You Don’t Need a “Certified Deed” When You Buy a House.

Bob bought a nice little condo in Cary.

He contacted me a couple of weeks later and told me he was getting a sales pitch from someone who was peddling a “Certified Deed.”
He wanted to know if this is something he needed.

No.  He doesn’t need a “Certified” Deed.  This is just a low-level scam that comes around now and then.  The scammer follows closings at the courthouse and contacts  new homeowners with an official looking letter, offering to help them protect themselves with a “Certified Deed,” usually for a fee in the $70–$150 range.
And it is totally unnecessary and useless.
Bob’s deed was recorded at the Wake County Courthouse Register of Deeds Office, and is on the public record.  When he emailed me asking about the “Certified Deed” scam, I emailed him a link to the recorded deed.  That recordation carries more weight than any scammer’s fake deed.

And, I told him if he ever had a question about his deed and ownership, he should contact his closing attorney.

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The current market in the Raleigh-Cary area is moving FAST!

Sellers’ Market Alert!  Real Estate Factoid!
Since yesterday morning, as of now, 55 Wake County homes have been put on “Contingent” status in the Triangle MLS.

For those 55 listings, the median average Days On Market, “DOM,” is 30.

And that is happening with multiple offers, difficulty getting showing appointments, and barely ready listings.

And, this is mid-April.  We are just ramping up!

Thus defines a “Sellers’ Market,” and a “Frustrated Buyers’ Market.”

 

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Why Do HVAC Equipment Makers NOT Date ALL Their Products?

Anyone looking at a resale house wants to know how old the heating equipment is.
And it seems to be a state secret.
I looked at a water heater today, and after going all over the data plate, all I know is that it apparently meets ANSI standards from 1994.
It is in a home built in 2002. That “1994” is not much help, as I assume they didn’t put an eight year old water heater in a new home.

Of course, the manufacture date is embedded in the serial number. And you can Google the serial number and manufacturer and generally deduce a production date.
But why so coy, fellows?

I like how Trane usually does it:

HVAC Label Photo

There’s your Date of Manufacture, at the top right of the data plate.
MFR DATE 2/2011
No mystery. No secret.
That unit was turned out in February, 2011.

Now, when was it installed? I dunno. Maybe in March, 2011? Or, June or July? But at least we know we can be assured it isn’t a 20 year old AC unit. And, it may have replaced one.
See, that home was built in 1969.

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WordCamp Raleigh 2013!

With my entire real estate website built around WordPress, I am delighted to see that the stars have aligned and I can attend WordCamp, Raleigh, 2013 Version. I have been unable to make it before, out of town etc, but I think I will be there this time.

WordCamp Raleigh 2013 Attendee

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JUMBO Rates are Lower than Conforming Rates?? Wow.

JUMBO loans, Home loans for more than $417,000 for upscale homes in the Triangle market, are coming in cheaper than conforming loans at less than $417,000!
Luxury Home buyers and Home sellers, Rejoice! This may be a shot in the arm to a stodgy real estate market strata.
That just does not happen, historically. There has been a cost penalty for JUMBO loans, varying from a quarter point, to a point or more, just about forever.

The reasons? Banks have money and need to put it somewhere. JUMBO home markets are flooded with stagnant inventory. Luxury homes in the Triangle are just not moving, with 2 years’ inventory in many local areas for homes in the $800,000+ price ranges.
And, as Nick Timiraos noted in the Wall Street Journal last night, volatile mortgage bond yields are driving up confirming loan interest rates.

As usual, fascinating stuff. Structuring loans for upscale and luxury homes with 80/10/10, 75/25 products, or other scenarios has been a staple of JUMBO lenders in the past. And it is hardly a concern today, with JUMBO money very competitive and even more competitive than cohforming money.
Will this give the Triangle’s upscale home and luxury home real estate markets a boost? Stay tuned….

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Moving to North Carolina? A LOT of other People are, too!

This fascinating graphic of relocation statistics from Atlas Van Lines shows that as of 2012 50% more people are moving to North Carolina than are moving out of the state.
And that relocating to North Carolina has been quite common for years.
Of course, those of us who have been living in the Triangle for many years have noticed that. Neighborhoods spring up and fill up rapidly! I moved to Cary in 1997, and have seen Cary swell from abuot 80,000 residents to almost 140,000. And Raleigh has also grown tremendously in that time.
They had to come from somewhere!

The graphic, courtesy of Atlas Van Lines:

2012 Migration Patterns
2012 Migration Patterns by Atlas Van Lines

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House Photos at Dusk

When I list a house for sale, I enjoy getting a variety of photos.
One of my favorites is getting a series of shots at dusk, with all the lights on and the house looking warm and welcoming.  It requires a special trip back to the house, but the results make that quite worthwhile.  I usually use one of the dusk photos as a feature photo on the Triangle MLS, and Realtor.com

Here are a few listing photographs I shot in Cary and Apex:

.

 
 

Photographers call dusk “Magic Hour.”  I think a nice dusk photo of a pleasant home helps curb appeal, exposes the home for sale in a nice fashion, and makes the listing stand out to Home buyers.  And, home sellers always like to see their property shown in the best possible light.

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RealtyArts.com Renovations near completion, 2013 Style

We are nearing completion of the complete redesign of the website, and enjoying the outcome tremendously.
Originally we were, MikeJaquish.com, then CaryRealEstateSales.com, and now RealtyArts.com

What’s in a name?
Well, I use Mike@MikeJaquish.com for my email address, so it is personalized.
But… The website is supposed to be focused on my clients and prospective clients, and descriptive of my business, so I changed the website to CaryRealEstateSales.com. That was fine, but also put a geographic box around the business name. And I help folks buy and sell property all around the Triangle. I found myself routinely answering, “Do you work in Raleigh?” Or, Durham, or Apex, or Morrisville, or just in Cary NC…. etc etc.
I wanted something less geographical, not all about me, and descriptive of the business practice.

Eureka moment:
Realty Arts LLC, dba “Realty Arts” was born. Think “Service as an Art.” “Real Estate Artisans.” Perspective. Effort. Creativity. Real Estate.
The LLC was followed immediately by RealtyArts.com

RealtyArts.com is the general landing page for the firm.
I believe that people visit real estate sites for three reasons:
To search for homes. To learn about the area. To learn about general real estate topics. We present a great deal of information freely and conversationally, without sales pitches or reservations.
Obviously, we hope that a visitor will see the merits of how Realty Arts presents itself, and will give us the opportunity to serve. If not, we always hope for the best for everyone.
And I had a lot of fun shooting and editing the photos in the slide show, too.

When arriving at RealtyArts.com, you will see choices of navigating to:

No Hassle Property Search
“Search Triangle Listings as Long as You Care to, Without Ever Registering.” No Hassle. No sales pestering. How I would want to be treated.
We updated the Search function to IDXBroker’s Platinum service. It offers a nicer interface, shows you if the listing is “Active,” “Contingent,” or “Pending” on the MLS, and has more available search filters than you will find anywhere else on the internet. Work it. Drive it like you stole it. Let me know if I can help you with any questions.

Triangle Neighborhood Profiles
This site consists of write-ups I have done on various neighborhoods, and photos and links to help people with questions about Triangle Neighborhoods. I usually include a link to No Hassle Property Search so folks can see what is currently on the market in the neighborhood.

blog.MikeJaquish.com
My personal blog page. I hold forth on real estate and housing information and topics, or whatever I feel like offering. I LIKE houses, renovating, and construction, so a lot of the posts are oriented that way. And, I like talking about the documents and how they are used.

Triangle Real Estate Forum
This is a fun site, where visitors and members present questions, give answers, talk about the Triangle region, and about real estate and houses. With no fear of being solicited by service providers. Sales pitches are forbidden in the Terms of Service.

Contact
Yes. You can contact me from that link, and also see the map to the office.

These navigational choices are presented on all pages for the firm. Visitors were struggling to move from one page to another and leaving the site, when information was readily available. So, we present the navigation in a fixed panel on the left side of the screen that is always visible.

We are in shakedown cruise mode. There are some further tweaks to be done. But the intent is clear to visitors. Just the facts, delivered very accessibly. No Hassle. Ready to Serve.

I am so delighted to be writing this post. I give a great deal of credit, and a great deal of gratitude, to Katherine Bishop, who has worked hard on the upgrades, and has been very very tolerant of my heavy hand in the process. She assumed the role delivering on my concepts, so it will work for you with a clean interface to the public. Two thumbs up for Katherine to anyone who needs a website. You should talk to her.

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“Coming Soon” culture? Is this current fad of REALTOR® MLS Members Eroding the Credibility, Equity Value, and Integrity of Our Multiple Listing Service?

You see it more and more.  Real Estate Signs blaring “COMING SOON!!!”  “COMING SOON” riders hung on signs for weeks.  And the big day never arrives.  The home never “Comes.”  It just “Goes,” as in Under Contract.   A listing goes to Contingent status, under contract, in Zero (0) Days On Market.

“Wink, wink.  MLS rules say I cannot show it to you while it says ‘Coming Soon.’  But, for you….”  When you drive past a Coming Soon sign in a hot Cary neighborhood and see folks going up the sidewalk to the house from a car with a REALTOR® sticker on the tailgate, you just know that “Coming Soon” means “Came Ahead of Schedule.”

REALTOR® members of the Triangle MLS agree to post all listings to the MLS, unless the seller wants it “Withheld.”

This convention of membership does a few things:

  • It assures sharing and cooperation between brokers, as they have agreed.
  • It helps assure that the sellers’ properties are exposed to the market, to garner the seller more chances of receiving the highest possible offer with the best possible terms.  This is a fiduciary responsibility of the listing agent.
  • It supports OUR MLS as the “Go To Resource” for legitimate real estate listings, data, and history.

And we are seeing those points undermined by a marketing fad.  The issue has become pervasive enough that the NC Real Estate Commission had to weigh in on “Coming Soon!” in the latest Real Estate Bulletin.  Sometimes folks ought to read the Articles before gleefully leafing back to the Punishment Porn to “Tut Tut” about whoever got their wrists slapped for DWI.

Why do agents post “Coming Soon?”

  • To build market interest for a quick sale?  Heck, we are in a hot market.  If the house is right and priced right, just going “Active” on the MLS is enough to generate enough traffic to get it sold in a week.  It is happening all over the place in Cary, Apex, Raleigh, Morrisville, Holly Springs, etc.
  • To get phone calls and milk buyer clients from the listing?   We might be getting a little closer there.  “Sorry.  That one isn’t ready.  Are you working with a buyers’ agent?”

How does that serve the owner of the listing, to divert a buyer by prematurely putting up a sign?
Well, that hotbed of buyer leads may go under contract in a few days.  When it is Contingent or Pending, the sign calls may decline or cease altogether  and it serves the agent well to keep a sign up for as long as possible to get sign calls and buyer leads…

Whoops!  Just wait a second on that second point.
Since when is the purpose of a listing agreement with a fiduciary role supposed to serve the listing agent?   I think “Never.”  Tell me I am wrong.

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Light and Bright? It starts with great window placement and planning!

Most home buyers I meet prefer a light, bright home. To the point that “Light and Bright” has become a common marketing cliche in listings and ads.
It is difficult to have a “Light, Bright Home” without smart window placement. Too many windows means too much glare and summer heat gain and winter heat loss.
So windows need to be placed well to maximize light without accentuating negatives.

I love rooms with windows on two sides. They always seem airier and lighter.
120 Skipwyth
Notice how pleasant the room is. The door glazing floods that left hand wall with light and makes the room lighter without excessive glare. And that door is on the south side of the house.

The other two windows are split to either side of the bed location. Smart move. Double windows in the middle of the wall would have made bed placement more difficult, and again, being nearer the edges of the room, they add light with less glare.
Here is another example:

120 Skipwyth

Again, windows split and flooding the walls with light. Look at the walls and the reflected light that is cutting down the glare and contrast.
It is a good choice of paint color for the room. I like lighter paint around windows. Bright sunlight entering through windows on dark colored walls creates glare like a sledge hammer. Windows can be difficult to photograph without the photographer dealing with the glare. And your eye finds the stark sharp contrast uncomfortable also.
Additionally, that room faces nearly due north. The coveted North Light. Always light and never a painful glare or heat.
I looked recently at an office space, and wanted it if only for the wall of floor to ceiling windows on the north side.

Here is a breakfast room in a very pretty house.
6105 Larboard Drive Cary, NC
And it works well, particularly if you like to work with light and shadow. And if a dark room is to your taste. And all that depends on the angle of the sun at any given time, and the time of year, as that window faces due south. It can be very bright, and the wall very dark.

Trees and shrubs can help diminish glare with filtered light to heavy shade. We have a winged elm outside our triple window at our breakfast table. It is on the south side, and spreads far enough that it filters the light nicely. The light green we will have when the elm begins to leaf out is lovely in the morning. We didn’t plan it or plant the tree, or realize it when we bought. We got lucky. If we decide to ever move, it is an effect we will attempt to duplicate.

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