I love working with my clients!

November 5, 2014

To Whom it May Concern:

Tom Fine was our buyer’s agent for our recent home purchase in Green Lake, Seattle. We have decided to pen an unsolicited testimonial to his services.

Our family recently relocated from Australia to Seattle and decided to purchase a home. Luckily for us, we found Tom. Tom was able to explain the real estate market and buying and selling process in Seattle (which differs greatly from what we were used to in Australia). He was tireless in identifying properties that met our criteria and spent countless hours on the road with us explaining the positives and negatives of different localities, housing and building styles while viewing ‘open homes’. He was very flexible and understanding in his approach and his availability.

Tom’s knowledge gained as a building contractor was invaluable. He was able to walk through houses with us explaining potential benefits or pitfalls of the construction, layout, style, materials used and potential areas for improvement or maintenance. Several times he drew our attention to problems with construction that we would not otherwise have noticed.

In the end we found a house we wanted to make an offer for and Tom was able to calmly handle negotiations, helping to secure the house below the asking price in a highly competitive real estate market. He kept us in the loop every step of the way.

Subsequent to closing on the house, Tom has been happy to provide advice and expertise in relation to our plans to improve the property.

We’ve been impressed with Tom and would wholeheartedly recommend his services to others looking to buy or sell a home in Seattle.

Mark and Caroline Gordon
Green Lake, Seattle.

Posted on January 9, 2015 at 6:05 am
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What Does Your Realtor Know?

When I go to purchase items whether it is a small item or large, I look to the salesperson to be knowledgeable about what they are selling, don’t you? So I turn the tables and say here are some questions to ask your Realtor.

What should you expect out of a Realtor?

Let’s discuss the knowledge items.

Your Realtor should have knowledge of the following:
➢ Of the area you are showing with information of schools, parks, and the neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods
➢ About the structure, basic information, what kind of construction is the structure (Just because I know a lot about this subject I didn’t put this in here, but I expect a salesperson to know what they are selling at least the basic information)
➢ Thoroughly describe the features and benefits of the property
➢ Ability to inform the clients about the forms they are signing and the ability to get them any answer relating to the transaction
➢ Communicate consistently with all parties about updates, changes or modifications of the terms, contracts and schedules, not through text, but phone and email
➢ Ability to discuss the handling of earnest money
➢ What Escrow and Title is and why they are important
➢ Ability to negotiate for the best terms for their clients, know when to talk and when to walk
➢ Follow through, continuation of communicating about the status of the process
➢ Be able to provide their clients with CMA’s (Comparative Market Analysis) for price points of the house whether they are selling or buying, so the clients know what your house value is
➢ Knowing how to maximize your return on investment, preparing your property for sale
➢ Lowering his/her commission will not make the property sell faster, (A realtor should be able to respond to this question, why won’t my property sell faster with a lower commission, *larger dollar sales do have a lower commission structure)
➢ Realtor (Selling) provides you with preliminary costs to sell your home with several scenario’s for different selling prices
➢ Realtor (Buying) provides you closing cost scenario’s, (what it will cost you to purchase a home)
➢ Realtor provides you what the process is for selling or buying and what to expect from the beginning to the end

The items I have pointed out above are key reasons to use a Realtor; another key item is the Code of Ethics that Realtor’s commit to, to be a Realtor. Please note that if you have a license to sell real estate, this does not mean they are a Realtor.

To discuss how I can be of any assistance to you whether you are interested in buying or selling, please contact me, Tom Fine, Broker – Windermere Real Estate, tomfine@windermere.com or call me at 206-434-6561 and I will be glad to help you with your real estate needs. I work with individuals, couples or groups to buy and sell real estate in the state of Washington, from single-family homes, raw land, multifamily properties and investment properties.

Posted on January 8, 2015 at 7:12 am
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Properties For Sale, what I look for, are you looking at them the same way?

 

Every day I am looking at properties, for my clients (Buyers & Investors) all over town from Capitol Hill heading South thru Mt. Baker, Seward Park and then West to West Seattle and then NW, to Magnolia and Ballard.  Don't get me wrong; I hit a lot more neighborhoods besides these.  

What I saw and continue to see from some other Brokers is disappointing; these are listings that come on to the market and they are not prepared for the buyers. The sellers have one opportunity to make a first impression and when I walk up the house and grab onto a post to open a gate and the post is wobbly, I loose trust, then I say, well let’s see maybe that was overlooked.  Then I see other items that make me nervous and concerned. These are minor items such as cover plates missing off electrical devices and poorly executed finishes. These are items that should have been addressed prior to putting this home on the market.  Why?  If these are not an issue then these items don’t turn off people. 

As a professional I am coaching my clients on getting the best return for their investment and this means installing cover-plates on switches and receptacles, fixing a wiggly post for a fence and dealing with a heap fix to meet a code issue. Oh I forgot to mention, the house smelled! I work hard for my clients and my clients know that when I ask them to do something, they know it is in their best interest, not mine and for them to maximize their return, they do what makes sense. 

I can see that several items feel thru the cracks for this listing, and I don't know where it was but I am glad to say I am thoroughly disappointed in what I saw. I saw another property that was on the market for a while and I can say the pictures online look great!  The in person comments are, peeling paint and cracks in the walls. For a fixer upper, not a problem, but overpriced is what we see and this will attract the low ballers. 

 

Look at the listing as what the buyer will see, the “Buyers Eyes”. Remember if a buyer sees items that don't look good, they start thinking what else is wrong with the house?

 

Don’t let the buyer drive the price down, get the price up.

 

Let me know if I can help you.

 

Tom Fine

Windermere RE, Capitol Hill, Inc.

Posted on January 29, 2014 at 8:08 am
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Don’t Throw your Money Away! Use the Referral From your Realtor

 

Do you like to throw your money away? If you are like me, I value my money and don't like throwing money away. Don't get me wrong, I do buy things once in a while that might be ridiculous, but at least I am making that choice.  When you pick a mortgage broker, because they are a friend or friend of a friend or they may be a big bank. This may be you are gambling with your money.  

Why do I bring this up, well this happens more than I would like. I have clients that come to me and they have a buddy that is a banker for a large bank and we have a real estate property that we are in contract with. It has a 45 day close.  The banker takes the information and the appraisal doesn't happen for 15 days, (what! 15 days for an appraisal) but the client is told by the banker everything is good and release the financing contingency. Done, Financing contingency is released, no contingencies left.  I tried to interject and emails would not come back to me form the banker, the banker was only responding to his client which is "our client". 5 days before the scheduled close, the client is rejected by underwriting, (What!) The banker said to his client (Suppose to be our client) he can work it out and needs another 5 days. We are now going to 50 days to close. Seller does not accept an extension, guess what, we are so close to the client loosing his earnest money. Why? Because of the buddies relationship with the banker. a large sum of money was on the table as far as the earnest money that was in jeopardy. After an exhausting day with multiple conversations with the listing broker, I was able to work out an extension with working with the listing agent and negotiating a deal. Today, the deal got done, but my gosh, none of us need to have this kind of stress.

What can be learned from this? Please use the referral from your Realtor. 

It is about getting the deal done for our clients, with the least amount of stress to the clients. Our clients need to feel special and that they are being taken care of. It's critical to provide them with updates with the current program and where they sit in the funding process.

This is what we do, getting the job done with the least amount of stress and provide updates and clear and open communication.

More stories to come.

If you need a referral or are looking for a property, contact Tom Fine.

 

Posted on January 25, 2014 at 6:59 am
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Options to Keep our Parents in their Homes as Long as Possible

Many seniors prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. Of course, your ability to do this hinges on many factors, including the nature of the challenges you face in your current home. Major home renovations may be required, but there are also numerous inexpensive steps you can take to improve your living situation, including:

 

SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS

Flooring: carpeting is preferable to area rugs because it reduces tripping hazards and can cushion falls. But if area rugs are used, make sure they’re secured to the floor.

Handrails: on stairways, add a second handrail along the opposite wall for improved stability.

Footwear: to prevent falls, non-slip shoes are preferable to slippers or socks.

Non-skid safety strips: adhered to the floor of a tub/ shower, non-skid strips are preferable to removable in-shower bath mats.

Bathroom grab bars: ideally these should be anchored into the wall, but if that’s not possible opt for a safety rail clamped onto the side of the tub.

Quality step ladder: purchase a broad-based heavy-duty step ladder with a hand-hold bar across the top to safely reach items stored out of reach.

Lighting: whether it’s making a bathtub brighter or installing motion-activated night lights in the hallway, better lighting can help prevent falls and make hobbies, reading, etc. more enjoyable. Lighting improvements might be as simple as changing the bulbs (to higher wattages or to bulbs that mimic daylight instead of “yellow” soft lighting) or adding battery-operated units.

 

CONVENIENCE FACTORS

Hand shower: convert a standard fixed shower head into a hand-held system with a flexible hose.

Raised toilet seats: no need to buy a new toilet when a removable seat can be added to most standard toilets.

Mail catcher: mail delivered via a slot in the door may be easier to retrieve than from a mail box, especially if a narrow basket is mounted below the door opening so the recipient doesn’t have to pick mail off the floor.

Knobs: replace round door and/or faucet knobs with lever styles, which are easier to turn. Likewise, loop pulls can make drawers easier to open.

Eating: specially-designed cups and eating utensils can minimize food spills, including weighted options that help counterbalance shake-prone hands.

Cooking utensils: lightweight and ergonomically-designed options are readily available now, many offering non-slip handles and bright, attractive colors.

Keep things handy: move often-used items to easy-to- access locations.

Eliminate excess “stuff”: having fewer items to store, sort, juggle and handle can make aging in place an easier and more enjoyable proposition.

 

 

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 2:34 am
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How to Sell your Home, Several Simple Steps to Increase the Value of you Home

This is scary, challenging and exciting all at the same time. The thought of selling your biggest investment.  Well being wise and realistic you'll do fine. I knw you're thinking you can do the FSBO, of course as a realtor I don't believe in FSBO (For Sale By Owner), here you have your biggest asset and you have a fulltime job and know you are thinking of taking on this huge endeavor, is this smart?  Do you know how much time it will take? Do you have experience in selling a home? Marketing a home, Interacting with potential buyers?  Do you know what to say and how to close the deal or negotiate?  What are these values worth?

The right realtor will make the cost of their services pay off, they will make you as much money as possible and will engage with potential buyers and buyers agents.  Well let's get down to why you are here.

Here are some steps to get your home prepared for selling for the maximum amount.

1. Curb Appeal, this is the first impressions a potential buyer will see your home, beside the pictures online.  Clean the yard, make the yard attractive, simple plants and bark in the beds can make your yard stand out from other homes for sale.

2. The first thing to do is to declutter your home, this means getting rid if all the excess items, possibly too many chairs in the living room, too much furniture is a turn off. The rooms should feel larger and by minimizing them, making the rooms look clean, larger this will give the rooms more volume. Clean your home, this means dusting, washing windows, this means deep cleaning and keep it clean, you never know when a potential buyer will want to see your home.

3.  Make necessary repairs, do a walk thru and look at everything and make a list, that is what a good inspector will do and you'll loose money on the house if there any issues. Once you have the list, prioritize the list and go over the list with your realtor, they can help make key judgments on what should be repaired or replaced.

4.  Prepare a list of what you like about the house and what repairs and improvements you've made on the property.

5.  How about another list of what shops, restaurants and other great places are around your home that buyers can associate with and can see the proximity of these places. Anything special like this: "Look thru Living room window to see the Space Needle", "Walk to the Waterfront", "Pike Place Market are within walking distance from the house".

6.  Once you hire a realtor to represent your home, they will provide a CMA, (Comparative Market Analysis) which will have comparative properties to provide you with a good idea of what your home is worth and what price range the home can sell for.  A realtor is here to provide you with details and information and it is your job top make the decision on price from t he information they have provided. It's important to try to leave the emotion out of this process and try to look at it as a business transaction. i know that's tough, but emotions get in the way of a realistic price. Emotions increase the price.  Keep your emotions out, be realistic what your home is worth, otherwise it's a waste of time to try to sell an overpriced home

7.  Tell your friends and neighbors that you are selling your home, word of mouth is an incredible power full source, utilize it. Spread the word.

With the right presentation and price and terms, it should sell fast in the right market.

Good luck on your home sale and I hope you do well.

Contact me to help you sell your home.

 

Tom Fine

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 9:30 am
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