Lori Jean's Real Estate Quick Takes

Welcome to the June edition of Lori Jean's Real Estate Quick Takes, produced right from my own desk!

The purpose of my newsletter is to provide my friends and clients with relevant real estate information in a fun, easy, quick read. Whether you're buying, selling, or just keeping up on your investment, I hope this information is helpful to you.

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Office: (301) 855-8600
10720 Town Center Blvd
Dunkirk, MD 20754
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Buying a Home Sucks: Tips to Spotting the Best Buy

The strategy of home buying includes using the right tools to make an offer, but which home you select is also critical to your success. 

Strategy #1 FUNK

In my experience, most home buyers want the flashy home that has recently been renovated or that appears to be in excellent condition.  Homes with new flooring, new appliances, and fresh paint get all the attention. You will pay a premium for the flashy home with all the fluff for obvious reasons.  The actual cost of floors, appliances, and paint is not that great.  Find a home that needs these items, pay less, win the house, and make the upgrades yourself.  A home with outdated decor is a great way to go. You can also take it one step further. I love a home for sale that is cluttered, has funky wall colors, and possibly even a bad odor. I know I can win it for my buyers and help them turn it into a great buy. Think of the funk as money in your pocket. You are going to take out the stinky old carpet and paint anyway. 

If you don’t have the imagination for this and simply cannot visualize the improvements, use logic.  Focus on the location of the home, the architecture, number of bedrooms, square footage, and other considerations on your wish list.  Write the pros of a home that looks bad on paper and see them as facts vs fluff. Do not fall for new appliances and other shiny objects. Most of the time they are the cheapest on the market and will last six years if you’re lucky.  Be prepared to buy your own new appliances, paint the house the colors of your choice, and redo the floors exactly how you want them.  

If you don’t have the cash, get the sellers to pay more of the closing costs by offering to pay that same amount more for the home. Now you keep your cash to fix up the house and you will be paying only a few dollars more on the mortgage each month or more likely, less because you are paying less for the house. You can also open low-interest credit at your box store and pay it off with the monthly savings on a less costly home.

Strategy #2 Days On Market

Look for homes that have been on the market for a while. Days on market, DOM, can tell you a lot. Sometimes it is a perfectly good home that started overpriced.  Overpricing a home turns it into a leper.  Even if the price is reduced it stops getting any attention. Don’t follow the herd, go look at these homes that have been sitting a while. If it is still overpriced, make a fair-market offer. If the sellers have already rejected fair-market, they just might be getting the message and accept your offer.  If not, go on to the next house.  


Another reason a home can be on the market for too long is poor marketing.  An agent takes the listing then does a lousy job on the write-up and really blows the photos.  They put one or two iPhone snaps in the MLS or they put lots of lousy iPhone photos in the MLS.  They seem to take photos of furniture or a light switch and generally don’t show what the house looks like.  Everyone passes on the house. If it meets your price and location go see it. Don’t rely on the marketing. We have all purchased well-marketed products that were disappointing, the reverse is also true. 

Strategy #4 CAN’T GET IN TO SEE IT

Some houses are just tough to get into. Either the owners or tenants make it hard to see the house. Jump through their silly hoops and go see the home. It is a small effort for a big pay-off.  They will have less traffic and interest in their home. 

Talk to your agent about the four tools to help your chances of winning the bid, but don’t forget to love funk.  If you can bring yourself to see a home for what it could be and not what it is today, you can buy a home and end up sitting on equity from day one.  Don’t follow the crowd, there are great homes sitting in no man's land because of poor marketing, silly showing barriers, odors, weird paint color, clutter, outdated decor, over-pricing, and any number of other objections to the sale.

Thinking about purchasing a new home or curious about what homes are on the market? I've got you covered. Contact me today!
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Quote of the Month
Don't let what you can't do get in the way of what you can do". 
—John Robert Wooden, NCAA basketball coach
Thinking of selling but have a question? Reach out to me anytime–I'm always here for you.
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Lori's Page Turners
If you didn't know, I LOVE TO READ. Here's this month's book recommendation:

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of how our government segregated America, by Richard Rothstein. This important book looks into historical segregation based on the creation of different planned city zones by local governments as early as the 1920s.

Client Reviews
Working with Lori Jean was the best Real Estate experience that my husband and I have ever had. She is knowledgeable and skilled, and at the same time, patient and kind. (rare combination!!)

We purchased our dream home, and I have Lori Jean to thank for it. She had a great eye for what we wanted and she went after it. We found the perfect house, negotiated to have all closing costs paid, and were at the settlement table. She negotiated the terms in our favor and made the entire process pleasant.

This Real Estate market is CRAZY right now. If you're looking for a home, I highly recommend her to my friends and family. Working with her was like working with a trusted friend and I know that we won't use anyone else from now on.
–Rhonda J.
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