Archive for August, 2010

The Ten Commandments of Town Home Living

Understanding that townhouse or condominium living is as close to communal ownership as one can get, perhaps it is a good idea to go into the process with some simple ground rules that will make coping with this type of living easier on you and your new neighbors.

1. Thou shall ALWAYS clean up after one’s pets no matter how cold, damp, wet and messy the weather is or how late at night it is.
a. Sub rule, thou shall always walk one’s pets as far away as possible from thy neighbor’s walk ways, patios, decks and motor vehicles.
b. Sub rule, thou shall always walk one’s pets on greenway if at all possible.
c. Sub rule, thou shall always have extra clean up bags on one’s person when walking pets.
d. Sub rule, thou shall be aware that perhaps a townhome or condo isn’t an ideal environment for three, four, five, six or more dogs, cats, gerbils or ferrets.

2. Thou shall always park in one’s designated parking spots.
a. Sub rule, thou shall ask permission to park in thy neighbor’s parking spots.
b. Sub rule, guest parking isn’t for you.

3. Thou shall inform thy guests to park only in designated guest parking spots.
a. Sub rule, if thy guests park in thy neighbor’s parking spots thy will quickly and without haste ask thine guests to move their vehicles.

4. Thou shall adhere to architectural and landscaping rules and requirements without prejudice.
a. Sub rule, thou will become fully aware of such rules prior to moving into thy new neighborhood and will abide by the rules without whining and sulking.

5. Thou shall bring one’s trash receptacles in from the curb in a most timely manner as prescribed by neighborhood rules and regulations.

6. Thou shall keep deck and porch spaces neat and tidy.
a. Sub rule, this includes underneath decks and porches and one’s parking spots too.

7. Thou shall not use one’s barbeque grill on wooden decks and porches, for it is common sense, the law and just plain safe.

8. Thou shall not use sheets, towels or garments as drapery.
a. Sub rule, if thine neighbors have bare windows, thou shall not peer through those windows whilst walking in common areas.

9. Thou shall be aware of normal sleeping hours and adjust thine noise, music and car stereo accordingly.

10. Thou shall participate in one’s association
a. Sub rule, this includes attending meetings.
b. Sub rule, this includes volunteering for committees.
c. Sub rule, this includes paying dues and assessments in an on- time and timely manner.

So, that’s a start and of course I could write a book about good communal living. I recognize that many folks bristle at the notion of a home owner association but let me tell you; after having lived in a townhouse community myself for the past six years; I totally get the rules and regulations. I have also found that those who typically complain the most with respect to the rules and regulations are those who will most quickly disregard them if it serves their purpose.
Interested in finding a house, townhouse, condominium or any other place to call home in the Research Triangle Region? Put my 17 years market experience to work for you. Michael Sullivan, REALTOR, 919-608-2372 mobile/text.

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All REALTORS are not created equal

Today I had opportunity to try to hire a REALTOR to manage my property in Carteret County near my folks and on the coast. I made inquiry last week and the agent was prompt, got the key, showed the house and was very rushed to get my home leased. Problematically for me, there was no mention of contract or compensation.

Today the details started to come together, again without details ironed out. The tenants terms were laid out which is fine. I then laid out my terms to the REALTOR in Carteret County. I informed them that I would pay x in commission, that I expected my AGENTS to make quarterly visits to my house and document those visits with digital photos, that I expected x in non-refundable pet deposit and that I would make x, y and z enhancements to the property for the tenant.

This is where I hit the wall. I was informed by the agent that; we charge ten percent commission and we don’t alter that ever; that’s cool, I get that. I was then informed that the non-refundable pet deposit would be placed in their company trust or escrow account even though this is NOT trust or security deposit money; this is a non-refundable deposit that I the owner require for the tenant to have an animal in my home. The tenant can NEVER get that money back; it is a fee for me bending my rules to accommodate the tenant. This agent informed me that it is their policy to always hold this money in trust. I was also informed that quarterly visits would not happen and that frankly my 10% commission to them was hardly worth them taking my business.

Suffice it to say, our interaction had become rather adversarial. I spoke to several close friends, I spoke to my folks and I prayed on it. So here is a REALTOR who is trying to earn my business, to put his best foot forward, to develop a “RELATIONSHIP” with me and yet he is not willing to really earn or appreciate my business. My dear friend Charles pointed out, “If he’s going to behave like this now, just imagine how he’ll act in four or five months.”

Wow, that clinched it. The agent at the beach offered and I’ve taken him up on it….I will manage my property myself thank you very much. Now we’ll see if he does indeed send me the name of the prospective tenant.

Interested in buying, selling, renting or offering to rent real estate in Raleigh, Durham, RTP, NC? Call me or visit my web sites, RentDurhamNC or TeamMichaelSullivan. Phone is 919-608-2372

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2010 Second Quarter Real Estate Wrap Up

Where is the target? Based on the data in the 2nd quarter Triangle Area Residential Realty Report or (TARR) real estate is still trending down in terms of price and up in terms of days on market. Correctly pricing homes is still an issue; traditionally REALTORS and appraisers have relied on sold data to assist home sellers in determining prices for property. With foreclosure filings up 12% in Durham County, and foreclosed homes accounting for 8% of the active inventory these properties aren’t dominating the market but they are indeed driving values down, as are too many short sale properties.

In the Q-2 of 2010 there were 24,450 showings logged into Centralized Showing Service, (CSS) this is a decrease of 10% from Q-1. Additionally there were 970 listings with a status change from either Active or Contingent to Pending in Q-2 2010, this is a 12% decrease compared to Q-2 of 2009. These lower showing numbers and lower pending numbers will also produce lower closing numbers in Q-3 of 2010 and this will place additional downward pressure on home prices.

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