The Carnival of Real Estate Meat N Taters Edition

Welcome to the Carnival of Real Estate – Meat ‘n Taters Edition! EXIT Pro Realty is proud to host CoRE #156 this week with just over 20 quality submissions. So, without further adieu… on with the show!

Standard – 3rd Runner Up
While a bit negative, we thought this post was well written and had home owner interests at heart. Jim Wang over at Bargaineering has written a good post on Your Home is Not An Investment.

Select – 2nd Runner Up
John Coley over at Lake Martin Voice gives us a cool video and explanation of water depth in Lake Martin 101: How to Measure Winter and Summer Water Depth. In keeping with our theme, we think John’s done an excellent job by showing his knowledge of the area he specializes in as well as his friendly demeanor.

Choice – 1st Runner Up
This not-so-shabby article from Moolanomy Personal Finance, How to Sell Your Home Fast – 9 Tips to Get the Most From Your Home Sale is a great collection of general tips to help sellers make their home more salable; always a good thing.

Prime – CoRE Winner!
Joe Manausa over at Tallahassee Real Estate Blog rakes in the top award for his excellent article Consider Paying Home Mortgage Discount Points. It’s concise, informative advice from a real estate professional. We loved it.

Other Favorites…
The “Old 96er” Award
This one goes to Torrey Brothers over at HotWholeSaleRehabs.com for Top 50 Reasons to Invest in Real Estate Right Now! for shear heft. It’s a pretty informative article as well.

The “Yukon Gold” Award
This one goes to a good article that didn’t really follow along with the main pack. That said, Mark Menzella offered a great introduction to 7 Days to Better Your SEO Search Engine Optimization – Day 1, Title Tags.

That’s about it for the CoRE #156. Stick around and check out our new Brokerage Blogsite, EXITproRealty.com. We like it, we think you might too.

Congrats to all the winners. There were quite a few really solid articles this week, these just happened to be the ones that tickled our fancy. Make sure to submit your post to the Carnival Next week when it is hosted at MiOaklandCounty.com.

Northwest Arkansas is great for fishing, but phishing?

Many people in Northwest Arkansas use Craigslist to buy, sell and trade anything from tractors to jewlery. It is a great resource! There are also many Realtors who use it to advertise the wonderful properties for sale here in this area. I even use it myself. But I have just become aware of a potential misuse of the system!

Are the fish biting?

It appears that a few unscrupulous people are taking houses that are posted for sale, reworking the information to make them appear to be for rent, and then collecting people personal information from a bogus rental or credit application. This type of menace is called phishing. It may look like a legitimate site, but it isn’t and the attackers then use your information for, well, any of several possible things: identity theft, selling to mailing lists, and more stuff I don’t even know about!

Avoiding the hook

This is not necessarily a reason to stop using Craigslist, but it is a reason to be careful. You should always be cautious when providing personal information online. Always make personal contact via phone or (preferably) face-to-face with a potential landlord before providing any personal information. This will protect you from phishing and let you know if you will get along with a person that can make your stay either pleasurable and problem free or frustratingly difficult and full of leaky faucets!

You should also be wary of any request to fill out an application or credit information before you can see a property. I would also be suspicous of any request to fill this type of information out via computer as these types of forms usually require a written signature. But the bottom line is just to be sure you are providing the information (in any form) to a legitimate landlord for legitimate reasons.

Craigslist specific suggestions

When looking for properties on Craigslist follow these suggestions to search in the safest way:

  • If you find multiple posts for the same property call me, your Realtor (if you already have one, if not I’d be happy to help), or the listing agent and ask what is going on. This is especially true if one ad is for sale and the other is for rent
  • Check the URL of the site where the Craigslist link sends you
  • Never enter private information directly into a Craigslist ad page
  • If the ad has prevalent bad grammar and misspellings don’t ignore the red flags you are seeing. For some reason most scams have bad grammar and misspellings.
  • If it feels fishy it probably is phishy

Don’t take the chance, call to get more information!

I will be happy to help you locate your next rental or new home and together we will identify the hooks and steer clear! After all, the biggest fish in Beaver Lake only got that way by ignoring the hooks!

Please comment with any other suggestions you have for safe browsing on Craigslist or anywhere on the web.

EXIT Pro Realty is Hosting the Carnival of Real Estate #155 on Monday, August 31st!

I had just about forgotten that I signed up Exit Pro Real Estate to host the Carnival this month. This past Tuesday I started getting blog carnival emails and realized… “oh yeah, we’re hosting the carnival this week.” With that said, this week’s carnival theme is “Meat ‘n Taters.”

No offense to the vegetarians…

We’re BIG on technology around Exit Pro Real Estate. One thing we try to keep our agents from losing sight of is the fact that real estate is about people, not technology. To keep that in mind for us and for the rest of the real estate community, we thought we’d get back to basics and talk about the meat ‘n taters of real estate. We also love to propagate the stereotypes of the deep south so the theme accomplishes two goals. This week’s carnival winners will be loosely based on how well they apply some of the basic real estate principles of networking, prospecting, closing, yadda yadda. Of course, we’ll recognize other posts that tickle our worcestershire (that’s a steak joke).

Bring on the articles and submit some posts! We’ve got 25 or so agents with their steak knives sharpened and ready to slice into some juicy real estate blogs!

Hey, Northwest Arkansas (and the World)! Are Your Online Accounts Safe?

Hey, All,

I ran across this short and to the point article about password security and I thought you might enjoy it. Take a moment to read through common passwords illustrated and then check your own password list. Many of the article comments also contain valuable information!

Remember, having a weak password is just like leaving the door to your house unlocked. Only in order to make that analogy more accurate you must imagine your house sitting in Times Square! Afterall, there are literally billions of people who can access your computer from all over the world!

And if you are considering buying or selling a home (or any other real estate) in Northwest Arkansas give me a call or drop me an email. I can provide a secure lockbock to keep your home safe while it sells and I can access those secure lockboxes on the houses you want to view; all with my password-protected key! Just one of ways I can assist with all of your real estate needs.

What is Your Real Estate Career Worth?

Many years ago I attended a motivational seminar where I heard the question, “What is your time worth?” There are several ways you could view this question but here’s how I see it…

Your Time/Value Formula:
Gross Income for the week = X

Hours Worked Weekly = Y

(X divided by Y) = V (Value of Time in $/hour)

  • What do you average on your weekly income?
  • What do you average on your hours worked weekly?

So let’s think about it for a minute. I am sure you have already started doing the math in you head. It is really nobody else’s business but it is a good number for you to consider.

With the number that you now have, are you happy with your Value of Time, your V?

With your value, what do you consider to be poor, good and great. Are you comparing yourself to the hourly worker at a local factory. Do you compare your time to that of a worker at a department store?

How about comparing it to the CEO of a corporation? As an independent real estate agent you are the CEO and senior VP of every department. Are you getting a salary commensurate with your position? That is a bunch of questions but they are certainly worth pondering.

What is your real estate career worth and how can you increase the value of your time? There are two ways to increase your value. One is work fewer hours (we see a lot of Realtors attempt this process). The better method is to increase your weekly gross income.

How? By closing more deals. You close more deals by listing more properties and working with more buyers. Sounds easy huh?

Are you happy with your current value or do you wish to increase the value of your time?

So I ask the question one more time… “WHAT IS YOUR REAL ESTATE CAREER WORTH?”

If you’re answer is… “not enough…” then maybe you need to visit with us at Exit Pro Real Estate. We implement technologies and training that aid our agents in getting more money for their time, every time.

How To Choose a Realtor?

I wanted to share a short story with everyone. Last week I sent out this blog I thought it was so cute, it was written by someone in my office. I just thought that the analagy was interesting and wanted to share the story Cherry? WhipCream? Nuts? Build Your Own Real Estate Business Sundae at Exit Pro Real Estate.

I got a phone call from someone I spoke to a long time ago, probably over a year and a half ago. She called after she read the blog about ice cream and said she had been thinking about me. Her neighbor has been trying to sell their house for quite some time and she thought she could use an Enthusiastic Realtor, like me! I was thrilled that she thought of me after all this time, evidently I made an impression! Ironically, she remembered me because I said…..”I was a hungry Realtor” meaning I am hungry enough to work hard to sell her house! She said her friends’ Realtor was very negative about the current state of affairs, how the economy is SO bad, and blah, blah, blah……so she thought I would be more of service to her. I hope her neighbor will call me when the time is right for her.

Enthusiastic Realtor

I truly love what I do, and I guess it shows. I feel we as Realtors cannot go around like “Debbie downers”. Always spewing negativity, I think the general public gets enough bad news from TV. We need to have a positive attitude and let that spread! Please don’ misunderstand me I am well aware the country as a whole, is in financial trouble, however, every Real Estate Market is different. Here in Northwest Arkansas we haven’t had it so bad. There are real deals out there from bank owned properties to desperate sellers and sellers who need to sell their houses for whatever reasons, the interest rates are still very low. I know there are vacant lots in unfinished subdivisions and an excess of new constructed homes that have been sitting for awhile here in Northwest Arkansas, but as a whole, this little part of the USA could say thanks for the blessings!

NO Down Payment?

For the “first time home buyers” you are crazy for not buying NOW! You will get $8,000.00 back when you file your 2009 tax return. However, time is running out, you must close by November 30, 2009 to qualify. It is taking a little longer these days to close, at least 30 days and more than often 45 days.

There is a Rural Development Loan if you qualify there is NO DOWN PAYMENT! You do have to buy in a rural area, Bella Vista is a rural area, Centerton is a rural area, Farmington, Pea Ridge, Gravette, Gentry, and Decatur are all rural areas.

7 Things You Never Want to Hear From Your Closing Agents

There are times in our lives that are just bound to be stressful. The first day of school, your wedding day, the birth of your children… etc. One of those days is the day you close on your new home. Here’s 7 Things You Never Want to Hear from Your Closing Agent when you are signing your life away (kidding… I’m kidding, sort of.)

Cue Drum Roll…

7. “Hmmm… I wonder what this piece of paper is for?”
6. “Whew! We laid it down last night! I just got up an hour ago and I’m still see’in double!”
5. *Chuckle* “Yeah, I know this house…”
4. “Okay, now here’s the Stigmatized Home Waiver.”
3. “We don’t usually do this but…”
2. “Now where are those loan documents?”

…and the #1 thing you never want to hear from your closing agent is:

1. “Let’s hurry this up, I got a plane to catch…”
After writing this fun little post… I’m thinking I’m going to write one for appraisers, real estate agents, lenders, and anyone else I can think of in the real estate industry. Got any suggestions? I’d also love to hear some “real life” examples of things you wish you hadn’t heard in the real estate industry…

4 Great Home Inspectors in Northwest Arkansas

Home Inspection is an important part of the Escrow Process when purchasing a home. Most Realtors will give you a list of a few different inspectors with their favorites on the top. Here’s EXIT Pro Realty’s version of ‘the home inspector list” for Northwest Arkansas that you would get from one of our agents. Read below and see why each of these competent and trustworthy inspectors is recommended… then you can make an informed decision when you purchase your next home.

Home Inspectors Worth Their Salt

Railey Vien – Home Inspection Professionals

Since I’m the one writing this article, I can put my recommendation on top. Don Seba does some great work. He’s thorough and honest. He puts together a great inspection report with pictures of all the issues and suggestions for fixing them. He even fixes minor problems as a courtesy and has a section that shows you where important features of your home are located… like the water shutoff, the electrical box, pilot lights, etc. He’s a great inspector and I would highly recommend him to anyone looking to get a good home inspection. Railey’s number is (479) 832-9275.

Gerry Brookley – Ozark Plateau Property Inspections

Raven Bucks, one of our administrators recommends Roger as a great inspector. She has used him many, many times and he does a great job. I have used Roger on several inspections as well and always find him knowledgeable, friendly, and courteous. Reach Gerry Brookley by calling him at (479) 621-9536.

Tonny Barton – A-Z Inspections
Karl Ranny, one of the newest members of Exit Pro Real Estate says:

I recommend Tonny Barton with A-Z Inspections. He is very thorough, trustworthy and efficient. He e-mails the report, or hand delivers it, usually the same day, that is so complete, even explaining future recommendations and concerns. I’ve never had an unhappy client.

You can reach Tonny at (479)422-5341.

Dave Lane – Covenant Property Evaluations
Glenn Hanson, our Principal Broker and Trainer, has this to say about David:

David has performed every home inspection with extreme professionalism. He performs an in-depth inspection and is very reasonable in his fees. Dave uses the latest technology in the Palm-Tech Inspector which will generate a very helpful report.

You can reach Dave by calling (479)957-5543.

If you need advice on any professional real estate services… appraisers, painters, carpenters, property managers, lawyers, title companies, insurance agencies, etc. Please, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Did I Ask You? Do You Like Pushy Real Estate Agents?

When times are tough people resort to extreme measures to get things done. I ran across this video on Youtube and thought it made a good point. You always want to select a Realtor that is looking out for your best interest… not their own. Have a chuckle at this video, then if you are looking for someone who will look out for YOU, contact me.

Don’t Hire a Pushy Real Estate Agent

Hey Northwest Arkansas There is Still Time to Get Your $8,000.00 !

If you think you want to buy a house you need to call me.…..This is a fantastic opportunity for first time home buyers to get into the Real Estate Market, but there is a deadline!

To qualify for the credit, the purchase must be made between Jan. 1, 2009 and Nov. 30, 2009. Buyers may not have owned a home for the past three years to qualify as “first time” buyer. They must also live in the house for at least three years, or they will be obligated to pay back the credit.

Additionally, there are income restrictions: To qualify, buyers must make less than $75,000 for singles or $150,000 for couples. (Higher-income buyers may receive a partial credit.)

Applying for the credit will be easy – or at least as easy as doing your income taxes. Just claim it on your return. No other forms or papers have to be filed. Taxpayers who have already completed their returns can file amended returns for 2008 to claim the credit.

0% DOWN PAYMENT
I am sure everyone has heard there are no more 100% Loans out there….NOT TRUE ! There is. A 0% Down Payment loan called an RD Loan (Rural Development) The USDA loans are set for 30 years at a fixed rate, and there is no limit on the price you pay for the home. The only qualifying factor for the home itself is that it be situated within an approved USDA eligible area. Usually in the outlying areas such as Bella Vista, Centerton, Pea Ridge, Farmington, Prairie Grove, etc… and some parts of Bentonville may be eligible.

Typically, the USDA financing office likes to see a minimum credit score at or very close to 620. Borrowers with credit scores as low as 580 may be approved, however, they may not have any of the following:

  • foreclosure in past 36 months.
  • Bankruptcy discharged within 36 months.
  • More than one 30 day late on consumer debts in past 12 months.
  • Accounts converted to collections within past 12 months.
  • Tax liens or delinquent government debts (including student loans).
  • Judgments outstanding in past 12 months.

 

Lenders are permitted to use a non-traditional credit report or verify your creditworthiness with other sources, such as: utility payment records, rental payments, insurance payments, child care payments, payments to local stores, payments on medical bills, etc.

There is NO minimum loan amount for the USDA Rural Development loan program. However, maximums do apply. Typically, borrowers are limited to the appraised value of the home plus the 2 percent Guarantee Fee. The great news here is that you may finance 100 percent of the purchase price of your home (102 percent if you are financing in the 2 percent Guarantee Fee).

There are a lot of good deals to be made all over but more importantly right here in Northwest Arkansas. Whether you are a “first time home buyer” or an astute Real Estate Investor, there ARE deals! I have access to all of the Bank Owned Properties that are currently on the market. So Call Me!