The Art of Conversation

The Art of Conversation is quite simple!  It is a matter of creating something worth talking about!!

So what causes a great conversation piece?  Anything that gets other people interested enough to want to have a conversation with you and anyone else who chimes in!

So you may be saying: easier said than done!  Not really.  Watch.  Let’s talk about social media, shall we?  See, I asked a question and in your reading this, you probably answered!  There you have it.  The start of a conversation!

And the point is……?  It isn’t about you writing all over your wall, say on facebook.  It is about other people commenting about or liking what you posted.  A successful post is one that has enough folks intrigued enough that they contribute to the discussion.  I say that I really like when I see more of my friends posting on my page than me!  Then I know that they came and visited and re-connected!

So here are some tips to get you on your way having fun and fulfilling conversations, especially on the internet through social media sites.

  • Ask a question
  • Provoke thought
  • Acknowledge your friends and followers
  • Touch someone’s heart
  • Hang a picture or video whether serious or funny, home grown or professional

For example . . .

Asking questions:  What was the best thing that happened to you today?  Some days you just want to ….?  Anybody see the movie __________?

Provoke thought:  This week, I will …. , If you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?  What is the best thing that happened to you today?

Acknowledge people.  Hey, just look for reasons to complement someone and give them a ‘shout out’ to them on your page.  Birthdays are the easiest to acknowledge, by the way.

Touch someone’s heart:  Watch This

Hang something on your wall:

And while you are at it, just have fun with it!!  Yes it is that simple.

0 comments | Written by Theresa Barnabei in: Tools |

You Tube Downloader Gets A New Look!!

Just giving you a heads up!!  You Tube Downloader has a new look!

The functionality remains the same even though this is a new version!

If  you don’t currently use You Tube Downloader, search for it on Google and download the AlterVista version.  Have fun with it!

Want to know more about why you should have this really cool tool.

Check this out!


Alternative Listing Databases

In today’s high tech world of real estate agents should know that consumers are consistently using databases on the internet to find properties in places other than traditional MLS systems. Here are a few of the top sites being used by consumers, the link to them and a few facts you should know in regard to exploring these sites. They can be utilized by listing agents as a value added service and used by buyer representatives as an additional channels to find your buyers the home of their dreams. Just click on the name of the site to connect.


A free property listing database within Google that has the additional feature of placing a listing location on Google maps. You can link directly back to your website or the original location of the listing information.


You can list properties for free on Craigs List. You are able to upload photos and links. In addition consider using Craigs List as a way of providing items of value in the classified or real estate section. You could offer FREE market reports, tips that buyers and sellers should know and other reports and information to drive Craigs List traffic to your site.


A service which will distribute your listings to multiple internet sites


Although Yahoo does charge a fee for listings, those buyers and sellers who are devoted Yahoo users will find additional value in the listing of properties on this site.


The most misunderstood real estate site on the internet. Although Zillow creates automated valuations of properties, it is also a great listing database, a way to interact with consumers and a way to connect with future clients. Did you know you can change the zestimate for a home? Create your own estimate? Edit a home’s facts to make Zillow more accurate?

You can learn more about how to use Zillow with Course Creators video training cd, “Maximizing Zillow and Trulia”


With over 5 million unique visitors who are in the buying process and also looking for agents, you can post your listings for free on Trulia.You can also engage in direct conversations with interested buyers and sellers through Trulia voices. You can create open house invites and post pictures of your listings.

You can learn more about how to use Zillow with Course Creators video training cd, “Maximizing Zillow and Trulia”


101 Things Agents Do

The vast majority of consumers have no idea what a real estate agent does. We strongly recommend that in today’s market you need to have at your fingertips a list of “value added” services that you provide. The longer the better. Help counter the typical consumer statement that agents are overpaid which is based on a lack of understanding of what we do as professionals. Here is a partial list to get you started. Feel free to take our list, copy it, link to it, add to it and make it your own:


1. Provide access to MLS listing database of homes for sale

2. Research all comparable sales in the neighborhood

3. Analyze market conditions and projections

4. Explain past market performance

5. Analyze all homes for sale in the neighborhood to assess your home’s marketing position

6. Counsel home sellers on the process of listing and selling their home

7. Familarize buyers with the neighborhood and market demographics for your home

8. Create, schedule and publish video tours

9. Discuss timing of the sale and the pricing of the home in order to meet your expectations

10. Schedule open houses to attract buyers

11. Prepare for open houses with announcements, postings and signage

12. Arrange for the placement of the For Sale Sign

13. Provide and create flyers for the sale of the home

14. Draft and create print advertisements of the home

15. Take safeguard precautions to minimize risks of loss and vandalism that occur during open houses

16. Receive and review offers from potential buyers

17. Review the buyer’s LSR and analyze the provisions of their loan to assure that they can get financing

18. Present and discuss all offers that are received

19. Check to make certain that all advertising is in compliance with the Code of Ethics and Fair Housing requirements

20. Outline the pros and cons of offers received from potential buyers

21. Thoroughly review the entire listing contract and all accompanying documentation regarding the signing of the listing agreement

22. Negotiate the offer with the buyer and/or their agent

23. Thoroughly review the offer and all it’s terms

24. Explain your legal obligations as a seller in the area of disclosure

25. Answer phone calls and inquiries regarding your property

26. Arrange and schedule showings of your properties at the request of buyers and/or their agents

27. Draft any necessary addendums and clauses that are necessary to the purchase contract

28. Help you review and fill out the mandatory Lead Based Paint Disclosure required from all sellers

29. Provide the appropriate SPDS form for the disclosure of all known conditions required of every seller

30. Guide you through and inform you of the status of the buyer’s loan with requests for periodic updates

31. Monitor and coordinate the escrow process and the handling of the earnest money deposit

32. Counsel you on the rules surrounding the handling of the earnest money deposit

33. Schedule and arrange the necessary inspections requested by the buyer

34. Schedule and arrange access to the home for the appraiser

35. Schedule and arrange the termite inspection and accomodate the buyer’s requests for information

36. Assist in making certain that the buyer gets the necessary HomeOwners Association information

37. Follow up with all prospective buyers who appear during open houses

38. Explain the nature of agency relationships and the way that agency relationships work in real estate transactions

39. Act in a manner that is in accordance with the Code of Ethics to fulfill all obligations to you as the seller

40. Field calls from all advertising and generate interest in the home through marketing efforts

41. Counsel you on periodic price changes that may be demanded due to changes in market conditions

42. Point out areas that are likely to be targetted by buyers on any requests for repairs

43. Provide counseling and guidance in regard to showing so that the home gets its best appearance

44. Locate and provide area and street maps to potential buyers

45. Review the BINSR request from the buyer and review with you the buyer’s requests for repairs

46. Be available on evenings and weekends when buyers are most likely to want to see your home

47. Counsel and guide you through your responses to the buyer’s requests for repairs

48. Provide professional references for any repairs that might decide to make in order to complete the sale

49. Review the preliminary title report received from the escrow company

50. Make certain that all requirements on the preliminary title report are being met and handled prior to closing

51. Check to make certain that the buyer has supplied title with necessary documentation and any power of attorney forms

52. Check the preliminary title report for the status of liens, encumbrances and taxes

53. Monitor the deadlines and timeframes that are contained in the purchase contract

54. Negotiate necessary changes in those timelines

55. Counsel you on the pros and cons of addendums regarding changes in the timelines

56. Advise you on the appraisal process and your role in the appraisal process as a seller

57. Keep the contract in check by issuing cure notices when necessary

58. Provide regular updates and status reports regarding the progress of the transaction

59. Assist you in relocation or buying another property

60. Co-ordinate multiple same day showings

61. Counsel and advise on the handling of multiple offers regarding the property

62. Handle negotiations of offers and counteroffers with buyers and their agents

63. Review completed disclosure forms to insure compliance with required disclosure obligations of all sellers

64. Answer and address questions posed by buyers regarding the property and its condition

65. Help you understand the process of the transaction

66. Perform a curb appeal assessment at the time of listing

67. Provide days on market analysis

68. Provide a full Comparative Market Analysis regarding your property

69. Counsel on the necessity and advantages of a home warranty program

70. Obtain plat map from the title company

71. Review title company charges and fess

72. Collect utility information and advise on the handling of utilities at the time of transfer

73. Discuss and advise on the exchange of occupancy

74. Update and monitor status of MLS listing to “Sale Pending”

75. Advise and monitor removal of loan contingency

76. Contact and discuss loan status with buyers loan representative

77. Confirm the processing of the buyers loan

78. Check on the status of delivery of buyers loan documents to the title company

79. Confirm the completion of all repairs

80. Coordinate the collection of the repair invoices and receipts

81. Deliver all receipts and invoices to the title company as required

82. Confirm the buyers acquisition of insurance on the home at the time of purchase

83. Review the HUD-1 Settlement statement and correct all inaccuracies

84. Make certain that all funds are being handled appropriately

85. Maintain the proper status of the For Sale sign, updating as sold and removing after transaction

86. Co-ordinate and schedule the closing of the transaction

87. Negotiate and arrange any final extensions of the closing date that may be necessary

88. Counsel and advise you on the closing process

89. Schedule all final walk through inspections that are demanded by the buyer

90. Attend and address issues raised in the final walk through inspections

91. Final check with the escrow officer to make certain that all required documentation is in place

92. Review the closing documents

93. Attend and accompany you to the closing to address any issues that you might have

94. Advise and counsel you on the final transfer of funds

95. Assist in the providing of wiring instructions on the day of  closing to the title company

96. Assist in the transmission and delivery of any final documentation that may be required by title

97. Review and explain the role of title insurance in your transaction

98. Assist in the correction of any errors or mistakes in the final closing documents

99. Arrange for the exchange of keys and possession

100. Help counsel and advise you on the final handling of utilities

101. Thank you for your business and earn your trust for every real estate transaction you undertake


Great Questions to Ask Any Seller

Creating a relationship and trying to uncover the true motives, fears and goals of our clients depends on how good we are at digging deep. The less we talk and the more we listen the more we will learn about how to really serve their needs and exceed their expectations. From our experience and the input of dozens of agents these are all questions that will help you dig deep with your seller. Consider using some of these questions in your next listing presentation.

1. Tell me about your past experiences with real estate agents.

2. What did you like most about what your last agent did? What did you like the least?

3. What do you like most about your home? Why?

4. How will we know if we have priced your home correctly?

5. Do you have a proper network to sell the home yourself, such as an attorney, a home inspector, a termite inspector and an escrow officer?

6.. If you are considering selling your home yourself, have you considered security issues about people being in your home?

7. What’s important to you is important to me. Tell me what you want this transaction to look like?

8. Tell me about the reasons behind you deciding to sell?

9. How long have you been considering the sale of your home?

10. Tell me about the conversations you have had with each other or family members about selling your home?

11. Have you worked with a real estate agent before? Why aren’t you using them this time?

12. What one thing could I do today to make my representation of you perfect?

13. Have you interviewed other agents? Tell me about how you felt about them?

14. What do you think the biggest challenge will be in getting your home sold?

15. How long are you willing to wait to find the right buyer?

16. Are there other family members who will be helping or assisting you with the decisions that we have to make as we work together?

17. What types of marketing do you think would work best with your home? Why?

18. Have you searched the internet and looked for other homes for sale? Which sites did you visit?

19. If you could have this transaction and relationship be any way you wanted, what would you like?

20. Have you visited other homes for sale in your neighborhood? Tell me what you learned by doing that?

21. Do you have a sales price in mind for your home? What factors did you consider in arriving at that price?

22. What are you most afraid or apprehensive about regarding the sale of your home?

23. What one thing is most important to you in the sale of your home?

24. If you had the opportunity to tell a buyer just one thing about your home, what would that be?

25. How often would you like to receive communication and status reports from me? In what medium would you like to receive those?

26. When you contact me, what do you consider to be an acceptable response time?

27. How would you like to communicate?

28. Do you have an amount of money in mind that you would like to walk away from this transaction with? Why is that number important to you? What would you do with those funds?

29. If I can meet all of the objectives and goals you have are you willing to hire me tonight?

30. Do you know yet where you will be relocating to? Would you like some assistance in finding an individual there to help you?

31. Do you know that I also help my clients as buyers while we are in the process of selling their home?

32. At the end of this transaction what are you looking forward to the most after the sale of this home?

33. Have you ever tried to sell a home yourself? Tell me about that experience.

We want to help you be a collaborator. There is more power in all of us working together than there is any of us working separately. Would you please share with us one great question that you would ask any seller? You can add it as a comment to this post. We look forward to your contribution.


Can You Afford To Rent??

The “Should I rent or buy” dilemna is usually in the forefront of a home buyers mind.  And there is nothing like having the facts in black and white that will help you make that decision, especially if the decision is strictly a monetary one.

One of the best Rent vs. Buy Calculators is hosted on the Trulia website.  Seeing as how about 5 million folks visit Trulia each month, this calculator probably gets used quite a bit.

We recommend that you play around with it and see the reality of renting vs. owning.  Here is the calculator.  Have at it!

0 comments | Written by Theresa Barnabei in: Tools | Tags: , , ,

The Danger of Internet Lenders in Arizona

As a buyer in Arizona you are free to choose any lender with whom you would like to work. You can choose a local company, a national bank or an internet lender. The choice of your financing entity is entirely up to you. However, it is not a choice you should make lightly. Any lender you choose to work with must work in conjunction with you, your real estate agent and your escrow/title company.

In Arizona our standard real estate purchase contract requires you as the borrower to tender an LSR (Loan Status Report) with your offer. Normally the LSR is completed by your lender and states the type of loan you are obtaining and verifies for the seller the status of your qualifying for the loan with which you plan on purchasing the property.  If you choose an internet lender you should make certain that they are willing to complete an Arizona Loan Status Report (LSR) that you can attach to your offer. While it is true that the lender does not have to sign the LSR and you can simply indicate as the borrower that you will obtain financing within 5 days of the offer’s acceptance, most listing agents will discount the seriousness of an offer not tendered with a fully completed LSR. That means that if you work with a lender who refuses to complete this form for you and your real estate professional that you may have difficulty in getting your offer accepted.

This is just one of the many reasons why you should choose your lender carefully and work with someone you know and trust. We would recommend that you get the input of your real estate professional regarding any lender that you are considering using in the transaction and get your agent’s input as to how that might affect you in the real estate transaction.

The standard AAR Residential Purchase Contract also obligates you as the buyer to provide periodic Loan Status Updates (LSU’s) to the seller and/or listing agent. If you work with a lender who is not willing to complete this form it is possible that you could be forced as the buyer into the cancellation of your contract and risk the possible loss of your earnest money deposit.

Choosing a lender is serious business. Work with lenders that you know, trust and can rely on in any purchase of real estate.

Course Creators is a national education company. We receive no referral fees and have nothing to gain from whichever lender you choose to work with. This information is provided only for the purpose of assisting you in researching your potential lender in a real estate transaction.


Questions to Ask Any Lender

The process of choosing a lender is an important step in buying your home. Buying a home is the single biggest investment you are ever likely to make and your choice of professionals to assist you in that process requires some effort on your part. Not just choosing the lender who offers you the best interest rate over the phone. Here are some fundamental questions you may want to ask of any lender before you ask them to help you with the purchase of your home.

1. Can the lender be found in the National Mortgage Licensing System database and can the lender be found in the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions database?

Lenders are regulated and tracked nationally through a system known as NMLS. All loan officers are required as of January 1, 2010 to be registered within the system. In the State of Arizona, loan officers and their brokerages are also regulated by the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions. You can look up licensees in the AZDFI database.

2. Will the lender provide a list of past clients as references from whom you can get a testimonial?

You should ask the lender for references of past clients. Reputable lenders will have a reference list available. You should call these past clients and hear from them first hand what their experience was with the lender. Ask if their questions were answered. Ask if they were treated fairly. Ask them if the loan process was well explained.

3. Can the lender provide the names of past real estate agents with whom they worked?

Most lenders work closely with real estate professionals in funding real estate transactions. Find out what real estate agents think of the lender’s handling of the loan process. If you are having any difficulty locating the agent, you can find the contact information for Arizona real estate professionals on the Arizona Department of Real Estate’s website under the information for Consumers.

4, Is the lender a member of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) and the Arizona Association of Mortgage Brokers?

Both of these organizations are trade associations to which mortgage brokers and loan officers belong. You can a list of NAMB members on the NAMB website. The website for the Arizona Association of Mortgage Brokers also maintains a list of members in good standing.

5. Is the lender a member of the Southern Arizona Mortgage Lenders Association (SAMLA)?

Another trade organization is SAMLA. You can find a llist of their members on their website.

6. Can you find the lender on Linkedin and have you read their recommendations?

Linkedin is site for business professionals to network. You can establish a linkedin account for free. Under the profile section on the site, it is easy for Linkedin users to collect recommendations from people they have worked with. Go to Linkedin, search their name and read what others have to say about working with a particular lender or loan officer.

7. Have you searched the loan officer and their company on Google?

It’s amazing the things you will discover by googling the names of individuals. Just go to Google and search the name.

8. Have you looked for the lender on facebook?

Many lenders and real estate professionals are currently maintaining facebook accounts. You can see the dialogue that they are having with their clients and customers and even ask them preliminary questions about representing you in a real estate transaction.

Course Creators is an national education company. We receive no referral fees and have nothing to gain from whichever lender you choose to work with. This information is provided only for the purpose of assisting you in researching your potential lender in a real estate transaction.


How to Find Out What Your Client Knows About Closing?

Do you ever wonder why your buyer client’s think they are going to get the keys at closing? Do client’s sometimes seem surprised that you are writing the contract rather than a lawyer? Is your seller upset because they will not be able to close using a power of attorney that they have used in many other situations?

Each of these problems stems from the fact escrow and title issues vry greatly from state to state. As real estate professionals we tend to forget that we live in a relocation area and that the closing and escrow process that they have been using in one geographic location is totally different from another. What if there was a way for you to find out exactly what process your client was previously familiar with so that you knew exactly what clarification and explanation you needed to give. Such an information does exist. It is located on a site called and you should be using it to find out what escrow and closing processes were used in the state your client is coming from.

Just click on the Route 66 Icon to the right and the road will take you to an alphabetical listing of states. Look up  your client’s former state of residence and will know what process was used in that geographic location. Then in your client meetings you will exactly what education you need to provide without even having to answer the question. Your clients will be amazed that you know so much about their home state. Isn’t that what being a professional was suppose to be about anyway?


What REO Buyers & Sellers Should Know About Subdivisions

Subdivision law can be complex and in Arizona failure to comply with it poses significant legal risks to the people involved in a real estate transaction. Contrary to popular opinion you don’t have to be a developer, a contractor or even create a lot line to get labeled a subdivider:

By law, A.R.S. 32-2101(54) states you are a subdivider if you own or have owned 6 or more lots in a single platted subdivision and offer any number of them for sale. All subdividers are required to obtain a Public Report(s) prior to offering lots for sale in accordance with A.R.S 32-2181 et seq. and Commissioner’s Rule R4-28-B1207.It is the act of selling that requires a Public Report, not ownership. There is no time limit connected with this. It makes no difference when you acquired or sold a lot. Upon acquiring fee title or an equitable interest in the 6th lot within a single platted subdivision, a Public Report is required prior to its sale.

You could purchase and sell 2 lots every five years and as soon as you acquire an interest in the 6th lot and offer the lot/lots for sale, you would be in violation if you did not obtain a Public Report.

This means that a bank or lender who forecloses on more than 5 properties in a single platted subdivision may be required to get a public report before offering REO properties for sale. ADRE has taken the position that this is the intent of the statute and has begun informing lenders of potential violations.

Violations of Arizona subdivision law is a felony and currently accounts for several disciplinary actions which you can find by checking the Arizona Department of Real Estate’s Bulletin.

Anyone who could potentially be labeled as an owner of 6 or more parcels should:

1.  Contact the Arizona Department of Real Estate’s Development Services Division

2. Read ADRE’s Red Flag Checklists concerning subdivisions

3. Review the ADRE Subdivision Brochure

4. Consult legal counsel about complying with the statute and potential liability.

Nothing in this blog post should be considered legal or tax advice. As with all complex real estate issues you should always consult a legal or tax professional for appropriate counseling and advice before taking any action.

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