Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cold Feet

I had the first full weekend with no showings in quite some time. The odd thing is, is that I was busy showing during the week. Who knows, perhaps with people getting time off, they use the weekends for leisure activities. I am not complaining, as I spent the weekend going to the various local events. The Narrowsburg Riverfest was a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, and some of the art work that was auctioned off was pretty special.

I did get a call from a buyer of mine, who is scheduled to sign contracts tomorrow. He e-mailed me a few other listings, that he wants to see before he stops by the lawyers office, and we once again discussed the compromises he is making on this house, and the "shortfalls" for lack of a better term. I did my best to dissuade his fears, without sounding like a pitchman, (because I think once I come across as a "salesman", I've lost my credibility.) But I know he still has a bit of trepidation.

This is the third time I have shown a buyer other houses, after an accepted offer, and a satisfactory inspection, and in this case a succesful appraisal. The classic example of cold feet.

I can certainly empathize. I think we have all been in that position where once the excitement and the rush wear off, you are left with that nagging doubt, and that feeling in the pit of your stomach that you may have made a horrible mistake, and the perfect home at a perfect price is out there somewhere, and you have missed it.

I have made the comment before that the only two times I see a buyer perfectly happy, is when they finally find the home they want, and at the closing table when they finally own the home. The whole process in between is fraught with uneasiness, as the different obstacles are negotiated, and it can be quite frightening. It is such a huge investment, that often every decision is second guessed and agonized over. It's human nature, to worry when you are out of your comfort zone.

It can be frustrating at times as a broker, because it seems a buyer will do a one-eighty, often overnight. All I can do, is stress value, and assure that these hiccups are in every deal.

Buying a home, even if it is a second home is an emotional undertaking from the moment the buyer walks through a house, and "feels" it is right, until, they sign their name on the check ( or mortgage) with a bunch of zeros. Of course there will be fear and a bit of regret mixed in. I just hope my attempts at allaying those fears (whether they by that house, or a different one) help ease the apprehension, and make the process a bit smoother.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Dreaded "Underwriter"

I had the last twenty-four hours where I thought I deal I have been working on for months was dead in the water. We had managed to get over every hurdle with this property. It is a large parcel with a small house, most of the value is in the land.

Most banks won't lend on a property with more than 40% of the value in the acreage, (which is a Freddie and Fannie guideline, look how that worked out for them) but we shopped around a bit, and found a lender who assured us it wouldn't be a problem.

So we slogged through the process, ducking issues as usual, inspections with wet basements, surveyors who are slow as molasses, the appraisal, which I was concerned about, simply because you never know, came back 10% higher than the accepted offer. I thought we were golden.

Then I get the dreaded call. The underwriter kicked it back. Too big a risk with that much land. Now keep in mind, my client is plunking down over 30% cash. With the amount that is being financed, I could sell this property over a weekend for that amount. I don't see the bank risk, that this shadowy "underwriter" has seen.

And that gets me to this whole underwriter thing. Who are these people? Even the name is ominous. Some nameless, faceless guy sitting in a florescent lit room, with a giant approved/denied stamp, thumping mortgage applications with an evil cackle. I understand the whole need to keep fraud out of the system, but this cloak and dagger stuff is a little over the top.

At any rate, so far the story has a happy ending. Using my inside voice, I explained reasonably to the loan officer that she assured me this would not be a problem, and that is why my client chose to go with her company. (Believe it or not there were a few others willing to loan on what is essentially vacant land.) After a day of back and forth, the "underwriter" approved it, and for now the deal is back on.

Now if you are an underwriter reading this, please don't take it personally and send me a nastygram, I'm just ranting a bit, and you must admit, like I said before the secrecy thing is a little over the top.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Buffalo Zach's

Had a great experience at this eatery in Roscoe. And I would recommend it to all who are in that area. It is right off of 17 in "downtown" Roscoe. It has a large outdoor comfy eating area. The interior has a southwest/Starbucks feel without being cheesy. The food was delicious, and the service efficient and friendly. Tikki torches surround the outdoor deck, where there are weekend afternoon concerts--bluegrass and country, as well as some pretty talented one man bands. It is very pet friendly, and I have never been there when there has not been a pooch or two drapped over the feet of their owner on the deck.

There are some pretty cool eateries popping up here in Sullivan, which I think is a great sign, but what sets this one apart is the owner, Peter Swensey.

Peter is a soft-spoken, hard-working guy who oozes earnestness, and is impossible to dislike. He greets and chats with all the patrons, and his personality really shows not only in the decor, but in the feel of the place. Jason Dole wrote a great article in The Towne Crier a few years back about Peter. I attached a link below.

Anyhow, if you are ever in the area, and want to stop off the highway, for a bite of lunch at a great little spot, stop by Buffalo Zach's. I recommend the roast beef panini with roasted red peppers, and cheese and horseradish sauce.