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What's Up Magazine

Leading Real Estate Professionals 2016 Q&A

Mar 16, 2016 04:17PM ● By Cate Reynolds
*Special Advertising Section

What advice would you offer to a first time homebuyer?

Once you make the decision to purchase a home, take it one step at a time with the help and guidance of a licensed real estate professional. Ask as many questions as necessary to gain clarity and understanding. Consider getting pre-approved, so you know which loan and for what amount you qualify. Pre-approval can also save you time once you find a home and give you leverage with sellers over competing buyers who are not pre-approved.

Creig Northrop, The Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster

When should I list my house?

You should list your home when you are emotionally and financially ready to sell. Motivation to sell is not determined by the market; our local market does not have dramatic swings producing a seasonality curve which would merit action. Whenever you are just “thinking” about selling, you should consult with a real estate professional. He or she can help you define the very first steps to get your house on the market.

David Orso, CENTURY 21 New Millennium

What is the most common misperception when buying or selling a home?

The most common client misperception is that buying or selling a home is extremely stressful. There is no denying that during the course of such a complicated transaction there may be tense, decision-bearing moments, but they can be SIGNIFICANTLY softened if you select an agent you can trust with your best interests at heart. The whole process should be FUN with plenty of smiles and fond memories!

Scott Schuetter, CENTURY 21 New Millennium

What’s the best way to go smoothly from a contract to a closing?

It is most important to avoid unnecessary surprises. For this, we focus on two major areas: financing and inspections. Buyers should always be pre-approved for a mortgage before they put in an offer. In addition, the listing agent and seller should be confident that the property can appraise for the agreed price. If the property doesn’t appraise for the purchase price, one party may need to fund the difference or the sale may not close. In some cases, we bring in a third party appraiser prior to listing to avoid any valuation issues. Finally, we may encourage a pre-listing inspection by a licensed home inspector to allow our clients to address any unknown issues prior to a buyer’s home inspection.

Rick Foster, Grace Ryan Real Estate, LLC

What’s special about buying/selling waterfront property?

Waterfront properties are like fine art: no two are identical. This makes it challenging to determine the fair market price, for both buyers and sellers. Sellers need the reassurance that the real estate agent they are interviewing understands all aspects of their property: view, water depth, location relative to the waterfront, as well as the intrinsic value of their home. Buyers must rely on a representative who also understands the 6 elements that play into the probable selling price of a waterfront property. Don’t sell your Picasso at a garage sale – call an expert!

Charlie Buckley, The Mr. Waterfront Team of Long and Foster Real Estate

What are some of the most important market trends for residential real estate in Annapolis when comparing 2015 to 2014?

• Home sales increased 16.81%, which is the most we have seen since 2005.

• Median sale price decreased 2.6%.

• Current average sold price is at $553,606 which is down 3.26%.

• Average Days on Market at 99, a minor increase of 1.02%, with the highest number of homes under contract within the first 10 days.

• Supply of Homes is down 24.7%, which is the lowest we have seen since 2006.

• Buyer activity for 2016 has started off stronger than expected primarily due to low mortgage rates, and a buyer rush to lock in.

• The Sellers advantage is limited supply therefore less competition. Pricing right results in offers and is key to sell.

Brent Allen, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

What excites you about the 2016 market?

This year is most exciting for me because it’s being acclaimed as the year of the millennial. This means more people in my generation are reaching the point in their lives where a home purchase makes sense. Having recently purchased my firsthome, I’m excited to educate first-time homebuyers to make sure they fully understand the process and can proceed confidently to the closing table. I also believe the potential for rising mortgage rates will drive a lot of buyers to get off the fence and make that home purchase in 2016. I’m excited to see more millennials coming to closing tables than we’ve ever seen before!

Meggie K. Carpenter, Grace Ryan Real Estate, LLC

What are the qualities I should look for in selecting a Realtor to work with?

Things that should matter...
An agent’s dedication to their business as a full time Realtor and their dedication to making your real estate goals a reality. Request the agent’s track record for the last 12 months, don’t be afraid to ask for references and what their reputation in the industry is. (Networking among our peers is crucial to a Realtor’s success). Ask for a 90 day business plan in writing for your sale or purchase. Keep in mind this is a business transaction and make sure you handle it exactly that way (you can become friends after the transaction). Ask for a realistic “days on the market” strategy and a marketing game plan when listing your home. When buying a home, make sure you meet and interview to decide if all the personalities mesh. Most of all make sure you select an adequate and knowledgeable guide and advisor to one of your largest purchases or sales.

Christina Palmer, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Which website should I use to search for my next home?

Home search websites are all over the internet, but we all know there are a couple popular ones people always mention. Truth be told, they don’t always have accurate information. You could get your heart set on a house that isn’t even on the market anymore! The best advice is to ask your real estate agent to set you up on a search and to keep an eye out for homes that meet your criteria. Consulting with your real estate agent early in your search is key. An agent who knows the market will likely also know of homes which are not listed yet.

David Orso, Century 21 New Millennium

What is your advice to both buyers and sellers to ensure the swiftest and smoothest settlement day?

To ensure the swiftest and smoothest settlement day, it is important for the seller to make sure everything in the house is in working order. If there are repairs to be made, hire a quality professional to do the repairs. That way the work is completed on time and the buyer has a professional they can contact if there are future issues/questions. Be sure to be completely moved out and all personal items and trash removed prior to closing. We see many closing delayed because the sellers are not completely moved out of the home. It is important that the buyers are able to have a final walk-through of the home prior to closing, to ensure everything is as stated in the contract.

For buyers, my advice is to be sure all of your documents are provided to your lender, real estate professional, and title company as soon as possible. Providing documents in a timely manner helps to ensure a smooth transaction and on-time settlement. Don’t make any major purchases (e.g. furniture) or change your credit situation in any way. A late payment or new credit card can affect your loan and possibly your ability to purchase your new home.

Janice Hariadi, 
Berkshire Hathaway 
HomeServices PenFed Realty

What do I need to do to get my house ready to sell?

First impressions are lasting ones! Make sure the exterior of your home is mulched, trimmed and well landscaped. It is important to make sure your house is move-in ready. As a seller it’s always good to de-clutter and de-personalize your home so the buyer can picture themselves living there. It’s best to consult with a stager because they know how to best show your home so it sells quickly and can make your home more appealing to the broadest audience possible.

Barbara Watkins, Benson & Mangold Real Estate

How important is local knowledge when choosing a Realtor?

It’s absolutely huge. Real Estate Insider Magazine ranked local knowledge as the most important characteristic of successful Realtors! Recent sales experience in a particular area is essential to understanding the market both in pricing and local housing issues. As a top producing agent specializing in Kent Island and the Eastern Shore, I’ve got that in spades.

DeeDee McCracken, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

How have you seen real estate change on the Eastern Shore since your childhood here?

I have been a lifelong resident of the Shore...a “local” born and raised here! I’ve watched subdivisions and strip malls get built where cornfields & barns once were. Some of these places, out of town and in town, were where I once rode my pony! While it’s been hard watching my old haunts change, it has been great for the growing population of the area and positive economic impact it’s brought to the real estate industry. My family has always been involved with real estate and I’m carrying on the family tradition with helping newcomers and “locals” buy and sell real estate here. I love to help people find the home that best suits their needs. The variety of neighborhoods in the area range from traditional family to retiree communities and everything in between. Plus the Shore still offers the great waterfront views it’s historically famous for! It’s a great place to raise my family now and to call home!

Karla Wieland-Cherry, Long & Foster Real Estate

How do you think changes in the stock market will affect business in 2016?

We are seeing many higher end buyers re-allocate their investments by adding more real estate to their portfolio. Some via second homes and others income producing property. We believe that the incredible gains made in the stock market in the past seven or eight years will translate into more non-primary residence real estate purchasing. We also believe that while mortgage rates may rise some, they will stay at generation lows. Combined, these things set the table well for our oversold commercial and second home markets.

Chuck Mangold Jr., Benson & Mangold Real Estate

What are the most effective home improvements owners can do prior to putting their house on the market?

I always bring an experienced home stager through our listings to help the homeowners with everything from decluttering and decorating to moving walls. But there are some things we see over and over again that really improve salability and price. First is landscaping and entry door improvement. Buyers start forming opinions in the first 6 seconds of seeing your home – so make it good! Next, minor to mid-range improvement in kitchens and baths do wonders. Keep up with current trends without breaking the bank.

DeeDee McCracken, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

When considering waterfront property, what is the most important thing anagent can do for their clients to protect them from the potential pitfalls in purchasing waterfront in today’s highly regulated environment?

Given the complex nature of purchasing waterfront property today, whether it’s land or a pre-existing home, every contract should have a study or due diligent period as a part of the contract to protect the Buyer clients. The thrill of purchasing waterfront property today, it can quickly become a client’s worst nightmare if an agent doesn’t understand today’s waterfront regulations in conjunction with the Buyer client’s current or future uses of the property.

Craig Linthicum, Long & Foster Real Estate