Things You Don’t Know About Mold that Could Land You in Hot Water

Things You Don’t Know About Mold that Could Land You in Hot Water

Mold is a hot-button topic in real estate sales. Today’s tightly-sealed, more efficient buildings provide an ideal environment for its growth, and as public awareness of the issue grows alongside multi-million-dollar mold settlements, it pays to stay on-point when it comes to evolving mold legalities.

You Aren’t Required to be a Mold Expert – But You Can’t Stick Your Head in the Sand

While it’s not up to you to detect and diagnose mold issues, you must be knowledgeable and aware of the basic signs of mold to protect your clients (and your reputation). Red flags include:

– Musty, mildewy odors.

– Stained walls, ceilings, and baseboards, from common to multi-colored varieties.

– Plumbing leaks and drainage problems.

What to Do if You Suspect Mold & Why You May be a Target

Unfortunately, for most states there are no standard practices in effect – though that is rapidly changing. California recently enacted the country’s first mold legislation, listing standards for acceptable indoor levels and requirements for home seller disclosure.

In the wake of recent lawsuits and legislation, home inspectors and pest control operations are rapidly adjusting disclaimer legalese to limit their liability, with homeowners insurance companies commonly limiting compensation. Thus agents should be prepared for the possibility of agent liability with buyer clients in real estate sales involving mold issues.

Tips to Reduce Liability and Protect the Health of Your Real Estate Career:

1. Be diligent about checking for red flags, including odors and visual cues.

2. If you notice mold, carefully word disclosures, avoiding ‘black mold’ and ‘toxic mold’ verbiage. You’re not offering expert analysis. Be generic: Note ‘mold-type’ or ‘mildew-like’ staining/odors and their location(s).

3. Refer clients to ‘contact a qualified specialist for review,’ insisting potential buyers have their own, independent home inspection conducted.

4. Get to know mold experts in your area. Provide a list, but do not recommend particular vendors.

Real estate sales problems growing like mold? PropertiesOnline can help.

Real Estate Trends

What to Know About Regions Where Home Prices Are Increasing Faster Than Incomes

It’s no news to agents, real estate trends point to the continued appreciation of home prices. What does this mean for sales?

A Shortage of ‘FOR SALE’ Signs Drives Prices Higher
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Chief Economist noted a lack of listings in the housing market is driving prices higher. Despite already high prices, bidding wars are not uncommon.

Wage Stagnation Complicates Matters
American wage growth is being left far in the rearview, with home prices increasing at staggering levels twice that of income growth. On an annual basis, wages are growing just 2.6%, with a less than expected 0.1% rise in February. Stubbornly stuck, lackluster hourly earnings have been well-documented on government employment reports.

Prices Now Higher than the 2006 Peak Before the Housing Crisis
To add insult to injury for income-strapped buyers, national home prices have risen 6.2% annually based on the most recent S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller survey, to levels now 6% higher than their peak before the housing crisis.

Lack of Supply Lags On
A housing shortage continues to constrain the market, with the absolute number of units on the market nearing record-low levels. Though homebuyers have tried to step up the pace, new homes are not filling market shelves fast enough. And this insatiable demand is horrifyingly happening before the peak of Millennials entering the housing market.

Mortgage Interest Rate Rises but a Minor Speedbump
In current market conditions, the fact that mortgage rates are at around 4-year highs isn’t offering much relief. Those hoping rising prices are among passing real estate trends are out of luck.

The wave of increased housing demand is expected to continue, bolstering steady growth and affecting the economy over the next 4-5 years. The supply crisis is not letting up, and neither are gains in home values.

What real estate trends are taking their toll on your bottom line? Stay in the game with the help of Properties Online today.

Shutting Down the Money - Chinese Real Estate Investments Dry Up

Five Signs That Sellers are Itching to Unload

Every seller wants to sell their property – otherwise they wouldn’t be listing. But sometimes sellers get a bit carried away. And smart real estate buyer’s agents know the signs: The signs sellers need to get out of Dodge. With the right foresight, you and your clients can snag a sale fast – and at a great price.

Five Signs the Seller is Itching to Sell:

1. The listing is screaming for a buyer.

Common signs include multiple price reductions, asking price below market value, and ‘cash only’ transactions.

2. New family additions.

Multigenerational family situations, from beds in the family room or den bearing in-laws, to a crib crammed into the corner of the closet of a parent’s bedroom, are bright, flashing neon signs sellers need to move – and yesterday.

3. Sellers answer questions candidly and quickly…

Noting problem areas such as the need for a new roof or past flooding issues without batting an eye. Sellers don’t usually disclose such information, in hopes of eking out every last dollar from the sale of their home. But desperate sellers will, in hopes of preventing any last-minute sales snafus that could have them waiting ever longer for another seller to come along who is capable of catering to such issues.

4. The seller doesn’t live in the house anymore.

Real estate buyers agents should know right away, if the home is vacant, it’s game-on. The seller cannot cover two mortgages over an extended period of time without their finances taking a serious hit.

5. The home is listed as an estate.

Heirs to an estate are often anxious to sell the home of the original owner, and are often more willing to move on price in efforts to liquidate assets and move-on.

Stand out from the average real estate buyer’s agents, bringing more to the table with the help of Properties Online today.

Is Your Home Buying Walk Through Taped for Intel?

Is Your Home Buying Walk Through Taped for Intel?

It seems that sellers are getting increasingly overbearing these days. Real estate trends point to eyes and ears – both literally and figuratively – on potential home buyers. How bad is it? Holy privacy violations and paranoia, Batman, creepy clients are everywhere…

A Sneak Peek

As it turns out, clients nationwide are becoming a bit too voyeuristic. Perhaps social media has the average Sally Seller thinking privacy is relative, but it is now commonplace for a seller to follow a prospective buyer through the home on a home tour, and even install ‘nanny cams’ and other digital security devices in efforts to track potential buyer conversations and actions. Post-Facebook privacy invasion drama, this rise of seller shenanigans is seriously stirring the pot.

Creepy or Crime?

With home media and security devices becoming more prevalent, including ‘smart’ devices like Siri and Alexa keeping an eye on things, it pays to keep clients in the know – even if it means an uncomfortable conversation. Until such time as the legality of such practices comes to the forefront, advising clients to watch their comments is key. You never know what might be recorded – for posterity or bargaining power.

Tips to Avoid Overseeing – and Overpayment

To prevent sellers from potentially using a client’s desire for a home against them in the bargaining process, creating an organizational-wide guide for sellers touring homes is ideal, noting such surveillance devices. On the seller side of the coin? Ask each seller about the presence of equipment, being certain you completely understand the privacy laws in your area.

Hanging a sign on the door forewarning of surveillance is strongly recommended. Because of this real estate trend’s prevalence, the NAR now offers a best practices tutorial on the subject, with state-specific legislation.

Are you keeping an eye on the latest in real estate trends and technology? Keep your career in focus with Properties Online today.

What Are the “Hot” Selling Locations for Generation X and Millenials?

What home spaces tick off the boxes of today’s Gen-Xers and Millennials? Driven by their vastly differing life stages and mentalities, real estate trends point to each generational segment defining the ‘perfect home’ in different ways, and in different places…

Hot Markets for Generation X

– The Mentality: Born from 1965 to 1980, Gen-X, most of whom were scorched by the Great Recession, flock mainly to the nation’s most affordable, family-friendly areas.

– Likes: Gen-X prefers warmer weather and business-friendly states, making Texas a heavy favorite.

– Housing Snapshot: A 2,400 square foot, 4-bedroom, 2+ bath, suburban home.

– Top Cities: Houston comes out on top, alongside Dallas (third), Austin (sixth), Odessa (seventh), and San Antonio (eighth). Other heavy favorites include Miami (second), Washington D.C. (fourth), Riverside, CA (fifth), Atlanta (ninth), and Charlotte, NC (tenth).

Hot Markets for Millennials

– The Mentality: Born from 1981 to 1998, real estate trends immediately distinguish the far different mentality of Millennials, who are lifestyle and career oriented.

– Likes: Millennials seek out tech centers and cultural hot spots, where they can get the largest paychecks – and let’s not forget having a good time. Millennials aren’t phased in the slightest by high home prices (what’s a little more debt on top of those mammoth student loans?), and are drawn to the nation’s biggest, most buzz-worthy cities. Instagram-worthy night life, bars and dining experiences are a big plus for bragging to (and luring) friends back home.

– Housing Snapshot: No cookie cutter, but beyond that, anything goes (traditional, condo, mixed-use, or creative rezoning), with proximity to the above, smart home technology, energy efficiency, and a low maintenance home/yard a big plus.

– Top Cities: San Francisco (numero uno), followed by Seattle, Houston, Dallas, Washington D.C., Denver, Boston, Ann Arbor, MI, State College, PA, and Austin.

Stay up on the real estate trends and tech that are driving the market with the help of Properties Online today.