How To Close Escrow In This Current Market Successfully

Waterloo, NY
Image by statPaige via Flickr


PREPARE YOUR PROPERTY FOR MARKET– When selling a multi-family apartment building or a single family residential home for clients I recommend a few basic steps. Remove the clutter, paint and clean the property including any tree work or exterior landscaping. First impressions are the most important along with curb appeal and location.

FOR COMMERCIAL OFFICE SPACE THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX– Turn a large vacant area into a pleasant work environment by renting office furniture. If the owners have moved their business to another location ask them to leave some cabinetry and office furniture to enhance the property for showing.

MULTI-FAMILY UNITS – When 100% occupied and subject to inspection take a video and walk the property to show interior and exterior amenities. If there is a vacant unit it may be important to stage so a perspective buyer can visualize how they can market as a future rental.

PROPERTY INSPECTIONS – Allows the sellers to be realistic about their property  in determining a price that will sell and the buyer knows what they are purchasing allowing for a successful close of escrow with very few surprises.

PRICE YOU’RE LISTING TO SELL –It is extremely important to understand sales comparisons in your area. In addition, knowing any costs associated with termite damage from the property inspection reports and obsolescence or deferred maintenance all are important factors when determining a price to market your property.

OFFER DATES STILL SUCCESSFUL – I believe for my sellers the aggressive marketing strategy for an Offer Date is still very effective. Often this strategy is very effective because buyers and agents will preview the property sooner than later. Especially on residential properties you can create a large Open House frenzy. When a home is priced correctly and shows well you can still get multiple offers.

REQUIRE ALL BUYERS TO BE PRE-APPROVED AND READY TO CLOSE– This is a crucial point in any successful close of escrow, a strong buyer with a strong deposit is often more important and the highest price offer.

PERSONALLY ASSIST WITH THE WALK THROUGH FOR A BUYER OR SELLER OF A MULTI-FAMILY APARTMENT BUILDING– It is extremely important to explain or answer any questions that a potential buyer will have during this process of the transaction. I recommend that if an owner is not the hands on manager they should make sure the person who knows the property is present to answer any questions from the buyers. 

BROKER EITHER REPRESENTING THE BUYER OR SELLER– It is extremely important to be present at the escrow signing to answer any questions and to see that all questions are answered by the escrow company as well so your clients can close escrow on time.

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My Team Approach & Successful Steps To Turning An Apartment Home

There are certain criteria and steps to follow when renting apartments when the economy is strong as well as in transition.

Stay in contact with your tenants when leases are coming up and ask them if they will be renewing their lease. If they were planning to move you would arrange with them to schedule their initial move-out date usually two weeks prior to the actual move out date.

At that time you would decide if you are just painting and cleaning the apartment home. If you as the owner want to add amenities or upgrades you would start to schedule the vendors ahead of time and upon the day of move-out they are ready to go. Any new appliances, window coverings etc.can be purchased ahead of time.

Two great ideas that are fairly reasonable and add value is built-in ovens and new lighting. Dishwashers may be more costly but usually will get a higher rent and in a difficult market will set you apart from the competition.

Having vendors as part of a professional team allows you to quickly turn units and rent the units with very little loss of rents. These vendors are familiar with your paint colors, the type of appliances, and upgrades to bathrooms such as new vanities, lighting and have everything down to a science to turn the apartment quickly and efficiently.

If the apartment is going to just be cleaned, painted and floors cleaned you can have the apartment ready in one to two days. The next step is to pre-market the unit prior to move out and test the market at your new rental rate. If you get calls great, if not you can always lower the price within the two weeks.

Internet sites are very successful and allow you to post all the data with amenities and pictures that also help pre-sell units. Floor plans if available are very helpful to show area and square footage. These are very common asked questions by potential tenants.

Another very successful approach to showing the unit once it is vacant is to advertise a tour date and time and ask that they call to confirm.

These steps work and you just stay with the plan on every rental.

Investors Dreams Come True With Ownership of Apartment Units Near a University Campus

In a recession or boom real estate market be assured that income property in an excellent location that is accessible to a university campus will demand higher rent.

In addition remember that professors, graduate students, doctors and engineers many international PhD students will need to place themselves and their families in apartments while attending universities in the Bay Area.

Apartment complexes both on and near a campus with locations that are accessible by city transportation will be a determining factor in the decision by a very qualified group of people who will be in the rental market.

Of course it is the responsibility of the property management company to provide the maintenance to turn the unit to be up to date with amenities, clean and ready to meet the high expectations of a very educated clientele.

Take in consideration the phenomena that has hit the California University Campuses with the dread of budget cuts. Along with the economic down turn it was amazing to visualize the rental frenzie that I personally experienced a few weeks back.

Students here at a local university were scrabbling to find apartment housing just days prior to school starting thus causing a supply and demand issue. One of high demand and not enough supply.

Literally people were approaching others and asking if they needed a roommate and were willing to pay the price.

With the tight job market students are staying in school longer as well as many in the work force realizing they too need to return for higher education. In addition to impacted universities here in California our rental units will continue to be in high demand.

Remember when looking at rental markets close to major universities compare those rents from others in the immediate area. Location is always key in the purchase of real estate and true of mutli-family investment properties.

The Ultimate Thrill For The First Time Home Buyer

Graditude, smiles and excitement for your client who has just closed escrow and is moving into their new home is the reward every real estate professional feels in a job well done.

After getting to know your client or clients it is very important to really understand, listen and often help them to understand the other person’s requirements for their new home. For example one may want an easy commute while the other person wants a certain type of living preference.

The process is one where you as their professional real estate broker become the manager or even the coach as with the manager of a sports athletic team. You will bring all the players together to execute the plan and ultimately the clients will decide and choose their home that fits their requirements.

They will appreciate your expertise in showing them homes that fit their criteria and providing information regarding locations. Once that decision is made to make an offer on their new property that is when you must become the facilitator helping and assisting with the inspections, working with escrow and helping them to have their pre approval letter from their mortgage broker.

The difference of winning or losing the home often can be the direct result of the real estates professional working and coordinating all the efforts of escrow, property inspectors and following up with the client and mortgage broker to make sure the loan approval process is meeting contract dates.

Statistics are very important in analyzing most decisions. The expertise of a professional real estate broker or agent closing escrow and closing on time is a very important goal and one I always take very seriously.

The important thing to remember whether it is your first home purchase or second look back to that purchase and remember it may have not been the perfect house for size but it was perfect when you made that house a home. It will define your tastes motivate you to work hard and be proud to call it home and most of all you build your dreams and future while living in that home.

My personal advice is to choose wisely on the location and your life style requirements.

That is why we real estate professionals have a smile on our face as well and experience the ultimate thrill for a job well done.

Basic Steps To Preparing Your Property For Sale or Lease

Curb Appeal and First Impressions Make All The Difference so always Paint, Paint & Paint. There are a few tips when getting proposals for paining a home. One example is to simply remove shutters from the outside of the home, any facades or awnings that are damaged that will require extra preparation during painting. These simple ideas can save hundreds of dollars.


The key with interior painting is to always remove old hooks. This seems very logical but many times I see new walls and ceilings painted quickly and hooks are left in a home or even old drapes are put back up after painting. I always recommend removing old rods and dated shades and draperies. Painting or removing old dark wood paneling can brighten up the room. One inexpensive way to update a home is to remove old wallpaper and paint in warm neutral colors. Just by adding baseboards and crown molding the rooms have a more finished custom look.


Often inexpensive blinds are the answer to privacy rather than any custom shades or draperies. It gives an open appearance and gives an open feeling.


The condition of the roof and fencing is very visible and if either is damaged or needs repair it can give a negative first impression. Often a contractor can repair these items for prior to a sale or lease.


Light fixtures can be very inexpensive but having new modern light fixtures and a ceiling fan in kitchen even bedrooms is an upgrade to many homes, especially in warm areas if the home does not have air conditioning. This upgrade is essential in leasing rental properties as well.


Replacing carpeting is not as easy of a decision. Often good carpeting can be cleaned verses buying a new carpet. Remember to check to see if there are existing hardwood floors under the carpeting. If so, it may prove more economical in the long run to refinish the existing hardwood floors. Hardwood floors can be a very important amenity.


First impressions are very important so always think of approaching the front door to enter. Is the area clean and inviting? The purchasing of flowers and planting with new topsoil along the pathways can give everything a fresh look. Well light properties give a warm inviting home feel so purchasing outside light fixtures can be another inexpensive upgrade.


Most people are proud of all their collectables and family pictures. The reality is that these items add clutter to a home and often the potential buyer cannot see pass the items and enjoy the amenities of the home. One great idea for the seller is to remove personal items, utilize existing

furniture and remove large pieces of furniture that take up room. A staging professional is great at advising those items to remove and ways to accessorize with a few paintings to prepare the home for the open house.


Remodeling is a personal assessment and with each property up to the seller. New Energy Efficient Windows can add value to a home and may be necessary if current windows are not functioning properly.


I am a firm believer that a roof inspection at minimum should be done prior to listing the property. I recommend the seller have all inspections done including termite and property as well as roof. This way both the seller and the buyer are aware of the condition of the property and therefore no major surprises will occur during the close of escrow.


My suggestions are basic recommendations that have proven to be successful time and time again.