 2 bath on a street with trees, blah, blah, blah...I always video my listings and try to tell the story, visually, of the home as best I can. Sometimes I hit the jackpot and get an owner willing to go on camera and tell the story of their home. 

My latest work captures the seller talking about a very unique home and it's history.Take a look and let me know what you think... 

Just offer more?

The hysteria about low inventory of homes continues. There are definitely more buyers than sellers in the market at the moment. This has caused new listings to be bombarded with multiple offers. Most over list price. 

 I have had buyers that have become so desperate to buy that they are throwing caution to the wind and offering many thousands more than list price. This is all well and good until the appraiser arrives.Along with the crazy offers on homes comes appraisals that are coming in below price. This causes the buyer and seller to renegotiate on the price, or if the seller won't budge the buyers have to pony up extra cash or lose out on the purchase. 

 So before you decide to offer the world on a new home, consult with your agent to determine the risk of a low appraisal. 

I remember...

 I remember the day that caused the nation to gasp a collective cry. 

 I remember the day that my employees stopped working to watch the TV. 

 I remember thinking a bad joke was being played on me when I heard. 

 I remember watching.I remember the quiet that followed. No planes in the   air. 

 I remember sending my employees home to be with thrie families. 

 I remember wondering what would come next. 

 I remember the confusion in NY. 

 I remember the flags coming out within days on all the sttreet corners. 

 I remember the new found patriotism.I remember people coming together against a common foe. 

 I remember the twin beams of light rising into the sky where the towers once stood. 

 I remember to wear a flag pin commemorating the day every year. 

 I remember. You should too. 

Photo by Thomas Svensson from Pexels

June 2020 30189 Market Update


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Are you preapproved?

This is almost the very first thing a new home buyer gets asked by their agent when starting on the journey to a new home. Some buyers get defensive about this, but this process will need to be done to ensure that the homes we are looking at are within the financial reach of our client. 

Yesterday, my new first time home buyer clients called me to say they were preapproved and ready to go look at homes. We talked a bit and I found out that they were preapproved for what the husband asked for. When asked if they had any room above that price point they did not know.My suggestion is to let the loan officer do their work and preapprove you for what they can. 

At that point I almost always suggest to my clients, particularly first time buyers, that we not shoot for the top of their approval number. When the buyers hear the max they are approved for, that is the time for them to decide how much of that they would like to spend. Don't tell the loan officer in advance what you want that number to be unless you have really worked the numbers. 

I like the Lights!!

Blinking, strobing, colorful lights. Not out on the street or in some club somewhere. No, I like the colorful lights on electronic equipment. You know the ones. When you turn on the power to your TV you are greeted by a red or blue light, beckoning you in to the electronic bliss it offers. 

I was looking at a computer on the Interwebs this morning and it had lights galore! On the front were dazzling moving lights made undoubtedly mesmerizing so that you would forget how much time you have spent on the computer. Open a door on the side and more lights. I was to the point I was fishing out my credit card. Did not care what the machine did! Those lights! 

Sound familiar? Well, certain home buyers can get blinded by the dazzle of a new home to the point where they will forget to look "Under the hood". A good real estate agent will let their buyers enjoy the moment, but also bring them back to reality when it is time to get serious. We are not killjoys, but it is our job to see that you know exactly what you are buying, as best we can. If the dazzling lights are there to make you look the other way and miss important facts, then the deal will probably turn out bad.So, I am putting on my sunglasses to kill the glare from all the lights and will try to forget that computer from this morning. But those lights! 

Bob The Turkey, R.I.P.

Several years ago while driving down the main street of Woodstock, Ga. during the rush hour crush, motorists were treated to the sight of a full grown turkey walking up and down the sidewalk. Now, afternoon traffic through beautiful downtown Woodstock can be a bit slow, so there was plenty of time to watch this big fellow move up and down the street, seemingly checking out each car and saying hello to the occupants.This continued for quite some time. Locals started calling the Turkey by the name of Bob. I suppose someone asked Bob his name and that is what he replied. 

People really looked forward to seeing Bob each day during their afternoon commute through town. I don't remember seeing Bob in the mornings. I can only guess he was a late riser.After weeks of enjoying Bob every day, he suddenly vanished. We looked for Bob high and low with great concern. Did he move on? Do Turkeys take vacations? After several days the news finally came out. Bob had met his demise, apparently under one of the commuters cars!

A search for the driver ensued with the idea of running them permanently out of town, but alas they were never identified.Bob was gone. The pleasant afternoon drive through historic Woodstock downtown was diminished by his loss. Months later a local artist made a bronze statue of Bob the Turkey and it was placed along the street, just about where Bob was usually found in the afternoons. It is now a noted tourist spot. So, if you are ever checking out Woodstock, make sure you spend a moment with Bob the Turkey.  

Video to the Rescue!

We are in a time when sellers are wary of anyone coming into their home. Buyers aren't sure they want to be out and around looking at homes, either. This can really impact the ease with which Real Estate transactions get done. Because of this, the industry is turning more to virtual showing experiences, like increased use of video. 

We at den Boer homes have been creating videos for every home we list since 2006. These are used on the MLS systems as virtual tours and also posted out on social media. For awhile we got fancy and featured intros by the agent, and even interviewed an owner once! But always, we felt then as we do now that true videos of a home can help get more exposure for our sellers. More today than ever. 

So, if you are looking for creative ways to list your home and get more eyes on your home during these crazy times, give us a call and let us share with you how we can help. 

Radon, the invisble menace


Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that studies show can cause cancer. It is radiological in nature and comes naturally from the ground and can seep into basements. It is heavier than air so it tends to seek the lowest spots in a home.It is a byproduct of among other things granite. In areas with rock under the homes one is more prone to have it. 

The EPA requirements state that test numbers above 4.0 pCi/l should be addressed. The way we do this is by installing a vetilation system to move air ( And Radon gas) out of the structure.Testing for this gas takes about 48 hours and costs around $195.00. This could be money well spent by a buyer. 

The costs to install a Radon Mitigation system can run between $1,000 and $1,500. If you are looking for a home, make sure your home inspector tests for Radon Gas in the home you are interested in.

Gibbs Gardens

What would you do if you were a successful owner of a landscape business and owned 220 acres of rolling land just outside of Ball Ground Georgia? Well, you start by planting millions of daffodils, designing a beautiful Japanese garden, and open it up to the public, of course! 

Open to the public year 'round, Gibbs Gardens offers acres and acres of walking paths around beautifully landscaped water features, plants of all kinds, and tons of interesting statues. My wife and daughter visited this past weekend and when we got there at 9 am opening time, we were 3 of only about 10 people in the park. Around lunch time many more had shown up, but all were enjoying themselves, and keeping their distance from others. 

Tickets are bought on-line for now so there is very little personal interaction in the park other than a quiet nod to those you pass.If you are in the area, Gibbs Gardens is a wonderful retreat to visit. Come and enjoy the quiet beauty that is this park. Check here for more information. Enjoy! 

"As Is" What?

Sometimes homes are placed on the market in "As Is" condition. This usually means the home has some things that need to be attended to, but the seller has no intention of fixing anything, so don't ask!The seller may not have an interest in fixing anything in the home or may not Have the funds to do so. 

Typically, an As Is sale will pull the ultimate price of the home down a bit to more than cover expected fix up costs.So, should you list your home As Is? Well, the best answer in real estate is, it depends. It depends upon what the issues are, how fast you want to sell, funds you may or may not have available to you to spend, and more. 

The best advice is to consult with a professional real estate agent to determine your best course of action. 

Reverse Prospecting

Our MLS system has a really cool feature called, Reverse Prospecting. It works like this, when an agent enters a search for a buyer, they use specific touch points like price, area, bedrooms, baths, etc. These get matched up with properties on the market that meet there requirements and properties are sent to the buyer for review. 

Reverse prospecting is used by listing agents. We can go into the reverse prospecting system and actually see the agents who have searches entered where their criteria meets our listing. I will then go and email each agent and give them a brief paragraph about my listing and a link for more information. I do this for every listing I have. 

I send out emails each morning to the new searches that come up overnight. Two things amaze me about this system. 1) That these emails prompt agents to bring their clients to my listings, and 2) that so few agents in our area take advantage of this system. 

Reverse prospecting is just another way den Boer Homes markets our seller's homes. If you would like to hear more about our marketing, give us a call today. 

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