Challenge & Responsibility of Listing a Neighbor’s Property

The protection of property values rests upon all of us to some extent. (See previous blog post.) In our neighborhood, a group of very generous and caring neighbors helped to clean up the front and side yard landscaping to help a neighbor’s distressed property more attractive to sell.
A REALTOR is in a unique position to have influence over the process of a home for sale and has a very important role in helping to protect a property’s value.
For example, we listed and sold a distressed home on our block recently. This particular home had been vacant for 7 years and had undergone major renovation work over this period of time. It had approximately $35,000 in termite/wood destroying pest damage in addition to approximately $5000 of copper water pipes stolen and had no heating unit or stove. (Running water, heat and ability to cook  are major factors to consider when certain buyers need financing). Floors needed refinishing and so did the master bathroom. The home was in need of a major-clean-up and vagrants had been reported being at the property umpteen times and vandalism was starting to occur. The seller decided to put the property on the market rather than continue with renovations.
With all of these issues, there were quite the handful of buyers submitting low-ball offers to purchase the property. Their agents were very good about articulating the reasons why they were submitting low-ball offers on behalf of their clients, but we knew better. This was our neighborhood, after all, and who better to list and sell a neighborhood property than someone who knows and believes in the area? After counseling our seller about whether or not he should accept those low-ball offers, he held out for the higher offer. Those lowball offers were $300,000 or less, hardly impressive — especially to our seller who poured his heart and hard-earned money into fixing up the property.
We ended up selling that property for $340,000 as-is. Interestingly enough, this buyer was a back-up offer, second to a couple who wanted to buy the home but had to sell their other residence first. The first buyers had the right of first refusal to match any higher offer that came in before their other home was sold. Those first buyers declined, not able to compete with an as-is offer at a higher price.
This was a short sale and we strategize to get short sales sold at a reasonable price. We’re good at convincing a lender about what is a reasonable price…

Tips to Protecting Your Neighbors’ Property Values:

She Said: Here are some rules we all learned in Kindergarten:

  1. No bad-mouthing your city
  2. No complaining about your neighborhood
  3. No criticizing what improvements your neighbors are making
  4. No complaining about the “types” of neighbors you have…or their dogs…or their kids

He Said: How about we focus on the positives!!!

  1. When a property in your neighborhood is for sale, talk it up! Spread the word about a home for sale and get your friends and family to consider moving in!
  2. When people who don’t belong are hanging around, call the authorities! Lots of crimes are stunted because neighbors are watching.
  3. Shop and spend your money locally to support neighborhood businesses (which in turn support the services we all need, i.e. police and fire, street maintenance, etc.)

Any other ideas out there?

The Burn Rate of Short Sales

Does anyone know what a “Burn Rate” is? We refer to the Burn Rate in discussions with our short sale seller clients as being the amount of money a home is costing every month to keep. Most of the time this includes the mortgage (principal & interest), taxes, insurance, in some cases HOA dues and also maintenance costs on the property.
The Burn Rate is something we are sensitive to always take into consideration for our seller clients. It is utterly important to price a home properly when first starting out marketing a property. Some say, “Start low to get people interested!” The drawback with this is that even if a buyer wants to pay the incredibly unbelievable low price, the seller’s short sale LENDER may not go for it.
We believe that if a home is marketed for a reasonable price at first, the sellers’s short sale lender can be shown that at least an effort was made to get a higher dollar amount for the property. If it still doesn’t sell after a period of time, it is wise to have price reduction discussions on an on-going basis with our clients.
However, when we work with buyers who wish to purchase short sales, we are also very careful to make sure that our buyers are counseled on making a reasonable offer based on the local market. Just because a property is priced at $199,000 doesn’t mean it’s only worth $199,000! The seller’s short sale lender may laugh when they receive the contract and do their own due diligence on what homes in an area are actually worth based on recent market activity.
So, the long and short of it is this:
“Price it Right” if you’re a seller, and: “Be Reasonable” if you’re a buyer!

REALTORS as a Political Force

Let’s face it. It makes sense that REALTORS (capitalized due to being a trade name) have intense political capital by knowing the voters through their real estate business and neighborhood involvement. REALTORS know their neighborhoods. They know the people who live in those neighborhoods. REALTORS make their rounds and find numerous ways to reach homeowners and residents. THEY KNOW THE VOTERS.

Now, I’m not saying that every REALTOR should go out and run for office. In fact, being in office in a huge time-sucker —  I know this from personal experience. It takes incredible discipline to balance the demands of public service with the demands of running one’s own business. Frankly, when I was in office up until last year, I hadn’t yet mastered the “Art of Discipline” and wound up spending most of my time and energy on my public service duties — not at the expense of my real estate clients, but at the expense of my own business growth.
Fast-forward to now. I have a fabulous “accountability partner” in my husband who is also my business partner. We take turns bossing each other around when it comes to balancing our work/community/personal lives.
Here, I will extend you an invitation. On Wednesday November 16th, we will hear the Gov’t Affairs Liaison David Stark of the Bay East Association of REALTORS give us an overview about “The Surge in the REALTOR Movement”. CLICK HERE to register for the luncheon at the Newark Hilton.
Even if you don’t run for office, please remember that you have incredible power to effect change in your own neighborhood and community. Short of running for office, you can apply to be on a local Board or Commission or get heavily (or lightly!) involved in a candidate’s efforts to win an election.
You need not be a REALTOR to get involved politically. We hope to see you at the November 16th luncheon!
Anna May, President-Elect 2011, Women’s Council of REALTORS Tri-Cities Chapter (
Greg Jones, President-Elect 2012, Women’s Council of REALTORS Tri-Cities Chapter (


Tuesday, November 8,  7-8:30 pm.  No, not palm readings, but reading by Chabot College faculty.  Chabot College Little Theatre.  25555 Hesperian Blvd.
Get out, enjoy and explore our community!

Chabot College
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