File Under Now We've Heard Everything: Actor's New Listing
Putting together a Lewes listing is serious business. It has to be brief, to-the-point, and at the same time, engaging. The photos and language of a Lewes listing is the tip of the marketing spear: if it’s dull, and just a repetition of the specifics that are enumerated in the columns of numbers that follow, it’s less likely to get more than a glance from potential buyers.
At the same time, every Lewes listing has to be fastidiously accurate. If it exaggerates or mischaracterizes a property’s features, it will waste time and effort by creating traffic from prospects who were never going to be interested in the first place. They’ll be rightly annoyed. A well-crafted listing for a Lewes home will highlight the distinctive features that make it stand out from the crowd. It will attract qualified buyers who will want to investigate further.
As a matter of course, we in the real estate profession check out lots of listings from many other areas. It’s part of the job, keeping abreast of what is new elsewhere—comparing how others in other areas meet the challenges of language and imagery. Of course, after years of experience, you encounter few surprises.
But last week there was news of a listing unlike any other. I’m not sure that the details and language are going to be useful for describing many Lewes properties, since this detailed a foreign estate (on the Côte d’Azur) being put on the market by “a talented artist and musician.” The asking price is $33+ million, so it’s also a bit pricey for most buyers. But as an attention-getter, this listing ranks right up there at the top.
First off, the talented artist and musician is Johnny Depp, whose comings and goings generate headlines at all times. The listing language, in fact, is most precisely quoted by the Australian Domain real estate site—rather than a French source. The Australian public has been keeping track of Depp because of his continuing brush with authorities there over alleged dog-smuggling activities (his Yorkies, Pistol and Boo, are now safely out of the country). Domain tells us that the estate consists of “more than a dozen buildings, including a main house, several guest cottages, a chapel, a bar & restaurant, a workshop/garage, a staff house and much more.”
Students of listing lingo might decide that this descriptor belongs in the ‘subtly understated’ category, particularly when the “much more” is teased out: the estate, it turns out, is actually a small Provençal village. More than a decade ago, Depp bought an entire early-19th-century village. It may have been a bit run down—but it did include its own church (the actor turned it into a guest cottage, with the confessional becoming a wardrobe). Depp took on the project as a sort of extreme DIY project. The restaurant became his dining room. He brought in a covered wagon for another guesthouse (it’s unclear how that worked out).
Not every Lewes listing rates being quoted in a feature story in The Wall Street Journal, but this one surely did. “A wine cave in the main house has a Pirates of the Caribbean motif,” according to the Journal (as one reader commented, “Go get’m Sparrow!”).
- Written by Russell Stucki
Lewes Location Location Location is More than a Catch Phrase
“There’s No Place like Home” is one of those quaint sayings that somehow lasts forever, probably just because it’s so true. “Home is Where the Heart Is” is another one: corny, maybe, but undeniable.
There’s a strictly real estate saying that Lewes residents will recognize at once, too. Less corny as well as a good deal more practical. It’s “Location! Location! Location!”—and it’s every bit as true as the other ones. It’s the where of real estate, and although it is usually thought of in its commercial connection, to a slightly lesser degree, it has major Lewes residential significance.
For those of us who are already Lewes residents, where our next home should be located is almost certainly one of the two or three primary considerations. But even more so for out-of-towners who will be moving into our area. After price range, it’s a ruling factor: location location location—which Lewes neighborhood will be our best choice for home—is a good place to start.
When you’re brand new to any area, just thinking ‘location location location’ is one thing, but going about finding the right one in a timely manner isn’t necessarily easy. First step will be to consult the real estate professional you’ve teamed up with (a good one would be me!) and have an in-depth orientation conversation about our neighborhoods. Next come prioritizing your own priorities:
Professional. If you know the ‘location location location’ of where you’ll be working, the commute distance is likely to be a key factor. The convenience of having your Lewes home as close as possible to your work will only grow with time.
School. If you have school-aged children, you’ll want to research how the schools are rated, or opt to a top-notch private institution. Either way, getting the kids to and from can be less of a hassle if home is in the right place. Location, location, etc.!
Shopping. Weekend mall visits certainly don’t need to be right around the corner, but things like visits to the grocery store can become an irritant if it involves 15-minutes each way…every day! Perhaps not a governing factor, but one that gains importance over time.
Community. Church, social groups, cultural gatherings are either to your liking or less so. Once you have gauged all of those “practical” factors, it will take some local visits and conversations with residents to get the real flavor of the possible communities—and determine which seem most inviting. Access to sports and outdoor recreational facilities also fit into this category…which, taken together, can easily turn out to be the most important quality of life factor.
- Written by Russell Stucki
Lewes Residents Get Vital Info from Realtor© Interviews
Everyone agrees that getting the right Lewes Realtor® for your team is vital when you’re buying or selling a home. Defining ‘right’ isn’t hard, either: for some of us, that will be a Realtor with the kind of dynamic sales personality that seems to make obstacles just disappear; for others, the ‘right’ Realtor® is the one we just ‘clicked’ with instantly—somebody who speaks the same language—is on the same wavelength—who we sense immediately will be someone with whom we can work seamlessly.
Sometimes even veteran homeowners who have bought and sold residences over the years have never had to develop a penetrating interview plan. Their trusted circle of friends may have included a real estate professional, or they may have had a good experience with the Realtor who introduced them to the community. But if that individual is no longer available, it’s going to be necessary to find a suitable replacement.
It all comes down to interviews—and why it’s important to get the most out of them. Personality is a perfectly valid basis for weighing candidates who will be performing the kind of vital service your Lewes Realtor will be called upon to do, but what if there is no single standout candidate in that department? If, after interviewing a host of equally sympathetic candidates, you can’t pare down the field with any degree of confidence—what then?
You won’t have to flip a coin (or consult a fortune teller!) if you’ve asked each candidate the same group of relevant questions. Some of them will differ depending on whether you are choosing a Realtor to help you buy or sell a property, but these are universally relevant:
· How long have you been working as a real estate professional? How long here in Lewes ?
· How do you keep your clients informed of progress?
· What if I need to get in touch with you?
· What kind of Lewes service providers can you connect your clients with?
· Will you represent me only, or will you represent both buyer and seller?
· What kind of team do you work with?
· What is the proposed fee arrangement?
- Written by Russell Stucki
"Credit Score Whack-a-Mole" for Lewes Mortgage Applicants
You may have wondered why there are credit repair companies out there, since the credit reporting agencies have to allow any Lewes consumer to dispute incorrect line items on their own. The big Credit Reporting Agencies (“CRAs”) even have online systems for challenging erroneous information. The Agency must act speedily to investigate and correct any false information. Soooo, why pay someone else to just fill out their form?
The answer seems to be the same one that makes practitioners in the legal profession permanently in demand: it’s in the fine print. And in this case, it could be that some of that fine print is written in invisible ink.
As you can well imagine, speed is vital when a would-be Lewes mortgage applicant finds a credit score that’s lower than expected. The mortgage companies will decide whether you qualify (and how much interest to charge) based largely on that credit score. The actual details about how speedily the CRA must act are all contained in the fine print located in the FDIC’s Consumer Protection regulations, “Procedure in case of disputed accuracy” (6500, § 611). Once you notify the CRA, they have to investigate the validity of your claim and (without charging you a dime) determine within 30 days whether the item is accurate. More fine print describe further protections you have—
PARAGRAPH 2: The CRA has but 5 days to notify the company or person who provided the information about your challenge.
PARAGRAPH 6: The CRA has to provide you the results of their investigation in writing, and, if you’ve asked for it, describe the steps they took to arrive at their decision.
PARAGRAPH 7: If you didn’t know that you had the right to receive the above description, they must furnish it within 15 days after you later request it.
Those sound like pretty solid protections—vitally important, since the CRA can’t just sweep your dispute under the rug, stall, or ignore you altogether. After all, they have to detail in writing how strenuously they worked to protect you! Right?
Except for one problem, which is in PARAGRAPH 8. If the CRA simply drops the disputed item from your current report within the first 3 days, that’s officially considered an expedited dispute resolution. Since the item has been dropped, that might seem to be a solid win. But PARAGRAPH 8 says that if the CRA does that, it no longer has to do anything demanded in Paragraphs 2,6, and 7! It’s as if those protections were written in invisible ink…so that next month, if the company or person just reports the same thing, voila! your credit report might once again go back to Square One. The CRA is supposed to notify you 5 days in advance; but let’s face it, the phrase ‘Catch-22’ comes to mind…or ‘Credit Score Whack-a-Mole’…
What can you do, short of hiring repair agency experts to fix your credit score? Most commentators are in agreement: just stay away from the online dispute forms. Send a registered letter with your dispute, because it usually takes the CRA longer than three days to act on it, so they can’t skip the protections.
- Written by Russell Stucki