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Month: October 2011

Stuck with a Las Vegas High Rise Condo?

It wasn’t long ago that Las Vegas was going to experience a phenomenon coined as the “Manhattanization” of Las Vegas. Approximately fifty high rise towers were planned, but in the end only around 12 were ever built. There are many owners of these buildings who own units that they now cannot afford, especially given the high monthly association fees.

Due to plummeting Las Vegas real estate prices, many of the owners of high rise condos are now upside down on their mortgages as well. It is a myth that mortgage holding banks will not consider short sales on these investment properties. This is untrue. As long as we have an offer that provides for a better return than a foreclosure, the bank will generally consider a short sale.

Generally, with a short sale, a seller must possess a financial hardship (job loss, decreased income, divorce, moving out of the area for work, death of an owner, medical hardship). Now some owners of these owners may not have a classic hardship but are planning to let the property go anyway. Banks may still want to consider a short sale. In this strategic default scenario sellers may not be able to simply walk away without making a cash contribution, but if a settlement can be reached for 10-20% on the outstanding balance for a full release, this can be preferable to many borrowers who don’t want to foreclose and simply want to settle their debts.

If you don’t have classic hardship, a full team of professionals will be needed: tax advice, asset protection attorney, a REALTOR® with short sale experience where the sellers have assets. In our short sale department here at Shelter Realty, we can make recommendations for attorneys and tax preparers to help you get the answers you need to make the right decision on whether to list your condo unit.

Paul Rowe is the managing agent for the short sale division at Shelter Realty Inc. He may be contacted via email: info(at sign)shelterrealty.com or by calling 702-376-7379.

Las Vegas Short Sale Info: Chase offering some borrowers up to $30,000 as a selling incentive

Chase Bank is paying up to $30,000 as an incentive for borrowers to do a short sale. This program has not been well promoted by Chase. In fact, the only way to know if you qualify is to call their Customer Service Department.

I called Chase directly for details and I was told that borrowers would have been notified by letter. From what I can gather, you can’t apply for this incentive. Either, your loan is included or it isn’t. It seems the prime candidates are persons whose mortgage loan was originally a Washington Mutual Loan (WAMU).

It is also important to note that $30,000 is the maximum they will pay and your incentive, if offered, may be lower depending on geographic area and the loss the bank is incurring by accepting the short sale.

Paul Rowe is the managing agent for the short sale division at Shelter Realty. Contact him directly for any short sale questions by emailing: info(at)shelterrealty.com or by calling 702-376-7379.

What You Should Keep In Mind Before You Downsize Into Your New Las Vegas Home

There are many different reasons why people downsize – they retire, get divorced, become empty nesters or are just tired of paying for (and maintaining) a larger home. But before you move from your 5,000 square foot Las Vegas home to a bungalow, you should…

…remember location, location, location.  Even though your kids don’t live at home anymore, the proximity of your local school (and how well it’s ranked) will influence your property value. Remember, schools (with good test scores), taxes, public transportation, highways and shopping all impact the value of your home.

…keep all costs in mind.  Costs to remember when buying either a home, condo or town home (besides the down payment, closing costs and mortgage) are HOA fees, building and maintenance fees (pool, tennis courts or fitness rooms) or assessment fees (for common area renovations, for example). Try to get an idea (either through association meeting minutes or from copies of HOA invoices) to how much fees have gone up in the past and if there are any planned for the future.

…picture yourself in the future.  Visualize yourself living in your smaller home when possible health conditions may surface. You don’t want to buy a multi-level home (with many stairs) if you have hip or knee problems. You also want to think about where (and how high) you kitchen cabinets are. Is grabbing your morning coffee mug going to be a problem because you can’t reach it without using a stool? Remember, downsizing is supposed to make your life easier – not more complicated.

…size up your stuff.  Oversized furniture fits and looks great in your 5,000 square foot home, but may look cramped and stuffy in your new smaller place. See if you can sell your larger pieces of furniture, then take the sale money and buy separate pieces that fit (and can be moved around) in your new home. This is also a good time to de-clutter and streamline your possessions. There’s no point moving things that you don’t want or have room for.

There are many homes on the market in Las Vegas that are perfect for downsizing homeowners. Give one of our agents a call at (702) 376-7379.  You can also browse property listings online at www.shelterrealty.com.

Marketing Your Las Vegas Home

Just as successful businesses don’t use one single marketing strategy to the exclusion of all others, so is it with real estate.  Successful Las Vegas real estate agents use a number of marketing tools to market their clients’ homes.  That said, some are more popular than others.

Listing online.  Once the mainstay of real estate marketing, newspaper ads have become dramatically less popular.  With the rise of searchable home listing sites like REALTOR.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com, and others, flipping through the pages of a physical newspaper is, for most buyers, so 1999.  And that’s the key in successfully marketing your Las Vegas home to sell – going where the buyers are.  Sure, you can get a killer deal on a 1/4 page ad in the newspaper, but if very few buyers read it, what’s the point?

Another benefit of advertising listing online is the ease of measurability.  You can easily measure the number of impressions your ad or listing received (how many times it appeared on a page that a web visitor was looking at), the number of clicks on that ad or listing, and more.  That way, you can see what’s working – and what isn’t – and make smart changes in response.

It’s all (or partly at least) about who you know.  They say that most real estate transactions are the result of connections.  That’s why the best real estate agents have extensive networks of other buyers’ agents and sellers’ agents who act as one big referral network.  That way, I can target my clients’ listings to buyers’ agents who help buyers in that particular neighborhood, for example.

Market, then market some more.  At the end of the day, marketing – online, offline, through connections, with a yard sign, whatever – is how you’ll get the word out about your home for sale.

When interviewing real estate agents to help you sell your home, ask about their marketing strategies – ask how they spend on advertising and where they advertise. (How much money a real estate agent spends on marketing is not nearly as important as how he spends it.) Ask what kind of innovative technologies they use to market your home.  And perhaps most importantly, ask to see the proof.

Ask me how we can market your Las Vegas home for sale.  Call us at (702) 376-7379 or contact Shelter Realty online here.

Is Your Las Vegas Neighbor’s Home an Eyesore? What You Can Do About It

They’re a growing problem, especially in those Las Vegas neighborhoods most heavily affected by foreclosures. You know who they are – they’ve got weeds as high as corn and chipping paint on the outside of their homes.  They can wreck havoc on the value of any neighborhood.

No one wants to live near an eyesore and have to see that mess every day.  But homes like that can also affect whether or not buyers will buy in your neighborhood.  It’s bad enough living near an eyesore, but if you’re a buyer, of course an eyesore is going to affect whether or not you buy. Why?  You know, who wants to live next to an ugly house or yard?

And remember, the kind of neighbors who don’t keep up their homes and yards are the kind of neighbors who can be problematic in other areas – loud noise, disruptive behavior and police visits at all hours of the night!

For those reasons, if you’re thinking about selling your Las Vegas home and there’s an eyesore nearby, you’ve got to do something about it. After all, it’s still a buyer’s market and competition is still tough. To maximize the chances of selling your home (and selling it for the most money), you want your neighbors to be “on their best behavior.”

What you can do about it

. . . If the home has been foreclosed (or is being foreclosed and is empty), then it’s the bank’s responsibility to maintain the home – especially if there’s an HOA or city code. You’ll have to investigate what the codes are (no weeds, overgrown shrubs or peeling paint, for example) to determine if the home is in violation of any codes.

Since most Las Vegas bank-owned homes are listed for sale by a real estate agent, you may be able to call the listing agent and point out the problem. If that doesn’t work, file a complaint with the HOA or city code department.

Resolving the eyesore problem may take time, so one of the quickest (and easiest) ways to get the problem fixed is to clean things up for yourself. Band together with your other neighbors to at least remove weeds, mow the grass and trim shrubs.  Be sure to get permission from the owner before your start; you don’t want to be charged with trespassing.

. . . If the home is owner-occupied

If someone lives in the home, use tact and diplomacy when confronting them about the problem. Try talking to them face-to-face (maybe bring over some fresh baked cookies or cupcakes to ease any tension) to resolve the issue. If the lawn needs to be cut, then bring some names and phone numbers of lawn service companies with you.

Explain why their untidy yard is important to you and your neighbors and that you are willing to help them if they need it. If kindness doesn’t work, then file a complaint with the HOA or city code department (again, assuming that the problem is an infraction of the code). Most HOAs take those kinds of complaints seriously and will work hard to resolve the problem.

If you’re thinking of listing your Las Vegas home for sale, give our agents a call at (702) 376-7379 to see how we can help you.