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Posted by Tim Burrell- After 28 years of selling real estate, I am still surprised at what Buyers react to.  I have a new listing where the sellers have installed new carpet and competely painted the interior, including staining and refinishing the cabinets.  But, there were a few items that had not been picked up around the house, some blinds that were not in good condition, the tile in the bath needed to be cleaned, the top of the refrigerator had not been cleaned and there was a little paint on a few door knobs.  The reaction: "The house needs too much work".

Here are some great tools for presenting a house.  Mr. Clean has a Magic Eraser that will take the dirt off nearly anything, or you can use a microfiber cloth.  Goof Off will take the paint off the door knobs, and it works more quickly than Goo Gone (which is better for more delicate surfaces, or taking the goo left by stickers or tape).  Tilex is a wonderful product to clean tile, and not as harsh smelling as some of the other products.  I have an Ozone Generator that will take the smell out of nearly anything, particularly smoke or pet odors.  Then, follow up with Glade's fan product that goes into several plugs, and  the Clean Fabric smell just makes the house smell clean instead of giving a smell of cover up.  Cleaning up the yard is important too, as putting fresh mulch in the planters leading to the front door changes the first impression.  

The reaction: "We got an offer and we are negotiating it now".  The owner had spent thousands on major repairs, carpet and paint, fixing all kinds of things that would be important to an inspector and should be important to a buyer.  Cleaning the house is the least expensive thing that a buyer might have to do, so in a rational world you would think it would be the least important thing to do.   But, clean and fresh is what gets the reaction out of the buyers, and most inexperienced real estate agent, as buying is an emotional process, not an analytical one.  We allowed a couple of agents to show the home over Thanksgiving before it was ready, as they begged to show clients who were in town only for the holiday.  Since I had not put every detail that I would spot on my list for the sellers.  The home needed the eye of a listing agent and several hours of rolling up my sleves and working with the sellers to change everything.  If you are not getting a great reaction to your house, make it look and smell clean as it will change the entire impression. 

Legislative Over Reaction will Hurt Buyers

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Posted by Tim Burrell - One of the most important factors to allow liquidity in the mortgage market is to allow the mortgage to be sold. To raise the cash to make more loans, the notes from the loans that have been made are sold, particularly by mortgage brokers.  There is a provision in a North Carolina State law recently passed that will effectively eliminate Mortgage Brokers that are not part of a Federally chartered institution. It says that any defense that a borrower has against the originator of the loan, can also be asserted against anyone who purchased the loan. You are talking about defenses that do not appear in the document or the loan application, i.e. but he told me that ...., things that are hard to prove, and rely on statements not written facts. These are things that the mortgage broker is claimed to have done wrong, but has nothing to do with the loan itself.  It sounds logical, if there was something wrong in the process shouldn't that follow the loan? 

For decades this has not been the law, the doctrine is called "Holder In Due Course". Anyone who bought a financial instrument, paid fair value and did not have notice of any defect has a limited number of defenses to deal with. This keeps the price for the financial instrument up, and allows them to be readily traded.  Yes, it is less fair for those few situations where something that cannot be proved is asserted as a defense, but it creates a system where loans can be readily sold.  In other words, it is less perfect in a few situations, but it makes much more money available to many more people who want to buy a home.  In the past, our society made a decision that it was more important to benefit millions or mortgage borrowers, and hamper a few that dealt with immoral mortgage brokers.  This balance just shifted, but only for some of the players.

The North Carolina State Law changes this, but it does not apply to Federally Chartered Institutions, like National Banks. So, the loans originated by mortgage brokers are subject to this, while the bank loans are not. The result, it is hard to sell a mortgage broker's loan or a loan by any institution charted only by the State in North Carolina, but not a national bank's loan. This is a huge change in the competition to originate loans.  One result I have seen is that one of my favorite mortgage brokers went out of business, then found a new place to do business with a national bank.

A Federal law proposed by legislators from North Carolina and supported by Barney Frank, the Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, an important voice on financial legislation.  It is being debated in Congress under the title of HR 3915. While it is being amended frequently, one of the provisions that I hope will not be included is this factor that will kill competition in the mortgage industry.   I see nothing wrong with licensing mortgage brokers and requiring certain standards to be in the industry, as regulating those who want to be in an important business is not objectionable.  I object to Congress trying to tell every borrower which loan can be made and which ones cannot.  The market place can determine if a product is sound or not.  First of all, Congress does not understand banking as well as bankers do, and secondly when things change, the banking industry can change, but the laws will lag behind.

The national banks could not have found a better way to eliminate their competition. With less competition, there are less choices for buyers, and less people will be able to buy homes. When my Grandfather was a banker in the 1920's, if you wanted a home, you went to a bank and you played by their strict rules. We are going back to that time. While there are some loans that never should have been made, the vast majority of sub-prime loans are being paid on time and those houses will not be foreclosed. So, all those people got to live the American Dream. Now, only those the bankers like will be able to live the American Dream, a change that will hit "blue collar" workers and minorities harder than the average person, from what I have seen in 28 years as a Realtor.

The Federal laws in HR 3915 will push the lending industry into making only loans that banks like, such as full documentation loans where you cannot finance the cost of originating the loan.  People who do not have substantial funds available and who do not fit into a banker's checklist will not get a home.  Those who buy mortgages will only be protected from additional liability if they buy Qualified Mortgages or Qualified Safe Harbor Mortgages.  If they buy anything else, they will have more problems than they do now under current law, with additional defenses to collecting the loan or foreclosing on the loan.  If the loan is a Qualified Mortgage or Qualified Safe Harbor mortgage, no court can listen to a challenge to that loan.  If it is not, there are new challenges allowed, so very few buyers will exist for those loans.  In short, the banks get richer, the poor get poorer.

The factor that hurt the sale of mortgage backed securities the most is mixing lousy loans with good ones in a pool, and polluting the pool. Jumbo loans are now hard to sell, not because they are a big risk, but because they were mixed with garbage. Jumbo loans are at nearly all time lows as far as defaults are concerned, but they are priced much higher than conforming loans, not because of the risk, but because they need a higher yield in order to be sold.  In other words, the lenders are taking advantage of the jumbo borrowers to make more money without any justification based on the risk.

HR 3915 known as "The Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2007” should be retitled "No Banker Left Behind" with a subtitle of "No Blue Collar Workers Get a Home".   If you want to read more about his legislation, visit Barney Frank's review at http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/financialsvcs_dem/press110607.shtml .

Duke Gardens

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Sarah P. Duke Gardens is a 55 acre tract located in the heart of Duke University’s West Campus, adjacent to the Medical Center. Often spoke of as the “Crown Jewel of Duke University,” it is recognized as one of the premier public gardens in the United States. The Gardens are open daily from 8:00 AM until dusk but for holidays, and attendance is free. It’s no wonder that each year over 300,000 visitors stroll among the gardens to enjoy the stunning landscape design and horticulture, and take in the many special events that occur there.

The Gardens consists of four major parts — the original Terraces and their immediate surroundings, the H. L. Blomquist Garden of Native Plants, and the William L. Culberson Asiatic Arboretum, and the Doris Duke Center Gardens. The Blomquist Garden showcases flora of the southeastern United States, while the Arboretum is devoted to plants of eastern Asia. The parts are connected by nearly five miles of pathways.

Enjoy the Gardens as a living museum rather than a park or playground. Take time out to reestablish a connection between man and plants. Or catch a summer performance of music rooted in blues, gospel, classical, or bluegrass. Any way you look at it, Duke Gardens is well worth a day trip to Durham.

Anthony Williams

Posted by Judy Burrell - In light of the new "going green" movement, we decided to change out most of our regular light bulbs in our home with the new fluorescent bulbs.  We are encouraging all of our Real Estate clients to do the same, so our Team can get everyone to save energy and decrease the need to build new power plants.  The new bulbs take much less energy and they are supposed to last 5 times longer than the old style of bulbs.  The extra life of the bulb makes it worth the extra cost, in addition to feeling good about using less energy.  I first bought some GE bulbs at a local hardware store.  Later I found some at Costco that were much cheaper, so I bought some of those too.  At first I was happy to have found some that were less expensive.  However, several of the cheaper bulbs are already not working after only a few short weeks!  Also, when we turn them on, there is a much longer lag time before the bulbs turn on.  With the GE bulbs there is a very slight delay, and they are all working!

So watch out!  All fluorescent light bulbs are not created equal!!  I wish now I had spent the extra money and bought all GE bulbs instead of trying to get by with a cheaper version.   Please change any old fashioned light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs, but spend the extra money to get good quality.

Is there a Perfect Raleigh Home ?

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I talk to many of my clients about what they wish for in the perfect home.  I have discovered that when faced with indecision - the best way to narrow your choices down - is to make a list.  List what amenities you simply can not live without in a home.  For some of my clients it is a mudroom so their children have one specified area to throw their bookbags and dirty soccer shoes.  Another client may not be able to live with out a formal dining room.  Make a list - on one side- number the amenities from #1 ( being most important ) on down that you must have in a home.  On the other side of your list - write down what you want but don't have to have.  Otherwise,  lack of these amenities will not be deal-breakers.   Another way to narrow your search is to provide your Realtor/Buyer's Agent with a template home.  Find a picture or home on the internet that comes very close to exactly what you want in your perfect home.  Your Realtor can then carry over the specs from the template to create a search and together - as a Team - you and your Realtor can find that perfect home without having to search every neighborhood in Wake and it's surrounding counties.  It is always a pleasure to walk into a home with buyers' and see "that look".  That is when as a Realtor - you know you have come very close to finding perfection. 

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

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Photo of Team For Your Dreams, Inc. Real Estate
Team For Your Dreams, Inc.
REMAX United
7721 Six Forks Road, Suite 110, Raleigh, NC 27615
Raleigh NC 27615
919-846-3272
919-812-5111
Fax: 310-347-4041