Sunday, November 23, 2014

Judy Graff Properties: providing the difference

Here's my biz card.
Here's what my yard sign will look like.

It's official! I am pleased to announce that I am finally going solo and forming my own real estate company.   This new direction will give me the opportunity to give my clients more of what they need – expertise and outstanding service.  No pitches or pressure, just astute advice, counsel and solutions for your real estate needs.  Call it Judy Graff Properties, or just call it me – Judy Graff.  I can be reached the same old ways.

I have been delighted to be of service to all of my real estate clients for the almost two decades, and I am honored to have been part of my clients' lives.  I look forward to continuing to help, advise and educate new clients on their real estate transactions with my new venture.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Ask the Realtor: should I sell or buy a California home in the winter?

This is kind of an anniversary post for me.  Please read on.

Most people think that real estate goes dead during the fall and winter, even here in Southern California.  That's not entirely the truth, but most home sellers want to celebrate or have a quiet time in peace, and most buyers do not want to even contemplate moving over the holidays.  But here's the upside of home sales at this time of year.

In late November/December/early January, there isn't as much on the market.  So if you're a home seller, this is an opportunity to capture the interest of serious buyers.  (However, if you want to wait and capture the rising spring market, I'm down with that, too.)

And if you're a home buyer, you'll know that if a house is on the market during these months, the sellers are very serious.  This is also the time of year that prices don't go up, so you may get a really good deal.

But nobody wants to move at this time of year.  Too many hassles, too much else to do, etc.  So here's the work-around: sellers can arrange to rent back the home for a few weeks.  Many Realtors will caution everybody against this, but if each side believes the other side is trustworthy, it can work out really well.  Buyers, your first payment isn't due until the end of the first month that you own the new home, so the rent-back monies can be paid up front and can offset your closing costs.

Here's where the anniversary part comes in.  This is exactly what my husband and I did last year when we bought our new place.  We had an offer accepted on November 17, closed on December 17, the sellers rented back for a month, and we moved in on January 21.  It was a win-win all around.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Burbank residents, BWP has even more rebates for you

If you own a home in Burbank, Burbank Water and Power is gifting you with even larger rebates on new, energy-efficient appliances.  They've doubled the rebates for new refrigerators, washers, and dishwashers.  Check their website for details.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

10 types of Real Estate Agents to Avoid

Readers, this was written for other real estate agents but it will be amusing for home buyers and sellers, too.  I so wish I could name names here.  This article originally appeared in the Trulia Pro Blog and was picked up by Inman News.  The writer is Jovan Hackley and the entire text of the article is here.  I've edited this for home sellers and buyers, rather than just real estate agents.

1. The agent who could use a little more training …
Expertise and experience are two different things. Unfortunately, many of you said that there are too many agents who are simply undertrained, and it can show during the transaction.
My comment: this may surprise you, but it is truly #1.  But as with all other professions, it takes a long time to learn the ropes.  Many people get into selling real estate because it looks easy to make a lot of money. (Sound of cackling laughter.)  But experience is the only true teacher.
2. The agent who misses all of the contract deadlines — and doesn’t know it …
We’ve all run into that agent who hasn’t seen a deadline he couldn’t miss.
My comment: See #5 and #7.

3. The agent who always overpromises and underdelivers …
Ambition is good, but according to those in the industry, making a promise that can’t be kept is a deal breaker! Clients and other agents remember those who talk a big game without bringing home the win.
My comment: if you are reading this blog, you've probably investigated local real estate enough to run into agents like this.  Be careful of standard sales pitches.
4. The agent who forgets everything and anything …
Showing appointments are a shock! Four out of 5 of their clients insist they forgot! They’ve had scheduling conflicts the last three weeks in a row!
My comment: This just forces that agent's clients to do the remembering for them.  And that's not what the clients are paying them for, is it?
5. The agent who avoids (OK, ignores) every call and email …
When you’re trying to close a solid deal for your clients, there can be nothing more frustrating than working with someone who won’t return calls, listen to voice mails, or return calls.
My comment: like, you have something better to do? Like what? Solving the crisis in the Middle East? And don't tell me that you didn't get the message -- you have your iPhone implanted where your ear used to be.
6. The agent who quotes crazy high prices to win a listing …
Winning a listing is great — unless in the process you’ve ruined your client’s chance of closing in a timely fashion. One big complaint we’ve heard from agents across the country is on others using bad pricing tactics to win clients. The reality is that market value won’t move based on any delusions.
My comment: good sales comps are those that are closest in time, closest in distance, closest in size and condition.  Home sellers, have you been shown this data? I hope so.
7. The agent who doesn’t focus on the details …
There is a lot expected of real estate agents. You’ve got to be able to see the bigger picture and hone in on the details. Whether it’s dealing with deals, presenting an offer or reading emails, thoroughness is a valuable skill in this industry. And those who don’t have it can be a headache to work with.
My comment: some agents are just focused on getting the listing. Again, if you're still reading this blog, you've probably investigated the local market enough to know who these folks are.
8. The agent who tries to be a big bully …
Agents whose methods of moving a transaction along always involve voice-raising and choice words scored high on the drives-me-nuts scale.
My comment:  Shouldn't people who value their work and their clients have at least a little class? Agents, please -- stay away from the phone when you are drunk and angry. Or just feeling mean.
9. The agent who doesn’t anticipate potential problems …
Real estate deals are about getting clients to closing the best way possible. That’s impossible if an agent is always getting tripped up by transaction surprises.
My comment: some problems are unimaginable in advance, but here's where well-rounded experience with transactions comes in.  Experienced Realtors anticipate problems in advance. 
10. The agent who’s dangerously walking that “ethical” line …
The last and least liked of all the agents are those who are actively unethical. Those who get the deal done by treading in the gray area of the law or jeopardizing someone tend to make other agents uneasy. And that’s understandable!
My comment: this happens, and it really is scary.  When an agent in a transaction behaves unethically, all of our licenses are at risk.  And we risk lawsuits, too.  

I hope you've enjoyed this! If you're a long-time reader of this blog, you know that I give shout-outs and props to good real estate agents.  Feel free to call me and ask me about the good guys.