Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Horn Tooting, Zesitmates, and Catskill Concierge

I was going to start this segment off with the old phrase “not to toot my own horn,” but then I said, the hell with it, if I am proud of my accomplishments this past month, then I should be able to talk about it.

I then wondered where the phrase “toot your own horn” came from and despite the information age we are in, there was surprising little on where that phrase originated . All I could find was where someone thought it may have come from the bible, where Jesus says, “when you do acts of charity, don’t announce it with trumpets, like the hypocrites do.” (Well I hope the following paragraphs are not classified as a mortal sin. I need all the help I can get.)

Anyway, I have been working with a first time home buyer this past month, who are serious buyers, but for whatever reason, an agent has not taken them under their proverbial wing, to secure a home, and hence a commission. They had already looked at around ten things when they called me, I guess one agent took them around a few times, and then gave up when there was not a quick offer. They are fastidious and cautious, which I think all buyers should be. Big step, big numbers involved, etc. it’s a scary process.

They found a foreclosure home that they loved, but the taxes were too high for them. Also the home was not up to FHA standards, which, since they are putting less than twenty percent down, they thought that was the only option.

Au contraire mon frere. That is what the “big banks” will tell you. I can’t tell you the number of times I have asked why someone has picked a certain big bank, and the answer always is. “Well that’s where I do my banking.” It is surprising how few people do research on the mortgage end of it.

Anyway I got them hooked up with a local bank that does conventional with five percent down, and almost
a full point less in interest. I also got them in touch with a tax grievance consultant , who is confident that he
can get the taxes lowered. Total estimated savings secured by yours truly over a thirty year loan? Over
eighty thousand dollars. Toot Toot.

Now for the pet peeve segment. I suppose that many of you are aware of the real estate web site Zillow?
Well, you can type in any address anywhere in the U.S., and it pulls tax records, latest sales, a little map, as
much info has it can find. If it is listed for sale, it pulls all that info as well.

OK good tool for a prospective buyer. It has information that ten years ago was difficult to get. However it
has this one feature that drives me crazy, because of the inaccuracy. It is called the “zestimate”, where,
using whatever algorithm they use, they come up with a market value estimate.

Now I’ve heard that they are pretty spot on in denser populated areas, and I say good for the denser
populated areas, but here in S.C.? They are so far off, it is absurd. And people, for whatever reason believe
this number. Now it is not always under market. I have seen numbers thirty to forty percent over market
value. They have a little graph of the last few years, and on some of these houses it looks like the
seismograph of Mount St. Helen. Absurd.

On the bright side, my concierge business continues to take on new clients. All seem satisfied, and the few
that have had little issue were quickly rectified. I’ve put together a good list of vendors, who do tremendous
work. So if you have a second home that need a little looking after. Give me a call.