Thursday, April 30, 2009

Deals and Wheels

It's been a great week. In real estate, I had the opportunity of representing clients who wanted a "real deal" (who doesn't these days?) on a new home. And they got it! $50K under the list price is fairly substantial and I was glad to represent these buyers in the transaction.

Today I got a deal. Not on real estate, but on a tire. Tuesday night, when driving home from the gym, I had a blow out on my left driver side tire. Apparently something fell out of the truck in front of me, gouged the tired and it blew out. I stopped and changed the tire and went on my merry way.

A few months ago, I met a mechanic through a real estate colleague. Yesterday I called my friend's mechanic and asked where I could get a used tire at a fairly good deal. He directed me to a little used tire shop on Old Hickory Boulevard (just north of Lebanon Road in Old Hickory/Hermitage area). I stopped there today, got my tire (at a REALLY GOOD deal), and went on my way.

Maybe you're asking "why a used tire, Jack?" Well, the truth of the matter is that I am going to buy new tires in about 7,000 miles. Buying a new tire now means that my car won't drive as smoothly as it would with four of the same tires, so I opted to risk a no-warranty used tire to last me a few more thousand miles.

Where I went was a place called Old Hickory Auto Sales, at 4121 Old Hickory Boulevard, Old Hickory. The sign actually says, "S&Z Tires" and is located next to a brick church on the left, if you're traveling north on OHB. There are no hours posted on the doors, so you'll have to take your chances, or you can call ahead: 615-915-4432 (main number); 615-506-6100 (Peter); 615-290-9014 (Stanley, the owner).

It's a great place to get a good deal and they're quick, too. Check it out sometime when you need a quick fix. Oh, and they do repair flats as well.

For a real estate agent who knows the Middle Tennessee area well, give me a call. I'll be glad to help you buy a home or to get yours sold at the price, terms and conditions that are acceptable to you.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where Do I Go For ..... ?

You're thinking about sprucing up the house. Maybe the windows need to be replaced or you want to renovate the kitchen, complete with new cabinets and appliances. Perhaps you're hoping to refinance the house with a rate below 5% because your current rate is closer to 6% or more. Where do you go for resources for those types of things?

I have been blessed with a world of resource providers - everything from lenders to plumbers to contractors to painters to home elevator installers. They're all there. They know what they're doing. And they price their services right.

For more info, pull up the list on Google Docs at: JACK'S HOME SERVICES PROVIDERS.

If you want to sell your current and/or buy a home, please give me a call. I work with only the best in the business. My reputation depends on it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Disposition Determines Delightful Days

How do you get up in the morning? Are you apt to say, "Good morning, Lord!" or "Good Lord, morning?!" That's an old joke from preachers of decades ago, but it still makes the point. Why get up and start the day with a negative attitude? Truthfully, it's much easier to be negative than it is to be positive. Circumstances are difficult and challenging each and every day, so it's easy to fall into that "woe is me", full of self-pity mentality.

Recently, I've felt some pressure in my own life. Sometimes circumstances haven't gone well and some things haven't turned out like I wanted them to. Whatever the circumstances are, I cannot allow them to control my life.

Martha Washington said it best when she noted, "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances."

Do you get up every morning with a smile on your face and a song in your heart? Are you determined to learn something new every day? Or do you dread the day ahead or do you just meander through it, exercising your routine day after day? It's not too late to start with a great attitude. Yes, it'll take about 30 days to get it in gear, but start today. Why wait?!

If you're looking for help with real estate from an agent who has a positive outlook on life and in the current real estate market, look no further. Give me a call or send me an email. I'd love to help you find that home of your dreams, or to help you sell your home to make your next move.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Texting While Driving?

Well, that law that so many have dreaded, yet expected, is finally here! It'll cost you $50 if caught texting while driving. It's about time, I think, that we crack down this habit. Why? Well, I've nearly been hit four times in the last few months by drivers who were texting. However, talking on your cell is still allowed.

But ... did you know that it is illegal to apply eyeliner and mascara while driving in Tennessee? Hmmm ... better be careful, ladies, or you may be fined, too.

To check out the brief article about the new law, click THIS LINK.

To hire a real estate agent who is experienced and also follows the laws of Tennessee when representing buyers and sellers, give me a shout. You can reach me by phone or by email. I'd love to help you out.

Greening Up Your House

While not a big activist for any specific cause, I have become an advocate for living "green". Several years ago, I began eating organic foods and drinking organic beverages just to see what all the hype was about. Within just a few weeks, I began to notice how much better I felt. While I've not conducted any scientific studies on the positive effects of organic foods and beverages, I believe that the pesticides and antibiotics that I was eating in normal foods and beverages were making me sick.

Greening up a home is not just about less pollutants in the atmosphere; it's about living a higher quality of life due to a safer environment in our homes. Who doesn't want a safer environment for their children and themselves?

When I discovered how much better I felt, I started looking at greening up my home. It's taking a little more effort than I'd prefer, but I continue to feel better over time.

For more information on greening up your home, click on THE GREEN GUIDE. Here you'll find loads of information on how to make your home and life safer.

If you're looking for a real estate agent who cares about the home you live in, please feel free to contact me. Whether buying a new home or selling your current home, I will care for the purchase and/or sale of your home as if it were my own.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cupcakes and Smiles

About a year ago, a new Nashville phenomenon opened - Gigi's Cupcakes - at 19th and Broadway. When I was working at our Crye-Leike Midtown office (across the street), I took a little trip over there and got one. Since then, it's been a favorite place to meet clients. Many clients and friends have been very generous and have treated me to those delectably sweet treats. So far, my favorite is Southern Comfort, a delectable rendition of ooey gooey pecan pie with a caramel frosting. Yummy! And then others that are close seconds are Key Lime, Tiramisu, Orange Dreamsicle and Hunka Chunka Banana Love. Of course, their biggest seller is Wedding Cake, but there's nothing that any sane dessert lover would ever turn down.

Who knew that when Gina Butler first opened one of these that it would take off like it did?! Gina, now a personal friend, is a savvy and successful businesswoman. Whenever you're in a Gigi's, ask if she's there. If she is, she'll be glad to come out and greet you. And tell her that Jack sent you!

There's another one in Cool Springs (in the Meridian Complex) and one in Spring Hill (on Crossings Boulevard). The next Gigi's to open in Middle Tennessee will be their Hendersonville location. For more information about Gigi's, including the daily menu and their monthly newsletter, click HERE. Get a Gigi's cupcake. It'll put a smile on your face!

If you're looking for a real estate agent who knows the area well, then give me a call. I'm happy to give you a hand finding a home at the price, terms and conditions you desire. And if you're selling your home, I'll be happy to show you my marketing plan - second to none - to get your home sold!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kudos to Carolyn Davison

It was just a little over a year ago that our office administrator announced she was leaving for the the Florida sunshine. She was near and dear to our hearts, but a few weeks later, we were blessed with Carolyn Davison.

Carolyn came to our office ready to work. She proved to be a quick learner and she is very organized. Carolyn is affectionately known to some as "the mom" in the office, but I regard her as more of a sister. She is pleasant as well as efficient. She has a positive attitude, seeing the best in everyone. She is always willing and eager to genuinely help anyone and everyone. Never have I ever heard her say a negative thing. Carolyn is a quiet, assured leader who understands people and knows how to pull the best out of us all.

THANK YOU, Carolyn, for doing an incredible job and for being an incredible friend. You are THE BEST!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

National Volunteer Week

Three years ago, I was a nervous volunteer. Not sure about how to interact with patients and their families, I spent most of my time answering the phones, organizing cabinets, and doing other things that the staff asked of me. Now, my time is spent visiting with patients and their families, providing them with reading materials and/or food and beverages, or taking care of things that they need help with. I also have the opportunity to train new volunteers and help with various other projects the Volunteers Services people ask me to do.

April 19-25, 2009 marks the nation's National Volunteer Week and the month of April is National Volunteer Month. This week dates back to 1974 when President Richard Nixon signed an executive order establishing the week as an annual celebration of volunteering. Since then, every U.S. President has signed a proclamation promoting National Volunteer Week. Additionally, governors, mayors and other elected officials make public statements and sign proclamations in support of National Volunteer Week.

As one of 250 volunteers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, I have the opportunity to work with patients and their families. I initially began volunteering so I could be distracted from a life-changing situation that had occurred just a few months before. Now, my own life is different.

The Burn Center, where I volunteer, is the only unit that provides medical services for both children and adults. People oftentimes wonder how I can "stand being up there" with people who are in such physical pain. The truth is that outside of two people, everyone else has an attitude of gratitude - they are grateful to have their lives back. Spending time with these individuals helped me to put things in perspective and to see that life's challenges are so minimal when it comes down to living and dying. What once seemed to be such large issues soon became very trivial things that had no significant bearing on my overall enjoyment of life.

Today, I was part of a 400-person banquet for the Mary Catherin Strobel Award at the Cool Springs Marriott. Volunteers who had been nominated by their respective organizations for the Mary Catherine Strobel Award were honored today at that banquet. I was very humbled and grateful to have received the award for Vanderbilt's Volunteer of the Year and the nomination for the Mary Catherine Strobel Award award from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Thank you, Burn Center and Volunteer Services, for exceptional experiences with exceptional people.

Are you contributing your time and efforts to positively affect other lives? For more information about volunteering at Vanderbilt, CLICK THIS LINK. And for more information about area-wide opportunities, check out HANDS ON NASHVILLE. You can't possibly go wrong.

Are you looking for a real estate agent who is a leader at heart? If so, I am more than happy to give you a hand with all of your real estate needs. Please give me a call or shoot me an email if I can help.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gratitude for Latitude

Most people don't think about being gratitude until Thanksgiving rolls around. Some families go around the dining room table listing things that they're grateful for. However, anytime is the best time to center around being grateful. Sometimes it's challenging to be able to say, "Thank you" for some things in life, but it will change the way you think.

Back in the summer of 2004, a friend challenged me to think about some things in my life. In my serious frame of mind, I realized that I was looking at what I did not have and not what I did have. Result: My Gratitude List. What I thought would be difficult to think of even 50 items has turned into a list of thousands of things. Through this exercise, I began to see things very differently. Even when life presented challenging and difficult situations, my attitude changed from frustration to joy.

To start, all you need are a pen and paper as well as the time to do it. I spend about 30-45 minutes each morning in my personal devotional time. This is when I take a few minutes to write a few things I'm grateful for. Typically, adding to my Gratitude List takes less than 10 minutes.

Samples of what I'm grateful for:
1 - My children
2 - Being born in Williamsburg, Virginia
3 - My good health
4 - A great church family
5 - Family who love me
6 - Swimming laps in the pool
7 - Color
8 - Beautiful snow
9 - Vacation to San Diego and seeing the joy in my children's eyes when there
10 - Sleeping well at night

These are somewhat generic, but you get the idea. Some of the things you may list will be personal joys, difficult times, and ordinary things you see and experience on a daily basis. Give it a try for just 30 days. Once you start, you won't go back.

What prompted me to write about this today was an email that I found in my email inbox. Crye-Leike Connections writers did an article on how thankfulness gives us more energy. I think they're right. To view the article, CLICK HERE. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

For help with your real estate needs from this agent who has a positive attitude, give me a call. I'd love to help you with buying a home, selling your current home, or both. Enjoy your day!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Demographics, Crime Stats and Other Information - Are You Curious?

It's always normal for buyers to ask questions about demographics in a community. But what about the residents? Do you know how crime in your town or county or zip code stacks up to the national average? And what about median household income? How many households have children? How does your educational system compare?

These questions, along with many others, can be answered by going to THIS WEBSITE. It's provided by the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, an affiliation that Crye-Leike has with many other national and strong regional real estate companies.

Let's take a quick look at Nashville, zip code 37214. Begin by clicking on THIS WEBSITE (in the second paragraph, above). When it takes you to the site, go to the bottom left and click on Research a community before you move. The rest is self explanatory. In our example, we see that the 37214 zip code had a growth rate of 6% since 2000. 79% have a white collar job, and 2000 households have a median income of $75K-$100K annually. Other information is there for the asking.

On this site you can even search community information by specific address, city name, county, etc. There's a world of information for anyone to discover.

I'm here to help you with all of your real estate needs. When you need a professional agent to help you sell your current home or to buy a home, please feel free to give me a shout.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

An Increase in Sales? Wow!

Well, the numbers are in and I am pleased to announce that our office, Crye-Leike, Realtors, Brentwood East, sold 5% more in March 2009 than we did in March 2008. THAT is an accomplishment in an of itself considering that overall sales were off 30% from last year in Middle Tennessee.

I am very glad to be a part of a company who strives to be the very best at what we do - serving YOU! And I am ecstatic to be located at the Brentwood East office. Frequently contacted by other companies in the area, I always find it easy to say, "No, thanks" to them when they ask me to come on board. My business philosophy is the same as Crye-Leike's and I'm very grateful to be a part of a full service real estate sales company.

Thank you for your business. Whether you've bought a home through me or sold your house using my services, I am very grateful that you chose me to serve your needs.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tax Credit Loans for First Time Homebuyers

It looks like 100% loans will always be around in one way or another. This time, The Housing Fund is offering loans up to $7,000 with a first time home buyer's tax credit as collatoral (remember that the credit is UP TO $8,000). This will satisfy a downpayment and closing costs for some homebuyers. It's a coup for a first time buyer because the repayment schedule is $50 a month at 0% interest through July 31, 2010. If not paid in full by that date, the loan converts to a montly payment of $100 and the loan is then amortized at 8%.

Of course, there are limits on income, the price of a house, terms of the loan, etc. These details can be found by checking out this THDA LINK. There are very few banks that handle THDA loans. Of course, one of those is Magna Bank, Crye-Leike's in house lender.

For more information on this tax credit loan, check out TAX CREDIT LOAN INFO.

If you need help buying a home, I'm here to help. As a savvy negotiator, I will work for you to get you the price, terms and conditions that are satisfactory to you.

Friday, April 10, 2009

March Home Sales Fall

Yes, Nashville home sales fell in March 2009 compared to March 2008, but I am still very hopeful. Unfortunately, the media uses the "median" sale price, which is far too unrealistic. We need to view the average sale price as an indicator of any change, whether higher or lower compared to the same month in years past.

I personally saw an increase in closings, but in my situations, half of my closings were my buyers who purchased foreclosure homes. Foreclosures do affect the median price because they are usually sold lower than their real market values. New home prices were down as well. Builders such as Pulte and Centex, who saw slow and lower sales, lowered the prices of their homes to move the inventory off the market. Builders were faced with homes that were under contract with "sale of home" contingencies that were unmet because buyers could not get their homes sold.

Another reason that the number of sales were down in March was due to the very low interest rate. It hovered under 5% and current homeowners, concerned about their personal economic situation, chose to refinance instead of sell their current homes to buy new ones.

Buyers are out there. Some are cleaning up their credit. Others are saving for a more substantial down payment. Others are taking their time looking. I do see signs of growth and increased sales. Do I think we'll be back in the same position we were in a few years ago? No, and I hope we don't get back to that point. We're actually closer to a more balanced market than we have been in a long time.

To view today's article in The Tennessean, CLICK HERE. I think you'll find the article an interesting read.

For help in getting your home sold or buying a new home, please feel free to contact me. As a full time professional real estate agent, I'm here to help.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pulte Buys Centex

The Tennessean published an article about Pulte Homes buying Centex Homes in today's paper. This agent thinks this is a very smart move. Pulte has an exceptional reputation for their product. Centex is a large builder as well, but their homes don't seem to have the bells and whistles that Pulte provides in theirs. My hope is that Pulte will change the standard of the Centex product.

There was no mention if the Centex brand will fade away under Pulte's brand. Having dealt with both builders in selling new construction homes, I have found their processes to be fairly similar, however, I have seen both products and prefer the customer service and quality of home that Pulte sells.

The article in The Tennesseandeals mostly with stock and prices, etc., but if you want to check it out anyway, CLICK HERE.

UPDATED INFORMATION on this purchase is available in today's Tennessean (April 9, 2009). Pulte, as most senior adult buyers know, is the exclusive builder of the Del Webb community in Mount Juliet.

Today's ARTICLE outlines the losses that Pulte and Centex have encountered over the last few years. It's interesting to note that new home builders are experiencing more of a decline in home sales than owners of existing homes. Why is this? I believe it's for several reasons:

1 - Buyers are submitting offers with "sale of home" contingencies on new homes. Builders require a sizeable down payment, and many times those deposits are non-refundable; a higher risk for the buyer.

2 - Buyers feel safer purchasing an existing home because of the stigma that builders are currently under. Many wonder if their home (or the subdivision) will ever be completed.

3 - While builders are offering more incentives to buyers right now, buyers are concerned that the lower prices are indicative of a new constuction downward slide, even in the future. They don't want to be upside down in their mortgages if this happens. This HAS happened in a five-year-old subdivision in Virginia. I saw it myself.

4 - Until just recently, new home builders were unwilling to "deal" on their prices. The reputation of builders is that they are inflexible so buyers look at existing construction.

Interestingly, new home sales have taken a bigger hit than existing home sales have. Your best bet right now? Ask you real estate agent about the builders around town to find out what's going on with them, or do the intensive research yourself.

If you need help with a new home purchase, or help with getting your home sold, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I'd love to help you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Favorite Easter Celebrations

Several years ago, I stumbled on a church in Mt. Juliet. The Bridge Fellowship had just begun a few months earlier. Through their postcards, I sensed that something exciting was happening, and it was. I visited out there once and I was hooked. Even friends and clients of mine have tried it and have stayed.

This Easter, like past Easters, our church is sponsoring The Big Egg Hunt. Over 20,000 eggs, incredibly fun inflatables and fantastic food are waiting for kids of all ages. Bring your kids, your grandkids, neices and nephews, the neighbor kids and anyone else's kids.

And for the best Easter services around, check us out. We begin two services on Easter Sunday - one at 9 a.m. and one at 10:30 a.m. I don't believe you'll find anyplace like The Bridge. The people are authentic and real. We're also a casual congregation, but we take our faith seriously.

For more information, check out THE BRIDGE. Here, you'll find details about the two Easter events along with other interesting info.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Crye-Leike Number One Again

Nashville Business Journal reported last Friday that Crye-Leike, Realtors still holds the top position in sales for Middle Tennessee, despite the decline in the housing market. I am very honored to be a part of Crye-Leike. Our success is due to the emphasis we put on customer service.

Since you have to be a paid subscription member to read the entire article, I've copied and pasted it here:

Real estate climb to top rocky
For top residential real estate performers, road to top has been fraught with challenges

Friday, April 3, 2009
Nashville Business Journal - by Jenny Burns Staff Writer

An excruciating year for most Nashville real estate firms was marked by mergers, the shedding of agents, office consolidations and the demise of the area’s 10th largest firm, ERA Pacesetter Partners.

Big firms have closed offices, shuffled agents around and say they emerged from a dreadful 2008 leaner, better and hopeful the market will show some resilience in 2009.

ERA Pacesetter aside, Greater Nashville’s top 10 firms, as ranked by the Business Journal based on sales volume, are struggling with sales declines about as large as the overall market, which fell 29 percent last year as compared to 2007.

Village Real Estate Services, ranked No. 6, had the smallest decline in sales volume at 14 percent. Village went from 1,894 transactions in 2007 to 1,620 in 2008. For the same period, sales dropped from about $466 million to $401 million.

Owner Mark Deutschmann attributes his company’s relative success to its urban niche, one he says became more desirable when gas costs spiked in 2008 and people returned to the city to live.

Village also was the best at keeping its agents. It was the only firm in the top 10 to gain agents by posting a 6 percent increase. The firm did lose some agents in 2008, but Deutschmann recruited 22 agents with two or more years of experience in the fourth quarter, giving him a net agent increase.

Re/Max Elite had the largest sales volume decline at 41 percent, from 5,114 transaction sides in 2007 to 2,983 in 2008. In the same time, the company’s sales slipped 44.5 percent from more than $1 billion to $608 million.

Owner Robb Campbell attributes the drop to his strategy of moving out underperforming and part-time agents and starting the new year with a group comprised of experienced, full-time agents. Re/Max Elite also lost the most agents last year, posting a 32 percent drop.

“This will put us a in a strong position to be able to capture a huge amount of the market share. We are already seeing our agents picking up market share and listings,” Campbell says.

Today’s sellers want experienced agents who know the intricacies of short sales and the tricks to get homes sold, he says, and that’s what he says he repositioned Re/Max Elite to do.

The Realty Association had the second worst sales performance of the top firms, posting a 38 percent drop in sales volume to 1,207 deals in 2008. In the same period, the firm’s sales dropped to $194.9 million from $339 million.

“As bad as the numbers are, we’re reasonably happy with them,” Realty President Jim Coffer says of the locally owned firm, which lost 7 percent of its agents.

With only one office for its 337 agents, the real estate firm had operated fairly lean before the market downturn and brokers rushed to combine offices.

Harold Crye, president of Crye-Leike Realtors, which remains in the top spot again this year in sales volume, says not as many small firms merged with larger agencies in the Nashville market as he had expected, which occurred on a larger scale in other markets.

“There’s going to be some consolidation in the industry,” says Crye, whose company’s sales dropped 28 percent. “I haven’t seen as much as I thought we might.”

Bob Parks Realty, which had a 30 percent sales volume drop to 3,355 in 2008, ranking No. 3, did not acquire any smaller firms last year, but owner Bob Parks says he is talking with several companies to acquire in 2009.

Another strategy for Re/Max Elite is the creation of a separate company where non-active agents can hang their licenses but they can’t sell or list real estate. This allows them to get a referral fee for sending business to an active agent, but it doesn’t weigh the company down with agents who are not producing, Campbell says.

“I’ve noticed other companies starting holding companies too,” he says.

Keller Williams, ranked No. 2, had several small firms merge with the agency in 2008, says owner Bill Haggard.

“You have to be large today to be strong in the industry,” he says. “It’s difficult to be medium-sized and have the economics work. It’s a high-volume, low-margin business.” | 615-846-4276

If you'd like to get your home sold at the price, terms and conditions acceptable to you, please give me a call. For buyers, I'm more than happy to give you a hand purchasing real estate, whether you are an experienced buyer or a novice buyer. I'm here to help.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Great News for Sellers!

We've heard all the bad news. But underneath those negative headlines, there's definitely a silver lining. Yes, homes sales were down 33% in February of this year compared to February 2008, but the good news is that sales were up 30% from January 2009 to February 2009.

Have we hit the bottom of the real estate market? While I'm not a prophet, I believe we've come to the end of the slump in Nashville for a while. Sure, our market is slower than 2006. But most markets would be slower compared to an abnormally unusual strong market.

For more information on February 2009 sales, CLICK HERE. The date of this article is March 9, 2009, but I'm posting is now because in just a few days, we'll find out how March did and we can compare this info to February.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Buying Short Sale Property

So many questions from clients recently has prompted me to do a part 2 on short sales. This time it's about purchasing a short sale property.

As a review, a "short sale" means that the lender is willing to accept less money for the purchase of a property than is actually owed on it. Properties listed as "short sale" on the MLS may or may not actually be approved short sale properties. Sometimes the agent will be presumptuous about a lender agreeing to a short sale and will list it as such, hoping that the lender will accept it.

Under any condition, the buyer must be aware of what is actually happening with the property. For an agent to list a property as a real short sale, he or she must have done all the work prior to the listing. That begins with communicating with the seller's lender. If the agent has not done this, then this is a "speculative" short sale.

PRICE: When a buyer makes an offer on a true short sale, he should not expect to get a "low ball" on the house. The lower listing price has already been determined by the lender, and while they are willing to take a lower price, they want to sell the property for as close to market value as possible. Sometimes lenders will foreclose on the property because it's less expensive to do that as opposed to a low ball short sale.

WAITING: A short sale contract is still between the buyer and seller, but has to have lender approval. Waiting times for lenders to respond are typically between 30 and 60 days. However, if the lender is local, it's usually a much quicker turnaround. Buyers should be prepared to wait for a long period of time to hear back from their offer. Lenders have thousands of these to review and before they will approve a contract, they have to make sure the seller cannot pay the difference they would loose.

CONDITION: Sometimes the property will be in top-notch condition. Sometimes it won't. If the short sale is pre-foreclosure and needs a paint job, for example, then the lender will probably not approve for the seller to paint it for the buyer. Rationally, the lender thinks that if the seller could pay to have it painted, then he/she could have made the payments on it.

CONTRACT: Lenders want the contract to be clean. Sometimes they will agree to paying some closing costs for the buyer, but this is not typical. Buyers should be prepared to pay their own closing costs, warranty, and other expenses. There's no harm in asking for those in the initial offer, but lenders will not necessarily agree to paying those in the end.

CLOSING: For a short sale to be closed, the seller's lender must have the following from the seller: (1) Hardship letter/statement; (2) W-2's from the last several tax years; (3) Recent federal income tax returns; (4) A HUD-1 settlement statement: (5) The listing agreement from the sellers/listing agent; (5) Title work already completed by the title company; (6) Any other documents such as a Disclaimer, Disclosure of Relationships, Notice of Consent/Agency Status, etc. (approximately 32 pages of information); and after the contract is signed, (7) A final copy of the contract agreement between buyer and seller.

A good listing agent will have already taken care of all except the settlement statement prior to receiving an offer. After the offer is received, the agent will get the title company to prepare a HUD-1 statement based on the contract. The lender now has everything it needs to make a decision.

Waiting is the most difficult part of this process. But after the wait, everyone is happy it's all over.

If you need help purchasing a short sale or foreclosure home, and/or listing your home for sale, please give me a call. I'm here to help.