100 episodes

Terry Story’s Real Estate Survival Guide podcast includes her weekly round-up on NPR’s The Steve Pomeranz Show, WLRN and affiliates. The show provides expert advice in all aspects of the real estate transaction from listing to negotiations; to sales and purchase and everything in between.

Real Estate Survival Guide with Terry Story Terry Story

    • Investing

Terry Story’s Real Estate Survival Guide podcast includes her weekly round-up on NPR’s The Steve Pomeranz Show, WLRN and affiliates. The show provides expert advice in all aspects of the real estate transaction from listing to negotiations; to sales and purchase and everything in between.

    Steve And Terry Tackle The Questions You Never Knew You Needed To Know

    Steve And Terry Tackle The Questions You Never Knew You Needed To Know

    In this week’s Real Estate Roundup with Terry Story, the 31-year veteran with Keller Williams Realty in Boca Raton, Steve asked Terry to field some real estate questions he got from an article written by Gary Singer for the Sun Sentinel. Steve and Terry also discussed the age-old question of renting versus buying a home.
    Dealing With Contractors
    Steve’s first question to Terry was about dealing with contractors. Here’s the question:” In the middle of a major renovation, my contractor disappeared, leaving the work half done. I already paid her for most of the work. What should I do?”
    Terry’s answer was, “It’s not about what you should do—‘cause, oh, boy, you’re in trouble now—it’s about what you should have done before you signed a contract. There’s not a whole lot you can do now except sue, if you can find them. What you should do first is some research, check them out with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure they’re licensed.”
    Steve brought up an important point from Gary’s article, one that a lot of people may not be aware of. “If the contractor hasn’t paid the subcontractors, the subcontractors are going to come after you. And according to this article, you have to pay them, even though you’ve already paid the general contractor.” Terry gave listeners some good advice on how to avoid that situation. She said, “It’s really important before you pay the contractor the final sum, talk to the subcontractors, ask them ‘Hey, have you been paid? Are you being paid?’”
    Issues With Emotional Support Animals
    Steve’s next question had to do with people who have emotional support animals. Question:” I live in a condominium. Recently a disabled friend was coming to visit with her emotional support animal. The front desk would not let her up, stating that because she was not a resident, they did not have to allow her in with her dog. Is that legal?”
    Terry’s answer was a resounding, “No”, that’s not legal. You have the legal right to have your emotional support animal with you even if you’re not a resident. She explained that this issue is covered under the Fair Housing Act, which protects not only residents but disabled people associated with the residents. Steve brought up the fact that you might be having to deal with someone at the desk who doesn’t really know the law, and he advised listeners who may run into this kind of problem to go to the condo board or homeowners’ association and make sure that they make it clear to all employees. Terry added that it’s a good idea to keep handy a note from your doctor authorizing you to have your support animal with you.
    A Question About Fences
    Here’s a question about an issue that often causes problems between neighbors, fences:” My neighbor attached bolts into my fence to secure some items in his yard. I’m concerned that this will damage my fence, especially if there’s a storm. I asked him to remove the bolts, but he blew me off. What can I do?”
    Terry and Steve agreed that the important thing is to document everything, everything that’s done and everything that you do. That way you avoid having things devolve into just, “He said, she said”. Terry said, “You’ve already spoken to him, so the next step would be to send a polite and professional certified letter telling him to please remove them.” She advised listeners to be very careful about what steps they take when dealing with fences. “For example, say you’re dealing with some vines that your neighbor is growing on his side of the fence. You can cut the part of the vines that’s hanging over on your side of the fence, but you can’t cut them to the point where it kills the plant.” That’s why you have to be careful because the law can be kind of tricky.
    Before they moved on, Terry made sure to point out that the first thing to do w

    • 8 min
    The Secret To Successfully Flipping Homes

    The Secret To Successfully Flipping Homes

    How To Successfully Flip A Home

    Steve starts the first segment of Real Estate Round-Up for 2018 with Terry Story’s tips on the requirements to be a successful home flipper.
    Do Your Research
    For starters, Terry says, effective home flippers know how to find a great deal and purchase homes at about 44% below market.  Finding homes at steep discounts isn’t easy though.  Expert flippers spend time looking for below-market properties online and by digging through courthouse records for bargains.  They often purchase properties sight unseen because they really know the neighborhood and what comparable properties sell for.
    Steve likens successful home flippers to stock investors who recognize the real value of beaten-down stocks and are willing to take deep positions in them.
    Know Your Market
    Further, home flippers know the end game all along, the full market value and final sales price of the home they buy, and the right target audience.  To make a profit, they know exactly how much to invest in the house, and what to price it at for a quick sale.
    Buyer Beware
    Steve warns buyers of flipped homes to beware of shoddy, cosmetically focused workmanship and recommends inspecting the home thoroughly to make sure renovations were up to the mark.
    60% Return
    Terry adds that home flippers typically sell in the $100,000 to $200,000 price range, with average gross returns of about 60%, and with a flip typically completed in about 128 days from purchase to renovation to sale, which is incredibly quick.  To do so, flippers have a whole system in place, with clear renovation plans, workers at the ready, and funds on hand to make it all go smoothly.
    Steve compares this to evaluating a company’s inventory turns. Inventory ties up capital and warehouse space, so the sooner it’s cleared it out, the better.  Similarly, if you sit on a home that you’ve renovated, you cannot free up capital to deploy it elsewhere, and your profits will be lower.
    How To Spot Markets Ripe For A Flip
    To spot markets that are ripe for flipping, successful home flippers look for telltale signs in markets across the country.  For instance, they look at future development plans or applications for building permits to get a sense of whether a developer, a major business, or a retailer plans to move in and make the neighborhood more attractive and drive up housing.
    When Does Home Remodeling Make Sense?
    Next, Steve wants to know if people should remodel homes to sell them for more.  Terry’s answer is a firm “no” because you only get back about 60% of what you put into the remodel.  So remodeling only makes sense if you plan to enjoy the upgrades for yourself or if the house is falling apart and needs major repairs.
    Moreover, buyers may not have the same taste as yours, so there’s added risk if you remodel just to get a higher price for your home.  Instead, save your money for necessary infrastructure improvements such as a new roof or a new air conditioning system.
    Older Citizens Selling Homes
    In closing, Terry notes that she’s seeing a new trend of older, cash-strapped citizens looking to sell their homes, something she hasn’t come across before.  Steve sees a similar trend in his investment advisory practice where people have a lot of money tied up in their homes.  If money is an issue, he believes one should release that equity, thereby turning an illiquid asset into a liquid asset, invest some of it, and carefully spend the remaining principal to improve one’s quality of life in retirement, without the added headache of worrying about maintaining a property.

    • 6 min
    The Hottest Places To Invest In Real Estate

    The Hottest Places To Invest In Real Estate

    Steve spoke with Terry Story, a 30-year veteran at Keller Williams. In this installment of the weekly Real Estate Roundup, Steve and Terry talked about some of the most popular places to invest in real estate, who’s investing, and why.
    The Hottest Places To Invest Right Now
    A lot of real estate is being scooped up in places that might make you scratch your head. On the list? Orlando, Las Vegas, and throughout Arizona. But why? These markets grew fast and were severely overbuilt which means they started to perform poorly- too much supply for the demand.
    Initially, people were getting mortgages right and left, namely people who didn’t really deserve the deals they got. As demand for inventory dropped, the markets in these areas crashed. Now, though, there’s plenty of inventory up for grabs and demand is climbing. Homes are actually affordable.
    These are also warm areas, which tend to be ideal spots for people who are retired and trying to downsize.
    The Midwest
    Two more areas in great demand? Places in the Midwest. The entire state of Colorado is seeing a massive influx of people putting down money on homes. Technically, Colorado falls just outside of the traditional Midwest region, but because it borders traditional midwestern states like Nebraska and Kansas, it can easily be considered part of the region. One reason for this influx? There is temptation to believe that it’s because marijuana is legal there. But the reality is that Colorado has so many diverse and temperate cities, there’s a lot to love about living there.
    Perhaps the most shocking “hot” place to live right now is Ohio, Cleveland specifically. A lot of money is being poured into areas like Cleveland, and with bedrooms communities around a fairly clean and livable major city, Cleveland is almost a dark horse in terms of real estate.
    The South
    Texas also being on the list of hottest places to invest in real estate shouldn’t be that surprising. Despite the serious weather issues Texas typically faces – hurricanes, flooding, and extreme heat – the state has constantly been a magnet for home buyers. Why? Housing prices are notoriously good there. You can get a lot of bang for your buck, in terms of property size and square footage.
    The Cyclical Nature Of Real Estate
    As always, keep in mind that the real estate market is cyclical. An important take away here: watch out for procrastinating. A lot of people sit around and wait for the next recession to start making moves. This is a little backward thinking because you really miss out on the averages.
    The truth is that most returns come when the market starts to expand again. Recessions, today, are much shorter than they used to be. If you wait for these, the cost of missing out on bigger opportunities during the wait might prove very frustrating.
    If you’d like to learn more about buying or selling a home, or to learn more about Terry, check out Keller Williams!

    • 7 min
    Sell Your House For Cash Today—It’s All The Rage!

    Sell Your House For Cash Today—It’s All The Rage!

    In this week’s Real Estate Roundup, Steve and Terry Story, who’s now got 31 years of experience with Keller Williams Realty in Boca Raton, had a conversation about selling your house quickly for cash. They also talked about the effects of aging baby boomers on the housing market.
    Sell Your House For Cash Today
    You’ve seen the signs on billboards or posters that read, “We Buy Ugly Houses”, or just, “Cash for Your House”. Steve asked Terry to explain the nature of that part of the real estate business.
    She calls the people in that business “wholesalers” because that basically describes how they make their money. They look to buy houses at “wholesale” prices and sell them at “retail” prices. Terry explained how it works. “They buy houses, sometimes fix them up and then flip them, or they just buy them and flip them the same day. Say you want to sell your house right now. You call one of these numbers you see in an ad, and they write a contract to buy your house. A lot of times they assign it to a real buyer they already have lined up. As a seller, what’s really important to understand is that you’re selling your home at a severe discount.”
    How The “Cash Right Now” Business Works
    A successful real estate wholesaler makes their money by buying houses at a large discount and then quickly reselling them for a hefty profit. They can get a low price because they’re offering cash, and they’re offering to do the deal right now. If you’re a strongly motivated seller, for whatever reason, the offer of cash-in-hand right now may make you willing to sell your house for a lot less than it’s actually worth.
    Steve offered an example to clarify things for listeners. “Say I’m in this business, and I have a buyer already lined up, willing to pay, let’s say, $140,000 for this house that’s worth $150,000. I go to the house. Maybe it’s owned by an elderly person who’s owned the house free and clear for years. I tell them, ‘I can give you cash today, no hassles, no long real estate closing time. I’ll give you 30 days to move out or whatever and I’ll give you $90,000 for your house.’ And they may think, ‘That’s good cash. That’s more cash than I’ve ever seen before.’ If the homeowner takes the deal, then I’ve already got a $50,000 profit locked in, since I have a buyer waiting with $140,000.”
    The huge discount from the home’s value may make this kind of transaction look bad, like the buyer is maybe taking advantage of an elderly person, but there’s nothing illegal about it. Terry stressed the point that what homeowners need to know is that even if they’re desperate to sell their house quickly, they should still take the time to consult a professional real estate agent and get an appraisal. That way, she said, “If you still decide to sell it, at least you’re informed.” Steve agreed, urging sellers to at least do some minimal research on what their home is worth. He said, “I mean, at least go on online and pull up Zillow or something.”
    That specific bit of advice prompted Terry to note to listeners that sites like Zillow don’t really provide accurate home values. The numbers you see on a site like that should be ignored as valid appraisals and only taken as very rough numbers. Those numbers are neighborhood averages. Zillow hasn’t really seen your actual house. For instance, they don’t know if you’ve completely remodeled the kitchen or the bathrooms. You might have a house right on the beach, but Zillow is averaging prices in the neighborhood that includes homes that are four or five blocks off the beach.
    The Effect Of Baby Boomers On The Housing Market
    Steve next turned the subject to the impact of aging baby boomers on the housing market. He started things off by quoting some recent statistics, saying, “Basically, boomers own one-third of all US

    • 7 min
    The Ins And Outs And The Ups And Downs Of Airbnb

    The Ins And Outs And The Ups And Downs Of Airbnb

    During this week’s Real Estate Roundup, Steve spoke with Terry Story, a 31-year veteran at Keller Williams about the rise in popularity of Airbnb, a company that allows people to open their homes like a hotel or bed and breakfast. The two discussed where in the country the most Airbnbs exist and the rules regulating them. They then talked about the mortgage industry and the true story behind The Big Short.
    Airbnbs—As Always, Florida Is In The Mix
    Regardless of the category—and specifically when it comes to real estate—Florida is always at the top of the list. True to this, Florida has the most Airbnbs of any state. Miami Beach, despite fairly strict rules regarding Airbnbs, has among the most of any city. Also on the list: Orlando (which makes sense because of Disney World), Kissimmee, and Sarasota. The cities are measured and listed based on an Airbnb-to-resident ratio.
    Terry clarified some points for homeowners about offering their home on Airbnb, such as the fact that they can prohibit guests from doing things such as smoking in the house.
    The Big Short
    In the early 2000s, a group of hedge fund guys viewed the real estate market as becoming a little crazy. They decided they could take advantage of the situation by betting against mortgages by selling short. (This was immortalized in the book-turned-movie, The Big Short). Basically, they delivered borrowed mortgages which they would eventually have to return to the market to buy equivalent mortgages in order to close out their short-sell transaction.
    The theory behind their selling short was that they would be able to buy back the borrowed mortgages sold when mortgage prices were much lower. When you sell short, you make money when the asset price goes down. These guys took an incredible amount of risk,  especially during the early 2000s when the market was in a bubble. Many people believed housing prices would continue to go up and that selling short was a terrible idea.
    Although they were wrong for a long time and had to weather severe financial distress to maintain their short position in the mortgage market, ultimately, they were proven right. The housing market crashed, mortgages prices tanked, and those guys made a fortune.
    Something of notable concern now is that one of the “big short” investors is betting against mortgages again. Previously, the reason for the short sell was the fact that people were getting mortgages that never should have been given one in the first place; the market was bound to crash. Today, his reason for short selling is his belief in climate change. More specifically, this short-seller thinks that there are a lot of homes susceptible to flood damage that may occur as a result of climate change. Many of those homes are in Florida, as well as in California and Texas. His belief is that the mortgages on many of the homes are simply too big relative to the risk of losing the home to flooding. Only time will tell whether he’s right again.
    If you’d like to learn more about Terry or buying or selling a home, head over to the Keller Williams website.

    • 8 min
    Here’s How To Price Your Home So It Sells

    Here’s How To Price Your Home So It Sells

    During this week’s Real Estate Roundup, Steve spoke with Terry Story, a 31-year veteran at Keller Williams, about why it’s so important for real estate agents to look at the big picture to understand how the market is moving. They discussed how each realtor needs to examine their own inventory and how it’s selling in order to get a better understanding of the current state of the housing market. Doing this also helps real estate agents teach sellers how to price their homes.
    Pricing Your Home To Sell Is Counterintuitive
    To understand how to price a home, you really have to know what the market is doing. Agents have to look at what’s happening with their own home inventories. Are homes selling? How long are they staying on the market? If a home is sitting on the market, not selling, then you have to figure out what it will take to move it.
    The economy as a whole has to be considered, of course. But, this is an important point for home sellers to keep in mind,  in both good and bad markets, there is always a buyer. The thing that really makes the difference, that decides whether your home sells, is the price.
    Terry talked about meeting with sellers when they want to know what price tag to put on their home. She paints them a picture. Imagine there’s a boat and three men are fishing. The first man’s line is just below the surface of the water; the second man’s line is halfway between the surface and the ocean floor; the third man’s line is near the reef at the bottom of the ocean, where the majority of the fish are. The moral of this story is that the lower line (the lower price) is going to have a better chance to catch a fish (buyer). The less a seller asks for, the more they’ll end up getting. Home pricing is counterintuitive in this way.
    People who price their homes in the upper and middle tiers aren’t going to attract as many buyers because the price is just too high. The National Association of Realtors says that if your home hasn’t been shown in the past two weeks, you’ve been knocked out of the market. The only real way to combat this is to lower the price. A lower price will attract more buyers, period. And more buyers equal more competition, more bidders, and, thus, realizing a higher sale price for your home. Counterintuitive pricing!
    You Have To Go Where The Buyers Are
    In order to sell your home, you have to meet buyers where they are. And most of them are in the low-to-mid-range when it comes to prices. The mid-range homes are tricky. Homes priced at the lower end of that might have quite a few showings, maybe eight or ten in a week. But, going back to the fish analogy for a minute, the fishing line halfway between the top and the bottom is kind of housing market purgatory.
    In fact, homes priced in the middle range sometimes help sellers in the lower range sell their homes faster and more easily. People may look at homes in the middle-price bracket, but if they can find something similar in a lower-price range, that’s what they’re going to snap up.
    You can also think about it in the sense of animals in the desert. If a predator wants to get a good meal, it has to go where the water is. This is where more animals are going to gather, which offers the predator its best chance of getting a meal.
    You have to price your home in a way that gives you the greatest access to the biggest pool of buyers.
    Factors Real Estate Agents Should Be Looking At
    There are really three prongs to pricing that real estate agents should be looking at: current market prices, the price of homes sold in the past, and the trends that are happening that predict future prices. In order to spot future trends, you have to look at “days on the market.” This is the average amount of time a house spends on the market, from the day it goes up for sale to the day that it closes. Right now, in Boca Raton, we’re seeing a

    • 7 min

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