Updated: Friday, July 21, 2017

How Technology is Changing the Way Real Estate Leaders do Business

In recent years, real estate developers, builders, and brokerages have been faced with rapidly changing social, demographic, and technology realities, and all of which have had an enormous impact on how the real estate industry markets and sells both listings and new developments.

The combination of changes in technology and the speed of social media have meant organizations must quickly adapt to an online and mobile world, ready to meet client expectations for the delivery of multimedia property information, while still retaining an informed and engaged sales staff with strong client >The ever-evolving market is creating opportunities unlike any weve seen in the past. Real estate organizations that plan on staying ahead of their competition will quickly adopt digital technologies, enabling them to reach more prospects, close more deals faster, and gather more >As technology and competition in the global real estate market come together in real time, real estate organizations need more enhanced tools to manage and grow their business, without adding significant complexity and/or cost. Organizations traditionally have a website, and CRM tools; however there is a big gap in-between, which means its likely that the marketing and sales teams are not properly equipped to meet todays digital display property information challenges, all of which are designed to engage clients and capture leads.

The industry needs the ability to bring this together, so agents are able to share and follow properties, find and connect with other agents across multiple languages, in a manner that is both easy and accessible. The solution does exist and it is called a collaborative real estate sales platform.

Here, real estate companies can automate and enhance their marketing and sales processes, improve the creation, control and distribution of property information, accelerate the sales cycle, and track results in real time.

Proxios Collaborative Real Estate Sales Platform is an enterprise-wide solution producing consumer-facing marketing for every property in inventory, and then leveraging a collaboration model, by enabling agents to "follow" and "share" these listings, and connect with each other via a LinkedIn-type model. The marketing is branded so leads come back to them, thus creating a motivated virtual, global team that promotes listings and properties, while providing new opportunities for connected agents.

Real Estate is a traditionally non-techie field. As a result, Proxio was designed to reside in the cloud so organizations dont have to worry about additional technology to run the platform. It provides valuable feedback by tracking and revealing the activity of both agents and consumers, as they engage with and share inventory. It is genuinely user-friendly from all perspectives.

For example, Coldwell Bankers new luxury brand, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, recently adopted Proxios Collaborative Sales and Marketing Platform as its underlying technology for its 8,000 luxury agents around the world. Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, which was recently introduced to the public this past April, encompasses 8,000 agents, representing 12,000 exceptional listings globally.

Agents connected to the platform now have the ability to leverage their client networks to find buyers for distinctive properties in some truly amazing places. Agents listings are shared and promoted by this large, vibrant network of talented luxury agents from all over the world. In a space that is traditionally more local than global, the way we do business has truly changed -- for the better.

Succinctly put, traditional sales processes in real estate havent kept up with the speed of business or the speed of the enterprise. Digital presentations and extensive visuals have become the new norm, while global has become the new local. Real estate developers, builders, and brokers can finally take advantage of the technological advances that could not be utilized in the past. Going 100 digital means more control and lower costs; while multi-lingual capabilities increase reach and maintaining a collaboration model, which delivers more qualified leads in real time. In todays world, where everything is changing so quickly around us, its reassuring to know there are solutions enabling both the real estate enterprise and the real estate leaders to stay ahead of the market, rather than be left behind.

About The Author: Janet Case lives and breathes the real estate industry. Before founding Proxio, Janet was CEO of two of the largest Associations of Realtorsreg; in the U.S. simultaneously providing services to over 7500 agents in hundreds of brokerages; she also ran an online real estate forms company and participated in the governance of Silicon Valleys MLS. Today Janet is a recognized speaker at industry conferences and real estate associations on the topic of internationalizing real estate practices and building professional referral networks. Janet previously held senior management roles in Fortune 500 companies Varian Associates and Tencor Instruments, where her responsibilities included international marketing for Europe, Asia and North and South America, and launching new products worldwide. Janet holds a BA in Economics from the University of Maine and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Full Story >


Nathan Grace Real Estate Is Hosting An Open House Extravagaza You Dont Want To Miss

Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex: Nathan Grace Real Estate, a boutique real estate company dedicated to the client, community and industry, is blowing the top off the traditional open house format with a massive 22-home open house extravaganza on Sunday, July 23rd from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Prospective buyers will be welcomed to these beautiful homes sprinkled across Dallas and surrounding communities with custom balloons, delicious treats and a chance to win prizes to favorite local restaurants - the more you visit, the more opportunities you have to win

Nathan Grace Real Estate prides itself on thinking outside of the box and like to say they "We are not your mommas real estate company, but shed be so proud". This not-to-be-missed event is just one example of these principles in action, so if youre looking for properties in the area, plan to visit as many of these homes as you are able, they are stunning

Watch the video below for a preview of the homes, including addresses, and listing agents:


Full Story >


8 Aerial Views of Popular American Housing Patterns

Even before Google allowed anybody with an Internet connection to see a satellite view of anyplace on the globe, I loved looking at books with aerial photography. A few favorites that focus on natural and human-made landscapes of the United States are Alex S. MacLeans Designs on the Land: Exploring American from the Air, Dolores Haydens and photographer Jim Warks A Field Guide to Sprawl and Alan Bergers Drosscape: Wasting Land in Urban America.

Flipping through these books again recently prompted me to look at Americas housing patterns in Google Maps, particularly places for which high-resolution, 45-degree aerial imagery is available. The collected views reveal the diversity of the countrys suburban housing in terms of scale and form, but also that much of it is what MacLean describes as "monotonous, sterile, inefficient and pedestrian unfriendly. It is missing a larger plan that goes beyond the responses to market forces, finances and restrictive regulations."

But all hope is not lost, as well see. So come along on a trip over America, taking in the good and the bad, the normal and the weird. All the views are at the same scale a little less than 1/2 mile across.

Suburbia. The suburbs in the United States take many forms, having evolved, like cities, over time from the 19th century to today. This image of Katy, Texas, near Houston is of the type that often comes to mind when we think of the suburbs. It is actually a layout that is fairly indicative of developments in the 1960s and 70s. Instead of following a grid, like earlier suburbs did, the streets are curved. But unlike later suburbs, where the cul-de-sac predominates, the streets are interconnected and have only the occasional cul-de-sac.

nbsp;

Suburban-urban grid. As cities grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they tended to follow the grid that Thomas Jefferson laid down in the 18th century. This view of Buffalo, New York, illustrates the adherence to the grid as well as >

nbsp;

Fairway housing. This view of Bend, Oregon, is fairly typical of suburban houses bordering golf courses. Their fronts face the streets that serve them, while the backs face the fairways and greens of the golf holes. Developments with houses and golf courses are now fairly common. The design of the streets, houses and golf courses have to work together, even though each has its own needs. As I pointed out in an article on walkability, golf course developments are extremely car dependent, given that it is necessary to drive a great distance to get to retail, commercial and other services.

nbsp;

Multifamily island. In the middle of this aerial shot of Bloomington, Indiana, is a multifamily housing development made up of about a dozen apartment buildings. Typical of much of the suburban landscape, the development is segregated from everything that surrounds it, such as the retail on the left. Residents must drive to it via one of two access roads. Note the recreation center with a pool that serves the apartment buildings, as well as the enormous amount of surface parking.

nbsp;

Greenfield housing. One of the most criticized aspects of sprawl is how land previously used for forests and agriculture is developed for housing and roads. This view of Columbus, Ohio, shows some houses that are pushed to the edge for the time being, probably serving homeowners that cant afford houses closer to urban or other commercial cores. One way to tell this is the "end of the line" is the fact the power lines dont extend to the right.

Correction: The power lines do extend to the right, angled to the south and east.

nbsp;

Fly-in houses. At first this view of Cameron Park, California, may look fairly typical of the suburbs, but a couple of odd things come to the fore: Those roads are mighty wide compare them with the road at the bottom, and the left-to-right road in the middle of the photo is connected to a runway. Yes, this is a community of fly-in housing, as Alan Berger calls it in his book Drosscape. After landing, residents can park their planes in hangars attached to their houses.

nbsp;

Canal houses. A variation on fairway housing, though not nearly as popular, is canal housing. Just picture the waterways between these houses in Palm Valley, Florida, as fairways. While this sort of plan mdash; where water is used for both recreation and to a lesser degree transportation mdash; makes some sense on the Florida coast, it can also be found in the desert Southwest and other areas where water scarcity would point to more suitable alternatives.

nbsp;

Houses on the water. Canal housing may offer the appearance of living on the water, but the previous example shows how the suburban norms roads, yards are still maintained. Houseboats, on the other hand, offer the reality of life on the water waves and all as well as the ability to move from one slip to another, or even to another city. This "neighborhood" of houseboats in Sausalito, California, is closer to the form of boat docks than suburban sprawl hellip; although I guess each walkway could be seen as a cul-de-sac.

Also See:

  • Unique Exterior Home Design Ideas to Break the Mold
  • Modern >
  • How to Create a Clean and Safe Community

Full Story >


Maintaining Your Hot Water Heater

Water heaters generally have a lifespan of 8-12 years, but as with anything, the better care you take of it, the longer it will last. There are several easy "set it and forget it" tips that you can use with your water heater, like keeping the thermostat at 120 degrees, and always maintain two feet of clearance around the appliance. You can also conserve money on your gas bill by setting your heater to its "vacation" setting when leaving town. This will keep the pilot light going without heating the water.

Water heater maintenance goes well beyond just checking the thermostat, however. Here are some detailed tips for making sure your water heater lives a long, full life.

Draining Cleaning

The bottom of the tank can contain all manner of sediment, calcium deposits, rust and bacteria. Drain a quarter of the tank a few times a year to remove this debris. Hook up a garden hose to the drain valve and run until the water is clear.

A once-a-year full cleaning should include draining the appliance completely, removing the drain valve and then scrubbing the bottom with a long, narrow brush. From there, screw on a nipple, pump 15 or 20 seconds worth of fresh water into the tank, then drain, repeating the process until the water runs clear. This is the best chemical-free way to clean a water heater.

Testing the TPR Valve

Most experts recommend testing the temperature and pressure >To perform the test, slowly raise and lower the test lever so that it lifts the brass stem. At this point, hot water should rush out of the end of the drainpipe. If you get no water, or only a trickle, be sure to replace the valve. The main thing to watch for immediately after testing the TPR valve is a leak. If you do catch a leak, operate the test level a few more times to loosen the debris that could be preventing the valve from working correctly. If the valve is functioning properly, turn down the temperature on the water heater controller and turn down the water pressure.

Examining the Sacrificial Anode

Sacrificial anode is the fancy name for the rod of metal located in your water heaters tank that rusts easily so that the steel wont; it takes the fall, essentially. Sacrificial anodes in water heaters are made of highly corrosive metals like magnesium and aluminum.

To examine your heaters sacrificial anode you must first remove it. Start by shutting off the electricity or gas to the water heater, as well as the water supply. Drain a few inches of water from the tank via the tank valve. Locate the top of the anode rod or connecting hardware - it may be under a cap about halfway to the center, or it may be under a pink top nipple. Loosen the anode very carefully with a wrench. Here, it may be necessary to apply penetrating oil to the connecting nut or threads.

One you remove the anode, inspect it carefully. If it is covered in rough metal that looks like its been chewed, thats normal and your anode is functioning properly. If you can see six inches or more of the steel core wire inside the anode, replace it. If not, put it back in place and check back in a year.

Insulating Older Units

When you insulate the walls in your house, you increase its energy efficiency, and the same is true with your water heater. Although newer units are optimized for insulation, many older units are not, and by insulating them, you could reduce heat loss by 25-45. If youre not sure whether or not to insulate your appliance, simply touch it; if its warm to the touch, its time to insulate.

Before purchasing a water heater insulating blanket kit, check with your utility to see if they offer blankets at discounted rates. Some companies even install them for little-to-no cost.

To self-install, turn off the electricity to your heater at the breaker or for gas, switch the valve to "pilot" position. Wrap the blanket around the heater and tape it temporarily, leaving open areas for the access panels, valves and for gas heaters, the burner areas. Then tape the blanket permanently, and be sure to never set the thermostat above 130 degrees because the wiring could overheat.

When to Replace?

If you own a conventional storage tank water heater and its getting into the double digits in age, its time to replace. However if your water heater is only a few years old, there are a few things that would only take about 150-300 to repair. These things include extinguished pilot lights, burner or heating elements failing, thermostats breaking, or valves sticking. The two precursors to replacement are usually either old age or a leak. When your water heater springs a leak that usually means its time to face the music and buy a new one.

What are some other ways you care for your water heater?

Sarah Kellner writes about home heating appliances, including water heaters, for Home Depot. Sarah provides tips to homeowners on DIY energy efficiency and maintenance. A selection of water heaters available at Home Depot can be found on the companys website.

Full Story >


Is This The Ultimate Example Of What Not To Do When Listing Your House For Sale?

Theres a new home listing thats been making the Internet rounds this week, and its a must-see for anyone who is selling their house, considering selling their house, or just wants to do a little point-and-stare. Oh, and for mannequin lovers. Let us explain.

The house in question is a large, gated estate on Jones Creek in the desirable Houston-area city of Richmond. Its listed for 1,275,000. At five bedrooms, five baths, and 7,406 square feet, with two acres of pastoral grounds backing to a scenic creek with a cattle ranch on the other side, and features including an art studio, game room, trophy room, swimming pool, outdoor kitchen, and a garage apartment, its seemingly a gem.

But that assumes you can actually see any of what the home has to offer. The owner of the home, whose identity is undisclosed, is an artist. And the home is her canvas. Oh, and her tools arent paint, theyrewell, see for yourself.

Did you notice the figure hanging on the stair railing? Thats a mannequin. And hes not alone. In fact, one notable real estate insider has even teased a contest to guess the number of mannequins in the home. "Our team has been chatting about this house now for a few days," said CandysDirt. "Home stagers are running for Xanax."

It definitely begs the question, "What is art and what is clutter?" It also makes you wonder what the initial conversation was like between RE/MAX FINE Properties agent Diana Power, whos listed the home, and her seller. We assume it, at least, included the words, "decluttering," and "staging" and "storage."

It goes without saying that this array of art and accessories may be just a tad excessive and perhaps also a little bit distracting. And maybe also kind of weird, or at least eccentric. It makes for a great spectacle - and certainly brings a lot of attention. But will it sell the home? "She has lots of collections," Power told Huffington Post. "Its not hoarding or clutter; its art."

But thats hardly the end of the discussion, and it brings up a few more keys for selling your home.

Mind your curb appeal

A house thats picture-perfect on the inside but questionable from the street isnt doing a seller any favors. It takes just a few seconds to to form a first impression. If the mannequin standing at the front gate presumably, the communitys HOA either limited the number of mannequins to one or made sure it was inside the gate, or both doesnt raise an eyebrow, perhaps the knocked-down and haphazardly restacked mailbox will. I mean, we presume it was knocked down and haphazardly restacked. It could be "art," after all.

Dont creep people out

Yes, the clutter in this master bedroom is overwhelming. But beyond the sheer amount of stuff in the space, why is there a mannequin at the foot of the bed? Even more curious: all the dolls stuffed into the bookcases. One look and Im heading right back out the door. You?

Bonus question: Where do you even get all those mannequins?

Wait. Foot-of-the-bed mannequin has a friend. Or two? Whos that climbing under the table?

Show off the goods

Most sellers, and, certainly their agents, would insist on framing that view out to the pool and creek. But, between all the taxidermy real or faux, pelts, knickknacks, dolls, blankets, and furniture, its hard to even focus the eye, even with that grand expanse of glass.

Maybe this serene view of Jones Creek makes it all better? Is that a mannequin riding the lawnmower?

This home has great features throughout. In the living room, there are beautiful built-ins, gleaming hardwoods, an elegant fireplace, and detailed dental molding all around. But you have to look hard to notice any of it.

"You can see the charm of the house underneath it all, from its 300,000 foundations to the way the windows are framed in cement and stone," Powers told ABC13. "I think that the person who will end up buying this house can see the forest from the trees."

Lets test that theory in the kitchen. This gourmet space has professional grade appliances and a huge island - and every inch of it has been covered with something to distract potential buyers from the great features.

At least the seller staged a mannequin at the island to showcase the eating bar. That is a mannequin, right?

Look at the features in this library. Behind all the books, papers, rugs, birdcages?, and a mannequin that is WALKING ON THE CEILING, there are some stunning bookcases, and French doors that lead out to a patio and pool - if you can manage to get to them.

Does it make you more interested in seeing the home, and, if you do want to see it, is it only to count the mannequins?

And, P.S., dont get any ideas about trying to buy the home with everything in it. The owner has stated shes "taking everything" with her when she moves on.
Full Story >


Maintaining Your Hot Water Heater

Water heaters generally have a lifespan of 8-12 years, but as with anything, the better care you take of it, the longer it will last. There are several easy "set it and forget it" tips that you can use with your water heater, like keeping the thermostat at 120 degrees, and always maintain two feet of clearance around the appliance. You can also conserve money on your gas bill by setting your heater to its "vacation" setting when leaving town. This will keep the pilot light going without heating the water.

Water heater maintenance goes well beyond just checking the thermostat, however. Here are some detailed tips for making sure your water heater lives a long, full life.

Draining amp; Cleaning

The bottom of the tank can contain all manner of sediment, calcium deposits, rust and bacteria. Drain a quarter of the tank a few times a year to remove this debris. Hook up a garden hose to the drain valve and run until the water is clear.

A once-a-year full cleaning should include draining the appliance completely, removing the drain valve and then scrubbing the bottom with a long, narrow brush. From there, screw on a nipple, pump 15 or 20 seconds worth of fresh water into the tank, then drain, repeating the process until the water runs clear. This is the best chemical-free way to clean a water heater.

Testing the TPR Valve

Most experts recommend testing the temperature and pressure >

To perform the test, slowly raise and lower the test lever so that it lifts the brass stem. At this point, hot water should rush out of the end of the drainpipe. If you get no water, or only a trickle, be sure to replace the valve. The main thing to watch for immediately after testing the TPR valve is a leak. If you do catch a leak, operate the test level a few more times to loosen the debris that could be preventing the valve from working correctly. If the valve is functioning properly, turn down the temperature on the water heater controller and turn down the water pressure.

Examining the Sacrificial Anode

Sacrificial anode is the fancy name for the rod of metal located in your water heaters tank that rusts easily so that the steel wont; it takes the fall, essentially. Sacrificial anodes in water heaters are made of highly corrosive metals like magnesium and aluminum.

To examine your heaters sacrificial anode you must first remove it. Start by shutting off the electricity or gas to the water heater, as well as the water supply. Drain a few inches of water from the tank via the tank valve. Locate the top of the anode rod or connecting hardware - it may be under a cap about halfway to the center, or it may be under a pink top nipple. Loosen the anode very carefully with a wrench. Here, it may be necessary to apply penetrating oil to the connecting nut or threads.

One you remove the anode, inspect it carefully. If it is covered in rough metal that looks like its been chewed, thats normal and your anode is functioning properly. If you can see six inches or more of the steel core wire inside the anode, replace it. If not, put it back in place and check back in a year.

Insulating Older Units

When you insulate the walls in your house, you increase its energy efficiency, and the same is true with your water heater. Although newer units are optimized for insulation, many older units are not, and by insulating them, you could reduce heat loss by 25-45. If youre not sure whether or not to insulate your appliance, simply touch it; if its warm to the touch, its time to insulate.

Before purchasing a water heater insulating blanket kit, check with your utility to see if they offer blankets at discounted rates. Some companies even install them for little-to-no cost.

To self-install, turn off the electricity to your heater at the breaker or for gas, switch the valve to "pilot" position. Wrap the blanket around the heater and tape it temporarily, leaving open areas for the access panels, valves and for gas heaters, the burner areas. Then tape the blanket permanently, and be sure to never set the thermostat above 130 degrees because the wiring could overheat.

When to Replace?

If you own a conventional storage tank water heater and its getting into the double digits in age, its time to replace. However if your water heater is only a few years old, there are a few things that would only take about 150-300 to repair. These things include extinguished pilot lights, burner or heating elements failing, thermostats breaking, or valves sticking. The two precursors to replacement are usually either old age or a leak. When your water heater springs a leak that usually means its time to face the music and buy a new one.

What are some other ways you care for your water heater?

Sarah Kellner writes about home heating appliances, including water heaters, for Home Depot. Sarah provides tips to homeowners on DIY energy efficiency and maintenance. A selection of water heaters available at Home Depot can be found on the companys website.

Full Story >


Mortgages: When You Are In Financial Trouble

Question: We have owned our house for many years, and currently owe several months of mortgage payments. The equity in our house is somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-90,000, but since I lost my job recently, I can neither make the mortgage payments nor do I want to move somewhere else. I have heard about a deed in lieu, but do not understand how it works. Can you explain? We never thought this would happen to us.

Answer: None of us can appreciate -- nor anticipate -- the future. Although we always believe it will never happen to us, once in a while, calamity strikes, and then we have to address these very hard and difficult questions.

Before addressing the deed in lieu issue, let me outline for you a number of steps on how to deal with your mortgage lender, if you start to get behind on your mortgage payments.

If you want the lender to cooperate with you, there has to be an equal level of cooperation on your side. Indeed, according to the FreddieMac guidelines on alternatives to foreclosure, the secondary mortgage market gives a mortgage lender broad discretion to extend >The first possible >Another approach is a repayment plan. Here, the borrower is given a fixed period of time -- usually not to exceed one year -- in which to bring the mortgage current by immediately making and continuing to make payments in excess of the monthly mortgage payment. It is important to get this repayment plan reduced to a written document, signed by both the lender and the borrower.

Lenders also can enter into what is known as a special forbearance >In this case, the lender will make a determination that the default is curable, and based on the current financial and appraisal data, the lender must be satisfied there is a likelihood that the borrower will be able to comply with the repayment plan. Clearly, the burden is on the borrower to document and justify the plan, so as to satisfy the lenders requirements.

If you are in the military, the Soldiers and Sailors >Another avenue that may be available to you is known as a "short sale". Here, the lender will authorize you to sell the property for what it is really worth, and the lender will get all the proceeds. Let us look at this example. The house can probably be sold at 95,000, but the mortgage is 125,000. The lender may allow you to sell the property for 95,000, giving a real estate broker a three percent commission. The lender gets all the remaining sales proceeds; you get nothing from the sale. However, under this "short sale" approach, you will be >The deed in lieu of foreclosure is another remedy that may be available to you. Under this arrangement, you deed your property to the lender or to whomever the lender designates and this is in lieu of instead of foreclosure proceedings. This arrangement is an acceptable and customary procedure when, for example, the borrower is deceased and the estate is willing and able to transfer the property, or the borrower has filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and the trustee has abandoned interest in the property.

There are a number of requirements in order to accomplish a deed in lieu, and each lender will have their own set of guidelines. Generally speaking, however, the following requirements are usually imposed by a lender that is willing to accept the deed in lieu:

1. The borrower has a valid and documented reason for default which is beyond the borrowers control;

2. The borrower has demonstrated that he or she has and can make prudent financial decisions since the default;

3. The borrower has been cooperative and has provided all necessary documentation to the lender. Additionally, the borrower must permit the lender to have reasonable access to inspect the inside of the property;

4. The borrower must be willing to make a financial contribution, if this is at all possible; and

5. If the lender has escrowed monies for the payment of future taxes and insurance, the borrower must be willing to forego reimbursement of these escrowed funds.

Additionally, in most cases, the lender will not even consider taking the property as a deed in lieu unless the property has been listed for sale at market value, and all attempts to sell the property have failed. Finally, there can be no outstanding liens or other encumbrances on the property, since the lender wants to be able to take the property free and clear of any other claims against it.

When a lender takes property as a deed in lieu, presumably the borrowers credit history has already been tarnished; after all, the borrower has probably not been making mortgage payments for several months

It is strongly suggested that you contact your lender immediately, and have a face to face discussion with them. If your lender is no longer in your home town, send them a letter and then pick up the telephone and make arrangements to talk to the most senior official at that mortgage lending company.

The final option, of course -- which should be used only as a last resort -- is for you to file bankruptcy. When someone files for bankruptcy, there are many protections that automatically apply from the day the bankruptcy petition is filed with the Bankruptcy Court. The most important protection under the bankruptcy law is known as "the automatic stay." If you are in bankruptcy, no legal action can be taken against your house unless the lender requests the Court for permission to "lift the stay." This means that the lender goes before the bankruptcy judge, in open court, and petitions the Court to permit the foreclosure to take place. Depending on the circumstances, including the amount of equity you have in your house and the possibility of getting back on your feet financially, the Bankruptcy Court may or may not lift that stay.

Finally, I want to address your specific situation. You have indicated there is equity in the house. I cannot recommend a "short sale" or a "deed in lieu" in your case. However, I do suggest you will probably have to sell your house -- and do so as soon as possible. Clearly, you do not want the lender to foreclose on you, since you will probably lose most -- if not all -- of that equity to a real estate investor or speculator. Even if you sell the house at a "bargain sale", at least you will keep some of that equity.

You cannot ignore the problem, hoping you will win the lottery or find some other immediate source of funds. The level of your cooperation is the most significant aspect that will determine how willing the lender is to similarly cooperate.
Full Story >


How To Safely Remove Window Glass

Why would you need to remove glass from your window? In most cases, its because the glass is cracked or broken, or it is an insulated pane thats no longer sealed properly. Or maybe its time to upgrade your windows with tinted or smart glass. Professional glass shops can help you choose and size the right glass for the job, but first youll have to remove the window glass and bring in the sash. If there is a break on a stationary window or the sash and it isnt budging, you may need to hire a professional glass installation expert.

Getting the glass out before you visit your glass installation shop can help save money and time, and its not too complicated. The most challenging part is to avoid being injured by broken glass.

Taking the Proper Safety Precautions

The No. 1 rule in working around glass is to wear protective gear. If glass is broken or you accidentally break it, even smaller glass shards can cut deep and cause injuries. Wear heavy gloves with leather palms, thick shoes or boots and safety glasses when youre working around glass. Long sleeves and long pants are also highly recommended.

Safely Removing Broken Glass

Youll want to minimize the spread of glass pieces when you remove broken glass from a window frame, and get those stubborn pieces that dont come out easily without cutting yourself. Heres how:

Step 1: Use tape.

Apply masking tape over the window pane, including the broken area. Dont press hard against the glass, but cover it completely with strips of tape on one side. The tape will keep pieces of glass from flying away from the window as you work. You want to be able to carefully take the glass pieces off the tape, so dont use duct tape or something extra sticky.

Step 2: Protect the area.

Put down a tarp or dropcloth that you can dispose of if glass breaks over it. Its best to do this on both the interior area around the window and the exterior area.

Step 3: Loosen the glass with a hand tool.

Some people use the butt of a hammer, but a pry bar or other heavy hand tool will work effectively. Your goal is to loosen the glass pieces through gentle taps. Then you can remove those larger pieces and dispose of them properly.

Step 4: Remove old glazing from around the frame.

The last bits of glass will be stuck in the window frame. With the help of a chisel or even a stiff putty knife, clear away the glazing that is holding those stragglers in place. If caulk or tape was used to hold the window in place, you may need to use a slightly more flexible putting knife to cut between the frame and the glass. Cautiously pull the glass pieces out of the frame and dispose of them.

SafelyRemoving Intact Glass Panes

Window glass is typically installed in one of three ways: With caulk, with a gasket, or with adhesive tape.

Caulk

Removable stops, or very thin pieces of wood or vinyl, line the window. Youll have to get these out in order to make a bit of room where you can cut through the caulk seal. Unfortunately, often the stops get caulked a bit and can be hard to remove. Use a thin, flexible putty knife or utility knife to cut through any caulk you see and get the stops out. Then you can flip the window and slip the knife between the window and frame to loosen or cut through the caulk. You may have to break the glass out if this task becomes too difficult.

Adhesive Tape

Instead of caulk, double-faced tape is used to stick the frame and glass together and a removable stop is positioned on the other side. Youll be able to use a flexible putty knife to loosen the stop, starting from the top. Turn the window over and use that putty knife between the frame and the slightly loosened glass panel to cut the tape and >Gaskets

The glass edges are held by grooves in the window frame and contained in a vinyl or thick plastic gasket. Youll need to disassemble the frame, which is held together with screws on each corner. This is good news because it will be the easiest to take apart; then you can remove the entire pane and replace it before screwing the frame back together.

Any glazing between the glassand frame can usually be scraped off or pulled off in small stripsif needed.

Cleaning Up Broken Glass

If you have broken glass, be sure to wear safety gear before you try to clean up. Vacuum carefully around the window area and use duct tape or a lint roller to pick up tiny pieces. Put one thick black trash bag inside another so you have two layers, and use that to put your glass pieces into. Label the bagwith a sticker or tag that says, "Broken Glass for Disposal" so any handlers know to use caution.

If you have any questions about removing glass, or youre simply not comfortable working withthe glass in your window, call a professional glass installer to take care of the job. A pro can also advise you on the best replacement glass for your window and budget.
Full Story >


The Need For Signatures - All The Signatures

One of the basics that real estate brokers teach new agents is that they need to get signatures on contracts. They also want to be sure that they get all the signatures needed, which is not always clear. The recent case of Jacobs v. Locatelli, California Sixth Appellate District, Feb. 18, 2017, provides a case in point.

On April 9, 2013, Bernice Jacobs, who is a licensed real estate broker, signed a listing agreement with John Locatelli, granting Jacobs the exclusive and irrevocable rights to sell a parcel of property in Marin County. The duration of the contract was one year. The listing price was 2,200,000. If Jacobs procured a buyer for the property, she was to receive a commission of 200,000.

Locatelli signed as trustee of the John B. Locatelli trust. There were signature lines naming four other persons plus one corporate entity. They were not signed. Jacobs said that Locatelli told her when he was signing the agreement that he was authorized to act on behalf of the other owners. She believed that there was a written agency agreement between Locatelli and the other owners. In the listing agreement, the owner is identified as John B. Locatelli, Trustee of the John B. Locatelli Trust, et al. Moreover, Jacobs says that two of the individual owners subsequently acknowledged her employment, were impressed by her performance, and inquired about working with her on other projects.

The listing experience was not a happy one. Not long into the listing period, Jacobs contacted Locatelli to tell him that she had been in contact with a representative for the Trust for Public Land TPL and that TPL was interested in purchasing the property. Locatelli told Jacobs that he had been speaking with TPL for years, and that it should be excluded from the listing. The TPL representative denied this. In any event, sometime in 2013 the owners and TPL entered into a purchase agreement. The sale, however, was never consummated.

On April 4, 2014, Jacobs filed an action against the owners. The Appellate Court noted that the failure of the sale was not addressed as a cause for Jacobs not to receive a commission. Hence that issue is not discussed. The action was for breach of contract and for specific performance, among other charges.

The owners filed a demurrer - essentially, a motion to dismiss - on the grounds that they had not signed the listing agreement. The trial court sustained that motion. Jacobs appealed.

At this point, it is >But Jacobs also >If Locatelli had authorization to sign a listing agreement on behalf of the other owners, he would have been given authorization to sign something that was required to be in writing. According to the equal dignities rule, then, that authorization would also have to be in writing.

When the Appellate Court reviewed this case, they seemed to find too many anomalies in the circumstances to allow the case simply to be dismissed. For example, they felt that Jacobs should be given an opportunity to introduce extrinsic evidence regarding Locatellis claim that he was authorized to act for the other owners. So, the case was sent back, and we dont know at this point how it will turn out. But we do know that a lot of grief and lawyer fees could have been saved if there had been a concerted effort to obtain all signatures in the manner necessary.

Indeed, there may be a lesson here for California real estate agents who have come to >Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtorsreg;. He is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way. His email address is .
Full Story >


Agents: 5 Tips for Successfully Pursuing Social Purpose

Are you searching for social purpose to enrich your work, contribute to obvious local need, and reach out to new target groups? Not as a marketing pitch or sales promotion campaign, but with real social purpose that can right wrongs and improve lives.

Real estate professionals grow to love the communities they work in and often look for ways to give back to the families and neighborhoods that help these committed professionals realize business and personal goals.

Blending social purpose with business can enrich existing connections and open the door to new >

  • Challenges: Sometimes a cause or purpose arises out of things gone wrong or service gaps that newly emerge within a community. Existing charities or nonprofits may fully or partially cover these issues, but there is always more that can be done. Real estate professionals have unique perspectives to contribute.
  • Technology: Increasingly, technology enables a mission or passion to affordably, practically take form and reach out to a target group. Networking with existing service organizations brings benefits to all involved.
  • Revelation: Often a chance meeting or a new client introduces a fresh perspective on work or life which snaps a social issue or solution into focus and the mission begins. An epiphany of clear connections can occur in the midst of common routine. Revelation unearths new purpose.

    How do you blend a business venture with social purpose?

    A recent podcast interview posted on my blog offers one example of integrating social purpose into a business start-up. Entrepreneur Lino Falotico of Inner Balance Wear, interviewed on his launch day, candidly revealed the driving force of social purpose.

    Falotico began as a successful caterer with a long-term interest in fashion design and a son who suffered from mental illness. One morning driving to a catering job during a particularly colorful sunrise, Falotico had his epiphany. Suddenly, he understood how to help his son and others like him while indulging that long-held design interest.

    Listen to Falotico share his personal story of struggling to understand his sons fight against anxiety disorder and of learning how to help him. Youll realize that the right purpose ignites passion. This drives individuals to believe they must take on a cause to help others.

    Faloticos story is not without humor. The combined mental-health and fashion statement he is making is with underwear - or more exactly on underwear.

    Nothing disrespectful there. His slogan for this motivational variation on days-of-the-week undies is "Let the first thing you put on be you." Each pair of chakra-color-coded, super-comfies in a 7-pack displays one of seven powerful "I AM" self-actualizing statements on its waistband. This means that wearers start the day concentrating on an "I AM" theme that brings vitality to the day ahead. Faloticos son works at Inner Balance as part of the team intent on ensuring the messaging works as an invisible-to-others personal reminder.

    Falotico promises to donate 7 of the net proceeds to Mental Health Awareness and Research. This is not a launch gimmick, but a long-term commitment to mental health organizations and their causes. He is adamant that his success will mean success for others.

    However your new purpose comes to you, finding practical ways to integrate it into your work routine can be a challenge. Wherever you start, your expertise with implementation and communication will determine your success, just as comparable skill will determine Inner Balances.

    The point is this...your social purpose or solution may seem odd to others until your new way of thinking about the problem and solution gains acceptance. Your goal is to develop a unique approach that guarantees this new commitment works for you and everyone concerned.

    Before you plunge into a new social venture, consider these 5 Tips for Successfully Pursuing Social Purpose:

    1. Slow Down

    Remember the previous long-term projects you started and couldnt sustainthe newsletter, the blog, the door-knocking campaign? Here "failure to stick" can do more than embarrass you. The very people youre intent on helping will be let down.

    2. Research Is Essential

    Ask real estate colleagues and others with established social purpose projects what the long-term positive and negative considerations are. Reach outside your area to learn from professionals who have adopted a purpose that intrigues you. Volunteer on others projects to learn how to engage volunteers, fund raiseand the list goes on. Construct a very practical strategy to achieve your goals within your current real estate workload before you jump.

    3. Scale Down The Start-Up

    Start small. Begin with a manageable event or a campaign to see if this is really for you. Fine-tune practical considerations before you expand commitment. An annual event may be all thats necessary.

    4. Understand Target Needs

    Invest time and resources listening to those you intend to help. They know what will and wont work for them. Stereotypes, labels, and "common knowledge" are usually wrong. You may discover targets would prefer an enti>5. Put Your Real Estate Strengths To Work

    Incorporate your real estate skills into the design of your organization and project. Your powerful communication, problem-solving, and implementation expertise can ensure your project succeeds. The more you incorporate aspects of your social project into your business routine, the more youll achieve for both.
    Full Story >


    The Fall Colors For Home Youll Soon Be Seeing Everywhere

    Already thinking about how to jazz up your home with the latest fall trends and newest colors? Even in the dead of summer, its hard to keep from thinking ahead, especially because autumn deacute;cor can be so dreamy. This year, get a head start on the new season with the fall colors youll be seeing a lot of soon.

    "At thenbsp;International Home Housewares show,nbsp;Pantonenbsp;Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman made a long-anticipated announcement when she sharednbsp;the upcoming color trends for 2018," said Martha Stewart. "Eight color groups were announced: Verdure, Resourceful, Playful, Discretion, Far-fetched, Intricacy, Intensity and TECH-nique."

    This Elderberry Wine paint from Benjamin Moore falls under "Discretion," and is an unexpected hit of color in a built-in that brings new life to the space.

    Blush

    Millennial pink isnt gone, and, in fact, its still going strong with demographics far beyond millennials. But a hot new shade of pink is gaining on it. Benjamin Moores Tissue Pink is a good place to start to incorporate this hue into your home.

    We love the rosy bed in this room from Decoholic, especially with the pink contrasted against the grey and metallic accents.

    Decoholic

    Brass

    Speaking of metallic, its not going anywhere, according to International Color Expert Leatrice Eiseman. "Metallics we know are >

    If youre looking to bring metallics into your home for fall, todays finish du jour is brass.

    Decoholic

    Dark green

    Tired of that all-white kitchen? Thisll give your place a boost. Show off that marble with a dark contrast by splashing deep, rich green - a top color trend for fall - on the walls and cabinets.


    Pinterest

    "Dark paint"

    "Forget farmhouse white and gray This season, its all about drama," said House Beautiful. "PPG Paints, Glidden Paints, and Olympic Paints amp; Stains all announcednbsp;cozy shades of black as their 2018 Color of the Year - nbsp;Black Flame PPG1043-7,nbsp;Deep Onyx 00NN 07/000, andnbsp;Black Magic OL116, respectively."


    housebeautiful.com

    Matte black

    Moody black is included under the dark paint umb>


    pinterest.com

    Not ready to take the plunge on the walls? Black matte home deacute;cor is everywhere right now.


    pinterest.com

    Chocolate brown

    Chocolate brown is also on the rise, providing a rich alternative to all that grey thats been everywhere over the last several years and "the all-white, minimalistic homes that have taken over Pinterest," said CountryLiving. Their article titled "Brown is the new black" notes that, "trends are cyclical, and now, were seeing homeowners embracing earthier shades and a morenbsp;maximalist >


    countryliving.com

    Full Story >


    How To Create A Statement Ceiling

    Are things looking up in your home? How about people? If theres nothing to draw their eye up, you may be missing out on a great decorating opportunity. Today, the ceiling is being called the "fifth wall," and its a great place to add color, texture, and interest to a space that is often ignored.

    Beams

    Who doesnt love a rustic beam or 10? Its the >

  • Living in a more modern space? Maybe you want to go a little sleek instead of rustic. Keep in mind that beams today dont have to be pricy. Finding reclaimed beams - inexpensive reclaimed beams, for that matter - you can reuse is the dream of many. But when thats not a reality, or when the size and weight of the beams is a concern, "faux" beams may be the answer. Faux beams look like the real thing but are hollow, allowing them to be much easier to install and, often, more affordable.


    lushome.com

    Paint it

    The right hue up above can take a good space and make it amazing. This dreamy sea blue makes walking down the hall a pleasure, but with so much allure in what could just be a "pass-through," you might actually want to have a seat and stay awhile.


    pinterest.com

    Moldings

    In a large space without a lot of architectural detail, moldings on the ceiling can create just the right amount of interest.


    pinterest.com

    Medallions

    You dont need a Parisian pied--terre to create historic-feeling character in your home. A medallion and some intricate moldings on the ceiling can transform a room. You can find vintage medallions at architectural salvage stores, and a variety of newer versions at Lowes.


    thedecorista.com

    Or, use a stencil and some metallic paint to create a one-of-a-kind ceiling, like this one from Apartment Therapy.


    Kim R. McCormick via apartmenttherapy.com

    Wallpaper

    Wallpaper on the ceiling? Its the perfect accent for this sweet New York nursery.


    elledecor.com

    Art

    You may not be up to recreating the Sistine Chapel a la Michelangelo, but you may be able to reference another masterpiece. This ceiling in a London townhouse looks like a Mondrian come to life.


    Elle Decor

    Paint it dark

    "To make this dining room comfortable and intimate, the designer painted the ceiling black and added a very low paper lantern," said Build Direct. "Large, open spaces can also benefit from a dark ceiling if you want to make it look a little more defined."


    builddirect.com

    Keeping the ceiling white in this chic kitchen could go a little country paging Joanna Gaines with that shiplap look, but painting it black creates contrast and drama, while showcasing the high-end features.


    pinterest.com

    Go graphic

    Graphic patterns have invaded pretty much every other surface, and now its time to look up to them. This office/homework space benefits from the patterned ceiling, which adds even more interest and vibrancy to a space that could be dull or clinical. Who says the "work" space has to be boring?


    pinterest.com

    Stop just short of mirrors

    This glossy finish is a much more sophisticated way of creating a reflective surface on the ceiling that gives the room a touch of >


    pinterest.com

    Full Story >


    A Heartfelt Way to Say Hello to Your New Neighbors

    Dont worry about a perfect presentation - a heartfelt note and a simple treat create a wonderful welcome to the neighborhood

    A few months ago our neighbors moved away. We had gotten to know them only recently, when we were rebuilding after our house fire. That was one of the good things that came out of that hard time. During construction we rented just a few doors down, right next to this nice family. But, alas, they found a house that suited them better.

    When I drive by their empty house every day, I glance over to check for the for-sale sign and to see if anyone is looking at it. Some days I say a prayer for my old neighbors that they will sell the house quickly and for the new neighbors, whoever they may be.

    Paul and I talked about how we wanted to make a point to welcome the new neighbors. When we moved into our first home, our next-door neighbors brought over a plate of cookies with a note welcoming us to the neighborhood. I had a newborn baby and was trying to get back in shape, so I wasnt thrilled to be delivered a plate of temptation. But I was delighted to meet our new neighbors, and their thoughtful gesture had the desired effect.

    When we bought our second house, there was a gap between the day we took possession and when we actually moved in. We shuttled between the two houses for a few weeks. One day I found a mason jar set by our front door with a simple bouquet and a note from our neighbor up the road. She gave her name and her husbands, as well as their phone number, and welcomed us to our new home.

    Last week I drove by our neighbors house, and when I did my reflexive look I didnt see the for-sale sign. A few days later I drove by and saw cars in the driveway and all the lights on in the house. It was clear someone was moving in.

    I told Paul the next day, "I think Ill make cookies and write down our name and numbers. We can walk over and introduce ourselves later this afternoon." He thought that was a great idea. Eden heard us and asked if she could please, oh please, make the card. There was no question of us saying anything but yes. She and I set to work.

    By Alison Hodgson - See more Home Design Photos

    The cookies didnt turn out the best. The first batch was slightly undercooked, and the second was half burned. I hate my new oven The third batch was inedible.

    In general I consider "Its the thought that counts" shabby thinking and simple excuse making. If youre going to do something for someone, you should do it well.

    And yet too often Ive failed to make a kind gesture because Im concerned it wont be perfect. I mean, what if the family eschews white flour and refined sugar? What if?

    Im done with that sort of worrying. The first batch I left on the cookie sheet, and they continued to bake. They werent pretty, but I knew they would taste good.

    Edens card, of course, is fantastic. Im only going to add a small card listing our names with our home and mobile numbers. I know this isnt necessary, but Id like them to know were good for a cup of sugar or a tablespoon of garam masala.

    By Alison Hodgson - See more Home Design Photos

    Eden remembered these little candy boxes I bought last Christmas and never used. She thought they would be perfect, and I agreed. Never mind that its a gingerbread house with candy cane trim and this is November. Theyre cute and happy, and its a little house welcoming our new neighbors to our neighborhood and their home. Thats our thought, and I think it counts more than enough.

    Also See:


    Full Story >


    7 Key Things That Help You Qualify For A Mortgage

    In an environment where lenders are highly regulated and risk-averse, borrowers are rightfully a little nervous when they apply for a mortgage. But with the right preparation, qualifying for a home loan can be a rewarding experience in your journey toward homeownership.

    "In a lot of ways, lenders have gone back to the basics, looking at fundamental personal finance criteria to decide who qualifies for a loan," says Rick Sharga, chief marketing officer of Ten-X, an online real estate marketplace in Irvine, California.

    At the same time, Sharga says lenders have been more risk-averse than ever since the housing bust.

    A.W. Pickel, III, Midwest division president of AmCap Mortgage in Kansas City, Missouri, recommends finding a loan officer you can trust and sticking with that person during your entire homebuying process.

    "A good loan officer is like a pilot flying you and your loan from Kansas City to Hawaii," Pickel says. "There are several ways to get there and several things that can happen on the way. A good loan officer has seen the turbulence and knows where the smooth air is."

    7 steps toward a loan approval

    The back-to-basics approach by lenders means that borrowers can take steps that increase their chances of a mortgage approval.

    Improving your credit, reducing your debt and gathering your documentation are among the many things you can do long before a loan application to increase the likelihood of getting a "yes" from a lender.

    1. Maintain a high credit score. The average FICO score for an approved borrower is around 720 for a conventional loan and close to 700 for an FHA-insured loan, says Sharga. He says borrowers should find out their FICO score before applying for a loan, make sure their credit report is correct and take steps to improve their score if necessary. Pickel says he recently reviewed a loan file with a high debt-to-income ratio of 49 percent but a credit score over 800, which resulted in a loan approval.

    Keep a vigilant eye on your credit profile while you wait for your loan to close, too.

    "Once the application process has begun, borrowers shouldnt do anything that might negatively impact their credit rating -- no new accounts, no late or missed payments," says Sharga.

    2. Save for a bigger down payment. One way to minimize risk for a lender is to make a higher-than-minimum down payment. "The average down payment today is around 10 percent; historically the standard has been 20 percent," says Sharga. "Anything above that lowers the loan-to-value ratio, which is viewed positively."

    3. Choose the right loan. If you have less money for a down payment but have good credit, you may qualify for a conventional loan with private mortgage insurance and a down payment requirement of 3 to 5 percent.

    You may want to look for a lender who issues FHA loans, which are often available to borrowers with less cash or a lower credit score and require a down payment of 3.5 percent. Keep in mind these loans require a monthly mortgage insurance payment in addition to principal and interest, Sharga says.

    4. Manage your debt. Lenders are >Paying off credit card balances or at least reducing debt before applying for a home loan is helpful.

    5. Buy within your means. "Be realistic with your monthly income," Pickel says. "Buy a house with a monthly payment you can afford. Buying a house that needs the income from two or three future raises will only cause stress."

    It matters that you can afford your payments and have remaining income after those payments are made, he says.

    6. Demonstrate stability. Lenders look for signs of personal and financial stability, such as whether youve saved three to six months worth of expenses in the bank, whether you have a steady employment record and how often youve moved over the past few years, Sharga says. Your good credit score and a pattern of saving money are both indicators of financial strength.

    7. Respond fast to lender requests. The CFPBs ability-to-repay rule requires lenders to verify whether a borrower has the means to handle loan payments, says Sharga. This requires you to have all your financial records in order, including pay stubs, bank records, tax returns and more. Sharga says incomplete documentation is a common reason for loans being declined.

    "If the loan officer asks for it, then bring it," says Pickel. "Sometimes people dont want to say they cant find something or they dont want to look for it, but it really helps to have all the information that the loan officer requests. This will help expedite the process."

    While it should go without saying, honesty is an essential component of a loan approval.

    "No one likes surprises, especially loan underwriters," says Pickel. "Tell the truth, even if it hurts. It will help even if it means that you dont qualify today."

    Michele Lerner has been writing about real estate, personal finance and business topics for more than two decades and contributes articles about mortgages at MoneyGeek.com. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post and online at Fox Business News, Forbes BrandVoices, NewHomeSource.com, MSN.com, and Yahoo.com.
    Full Story >


    Buying a Vacation Home: The Questions Before The Purchase

    Whether its an oceanside bungalow or a luxury cabin in the mountains, many people dream of buying a vacation home. Financial advisors call a purchase like this "life>Take a Close Look at Your Finances

    Before even looking at listings, its important to assess your finances. To determine whether you can actually afford a vacation property, consider the following questions:

    Remember Me
    Search by Map
    Contact us now!
    Custom Homes
    Vacation Ownership Services - BRG VIP
    Updated: Friday, July 21, 2017

    How Technology is Ch...
    In recent years, real estate developers, builders, and brokerages have b...

    Nathan Grace Real Es...
    Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex: Nathan Grace Real Estate, a boutique r...

    Bal Harbour: confira os melhores custos-benefícios de 2 dormitórios
    O mercado de imóveis está aquecido nos Estados Unidos, boas...

    Duas novas torres de luxo previstas para Sunny Isles
    Comissários da cidade de Sunny Isles votaram para aprovar duas torres...

    Porsche Design Tower, construção a todo vapor
    Recente foto área mostra o andamento das obras do luxuoso...

    < Visit Our Blog