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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

What's the first step I should take when shopping for a home?

August 19, 2014
Agents Sound Off
 

Donna Goldman
Corte Madera
415.458.3500
donna@lifestylemarin.com

Question: What’s the first step I should take when shopping for a home?
Answer: With so much information readily available online about what homes are on the market and their so-called automated values, it seems counterintuitive and perhaps even self-serving to suggest that the first thing a buyer should do when shopping for a home is to contact a Realtor. But working with a real estate professional is essential, and can add invaluable insight far beyond what can be found online, even if the purchase is not planned for the immediate future.
A good agent adds excellent value to any home buying process by recommending where to start the process given each buyer’s specific situation—whether helping a buyer to understand the intricacies and differences between the area’s towns and neighborhoods, getting pre-qualified, deciphering comps, learning about schools, being kept in the loop about homes that are available “off market” (homes not being publicly marketed – which can be vital in the swift moving and competitive Bay Area real estate market), or explaining and preparing for the ever-growing and changing complexities of the home buying process.
Purchasing a home is typically one of the most expensive purchases of a lifetime. Obtaining the assistance of a locally knowledgeable agent adds priceless value to the home buying process.
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APR in the News APR Tools Buyer / Seller Information Community Spotlights

Alain Pinel Realtors: Exquisite Living Summer 2014

July 30, 2014


EL Widget_Summer 2014
Alain Pinel Realtors is proud to present our Summer 2014 Exquisite Living – our premier digital luxury lifestyle magazine. The magazine allows readers to immerse themselves in the luxuries of the Bay Area by browsing through visually rich and engaging content. Using the latest technology, flip through it just like a regular magazine, and get a tour of the Bay Area and beyond. In addition to featuring the greatest and most luxurious properties and estates from all the regions we serve, we made sure it included information about the latest trends in luxury, market information, and both property and community spotlights. With easy to use sharing features, the magazine can be shared through social media, on websites, and by email – this is another way Alain Pinel Realtors brings widespread exposure to our listings.
The winter edition takes a special focus on the Peninsula – including a look at its many new restaurants, the best museums, and a look at how the Peninsula is changing the luxury bathroom. It also features 1 Faxon Road –  a grand estate reminiscent of a fine Italian manor on a gorgeous lot in the Circus Club area of Atherton.
Don’t take our word for it – start exploring Exquisite Living today – and experience the APR difference.
 

APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

What do you do when your clients are outbid?

July 28, 2014
Agents Sound Off
 

James Sherman
Burlingame
650.931.2045
jsherman@apr.com

Question: What do you do when your clients are outbid?
Answer: This is a common situation in the red-hot Bay Area real estate market.
The first question I would recommend any potential buyer to consider would be, “Is this really my highest number, or is this the top number within my comfort zone?”
With today’s low interest rates and tax advantages of buying a home, a higher mortgage may be much more affordable than it first appears. Speaking in detail to a tax accountant, as well as your loan agent, will help to give you the full financial picture. If the number truly is your best offer, the tried-and-true personal letter to the sellers, submitted with your offer, can make the difference, especially if other offers are relatively close.
Sharing how much you love the home and what the current owners have done to the property (and that you are not a developer or flipper firing up the bulldozer) can help put a personal touch on you and your offer.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

How long does an escrow period last and what can complicate it?

July 14, 2014
Agents Sound Off
 

Karen Richardson
Orinda
925.639.3904
krichardson@apr.com

Question: How long does an escrow period last and what can complicate it?
Answer: A “typical” escrow is 30 days. That gives the title company plenty of time to pull up the title report, and search for any liens, easements, lawsuits, or any other clouds on title. When the title company closes escrow and you are granted title they are insuring that you know everything that may be attached.
There are three other things that determine how quickly or slowly escrow closes, and these are on the buyer’s side. The loan contingency automatically makes the contract default to 17 days for the loan to go through underwriting and have complete approval.
The second factor is the appraisal contingency which is when the bank orders an appraisal of the property. If there is a difference between the appraisal amount and the purchase price, the buyer is required to pay the difference in cash.
Finally, there is the physical contingency which the buyer can make any amount of time they choose, but again defaults to 17 days. Often reports have been done on the property in advance. If not, buyers may need time extensions to complete, review, and sign off on any inspection findings. Agents will file time extensions at this time, which can make the escrow period as long as it takes for the buyer to feel they know and accept all they need to about the property.
At that point, the buyer can sign off this contingency, or ask for a price reduction, or request that repairs be made. So, while a “typical” escrow is 30 days, they can go from 1 week to many weeks, depending on these factors.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

What's the most challenging part of the transaction process?

July 7, 2014
Agents Sound Off
 

David Gunderman & Andrew Raskopf
Oakland Hills – Montclair Village
510.205.4369
dgunderman@apr.com
araskopf@apr.com

Question: What is the most challenging part of the transaction process?
Answer: The most complicated part of the transaction process is managing people. Closing a real estate deal is about building consensus among sellers and buyers, as well as their representatives and advisers.
One of the greatest values a real estate professional can bring to a transaction is knowing when to be a diplomat or an advocate; knowing when to push, when to stand ground and when to back off. It is ultimately a people business, and people can be complicated, especially under financial and emotional stress. Managing emotions and expectations can be difficult, especially from an arm’s length when dealing with the clients of a cooperating agent. Emotions can get the best of people and their goals. Understanding human nature and knowing how and when to adapt, listen, debate, influence or appease is key.
Read more opinions on SFGate.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

Tips on buying a vacation home versus a primary residence?

June 16, 2014
Agents Sound Off
 

Linda Granger
Lake Tahoe
530.581.6927
lgranger@apr.com

Question: Tips on buying a vacation home versus a primary residence?
Answer: No matter what kind of home purchase you’re making, some questions always remain: How much can you afford? What type of home appeals to you?
With a vacation home, though, it’s really important that the location suits what you’re looking for: What kind of activities do you enjoy? What climate suits you? What kind of escape appeals to you?
It is also important to establish what your goals are: Are you looking to rent it out? Are you just purchasing it as an investment?
The perfect vacation home buyer is someone who wants to gain equity over time, may do some vacation rentals to help cover costs and really enjoys and values the activities the locale has to offer.
A vacation rental buyer should be realistic about the amount of profit a normal rental home can bring in. In most scenarios, the property will not turn into a “cash cow,” and in order to stand out and be fully booked it has to truly shine and be very well-marketed and managed. It’s certainly possible to make money, but you should consult a rental expert to assess your property’s potential.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

How does summer vacation play into the market?

June 9, 2014
Agents Sound Off
 

John Jenkins
Saratoga
408.741.1111
jjenkins@apr.com

Question: How does summer vacation play into the market?
Answer: During the summer months, more homes go on the market due to sellers with children not wanting to interrupt their school schedule. In June and July we see a surge in the number of homes being listed, and with this, prices often stabilizing due to the added inventory. Simply speaking, when there are more homes available on the market, buyers have more choices, and prices level out.
Because of this increase in inventory and price stabilization, June and July are a perfect time for buyers to find a home in this competitive market.
Along with more sellers, there are usually more buyers on the market in June and July, although this number will drop off in August. If buyers have school-aged children, they need to be settled into their new homes by this time so their kids can be registered and ready to start classes back up at the end of the month!
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

What should I look for in a REALTOR?

June 3, 2014
Agents Sound Off
Donna Goldman
Corte Madera – Central Marin
415.458.3500
dgoldman@apr.com


Question:
What should I look for in a REALTOR?
Answer: No two buyers or sellers are alike in their approach. Regardless, there are a number of essential expectations that should be considered before engaging an agent:
— A client should have a strong relationship with his or her agent – one that is based on timely, open and regular communication.
— A Realtor needs to be intuitive of a client’s needs, have strong local market knowledge to best advise and educate the buyer, and resources to help procure a pre-approved loan if needed.
— On the listing side, sellers should expect their Realtor to educate them on the latest market conditions, advise them on how to prepare the property to sell, oversee the preparation of the buyer’s package, and be hands-on in pre-marketing and on-going marketing of the property
— Finally, seek an agent who will have time for you and doesn’t have numerous buyers and sellers in your same price range.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

How do you keep clients buoyed when they are repeatedly outbid?

May 27, 2014
Agents Sound Off
 
Marsha Williams
San Francisco
415.533.1894
marsha@apr.com

 
Question: How do you keep clients buoyed when they are repeatedly outbid?
Answer: The most important thing is to set expectations up front, and let buyers know they may be in for a marathon instead of a sprint!
San Francisco is a top-tier city, and as a buyer in this market, they are most likely going to be in a competitive situation. Buyers need to always put their best offer on the table, and if they don’t get the property, they can’t take it personally. The buyer needs to stay focused, keep a sense of humor and realize the law of averages will eventually be on their side: The more they shoot, the more they’ll score.
I encourage buyers to keep an open mind regarding neighborhoods and criteria that suits their needs.
Buyers get caught up in the excitement of the “new” inventory every week, but often there are good properties that have fallen off the radar. Those properties may have been overpriced to begin with, or just lost in the shuffle – but one shouldn’t ignore real estate that has been on the market for several weeks.
In addition, I always keep an eye out for “off market” or pocket listings – buyers want to work with an experienced local agent who hears about these listings, either through Top Agent Network or their relationships with other agents.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

Should I Set an Offer Date?

May 19, 2014
Agents Sound Off
Sheldon Rilliet
Sheldon Rilliet
Burlingame
650.931.2085
srilliet@apr.com


Question:
 Should I set an offer date?
Answer: In real estate it’s all about timing. Setting an offer date really depends on current market conditions, and currently it’s a sellers’ market in the Bay Area.
An offer date is typically set when the feedback on a property is positive and a seller expects to receive multiple offers on his or her home.
In my experience, a good rule of thumb is to evaluate both interest and feedback from agents/buyers, to finalize the need for setting an offer date.
If there are multiple buyers interested in purchasing a home, that’s a very strong sign to the agent and seller to set an offer date.
Offer dates are usually set within a week of being on the market. It is important to allow for at least two weekends of open homes, for maximum exposure.
There is no one way to market a home – use a trusted Realtor who is familiar with your community to provide guidance on offer dates and timelines.
Read more opinions on SFGate.
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