99 Single Family Homes For Sale in Annapolis Under $500,000

Downtown Annapolis








99 Single Family Homes For Sale in Annapolis Under $500,000!!!

You want to live in Annapolis but think it’s too expensive? Think again! There are 99 single family homes for sale in Annapolis under $500,000 right now waiting for you to visit!

Are you looking to live in Annapolis because of the great restaurants? Is it because of the serenity found on the water? The cobblestone streets you find downtown? Whatever the reason, you can live here!

There are so many things to do in Annapolis, you need to find the time to kick back and enjoy all it has to offer!


Check out the 99 Single Family Homes For Sale in Annapolis Under$500,000

The Sales Contract KILLER


Home InspectionThe Sales Contract KILLER – The Home Inspection

The dreaded words…. HOME INSPECTION!  Officially it is called a Property Inspection and can be a number of different types of inspections such as:  Structural and mechanical, mold, environmental, radon, chimney, etc.

For the sake of this writing, we will be talking about the structural and mechanical inspection.  You know, the one where a home inspector does a visual inspection of the structure and components of a home to find items that are not performing correctly or items that are unsafe.

For some, home inspections kill deals.

Here’s how it works in Anne Arundel County, Maryland (if you are in a different location, please check with your local Realtor).

1.  A property inspection contingency is included in the offer to purchase and stipulates how many days the buyer has to do the structural and mechanical inspection.  

2.  The home inspection is done within said number of days.  DEPENDING ON HOW THE CONTRACT WAS WRITTEN AND AGREED TO, The buyer has the right to:

  • Cancel the contract 
  • Ask for one or more items to be repaired or replaced

3.  The contract also stipulates how many days the buyer has to deliver request for repairs AND THE HOME INSPECTION REPORT back to the seller if there are any repairs requested.

4.  The seller has 3 choices:

  • Fix all of the items requested – the buyer would be required to move forward with the contract
  • Fix some of the items requested – the buyer has the right to terminate the contract
  • Not agree to fix any of the items requested – the buyer has the right to terminate the contract.

5.  The contract will stipulate how many days the seller has to respond to the requested repairs.

What can go wrong with home inspections?

  1. Unrealistic expectations of the buyer.  He wants to have a home with zero defects.  (PS. Good luck, there aren’t any that I know of).
  2. Unrealistic expectations of the seller.  He thinks his home is perfect and if the report comes back with a defect, the home inspector must be crazy.
  3. The buyer uses the home inspection as a punch list…. clean the gutters, spackle the nail pops, trim the bushes back, etc.
  4. The seller doesn’t want to fix items that the contract requires them to fix (there is a paragraph in the contract (in Anne Arundel County specifically) that requires the mechanicals to be in working order) so by contract, it would need to be fixed.
  5. The loan that the buyer has chosen may require certain things on the home inspection to be fixed.
  6. Depending on the lender and the loan type, appraisals may require certain defects to be remedied

So what is the best way to handle home inspections? Set proper expectations with the buyer and the seller of what a home inspection is, what it isn’t and what some possible outcomes could be.  I’ve been a part of many, many very successful home inspections.  They don’t have to be the sales contract killer.

Live well and take home inspections in stride.



Do NOT Hire A Realtor Unless She Has This ONE Characteristic

Finding Answers












Do NOT Hire A Realtor Unless She Has THIS ONE Characteristic

I asked this question, “If your listing Agent had only one skill, what would you want it to be?”

Here are some of the answers:

  • Must have g0od negotiation skills
  • Must know the area
  • Must have good marketing skills
  • Must be experienced
  • Must have sold homes in the area
  • Must use print media
  • Must know real estate stats

All of these answers are great answers, but none of them are correct.  Well let’s put it this way…. If I were listing my home, all of those would be important but one and only one would be a show stopper and it’s not on the list above.

The ONE skill that my Realtor would need to possess would be….. (drum roll please…..) she must be a GREAT problem solver.

Here are some of the CHALLENGES I personally faced this year:

  • Appraisal coming in lower than the sales price
  • Buyer didn’t have enough money to close two days before closing
  • HOA wouldn’t reduce a short sale seller’s delinquent fees in order to close the sale
  • Seller didn’t have enough money to close the sale
  • The short sale bank wouldn’t make repairs that the buyer requested
  • Buyer and seller were going head to head and the Agents were in the middle of a battle
  • Buyer’s loan was denied days before closing

I could go on and on because there are situations and challenges every day in real estate.  Your Realtor must bring you solutions with every problem.  If he isn’t, he is remiss.

How do you know if the Realtor you are interviewing are problem solvers? Ask her what her biggest challenge was this year and how did she solve it?

Live well and seek solutions not problems!

You Have Less Than Five Seconds To Sell Your House










You have less than five seconds to sell your house.  I bet that got your attention.  By the time you read the title, that is how fast you have to sell your home.

Yup, less than five seconds.  Why? Because if a buyer is looking for a home on the internet and your pictures don’t excite him, he moves on without even reading about the wonderful details of the house.  Worse yet, if there are no pictures, pictures of only the exterior or only the community it translates to the buyers that the house is UGLY!

Knowing that, it amazes me when I look through the multiple listing service to see some of the big no-no’s of picture taking 101.

Here are some of the top (and sometimes common) offenders:

  • Front lawn not mowed and hunks of junk cars in the driveway (lots of people have them, but hide ‘em on picture day)
  • Storm door opened half way
  • No lights on and blinds closed
  • Dirty dishes in the sink
  • There are 17 loaves of bread, the crock pot, the coffee pot, the espresso machine, the wok, the toaster, the blender, the juicer and a case of beer on the countertop
  • The fridge has everyone of the kids colored pictures since they were three years old (they are 27 now)
  • Beds not made (that’s my favorite)
  • Toilet seats up
  • Undies on the floor – yup… seen it!
  • Make up, shaving cream, gel, finishing mudd, oil treatment, mousse, hair fattener, curl cream, pomade and hairy brush on the bathroom sink.

You get the idea.  Your home should be in absolute show condition when you are putting it on the market to sell.  When you decide to sell your home, like most of us, there will be some de-cluttering and staging to do before photo day.

When you decide to sell your home, make sure your agent is either a photographer or she hires a professional one.  The pictures will help you sell your house or if not done well, will help your competition sell theirs.

Live well and get great photos!

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I Am Thinking About Selling My Home, Now What?







I am thinking about selling my home, now what?

1.  Call two or three TOP Realtors in your area and interview them.  Here are some great interview questions to ask a Realtor who applies for the job.

2.  Listen to each of the agents as you glean some insight into what to do to prepare your home for sale, what to do while it is on the market, and how to transition to your next home.  Each agent brings with him individual experiences and a  knowledge base from which to learn from.

3.  Evaluate your why.  Selling a home is not always easy.  In fact, sometimes it is really difficult.  You need to be sure your reason for moving is big enough to go through some of the hassles and hurdles to selling your home.  Some of these hurdles include keeping your home pristine while it is on the market, leaving the house when there is going to be a showing, scoffing down your food because you got a last minute showing as you were sitting down for a romantic dinner with your spouse, changing the sleeping patterns of your newborn to accommodate the showing… you get the point.  It’s not always a picnic so remember the big picture.  Remember your reason why.

4.  Prepare the home to go on the market! Do NOT make the mistake a lot of sellers make…. do not put the home on the market until it is “Show Ready”.

  • Is the curb appeal desirable? The lawn must be cut, doggie doo-doo picked up, bushes and trees trimmed, fresh flowers and mulch, etc.
  • Have you gotten rid of EVERYTHING that you won’t need between now and moving day? Rent a storage unit, borrow the corner of your best friends basement, give to charity, but get rid of it.  Your house has to look LARGE and decluttered.  Remember, when your prospects come in the house they will be trying to evaluate if their stuff will fit in the house and if it’s big enough.  If you closets are stuffed to the gills and every inch of your home has something in it…. it sends a message.  The wrong message.
  • Vanilla.  Put a vanilla plug in on each floor.  Fido might stink and you don’t know it.  If you are a smoker, your house does stink. If you cook ethic food, or seafood, or spicy food, it will leave an odor.
  • Neutralize.  The bedrooms should be as non-gender specific as possible.
  • Define your space.  Every room should be able to be called something.  In other words, your prospect should be able to communicate what room she is talking about by saying, the office or the hobby room, or the workout room.  If you have a room that is currently being used as a workout room, your office and your hobby room, it is confusing.  Decide what type of room you need and what your buyer profile would want and get rid of the other stuff.
  • Create the image you want to convey to the buyer.  The photographer is going to come soon.  Make sure you have the rooms clean, dishes put away, beds made, lights on, drapes open, atmosphere a 10…. then get ready for the pics!

5.  Determine which Realtor to hire.  I always tell people to hire on two things…. Results and Connection.  If the agent can’t produce results, pass.  They can’t produce them for a reason.  If you don’t seem to connect with the agent, pass.  The process can be several months.  A connection is important.  You don’t need to be best friends, but you need to connect, trust and like her.

6.  Go LIVE! It’s the big day! You are well prepared.  You did your homework.  You hired the right agent.  Your home looks great.  Your home smells great.  The pictures are awesome.  Get going! But be sure you priced it right to begin with!!! (That’s a different chapter)!

Live well my friends!

Are You One of THOSE Sellers?

Are you one of those sellers?

If you have been in the industry as long as I have (20+ years), you will know what I am talking about.  If you are one of those sellers, you will know what I’m talking about.

What do I mean by those sellers?

Comparable Data

Those sellers are the ones who:

  • Want to price their home above the market value (to leave room for negotiation), but they want to price their home wayyyyyy outside of the right range to even get prospects to come to look
  • Never want to talk about a price adjustment
  • Blame the Realtor for not having people come through (But they are priced 100k higher than market value remember)
  • Change Realtors five times because the waaaay overpriced home isn’t selling
  • Want an open house every weekend although all the data shows that they are ineffective

This post is meant to bring a smile to all who have experienced this type of challenge.  When I was driving to a client’s house the other day, I saw that same house, still listed, but this time with the 4th Realtor.  I decided to look to see what the pricing history has been, and low and behold, the price has not been adjusted even once since it was introduced to the market over a year ago.  Now, shame on the Realtor’s who agreed to list a home with an unrealistic seller (and presumably unmotivated seller).  Listing and carrying an overpriced house on the market costs money, reputation and worse of all, is not going to meet the goal of the seller – to SELL the home.

In conclusion, to avoid being one of those sellers, research the sales data and price the home according to what has recently sold.  If the price that you want to get for the home is outside of the comparable data, you probably can’t get that price (barring some significant enhancements to your home or lot that the comparables don’t have).

Thanks for reading! Be Well.

Pricing a Home To Sell Just Needs to Make Sense

A $100,000 swing?  How can there be a $100,000 swing in suggested list price in a house worth approximately $300,000?

Three Realtors, Three suggestions.  Pretty typical.

What doesn’t make sense to me though, is the illogical valuation of a pretty cookie cutter house in Pasadena, Maryland.

Here’s the deal.  Pricing a home to sell is not a science.  Every house is a bit different.  Every house has its pros and cons.  Every house has a price someone will pay for it.  Herein lies the challenge.  Three Realtors, three values.

I am not suggesting that I think all three Realtors should have come up with the same value (nor would three appraisers all agree on one value), but a 1/3 swing in the real value of the house? Really?

So, how does a seller know where to price the home if there is such a disparity in the value?

First, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.  If the comparables used to evaluate your home seem to be a “better” home than yours, the value of the home will likely be “better” than yours.  If the Realtor tells you what you want to hear and there is no data to support the  higher value, you will not likely find a buyer.

On the other hand, if the comparables used seem to be “worse” than yours, perhaps you are leaving money on the table.

When pricing the home, you have a difficult task.  You have to remove your seller hat and put on the buyer’s hat.  They are going to look at comparables to come up with a price they are going to offer.  If the home is priced too high and they fell in love with the house, they aren’t going to offer the inflated price (especially in a declining or flat market).   In fact, if the price is way off, they may not even see the house as they think the price is totally unrealistic.

Here’s the bottom line, if you can substantiate the value of your home with comparables, you are probably in good shape.  When you are trying to determine the most comparable homes to yours, consider the location, condition, square footage, (note, an appraiser does not value finished space in the basement the same value as the finished space above ground), number of bedrooms and baths, lot size, amenities within the home, and updates to the home to name a few.

If you enjoyed the post, please share!  Live well!

Before Selling Your Condo Do Your Research

Three Ways an HOA Can Screw Up the Sale of a Condo

by Tim Harris on Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 11:16am
As a condo owner, you have to follow the rules of the HOA. You don’t have control over the common areas, you have to pay your monthly dues and assessments, and you have to play by the rules of the condo association. You understood, when you bought the condo, that you’d be subject to certain restrictions.
But you, like most sellers and their real estate agents, probably aren’t aware about the potential red flags an HOA can cause until the condo has a buyer with a contract to purchase and that buyer can’t get a loan because of the HOA issues.
The red flags typically show up in the Condo Cert (also known as a Condo Questionnaire) document. The Condo Cert, required by the buyer’s lender, assists banks in assessing the health and financial status of the HOA. They want to be sure there is minimal risk in lending on a condo in the HOA.
The Condo Cert is standard practice when underwriting a home loan. The HOA’s management company, or an HOA representative if the condo complex is self-managed, normally completes the Condo Cert once the property is in escrow.
This is where the deal can fall apart. Many times, a seller has no idea about the HOA details. Most real estate agents, buyers or sellers don’t think about it in advance. But as lending standards have tightened, what appear to be small things can really mess up a deal. That’s why, if you’re a seller, it’s important to do some work ahead of time.
Here are three red flags that can pop up in the Condo Cert — and can screw up the sale of your condo.

1. The Ratio of Homeowners to Tenants is Out of Whack

All banks believe a condo complex or building occupied primarily by homeowners is less risky than one with a lot of rental units. The theory is that homeowners who live in their property are more likely to take good care of it and take an active interest in maintaining common areas than someone who’s simply renting the condo.
As a result, most lenders may not give a buyer a loan if the complex has too high a ratio of tenants to owners. Too often, the seller and the buyer have no idea how many renters are in the complex until the Condo Cert is completed and distributed. The problem has only been exacerbated in recent years because many homeowners who needed to sell for financial reasons couldn’t get the equity they needed and were forced to rent.

2. One Person Owns Multiple Units

Another potential problem that shows up in the Condo Cert is when one person owns multiple units in the complex. Lenders don’t like this scenario because if that owner defaults on his or her HOA dues or files bankruptcy, the financial effect on the HOA’s finances can be drastic.
When the real estate market heated up in the early-mid 2000s, investors and developers built lots of new condo buildings. Then, as the market slowed and prices fell, they were forced to rent many of their properties. When there’s a large percentage of renters in a complex and many of those units are owned by the same person, potential buyers of units in that complex will likely find it doubly difficult to get loans.

3. There’s Not Enough Money in the Kitty

The HOA’s financial health, described in the Condo Cert, can be another stumbling block. Does the association have enough money in a reserve account to pay for repairs to the roof or other common areas? Is the HOA properly insured? (Some lenders require a minimum of liability insurance in order for them to lend on a condo.)
None of these potential problems alone will necessarily thwart a deal. A successful real estate transaction depends on many factors.. A lender may be more flexible if, for example, the buyer has an excellent credit score and a large down payment. On the other hand, for the first-time buyer with the minimum down payment and a low salary or minimal credit history, a bad HOA situation could be a deal-killer.
Advice to Buyers
Be aware you might hit a snag during the loan process. With the seller’s approval, be prepared to ask the seller to extend the time frame to get your loan approved. In some cases, you may even need to find a different lender, such as a local bank or credit union that would be more flexible than a big bank.
Advice to Sellers
You should know as much as possible about the HOA. Ask your HOA president or management company how many renters are in the complex, or if one owner owns more than one unit. Work with your real estate agent to isolate and flag these issues before you go on the market. Otherwise, your days on market will increase. And if you go into contract and then are forced later to put the condo back on the market, your listing looks suspect.
If you think there could be an HOA issue, identify a lender before you go on the market. Work with that mortgage broker or banker to understand what it would take for someone to get a loan to buy your condo. Consider letting those requirements be known up front, either to agents privately or to buyers at an open house who express serious interest. The goal is to save yourself, your agent, the listing agent — and everyone else involved — a lot of time and headache.
Brendon DeSimone is a Realtor and real estate expert based in San Francisco and New York. He is a contributor to Zillow Blog, has collaborated on multiple real estate books and is often quoted by major media outlets.

Listing Agents, Buyers Agents and Agents Who Represent Both

Just like any industry,not all real estate agents share the same business model.   Some realtors work exclusively with buyers.  Some work exclusively with sellers and some work with both buyers and sellers. 

It is important to recognize the distinction.

I am a listing agent.  I work only with sellers.  However, because I do extensive marketing and have been in the industry for so long, I have hundreds of potential buyers in my database.  The difference is, I have buyer’s agents who work with the buyer’s database and it is their sole responsibility to find these buyers a home.  I don’t want to try to juggle between keeping my eye out for my buyer’s while watching the market conditions for my sellers.  It’s too vast a responsibility.

Why do I choose this business model for my business? Because it works.  I feel trying to be all things to all people leaves me feeling spread to thin.  I liken my business model to that of a doctors office.  When you go for a doctors visit, one person checks you in, one person checks your weight and blood pressure, the doctor sees you then hands you off to the billing department.  If one person was charged with the responsibilty to do it all, something would fall through the cracks.   

However, there are absolutely wonderful agents whose business model is to work with fewer clients and work with both buyers and sellers. 

So the way the business is set up is less important than the results the agent will give provide.   It’s really important  to interview potential realtors and hire them based on what is important to you.  A proven track record is what talks.  Talk is cheap.

What are your thoughts? Please comment.  I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

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Designed to Sell. 8 Critical Tips to Advertise Your Home to Sell

When you have made the decision to sell your home, make a list of reasons why you moved to your house in the first place.  Why did you choose this house? What do you like about the home? What kinds of things do you like about the area?

No one will know the intimate details about the great aspects of your home the way you will.  Your Realtor will definately benefit from your list.

In addition to what you liked about the home, it is equally important to share the drawbacks of the home and the area with your Realtor as well.  Why? Because she is going to have to overcome the objection. 

There is no perfect house.  There is no perfect lot.  There is no perfect community.  There is no perfect living situation.  What the Realtors job then, is to emphasize the best parts of the situation while being prepared to overcome some of the less attractive parts of the situation.  It will be important to create a pros and cons list and find the buyer where the pros outweigh the cons. 

Your advertising should be geared toward the appealing aspects of the sale.  Additionally, when advertising, it is imperative to evaluate your expected buyer demographic.  Who is the most likely demographic to purchase?

You will advertise differently for a first time buyer than you would a waterfront, high price buyer.  You will stage the house differently for a buyer profile who is more likely to have kids than you would a home for sale in a 55+ community. 

When advertising a home for sale in Anne Arundel County, for example, you can talk about the proximity to the water, the proximity to shopping, proximity to major employment hubs, BRAC relocations coming in, etc.  What you talk about is directly related to who your target market is. 

Some things Realtors are unable to talk about include, their opinion on schools, the age and race of the community make up, if there are kids in the area, etc. 

Advertising a home is not a one size fits all kind of deal.  Hire a qualified Realtor with marketing experience to sell your home for you.

Thanks for reading and if you found this post helpful and feel it can benefit others, please share!