Basement Faults

A brick foundation in disrepair

The collapse of the Miami condo building earlier this year shocked everyone, except the owners. They knew the fix would cost them $15,000,000. A swimming pool had been leaking into the garage below, causing structural rebar to rust. Groundwater infiltrated as a result of construction next door as well. Delay or unwillingness to fix the issue killed 98 people. Dozens of lawsuits totaling hundreds of millions of dollars have been filed.

State of the Market

A woman with a laptop on her lap and a phone in her hand looking at a bar graph

In the last two years, the real estate market has changed fundamentally, affecting all of us. So, it’s worth taking a look at the state of the market at the end of this year, 2021.

Both the residential and commercial sectors saw robust activity this year, carrying momentum from the previous year. And, in both sectors very strong demand dramatically increased the dollar volume of land sales, as buyers’ needs were not fulfilled with current inventory.

Fool’s Gold

Hands cradling fools gold

Technology is changing our lives with blinding speed, leaving a lot of folks worried or excited about changes in the real estate industry. With the sole aim to pay less, home sellers are embracing discount brokerages all over the country. To those who are experienced in selling their own property, this might be a good option. To those who aren’t, it could be costly or even disastrous. The DIY movement has been expanding exponentially, and it’s understandable that a DIY approach would apply to selling a home too. But, like with anything else, there are pitfalls to navigate.

The Two Faces of Dual Agency

A stone with two faces carved into it

In the world of commercial real estate, it is common for a listing agent to sell a property to a buyer who is happy to represent himself, thus the agent would be entitled to the entire brokerage fee. This frequently happens because commercial buyers are typically savvy about the process, and comfortable with its “buyer beware” environment. But, in the residential world, this is rarely the case, although a surprising percentage of buyers brush aside the opportunity to have a buyer agent represent them, be their advocate, their “bad cop”, and their research resource.

Don’t Give it Away

The exterior of a large, modern home with the sky reflected in the windows

If I had a nickel for every time I heard “not gonna give it away!” I’d have enough to retire. That expression always comes from the homeowner based on whispers and third-hand information, rarely from actual sales data. More often than not, homeowners divine the price they think their house is worth, perhaps to recover renovation costs or a refinanced mortgage, and that becomes their target sales price.

Presentation is Everything

In-focus grass in front of out of focus house

If you’re planning to sell your home, there are many online tips to get it sold quickly and for the most money. What follows here are the best of those suggestions, and some of my own.

If you want to brave the “for sale by owner” maze, Dirty Harry might say “you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’” If you do, also ask:

The Art of Appraisal

White and Red Wooden House with Fence

As much as real estate pros try to get it right, the act of assessing the value of a property is very much a subjective process. Licensed appraisers learn all there is to learn about the subject and still don’t get it right sometimes. The same is true for real estate agents. No matter how much minutia is in the mix, you can only get so close to the real value. That is because the real value is only what someone will pay. Sometimes that’s higher or lower than an appraisal. A rogue sale (a buyer who grossly overpays) will add another dimension as an owner can latch onto it to justify their price. I have often used appraisers to bring in reality with an impartial opinion of value. Sometimes this backfires too with a radically low appraisal. Still, it works more often than not and helps homeowners “get real” about what to expect for offers.