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.

“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.

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.

Get Pre-approved to have a chance in the Cary Real Estate Market.

Craziness reigns in Cary real estate.
But, buyers, if you think you are going to score a new home in a great Cary neighborhood this spring, you are going to have to have a plan.

MLS home listing inventory has shrunk, while demand has boomed. Desirable homes, and even homes of questionable value, are popping off the market.

“He who hesitates is lost,” is the fact of life for Cary home buyers right now.
But, “Haste makes Waste” also comes to mind.

So, buyers need to be methodical, and deliberate. And efficient.
Get funding lined up. Proof of funds for a cash buyer. Solid pre-approval letter from a respected lender for borrowers.
Listen to your Realtor. Get those out of the way.
They are necessary groundwork. Once they are procured, you are in a position to make a quick offer when a home clicks.
And, quickness in deliberation is required!

Triangle Real Estate Forum? Free Real Estate Advice? Why? I say, Why Not?

Visit Zillow or Trulia. Watch people with reasonable real estate questions being offered no help as they are routinely pestered and solicited by hordes of real estate agents resembling Biblical swarms of locusts. I did. And I thought there MUST to be a better way to help consumers with general real estate topics.

Enter the Triangle Real Estate Forum.

I picked up some world-class forum software, had it installed on a server, did a few minor tweaks, and opened it up to anyone who has questions to ask, or answers to give. All manner of discussion is welcome. General agency topics, sharing of Triangle regional information. Information about our towns and cities. Cary or Carrboro. Raleigh or Durham. foreclosures. Short sales. Luxury Condos or affordable Townhomes.
But, the forum is designated a “Safe Place” for visitors to ask questions and discuss topics, No Hassle style.
No solicitations for business are allowed.
No advertising.
No “Contact me for more details.”
No feeding frenzy on the poor visitor who says, “Help! I was just transferred to Raleigh and we need a 5 bedroom home in a great neighborhood, with a home-buying budget of less than $600,000. Where should we be looking?”
Just help and information. No strings attached.

It’s not for everyone. Many real estate pros cannot bring themselves to give away “free advice.” So it goes. Those are the rules.
Drop by and check it out.

Realty Arts, LLC: A New Name. Same Real Estate Service Philosophies

“Do you sell homes in Raleigh?” used to be a common question. Or homes in Apex? Or Morrisville? Or Holly Springs?
Concentrating marketing near my home in Cary, and my website: CaryRealEstateSales.com worked together to make the questions quite reasonable.

And, Yes. I sell homes in Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Holly Springs. Yes, I sell homes in Durham. Chapel Hill, too. Garner. Yes, I sell homes in Chatham County. Etc. I sell homes all around the Triangle.

I opened as an independent real estate broker in December, 2012, leaving KELLER WILLIAMS® Realty in Cary behind after 7 great years. And in February, we formed the LLC, Realty Arts, LLC. I wanted something catchy and not anchored in one town or geographic local area by its name.
New domain name: www.RealtyArts.com and more good real estate stuff to follow.

My focus group (friends and family) was somewhat split on “Realty Arts.” Some liked it a lot. And some, a LOT less. “What do Real Estate and Art have to do with each other?” and “It sounds like you are selling paint,” were two comments.
Well, think of other great strong real estate companies. What about “Century 21” or “ERA” or “Zillow” or “Trulia” screams “real estate?” The words alone don’t do it. It’s their marketing that puts their message and meaning into your mind.
“Oh, yes. If you market your brand, it will have meaning to the public.” Sure. McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Honda, you name it. And, “Realty Arts” already has “realty” in it. Off to a good start!

Regarding “Arts.” Besides focusing on an artist’s palette of oils, or acrylics, or clay, landscapes or portraits or statuary, I am focused on the skills attained through study and practice that will help me be a great Realtor®.

The Art of Service.
The Art of Negotiation.
The Art of Home Sales.
The Art of Poise.

The list of skills that can be developed to an Artful level goes on and on.
Study + Practice + Skill + Application = Service.

I had fun with a client this evening, referring to myself as “Realty Artist, Mike Jaquish.” Then, I thought, a lofty goal to attain. Why not?

Buyers’ Market? Sellers Market? Maybe it’s a Ninja’s Market!

Home buyers are noticing that desirable properties, depleted inventory, and great demand are creating multiple offers daily in the Triangle.
Welcome to the Cary NC real estate market, 2013 Version.

We are seeing homes sold with 0, Zero, Days On Market. The Pocket Listing is back. Sell them before they hit the MLS.
We are seeing showings declined on Active listings, and no response from the listing agent. Et Voila! A contract!
We are seeing homes go under contract before photos are posted to MLS.

Buyers’ agents must sniff out opportunity and be ready to turn on a dime.
Like the ninja of old, it can take legendary skills to complete the task. I haven’t developed the skills of invisibility, time travel, or shape-shifting, but they may come in handy.

More seriously, the market was strengthening for sellers and getting more competitive for buyers through last year, 2012. Then the news broke that Wake County Public Schools would resume school assignment by address. And some areas went into hyper-drive. Davis Drive Elementary School and Davis Drive Middle School are two very desirable schools. Historically, homes with school assignments for those two schools have traded at a premium. Confusion over school assignments for a couple of years defused that demand. Now? Buyers flock to homes in neighborhoods that have assignments for both schools.

2012 and Wake County Property Taxes

2012 is the mid-point of the Wake County property tax assessment cycle. We reassess all properties every eight years. Last full property tax reassessment was performed in 2008, and the next full reassessment is scheduled for 2016.
Volatility in the Triangle housing market has raised the question of whether such a cycle is adequate. When some real estate values dip or increase more relative to other properties, should assessed values be corrected to be accurate? What costs would taxpayers have to be willing to absorb for more frequent reassessments?

The N&O had an article today, regarding the quandry, and the issue in Orange and Chatham Counties where property tax reassessments may possibly be delayed to avoid increasing the tax rates to maintain revenue.

It is more politically feasible to delay assessment than to be the one who voted for a tax rate increase, even if the bill stays the same…

Something Brand New in my No Hassle Property Search: Seeing “Pending” Listings!

This update was just installed by the good folks at IDX Broker. IDX Broker is my vendor for my No Hassle Property Search, and they do a great job.

A couple of weeks ago, the Triangle MLS announced that listings in “Pending” status would be released to our IDX vendors. This means that visitors to this site can see “Pending” listings, or even search specifically for “Pending” listings in my Advanced No Hassle Property Search.

You can see a property’s MLS status when you look at the Details.
At the bottom of the right column, you will see “Property Status.”  That will be followed by either “Active,” “Contingent,” or “Pending.”

It has been confusing for a buyer to see properties “disappear” from search results, when we know the sale hasn’t closed yet.

Formerly, TMLS withheld Pending listings from IDX because those are homes that cannot be shown to buyers. That is the meaning of the “Pending” status. But, for the sake of transparency and clarity, the TMLS board recently decided to allow those listings to be displayed.
I think it is a little nifty benefit for people trying to search for homes.

Read More on “Pending” vs. “Contingent.”