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Questions to get the Most from Bronx Realtor® Interviews
By Miriam
December 2, 2016

Everyone agrees that getting the right Bronx Realtor® for your team is vital when you’re buying or selling a home.

Defining ‘right’ isn’t hard, either: for some of us, that will be a Realtor with the kind of dynamic sales personality that seems to make obstacles just disappear; for others, the ‘right’ Realtor® is the one we just ‘clicked’ with instantly—somebody who speaks the same language—is on the same wavelength—who we sense immediately will be someone with whom we can work seamlessly.

 

Sometimes even veteran homeowners who have bought and sold residences over the years have never had to develop a penetrating interview plan. Their trusted circle of friends may have included a real estate professional, or they may have had a good experience with the Realtor who introduced them to the community. But if that individual is no longer available, it’s going to be necessary to find a suitable replacement.

It all comes down to interviews—and why it’s important to get the most out of them. Personality is a perfectly valid basis for weighing candidates who will be performing the kind of vital service your Bronx Realtor will be called upon to do, but what if there is no single standout candidate in that department? If, after interviewing a host of equally sympathetic candidates, you can’t pare down the field with any degree of confidence—what then?

You won’t have to flip a coin (or consult a fortune teller!) if you’ve asked each candidate the same group of relevant questions. Some of them will differ depending on whether you are choosing a Realtor to help you buy or sell a property, but these are universally relevant:

  • How long have you been working as a real estate professional?
  • How long here in Bronx?
  • How do you keep your clients informed of progress?
  • What if I need to get in touch with you?
  • What kind of Bronx service providers can you connect your clients with?
  • Will you represent me only, or will you represent both buyer and seller?
  • What kind of team do you work with?
  • What is the proposed fee arrangement?


If you make note of the answers to these and other similar questions, you should emerge with a feeling that you’ve gotten the most from the interview process. Along with the ‘track record’ materials every candidate Realtor will be sure to volunteer, at the end of the day, you’ll have with a solid basis for comparison.

I hope you won’t hesitate to include me in your group of candidates!
 

When Career Upheaval Results in a Relocation Scramble…
By Miriam
December 2, 2016

Remember the good old days, when most people could depend on staying in the same job in the same community for an entire career?

Okay; the truth is, I don’t actually remember any time like that—but I do remember watching TV shows about it... The truth is, as with so many other facets of 21st Century life, sudden career upheavals that cause a Bronx citizen to undertake an abrupt relocation are fairly common today.

And accelerated timing requirements can make the situation more intense.

Even without that added obstacle, familiarity with the ins and outs of practical relocation is one of the most valuable assets you gain access to when selecting an experienced Bronx Realtor®. Especially when a relocation is in your immediate future (even if it’s a future that became apparent without a lot of warning), the reality of having to deal with the mass of details accompanying both moving out and moving in can seem like a huge gray, angry-looking cloud hanging overhead.

Just getting a handle on the details can go far to remove the mystery and dispel anxiety. A short list of the elements that need to be determined and coordinated are:

Professional and school requirements
Transaction imperatives in both communities
Moving and storage details
Utility requirements

Once a timeline is determined and a To Do checklist assembled, it will be possible to stay on top of the process. Most importantly, it will help highlight those details that seem to be falling behind— allowing them to get extra attention. Staying abreast of relocation details is the single most important key that will lead to a smooth outcome.

It’s one of Murphy’s Laws that, come moving day, any detail that has been put off until the last minute is likely to cause foul-ups of one kind or another. For instance, if the electric service wasn’t notified far enough in advance, count on the move taking place on the hottest day of the year. Unpacking cartons and moving furniture around without working air conditioners is a memory best avoided!

Any relocation is a challenge that requires a welter of decisions in areas that fall outside what people encounter in everyday living. Fortunately, it’s a challenge that your Bronx real estate professional encounters regularly.

Help with practical relocation to (or from) Bronx is just one of the areas of practical expertise that is yours to tap into when you put an experienced Realtor on your team.

The days when most Americans expected to stay in the same community for a lifetime may be fading from memory, but being able to rely on your Bronx real estate professional to help master some of the most challenging upshots is still here.

They may say that nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, but that shouldn’t stop you from giving me a call, anytime!

 

Bronx Loans, Credit Scores—and “Invisible Ink” Safeguards
By Miriam
December 2, 2016

You may have wondered why there are credit repair companies out there, since the credit reporting agencies have to allow any Bronx consumer to dispute incorrect line items on their own.

The big Credit Reporting Agencies (“CRAs”) even have online systems for challenging erroneous information.

The Agency must act speedily to investigate and correct any false information. Soooo, why pay someone else to just fill out their form?

The answer seems to be the same one that makes practitioners in the legal profession permanently in demand: it’s in the fine print. And in this case, it could be that some of that fine print is written in invisible ink.

As you can well imagine, speed is vital when a would-be Bronx mortgage applicant finds a credit score that’s lower than expected. The mortgage companies will decide whether you qualify (and how much interest to charge) based largely on that credit score. The actual details about how speedily the CRA must act are all contained in the fine print located in the FDIC’s Consumer Protection regulations, “Procedure in case of disputed accuracy” (6500, § 611).

Once you notify the CRA, they have to investigate the validity of your claim and (without charging you a dime) determine within 30 days whether the item is accurate. More fine print describe further protections you have—

PARAGRAPH 2:  The CRA has but 5 days to notify the company or person who provided the information about your challenge.

PARAGRAPH 6: The CRA has to provide you the results of their investigation in writing, and, if you’ve asked for it, describe the steps they took to arrive at their decision.

PARAGRAPH 7: If you didn’t know that you had the right to receive the above description, they must furnish it within 15 days after you later request it.
 
Those sound like pretty solid protections—vitally important, since the CRA can’t just sweep your dispute under the rug, stall, or ignore you altogether. After all, they have to detail in writing how strenuously they worked to protect you! Right?

Except for one problem, which is in PARAGRAPH 8. If the CRA simply drops the disputed item from your current report within the first 3 days, that’s officially considered an expedited dispute resolution. Since the item has been dropped, that might seem to be a solid win.

But PARAGRAPH 8 says that if the CRA does that, it no longer has to do anything demanded in Paragraphs 2,6, and 7! It’s as if those protections were written in invisible ink…so that next month, if the company or person just reports the same thing, voila! your credit report might once again go back to Square One. The CRA is supposed to notify you 5 days in advance; but let’s face it, the phrase ‘Catch-22’ comes to mind…or ‘Credit Score Whack-a-Mole’…

What can you do, short of hiring repair agency experts to fix your credit score? Most commentators are in agreement: just stay away from the online dispute forms. Send a registered letter with your dispute, because it usually takes the CRA longer than three days to act on it, so they can’t skip the protections.

And while you’re waiting, why not give me a call? We can start scouting for your new Bronx home!

Selling your Bronx Home…in the Distant Future!
By Miriam
December 2, 2016

This is actually a situation that’s very common, but not much remarked upon: you know you are going to be selling your Bronx home—only not for a while…and perhaps not for a very long while! Is there anything you should be doing now, long before actual preparations are called for?

There sure is! Let’s call these low-intensity preparations. They may be low-intensity in the immediacy department, but when the distant day arrives when you are selling your home, they can be very fortuitous. Here are some of the elements you can benefit from putting into action long before you expect to need them—

LANDSCAPING

Number One (the most obvious and perhaps most important) is landscaping. Trees and bushes are part of the backdrop of our everyday living, and something many people—even gardeners—may tend to accept without envisioning large-scale changes. That’s because they grow so slowly it doesn’t seem realistic to worry about what might be possible. But when you think long-range, landscaping should be at the forefront. When the time comes for selling your home, a vision first initiated five or 10 years earlier can become a colorful and shady reality, worth a very great deal in terms of the overall impression your Bronx property makes.

THE MECHANICALS

It’s human nature to just put up with heating, plumbing, air conditioning and other systems that could operate much more conveniently and economically, but which are expensive to overhaul. But think realistically: if you know that later on you will be selling your Bronx home—and realistically will certainly have to upgrade those vexing mechanicals when that happens—give serious thought to taking action earlier…even NOW! Not only will you be able to enjoy the improvement, it’s entirely possible that savings realized from the gains in efficiency will materially offset your initial outlay. Why let the future owners get all the benefit?

PHOTOGRAPHY

When you are selling a home, photography is one of the most impactful marketing tools you’ll have at your disposal. A couple of years before you plan to join the Bronx listings, keep a camera ready to snap those fleeting moments when the season and light combine to make some detail of garden or home magically illuminated. Even a professional photographer can’t ‘make’ such moments happen. As Ansel Adams’ outdoor masterpieces confirmed: the perfect light at the perfect season is worth more than money can buy.

INFORMATION

It doesn’t hurt to keep abreast of happenings in the national and Bronx real estate market, so that you’re informed about what to expect when you ultimately join the fray. One of the best ways to do that (other than to keep reading my blog) is to check out the neighborhood listings from time to time: they’re here on my site.

And one of the best ways to proceed when the moment does arrive when you will be selling your home in Bronx is (of course) to give me a call!     

Finding a Home’s Bronx Listing Price: More Art than Science
By Miriam
December 2, 2016

A Bronx listing can be a smash hit when the pictures show a property that’s cosmetically appealing, the copy rings true, and the details hit the sweet spot where features and value are a match for the best the area has to offer.

But it still might not be as effective as it should be if one other detail is a little bit off. It’s a detail that can cause qualified buyers—the ones who should be a home’s most interested prospects— to miss the whole show.

I suppose that calling that part of a Bronx listing a “detail” is like calling the end score of the NBA’s final playoff a detail—or calling the final vote count in an election a “factor.” It may be just one element of many, but it is uniquely important. In a Bronx listing, it’s often the first element that shoppers specify when they’re picking which area homes they will consider.

If it’s not thoughtfully calibrated to fall within the parameters they name, the results may suffer considerably.

Of course, the “detail” we’re talking about is the price on the listing, and choosing the “right” one is the object. We’re looking for a number that will help a home sell quickly at the highest price possible. If the neighborhood comps—the prices paid and asked for nearby area homes with similar features—were all that mattered, coming up with the most suitable listing price would be a cut-and-dried affair. But there are other factors that need to be taken into account.

Some are easy to determine, some…not so much. The Bronx residential market is a moving target, sometimes building from a lower level, sometimes echoing the latest transactions, sometimes losing momentum.


Competitive Bronx listing prices reflect either other sellers’ best estimates of that market for their properties, or else their personal opinions of what they think the market should be--but there’s no way to verify which!


The final selling price of any home is determined not only by the seller’s situation, but by the buyer’s, also, which is a factor which cannot be determined in advance.

That’s why there is no universally agreed-upon formulas to rely upon, and since there is no way to determine what outcome would have resulted if a different price had been chosen, there’s also no way to verify after the fact if the absolute “best” one was chosen—even if everyone considers the sale a great success! Web titan Zillow says, “if the home sells within a few days of listing, chances are you listed too low” yet if a higher price had been chosen, causing that home to linger for months on the market, it wouldn’t have been listed too low.

On the other hand, if the listing price were set to court multiple offers, a quick sale could mean a higher selling price was achieved. There’s simply no way to know for sure.

Put it all together and you have to figure that arriving at the right listing price is really more of an art than a science. I help clients by pooling my extensive Bronx experience, up-to-the minute market knowledge, and detailed examination of the property’s unique attributes to suggest the range of listing prices I judge most likely to achieve the Holy Grail—a quick sale at top dollar!

If you’d like, we can get together for a no-obligation discussion of your own property’s listing prospects. It’s a great reason to give me a call!