Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Recipe for Smoother Closing

My Grandmother's pound cake recipe will not work unless I use the right ingredients, exact measurements, bake in the right pan and at the right temperature while standing on my left foot whistling "Dixie." But it's well worth the effort when it turns out perfectly!

Getting a loan through underwriting and to closing has become more challenging but at least no one has to whistle!  But like the recipe, we have to have all the right ingredients - full application, all required documentation, full disclosures of funds, full disclosure of property conditions and enough time to bake it up just right.

Yes, underwriters are asking for more documentation and asking more questions than ever before.  We, at Coldwell Banker Mortgage, are working to get all of the ingredients prepared and ready to go before we put it in the oven.
You can help by being prepared and to have your documentation available even before application. Loans ARE closing and business is booming. However, there is no allowance for assumptions or missing pieces of information.  Thank you for all your help in making this a team effort.

~Melanie Troutman

Monday, February 27, 2012

Persistence & Communication Key in Buying a Foreclosure

What’s Behind The Blue Door of Real Estate


We recently worked with a buyer who was purchasing a foreclosure – it went under contract in August of 2011. Later, a lien was discovered on the property that the bank’s attorney had not found.  The buyer’s agent negotiated with the bank to absorb the lien. They submitted weekly extensions to the contract due to the delay during this negotiation. The bank agreed to pay off the lien and the buyer got to close in January.

Yes, it C – L – O – S – E – D …

It seems like everything we hear is negative when buying foreclosures, but what we aren’t hearing much of are stories like this that result in a positive outcome. The road is tough but the persistence pays off.

Often times buying a foreclosure seems daunting because buyers aren’t sure how to start preparing for what can happen in the process. Yes, it can be confusing.

This home closed because the buyer knew what he was up against and understood these things. Importantly, he chose Marshall Morgan, a qualified Realtor he trusted from our High Point office, to help him weed out the confusion, deal with the bank and communicate on his behalf. Together they held on until the process was over and the home was finally theirs.

So, the moral to the story is:  hang tough through the transaction, ensure you have good agent representation, keep a calm head and remember, communication is key.

Well, two morals to the story…even though it is required, good thing the buyer did a title search.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Video is more important ...and easier... than ever

What's Behind The Blue Door of Real Estate?

Successfully uploaded video.  It was done as simply as it sounds. 

Yes, I did say that. And the group of agents at our Burlington office who attended The Power of Video and Blogging skills class yesterday would agree as well. They followed a simple action plan and added another tool in their marketing toolbox – video. 
You see, this wasn’t just a 'techie' group of people but agents of various ages and experience levels. The technology they brought was very comprehensive: we had an iPad, several SmartPhones, many laptops, a Flip camera and a regular camera that took video (the agent who owned it didn't realize it would take video - most agents relate to this, can you?). 

He too successfully uploaded video and said he was empowered.

Image from
Let’s see why these agents are embracing video marketing:

Video is changing the real estate industry!

• YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine, behind its parent Google, with 4 billion + views/day
•That is a 25% increase over last 8 months
• 60 hours video uploaded every minute, an increase from 48 hours in May
• Coldwell Banker is changing the real estate industry & has connected their agents to the consumer through YouTube
• On Location is the Coldwell Banker YouTube channel with 3,280,000+ views
• 73% homeowners are more likely to list with a Realtor who offers video
• Only 12% of real estate industry currently have YouTube accounts

Are you capturing the 73%?   Be empowered to do video.  

I gathered a lot of good info from David Marine, Senior Director for Consumer Engagement & John Murray, Director of Regional Marketing both with Coldwell Banker Real Estate along with a few other sites like &

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lakefront living 10 minutes from town

Ahhh, I would like to escape to the Timberlake Lodge at Lissara, right underneath the soaring heron Cindy Hodnett mentioned in her article in this past weekend's Winston-Salem Journal HomePlace.

The Lake at Lissara is a 254-acre low-impact neighborhood endorsed by beloved American realist artist & designer Bob Timberlake, who has guided many aspects of the community. Timberlake's design influence can be seen in special details throughout the neighborhood such as in the entrance layout, street signs and the 'Timberlake Lodge.' His portrayal of a simple life lived in North Carolina epitomizes Life Lived Well at Lissara.

Lots start at $72,500 and currently there are 5 spec homes ranging in price from $365,900 - $749,300. Contact the Lissara  Marketing Group at 336-462-9160 or visit the website.

Click image to view larger or to print

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sound off: Better audio for your videos

What's Behind The Blue Door of Real Estate?

Do you remember that last video you had gradually turned all the way up, which you still couldn't hear and when the scene changed from outdoors to indoors, you and the whole building got blasted out of your chair? Of course you remember. 

Our goal is to attract, retain and capture our real estate audience through video marketing. Good audio is key in real estate video - according to this Inman News article, consumers will deal with mediocre video but will tune out the video due to mediocre audio. They will quickly lose interest and move on. 

One common denominator in video quality is audio. Yes, sound...and it can make the video or surely break it.

Here are a few options to help produce better audio for your videos 

Consider purchasing an external microphone (a minimum investment).

  • It can add tremendous value to your video's sound quality 
  • A wireless mic is a little more expensive, but you can add flexibility by clipping it on your clothing if you choose to narrate while recording
Narrate the video during the editing stage, rather than when the video is actually being recorded.
  • The voice over will be much clearer
  • A voice over offers flexibility in addition to better sound 
  • Go into closet or a small, carpeted room to narrate (if needed)
  • Obviously, we are all human so if you make a mistake or have a change, it is much easier to correct by rerecording your voice instead of the video clip (or editing out the voice)
Background music is another component that adds to the quality and sound of an engaging video.
  • Be choosy and appropriate with your music selection 
  • Avoid music with lyrics - it's a distraction
  • Protect yourself by being mindful of copyright laws  
  • Consider using the same music to begin and end your video to create a "signature song" for your video
While we real estate professionals are becoming more acclimated to video marketing, we find the learning curve is easier to get ahead of when we implement tips we learn from professionals we trust. So, 'check, check' your mic & make some noise - Good quality noise!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Good Time to Lock In

What's Behind The Blue Door of Real Estate?

As part of the Temporary Payroll Tax Continuation Act of 2011, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are required to increase their Guarantee Fee (G-Fee) by at least 10 basis points (1/100 of 1%) beginning April 1st. This money will be paid to the US Treasury.

What does this means to us? Conventional mortgage rates will go up to compensate for the increase in the G-Fee. It is expected that rates will go up more than the required 10 basis points because of the uncertainty of where this is going. Most lenders are increasing the rates in the next few weeks - some have already done so.