Cool Holiday Ideas from HGTV

As most of you know, I am an HGTV  junkie. This year HGTV seems to have gone all out featuring new shows for the holidays. I am loving it! The HGTV website is loaded with tons of ideas to make your home sparkle this season.

Just some of the ideas featured are:

Decking the Halls with a Glittering Christmas Tree

Festive Fireplaces

Seasonal Recipes

Table Decor

Chic Gift Wrapping Ideas

And So Much More! Tis’ the Season to Brighten Up Your Home! Get some great ideas by watching HGTV’s holiday shows and by visiting their website! You may become a junkie, too!

Happy Holidays from Kim SchreinerKim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX Affiliates, NE
The #1 RE/MAX Office in the City of Philadelphia
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149

Agents Making A Move, Pt. 3 … thee end … for now.

8 months has passed by already … 8 months since I became a RE/MAX agent. If you aren’t an agent, this blog will probably bore you. But if you are an agent or thinking of becoming one, then by all means .. KEEP READING!

It’s been a while since I last updated my blog, especially on this topic! That’s a good thing. I’ve been busy. Unimaginably busy! My move has paid off in so many different ways. I cannot tell you how happy I am that I took the leap, and by doing so, I grew my business, my sphere and my reputation in the industry. It’s been a helluva ride  that I am sharing with you because I know how scary it can be to jump ship! I am now working with the industry leader most known for its caliber of agents and its overall presence in the marketplace, worldwide.

Agents, I cannot lie … I do have an ulterior motive for wanting you to check out my firm; but I can’t share that publicly, so call me if you want to hear allllll about it. I’d be happy to talk to you! 215-335-6900.

RE/MAX - Experience SELLS

There has not been one negative thing about my new company. My broker is always available, day and night to help when needed. The other agents in my office are always willing to lend a hand and they all have nothing but great things to say about the company they work with! The overall “personality” of the office is so full of energy, fun, humor … just a big difference from the “other” place … and you can see why RE/MAX agents are so successful.  We have drive — and most of us have a major “addiction” to real estate.  The other night, a fellow agent made that comment to me and and I thought that was a very good way of talking about real estate .. it IS an addiction, a beneficial, positive addiction.

My name is Kim Schreiner and I am happily addicted to REAL ESTATE.

I am glad I became a part of this team. If you are interested in inquiring about becoming part of such a fabulous office (the Number #1 RE/MAX Office in Philadelphia) give Alan Stasson a call at 215-335-6900. Or, visit his website, (be sure to check out the commission calculator) and if you don’t believe the difference, then give ME a call. I have a nice spreadsheet to share with you that shows the difference of my REAL sales in 2009 at the “other” place vs. RE/MAX (same work, mo’ money – you get paid like the professional you are)! Yep, sometimes it IS about you, your family, and getting what you are WORTH.

I’m good at what I do. Are you? I work hard, very hard. Do you? If you answered yes, then why are you paying your current broker so much for YOUR HARD WORK? 

If you are reading this far, you must be asking yourself that already.

Stop paying for your broker’s vacations!
If you can sell 8 or more properties per year, then maybe it’s time to consider a career move to better YOUR career.

Since when did I become a recruiter?
Back to my ulterior motives that I cannot share publicly, but I am NOT a recruiter. I am very happy I took a chance on myself, it paid off. Just sharing my happiness with my fellow agents who are still giving away a big chunk of their hard earned money and not getting much in return.  Another thought provoking question for you … figuratively speaking …

Maybe it’s time to consider taking YOUR happy pill?

At RE/MAX Affiliates NE … the split I have with my firm … I get A LOT in return. For each sale … they mail out JUST SOLD postcards for me, it’s a no brainer, I just check a box on my closing sheet.

Although I like to do a lot of my Internet marketing myself, it’s not for everyone! An added bonus (double advertising for me, yes, sometimes again, it IS ABOUT YOU, and Alan is all about marketing his agents) – all office listings automatically get posted on YOUTUBE and Craigslist, saving loads of time! Another perk? Free breakfast once a month at our office meetings .. come on … bacon, eggs and coffee on your boss? Nice. 

1 hour of your time with a down to earth, hands on broker can put THOUSANDS in YOUR pocket. When I say thousands, I can prove it. Call me about my lil’ spreadsheet …

No brainer.

Kim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX Affiliates, NE
The #1 RE/MAX Office in the City of Philadelphia
Office: 215.335.6900
Cell: 215.510.2149

Deer Virgin:

First Time Home Buyers Property Virgins Deer in Headlights

First Time Home Buyers - Deer in the Headlights Don't Let This Be YOU!

Ahhh the first time home buyer experience. I have to say I love working with first timers. They are so excited to be taking the leap into home ownership, proud that they have come this far on their life journey. I find that many “virgins”  really do not understand the entire process of what it takes to get from POINT A to CLOSING and getting your new set of keys… kinda like deer in the headlights.

My goal is to walk you through the steps explaining each along the way so that you have a clear picture of what is going on, what you are signing and to answer every question that you may have as best as I possibly can. There are many steps to climb throughout the process of buying a home, some can be scary (the home inspection) and some thrilling (finally getting those keys). Buying a house is a roller coaster ride so fasten your seatbelts and let’s go!

Step 1 – THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT YOU NEED TO DO FIRST – Get a mortgage preapproval. Call a lender, whomever you bank with is a good place to start or ask around for referrals from friends, family or your agent. Be sure to ask the lender to disclose their fees upfront.  Get your preapproval BEFORE you start looking for your new home. Don’t you want to know what you can afford before you shop?

Step 2 – Be comfortable in your preapproval. What does that mean? I don’t want to see you as a foreclosure statistic in a few years! So … you’ve been preapproved for a 300,000.00 loan? OK, Great! Now ask yourself – do you want the MONTHLY mortgage payment that comes with a 300,000.00 loan? Your mortgage payment typically includes Principal, Interest, real estate Taxes and home owners Insurance (PITI as we were taught in real estate class). If you put less than a 20% down payment towards the loan, you may have to pay PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) until your reach 80/20 Loan to Value (LTV). PMI stays with the loan until you reach “80/20 LTV” by either paying 20% into the loan over time or if the market takes an upswing, by having the home reappraised to show that you now have 20% equity into the home.  If you are purchasing a condo or looking into a development with a home owners association, you need to also factor in monthly condo/home owner association fees. The bottom line is YOU NEED TO BE COMFORTABLE with YOUR monthly expenses not with what the bank SAYS you can afford. Does that make sense? If so, then let’s go to step 3. If not, then please give me a call (215-510-2149) and I will help you understand.

Step 3 – If you haven’t chosen a real estate agent, please do so now. As a buyer, you need an exclusive buyer’s agent in your court, someone working solely for you to get you the best deal, explain to you all of the steps as you go and to represent your BEST interest throughout the process.

Step 4 – THE FUN PART! Shop! Go over your ideal home with your agent, but be flexible, know what you can do without because no home is perfect. Make a list of everything you want then divide that list into sections of must haves and then things you can do without if need be.  Your agent will have access to a local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) which has the most current information available on the Internet but is only accessible by a licensed real estate professional. Your agent can then send you properties as they become available or are reduced in price that may match your needs. Choose the properties that appeal to you and your agent will make appointments to take you out home shopping. Your agent has a trained eye to pick out the “yucky stuff” that you may not notice as a deer because you are too busy and excited staring at the gleaming hardwood floors and granite countertop. But please remember, most agents are NOT licensed home inspectors, appraisers or building engineers. So please get a home inspection! I am getting a few steps ahead of myself here.

Step 5 – THE ONE. You’ve found it! The moment you walked in you felt IT. You will know what I am referring to when you feel “IT.” Now it’s time to make an offer. Here in PA an offer is not one simple piece of paper saying I want to buy your house for X amount of dollars, please sign here if you are OK with that. Oh No, No, No. You will sit with your agent for about an hour or so signing page after page and discussing contingency after contingency that are all part of the initial offer. Contingencies are “conditions” to the terms of your offer that need to be met in a timely fashion in order to get to closing, the seller must agree to the contingencies of your offer. There are inspection contingencies, insurance contingencies, mortgage contingencies and so on. Time is of the Essence and it is crucial that you stay within the terms of the contract or you could default on the contract. Your agent will make sure that you follow the contractual terms and remind you when things are due. It is NOT a fully executed contract (Agreement of Sale) until buyer and seller have agreed on all of the terms of the offer. Once everything is agreed upon, the date of the last initials is the date that the clock starts ticking!

Step 6 – YAY! Offer accepted! You and your agent have successfully negotiated the terms of the contract with the seller and their  agent. A copy of the Fully Executed Agreement of Sale now needs to go to your lender. Your agent will do this and will work closely with your lender and you to make sure that you meet your mortgage commitment date and contingency. You will need to supply your lender with every piece of paper imaginable to prove that you can qualify for this loan. The days of NO DOC loans are pretty much gone (for now). You will need to look into home owners insurance because you will need to supply your lender with proof that the property is insurable by giving them a copy of the declaration pages. Your lender will order an appraisal on the property (the appraisal process is another blog in itself). You will have a home inspection (a general inspection of the property going over things like the roof, electrical system, plumbing, windows and more), you may have also chosen to have a termite inspection, radon testing, mold testing, lead paint testing, all of which are usually additional charges to the general home inspection.  Make sure your inspector is licensed. Getting your Uncle Joe to inspect the home because he fixes things is not a valid home inspection. As an exclusive buyer’s agent, I would not ever recommend that my clients waive the general home inspection as the expense of one NOW could save you thousands in the future.  Once you’ve gone through the inspection(s), you will need to respond to the report by providing the seller (in writing) with a list of things you want fixed or that you are asking them to credit you for or that you are accepting the house AS IS. Basically, this is like renegotiating the sale because if you and the seller cannot agree as to how to address the report, the deal could die. If you are financing via FHA, they will have their own inspection, but this is NOT the same as a private home inspection. FHA inspections are like a safety checklist. They may have an additional set of repairs required to be completed before they will grant you a loan.

Step 7 – Title Review & Use and Occupancy Certifications. Your agent will look over the title supplied by the title company to make sure there are no liens or judgments against the property and to insure that you are given a free and clear title. If anything comes up on title, it needs to be addressed before settlement! Different townships, cites, counties or boroughs have different, individual guidelines for getting Use and Occupancy Certifications or Township Certifications in order to ‘OK’ transferring title to you. Some townships require that the property be physically inspected whereby the inspector will go over a list of items that need to be met before the home can be transferred to you. Some cities,  townships, etc.  will just run the address through a computer and if there are no violations against the property, they issue a clear U&O certification. Again, your agent will be handling all of these things by working closely with the conveyancer, lenders, title clerks, and cooperating agent.

Step 8 – Hooray! Everyone was able to successfully negotiate the all of the contingencies. You’ve made it. You are over the hurdles. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “I hate the word – contingency.”  Now it’s time to start calling the utility companies to have everything transferred into your name effective the date of settlement. Your agent can provide you with a list of local utility companies.   

Step 9 – DID I LOSE YOU YET?? ARE YOU STILL READING??? Good! This means you are becoming devirginized.

 Step 10 – Settlement is FINALLY here. You have probably spent at least 6 weeks to 2 months or more working with your agent getting you from POINT A to CLOSING.  You arrive at the settlement table and you now sign your life away to the mortgage company. There will be a pile of papers that you will be signing before you are handed your new set of keys. Your lender should be there to explain to you what you are signing.  You will need to bring the balance of whatever you owe towards your down payment, your photo ID and your big smile. Once you’ve signed the mortgage documents the lender’s underwriter will give the final OK and will disburse funds and you are now a happy home owner! Congratulations it’s time to start planning your house-warming party and don’t forget to invite your Real Estate Agent! You may now begin building your future, earning equity, enjoying the nice tax write off, painting, redecorating and kicking up your feet in your most favorite room in your new home!

Whew! And to think this week someone compared my profession to a that of a used car salesman, which I am not knocking used car sales people, we all need to keep a roof over our heads … but I think I do just a little bit more! I haven’t even gotten to what happens on the SELLER’s SIDE!
There's Only ONE 1st Time! Make It A Good One!

There's Only ONE 1st Time! Make It A Good One!

Contact Kim Schreiner:
Kimberly Schreiner, ePRO, Realtor® PA License RS291767
RE/MAX Affiliates, NE
Kim’s Official Website
Cell 215-510-2149 Direct 215-992-1726 Office 215-335-6900
Serving Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery Counties

My Hero!

I seem to write a lot about the programs on HGTV. Maybe because I am the ultimate HGTV addict and I eat, sleep and drink, all things Real Estate.  HGTV is on at my house until they turn off their light and say “Good Night” to me.  Yes, I am an official junkie and may need “intervention” myself.  HGTV recently gave us a wonderful new show and has introduced to me my new hero…  Mr. Mike Aubrey. I love this man.  He’s to the point, no B.S. … a man after my own heart.  Real Estate Intervention is a new series that focuses on overpriced real estate. His goal is to make the seller see that the market has changed and sometimes not in their favor. 

My Hero, Mr. Mike Aubrey

My Hero, Mr. Mike Aubrey

Mike … please come to my area and hold classes on how to properly price a listing. These classes should not only be for home sellers, but their listing agents. The Class on Brass, see I even named the course for you.

Note to home seller:  We as agents understand that you the home seller wants top dollar for your home. Who wouldn’t?  But when a listing is OVERPRICED for current market conditions, the home sits. Any good buyer’s agent is going to explain to their client the home’s real value based on comparable recent sales before making any offer, if the home even gets shown at all.  If you aren’t getting showings, you may have priced your home OUT of the market.

Today’s home buyers are not stupid, do not underestimate them. They have many tools available to them to that will help them understand today’s market, current comparable sales and property values and with the help of their agent can determine their offer, their “fair market value” offer.

I see it over and over, a home seller lists with the agent who told them what they wanted to hear. The agent gave them the highest list price of all the agents they interviewed only to have their home sit on the market much longer than it should have and usually they end up getting much less.

The newest obstacle I am coming across is the agent that does this, knows they overpriced the property and when an offer comes in, that is near asking price or at asking price, the agent says, “Oh, I don’t want to sell that high because I am afraid of appraisal issues.”   …Huh? … What?!!??  Agents … please tell me I am not the only one who has heard this recently? Is it enough to make you want to …. oh nevermind, I won’t go there.

Believe it or not, I have come across this several times in the last month alone.  Not only is this a disservice to their client, the seller, but very unfair to the buyer who looks at you to explain the listing agent’s tactics because they offered asking price (to maybe) get full seller’s assist (up to 6% of purchase price towards closing costs).  Their offer is countered because it is “too high” … again … huh?

Buy Me .... List Price 1,000,000.00

Buy Me .... List Price 1,000,000.00

And so now the appraisal … it comes in too LOW. Now what do you do? Buyer doesn’t want to over pay for the home, would you? And the  seller doesn’t want to reduce the price because the seller thinks their home is worth more. Both sides are understandable. Your options at this point are to renegotiate the price or the buyer must come up with the difference in cash between appraised value and sales price, if the lender agrees to give the buyer a loan for the overpriced property…. or the deal dies and everyone is unhappy. The buyer lost money for inspections and appraisals and the seller lost a qualified buyer and the home goes back on the market … overpriced and sits. And sits.

The moral of the story is whether you are a home-seller or a listing agent .. please do the market and yourself a favor … please list according to the current market conditions. Current market conditions determine the value of a property. Today’s appraisals are predominantly based on sales (closed, settled transactions) within the past 6 months.  Because so many people today are upside down in their homes, because there are so many short sales and foreclosures, all of this takes its toll on property value.

It’s not something a home seller likes to hear, but thank you Mr. Aubrey for bringing it to the public! My hero!

Contact Kim Schreiner:
Kimberly Schreiner, ePRO, Realtor® PA License RS291767
RE/MAX Affiliates, NE
Kim’s Official Website
Cell 215-510-2149 Office 215-992-1726
Serving Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery Counties

Agents Making a Move .. Switching Brokerages, My 1st Week

Whoa! What an exciting week this has been!  My first week at my new office, RE/MAX Affiliates, NE

Great White Shark

Great White Shark

Having been told over and over (brainwashing?) that the real estate giant, RE/MAX would be like working in a shark tank … I immediately found that to be quite the opposite.  Everyone I have come in contact with thus far has been incredibly helpful to me during my transition. The caliber of my fellow agents alone makes RE/MAX a wonderful place to grow and take my career to the next level.

My new office is bustling and full of experienced agents, so their ads hold true. They all seem to be quite happy with their “home away from home” — I’ve met many “names” that I’ve seen around town and there is even an agent who has been featured on one of my favorite shows on HGTV, House Hunters.  I am surrounded by, in my opinion, the best of the best and I am loving that I have become part of their family. So please allow me to dismiss the first myth … RE/MAX agents are not a bunch of piranhas, they are just really good at what they do.

Brazilian Black Piranha

Brazilian Black Piranha

My new broker, Alan Stasson, has followed through on everything he presented to me during my interview process and then some.  If you are thinking of a move yourself, which is why I started this blog …  there wasn’t much on the net to help me .. be sure to interview with many different brokerages before making a decision!! I highly recommend doing this to see whose personality best meshes with YOURS.  Alan seemed quite genuine and he was not pushy. He allowed me to make the decision to come to his office on my own without hounding me, and without knocking the competition, that impressed me, he didn’t need to knock the competition AND most importantly, the fact that he came highly recommended by OTHER AGENTS.  I found that to be something very important during my search for a new home away from home. The opinion of the people that work under someone holds its weight in gold. He has been available to me whenever a question came about, and believe me there have been many during this transition! Feel free to call him personally and ask, 215-335-6900.

This week I listed my first property as a RE/MAX agent … it is already under contract and I have very happy clients, as they say, it’s the experience that counts! I am off and running and looking back I am wondering why it took me so long to make this move in the first place! I already feel at home in my new place.  Now where is the copier again?

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home


Thinking of making a move yourself? Contact me! Whether a home buyer or a home seller (or an agent with transition questions) get in touch with me, I love to help people!

 Kim Schreiner 215.510.2149  REMAX Affiliates NE 215.335-6900

Reality TV and Real Estate

If it weren’t for having a 5 year old, HGTV would be on my television 24 hours a day. Shows like Designed to Sell, Buy Me, Get It Sold, and Hidden Potential  can be great “tools” to ask clients to watch. On shows geared towards sellers, real estate “experts” walk through the property picking out all of the reasons why they feel the home is not selling while the owners sit back, watch, listen and cringe. Typically for about 2,000.00 designers will come in and stage the home. The transformation is amazing sometimes netting a seller thousands in return. While not everyone will have 2000.00 to spend getting their home ready for sale, decluttering a room and a can of paint can work wonders and can completely change the feel of any room.

Other shows like Hidden Potential (which brings an architect along for the ride with buyers through homes they would typically run from upon entering) and shows them the “hidden potential” of the home within the specified budget of the buyer. The show can really help buyers have an open mind and more importantly, vision.

On the down side of reality TV and real estate, some of the things that personally make me either laugh or scream are … how hilarious is it when the agent sits down with the client to write an offer and it’s one piece of paper and they’re done!?! While I am sure they must stay within a specified time frame for the show, this is not true reality TV.  Here in PA, there is a mountain of paperwork that must be completed just to make an offer! Secondly, the other night I was watching a show geared toward first time home buyers, there was a bidding war on a condo. The agent suggested to her clients they drop the mortgage contingency on their offer to get the condo. My jaw just dropped and I had to wonder who’s best interest she was looking out for … fortunately the “virgin” buyer told the agent absolutely not and although they lost the condo to another bid, they didn’t lose their shirts!