Construction din around our rental is driving me crazy

View from our living room of the construction hell below.

View from our living room of the construction hell below.

As I draft this post, I am being assaulted by the demolition sounds on the floor above our apartment and by the extraordinary amount of construction in the surrounding blocks.

We live in the desirable neighborhood of Bueng Keng Kang 1, where many expats prefer to live and dine, though there are more expensive parts of Phnom Penh that also are popular.  Even with rents rocketing up, the amount of new construction here astonishes me.

I count Continue reading

Five signs you may be ready for home ownership

Plunging into the purchase of residential property can cause needless anxiety.

Deciding to purchase a new home can be a process that engenders anxiety, sleeplessness and domestic discord.

But it needn’t be so stressful if you follow the advice given by Robin Wright on the RealtyTimes.com blog.

She lists considerations that can help you determine whether you’re ready to take the plunge.  They are the following: Continue reading

‘Pre-qualified’ has become an empty phrase

Pre-approval of a borrower seeking a mortgage is much different from pre-qualification.

You can thank the Dodd-Frank Consumer Protection Act for depriving the term “pre-qualified” of relevance to borrowers in search of financing their home purchase.

That’s not really a bad thing, but it does place a greater burden on borrowers to prove themselves worthy of a mortgage before they present an offer to sellers.

All pre-qualification means is Continue reading

Sellers don’t have to let open houses daunt them

Some houses — you know, b-i-g houses — rarely are open. (Tim Pearce took this flickr photo at Alcatraz.)

Thanks to TV reality shows, some sellers may well be daunted by new takes on open houses.

That needn’t be the case.

The first thing that sellers must keep in mind is that they must not be present at an open house.

Not only does their presence tend to intimidate buyers into keeping closet doors shut, it also tends to cause mouths to shut as well.  Buyers at open houses don’t get to think out loud with a seller in their orbit, notes San Francisco broker Tara-Nicholle Nelson in one of her characteristically good posts on Trulia’s site.

Other of her tips include the following: Continue reading

Late mortgage payments hit credit score hard

(Flickr photo by photosteve101)

When a homeowner is purchasing the next home and needs a mortgage, any payment slips during the previous 12 months is bound to cause pain.

As North Shore Advisory, a credit restoration company, notes in a recent  newsletter:

Most lenders Continue reading

Many things should never be left unsaid. Ever.

Drapes

“Oh, you say you’re taking the drapes? I don’t think so.”

When it comes to the purchase of residential real estate worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions, some matters can stall the signing of a contract or even reduce a settlement to hours of prolonged battle.

Those matters frequently turn on the cost of items the value of which often can be calculated in the hundreds of dollars.

Disputes commonly rest on Continue reading

With real estate offers, who says that life is fair?

(flickr photo by maorix)

Sadly, homebuyers are finding that sellers are in the driver’s seat once again.

And they don’t always play fair.

As lawyer Adam Stone points out in a BrickUnderground.com column, not only do many sellers entertain multiple offers.  They also may work with multiple contracts.  Stone asks a pertinent question: Continue reading

‘This family takes some very strange vacations.’

(Flickr photo by exfordy)

To the extent that questions burn in the business real estate, one centers on family photos: Should they be hidden until the home finds a buyer?

“Honey, do you think that’s a beach in Vietnam?” a prospective purchaser might ask her partner at an open house.

“Hey, look at how many kids they have!”

“It seems like they had one of those weddings.”

“Eeeww, they’re really into religion, aren’t they?”

Some say photos should be banished to a box in the closet.  Others say they make no difference.

I come down somewhere in the middle.  Continue reading

Dirk Zeller: All buyers have their misconceptions

Dirk Zeller

Author, speaker and all-around expert on  real estate, Dirk Zeller maintains that buyers invariably hold misconceptions about agents and the benefits of working them.

In the first of his two blog posts on the RealtyTimes site, he says that some buyers don’t think they need an agent.  Although lots of information is now available on the Internet, says Zeller, that’s not the same as receiving interpretation, analysis, counsel and protection.

Second, the writer argues against the belief in the minds of some buyers that they don’t need Continue reading

Don’t let home suffer humiliation of bad breath

If prospective buyers entering your home end up looking like this, you’ll have to admit you’ve got a problem. (Flickr photo by db2r)

Do you know whether your home smells?

Homeowners sometimes are unaware how offensive to others can be the pungency of Fluffy’s litter box.

In co-operatives, condominiums and rental buildings, the odors of cabbage or ethnic spices assaulting hallways and insinuating themselves through vents not only may irritate neighbors but also drive away prospective buyers as surely as Fluffy’s transgressions.

The mere sautéing of garlic, which is bound to linger in a cook’s apartment, easily penetrates public spaces and the disapproving nasal passages of anyone who traverses them.  And never mind what some perceive as the stench of tobacco smoke, especially from pipes and cigars, as a powerful disincentive to making an offer.

As for marijuana, I imagine approval or disgust may vary considerably according to the individual. Continue reading