Category Archives: Resources

15 Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Real Estate Agent

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Posted by on October 7, 2014 in Real Estate, Resources


10 Contracts Pending…but does that mean recovery?

Many of you have been following me on Facebook or Twitter…or this blog…and you see that my listings are going under contract at an insane rate right now. Some of them have never even made it to the blog because they go under contract too quickly! (I’m not complaining, by the way!) But the posts have raised quite a few questions from my followers and clients.

Is the market on the rise? Are we finally looking at recovery? Can I get out of my house what I need to in order to sell it? These are the types of questions I get every day.

It may depend on what news channel you are listening to at the moment but real estate news in general is finally sounding hopeful! Many of us hear that the market is on the rise and we want to know what that means for us–as homeowners and as Charleston residents. Let me give you a few things that I have learned to be completely unchanging over the past few months.

1. Bank-involved properties (REOs, short sales, foreclosures) ARE being used in appraisals.

2. Past sold comps (appraisals) determine your home’s true value.

3. Therefore, transactions are up, prices are NOT.

Even if a buyer wanted to buy your home for higher than market value, their loan is contingent on the appraisal and therefore, they wouldn’t be able to unless they had enough cash to make up the difference. And, let’s be honest, that isn’t happening. No intelligent buyer (especially when represented by an intelligent Realtor) would overpay for a home in today’s market. So the value of our entire market right now is based off of a flood of foreclosures and other bank-involved homes.Appraisals are tied to values set by the banks…and so the wheel turns.

As a seller, you may be thinking that you want to wait this out–not sell now–hold it. That sounds smart and, for a few months last year, it was. But now, all you need to do is to tune into the news, read about the banking crisis, or call your local mortgage officer to find out that this unique problem is only going to get worse. In our Keller Williams office in Mount Pleasant, we have a fantastic Bank of America mortgage officer named JoAnn Terrell. She keeps us up to date with everything that is going on with mortgage rates, new loan offerings, and–most recently–the foreclosure epidemic. I would be more than happy to pass you along to her for the exact specifics but basically the amount of foreclosures  JUST from Bank of America is set to increase in 2011 to FIVE TIMES what it was in 2010. And the forecast for 2012 is even worse. So no matter what happens with people’s personal lives and how strong their desire to move–either to a different state or just a different house– our values over the next several years will be determined by what the banks are willing to take for their properties.

It kind of makes you feel like that Econ-101 class you took Freshman year was a waste,  huh? If supply goes down or demand goes up,prices increase…right?! Well–not in this case.

So really the conclusion is that if you want to sell, need to sell, or think that you might need to sell in the next 3-5 years, DO IT FAST. I mean, really quickly. Get the house on the market and priced to sell in 90 days before we hit our Fall slump. And, if not, stop thinking about it and wondering. Plant a garden, build a deck, bunk up the kids…just know you’re staying put for a while.


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Are you considering a Short Sale? If so, READ THIS!!

If you are upside down in your home and considering a short sale, this is a must-read article published this morning on  You should still always contact your local CPA and/or attorney for the most up-to-date information but this gives a more complete rule of thumb than I have seen in print.  The article outlines what can and will happen as you head down the process of non-payment but the final paragraph is especially important.

“Despite the problems a poor credit score can cause, Experian’s Sweet recommends that people who are in financial dead ends, like totally unaffordable mortgages, it’s better to recognize that and cut your losses quickly; don’t prolong the problem.  ‘You need to do what you need to do to get your finances back in order,” she said. “Don’t worry about your credit score’.”  So read the information below and contact me if you have any questions.  I work closely with a Short Sale Closing team that can give you all of the resources you need and, together, we can get you out from underneath the burden of your home. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 22, 2010 in Real Estate, Resources


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You’re Not a First-Time Home Buyer…But $6,500 Could Still Be Yours!!

You only have until April 30, 2010 to put a home under contract in order to qualify for the Tax credits but take a minute to read the article below from  You may be surprised to read that it’s not just for first-time home buyers!! But you have to act fast!!! Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 16, 2010 in Real Estate, Resources


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7 Tips for Buying Foreclosures

This article was just published on CNN Money and gives some fantastic tips for navigating our current real estate market.  A huge percentage of the closings in Charleston are now bank-involved and we all need to understand the reality of what changes that fact brings to our buying and selling process.  So many of my buyer clients believe that foreclosures are the only way to go but this article does a fantastic job of showing them for what they are- high risk, high reward. Enjoy!


There are a lot of great deals on the market, but buyers beware: Purchasing a foreclosure is rife with pitfalls.

NEW YORK ( — Foreclosures are dominating the housing market. Right now, there are 1.5 million such homes for sale, and more are expected to be available soon. That provides both opportunities and pitfalls for bargain hunters.

Just because prices are low doesn’t mean you should make snap decisions or buy something that isn’t right. Here are 7 tips for making sure you don’t get taken for a ride.

1. Don’t get caught up in a feeding frenzy

“Everybody and their grandmas are trying to buy foreclosures,” said Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, an online, discount broker. But that doesn’t mean you should lose your head.

Banks put repossessed homes back on the market at cut-rate prices because quick sales help avoid the expense of upkeep, such as property taxes, insurance, heat and electricity.

Those lowball prices represent golden opportunities, but they also attract dozens of buyers who may bid until homes are no longer bargains.

Don’t get caught up in a bidding war. Instead, carefully calculate what you want to spend and do not exceed that price.

2. Contact lenders directly

Smart buyers establish relations with asset managers at banks. This may reward them with inside information or first crack at new foreclosures hitting the market.

In the case of a short sale, for example, it can give the inside edge. If a buyer is pursuing a short sale — buying a home for less than what the current owner owes on the mortgage — she should talk directly to the property’s asset manager. That way, if the short sale falls through and the bank repossesses the house, the asset manager knows she is still interested. It could lead to a quick sale without other bidders.

3. Get pre-approved from the lender you want to buy from

If you’re trying to buy a property from, say Bank of America, it can help to get a pre-approved mortgage from Bank of America. Doing so may cause lenders to look more favorably on your bid if it’s similar to others.

Plus, you’re not locked in if other lenders offer you better terms. You can always change your mind and get your mortgage from another source.

4. Consider fix-ups

Most REOs, the industry term for bank owned properties, are sold as is. “The conventional wisdom is that banks will do nothing to the houses before the sale,” said Kelman.

That can be problematic today because so many foreclosed homes are in less-than-mint conditions. Often, the former owners were struggling to pay their bills and may have neglected routine maintenance. Or, they may have trashed the properties before leaving

In 25% of cases, homebuyers persuade lenders to fix some of the problems before the sale closes. Most of the time, banks would rather sell the house to the next available bidder — one who doesn’t ask the bank to pay for repairs.

So be willing to consider a home that needs some work — but budget accordingly.

5. Hire a real estate attorney

Once banks agree to sales, they often want to move fast and load contracts up with legal mumbo jumbo. As a result, buyers often do not have the time or expertise to figure all the angles.

The solution is to hire a real estate attorney — even in states where home sales are usually completed without one. Considering you’re making a six-figure investment, the legal fees are cheap insurance against the risks.

6. Wait to make an offer

Homebuyers may be well served to wait before making an offer. Let the house sit on the market for a few days, giving others a chance to set the bidding tone. Then jump in.

“Talk to the agent selling the property,” said Kelman. “The agent may tip his hand. Call up and ask, ‘Should I make an offer? What should I come in at?'”

The agent may tell you he has offers at, say $300,000 and you should bid a bit higher, giving you an advantage over earlier bidders.

7. Tour properties with contractors

With so many REOs in seriously deficient shape, it’s essential to go over every inch with someone who can spot problems and tell you how much it will cost to remedy them.

A foundation crack can be a minor problem or a deal breaker, and most ordinary homebuyers have no way of telling the difference. Like an attorney, a contractor can be very worthwhile insurance.

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Posted by on November 19, 2009 in Real Estate, Resources


Tags: , , ,’s Universal Wish List

We all know that this year will most likely be a little different when it comes to Holiday shopping.  Budgets are tightened and pretty much every person I have talked to has asked for money.  It’s not fun and it’s doesn’t usually come in a shiny package but–let’s be honest–it’s what we need!  But what if there were a way to ask for and then receive EXACTLY what you want this Christmas!? Ohhhh…get excited…there is!!, in all of their brilliance, has created something called a “Universal Wish List.” It’s a button that you can download from their site, place on your computer’s web browser, and click anytime you see something that you would like.  That’s right, any item from any website…anywhere…including all of your favorite local stores!  As soon as you click the button, that item is automatically added to your Amazon wish list.  You can even alter the settings and make your list public so friends and family can search for it and purchase gifts easily online.  You get exactly what you want and they don’t have to battle the long shopping lines!  For my family that’s scattered around the country and world, I was able to add items (and gift certificates) from my favorite Mount Pleasant stores like Two Brunettes, Style Exchange, and Celadon Home Store!  And the best part is that the site functions like a registry instead of a normal wish list.  When items are purchased, they disappear so you don’t get doubled up OR have to coordinate who to give what portion of your list to.  It’s perfect!  Just don’t visit the site once you’ve given it out or you’ll really blow the surprise!  So, go download the Universal Wish List and get the shopping started!!!

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Posted by on November 12, 2009 in Resources


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