Home > Blog

The Jane Douglass Team Blog

Contracts and Contractors.

Posted by | May 12th, 2011 | Comments (0)

In this day of stricter regulations on mortgages, there are many pitsfalls that can cause much frustration on behalf of buyers, sellers, and agents alike. One thing that I’ve started to see more and more is the requirement of all receipts, and in some cases, letters and signatures from any contractor that has done repair work to a home while under contract in order to obtain a mortgage. One deal that I’ve just completed had turned into a nightmare situation of trying to retrieve various forms of documentation from each contractor in time for the mortgage committment date. It can lead to very stressful times for everyone involved to say the least. My advice to those whose house may be under contract but may need repairs in order to make the deal happen…1) Make sure the work is done by a licensed contractor. Many times you want to do it yourself or have a friend who dabbles in home repair. Beware! Mortgage companies now sometimes require a copy of the license of the contractor who did the work. 2) Get Receipts! as well as a statement from the contractor that says all work is complete. 3) If you need to obtain a letter from a contractor for the mortgage company, make sure it is on COMPANY LETTERHEAD! Many mortgage companies will require it. 4) Lastly, keep your cool. It’s easy to get frustrated with things in this stage of your real estate transaction, but know that your close to the finish line and taking it one step at a time will see you to closing!

Posted in: Philastate- Musings on Philly Real Estate, Uncategorized


Philastate- Trust your Realtor!

Posted by | April 20th, 2011 | Comments (0)

The internet can be a great source of knowledge and advice. So can your neighbors, coworkers, friends and family members…well, most of the time anyway! However, when it comes to buying or selling real estate, the best advice you can get is from your Realtor. Your cousin may profess to know the Blue Bell market like the back of his hand, or your next door neighbor may swear to you your home is worth $100k more than what you’re currently selling it for because he bought his home for $100k higher than yours last year. Maybe you’ve even decided to price your home off of an online “Zestimate.” Bad idea. While all this advice is pouring in from various sources around you, your Realtor is the one with the tools and extensive knowledge of the market around you; its trends, pricing, value, demand, etc. It’s our job to know, and we dedicate our time to learn the market on behalf of our clients. If you have trusted your Realtor enough to choose them to represent you, trust them enough to do their job and help you make good decisions when buying or selling. Here’s a thought just to drive the point home…your best friend, son or daughter, or even Web MD can tell you that you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome based on the symptoms you have, but do you trust them to make a diagnoses over your doctor? The same goes for Real Estate. Trust your Realtor!

Posted in: Philastate- Musings on Philly Real Estate | Tags: , , ,


Philastate- Echos in the Marketplace.

Posted by | April 5th, 2011 | Comments (0)

With all of the bad publicity we hear about our recovering, though sluggish economy, it’s easy to see why consumer confidence is very low these days. Bad news is beaten into our psyche every time we turn on the TV, read the newspaper, or go online. As a Realtor, this presents unique challenges for representing folks either buying or selling real estate. It seems to me no matter how I frame the conversation with my clients, and the subsequent facts that I’ve gathered for Mr. or Mrs. home buyer/seller to support what I’m saying, some common responses seem to pop up again and again in today’s marketplace. Here are just a few of the things I hear today when I meet with my buyers and sellers, and the good news behind every scenario:

1) “We need to get this amount of money for this home.” If there was one statement that I hear again and again, over and over, it’s this. It’s very hard to be the bad cop in this situation, but what you NEED to get, and what you WILL get may be two very different things in this market. As many of you already know, it is a buyers market out there these days, and buyers know it. Even the most pragmatic of Sellers I come across have a hard time believing that their home may be worth significantly less than what it used to be just a year or two ago. For many homeowners, the equity they had built in their homes was their nest-egg, and the shock of not getting the amount of money they once envisioned coming out of the sale of their home is troublesome for many to say the least.

Here’s the good news: Although it may be true that most sellers will not get the price they had wished to get for their homes, keep in mind that most sellers will be purchasing a new home to move into after theirs has sold. The money that you may “lose” selling your home may actually turn into a net gain for you if you are buying a home at an equal or greater sales price than the home you currently live in. You’ll find that you can afford much more house today than you could a few years ago, and there are great deals to be had out there. So for those of you in this exact situation, focus on the positive! There is still a reason to smile!

2) “I’d like to focus on short sales and foreclosures.” – By now, almost all buyers have heard about the short sales and foreclosures taking place in the US, and salivate at the thought of getting a steal on a property that may be worth far more in other circumstances. While this may be true, and short sales and foreclosures can offer a potential buyer some great opportunities, there are a few things to mull over when thinking of buying one of these properties: 1) When you put in an offer on a home that needs third party approval, meaning the Bank that owns the mortgage for the home, the process can be a long one. In many cases, hearing back from the bank with an answer as to whether or not your offer was accepted can take a very long time. I’ve heard of bank responses taking up to three months or more! You may need to provide extensive documentation, and will most likely have some hoops to jump through. 2) When owners lose their home and don’t want to, it does not always make for the best parting of ways from their former home. Owners may let the property fall into disrepair, take things from the property, or even intentionally damage the property, leaving a future owner plenty of work once they move in.

Here’s the good news- Short Sales and Foreclosures can offer a great opportunity for a buyer dedicated enough to see the process through. Buyers, working in conjunction with their real estate agents to try and find that perfect “diamond in the rough” can be rewarded with a great home for a great price. Also, by purchasing short sales and foreclosures, you can help to free the market of sagging home prices due to the volume of Short Sales and Foreclosures.  In order to make the housing market strong again, the inventory of Short Sales and Foreclosures will need to dwindle significantly. In the end, not only are you helping other home owners out, you have now helped yourself by getting a great home at a great value!

3) “I want to go in low”– In this Buyers market, many of my clients tell me that they want to offer a low-ball offer and see what happens. Many buyers see the deals that are happening in the market today, and want to take advantage of doing the same thing other buyers are. Since the average sale price of a home right now is about 92% of the original asking price, there may be room to negotiate on any future home a buyer may want. However, all real estate is local, and some neighborhoods or locations are different than others in regards to their demand. A buyer who insists on coming in very low on his/her dream home may be disappointed to find out that he/she lost the home they love to another buyer because they chose to offer a very low price and focused on stealing the home instead of buying the home. Also, there are occasions where a seller may become insulted by an offer they deem to be too low, and may not want to work with a buyer out of sheer spite.


Here’s the good news: For many buyers, going in low with an offer is a good strategy to go by if you’re willing to lose the house you’re bidding on. They’re are many deals to have out there, and much inventory to choose from. If you put an offer in on one home and it doesn’t work out, rest assured their will be another out there worth pursuing. Sometimes it pays to play hardball, and sometimes it does not. That’s why you have a Realtor to guide you in the marketplace!

Posted in: Philastate- Musings on Philly Real Estate, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,