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Mike Stone's Advice

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  • 6 Contributions
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Mike Stone wrote:

why is my house valued so much less than my neighbors?

Answer
Zillow is an automated valuation system and they have admitted that their are some major flaws in their system. Although the majority of the time automated valuation systems provide a decent "ballpark" value, many times they are way off and there is simply no good explanation as to why. Zillow does not share the inner workings of it's proprietary valuation modeling system.  In short I wouldn't pay too much attention to the Zillow value (or any other automated valuation system).There is no substitute for a comparative market analysis (CMA) by an experienced realtor who is knowledegable about the area, or a good professional appraiser (please note that not all realtors or appraisers are considered good at what they do, as in any profession).  They will look at the overall condition of your home, upgrades, location, amenities, and size (and utility) of both your land and improvements and make the appropriate adjustments when comparing your home to recently sold similar homes in your market area.  The realtor will recommend a list price for your home, whereas the appraiser will give you an opinion of value.  You are the one who has the final say about the price you would like to list your home for, and depending on the marketing strategy you choose it may be above or below the final sales price.Most realtors will provide a CMA for free if you are considering selling your home and appriasers will typically charge around $400 for their services.If you have any questions, just give me a call or send me an email.Mike Stone, Broker707-836-3445http://www.sonomacountyhomepro.commike4realestate@yahoo.com
January 05
(0)

The Bank requires me to wire the funds to close at least 1 day before closing

Answer
As long as you are wiring the funds to close directly to the title insurance company trust account (not the escrow company if it is an independent escrow), this is the standard practice in my experience.  Simply look at the title insurance policy that was given to you during the escrow process, and they usually have the wire instructions near the back of the report.  To verify information you can contact the title insurance company directly and confirm that this is in fact the correct wiring instructions for final funds to close escrow.  Title insurance companies are heavily regulated (typically by the department of insurance) and have strict regulations regarding assets and reserves.  In my opinion, the title insurance companies are much more tightly regulated than our banks are (yes, it's sad about our banking system, but that's another story).Most standard purchase agreements and/or escrow instructions (in california they are one in the same agreement now) give the escrow officer instructions to only allow closing of the escrow and dispursement of funds to the seller if all of the conditions of the purchase agreement are met, and the title insurance company will only allow recording of the grant deed when it is prepared to insure that you will have clear title to the property upon recordation of the grant deed and the title insurance company will payoff of any existing mortgages and liens.Just give me a call or send me an e mail anytime if you have any questions:Mike Stone, Broker707-836-3445http://www.sonomacountyhomepro.commike4realestate@yahoo.com  Disclaimer:  I am not an attorney and can not give legal advise.  I recommend you consult with an attorney for legal counsel regarding this matter.  
January 05
(0)

How do I find a realtor who will list my home for 5%.

Answer
As you can see most agents have many good reasons for defending a listing with a 6% commission. The truth of the matter is that a good agent will look at the bigger picture and will have no hesitation in accepting a 5% commission.  Aything below that is another story.  Simply narrow down the list of realtors in  your area based on their Zillow reviews and profile statements, along with their length of time in the business with a lot of recent activity and closed sales in your area.  Call up 3-5 agents and simply ask them if they are willing to list your property with a 5% commission.  If they hesitate at all, that's a bad sign.By taking a listing they are getting added market exposure by having a sign in front of your house, along with any potential buyers they meet by holding open house at your property.  They earn your loyalty and possibly retain you as a client for your next home, along with any family, friends and co workers you may refer them to if you are happy with thier services.  It's a no brainer.[contact info deleted by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines]
January 05
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what is a typical "Average days on Market" number for good agents?

Answer
All of these answers are good, as it depends on the price range (more expensive homes tend to have a much longer marketing time, as do short sales due to the length of time it takes for short sale approval).  More rural areas tend to have longer marketing times due to the unique nature of some of the properties and a smaller population/buyer pool.  Different areas are also experiencing different economic conditions, which will make the answer very specific to your area...so you need to determine what the average is for your area.As a generalization, 3-6 months would be average for most areas.   An average closer to 3 months would be a good rule of thumb for a good agent dealing with mostly averaged priced homes for the area.[contact info deleted by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines]
January 05
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what is the "proper" was to go about changing brokers?

Answer
I recommend listing the house with another agent, after doing your diligence by interviewing at least 3 local real estate agents, and reading their reviews on Zillow and Trulia.and possibly Yelp (most real estate reviews are found on Zillow.com and Trulia.com.  I recommend choosing the agent who has several (at least 10-20) positive reviews in the past year or two and who you feel the most comfortable with.  Of course agents with negative reviews or minimal sales should not be considered.After the property is listed for sale I would contactd the agent, thank them for their services but let them know that since the property didn't sell and you are going to try again with another agent.  As a favor to them, I would also let them know that you think he's a nice person but were a little disappointed by their response time in returning calls and that you feel he could have done more to market the property.[contact information deleted by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines]
January 05
(0)

Will lenders finance with only 10% down?

Answer
Yes, but typically if you put less than 20% down you have to pay monthly mortgage insurance premiums.  In my opinion, there are distinct advantages to putting at least 10% down:1) A lower monthly mortgage insurance payment than a 3.5% down FHA loan2) Ability to remove mortgage insurance after a prescribed period of time (FHA currently does not allow)3) Typically a slightly better interest rate than on an FHA loanIf you have any questions, just give me a call anytime:Mike Stone, Realtor[contact information deleted by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines]
January 05
(0)