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2009 has been an “interesting” year both, in real estate and life in general. But, it’s about to be behind us and there’s a fresh year and decade ahead of us. I hope for and wish you the best in 2010. Let’s all do what we can to make it a better year than 2009.
The other day, I wrote about “gradumatating” from the Virginia Association of REALTORS, Virginia Leadership Academy. Well, that wasn’t the only great REALTOR leadership program I went through this year.
Three local REALTOR associations, DAAR, PWAR and FAAR, put together a Leadership Development Program and selected only a few REALTOR members to go through the program. I was fortunate and honored to be one of those chosen.
Though the Virginia Leadership Academy focused heavily on leadership in general, it didn’t touch upon the ins and outs of REALTOR association dealings and how they work very much. That’s where the Local Leadership Development Program really came into play.
The program focused heavily on how REALTOR associations work (and the politics involved). I find that equally important as learning how to be a better leader when it comes to bring change for the better to REALTORS and consumers alike. You can lead until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll never bring change for the better if you don’t know how the organization you’re trying to bring change to works.
They didn’t mess around.
The speakers they brought in included,
- Past local REALTOR association leaders
- Past state and national REALTOR association leaders
- Current legislative affairs heads from local and national REALTOR associations
- and the list goes on…
There were only about a dozen of us in the program so one-on-one and group discussion time was abundant. There was plenty of time for us to ask questions and our questions were immediately answered, which helped tremendously in the learning process.
This was the first local REALTOR association Leadership Development Program and hopefully not the last because it was awesome. Thank you to DAAR, PWAR and FAAR for putting it together and for asking me to be a part of it. And congratulations to my fellow graduates!
Back in January of this year, DullesSouthOnline.com and KME announced a “Loudoun Business Challenge – Help Stimulate Loudoun’s Economy in 2009.”
Why? Because, as DullesSouthOnline.com stated so eloquently, Fairfax County and neighboring counties through the DC metro area are “eating our [Loudoun's] lunch in their ability to attract business investment via the Internet.”
Ain’t that the truth! If you know anything about the Loudoun EDC and Chamber of Commerce, you know that their on-line presence is dismal to almost non-existent. Hence, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and those of other counties are not only eating our lunch…they’re eating our breakfast, dinner and midnight snack.
So here we are a year later and the 2009 KME “Made in Loudoun” award winners have been announced. You would think that the Loudoun County Economic Development Commission would have paid attention and gotten their act together, right?
Well…(here’s an excerpt – highlights are mine)
After a year, it’s become evident that the only local industry (besides Online Marketers like us) most actively, aggressively and successfully promoting the core economic values of Loudoun County is the Residential Real Estate industry. This is probably to be expected, for by promoting Loudoun and its work/life values, real estate property is therefore more valuable.
It was, however, interesting to discover that the Loudoun business community, aside from Real Estate, simply does not actively and voluntarily help to promote Loudoun online to the outside world – rather, it relies on the local EDC and Chamber of Commerce.
…real estate agents and brokerages are most actively using the Internet and Social Media to cover and distribute Loudoun-centric hyperlocal news and information…
And, in no particular order, the winners are…(drum roll please)
- Heather Elias (Century 21 Redwood Group)
- Kelly Gaitten (Carter Braxton Real Estate)
- Marilee Murphy (Long & Foster Real Estate)
- Tony Arko (Market Advantage Real Estate)
- and, yours truly, Danilo Bogdanovic (Market Advantage Real Estate)
Though it’s flattering to be named as one of the 2009 KME “Made in Loudoun” award winners, I’m disappointed at the same time. I hoped that the Loudoun EDC and Chamber of Commerce would have done something this year to turn things around and increase their on-line presence in order attract businesses (and tax revenue) to Loudoun. Had they done so, some of us would not have been on that list (which is fine with me).
But they did not.
Is there hope for Loudoun?
There may be… Lawrence S. Rosenstrauch, Loudoun County’s EDC Director just resigned on Dec 4 and the county is on the search for a replacement. While praising Rosenstrauch’s service, Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce President Tony Howard said the county now has the opportunity to be “more competitive in the battle to attract new business investment” (via The Washington Post).
Thank you to DullesSouthOnline.com, KME Internet Marketing and all of you who read LoudounScene.com and LoudounForeclosures.com. And congratulations to my fellow winners and REALTORS!
Here’s a two-part question one of my clients recently asked me… “Can you explain to me the difference between ‘CNTG/NO KO’, ‘CONT/KO’ and ‘CONTRACT’? Can you still put offers on houses like that?”
The abbreviations stand for the following:
- CNTG/NO KO means that the property is contingent upon one or more things, but the seller can not “kick out” the offer to take another offer. The type of “no kick out” contingency you usually see is an appraisal, financing and/or home inspection. Unless the buyer is paying all cash and has absolutely NO contingencies, the status is CNTG/NO KO
- CNTG/KO means that the contract is contingent upon one or more things, but the seller can “kick out” the offer to take another offer. The “kick out” usually involves some sort of notice and short time frame for the buyer to remove the “kick out” contingency or the seller can accept another offer. One example of a “kick out” contingency “Sale of Home Contingency” by the buyer
- CONTRACT means that all contingencies have been removed and the buyer and seller are locked into the contract. Typically, there is no way out of the contract that doesn’t involve default on the part of one or both parties.
As far as still being able to put an offer on a property in each of these three situations…
- CNTG/NO KO – you could put an offer on it if the seller is accepting back-up offers. Your offer would be considered only if the original buyer/contract falls through
- CNTG/KO – you can place an offer on it at any time. If the seller likes your offer better, they can give the original buyer notice requiring them to remove the “kick out” contingency. If the buyer does not comply with the terms of the notice and doesn’t remove the “kick out” contingency in time, the original contract could become void and the seller could accept your offer
- CONTRACT – at this stage of the game, the chance of the deal falling apart is extremely small. If you’re really interested in the property, have your Buyer’s Agent contact the Listing Agent and ask them to keep you in the loop should the contract fall apart. Your Buyer’s Agent and you can also place the property on your “watch list” which will alert you of any change to the status (aka from CONTRACT to ACTIVE/back on the market)
A few important things and disclaimers…
1) If you have questions about the status of a specific property or whether you are able to submit an offer on it, contact your Buyer’s Agent. If you don not have a Buyer’s Agent, contact me directly – danilo.bogdanovic (at) gmail (dot) com – 703.582.6900.
2) These abbreviations are used by the local MLS here in the DC metro area. Different real estate search sites and different MLS’ use different abbreviations/terms so none of this may apply to you/your area.
3) I am not a lawyer – this is not intended as legal advice nor guidance – every contract and its’ terms is different – every MLS and area is different – check with your Buyer’s Agent/Realtor and others for guidance.
New RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) guidelines have come out and they will change the way Good Faith Estimates look beginning January 1, 2010. The changes will also increase the level of accountability that goes along with the lending process – for both lenders and borrowers. Some are “hootin n hollerin” about the changes while others are happy about them. Here are two people’s reactions to the changes…
“Hootin n hollerin” about the changes…
On the training conference call on Wednesday were originators from across the country who worked for direct lenders, brokers and banks. The common sentiment was that the consumer will in reality end up paying higher costs for loans as originators will not want to risk under-disclosing costs and fees, not just their own but those of escrow companies, title companies, appraisers, surveyors, etc, and be stuck with the tab.
Happy about the new Good Faith Estimate and RESPA guidelines…
It completely evens the playing field on both sides of the table. It also comes with like a definition page that outlines what is encouraged to shop around for and what is not negotiable. No more “nickel and diming” over every line on the GFE.
The best part is that the definition of “application” has SSN as a REQUIRED field.
There are LOTS of skeptical people out there (rightfully so) that do not like to provide a SSN, but ask us to provide a “ball park” GFE based on the information provided. RESPA no longer allows a GFE to be offered without a SSN. This allows lenders to provide a responsible and more accurate GFE and prevents prospects from calling 10 banks asking for GFE’s just to see what their fee’s are.
Ooooh, just lots of good stuff – once again, for both borrowers and lenders…
Honesty, reliability and accountability is what the new GFE provides.
It puts the Good back in Good Faith Estimate!
- Christopher Koegler, Operations Manager – American Funding, Mclean, VA
I think that the new RESPA guidelines and Good Faith Estimate are good in theory, but theory and reality are two different things. We’ll have to wait and see just how they actually effect borrowers and the real estate industry as a whole.
What do you think?
P.S. Here is the new Good Faith Estimate (if you don’t see the embedded document below, click here)…
Being a successful Real Estate Consultant and REALTOR® is not just about selling lots of homes. I believe you have to be three-dimensional – take lots of continuing education, stay on top of current and upcoming real estate events and regulations, give back to your community and get involved in your local and state REALTOR® association. Part of being involved in your local and state association includes attending the Virginia Association of REALTORS®, Virginia Leadership Academy.
The Virginia Leadership Academy, which involves several retreats and many meetings over a period of 9 months along with a huge class project, accepts only 22 REALTORS® per year. There are over 33,000 REALTORS® in Virginia so the competition is stiff and the acceptance standards are high. That’s one reason why I was so honored to be accepted into the Virginia Association of REALTORS®, Virginia Leadership Academy, Class of 2009.
And I didn’t just attend… I gradumatated! (Yes, the misspelling is for humor purposes – so please chuckle now)
The Virginia Leadership Academy proved to be quite the learning experience…
We learned a bit about the way the Virginia Association of REALTORS® works. But, more importantly, we learned about leadership, how to better serve our clients and we created relationships with some of the best and brightest REALTORS® in Virginia. This may not sound like it would help you – the consumer – but in fact, it does greatly.
“How?” you ask… Here’s how…
Being in the same room with another 21 REALTORS® always leads to “shop talk.” But this was “shop talk” with some of the best and brightest in the biz. Exchanging ideas and experiences with these folks proved to be more valuable than many of the continuing education classes I’ve taken. (Not that the classes were bad, but just sayin…)
The most important part for me was learning about leadership. That’s important to me because I believe that there is a great deal of room for change and improvement in the real estate industry – particularly in the consumer experience department.
How do you bring change to the real estate industry and help improve the consumer experience?
Besides doing the right thing yourself in day-to-day business dealings, get involved in your local and state REALTOR® association. That’s why I serve on several committees at the local and state level and hope to get more involved in a leadership role down the road. Graduating from the Virginia Leadership Academy will help me be more effective in bringing change for the better once I am in more of a position to do so.
In addition to great “shop talk” and the leadership lessons, there’s the whole “creating relationships with fellow classmates.” I have been able to confidently refer several clients moving to other parts of Virginia to fellow Virginia Leadership Academy alumni. And I’m completely comfortable doing so because I know them personally, trust them and know they will take great care of my clients.
The Virginia Leadership Academy proved to be a great and rewarding experience and I’m honored and happy to have gone through it. Thank you to VAR for accepting me into the program. Thank you to DAAR for sponsoring me. And congratulations to my fellow Virginia Leadership Academy alumni!
Here’s a three-part question recently asked by a new construction home buyer I’m working with… “If my new home won’t be ready until June, how will that affect my financing contingency, when can I lock in my rate and what happens if rates spike up between now and June?”
That’s a very good and important question.
To answer the first part of that question, your financing contingency depends on the what the builders’ contract says. In my clients’ particular case, the builders lender has 45 days from the date of ratification to find him a loan. If they can’t do so within those 45 days, they can extend that time period for another 30 days.
Notice that I highlighted “date of ratification.” Whether you settle in 30 days, 6 months or 9 months, the financing contingency usually starts when you sign the contract and it’s then signed by the builder’s rep.
But – and a very important “but” – if you were to do anything to adversely affect their credit, you could lose the financing contingency time period and could be in default (aka lose your $20K deposit).
To answer the second part of that question, the typical interest rate lock is done 30, sometimes 60 days before settlement. If you would like to lock it in for longer, you should check if it’s possible with your particular lender. Even if it’s possible, you will most likely have to pay a point(s) upfront to do so. (One point is equal to one percent of the loan amount)
If you’re 6 months out from settlement, you may have to wait 4 or 5 months before locking in your rate. Yes, that can be a gamble, but it’s the price you pay for buying new construction.
Which leads me to the third question…
Even if rates go up between now and when your new home is delivered, you may still be responsible for buying the property. And if you don’t move forward with the purchase, you may be in default and could lose your deposit.
Now before you take any of what I just wrote as gospel, let me give you the mandatory disclaimer:
I am not a lawyer nor a loan officer/lender – this is not intended as legal advice nor guidance – every new home builder’s contract is different – every lender’s guidelines and offerings are different – check with your Buyer’s Agent/Realtor, your loan officer/lender and others for guidance.
***If you are interested in new construction in the Northern Virginia area, contact me before you head out to new home sales centers – firstname.lastname@example.org – 703.582.6900. You need to have your own Buyer’s Agent representing and guiding you through the process. Remember – the builder’s sale rep works for the builder – NOT you. And your Buyer’s Agents/Brokers fees are already built into the sales price so it’s of no additional cost to you.
There are some killer deals on the few available spec condos at Van Metre’s Linden Row community in the Lansdowne Town Center in Lansdowne (Leesburg), Virginia. Here are the details:
- Prices on the specs have already been reduced thousands to help get them sold ASAP
- You get $8,000 off the price if you settle by the end of December 2009
- You get $10,000 in closing cost assistance and/or off the price
- Van Metre will pay all of your HOA fees for 2010 – a $4,596 value
- There is one Chelsea model spec and a few SoHo model specs left that come with these great incentives and prices
Once these specs have sold, you’ll have to go with their February/March deliveries. But those will cost you more…
- You will pay regular base prices without any money off
- Base prices have been increased by $5,000
- You do not get $8,000 off the price
- Closing cost assistance has been reduced to $7,500
Basically…if you buy one of the available spec homes and settle by the end of December 2009, you’ll save over $20,000.
If you would like more information about the Lansdowne Town Center community, Van Metre, the different models and lots available and how to save the most amount of money possible, email or call me – danilo.bogdanovic@gmail. com – 703.582.6900.
Several of you have asked me about the Dulles Airport Impact Overlay District and any required disclosures. To best answer your question, my broker and I spoke with the Dulles Area Association of Realtors (DAAR) about the subject. Here is what DAAR had to say…
As a follow-up to our discussion this afternoon, the attached section of the Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance states that Homeowners Associations are required to make disclosure if the property is in the Airport Impact Overlay District. This would require a home being resold within a particular subdivision that has an HOA to provide the disclosure as part of the HOA “Packet” that is transferred to new owners. As you know, the rules covering subsequent disclosure are in the Virginia Property Owners Association law. The county ordinance also clearly states that all deeds of conveyance are required to have the disclosure. Since the county ordinance states that all deeds of conveyance must contain the disclosure that covers all transactions for properties that do not have an HOA.
A great tool created by the Washington Airports Task Force for buyers and the real estate community is “The Homebuyer’s/Broker’s Guide to Compatible Land Use Around Washington Dulles International Airport” found under http://www.washingtonairports.com/noiseandlanduse/homeownersguide.htm. The intent of the guide is to assist potential homebuyers and the real estate community in assessing the effect of aircraft noise and flight operations on homes in areas close to Washington Dulles. You may also find useful a presentation conducted before DAAR members last month by the Washington Airports Task Force on this issue.
If you or your clients would like to determine whether a particular property lies within the AID, visit Loudoun County’s mapping system at http://gisinter1.loudoun.gov/weblogis/default.htm An address can be typed in and determination made as to whether the property lies in any type of overlay district (ie Historic, Mountside, etc.)
If there are further questions about flight activities in or around Dulles, contact:
Anita Kayser, Director, Washington Airports Task Force email@example.com, Phone: 703-572-8714, Address: 44701 Propeller Court, Suite 100, Dulles, Virginia 20166
If there are further questions about the AID designation within the Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance, contact:
Loudoun County’s Zoning Hotline at 703/777-0118. They are really great about getting back to you within 24 hours.
In addition, check out the Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance that covers this subject (click here if you do not see the embedded document below)…