Melissa Snyder-Hargreaves Earns NAR’s Military Relocation Professional Certification

Military Personnel and Veteran Benefits from Realtor® Expertise in Military Benefits, the Relocation Process, and Support

Ellicott City, MD 6/27/17 – Melissa Snyder-Hargreaves with the Hargreaves Home Sales Team of Keller Williams Integrity has been awarded the nationally recognized Military Relocation Professional Certification.  The National Association of Realtors® awards the MRP certification to Realtors® who help military personnel, veterans and their families find housing that lets them make the best use of their benefits and serves the unique needs of military life.

When military staff and their families relocate, the service of the real estate professional who understands their needs and timetables can make the transfer easier, faster, and less stressful.  Realtors® who earn this certification know to work with active duty military buyers and sellers, as well as veterans.

“Service members may only have a couple of days to view properties and make an offer, and others might be deployed at the time and need someone to represent them while they’re away.  Working with a Realtor® who understands the singular complications that arise with military service can help make the home buying process simpler, faster, and less stressful,” said National Association of Realtors® President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II, Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida.  “The MRP certification lets home buyers and sellers know that a Realtor® knows the ins and outs of military house benefits, such as zero-down payment loans, and the specific needs service members and veterans have when searching for their new home.”

The certification provides NAR’s members with resources to accommodate current and former military service members at any stage of their military career and is an approved elective for NAR’s Accredited Buyers Representative designation.  To earn the MRP certification, Realtors must be in good standing with NAR, complete the MRP Certification Core Course, complete a reading providing background information on the military, included acronyms and understanding military culture, and complete two webinars.

For more information about the MRP certification, visit www.militaryrelocationpro.org

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Top 7 Reasons to hire the Hargreaves Home Sales Team to sell your home

Top 7 Reasons to hire the Hargreaves Home Sales Team to sell your home

1. We are PROACTIVE not REACTIVE

Most Realtors follow the 3 P’s when they list a home: they Put up a sign, Put it on the Multiple List Service (MLS) and PRAY! The Hargreaves Home Sales Team takes a more proactive approach. Of course we’re going to put up a sign, put it on the MLS but we don’t stop there. We begin actively searching for the right buyer for your home. We are holding opening houses, we are mailing postcards to neighborhoods that we predict your buyer is currently living in, we do targeted Facebook advertising and we are making phone calls to people currently renting. We are out looking for that buyer, not waiting for them to come to us.

2. We are planning for the end at the beginning

We aren’t interested in listing your home, we want to SELL your home. With that in mind, we start with the end in mind. We begin before we ever meet you by researching your particular neighborhood and analyzing market data. When we meet you and see your home for the first time, we know what needs to be done to help you compete in your market. We will set realistic expectations for you regarding price and timeframes. We will give you advice on preparing your home for sale so that the entire transaction
goes smoothly.

3. We help you get ready

Once you decide to list your home with our team, the next person you will meet is our stager. We send a stager to each of our listings for a one hour consultation. At this consultation, the stager will walk through your home with you and help you see it from a buyer’s perspective. She will leave you with a list of things you can do to help make your home more appealing to the public. You can choose to do as much or as little as you are able to do but keep in mind, the more you do, the more your home may sell for!

4. We market your home

After the staging is done and the professional photographer has given us amazing pictures of your home, we can start our marketing campaign. This campaign is tailored specifically to your home but almost always begins with a series of open houses, postcards and online ads. Brandon has over 20 years of experience representing a variety of builders in the area so he knows what it takes to properly market your home.

5. We negotiate

When the offers start coming in is when we really get to shine. Melissa has received extensive training to become a Certified Negotiate Expert (CNE) and Brandon is a licensed Associate Broker. Together, they will work diligently to negotiate the best deal possible for you! In this strong seller’s market, it’s important to have someone knowledgeable to negotiate on your behalf.

6. We will help you with what’s next

When your home sells you will likely need somewhere to go! Our buyers agents are waiting in the wings to help you find the new home of your dreams. Whether you are moving nearby or across the county, downsizing or need more space, we can help you with that next move. By working with our team for the buying and selling process we can ensure a very smooth transition.

7. You become our client for life

After the transaction, we don’t go away. We are always here for you as a resource to help you with contractor recommendations, market questions, etc. Our clients become our friend and we treat them like family.

There are many agents and teams out there that advertise how many houses they sell every day or even every hour. At the Hargreaves Home Sales Team, our goal is not to sell the MOST homes, our goal is to see YOUR home. Please contact us today to receive a free market analysis of your home to see what it could sell for in today’s market.

For a detailed market analysis of your property please complete the following

Why NOW is the Best Time to Sell Your House


  1. There are motivated buyers in the market that must buy for tax reasons.
  2. During the Holiday Season there are typically less homes on the market.  Less supply means less competition.  Less competition means more money in your pocket.
  3. Many people have time off during the Holidays, which increased their availability to see homes.  Buyers that buy during the Holiday Season tend to be serious buyers.
  4. Buying is an emotional purchase and emotions tend to run high during the Holiday Season.  Strategically, having the opportunity to work off buyer’s emotions is in your favor…they tend to offer a higher price when their emotions are involved.
  5. The Holiday Season reminds many people of family.  The home is the foundation of the family unit.  More people become motivated to buy during the Holidays more than other times of the year.
  6. The interest rates are incredibly low, which allows a buyer to afford more in the market.  When rates are low, buyers tend to present higher purchase offers.
  7. Many sellers will wait and list until after the first of the year, which causes a lot of new inventory in January.  The longer you wait, the more competition you create for yourself.  You can expect a flood of new inventory in the 1st quarter of 2017.  As supply increases, your likelihood of getting an offer at an acceptable price decreases.
  8. Since most people do not want to move during the Holidays, you can secure a contract now while your selling opportunity is high and arrange for a delayed closing or a rent back with the buyer(s).
  9. Companies typically bring new talent in starting at the beginning of the year.  These new hires are looking at property now.  You must be on the market to take advantage of these buyers.
  10. Selling now can give you more buying power later.  By selling your home now, you can buy after January when the market becomes saturated with listings as a non-contingent buyer.  This gives you negotiating power!

REALLY REAL REAL ESTATE

There’s at least one in almost every neighborhood. You’ve no doubt driven past one, probably had a disapproving thought come to mind, and maybe even verbalized it. One of Tom Hanks’ lesser known films (and a personal favorite), The ‘Burbs, centers around one. I’m talking about the nightmare house that is the eyesore of the block. I can’t help but be reminded of a scene from that movie whenever I pass by one of these monstrosities. The mysterious new neighbors have just moved in and all the current residents are wondering what to think. As he sips his morning coffee Hanks’ character, Ray Peterson, stares over at the creepy dwelling and remarks to his wife, Carol, “Hey, honey, I think we should move. We got an arms dealer across the street and a crazy person down it. All they do is fight.” “Now these new next-door neighbors…They’ve been here a month. Think they’re gonna do something about their yard?”  Now, I’m the direct descendent of your quintessential “nosy neighbor” so I’ve heard similar talk over the years. I also understand the inclination of others who prefer to mind their own business. Isn’t there a happy medium somewhere? Do those nosy neighbors just have too much time on their hands? Can taking care of your yard and house really make that much of a difference?

Let’s start by looking at it from a potential buyer’s perspective. I am a buyer specialist for the Hargreaves Home Sales Team of Keller Williams Integrity so I have direct knowledge of what buyers are thinking and saying. I’m your local real estate professional and neighborhood expert. One of the first things most buyers mention when we sit down to talk about what’s important to them in a home is they want to be located in a “good” neighborhood that’s “safe.” It’s not permitted for me to say that one area is better than another so that’s when buyers have to do some research on their own. They scour the internet to find out crime rates and school ratings. They look to see who’s saying what on social media (and almost everyone is saying something). They even drive around the neighborhood at different times of the day to get a feel for the community and it’s residents. Hey, it’s the biggest purchase most of us are going to make so I’d be surprised if they didn’t do some homework. I give them the hard data, all the numbers and stats, and advise them accordingly. They put all this information together to get a better feel for what’s going on in a given area, and it weighs heavily on their final decision of whether to submit an offer or not. It’s not just the house for sale they are concerned about, it’s every house in the neighborhood.

So what does this mean for homeowners? Well, let’s start with the premise that when you go to sell your home you’re trying to get maximum value out of it. How do we determine the value of a house? Really, like most things in our free market system, a home is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Now, we have safeguards in place to make sure buyers don’t overpay for a house, but home values go up when new buyers are willing to pay a little bit more than previous buyers, especially now with the all-time low interest rates. Therein lies the big question: Why would a buyer pay more for a similar home than another buyer recently did? Let’s put it in terms that most of us are familiar with – buying a car. Most likely the biggest purchase a first time buyer has made to date is their car. So how did they choose the car they eventually purchased? Sure, they had their wants and needs, but how did they decide on that exact car? What if it came down to two cars, both the same make, model, and age that look good from the online pictures. Car A is listed at $15,000 and car B at $12,000. Car B is the obvious choice right? We all love a great deal, but why are two similar cars priced so different? It turns out, upon further examination, that car A is in like new condition, the service records are immaculate, and it’s been washed, waxed, and recently inspected. Car B, on the other hand, has some dents and scratches, there’s trash and dirt littering the inside, it was in a pretty bad wreck in the past, and the tires are unevenly worn. In the end, like many things in life, you get what you pay for. If you’re going to have to spend thousands of dollars just to get car B up to the level are car A wouldn’t it make more sense just to buy car A and not have to worry? Even if car B runs great, the perceived value is decreased simply by the way the car is presented. The point is, for major purchases like a car or a house, most people are willing to pay more if they feel they are getting a better product. How we present our house and neighborhood to buyers helps to create a perception about the value buyers are getting.

So, in the end, while having nosy neighbors and HOA rules may be a bit of an inconvenience at times, they are also necessary to ensure individual homeowners do their part to keep the values of not only their own but all their neighbors’ homes up also. We know full well what we are getting into when we buy a home in a community with an HOA. Being active and involved in the community and working to make it a safe and desirable place to live not only helps to improve our quality of life, it improves the quality of our future by increasing the value of the homes in our neighborhood. When we have programs like a neighborhood watch, it shows potential buyers that we take an active role in the safety of this community. It also shows those who choose to act in a way which makes us all less safe that we are standing up and choosing not to accept it.  What I do with my house affects all my neighbors, so I have a civic duty to do my part in that unspoken agreement we enter into when we buy our home. Instead of standing at the window wondering when the new neighbors are going to do something about their lawn, go and ask if there’s anything you can do to help! Maybe they don’t have a lawn mower yet, or maybe they physically are unable to get out there at the moment. Showing that you care and are willing to help is a great way to start building an active and involved community that people want to invest and live in.

Steve Stecher

Buyer Specialist
https://docs.google.com/uc?export=download&id=0BzDJV8xaAw9vbmtONEJ1T0dIUVU&revid=0BzDJV8xaAw9vVzVvRzI4NEhYQzhHMC9ZckdEb3gvUE9kT1lvPQ

Source: https://chesterfieldresidents.wordpress.com/blog/

New Buy vs. Rent Index Shows U.S. Housing Market Moving Deeper into Buy Territory

The latest national index produced by Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University faculty indicates the United States housing market as a whole is moving deeper into buy territory, suggesting that, on average, residential housing markets around the country are sound.

Based on numbers from the end of the first quarter, the latest Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index comes on the heels of the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which found home prices nationally climbed 5.4 percent since March 2015.

“This appears to be driven by a steady but strengthening job market, rising rents relative to rising ownership costs and recent slower growth in traditional financial portfolios consisting of stocks and bonds,” said Ken Johnson, Ph.D., a real estate economist who is one of the index’s authors and an associate dean of graduate programs and professor in FAU’s College of Business.

The BH&J Index measures the relationship between purchasing property and building wealth through a buildup in equity versus renting a comparable property and investing in a portfolio of stocks and bonds. It examines the entire housing market in the United States and isolates the markets of 23 major cities.

In terms of wealth creation, the U.S. housing market, when considered as a whole, has swung marginally more in favor of homeownership over renting a comparable property and investing monthly rent savings in a portfolio of stocks and bonds. Overall, 16 of the 23 metropolitan markets investigated moved in the direction of buy territory.

The metro areas of Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia and St. Louis remain solidly in buy territory.

“These cities should have room for price growth without much worry of overheating,” said Eli Beracha, Ph.D., co-author of the index and assistant professor in the T&S Hollo School of Real Estate at FIU. “This is especially true for Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Detroit.”

Cities such as Honolulu, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle are hovering around what the index’s authors refer to as the “indifference point” between buying versus renting.  In almost all of these metro markets, the BH&J Index score for the quarter moved in the direction of ownership.

“This movement suggests that most consumers in these markets appear to have learned from the real estate crash and now understand that residential property prices can get too high,” Beracha said. “This is a good sign for future housing price stability in these markets.”

Meanwhile, two hot housing markets, Dallas and Denver, continued to move deeper into rent territory but at a slower rate than earlier quarters.

“Strong economic support within these two markets should make for a soft landing in terms of slowing property price growth, increased marketing time for properties and lower probabilities that sellers will actually transact and close during a given marketing effort of their property,” Johnson said.

One particular market, Houston, continues to cause concern. Houston was already deep into rent territory, and its recent BH&J score plummeted significantly toward buy territory – a scenario that has foreshadowed noticeable property price declines in the past.

“A perfect storm seems to be developing in Houston,” Johnson said. “I expect a lot of folks in Houston to be on the safe side and opt for renting over ownership.”

Johnson’s collaborators in this ongoing independent research are Beracha and William G. Hardin III, Ph.D., director of the T&S Hollo School of Real Estate at FIU’s College of Business. The BH&J Index and other FAU real estate activities are sponsored by Investments Limited of Boca Raton.

The BH&J Index is published quarterly and is available online at http://business.fau.edu/buyvsrent. Due to data availability and the time necessary to calculate the most current index values, the index is produced two months after the end of the quarter.

For more information, visit
www.fau.edu.

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What Exactly is a Short Sale?

So What Exactly is a Short Sale?

                This is a question I am frequently asked when showing houses to buyers. Many people have heard about short sales and foreclosures and think they are a great way to get a great deal on a house. While this can be true, there can be some disadvantages as well. Below I will explain the three main types of sales and the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

  1. Standard Sales – A standard sale is between a person selling and a person buying. This is typically the simplest type of sale. The seller wants to sell and the buyer wants to buy, so both parties typically are willing to work with each other to reach the end goal of a closed transaction. The biggest advantage to this type of sale is that repairs can typically be negotiated. Certain loan types will require a property meet certain standards. Having a seller who will work with you to get the house to meet the loan’s criteria is a big help. This disadvantage to this type of sale is that some sellers will not be cooperative and can at times, feel that their home is worth more than it really is.
  2. Short Sales – A short sale is between a person selling and a person buying, but the bank is in the middle. In a short sale, the seller typically owes more on the property than it’s market value. This means that in order to sell it, someone is going to lose money. In this case, the bank is the one losing. The offer is made to the seller and once they accept, it goes to the bank for approval. This can be a lengthy process. It could take weeks or even months to get bank approval. Despite the seller accepting the offer, the bank could determine that the price or terms are not acceptable and require more. A short sale could take months and even sometimes as long as a year to get to settlement. The advantage is that it could be possible to get a good deal on a nice house. The disadvantage is that the properties are usually sold “as-is” meaning that the seller is not going to make any repairs. As I explained above, this could be a problem if the property doesn’t meet the loan’s criteria. The other disadvantage is the lack of control over the timeline for settlement. A short sale can be difficult for a lot of buyers because they are trying to coordinate their purchase with the sale of an existing home or the end of a lease. The uncertainty can be very frustrating and discouraging. Short sales are best suited for buyers who are not in a rush to get into a new home or for investors.
  3. Foreclosure – A foreclosure is between a bank and a person buying. With these sales, the bank has foreclosed on the property and taken possession of it. These types of sales tend to be simpler than a short sale. Banks are concerned about getting these properties sold quickly but at a fair price. They are typically sold “as-is.” Most foreclosures were neglected prior to their previous owners leaving and they likely have been sitting vacant for quite awhile. This means that the chance of them being in disrepair is quite high. While there are exceptions, getting these properties to pass the criteria for certain financing types can be challenging. The advantage to buying a foreclosure is you can get a property for a relatively low price. These properties typically can settle quickly. There isn’t the wait and uncertainty of a short sale. The disadvantage is the condition of most foreclosed properties.

When you are thinking about buying, an experienced Realtor can help you determine which type or types of sales would be best suited for you. It’s also important for you as a buyer to make sure that your Realtor understands what type of financing you are using so that we can make sure the properties you’re looking at will pass the criteria for your financing type.

If you have any questions call one of our experienced and knowledgeable agents today!

How to Buy a House: Broken Down Step by Step.

Deciding you want to buy a house is a very exciting thing! First time buyers spend hours looking at pictures of beautiful homes online and watching shows on HGTV to get ideas about decorating and all of the fun things they want to do once they are in their new home. However, there aren’t many TV shows about HOW to actually buy your first home. Most people actually put off taking the first steps because they don’t know what to do, they are overwhelmed by the process or they are afraid it might not work out. Our goal is to help make the process simple and fun! Here is a quick overview of the steps required to buy a home.

Step 1: Talk to a lender!

For a lot of people, this is the scary part. Many people are afraid to know what is on their credit report or what the lender may think of them. Put these things out of your mind! Lenders see all kinds of issues every day. They are here to help you. It is NEVER too early to start this process. The sooner you get your credit pulled and understand what is on there, the sooner you can start taking the steps to fix any issues. The lenders that we work with are all very patient and they will help you develop a plan to get your score as high as possible in the shortest amount of time. We have people who can get pre-qualified in 15 minutes and others that we work with for months or even years before they are ready to go.

The lender will need to gather basic information such as your social security number, date of birth and income information. It’s helpful to have your last 2 paystubs and your most recent tax return handy when you make the initial call to your lender.

Once they have reviewed all of your information, they will talk with you about how much you are qualified for, as well as how much you are comfortable spending. You can give them the number you want to spend monthly, and they will work backwards to tell you the price range you should be looking at for your new home. Once you have that information and a pre-qualification letter, the fun part begins!

Step 2: Shopping for a house!

Now we can start shopping! When you first meet with your Realtor, we will discuss what it is exactly, that you’re looking for in a home. We’re going to ask you about location, the size of the house and yard you need and anything else that’s important to you. It’s also important for us to know the type of financing you are using and your time frame for moving. We will take all of this information and set up an auto e-mail so that new listings will come right to your e-mail the day they come on the market!

When you find “The House” we will help you determine what a fair offer price is based on recent sales of similar homes in the same area. We will write the offer paperwork for you and you will write a check for your Earnest Money Deposit (EMD). This check is cashed once your offer is accepted by the seller and both parties have signed the contract. The EMD is held in an escrow account for you and acts as a credit to you at settlement. If for any reason your contract falls apart by no fault of your own (home inspection issues, appraisal issues, etc) your EMD will be refunded to you. If you do something to default (just change your mind, purposefully cause your loan to be denied, etc) the seller has the right to keep your EMD. We’ll help make sure you are protected and know what you should or should not do while under contract!

Step 3: Home inspection time

Once you are under contract, you will schedule your home inspection. The home inspector will come to the house and go over the house top to bottom with you. Their job is to make sure you know as much as possible about the house. They will point out any health or safety concerns as well as help you understand what maintenance you should be doing to help keep your new home in the best shape possible! Once we have the report from the inspector, we will help you decide what things (if any) you would like the seller to repair prior to settling on the home.

Step 4: Appraisal

The bank is going to order an appraisal. The appraiser will visit the house and make sure that the price you are paying is fair. They will also check for health and safety hazards to be sure the house meets the criteria required by your financing. If any problems arise from the appraisal, your Realtor will go back to the seller’s agent and help negotiate any price adjustment or repairs that are needed.

Once the appraisal is done, you are on your way to settlement! At this point, you will be working closely with your lender to make sure they have any updated documentation that they need.

During this entire process, the title company is working behind the scenes to make sure that the property can legally be transferred from the seller to you. They will be preparing all of the paperwork to be signed and will be at settlement to help explain everything to you.

3 days prior to settling on your new home, you will do a final walk through with your Realtor to make sure that any repairs have been completed and that the home is in the condition you expect it to be. As long as everything looks good, you are on your way to settling!

You can plan on settlement taking between 45-60 minutes on average. The amount of time will depend on your financing type and the amount of questions you and the sellers have as you are going through the paperwork.  ☺

This is a lot of information condensed into 2 short pages! If you have any questions or would like any information, please reach out to our team of skilled agents today! We love sitting down with first time buyers to review the process and make sure that all of your questions are answered. We wish you the best of luck on your path to home ownership!

Office space available immediately!

4809 Leeds Ave
Baltimore, MD 21227

Office space available immediately!
1,200 square feet can be used for a variety of different businesses. Space currently has 2 cubicles that can be removed upon request. Owner is willing to make cosmetic improvements based on length of lease signed.

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