Documenting Life and Home

How Much is Enough?  No, I am not “George_the_Uber-Driver.”  That’s my son, FB page here. (sheesh).

After a short discussion of his experience with  how “cream always rises to the top” and “nut doesn’t fall far from tree” plus new Trade figures and our highly unorthodox look at the financial markets, we will drill into how much “documenting of your Life” is necessary these days in our Focus section.

Just one more shot of coffee and away we go…

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9 thoughts on “Documenting Life and Home”

  1. Good post today. One thing though…You said “The real estate agent doesn’t have much interest in education (with a few really cool exceptional people in the industry). If there is too much information, the (rational and logical) fear is that something disclosed could queer the deal. And no one wants that.”

    If any of you have a real estate agent that thinks that way…kindly show them the door. Disclosure, disclosure, disclosure is almost as important as location, location, location.

    Here in the Bay Area, I and other top agents, counsel my sellers to disclose as much as possible up front. We have the sellers order termite reports, home inspection, and roof reports, Natural Hazard Disclosures, title and any CCR’s up front. Why? Several reasons.

    First, it gives the seller an opportunity to make any repairs up front if we all feel it could have an impact on the offer price. For instance, if there is a substantial amount of Section I termite work, that probably should be taken care of. Roof and leak issues are also problematic in terms of getting the price you want out of your home as well. Even small things like proper strapping of a water heaters and placement of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can have implications with lenders depending on how a purchase contract was written.

    Second, it gives buyers the opportunity to see what they are getting into upfront. If they are satisfied with what they see, This often eliminates a longer contingency period. I stress that my sellers use top rated inspection companies to conduct the reports. These are the same type of inspection companies a buyers agent would use themselves for their clients. Therefore, the trust is established upfront as well. A well disclosed home eliminates the skeptical aspect of buying someone else’s home and it also raises the bar for my industry…In the Bay Area, we are dealing with multi-million dollar transactions, and we need to treat each sale like a business transaction. The buyers demand it and frankly, so do the insurance and lending institutions to an extent. Many inspection companies will bill at close of escrow too if someone is cash poor and equity rich.

    In the past three years, about 98% of my listings had offers with zero contingencies as a result of the extensive seller disclosures we had prepared upfront, including all the state mandated disclosures like the Seller Property Questionnaire and Transfer Disclosure Statement.

    A no contingency offer closes 100% of the time and usually in less than 21-30 days.

    The implications of not doing all of the disclosures upfront results in skepticism from the buyers, long contingency periods in order to allow the buyers to conduct their own reports…and the risk of the buyer backing out because the reports weren’t perfect. This also gives the buyer time to second guess their decision and shop for a better property with less drama involved. All of this time adds to the Days On Market, which lowers the perceived value of a home. If a buyer sees a home that has been on the market for 45 days here, they automatically think that there must be something wrong with the home and eliminates that from their home search…either that..or they think…Oh…there’s something wrong with that home…let’s offer a ridiculously low price. Either way…this all could have been eliminated if they had revealed the issues up front.

    • Great comments Mark – and since you are THE “really cool” type I was thinking of, very good points!

      Just wish that you could have addressed that big mystery: Why are Mac owners more likely to “document” their homes? That’s what app sales indicate…damn strange!

      • I have no idea…other than Macs are the system of choice and command a higher price? Higher price means a higher quality wage earner who is smart about their money and purchases?

  2. GU,BEEN W/YOU SEVERAL YEARS.ON END OF LIFE. i,ve had an ostomy bag for over 4/four years ans it has not bothered me in any way except getting use to better tha going the regular way in my opion,less messy. if elaine had one she can still paint ,ride horse back jump from a hellocopter.did yo know Bob Hope wore an ostomy bag.movine to the city has changed,diversity,and immigrants everywhere,high water bills,impervious surface run off charges.i,m 77 and living in a changed world,taxes on everything ans more social “give away” programs.i live in raleigh,durham area and it,s starting to look like east L.A..i live beside a goolf course and 500,000 townhouses ,i live in a2 1/2 bath rental unit and you would be shocked by what,s moving around me not my world from the past sad but true.

    • Wow! Sounds like our fears of “moving off planet” by coming back to the big city are justified, JG! Great hearing from BTW – long time readers are always appreciated.

    • My concerns about having an ostomy bag or any similar disablility is that it would be instantly offputting to the female gender when you were trying to get intimate – especially one that’s not already committed to you. I live to the best of my ability, and have considered getting a place in the city just as an occasional stay place, but barely a home. Just somewhere so I don’t have to come home every night if I go there. I can’t see it as a primary residence.

  3. George, after you and your dear one are dead and gone, I suppose your family will end up selling your property. It’s great that you’re driven to document everything, but you’re rather unusual in that respect. My family will have the same burden, but then they get to keep the proceeds. How much excess paperwork is actually worth the time and labor that it takes?

    Most people dread paperwork and that’s why I’ll hire an accountant to do my taxes when I’m perfectly capable of doing them myself. I also want someone between me and the feds. No matter how careful you are, you can’t control bureaucracy, and adversarial proceedings are not my strong suit.

    When selling, I sell as is and where is. I’ll set a price to either sell quickly or hold out for whatever I want, depending on circumstances. Buyer beware! Unlike Mark, I’ll refuse to make any repairs other than those I choose to do myself before listing, and maybe one or two more. Let the buyer take an allowance or I’ll just hold my price regardless of what’s demanded. If I have to sell quickly, the price must be attractive, and an auction is a possibility. I’ve found that good auctioneers are really business savvy, quick thinking and very aggressive. I’d let them decide the best way to split the property(real, personal, business, etc.) so as to maximize the net. I’d delegate everything since I want to do as little as possible beyond signing the forms and taking the check.

    Unlike Mark, I consider “improved” residential real property to be a consumer item, nothing more. Anything else is investment property, and is only valuable for it’s ROI. While RE is included in my net worth on paper, I consider it a sunk cost for decisions in my life.

    That would be my advice to the kids, and any potential future wife.

    BTW, I’m not sure what the law is regarding random people other than family benefiting from my demise. I might list some according to how wonderful they were to me. I’m still trying to think of how to spend money effectively for enjoyment while still alive. I don’t like golf and most of what I like is considered “inappropriate” for guys of my age! I’d also be inclined to leave my main property to any family member or good enough friend/lover that would promise(in the deed) to live on and maintain the property for themselves. Without the property having any future, why bother to even maintain or improve it?

    In the end, we can’t take it with us and the next generation still has to figure out how to handle this life on their own.

    • In over forty years of volunteering, part time, and full time, taking care of people in health field and in end stages of life.There’s been rich,celebrities scholars medium wealthy and poor. In all those years There’s only been maybe a couple of dozen that had something left..for those waiting in the wings.. There wasn’t really a loving family involvement for many.usually the families of those people go after the goods like piranha. A few decided to donate huge sums for some organization etc. To have their names placed on a plaque.
      The vast majority end up with very little paying a quarter of a million a year just for lodging per person. Rarely do people in end stages have families that are actively involved personally.
      I remember one time this person that had at one time been very powerful in politics..started to cry.. I asked what’s the matter. His response was there was a time when what I said was I have to get my children involved just to get a bowl of cheerios..
      There are a few that will be missed they demonstrated to their families that they could juggle drive ambition and still remain family oriented. there’s some really strange relationships to like a gentleman I know now. I would love to know exactly but am suspecting it’s because he couldn’t get over the every ones a drooling idiot thoughts that drove a wedge. .
      Then there’s those that are driven .. The only thing that matters is career and cash. They sold their soul for a number. The one that affected me was a person that had been driven that visitors lay there alone in pain for years. That person passed on I like I always do went to the wake.
      There was a beautiful bouquet on the casket from the dog.. There was the priest a nun and myself. They died the way they lived.
      So because I was a workaholic most of my life. There was little time for family. It cost me my first marriage and almost my second. Anyway there won’t be a funeral. Anyone curious can inquire.
      When my mother passed on my sister called inquiring where her money went. I laughed and said where do you think. You die and every doctor affiliated with the hospital you passed at sends a consultation bill..
      The rest is absorbed.
      My brother said something significant to.. He said.. Isn’t it sad that at the end of your life all you have to show for it is a couple of boxes of assorted crap. A few photos and the memories of what you stood for.
      Today there are programs that keep the elderly life paid for forty years ago it was families responsibility.

  4. It’s the Wild West here in Florida. We live in a million plus waterfront community/Town. We were blessed in being able to buy our house for cash. We had one of the top notch inspection companies do an inspection so we could get insurance and for our own satisfaction. What a waste they neglected to find there was a family of rats living in the walls and attic, two bedrooms had starboard lists so significant that we had to rip up the wood flooring and have the floors leveled this is the short list. Next time around I am hiring an engineer and general contractor . The house across the street half fell into the canal cracking the pool on one neighbor on one side and creating serious sink holes in the backyard of the other. The sink hole house just sold for a million plus in 4 days with no mention of the catastrophic failure next this appears to be sop. The house 4 houses from me developed sinking issues after major investment and renovation. It too was sold quickly with no mention
    Of failure.

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