Washington Post’s updated property search app is helpful . . . with this caveat

January 31, 2013 — More data is becoming available to the public and folks savvy enough to use Internet apps to capture information on home sales have an updated local tool to use.

Here comes the The Washington Post with an updated version of its home search app for use on desktop computers and certain mobile devices.

As Real Estate Writer Kathy Orton described it earlier this week,  The Post used to rely only on data supplied by the counties. Now, through the MRIS service, it receives home-sale data within days, instead of months.

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This is how the home search tool appeared on January 31, 2013. CREDIT: The Washington Post

A quick caveat: the home sale price logged with the county does not take into accout what the Net Sale Price was. The Net Sale Price includes any adjustments at closing, including “givebacks” by the sellter to help consumate the deal. More often than not, the Net Sale Price is lower than the stated sale price.

The Post intends for you to be able to easily search by city, neighborhood or map point. “You can search single-family homes, condos or townhouses. You can search by the selling agent’s name. You won’t be able to find out the names of the buyers or sellers on the most recently sold properties,” Orton wrrote. MRIS doesn’t provide The Post with that data. You still have to wait for the county to give them that information or find it on your own on a county web site.

The Post says this tool can tell buyers “exactly what price a home sold for, which is much more relevant than what it was listed for.” As a reader of my blog you know now that’s only part of the picture, per my caveat outlined above.

The Post also says a buyer can search for the sales price of all the one-bedroom, one-bath condos on a particular street in order to know whether the condo they are thinking about buying is over- or under-priced.  But after a few searches using my laptop I found townhomes coming up after I specified only single family homes. I could not find the search function via my iPhone. (If you do, please let me know.)

Every new app is bound to have a few glitches. Let’s hope The Post fixes them quickly, especially as the Spring sales season approaches.

Bottom line: take all this with a rock of salt. More information is good, provided you know exactly what it means, and leaves out.

I do think it’s helpful for homeowners thinking about selling to be able to see what homes in their neighborhood sold for recently. They can use it to help validate their listing price provided you know any differences between the two properties, e.g. is one far more up-to-date than the other.

The Post says this app is to be made “Facebook friendly.” Orton writes it will update and expand this feature based on reader feedback. I’ve posted my feedback at the end of the article, you should too.

You deserve a market information provided by an experienced professional. Call me at 703-593-9432 or start with the MLS search function and / or Free Market Report service on my home page.

Need a Handyman? Give Rodney Hampton a Call

August 1, 2012 — For my homes and those of my clients, Rodney Hampton is a handyman extraordinaire.

Rodney (pictured) and his team of painters, installers and all-around fixer-uppers have helped me stage homes for sale to maximize their appeal. And he’s helped clients just moving into homes to reduce their stress and get back to a normal lifestyle.

YOU can have the Andy Advantage by hiring my Handyman, Rodney Hampton; pictured here after finishing one of my many recent projects. CREDIT: The Andy Advantage

I cannot count on two hands anymore the projects he’s tackled for me and my husband over the past 15+ years. Like some folks, we procrastinate replacing or fixing things. They never seem to get done. Rodney can get it done–  fast.

  • Thought about sprucing up the laundry area with drywall, shelves and the outlets needed for the washer and dryer?
  • Need to replace the floor planks on your back deck?
  • How about getting that toilet installed that’s been giving you problems?
  • Ready to install new wood flooring?

The Answer: Call Rodney at 571-437-4113. Or email him at YourHandyMan01@yahoo.com.

Rodney is most accessible throughout Northern Virginia but can be in Montgomery County with some advance notice very easily.

Tell him Andy sent ya and you’re sure to get his 5-star treatment.

You can find him on Angie’s List (membership required for consumers). He’s been on Andy’s List (that’s mine :)) even longer!

If you’re careful, the coming wave of foreclosed properties can provide an opportunity

June 23, 2012 — A variety of media reports point to a huge and long-lasting wave of REO (real-estate-owned) properties that have been foreclosed on coming on the market soon.

If you’re interested in seeking that diamond-in-the-rough opportunity, as some of my clients are, there are several things to watch out for. What follow are just a few. Best to have me standing at your side guiding you each step of the way.

Foreclosed properties offer investors opportunities looking to build a portfolio of rental properties. CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons

1. Ask yourself: is the property likely to be part of a large collection of foreclosures that will make the neighborhood an attractive place to live?

2. How much in the home has been stripped by the vacating owner? What will it take to replace and or repair it?

4. Can you at least meet the lender’s minimum bid? If that price is a lot more than two-thirds the local government’s appraisal, try to find out why. (I can help you with that.) If it’s a lot less than two-thirds, ask yourself why. That could signal a reason to walk away.

5. Check the paperwork on your bid.

– Are  you providing all the necessary documentation?

– Have you initial everywhere you’re supposed to?

– Have you provided proof of funds?

If the property you’re bidding on is an attractive one and you think there will be competing bids, the slightest snafu could kick you bid out of consideration.

Read more from the Friday, June 22, 2012 editions of The Wall Street Journal. If you’re not a subscriber, call me and I’ll clue you in to the rest of the story.

Let’s get and stay connected on Facebook and LinkedIn

May 9, 2012 — Let me say up front I’m not one to spend a lot of time on Facebook or LinkedIn. But social media networks are getting more interesting by the day. So using “Andy Powell Pierobon” you can find me on both.

If you have friends, colleagues, neighbors and/or relatives I can help with their home buying and/or selling needs, my direct phone (703-593-9432) is THE best way to reach me. If you’d rather send them to Facebook or LinkedIn, that should work too.

I look forward to putting the AndyAdvantage to work for them as I have had the privilege of doing for hundreds of clients throughout my career as a REALTOR®.