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Sheila Lawrence's Advice

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  • 26 Contributions
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  • 7 Helpful

Sheila Lawrence wrote:

Zillow is showing this home NOT for Sale, It is FOR SALE and owners are upset please change status

Answer
The agent or the agent's brokerage may not know that they can enter their listing on Zillow. Zillow does a very comprehensive job of providing information, so much so that it can be confused with the Multiple Listing Service. I would just ask the agent to post the listing on Zillow, that way the agent will field the calls and emails and the seller won't have to. 
April 08
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Is there somewhere I can find out how long houses stay on the market before sold in an area?

Answer
Every MLS is different, but likely all of them have a way to give you statistics on market sales in a particular area. Generally it is best to stay with the numbers from the last 3 months to see where the market is headed. If it's been a slow market, or a small area you're looking at, you might want to go 6 months or a year back. You can also drill it down to square footage, number of bed/bths, etc... A local agent will be able to help you get these numbers. You should talk to the local agents for their take as well. Agents who have been in the business for a while begin to learn the signs.
April 08
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how much value does an in ground swimming pool add to a house?

Answer
If you live in a hot climate, it is most likely a plus. Here in Northern California, it is a plus only if the buyer wants that feature, otherwise it is a minus. I've had more buyers who do not want a pool than who do in my area.
April 08
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Can you negotiate the commission of your house?

Answer
Yes, commissions are negotiable. However, here are a few things to consider... - The listing agent splits the total commission with the buyer's agent - The listings agent's share is split with their brokerage (anywhere from 55-85%) - All overhead expenses, including the marketing and sale of your listing, are paid by the agent in advance of the sale - Buyer agents can sort listings in the MLS by commission percentage and favor the higher commission homes--it is not right, but it is a potentialIf you get a good agent, they will more than earn their pay in helping you to decide on pricing, the presentation of your home, negotiating on your behalf, and guide you through the transaction with the minimum of exposure to any legal liability.  I'm not saying you have to pay top commission, but if you choose an agent who will work under the norm, you're not necessarily doing yourself a favor. 
April 08
(2)

How do I set up a "Home page" for my property

Answer
Hi,After you put your address in the search box and it pulls up your property, you click on  "Correct Home Facts" right underneath the street map.  That will take you to a screen where you will verify that your are the current owner and from there you can claim your property and put in the information you think is missing. It's been my experience that this will not change the Zillow estimate because that is drawn off a computer formula, but your input will show up for anyone looking at your property's information on Zillow.I hope that helps. If it makes you feel any better, I seldom get any buyers who reference the Zillow estimate in regards to what they think the value might be. The real proof is in sales in the last 3-6 months and those are gotten from the local MLS. The Zestimate is just a starting point.Sheila Lawrence, Realtor
March 18
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How much is my house worth?

Answer
Pasadenan gave a very complete answer, so I will not try to add to that. As far as value, there has been a shortage of listings almost every where for the last 2 years. So, there is an excellent chance that your property's value has gone up by double digits. I am in Sonoma County and our values have climbed over 25% in the last year. That is largely due to a short supply, so prices level out a bit if a lot of sellers hit the market all at once, but it will still be a good time to sell.  Contact a local agent to do a market analysis on your old house based on the sales for the last 6 months for the most accurate market value.
February 12
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My old AC needs replacing. The cost is @ $5200.00. What kind of return could I expect on this inves

Answer
You don't mention how old the unit is, but If you only use it 5-6 times per year, I think a repair would be best, especially if you are planning on selling the home within the next year.You could also just remove the system and sell the home without it. If the climate is mild enough that it is fairly common for most homes not to have air conditioning anyway, I don't think it will have too much impact on the value. Verify that you have the electrical connections needed for a new AC unit and let the buyers know they could at least save that step if they installed a new system.Another option to consider if you go the repair route, is to purchase a home warranty for yourself, or sell the home with a home warranty that covers repairs to AC units.
January 10
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Why doesn't someone kill all Zillow estimators

Answer
I understand your frustration, I've been there myself. What I've found out is that these "Zestimates" are computer generated through a programmed formula. It works well in areas like developments and condos, where it is a pretty straight forward comparison, but if you live in a more rural area, a vintage home, or a custom home, it can be an insult. The good news is that they don't mean it that way, it is simply the shortcoming of their one size fits most system. American is a big, diverse place and property values are best assessed by local professions. (Emphasis is on local.) Don't let it worry you, it is just a starting point, and the real value of your home is determined by the market. It has always been that way, and no real estate professional or appraiser is going to look to the Zestimate as a true value.
December 27 2013
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Why is my home on18090 myrtle ave sonoma ca. not listed????

Answer
Hi John,I see that address listed in Zillow.They list just about every house in the country from the information they acquire from tax records. It is currently shown as "Not For Sale". But, if your home is "listed", as in listed for sale, all your agent needs to do is enter it as such.They may not have gotten to it just yet.Sheila
November 29 2013
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what is the appropriate method to complete due diligence on a bank sale of property?

Answer
It is not clear to me whether you already own it, or it is being sold with a partially completed house on it. I'm going to assume that it is an auction with a partially completed house on it. So, there will be no disclosures, like you would normally get from a regular seller. And there is no inspection (due diligence) period before you put your money down, so research is important. You may want to spend $150 for an hour consult with a real estate attorney (since a Realtor can not represent you on an auction purchase) and get a check list of what you should look into. A call a local title company about having them take a look at the title should be on that list. If it has an unfinished house on it, I would also go to the county or the city, whoever has the jurisdiction, and ask about the status of permits. Permits can lapse if the work is not completed within a certain amount of time. New permits are subject to whatever new building codes came in to effect since the old permit expired, unless it has been extended by the person who took out the original permit. Unlikely in this case.Basically you want to be sure you are not inheriting any liens or permit fees you can't handle. And you want to satisfy yourself as to whether or not you can complete/develop the property the way you want. If it is in a development, there may be restrictions on the type and style of the house. Spending $150 on an attorney may be the best investment here. 
November 23 2013
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