Tag Archives: mama

Realtor Safety

Realtor Safety

Guys, we’ve all gotten that one creepy phone call from a potential client that “just doesn’t feel right…” You need to go with your gut and protect yourself. Here are just a few tips on realtor safety…

Always let someone know what homes you’re going to show.  Get the client to meet you at your office, and get a copy of photo id and driver’s license.  Get their make and model of car and license plates.   Then, get to your showing early.  Scope out all of the doors and exits in case you need to make a quick getaway.  Keep your cell phone dialed to 911, so that all you’d need to do is hit the send button for help.  Look into the new GPS tracking jewelry.  Just remember, taking these steps might just save your life!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

njrealestatemama

Starting Your Real Estate Business Right

Starting Your Real Estate Business Right

CONGRATS!!! YOU GOT YOUR LICENSE!!!! Now what? Choosing an office to work for isn’t as easy as it seems. Do your homework before you jump!

Before you decide where you’re going to go hang your license, you need to seriously consider a few things…

1. Location

How close is your office to your home?  If you don’t have a fax machine or scanner in your house, and you need to fax, you’ll need to drive to your office.  In the winter?  Snow? 3am?  Last thing you wanna do is have to drive 20 mins. to your office…

2. Training

What training does your prospective employer offer?  Classes?  Seminars?  ASK!!!

3. Mentoring

Does your office offer mentoring?  In Realtor school, they taught you the LAW, NOT how to sell a home.  You WILL needsomeone to show you how to do contracts, find tax records, etc…

4.  What’s included?

Some offices, you pay for nothing.  Others, you pay for EVERYTHING.  Paper, faxes, ink, signs, it will get expensive QUICKLY.  ASK!!!!

5.  Technology

What technology does the office offer?  Online apps?  Software?  Internal systems?  Websites?

6.  Chemistry

When you meet each broker, hopefully, you will know whether you will mesh.  You need a broker that will help you to grow your business, not compete against for listings.  Ask a ton of questions.

Hopefully, your search will be a short one.  Just be sure to weigh your options!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

njrealestatemama

5 More Reasons Your House WON’T SELL!

5 More Reasons Your House WON’T SELL!

“Wait! What the HELL are you talking about?!  Whaddya MEAN my house WON’T SELL?!” you scream. “My house is pretty dang nice! I just spent a TON of money on the chachkas on all of my countertops! My wallpaper is only 2 years old, all 4 rooms of it!!!”

Okay, you want to sell your home.  Nobody said it would necessarily be easy.  I can sit here any day of the week and tell you things that you’re doing (or not doing) that are killing your chances of your home selling.  Here’s just a couple of home sales crimes that you NEED to be sure not committing…

1.  Wanna sell your house?  YOU NEED TO LET ME SHOW IT!!!!!!

The best Realtor in the universe can’t sell your home if you don’t let them show it.  You need to accomodate showing agents to schedule appointments to show your home, and then HONOR those appointments!  You also can’t really, unless there’s an extreme circumstance, only allow showings 2 days a week for 4 hours a day.  There aren’t many buyers that will wait that long to see it, or their hours may not mesh with yours.  Keeping a lockbox on your home allows appointments to show your home to be scheduled, and you

don’t even need to be home.  Just keep your home tidy, and all will be fine.

2.  “Whaddya MEAN I’m priced too high?!”

Okay, quite often, one of two things happens to trigger this response. Did you talk to your agent about your price?  Let me rephrase that…  did you LISTEN to your agent when you discussed the listing price?  Did you insist on pricing your home at what YOU thought it is worth?  If you did, well, when you get what you think are lowball offers, don’t be shocked.  Your agent, if they’re really good, brought you comparables before you listed.  They showed you homes that have sold in the last 6 months, and that are listed for sale now, and are as close to an exact match to your home as there is.  THAT, my friend is where YOU need to be priced.  NOT $30k higher.

One of the problems many homeowners face is that they may have an inexperienced agent, or worse, an agent that will tell you what you want to hear to get you to list your home with THEM.  They will say that your number is fine just to get you to sign that paper.  End result?  No showings, more time on the market (NOT a good thing)and most importantly, NO SALE.  Interview a few agents before you sign!

3.  You NEED to De-personalize

You may be proud of your family and all their accomplishments.  I’d be proud of my family with all 65 of those college degrees hanging on the wall, too.  But, your prospective buyer needs to see HIS family pics on the wall.  HIS wall hangings.  HIS bar mirrors, if it’s going to be his man cave.  He can’t do that with all that wall clutter.  What about all of those trophies and statues and figurines and pictures and chachkas and….  PUT THEM AWAY!  Just put them in a box until you can put them on your next fireplace mantel.  When you’re trying to sell, your buyer needs to picture where they’re gonna put all of THEIR stuff.  They can’t do that if yours is taking up all of that counter space.

4. That Smelly Smell that Smells…. SMELLY!

When you live in anywhere, you’re in that airspace for most of the day.  It’s familiar, so unless there’s bad food in the garbage that you can smell, you may not notice that something’s amiss.

You know you’re going to have showings today while you’re at work.  Did you take out the garbage?  Are last night’s dirty dishes still in the sink?  How about dirty laundry?  Is the basket of sweaty gym clothes out?  How about the baby’s dirty diaper pail?

nj real estate mama

I’m not trying to be gross or disgusting here.  Every one of things happened to me on showings last year!  And I mean to the point of literal gagnation.  I kid you not.  And believe me when I tell you,  not ONE of those homes got a bid from any of my clients.  When people smell smells, it means that the house is NOT CLEAN.  Then, they need to know what’s causing it.  Or, worse, if they SEE what the problem is, then they wonder what they HAVEN’T seen.

5.  In a word, WALLPAPER

I don’t know where to file this, de-personalize, repairs or what…

Wallpaper is a very personal choice.  You took hours, days, WEEKS to pick it out!  And yes, unless it’s a historic Victorian house trying to stay true to period, it needs to go.  If a buyer absolutely HATES the print, they also more than likely know what a pain in the butt it is going to be to remove it.  That’s a job that nobody wants to do, and a headache nobody needs to have.  You will need to strip it off and repaint the walls a nice, neutral color.  Again, unless it’s there for a reason (historic home), it needs to go.

The sooner you address these potential problems, the sooner you will get your home sold…

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

 

Oh, what a week it’s been…

Oh, what a week it’s been…

Motherhood.  Real Estate.  The beauty of being self employed is that you can be home when you need to be…  This past week was one of those rare instances that my 7 year old son was sick.  And I mean 102.9 fever sick…

reilly

Apparently, pretty much every school in Egg Harbor Township, NJ has some kind of bug going around.  The other side of town has stomach flu going around, but H. Russel Swift School has a cold/flu going around.  He’s all congested out of NOWHERE, at 101.5 and climbing.  After going nuts when my son’s doctor had her voicemail full and wasn’t returning my calls, I headed for the Shore Urgent Care Center.

After a 2 hour wait, we get in to see the doctor, and long story short, he looks in his ears,clear.  Looks at his throat, says it’s “a little red..” checks his neck and says glands are “a little swollen.” Now mind you, he’s rattling as he’s breathing.  He checks his back and chest with his stethescope, and says he’s “a little congested…”  SMDH!!!!  NO, REALLY?!?!  Doesn’t swab him, culture him, NOTHING.  He says, “Well, I don’t wanna send him for an xray.  Could be bronchitis, could be pneumonia…”  And you DON’T wanna send him for an xray?!  He says, “I’ll give him a little antibiotic and a note for school….”

Ok, antibiotic made me feel a little safer.  But, of course, we get home,and his fever spikes to 102.7.  4 hours later, after the 3rd dose of Tylenol, we realize Tylenol is WORTHLESS.  10pm and it’s out to CVS I go for ibuprofen.  Fever drops to 100.5, so I can go to sleep.  Wake up next morning, he’s back up to 102.7.  Call his doctor again, mailbox is still full.  More ibuprofen.  Finally, his doctor, who I LOVE, calls back, I thought she was an obscene phone call, couldn’t even understand her!

Apparently, SHE had what HE had!  OMG, mailbox was full because she was out sick.  She explained that it’s a plasma bronchitis/pneumonia.  Starts out as a virus like flu, then turns into bronchitis and potentially pneumonia (bacterial) if there’s no antibiotic.  That’s what’s going around, and EVERYBODY’S got it.  Said all we can do with the fever is ride it out.  His fever eventually broke that night, but I gotta tell you, I was SCARED.  I’ve never seen a fever not break for 3 days, with antibiotics, EVER…

So, back to Real Estate…  I missed a class given by my boss, GREATEST broker EVER.  I had to reschedule all my appointments, thank GOD for loyal clients.  And I missed my bi-weekly meeting.  But, of course, I work for the greatest office EVER.  Berkshire Hathaway Fox and Roach in Northfield, NJ is phenomenal.  The company, office AND people…  I finally got back to my office after hours to find this in my mailbox…

million dollar club
million dollar club

wooHOOOOOOO!!!  Christine Gerbehy, Million Dollar Club!!!!

(how freakin’ great is this!  First year with the company!)

 

So, the boy’s back to school, I’m on my way out to a showing, and all is right with my world…  aaaaand iiiiiit’s…

FRIDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This Mama Sells Real Estate!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

BEWARE THE DISCOUNT REALTOR

BEWARE THE DISCOUNT REALTOR

Discount Brokerages: RUN!

Have you decided to sell your home?  After a long three years, interest rates are up to 4%, and housing inventory is down 5.24% for the second month in a row.  National median listing prices increased 5.27 percent. The market IS coming back, and it’s a better time to sell.

That being said, BEWARE THE DISCOUNT REALTOR.mort

When you hire a Realtor to sell your home, there is much work involved to get your home sold.  How much work we, as Realtors perform, will determine how quickly your home gets sold.  Pricing your home accurately.  Advertising your home.  Open houses.  Internet presence.  Accessibility.  CONTACT with your agent.  The list goes on…

You should interview any potential Realtor that you consider.  You will need to come to an agreement with your agent as to his or her commission for their services.  An average rate of commission is 6% of the sales price of the home. You will negotiate a commission that is agreeable to you both.  Make SURE to confirm with your agent what he/she will do for you to facilitate the sale of your home, before you hire ANYONE. Why?  Because you may experience the Discount Realtor…

The Discount Realtor will come in and tell you that they’ll take your listing for 2 or 3%.  They’ll tell you the will “get your home sold for you, just same way that a 6% Realtor will.”  But when you ask them what they will do for you, the conversation will shift…  “Well, for 2 or 3%, I can put your home in the MLS.”  They will tell you they will do it cheap to get their foot in the door.  Now, ask them these questions:

Will you advertise my home? WHERE?

Will you create a website for my home?

Can people access information about my home from their smartphone?

Can other agents schedule showings at any time, even later in the evening AFTER your office closes?

Will you do open houses at my home?

Will I get a list of the times my house has been shown?

Will you provide me feedback from each showing?

How often will I hear from you until my home is sold?

Chances are, you will get either one of two or three responses…  A befuddled look, ALOT of stammering, or a bunch of head nods, yesssing you to death.  But don’t bet on it.  Not one bit of it.  These Realtors will take your listing, put it up on the MLS and walk away.  Somebody will buy your home.  Eventually.  But don’t expect your Discount Realtor to be proactive about it…  He or she probably has 50 of 60 other listings, if not more.  How much attention do you think YOUR home will get?  ASK your agent how many listings they have.  Look online to confirm on Zillow.com, it’s easily found.

Here at BHHS Fox and Roach Northfield, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, we can do ALL of the above for you.  We have systems that will create a website for your home, virtual home tour videos, smartphone apps that people can get access to info on your home while they’re parked at the curb!  Showings can be scheduled by phone by any agent until 11pm, long after the office closes.  No missing ANY potential buyers.  We can give you feedback from showings of your home when the showing agent submits it.  We can do open houses at your convenience, and give your home the attention it deserves.   Call me at (609)646-1900, and let me show you how to get YOUR home sold quickly!

-Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

http://www.buynjshorehome.com/general/beware-the-discount-realtor-168/

 

Top 10 List for Finding Your Ultimate Dream Home

Top 10 List for Finding Your Ultimate Dream Home

Number 10: Dream on!

What, exactly, is your ultimate dream home? You need to figure out all of your must-haves. Do you have to have a garage? Do you have to have a basement? Do you have to have a pool? Could you settle for a home with a big yard and build the pool later? You need to have a really good grip on your must haves, because they will have a big bearing on your price.

Number 9: Money money money!

Do you have any clue how much home you really can afford ? Have you spoken with a mortgage lender yet? Do you have any money put away in the bank? Do you have a budget set, so that you know where your money is going out to every month? These are honest questions that you’re going to have to deal with to determine how much house you can afford.

Number 8: Location location location!

Okay, you know what state you’d like to live in, you may even know what city you’d like to live in. But do you know the area? Do you know how safe the area is? Do you have any idea of whether it is convenient shopping, public transportation, work, or whatever else you might need? (Aw, come on, don’t even try to tell me the convenience of fast food and restaurants isn’t even a consideration, lol! It was for me, lol!)

Number 7: See here!

So can you see yourself totally living in this place? You think you found THE ONE, but, when you stand in the home with your family, can you actually see or feel yourself living there?? Do you absolutely hate the basement? Is it something that you can easily change? Again, these are questions you need to ask yourself before you take the plunge. If this is going to be your forever home, you need to address these thoughts now with your family.

Number 6. Size MATTERS!

Okay, now honestly, do you have enough room to move around? Do you have children? Will you be possibly having more children? You never know, you might need more bedrooms at some point. If the house is short on bedrooms, you’re gonna need more livable space that you can convert into bedrooms. You need to know if this is a home that you can grow into, or just a temporary 5 to 7 year home that you know you will have to sell to buy something bigger. That can be a headache down the road. Wouldn’t it possibly be better to make sure you have a big enough home now?

Number 5. Work work work?

Okay, how much work will the home need to bring it to where you want it to be? Let’say the entire house is carpeted. You want hardwood. Have you priced out what it will cost to replace all of the carpet? How about the kitchen? The bathrooms? Have you looked into how much it will cost to replace those? Make sure you have those numbers in place so that you can make an educated decision on whether or not to buy that particular home.

Number 4. Get a Home Inspection!

You’ve gone through the house, it’s absolutely gorgeous, not a hair out of place. That’s what you can see. But what about what you can’t see? Super important that you get a home inspection. The home inspector nose to look for certain things that you would never find on your role, unless you’re well-versed in home buying. Foundation issues, roofing issues leakage issues, electrical issues, this is what your home inspector will look for. It is well worth the money for your peace of mind, and keeping your sanity. that $400 that you pay now can potentially save you thousands on issues that you can’t see that will crop up later

Number 3. Permanent Ink?

Now comes the simple question: Is this home permanent? Are you absolutely sure that you have enough space for your growing family? Does everybody have their own space to retreat to within the house? Can you see yourself living here for the rest of your life? As long as you’re sure, take the plunge!

Number 2. Flexibility!

Don’t be impossible to please! If you set the bar too high, you may be in for a disappointment. You want the acreage, the 2 car garage, the basement, the pool AND the shed? And for HOW much? Just be ready for a little compromise. Without having a new construction home built, you may not find all of that in one nice, neat little package. Can you get a pool next year? Can you buy a house with an unfinished basement, and finish it later? Then everybody’shappy!

And the Number 1 Tip… Homework homework homework!!!!!

GET EDUCATED. Learn the home buying process. Find a good Realtor. Get your credit scores up to snuff. Get a good mortgage lender. Find all of your conveniences. Drive the neighborhood at different times of day BEFORE you put in an offer.

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

Home Loans for Beginners 101

Home Loans for Beginners 101

Today we’re going to cover the most common kinds of home loans that are used today. Depending upon your financial situation, your income, your credit score, the kind of house you’re buying, how much money you need to borrow, how much down payment money you have, the price of the home and the taxes on the home will determine which mortgage would work best for you and your situation.

First, we have FHA financing. These are run by the Federal Housing Administration. There are tons of advantages of getting an FHA loan. First off, there’s a low down payment; you can go in with only a three and a half percent down payment. Then, they’re a little bit more lenient with credit scores. With other financing, you must have a 640 credit score to be able to qualify. With FHA, some companies will finance you with a 620 credit score, some 600, and now there are some that will finance you with as low as a 580 credit score you may need to shop around, but they do exist. I’ve just found one that will do a 560! You can find these. You can get FHA financing not only for home purchase, but also for home renovation, which is another bonus. They usually run 30 year fixed rate, you can also get 15 year.

Then we have conventional mortgages. Those are run by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. You need to have good credit, 640 minimum, but you have more financing options available to you. There are terms for 10 to 30 years, and you can get them for home purchase and renovation and home refinancing. Not for the faint of heart, but if you’re feeling lucky, you can also get 5, 7, 10 year adjustable rate. The only disadvantage is that with interest rates so low, your payments can only go up. It’s a scary thought, lol!

Then we have USDA Rural Housing loans. There’s a few different ways that the USDA goes when it comes to mortgages.You can get in with zero money down, because they will roll your down payment into the total mortgageprice. All you need to have is closing costs. Think about it, that’s 3.5% of the purchase price (for your down payment) that you’ll now have left in your bank account to put towards closing costs! Awesome for people looking to buy with no cash out of pocket. They have a specific criteria that you need to meet, you need a good credit score, about 620 to 640. The only disadvantage is that you’re limited to certain areas thay qualify. There’s actually a population maximim number that considers a town to be rural to qualify. You can go to the USDA website and check it out here: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/hsf_sfh.html. These loans are good for single-family homes and condominiums. There are a number of loan financing programs that they have, go through their website and call the office most local to your area. You can check to see if the home you want to buy is in an eligible area, and you can also check to see if YOU meet the criteria, as a buyer, on the website.

Then, last but not least, we have VA loans. Those are run by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. These are awesome for veterans. There are 0 money down payments, you can get super low payments and there is no PMI. You can use these to buy a home or refinance a home mortgage. Some mortgages are assumable. That means that you, the home purchaser, can assume the payments that are left on the owners mortgage, as long as the lender agrees to it. That could save you a TON of money on a house! Of course, these are limited to eligible veterans.

So there you have it. Those are the most popular and common mortgage options that you will more than likely face when you go to buy your home. Check with your mortgage lender for the best possible way to go for your circumstances. So many options, and low interest rates, there’s never been a better time to buy!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”

Logo of the Federal Housing Administration.
Logo of the Federal Housing Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Negotiating on a Home Purchase, TRULY an Art Form…

Negotiating on a Home Purchase, TRULY an Art Form…

Real estate is a tough business.  It’s even tougher to negotiate a deal.  It’s even worse when you’re having your arm twisted by a stubborn  Realtor on the other side of the deal, lol!  You need to make sure you always hold your ground with your agent to negotiate FOR you, and if not, well, you need to get a new Realtor.

Sometimes, there is truly an art to successfully negotiating your home purchase.  Like Kenny Rogers said (insert music HERE) “You gotta know when to hold ’em… know when to fold ’em… know when to walk away, know when to run.  You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table; there’s time enough to count it when the dealin’s done…”

Poker Face

Depending on which side you’re on, don’t be too quick to show your cards!  Show the seller that you’re in love with their house, they’ll hold out for fulpurchase price.  Show the buyer that you’re desperate to sell, you’ll lose your pants.  They’ll lowball you and hold out till you buckle.  Negotiating a deal is all about having a poker face.  A REEEEEEALLLY GOOD ONE.

Now, notice that when I quoted the song above, I could have stopped after the word “run,” but i didn’t?   Well, for all the negotiation you’re worth, sometimes the deal dies anyway.  One poor woman at my office, one of the coolest people there, is on her third re-negotiation on the same property!  Still hasn’t closed yet!  On a short sale negotiation, even if the buyer and the seller negotiate a deal, now you gotta negotiate with the BANK.  You know the saying, it ain’t over ’til the…. ???  No truer words when it comes to a short sale…

That being said, if negotiation ISN’T one of your strong points, I strongly suggest that you find an agent that’s a trained professional at it.  You need somebody to be in your corner.  Good comparables for the deal are a must have for truly accurate argument of asking price.  And lastly, BE PREPARED.  Sometimes, it’s good, sometimes it can be bad, and it can potentially get ugly.  But you want that house, so be prepared,be patient and trust your agent.

THIS is one of my FAVORITE spoofs of the art of persuasion, I mean negotiation, lol!  Enjoy!

~Christine Gerbehy

About the Author: Christine Gerbehy is a Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors in Northfield, NJ. and is e-Pro certified. Realtor, writer, blogger, wife, mother and zookeeper, I LOVE what I do. ALL of it. Let me help you to buy or sell your property, ’cause This Mama Sells Real Estate!

Need to see some MLS listings?  You can use mine! Just go to http://www.buynjshorehome.com/ and click on “search homes.”