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Valerie Fitzgerald's Blog

By Valerie Fitzgerald | Agent in 90210
  • Have You Had the ‘Social Media Talk’ with Your Clients?

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Los Angeles  |  July 13, 2010 9:50 PM  |  311 views  |  No comments

    In today’s real estate market, buyer’s still carry the upper hand when it comes to negotiation. And as their Realtor, it’s your job to passionately and intelligently guide and educate your clients through the sales process from start to finish.

    It’s time to add the ‘social media talk’ to your list.

    Have the conversation with your clients
    With online connectivity virtually blanketing the entire world and the expansion of the savvy buyer, it’s important you have a conversation with your clients about disclosure of information regarding their listing on social media sites and communities, like Facebook and Twitter.

    First, take their social media temperature. Ask them a few questions to gauge their social media engagement and overall understanding of the medium. There are several camps of the types of people, as well as mind sets who engage in social media. Those who participate all the time, those who keep their feet wet and those who don’t while holding up a large closed sign with big locks on their door.

    Don’t disclose the sales or escrow process online
    Make sure your clients keep the marketing and pending sale information of their home close to their chest. Be sure they don’t discuss pending offers, the inspection process, or escrow particulars in the social media communities in which they belong.

    Many of your clients may find this activity harmless and just friendly chat amongst their friends and family, but in some instances, it could derail a sale. For example, if your client’s Facebook pages are set to share with everyone, the information they post is ‘open’ for the world to read. Twitter is also open for everyone to read—even if your client has protected tweets, individuals within their community have access to their posts.

    Savvy buyers can find your clients in social media communities
    Potential buyers can find out the names of property owners through county assessor website information and run a search through various social media tools to locate a property’s owner. Any information your clients post in open social media communities can disclose the type of people the owners are, and potentially, the progress of the property’s advancement through the sales process, pending offers and the home inspection.

    Remember to add the ‘social media talk’ to your new client presentations or have the discussion with your current clients. In the end, it may save the deal.

    From RIS Media, Lisa Loeffler is President of Genuine Media.For more information, visit www.genuinemediaco.com.

    Valerie Fitzgerald specializes in luxury residential real estate in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Santa Monica and Malibu. Valerie has more than 20 years of real estate experience and is known for her solid reputation in the West Los Angeles brokerage community. She’s also the author of the book published by Simon and Schuster Heart and Sold: How to Survive and Build a Recession-Proof Business.

    Search Luxury Homes in Los Angeles at Valerie Fitzgerald Real Estate Listings or contact Valerie Fitzgerald at 310-285-7515.

  • Secrets Mortgage Lenders Don’t Want You to Know….

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Beverly Hills  |  July 12, 2010 8:10 AM  |  275 views  |  1 comment

    The right or wrong decision when signing your home mortgage can mean thousands of dollars difference in interest paid. There are very important considerations to evaluate before you commit to a 15 or 30 year note.

    For many of us our mortgage payment is the most important financial decision we’ll ever make. Doesn’t it make sense to know as much as possible about the financing of our home? Take the time to thoroughly investigate all of your options!Unbelievably, many of us sign the first mortgage placed in front of us. Typically the excitement of the new home purchase reduces the mortgage to not much more than an afterthought. What you read here could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

    Your real estate professional has established relationships with the top lenders in your area. By aligning yourself with a professional agent you ensure that all the financial steps are taken care of properly and economically. Utilize a Lender With Established Ties to an Agent – Lenders are much more flexible with the real estate agents who have done business with them previously. This relationship then establishes them as a team. The lender and agent work effectively together, referring each other business.

    That’s why a good agent can make substantial difference in setting up the most economical financing. And the right financing can, literally, save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan!Don’t Attempt Paperwork Alone – All the paperwork required to complete the purchase of a home can be quite intimidating and frustrating for a home buyer. Make sure you have your lenders help you with all the paperwork. Get help from your team, your lender and agent. Their expertise will help alleviate the stress and it will prove to be invaluable before you sign your mortgage.

    Look at All Your Options - Make sure you see at least 5 loan programs for your mortgage. Lenders have at least 10 programs and should work with you and your agent on deciding what is best for your circumstances. Evaluate all your options. After all it’s your money you’re spending – not theirs!

    Demand Service - There is little difference between a bank, savings and loan, or a mortgage broker when it comes to the competitiveness of their loan rates. The difference is in the service they provide. It is their job to serve you! You want to get the loan approved and move into your new home as quickly as possible, but don’t overlook the fact that you are the one spending the money and they are the ones who should cater to your needs. Don’t let the process become so intimidating that you lose that understanding.

    Stay in Complete Touch – You should receive a written report from your lender about every step. This will ensure that no details are overlooked and there will be no surprises.

    Negotiate a Flexible Loan - Don’t just accept the terms they lay down in front of you. Lenders are in the business of loaning money and they want your business. Make sure you examine every option available to you. If you negotiate a variable rate loan, many lenders have the ability to move you into a fixed loan if rates start going up. Make sure that you understand whether or not that is an option in the package you are looking at.

    Don’t Give Up on the First No - Initial decisions are not always final decisions. Going to a higher authority can sometimes get you the loan, but do so with the assistance and compliance of your lender and agent. Many times special circumstances when explained properly to the person in charge, will win you the loan.

    Don’t Wait for the Bottom of the Market - The odds of you hitting the bottom of your market are about like the odds of you hitting your state lotto! You will almost never hit the bottom of a market. And trying to time it exactly right is often costly. It usually causes a person or family to miss out on the opportunity to purchase a very nice property. You’re better off simply negotiating the best rate and terms you can at the time you find a property. If interest rates go down, you can refinance. This is a much better approach because you won’t miss out on the property you’ve spent so much time locating.

    Be Honest With Your Lender - Your lender wants to help you with your loan. The only time they get paid is when you get approved. The more information (good or bad) you provide your lender, the easier it will be for them to get an approval. It helps them present the loan in the best light. This in turn helps the loan get the highest approval rating.

    Become Completely Educated – Pick your lender’s brain. Lenders will teach you all about your various options, even if you haven’t found the right property yet. They will be very patient with you while you are looking, especially if you have aligned yourself with the right agent. They understand all the up-front work will pay off in future business. Your agent will then continue to refer people to the courteous and service-minded lender on down the line.

    Get Prequalified - Lenders will provide you with a certificate of pre-qualification. By getting prequalified you know exactly what financial parameters to stay within. Your agent and lender will consult with you and help you get qualified for the loan that best fits your needs. Many times they are able to get you a larger loan than you may have thought possible.

    Valerie Fitzgerald specializes in luxury residential real estate in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Santa Monica and Malibu. Valerie has more than 20 years of real estate experience and is known for her solid reputation in the West Los Angeles brokerage community. She’s also the author of the book published by Simon and Schuster Heart and Sold: How to Survive and Build a Recession-Proof Business.

    Search Luxury Homes in Los Angeles at Valerie Fitzgerald Real Estate Listings or contact Valerie Fitzgerald at 310-285-7515.

  • Secrets Mortgage Lenders Don’t Want You to Know….

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Beverly Hills  |  July 12, 2010 8:10 AM  |  279 views  |  1 comment

    The right or wrong decision when signing your home mortgage can mean thousands of dollars difference in interest paid. There are very important considerations to evaluate before you commit to a 15 or 30 year note.

    For many of us our mortgage payment is the most important financial decision we’ll ever make. Doesn’t it make sense to know as much as possible about the financing of our home? Take the time to thoroughly investigate all of your options!Unbelievably, many of us sign the first mortgage placed in front of us. Typically the excitement of the new home purchase reduces the mortgage to not much more than an afterthought. What you read here could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

    Your real estate professional has established relationships with the top lenders in your area. By aligning yourself with a professional agent you ensure that all the financial steps are taken care of properly and economically. Utilize a Lender With Established Ties to an Agent – Lenders are much more flexible with the real estate agents who have done business with them previously. This relationship then establishes them as a team. The lender and agent work effectively together, referring each other business.

    That’s why a good agent can make substantial difference in setting up the most economical financing. And the right financing can, literally, save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan!Don’t Attempt Paperwork Alone – All the paperwork required to complete the purchase of a home can be quite intimidating and frustrating for a home buyer. Make sure you have your lenders help you with all the paperwork. Get help from your team, your lender and agent. Their expertise will help alleviate the stress and it will prove to be invaluable before you sign your mortgage.

    Look at All Your Options - Make sure you see at least 5 loan programs for your mortgage. Lenders have at least 10 programs and should work with you and your agent on deciding what is best for your circumstances. Evaluate all your options. After all it’s your money you’re spending – not theirs!

    Demand Service - There is little difference between a bank, savings and loan, or a mortgage broker when it comes to the competitiveness of their loan rates. The difference is in the service they provide. It is their job to serve you! You want to get the loan approved and move into your new home as quickly as possible, but don’t overlook the fact that you are the one spending the money and they are the ones who should cater to your needs. Don’t let the process become so intimidating that you lose that understanding.

    Stay in Complete Touch – You should receive a written report from your lender about every step. This will ensure that no details are overlooked and there will be no surprises.

    Negotiate a Flexible Loan - Don’t just accept the terms they lay down in front of you. Lenders are in the business of loaning money and they want your business. Make sure you examine every option available to you. If you negotiate a variable rate loan, many lenders have the ability to move you into a fixed loan if rates start going up. Make sure that you understand whether or not that is an option in the package you are looking at.

    Don’t Give Up on the First No - Initial decisions are not always final decisions. Going to a higher authority can sometimes get you the loan, but do so with the assistance and compliance of your lender and agent. Many times special circumstances when explained properly to the person in charge, will win you the loan.

    Don’t Wait for the Bottom of the Market - The odds of you hitting the bottom of your market are about like the odds of you hitting your state lotto! You will almost never hit the bottom of a market. And trying to time it exactly right is often costly. It usually causes a person or family to miss out on the opportunity to purchase a very nice property. You’re better off simply negotiating the best rate and terms you can at the time you find a property. If interest rates go down, you can refinance. This is a much better approach because you won’t miss out on the property you’ve spent so much time locating.

    Be Honest With Your Lender - Your lender wants to help you with your loan. The only time they get paid is when you get approved. The more information (good or bad) you provide your lender, the easier it will be for them to get an approval. It helps them present the loan in the best light. This in turn helps the loan get the highest approval rating.

    Become Completely Educated – Pick your lender’s brain. Lenders will teach you all about your various options, even if you haven’t found the right property yet. They will be very patient with you while you are looking, especially if you have aligned yourself with the right agent. They understand all the up-front work will pay off in future business. Your agent will then continue to refer people to the courteous and service-minded lender on down the line.

    Get Prequalified - Lenders will provide you with a certificate of pre-qualification. By getting prequalified you know exactly what financial parameters to stay within. Your agent and lender will consult with you and help you get qualified for the loan that best fits your needs. Many times they are able to get you a larger loan than you may have thought possible.

    Valerie Fitzgerald specializes in luxury residential real estate in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Santa Monica and Malibu. Valerie has more than 20 years of real estate experience and is known for her solid reputation in the West Los Angeles brokerage community. She’s also the author of the book published by Simon and Schuster Heart and Sold: How to Survive and Build a Recession-Proof Business.

    Search Luxury Homes in Los Angeles at Valerie Fitzgerald Real Estate Listings or contact Valerie Fitzgerald at 310-285-7515.

  • New Modern Beach Residences Now Open in Marina Del Rey California

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Marina del Rey  |  June 30, 2010 8:17 AM  |  329 views  |  No comments

    Los Angeles-based SunBrook Partners announce Valerie Fitzgerald as the exclusive sales agent for their new beach community development Latitude 33 which opened officially on Wednesday, June 16.Located in Marina Del Rey at 330 Washington Blvd, Latitude 33 is a collection of 122 homes two blocks from Venice Pier starting in the low $600s. The community is made up of luxury condominiums, town-homes and high-rise flats. The top two floors of the building are exclusively penthouse units.

    “This is a long awaited debut for this amazing and culturally-expanding community,” says Valerie Fitzgerald. “This project offers contemporary beach living with traditional Southern California lifestyle.”

    A modern beach-inspired community combining Los Angeles’ high-style attitude with the unique and eclectic flavors of the locale, Latitude 33 offers flats and townhomes in three distinctive yet complementary lifestyle collections: the SKY Collection, BOARDWALK Collection and BEACH Collection. Latitude 33 combines an inviting atmosphere with a unique coastal backdrop, perfect for enjoying the ultimate California lifestyle.

    A West Los Angeles veteran representing high-profile new construction projects, Fitzgerald knows what it takes to promote and sell high-end real estate developments from the construction phase to roll out. Fitzgerald most recently oversaw sales at The Carlyle Residences (The Elad Group of New York’s Plaza Hotel), a 24-story, 76-unit tower rising on the Wilshire Corridor. In 2005 she lead sales at The Century, as well as at The Hollywood in 2009.

    Latitude 33 offers residences ranging $600,000 to $2,400,000. Residences include designer-selected wood flooring in entry and throughout main living areas dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies with glass rails. Kitchens have modern Italian cabinetry featuring clean lines of Bon Tempi or Gato design, elegant granite countertops, professional quality Wolf stainless steel built in appliances, Sub Zero refrigerators and wine coolers, Grohe stainless steel faucets and Kohler stainless steel sinks.

    Valerie Fitzgerald has more than 20 years real estate experience and one of Coldwell Banker’s top producers nationwide. She was recently named one of The Wall Street Journal’s top agents and is president of The Valerie Fitzgerald Group in Beverly Hills, CA. Author of Heart and Sold: How to Survive and Build a Recession-Proof Business (Simon and Schuster), and is a regular contributor to real estate trade publications. For more information, visit: http://valeriefitzgerald.com.

    Valerie Fitzgerald specializes in luxury residential real estate in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Santa Monica and Malibu. Valerie has more than 20 years of real estate experience and is known for her solid reputation in the West Los Angeles brokerage community. She’s also the author of the book published by Simon and Schuster Heart and Sold: How to Survive and Build a Recession-Proof Business.

    Search Luxury Homes in Los Angeles at Valerie Fitzgerald Real Estate Listings

  • U.S. Home Prices Rose a Better Than Expected 3.8% in April

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Beverly Hills  |  June 29, 2010 9:41 AM  |  285 views  |  No comments

    Conditions in the U.S. housing sector improved a bit more than expected in April, as home prices in 20 major cities rose 3.8% on a year-over-year basis, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price survey. They rose 2.4% year-over-year in March.

    Home prices in the 20-city index also rose 0.8% from March to April — the first month-to-month increase in half a year, Case-Shiller said.

    Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected home prices to rise 3.5% in April on a year-over-year basis.

    Meanwhile, the S&P/Case Shiller 10-city index rose 4.6%, on a year-over-year basis, and 0.7% from March to April.

    David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s, said that although the April data indicated improvement in the housing sector, the gains were enhanced by the expiration of the home buyer tax credit in April, and were not as broad-based as one could wish for.

    Gains Were Concentrated in California

    “Home price levels remain close to the April 2009 lows set by the S&P/Case Shiller 10- and 20-City Composite series. The April 2010 data for all 20 MSAs [metropolitan statistical areas] and the two composites do show some improvement with higher annual increases than in March’s report. However, many of the gains are modest and somewhat concentrated in California,” Blitzer said, in a statement. “Moreover, nine of the 20 cities reached new lows at some time since the beginning of this year. The month-over-month figures were driven by the end of the federal home buyer tax credit program on April 30.”

    Year-over-year percentage price changes in some major U.S. cities included: New York, down 1%, Chicago, down 1.6%, Boston, up 4.9%, Washington, D.C., up 7.3%, Atlanta, up 0.2%, Tampa, down 2.4%, Miami, down 0.5%, Dallas, up 3.3%, Denver, up 4.4%, Los Angeles, up 7.8%, San Francisco, up 18%, and Seattle, down 2.8%.

    Overall, April’s home price report represents only a small victory for the U.S. housing sector. The 3.8% year-over-year gain and the 0.8% rise in April are positive developments, but economists generally agree that the now-lapsed home buyer tax credit likely boosted sales and prices. If demand is not strong enough to support prices without the support of the tax credit program, home prices could retrench in May or June.

    For now, the modestly positive numbers in April report are a signal that the negative wealth effect may be dissipating — but it will take two or three more months of data before economists and real estate agents can predict whether the U.S. housing sector will continue to recover.

    See full article from DailyFinance: http://srph.it/cQy296

    Valerie Fitzgerald specializes in luxury residential real estate in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Santa Monica and Malibu. Valerie has more than 20 years of real estate experience and is known for her solid reputation in the West Los Angeles brokerage community. She’s also the author of the book published by Simon and Schuster Heart and Sold: How to Survive and Build a Recession-Proof Business.

    Search Luxury Homes in Los Angeles at Valerie Fitzgerald Real Estate Listings

  • Valerie Fitzgerald Discusses Tips for Achieving Success in This Economy

    Posted Under: How To... in Los Angeles  |  June 7, 2010 3:05 PM  |  370 views  |  No comments

    In an interview with Better TV, Valerie talks about the importance in finding creative solutions to business and personal challenges.

    “When you start being creative things start transforming in your business, personal and physical worlds and the process gets you on the right path,” says Valerie.

    Three Tips for Achieving Success in This Economy…

    1. Be Consistent.
    2. Prioritize Your Lists.
    3. Organize and Create Support Systems.

    For more tips on how to reinvent your life check out Valerie’s book Heart and Sold: How to Survive and Build a Recession-Proof Business at Amazon.com.

  • The State Of The World’s Real Estate Markets

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Los Angeles  |  June 1, 2010 9:22 AM  |  337 views  |  2 comments
    In an interview on The Creating Wealth Show, Matthew Montagu-Pollock, the head of Global Property Guide, discussed his observations of the current state of the world’s real estate markets. From Australia to South America, he outlines what investors should be paying attention to in order to formulate smart investment strategies.

    Australia and New Zealand Real Estate

    Matthew launches this guided investment tour in Australia and New Zealand where favorable lending rates have helped markets buck the latest downward trend. Unfortunately, rates suppressed in the interest of economic recovery inevitably rise, and prices haven’t fallen far enough to warrant “a happy investor strategy.” As with much of the world’s property market, Matthew recommends delaying entry 3 – 4 years. The longer, slower cycles that distinguish real estate from the stock market ’s sharp swings provide time to exercise caution instead of a headlong rush.

    Developing vs. Developed Markets

    Mortgage financing is a relatively recent concept in much of the world, where historically inaccessible lending has kept prices low. The notion that developed markets are inherently less risky was disproved with the latest collapse. In fact, developing markets often offer greater opportunity, including high rental yields which are a key indicator of opportunity for appreciation.

    Asia Real Estate Markets

    Prospects for investors in Asia are as diverse as the region itself. The more structurally sound markets are on the verge of a bubble. Authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore are ready to clamp down on lending and raise interest rates. Unfettered construction and soaring prices have left China’s market in danger of over-heating while the drop in gross rental yields from 10% to less than half that is a troubling sign. In contrast, Japanese officials are restricting development; rental yields are just average, and the stagnant market is nearly impenetrable to foreign investors. In Asia’s developing markets, political instability is disquieting to investors, especially in Thailand. The 12% rental return in Indonesia and the Philippines is deceptive because taxes erode up to a quarter of investments. Overall, Asian market policies favor landlords, while Australia is neutral.

    Eastern Europe Real Estate

    Patience is the best investment strategy for Russia and Eastern Europe, where the collapse of Baltic states has led to price declines of 60%. Matthew advises waiting 5 years at minimum to allow time for economic stability to be restored, despite the lure of bargain property. The outlook for Hungary and Poland is more promising, with rental yields at 8% and 6% respectively. The forecast for the rest of Europe is more dismal. Because the strength of real estate is inextricably tied to the broader economy, investors should rule out Ireland, Spain and Italy where GDP growth is abysmal. Germany and Belgium can’t be recommended because foreign investors bear a heavy tax burden, while prices in the UK are peaking and favorable interest rates won’t last forever.

    Middle East Real Estate

    Dubai’s collapse has put it in the spotlight, but investors should have been forewarned by a precipitous drop in rental yields two years earlier. Elsewhere in the Middle East, political instability detracts from price appreciation in Jordan and Lebanon. Cairo in Egypt is an example of why Matthew is bullish on capital cities since they furnish a pool of expatriate tenants. Exotic Morocco and tranquil Tunisia also possess potential.

    South America Real Estate

    South America holds promise for investment, especially in Uruguay and Brazil. Rent returns in Sao Paolo are 7%, and the Brazilian government has set a course for growth. Despite its reputation, Colombia shines with its rich history, and rent returns are favorable in Lima, Peru.

    North America Real Estate

    The guided investment tour ends in North America, which Matthew predicts will be ripe for investment within 18 months since this market has nearly cycled through the latest crisis. Although Canada wasn’t impacted as severely as the US, its pro-tenant policies are a deterrent to investing.

    Matthew ends the interview with encouragement for investors, praising real estate as a source of security in confusing financial times, providing a tangible asset and steady income especially for investors who adopt a hands-on approach. 

    This article is based on Episode 166 of Jason Hartman’s Creating Wealth Show. You can listen to the full podcast at JasonHartman.com, a real estate investment and wealth creation site.

    Valerie Fitzgerald specializes in luxury residential real estate in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Santa Monica and Malibu. Valerie has more than 20 years of real estate experience and is known for her solid reputation in the West Los Angeles brokerage community. She’s also the author of the book published by Simon and Schuster Heart and Sold: How to Survive and Build a Recession-Proof Business.

    Buy or Sell You Luxury Homes in Westside Los Angeles at Valerie Fitzgerald Real Estate Listings

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