Buyer and seller expectations can affect real estate sales

by Dan Krell
© 2013

Home SalesBuyer and seller expectations can affect the housing market

Recent positive housing news has raised expectations for many home sellers, but not for some home buyers who are looking for a great deal. This combination of seller and buyer expectations can make for an interesting spring market.

Expectations, much like beliefs, are influenced by your experiences as well as information to which you’re exposed. A combination of media reports and stories by relatives, friends, and co-workers could create an expectation about the home buying process that could be practical or unrealistic.

Regardless of your expectations, the home selling/buying process is full of pitfalls and surprises. If you’re not prepared, your expectations could set you up for disappointment. Of the many components of the sale/purchase process, the highest expectations are typically placed on pricing and the home inspection.

Home sellers obviously want to sell their home for the highest price. News of low inventory and increasing average home sale prices nationally and regionally would lead you to believe that your home could fetch a higher price. Of course, expectations of a higher price should be reality checked with factual neighborhood data.

Home buyers, on the other hand, want to buy a perfect home and feel as if they bought for a good price. For many buyers, stories of homes purchased at serious discounts are fresh in their memories and may set an unrealistic expectation. Once again, factual data can be a reality check; and depending on the neighborhood, savvy negotiation could be warranted. For example, buyers are encountering fierce competition (not unlike the market just before the financial crisis) in some neighborhoods. And although home buyers are rushing to see homes recently added to the inventory, many are not interested in paying the list price. And although some homes are getting multiple offers, many are not. And of those receiving multiple offers, many of those offers are below list price.

Additionally, appraisals can be an issue too; buyers and sellers alike typically expect that the home appraises for the contract price. If not properly prepared, some home sellers can react to low appraisals by initially finding fault with the appraiser’s comparables and methodology, as well as wanting the buyer to pay the balance; while home buyers may experience increased uncertainty and doubt about their purchase.

High expectations are typically had for the home inspection by all. Home sellers who put forth the effort to prepare their home for a sale, often spending money for updates and upgrades, expect the home inspection to reveal a perfect home. If not prepared, the seller can become headstrong when confronted with an inspection that is other than exemplary. Buyers wanting a perfect home may also be demanding of even inconsequential repairs to be made by the seller.

Buyers and sellers sometimes choose to work with agents who offer promise to meet their sometimes unrealistic expectations, only to be let down by the reality of the sale/purchase process.

Veteran real estate agents often appreciate the novelty of each real estate transaction, due to the ever changing market, circumstances of the transaction, as well as the personalities of the parties involved. Your real estate agent can help you set the tone of your expectations; an experienced and skillful real estate agent can prepare you for the ups and downs of the selling/buying process by reframing your expectations to fit the reality of your neighborhood housing market.

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This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published the week of March 25, 2013. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2013 Dan Krell.

Homeseller turned landlord

Dan Krell, Realtor®
© 2012

Reluctant home sellers turn to renting their homes.

home for saleHanding over the keys of your most expensive investment to another person is not how you think you would have moved on with your life.  But, because the housing market threw a wrench in many peoples’ plans, many home owners who could not sell their homes decided to rent it instead.  Unfortunately, some didn’t know what to expect from their tenants, while others didn’t realize that they had obligations as a landlord.  And as you might imagine some rental arrangements did not turn out so well.

Although the home owner turned landlord may feel kinship to the hard core real estate investor, there are some differences.  Unlike the genuine real estate investor, most people are not accustomed to leaving their home in another’s care (often the person is a total stranger).  Another difference is that the home owner may decide to rent their home to ride out the housing market, while the hard core investor has made a commitment to the real estate investment as a vehicle for accumulating wealth; many investors will hold property for many years looking forward to the future payoff of appreciation when the property is sold.

Of course there is a commonality too; the desire for positive cash flow.  The positive cash flow is the perpetual incoming of cash so the mortgages and other real estate related expenses (such as property taxes, HOA/condo dues, maintenance, insurance, etc.) can be paid. Although a positive cash flow is a good thing, some are content just to break even and have no net proceeds from the rental.  Expenses can add up quickly and turn the rental into a negative cash flow situation (when the rent does not cover all the home expenses); which can became the source of serious financial issues.

home for saleSo, you decided to rent your home (or maybe you were talked into it) so you could move on with your life, what now?  Finding tenants and maintaining the property can be an issue for the novice and experienced alike.  Although seasoned real estate investors have systems in place for various aspects of their business (from finding tenants to collecting rent); you might consider hiring a licensed professional to manage your rental property.  For a fee, professional property managers take care of your rental property: which can include finding tenants, collect rents, and maintain the property.

And since rental agreements can be rather legally complex, consulting with an attorney prior to entering into the agreement would be prudent; as well as consulting with an attorney when issues arise between you and your tenant.

Consider getting additional information about rental properties before embarking on your new journey.   Some municipalities and local governments offer resources to inform you of your obligations and provide additional resources.  For example, the local government of Montgomery County MD offers resources for landlords and tenants.  Besides the “Commission on Landlord – Tenant Affairs,” which hears landlord – tenant disputes; other resources are available including a description of “ordinary wear and tear,” and links to the District Court of Maryland listing actions a landlord can take against a tenant (and vise verse).

What seems to be a comprehensive guide is the “Landlord – Tenant Handbook,” which is offered as a manual to renting for both the landlord and tenant.  The handbook describes: the obligations of the landlord and tenant; property licensing requirements; rental application and lease; security deposits; property maintenance; complaints; terminating the lease; and “survival tips.” The handbook and other landlord – tenant resources can be found at (click the “Landlord & Tenant” link).

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This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of September 10 , 2012. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2012 Dan Krell.

The challenges of selling a home while divorcing

Of the many challenges you might face while going through divorce, having to leave your home is not only emotionally disruptive, but has the potential to create short term havoc as well. Imagine not only having to pack and move your personal possessions, but also having to cater to strangers traipsing through your home on a regular basis.

Because selling a home during divorce can sometimes offers additional pitfalls, choosing the correct Realtor® as well as arranging a thorough home sale agreement with your ex-spouse may minimize the emotional stress and grief, as well as possibly avoiding additional conflict. As always, I need to remind you that I am not an attorney, and if you’re going through or thinking of separation/divorce, consult your attorney for legal counsel.

Of course you want to choose a listing agent with sharp real estate acumen. However, consider additional agent attributes such as facilitator, active listener, as well as being discreet. Most top real estate agents are good facilitators, being able to move a transaction from an offer to close; but in a divorce situation, the listing agent should not only address the buyers side in negotiation, the agent needs to be able to facilitate the transaction by bringing both ex-spouses together.

In what may seem to be a skill that is scarce these days, active listening is not only hearing what you may have to say but is demonstrating you are understood. Not unlike a counselor, the agent with active listening skills is able to recap a conversation and be able to actively address your concerns during the home sale.

To thwart unwanted lowball offers, the listing agent must be also be discreet. Home buyers may sometimes mistakenly equate a divorce related home sale with a distressed property, and subsequently present an offer that is below market pricing. Additionally, the listing agent must remember that they have a fiduciary responsibility when representing all the sellers of the property and not should not favor one side or attempt to cram offers through.

Having a thorough home sale agreement prior to listing is not always realistic, it’s not unusual for an agreement to be reached after the sale. However, giving consideration to other sale related issues in addition to disbursing the sale proceeds can facilitate a sale. To assist in making your transaction and transition smoother, consider the disbursement of escrow accounts, payment of left over bills, property damage and removal of your spouse’s possessions.

The mortgage and water bill escrows are sometimes forgotten during a divorce sale. When your mortgage is paid off, the mortgage company will refund any remainder of the escrow account that was used to pay your insurance and property tax. Additionally, the remainder of the escrow that is collected at settlement to pay the final water bill must be disbursed as well.

An ex-spouse’s personal property can sometimes linger, making the home appear cluttered and creating challenges to staging. Arranging to remove personal property prior to listing may assist in showing the home at its best. Additionally, agreements as how to handle escrow shortages and any property damage that occurs prior to settlement may also prevent potential closing issues and delays.

Although proactively arranging for all pitfalls in the divorce sale is not always realistic, consulting with your attorney can help you navigate through the obstacles.

by Dan Krell
© 2011

This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.

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Fabulous New Home
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Interested in more information about Bethesda, MD? Here is a great article about the history and other information Bethesda. More information about Bethesda, MD