Archive for October, 2009

One D.C. Condo, Two Appraisals & a $200,000 Difference?

All of us are fully aware of the recent changes in the appraisal industry.  Another victim of yesterday’s market, there is now a “hands off” message that lenders take very seriously.

home-value-appraisalWhat I have observed is that the bigger the lender, the more distance that exists between loan officers and appraisers.

For instance, it’s my understanding that Bank of America uses a third party company to set up appraisers…whereas some of the more local lenders are able to “select” a pool of local appraisers thru whom they can rotate business.

As a listing agent, I have found that my input in this new climate is crucial.  My job is not to influence, but to educate.

In a couple of instances, I have opened the door for appraisers who were clearly outside of their geographical comfort zone and the information and comps I have provided were important in verifying a clear market value.

A recent experience clearly confirmed the need for listing agents to meet with appraisers.  The names, location, and exact pricing have been changed to protect the innocent…but, otherwise, this is a 100% true story.

In September, I received an offer on a condo that was listed for $1.45 million in Georgetown (three cheers for Georgetown, right? But that’s another story of market holding strong).  After a round of negotiation, the seller accepted an offer for $1.375 million.  The lender for the buyer was a large, national company.

Although I asked the buyer’s agent to let me know when the appraisal was scheduled, the lender did not  keep either of us in the loop (perhaps he couldn’t…because he, too, was not in the loop) and, because the building had a concierge, the appraiser did his on site inspection without giving me notice. Continue reading this post


Posted by: Kevin Koitz on October 30th, 2009 under Market Trends, Regional


4th Week Winner and Grand Prize Winner: Agent Appreciation Month

aac_2009_logoCongratulations to Realtor® Andrew Duncan of Keller Williams Realty in Tampa, Florida for being the next $50 winner of the HomeGain Agent Appreciation contest!

A HomeGain member since 2006, Andrew is an AgentEvaluator® Gold Club member, an AgentView member as well as a HomeGain Blogger. “That’s fantastic!” commented Andrew on hearing the news.

The correct answer to “How Many Max Gorillas Are There?” is: 10!

As the Agent Appreciation celebration comes to a close, we are also pleased to announce the Grand Prize winner of $100 — Laurie Hill of Desert Gem Real Estate in Surprise, Arizona.

Laurie has been a HomeGain member since 1999. She is an AgentEvaluator Platinum Club member and a BuyerLink™ real estate agent. “Yeah, that’s great,” said Laurie. “I’ll gladly accept the honor and the $100!”

Thank you to all weekly surprise participants for making it a great Agent Appreciation month. See you next year!


Posted by: Jessica Gopalakrishnan on October 30th, 2009 under Agent Appreciation

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Free Real Estate Call, December 8: Ask The Experts Live


Join us for a FREE, exclusive phone event LIVE on Tuesday, December 8th for the chance to interact with an exceptional team of real estate experts.

Here is your chance to ask a panel of experts within the real estate community questions specific to your own business. You can send your questions in advance, and ask more questions during the call!

Topic: “Gearing Up for 2010 – What REALTORS® Need To Do Now”

When: Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Time: 9am – 10am Pacific / 12pm – 1pm Eastern

Cost: None

Meet The Experts:


Eric Pakulla, RE/MAX Advantage Realty, Maryland

Expert For: “Mastering Internet Lead Conversion”

Mr. Pakulla is a multi-million dollar producer with over 15 years of experience in real estate. The Eric Pakulla Team is ranked the #5 RE/MAX team in the entire United States. Pakulla has received the most coveted awards from RE/MAX International: The Diamond Club and Lifetime Achievement. Pakulla is an elite HomeGain Advisor, HomeGain Blogger, an AgentView member, and an AgentEvaluator Million Dollar Club member.

Chris Tesch, ABR, E-Pro, RE/MAX Bryan College Station, Texas -- Expert For: “Propelling Business Using Your Website”

Chris Tesch, ABR, E-Pro, RE/MAX Bryan College Station, Texas

Expert For: “Propelling Business Through Technology”

Ms. Tesch has over 8 years in real estate and achieves over 60 transactions each year. Tesch earned the RE/MAX Platinum Club Award in 2008. She is a member of many organizations including the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA), Leading Women’s Express Network (LWEN) and Cyberstar Professional, an elite group of less than 200 professionals worldwide that use technology to its utmost. Tesch is a HomeGain member of BuyerLink, AgentView and AgentEvaluator.

Patrick Kitano, Domus Consulting Group and Transparent Real Estate Blog, California -- Expert For: “Increasing Internet Visibility Via Social Networking”

Patrick Kitano, Domus Consulting Group and Transparent Real Estate Blog, California

Expert For: “Social Networking Best Practices”

Mr. Kitano is Co-Founder and Managing Principal of Domus Consulting Group, a management consulting firm working with real estate brokerages and Web 2.0 companies to develop technology marketing strategies, and with venture investors on new business models. Experienced in four competitive industries – films, investment banking, internet technology and real estate – Kitano excels at advising Realtors on best practices for success. Continue reading this post


Posted by: Jessica Gopalakrishnan on October 28th, 2009 under Ask the Experts

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Evaluating Online Advertising Vendors

I’m not sure if it’s the real estate downturn, but my phone has been blowing up with online advertising vendors lately.  I monitor my advertising revenue very closely, so I ask a lot of questions when talking with their salespeople.

dollar-sign-real-estateSalespeople like to throw around big numbers to entice you to buy, so it’s important to ask for the proper metrics when analyzing different potential advertising sources.

Here’s a breakdown of what you should measure, and what to ask:

1) ROI (Return on Investment) is the bottom line number that you need to use after you have given an advertising source long enough to perform.

ROI is simply how much you’ve earned on an advertising source divided by how much you’ve spent.  So, if you’ve earned one $6000 commission from Website A, and spent $2000 advertising there, your ROI is 3:1.  You’ve earned $3 for every $1 you spent.  Most advertising sources won’t track their customers’ ROI because there are so many “real world” variables that can create different results for different buyers – predominantly how well each customer can convert.

2) Conversion Rate is the number of leads you get per click.

If you have different types of leads (contact requests, registrations, property info requests) then it’s best to track the bottom line conversion rate, and then crunch it down to conversion rate for each lead type.  So, if you get 100 visitors in one month from a traffic source, and you get 5 registrations, 2 contact requests, and 3 property info requests, then your conversion rates are as follows: Continue reading this post


Posted by: Eric Bramlett on October 27th, 2009 under Online Marketing


Top 5 ½ Issues With REO Sales Revealed

I’ve sold a ton of REOs (Real Estate Owned homes – foreclosures) to first-time homebuyers – many of whom I’ve met through Before we start looking at homes, I take time to meet with them and explain the entire process in as much detail as necessary. I hate surprises, and I’ve discovered buyers don’t like them either. I want my clients to fully understand the process so they know what to expect once we hit the streets.

In the process, I’ve discovered a sad truth. No amount of discussion or explanation ahead of time can adequately prepare prospective buyers for the process of trying to buy an REO in the current market.

I recently came across a video that so perfectly sums up the process of buying an REO – I decided I have to share it with you. As I watched it for the first time, I discovered I was unsure how to respond … should I laugh … or cry …

You decide.

For additional musings on REOs, also read:

  1. Top 10 Things I HATE About REOs: AND 3 Startling Consequences
  2. How To Buy An REO – Top 17 Questions Answered
  3. Bank Tactics Causing Repeat Of Crash Conditions in San Francisco Bay Area

Thanks to San Diego Castle Realty and Kris Berg for producing the video!

Watch the video on YouTube


Posted by: Carl Medford on October 26th, 2009 under Buying or Selling a Home, Short Sales and Foreclosures


HomeGain Blog Celebrates Two Years

Happy 2nd anniversary to the HomeGain Real Estate Blog!

Over the past two years, the HomeGain Blog has won awards and been recognized by organizations including WebAwards (Web Marketing Association), FrogPond, Inman News, and World Wide Web Awards, as well as hundreds of supporting real estate bloggers, Realtors, real estate organizations and publications, and members of the press.

We’d like to thank everyone for their continued support, interaction and loyalty.



Posted by: Jessica Gopalakrishnan on October 24th, 2009 under HomeGain

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