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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Keller Williams' Halloween Carnival in Lakeway a Success

On October 27th, Keller Williams Realty Lake Travis Market Center held a Halloween Carnival at our Lohmans Crossing Road parking garage.  There were over 30 booths held by agents and sponsors and I held a colored hair spray booth I called "PJ's Punk Rockers".  This is our third year hosting this event and my third year as a participant.

The Carnival was a success! Over 300 kids came this cold and windy evening dressed  in their cute, spooky, funny costumes. Some agents and staff braved the Dunking Booth on this cold day. I would like to share some of my photos with you as this event was truly a blast! Come see us next year!

Market Statistics for September 2011 in Central Texas

Numbers don't lie.  These numbers came from Austin Board of Realtors and the numbers are amazing.  Closed sales are up 19.6% in September 2011 compared to last September.  The inventory of properties for sale is down 24.8%.  The best news is that we ONLY have 5.6 months of inventory.  Typically, less than 7 months of inventory means SELLERS market.  What does this mean if you are thinking of buying or selling or investing in real estate?  Give me a call today at (512)786-7355.  I appreciate the opportunity to earn your business.

What foreigners need to know when purchasing a home

What should foreigners need to know when they wish to purchase a home in United States?  I tell you, in this business, I learn something new everyday.  In this blog, a foreigner is someone who does not hold a US residency or US citizenship.

A foreigner from Asia emailed me asking on a property I have listed.  The man inquired how much down payment he needed to put on a home as he would like to finance.  Since I am not a loan officer or a mortgage officer, I had him get hold of a loan officer I work with.  The response of the loan officer was as follows:

"Unfortunately we do not have any programs available to a borrower who doesn’t have a valid work visa. The other challenge would be with receiving foreign income and your current physical address. We are now required to run automated underwriting using our borrower’s actual physical address. No PO Box or friend or family’s US address may be used unless the borrower actually resides there, and the automated system will not accept a foreign address." 

I asked an escrow officer or a title company staff if a foreigner is able to purchase property in the United States if they paid cash.  The escrow officer said that if they have the funds to purchase a property to pay cash in full, they are able to purchase property.  BUT, she addds, when it comes to sell the property, they have to provide this information to IRS and that they have to withhold taxable income from the sale.

I thought this was interesting information to our foreign investors.  If you are thinking of investing here in United States, please let me know by emailing me at so that I can see if I can assist you in purchasing a home in Central Austin,  Texas or any parts of the country.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bastrop Wildfire

This is the skyline of Downtown Austin, 3 days after the fires in Bastrop began (September 7th, 2011).  This photo was taken from Barton Creek Mall.  Typically on a clear day, you could see downtown's skyline well.  On  September 4th, the day the wildfire in Bastrop began, 3 other wildfires sparked that same day.  One was in the Steiner Ranch community, off of FM620, one in Spicewood near Hwy 71 and a third in Leander off of Hwy 183.

The cause of the Steiner Ranch and the Bastrop fires were suppossedly caused by electrical (this information was not confirmed).   The Bastrop fire was so massive, that it consumed over 1,500 homes, 34,000 acres and killed 2 people.  It is said that this fire is the most catastrophic fire in Texas history.  The fire burned continuously for the entire week.

About 3 months ago, I remember driving to Houston for a short sale seminar, driving Eastward thru Hwy 71 and noticing the tall and plush trees that cascade over the highway for miles and miles in Bastrop.  Sad to say, these trees are gone and only sticks remain.

The photos below were taken on 9/13.  Many areas are still closed off and guarded by Sheriffs.  Tahitian Village is secured.  I found several trailers before the burned area on the North side of Hwy 71, owned by insurance companies such as State Farm, Allstate, USAA, etc.

It is a very unfortunate event.  To make things worse, the people whom have lost their homes cannot find temporary housing in Bastrop, as there are none available.  If you are one of these people, please give me a call at (512)786-7355 to see how we can help.

FEMA and the Red Cross and several outreach ministries are asking for donations for these families.  I know that clothing and supplies cannot mend your pain but we offer our prayers to you.

1100 Fauntleroy Trl, Austin SHORT SALE/PREFORECLOSURE

1100 Fauntleroy Trl in Austin is currently being sold as a Short Sale/Preforeclosure.  If  you are in the market to buy a home in Area 2N of Austin, consider this home.  This home has 4 bedrooms, 1 bath, over 1,100 sq ft of living space.  Granted the home is small, but the yard is huge at .384 acre.  Think of expanding this home.  This is also great for investors as this is a good area for rentals.

The home is close to Lamar Blvd and Kramer lane. Close to shopping and public transportation. 

In case you are not familiar with Short Sales, the home will be purchased AS-IS.  The seller is still the owner BUT the lienholder needs to approve the offer that we accept.

I am the listing agent for this property.  Should you wish more information about this property. Please give me a call at (512)786-7355 before it's too late.

If you are looking for Short Sales in Austin, here is a website to search for Short Sales.

1100 Fauntleroy Trl, Austin, TX MLS #2469555, is being marketed by Keller Williams Realty of Lake Travis.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Steiner Ranch Fire of 9/4/11

Right after noon on Sunday, September 4th, Labor Day Weekend, the Steiner Ranch Community in Austin suffered an unfortunate event ... wildfires.  It was a very hot and dry day but a little windy. The fires which started on the ridge of the Canyon Glen community caused the evacuation of about 4,000 families who lived in Steiner Ranch.  Residents were stuck in a traffic jam on Quinlan Park Blvd, while they try to get out of the neighborhood.

The residents packed up what they could in the 15 minutes given to them.  They grabbed their pets, photo albums and important documents.  They did not have a chance to grab clothes or blankets.  Evacuees stayed with friends, families or some stayed at Vandergrift High School which became a shelter for residents.  The firefighters worked so hard non stop to control the fire. Helicopters fetched water from Lake Travis and poured on the fires.

The residents were kept in pins and needles trying to find out if their homes were still intact.  Residents were finally allowed to return to their homes on Tuesday, September 6th at noon.  25 homes burned during the fire and about 50 homes were damaged.

My neighborhood in Lakeway kept close eye on the fire as only a narrow Lake Austin and 7 miles of cedar trees were in between us and Steiner Ranch. The Steiner Ranch residents pulled together to help each other and the victims.  Many only lost spoiled food from the refrigerator when they lost power but many have terrible memories of that weekend.

On the same day the Steiner Ranch fire started, a fire also erupted in Spicewood by Briarcliff, in Leander and in Bastrop.  Our community donated several bags of clothing for the victims as well as gift cards to the firefighters to replenish their equipment.  If there is anything else we could do to help, please contact me.

Picture above was taken from my backyard shortly after the Steiner Ranch fire started.

P. Terry's is in Lakeway

P. Terry's has opened their Lakeway branch a week before school opened its doors in August 22nd.  P. Terry's chose a location across from the Lake Travis High School and Lake Travis Middle School on FM 620.  I am speculating that the restaurant chose this location to attract the high school traffic after school AND the Varsity football games traffic on Home Game days.  I don't know if you are like me, after a winning game LT game, all that cheering and screaming makes me hungry.  A trip to P. Terry's is just what is needed.  The restaurant is a short walk from the Cavaliers Stadium, downhill, too.

August 2011 Real Estate Statistics

The # of residential units sold in August 2011 in Austin is 1999 that is a 31% increase from last August which was 1514.  That is absolutely great news for Austin's economy. 

Unfortunately, we started September with wildfires in Steiner Ranch, Leander, Pflugerville and Bastrop.  In Steiner Ranch, 24 homes burned, while in Bastrop, about 1500 homes burned.  This unfortunate event however, will stimulate housing since 1500 families will need a place to stay.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ridge at Alta Vista is getting flocked by Flamingos!

Ridge at Alta Vista has been FLOCKED!!! Homes are getting flocked everyday in Ridge at Alta Vista, Lakeway.  A dozen flamingos, as shown in these photos, flock a different home in Ridge at Alta Vista every single day.  Funny how these flamingos stay together on a person's front yard every day and mysteriously disappear at night and reappear at another person's yard in the morning.

The "flocking" is a fundraiser effort for one of the homeowner's son who has Spina Bifida.  A neighbor is raising money to run at the New York City's marathon benefitting Spina Bifida on November 6th.  The flocked Ridge at Alta Vista homeowner may ask to flock a neighbor by donating to Spina Bifida OR if the homeowner wishes the flamingos to leave immediately, that can also be arranged.  But most homeowners have volunteered to be flocked.  These flamingos will be around weeks to come unless the flamingos decide they could not withstand these 105+ degree temperatures.  Some flamingo stands have broken off due to the hard dry ground.

If you are interested in donating to this FUNdraising, please visit  Whoever came up with this absolutely creative Fundraiser, kudos to you!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Short Sale gone bad - Unexperienced Broker

What could possibly happen when you hire an inexperienced short sale agent?  The home potentially goes to foreclosure even when there is a reasonable offer on hand.  What? You ask.  Here is a story of a homeowner's experience.

A homeowner hires a broker to do a short sale on their home.  The broker accepts a reasonable offer and sends it to the bank.  The homeowner gets a foreclosure sale date a few months later.  The seller fires the broker and calls me to rescue them from foreclosure.  Apparently, the lienholder has requested several documents from the broker, the broker drops the ball and does not provide the lienholder the items, hence, the offer gets denied, and the file is sent to the foreclosure department where the attorneys file a sale date on the home.

As soon as the homeowner called me, I obtained a third party authorization to find out the status of the offer and to confirm the foreclosure date.  I requested the short sale package from the seller/borrower so that I could submit the file into the lienholder to re-open the short sale and get them approved into the short sale program.  I pleaded with the bank to postpone the foreclosure date due to the other broker's negligence.  After several calls, the lienholder postponed the foreclosure for 30 days pending review of the borrower's file.

Whew!  Seller's please make sure your agent is qualified, knowledgeable and experienced enough to handle your short sale case.  Why would you gamble your future with an agent who has no short sale experience?  Short sales is not for everyone.  It requires a certain skill, patience and understanding to be able to do this.  Please, if you are looking for an agent that knows short sale, call me TODAY at (512)786-7355.  I have closed several short sales in the Austin area covering Bee Caves, Lakeway, Round Rock, Manor, Bastrop, Kyle, Buda, Dripping Springs, South Austin.  Please do not let this happen to you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Qualifications of a Great Real Estate Agent; hire a short sale specialist

Many people are asking, why should I hire you, a short sale specialist to help me buy or sell my home? First of all, just because I call myself a short sale specialist doesn't mean I do not provide representation for traditional buyers and sellers.  Not all short sales are for all brokers.  It requires a certain personality to be able to do short sales daily. I am a successful short sale listing specialist, having completed several short sales.  Here are the qualifications of a successful short sale agent:

  • Master patience, persistence, empathy for homeowner's financial and personal distress;
  • Ability to manage the negotiation side - doing most of that work yourself
  • Extremely focused and organized.  Commited to relationship building with a range of lender reps.
  • Learn the variation in how deals are done.
  • Be an excellent comminicator.
  • Commit to staying up to speed with the industry - and to educating others about it.
  • Ready, able and willing to be very, very, busy.
  • Ability to provide lender's requirements rapidly and stay on top of files,
  • Be able to time block and have business planning skills,
  • Be able to keep up with the changing short sale guidelines
  • Great marketing skills - ability to target investors and buyers
In summary, a short sale agent must have excellent communication skills, focused and organized, patient, persistence and have empathy, great negotiation skills, good marketing strategy, and keep up with the real estate trends.  Hmm, aren't these the qualifications that you would want in your realtor?  So if you are looking for someone with the above qualifications, you just found the right agent!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Real Estate Market in Austin, TX for May 2011

What is the Real Estate Market in Austin, TX like?  Thanks to Alamo Title of Austin who religiously provide us, realtors the above graphs and charts so that we can provide these to you.  In summary, Alamo Title reports the following:

New Preliminary May 2011 Data:

Units for Sale: (compared to May 2010)

New listings are up 3.21%.

Pendings are up 55.88%.

Solds decreased by 10.58%

Here comes the interesting part:

Units for Sale:(compared to the same week in 2010) For May 29, 2011 - June 4, 2011

New listings are down this week 2.27%.

Pendings are up this week 41.32%

Solds are up 35.69%

So, you tell me is it a good time to sell in Austin?  Oh yeah!  Is it a good time to buy in Austin?  Absolutely, we are seeing multiple offers in my Keller Williams' Lake Travis office.  I can break down these numbers based on your area so call me today to make an appointment at (512)786-7355.

Friday, June 10, 2011

San Jose chipmaker is coming to Austin

It looks like another California based company is going to open a research and development facility here in Austin, TX!  Altera Corp. signed a 10 year lease in the Travis Oaks area by Southwest Parkway.  This will be close to other hi tech companies such as AMD and Freescale Inc.  Read the announcement from Austin Business Journal's site.  This is extremely good news for our economy. This may also mean more people relocating to Austin.

So for you Altera Corp. employees, if you read this post, I can imagine you will need housing.  I would love to help you find a home to buy or lease.  My office is only 15 minutes away from the R&D facility.  Wouldn't you want someone who is familiar with the area to help you? Call my "SELL" phone at (512)786-SELL/(512)786-7355.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Real Estate Joke - Manny Pacquiao

Who doesn't love Pacquiao?  I am stopped by several Americans including Mexicans who ask me if I know Manny Pacquiao.  In the Philippines, he is an icon, a hero.  He is very fond of so many people because of his humility and his regiousness.  I think that we should all learn from him.

I recently travelled to the Philippines for family reasons.  During my stay, the Pacquiao vs Mosley fight occurred.  On that Sunday, it seemed as if it was a holiday.  The traffic in the city was light, so was the mall traffic.  It seemed as if the entire country was watching the fight that day.  Anyway, this joke came upon me.  Manny or Jinky (his beautiful wife), if you happen to come across this joke, I just want to say, keep it up!  The Filipinos love you!  And if you happen to want to purchase property in Austin, TX (how about investment property), would you please give me a call so I can help you?

Double click on the photo to enlarge.

April 2011 Real Estate statistics

I am sorry that these statistics are a bit late.  In Austin, TX, residential sales (units) dropped 20% in April 2011 compared to last April. In Lake Travis ISD, sales have dropped 9% in April 2011 compared to last April.

Here's some interesting statistics.  Our new inventory for April is down 23% compared to last April.  You should know that it is the time sellers put their homes in the market, spring time.  But why is inventory down? Well, for one thing, we have been educating sellers, the reality of the market and if the sellers don't have to sell, then it is a good idea not to put it in the market.  These sellers may want more money than their home is worth and since we will not list them at the price higher than what the market dictates, then the sellers will realize it is not worth the hassle to put at an overpriced price.

I also would like to point out that distressed properties (REO's, HUD's, and short sales) only comprise 2% of our market.  That is great news for Austin, TX.  Many agents from all over the country have been surprised by these news.  This also is the reason why our market is so strong because we are not flooded by distressed properties.  I hope this tells you that now is still a good time to buy!  Want to get started? Give me a call today at (512)786-7355.

Double click on the attached graph to enlarge.

NOTE: The information above has been obtained from the Austin Board of Realtors and has not been confirmed by Keller Williams Realty nor Pearl Jones.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Formula 1, Circuit of the Americas comes to Austin, TX

Formula 1 racetrack, called the Circuit of the Americas is coming to Austin, TX.  This is going to be very exciting for the city.  It is going to be big!!! Now is the time to move to Austin, TX!!! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Austin's Rental Market

Are you wondering how Austin's Rental Market is like?  I want to share with you these news I received from my property manager  I thought it was pretty interesting.

Rents are going up and it is a great time to be a landlord.  The demand for leases has increased however, they are seeing tenants with situations or credit problems.  The criteria for tenants have not changed BUT property managers have had to work with people.  Important is, can they pay rent AND can they take care of the property?  My property manager also listed why 34 of their first tenants have moved out in the first quarter of this year:
10 - Financial issues
9 - Purchased homes
3 - Job transfer
2 - Deceased
3 - Got married
5 - Landlord wanted to sell
1 - Broke the lease, left a mess
1 - Property Manager asked tenant to move due to complaints.

Statistics-wise, in Austin, (the number of units) Leases were up 5% in February compared to last February.  The average lease rate was 1,280, up 12% compared to last February.

If you are considering purchasing investment property, please give me a call at (512)786-7355.  I will also be happy to provide you with potential lease rates of the property you are considering purchasing.  If you are looking for a place to rent, here is my website to view rentals in Austin under 3,000 a month. I also do residential leases and can help you find a home to lease in Austin, TX.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Foreclosure, Short Sale in your Credit Report? When can you buy?

Are you a homeowner with a short sale, deed in lieu, or foreclosure in your past?  Are you wondering if you can EVER buy another home again?
If you have a foreclosure in your record, there is a seven year waiting period before you can purchase another property.  BUT there is a three year waiting period if there are extenuating circumstances.  Interesting huh?
If you have a deed in lieu or short sale in your credit report, the waiting period could be at least 2 years if you can put 20% downpayment on your purchase.  WOW!!!  Please read the above articles I have scanned for further information provided by United Lending.
Here is the good news, if you are facing foreclosure, wouldn't it be more sensible to go thru Short sales?  This way, you can purchase a home again in as little as 2 years?  After all, it will be a minimum of two years to probably repair your credit AND save for the downpayment to purchase a home.  So if you are in this situation, PLEASE give me a call and let me see if you are a short sale candidate.  Please call me at (512)786-7355 to see if a foreclosure can be avoided thru short sale.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lousianna Crawfish Festival in Buda

It was a hot day this past Saturday, April 9th, 2010 BUT it was a great day to go to the Louisianna Crawfish Festival in Buda's City Park.  My family and I went for our first time.  The tickets cost each of us including my ten year old, $20 each to get in.  We immediately went to the Crawfish booth to get our plate of these tiny delicious creatures.  The line was VERY long.  While the boys waited, we found a spot under the tree, unfolded our chairs and waited.  Once the boys got closer, we took our spot on the line and claimed our crawfish plate including my ten year old who never ate one.  We enjoyed picking our plateful of crawfish under the tree, each with bottled water as it was very spicy.  Umm, I guess that is where the Louisianna part came from.  After an hour or so, we all got cleaned up and checked out all the vendor booths and food booths.  The food booths sold items such as funnell cakes, chicken fried bacon, pork chips, smoothies, old fashioned sodas, ice cones, cajun turkey leg, shrimp cooked in many ways, alligator on a stick, hot dogs, corn dogs and more crawfish. 
To boot, we were full and enjoyed our 4 hours at the park.  Will we come back next year? Absolutely, with a blanket and more chairs!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Homestead Exemptions are due soon!

Attention homeowners who purchased a home in 2010.  You have until the end of April to file your Homestead Exemption form in TX.  If you are a TX homeowner and your home is your homestead or primary dwelling, you can save money on your property taxes on your home by filing this form.  You must have purchased the property before January 1, 2011 in order to qualify.

Each County has a their own form and you must read the instructions carefully.  If you have a disability, 65 years old or older, OR a 100% disabled veteran, you may also qualify for further savings.  Please beware that a form similiar to this may have been mailed to you.  These are from companies who also solicit a fee for filing this form.  This form is FREE and there is no cost to file this with your County.  Here are the respective forms for each of the following County's.

Travis County
Hays County
Williamson County

I am here to help you save money on your property taxes.  If you wish to save more on your next purchase, please let me know.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Foreclosure information from Realty Trac

I attended a webinar today given by Realty Trac.  I jotted down some very good information that I would like to share in this blog:
  • Foreclosure activity may peak in 2011.  The levels continue to rise from the past three years.  REO inventories will stay at high levels through 2013.
  • There is a massive "shadow inventory" that will slow down the housing market recovery.  There are about 1.0 REOs and 700,000 are not listed for sale.  1.2 million homes are currently in foreclosure.  Over 5 million loans are in some stage of delinquency.
  • Distressed Properties are in High Demand.
  • 60% of homebuyers are actively looking for foreclosure and bank-owned properties
  • 25-30% of all residential home sales in 2010 were foreclosures or bank-owned homes.
  • Nationwide, homebuyers saved an average of 30% when purchasing a foreclosure property.  Short sales averaged a 19% savings; REO sales averaged over 37% savings.
I am guessing that the reason why banks are slowly releasing their REO inventory is that they would not want to flood the market with foreclosures, thus, bringing the values of comparables even lower.  That's smart of the banks, to think of us.

Are you a buyer?  You are probably wondering where you can get a copy of this list.  I have 2 pages in my website that have these foreclosure list.  One is in the MLS or one is with RealtyTrac.  These are FREE to use.  You may also enter the area or zip code and a list of homes will be returned.  If you need further assistance, please give me a call.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I made someone's problem go away thru Short Sales

After my sellers signed the closing paperwork today, the husband (the seller) said the most touching words during my career in real estate.  He said (from what I recall) "Miss Pearl, we love our house very much from the time we bought it and moved in. But lately, this house has been a problem and YOU Miss Pearl made those problems go away.  We appreciate you very much in helping us get out of this problem."

The problem he was referring to, was his inability to pay his mortgage due to the decrease of his income.  I was able to short sale his home successfully, which made his problems go away.

I want you to know that if you are in a situation where you have missed a payment in your home, or close to missing a payment in your home, and you have a hardship, whether it be a divorce, illness, death of spouse, loss of job or decrease in salary, or other reasons, please call me as I may be able to help you.
All it takes is 15 minutes on the phone.  Call me at (512)786-7355.  I am a short sale specialist in Austin (Cedar Park, Manor, Kyle, Buda, Georgetown, Round Rock, Lakeway, Spicewood, Bee Caves, Pflugerville) and have completed many short sale transactions in the past 3 years.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

February 2011 Real Estate in Austin

In Austin, TX, residential sales (units) for single family homes were down 4% in February compared to last February (2010).  The above charts were supplied by Alamo Title of Austin, TX.

Friday, March 4, 2011

January real estate in Austin lookin' good!

Alamo Title of Austin has graciously provided us, Realtors, with statistics monthly.  And we are very greatful for your efforts in informing us and the public regarding our real estate market.  It appears from the first picture that our sales in January 2011 for single family residential homes have been higher that the past 2 Januarys.  That is a 13% increase in units sold.  That is just awesome.  We are seeing more activity in our market center and ad calls. 
If you wish more information on our real estate, please give me a call today at (512)786-SELL/7355.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Keller Williams Family Reunion 2010

9,000 Realtors from Keller Williams attended the KW Conference held in Anaheim, California this year.  I was one of the attendees from Feb 19th to the 23rd.  Yeah, I got back to Austin, TX today.
During the conference, CEO, Mark Willis, announced that we now have 79,350 agents in US and Canada combined and are ranked second largest brokerage.
Here are some other notes I took, please be kind in case they are not accurate as I was scribbling these in the dark.
* Enterpreneuer Magazine ranked Keller Williams #1 Franchise in 2011
* Training Magazine listed Keller Williams #47 out of 125 companies across the industry (for best training of course)
* #13 Best Company to Work for in Texas in 2011.  They are relating to our Keller Williams International Company which is based in Austin, TX
* JD Power and Associates has given Keller Williams higest overall satisfaction for home buyers and rated full service real estate firm in 2008, 2009 and 2010 home buyer study
* NAR reports stated that real estate was down 4% in 2010 nationally BUT Keller Williams sales were up 6% in 2010!!!!

On Sunday, the 24th, 2,300 agents participated in the World's Guiness Book Record to break the most participants doing the Cha Cha Slide. The current record was only 250 people and we totally blew that away and received the plaque that evening from Guiness Book. I was also one of the attendees. Mark Willis, and Diana Kokoszka came to dance with us.  How cool was that?

I hope this tells you why I choose to work at Keller Williams Realty though I have received my Brokers License in 2010 and feel that I am capable of starting my own brokerage.  I work with the best.  Wouldn't you want to work with the best?
So if you are thinking of a career in real estate and want to know why Keller Williams is the place to join, please give me a call at (512)786-7355.  In the same token, if you are thinking of buying or selling real estate, please give me a call and I will be glad to share with you what I and Keller Williams can do for you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

2 short sales - happy endings

I wanted to share with you 2 families that I helped with short sales last December.  Both sellers had two different circumstances and I was able to successfully help them get out of foreclosure.  Both homes were scheduled to go to auction in January and I closed both deals in December.

One seller was going thru a divorce.  Yes, divorce is a hardship and having one person staying behind without the substantial income to pay the mortgage and expenses associated with the home is acceptable to the bank.  The other is a homeowner that had a decrease in income.  They did not lose jobs but their hours were lessened, hence, less income.  A decrease in income is a hardship. 

A successful short sale is a win/win for the seller, they are not going to foreclosure; a buyer, who is getting a good deal and is able to help a seller get out of foreclosure; and me, the listing agent who is able to negotiate a short sale with the seller's lender, and the buyers agent who gets a full commission.  Tell me why someone should not consider short sale?

If you are in a situation where you cannot pay your mortgage, please do call me so I can discuss with you your options.  It is a simple 15 minute consultation, that's all.  Please call me at (512)786-7355 today!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

PJ's ODD REAL ESTATE JOKE - Short sale negotiators

Ok, I must be in my crazy creative mood because I came up with this one.  Actually, I am going to be attending the Keller Williams' Family Reunion in Anaheim today and was thinking of marketing materials to pass out while networking to other agents in the country.  Only way I could get people to keep and remember me is that if I passed out something out of the norm, besides a regular small business card.  So I came up with the following:  One postcard with each cartoon on each side. 

I would like you to remember this when you are choosing a Realtor to market your home.  Will your Realtor create a creative flier for the outside of your home?  Will your Realtor use a template flier?  How is your Realtor planning on marketing your home?  In today's market, you need a Realtor that will make your home stand out against the competition.  Hmm, maybe it's time we talked.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

PJ's ODD REAL ESTATE JOKE - Ready to drop the price?

You've carefully selected a Realtor to sell your home.  Are you going to listen to their recommendations? Or wait?

Ridge at Alta Vista 2010 Sales Statistics

Ridge at Alta Vista is an exclusive gated community in Lakeway.  It is split into 2 sections, Reserves and Estates.  In the front of the community are condominiums called Enclave at Alta Vista.  The entire community was built by Toll Brothers.  The remainder lots have been purchased by Gehan Homes where Gehan has started to built spec homes on these lots.

I have compiled these statistics to educate current homeowners and future homeowners of the average price per square foot sold in 2010.  To enlarge the photo, please double click on the image. 

The Reserves section's average price per sq ft is $121.62 while the Estates section is coming up at $124.56 / sq ft.  The Enclave at Alta Vista condos are showing $124.38 / sq ft.

If you are a current homeowner and are thinking of selling your home, in order to assess a more accurate market value, please give me a call for a FREE market analysis.  As a neighborhood specialist for Ridge at Alta Vista, I am familiar with every home that has sold in the neighborhood and I will be able to give you my expert opinion on your property's market value.  This will be a no obligation, no sales pitch market analysis.  If you are thinking of purchasing a property in the community, I will also be able to help you by providing you a market analysis of the home you are thinking of purchasing.  Don't you want to make sure you are not overpaying for the property?  Please call or txt me at (512)786-SELL/7355.

A lending story - almost a series of unfortunate events

I don't usually blog about my real experience lending scenarios but this transaction I am currently working on right now did not only make the headache list but is surely worth blogging about.  This transaction is definitely a good reason why we are in this real estate financial mess that we are in right now.

For the purpose of keeping the transaction confidential, I am going to refer the banks, loan officers and buyers names anonymous.  The timeliness and dates may be off a day or so.

My buyers, George and Joe are investors and partners and have asked my assistance in purchasing a VA foreclosure property.  The foreclosure property located in 123 Main St is owned by Bank One.  Bank One happens to have a great program for purchasing VA foreclosures called VA Vendee financing which required my buyers, as investors, to put only 5% downpayment.  This was particulary attractive to them as it would allow them to purchase other investment properties without tying down a large amount of money into one investment property.  They were pre-qualified into the program before we made an offer on 123 Main St.

Headache 1: Perhaps headache 1 was a symptom and needed to be cured on the first day.  Well, like a common cold, perhaps simply taking aspirin would have made it go away.  Well, we didn't know it was going to be a deadly disease. 
The offer was made end of October and it took a good month of counter offers before we reached into an agreement.  The first offer took about 2 weeks before Bank One's asset manager responded.  The agreed price included a seller's concession, seller to pay home warranty and a closing date of 12/22.  Everything was good except Bank One wanted a closing date of 12/9.  The listing agent said not to worry as we were given 45 days to close due to this type of loan.  Just put in 45 days in the VA Purchase contract.

Headache 2: The VA Purchase contract and amendment was completed as negotiated.  It was submitted to the listing agent for signature only to return 2 days later with 2 changes from the Bank: a closing date of 12/9 and the home warranty was crossed out.

Headache 3: Nice to know but what happend to what we agreed upon?  Naturally, we cross out their changes and put back what we originally agreed on but since time has ticking, we asked for a 12/30 closing date and the home warranty back.

Headache 4: 2 Weeks have passed, the contract has not been receipted with the title company as suddenly the asset manager has gone MIA without a response on our changes.  Then I receive a frantic call from the listing agent stating that the bank will pull the property and put it in auction if we don't get the contract receipted today.  Great, how about our changes?  So I get another amendment done with just the 2 changes.

Headache 5:  Great, the amendment gets signed but Bank One has changed the closing date again to 12/17 with an extra "last and final" comment.  In the meantime, our original loan officer was promoted and the file was moved to a 2nd loan officer.

Headache 6: Loan officer #2 Now has gone MIA!  Daily emails to her for one and a half weeks and no response.  I could not stand to be quiet anymore and ask Loan officer #1 for assistance who pacify's me with the words "nothing to worry about, we have plenty of time".

Headache 7:  I receive an email from the title company saying we are out of contract though I have been waiting for another amendment to be signed with a 12/30 date.

Headache 8: Now the file moves to loan officer #3 which by the way, #2 never ever replied to our emails for status.  #3 responds immediately and within a few days asks for more documents from George and Joe.  Great! #1 said we were ready to rock and roll and now, more docs?  Ok, the documents get submitted to Bank One and I get an email stating the file has been submitted to underwriting on 12/17.

Headache 9: Could it be possible that there could be more trouble in this deal?  Alright, in order to close by 12/30, the clear to close would have received by 12/27 but it appears that the file sat on the underwriter's desk since 12/17 without activity!!! Oh yeah! You are reading this right.  So we ask for another extension of 1/5/2011.  Whatever happend to the words from loan officer #1, "we have plenty of time"?

Headache 10:  In order to receive an extension for 1/5, the listing agent needed a letter of update from the loan officer she could present to the asset manager.  I ask for this letter and loan officer #3's response is "we are not allowed to supply such letter".  Excuse me, your bank's asset manager is asking for this letter and you, from the same bank, will not supply such a letter?  Oh, that's just too cruel!  Is this corporate America?  Oh yeah it is.  So I go with what I have and we get an extension for 1/5.

Headache 11: It is now 1/3 and there is still no sign of loan approval for George and Joe. No update from underwriting either except the fact that it has been put on rush!  You would think?  If you only did your job on day 1, we wouldn't need to rush it!!!!  So on 1/4 I receive an email saying, no we are not closing tomorrow.  I ask when she thinks we will close so I don't have to ask for an extension 6 more times, no definitive answer.  None at all.

Headache 12: Oh yeah, more to come!  So listing agent asks for another status letter, oh the letter Bank One won't provide to go with the extension for 1/10.  I provide what I have, which basically says, still in underwriting.  Then on 1/5, I get an email saying, since I did not provide a status letter, Bank One will not give us an extension, property is going back in the market.  Heck!  What?!!!

Headache 13: Yeah, the list goes on.  I forward the email to loan officer #3 saying, because of your lack of response, cooperation and untimeliness, my buyer is out of contract.  Give me what your bank wants this morning or my buyers lose their earnest money.  Then #3 replies, we have clear to close and that  I needed to provide her an extension of closing amendment to proceed with the closing documents.

Headache 14: No, there is no celebration yet.  Did you read that?  They need the extension amendment in order to proceed with the closing documents.  Have you ever heard of that? Since when?  So we ask how many days she needs to get the closing docs done and how many days does the title company need to get the docs to the seller.   All in all 6 days, I calculate and ask for an extension until 1/17.

Headache 15: Joe is really needing to close by the 7th as he will be leaving the country on business.  So we get a Power of Attorney drawn up by the title company only to be disapproved by the lender.  So Joe goes out again to get another POA notarized.  Then Joe finds out that the original needs to be mailed to the lender.  What? Since when?  But the title company needs the original to file it with the County.  So for the third time, Joe goes back and gets another POA notarized for the title company.  The title company and I both scratch our heads to find out why the lender needs the original.

Headache 16: 2 days go by, part of my 6 days estimate, still no extension from the asset manager.  Meanwhile loan officer #3 is emailing looking for the amendment to proceed.  A little catch 22 here huh? Excuse me, but aren't you noting that one amendment took 2 weeks to sign?  Urgh!  Then the amendment comes back, no surprise but the date of 1/17 crossed out replaced by a 1/14 date.

Headache 17: So it takes the lender one day to get the docs to the title, and it takes title and the lender the entire day to get the HUD1 approved.  One day?  Average I have seen is 30 minutes.  But a whole day?  So it eats up the whole day we needed to submit the docs to the seller for approval.

Headache 18: It is the day before closing and the lender still will not release the closing docs to the title company because we do not have HUD approval from the seller.  Another what?  Since when does the lender need seller approval to release the docs?  I reconfirm this with the title company and they have never heard of this either.  So I email the title company, you better go get those docs now.

At the closing day:  Ok, still no approval from the seller but the lender releases the docs to the title company.  The seller approves the HUD on the morning of the closing.  I meet George at the title company where we are greeted with news that the original POA from the lender arrived this morning.  I knew it!  The lender did not need it and we have an extra original POA which was not required.  Unbelievable.  So the closing goes well, almost too well and the loan funds only a few minutes later.  We all talk about getting silly drunk but we were just too drained and tired.  The buyer is happy he got a 4% loan from the bank with only 5% downpayment! 

So I ask George if all this hassle and bustle was worth it?  Well he thinks about it carefully and gives me a smile.  So I guess that means a yes and I'll go ahead and search for more VA foreclosures once I get back to the office.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

PJ's ODD REAL ESTATE JOKE - Who wants to move in with me?

Double click on the photo to view this month's Odd joke from me.  Move in with me?

Final 2010 Real Estate Statistics for Austin, TX

Okay Austinites, here are the final statistics for 2010.  In December 2010, residential sales of single family homes were down 3% in Austin compared to last December. In Lake Travis (includes Lakeway, Bee Caves and Spicewood), residential sales were down 13% compared to last December.

I have to say that December real estate was not quiet here in Austin.  The sales have finally picked up especially offers with my short sales.  It was a very interesting month and I have no idea why things finally picked up.  I saw plenty of cash buyers, mostly investors.

It was very interesting to see the slight increase in sales.  Come on, a 3% decline compared to last year isn't bad at all.  I wonder what 2011 will bring us?  Do you think that this is a good sign for our economy?