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Pacita Dimacali's Blog

By Pacita Dimacali | Agent in Alameda, CA
  • How new clients benefit from information shared with prior clients

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Alameda County, Home Selling in Alameda County, Agent2Agent in Alameda County  |  December 1, 2013 1:48 AM  |  596 views  |  1 comment

    Blogs have a long shelf life. Update and Reblog.  What’s old is new again

    From time to time, when I start working with a client, there’s always something that I need to relay to them. Oftentimes,  rather than re-creating explanations, I have referred to some of my previous blogs. With some updates, the blogs are still applicable.

    Some examples…..

    First time home buyers.  

    The first question is whether they are cash buyers and if not, are they already preapproved. And it is also important to prepare them on how to write a good offer, depending on what type of market we’re in (lately, it’s a seller’s market in my area). 



    It’s important to gauge just how motivated they are. And if they need help getting ready to put their property for sale. Depending on their situation, I again go back to my prior blogs and send them links to what may help to prepared them for the selling process.



    And if there are tenants involved….


    Short Sales

    Another area that requires a lot of educating and explaining are short sale. And there’s more about that, starting with


  • Should Realtors police their own? Or help another Realtor when they see a wrong being committed?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in California, Home Selling in California, Agent2Agent in California  |  September 21, 2013 4:41 PM  |  1,166 views  |  5 comments

    What would YOU do?

    There's a TV show called "What would you do..." with John Quinones where people witness certain situations in which someone may be harassed or victimized. The show seeks to see what people would do --- get involved to right a wrong, ignore it, or do something else?

    Well, this question is asked when an agent knows the other agent is doing something in violation of the Realtor Code of Ethics.


    Buyer Agent A submits offer on Seller Agent's listing, and was accepted.

    Agent A includes preapproval letter from Mortgage Broker XYZ.
    Agent A and Buyer complete all required disclosures including a home inspection arranged by Buyer Agent A and attended by Buyer's mother.

    When loan approval contingency was due, Mortgage Broker XYZ didn't approve the loan for one reason or another. Agent A appealed for an extension of the loan approval contingency. But Seller Agent conveys to Buyer Agent A that Seller doesn't believe the Buyer could perform, and therefore Seller cancelled the agreement.

    And here's the big surprise.....

    Unbeknownst to the Agent A, just 1 day after contract was cancelled,  Mortgage Broker XYZ had his own Agent B submit an offer on behalf of the Buyer, for exactly the same amount of the cancelled offer.

    Seller accepts that second offer from the same buyer, same price, using same mortgage lender, but a different agent this time. The sale is completed 30 days later.

    Agent A did not hear back from the Buyer when asked to try again later. It was only after a year had passed that the Agent A learned the Buyer bought the same property, using the same mortgage broker who refused to approve the loan approval contingency the first time.


    Is this situation an example of procuring cause ?

    Should the Seller Agent ignore this situation because it's between Agent A and Agent B, and the Seller Agent simply wants to close the sale for his seller?

    Should the Seller Agent have alerted Buyer Agent A that another agent submitted an offer on behalf of the Buyer for the same property, a mere 1 day later?

    Should the Seller Agent have cautioned Buyer Agent B that Buyer Agent A represented the Buyer on the same property…that the offer was cancelled because the loan approval contingency wasn't approved by the same mortgage broker?

    Should the Seller's Agent have told Agent A what happened at least shortly after the escrow closed?

    More than 180 days have passed before Agent A learned about this situation. Can Agent A still file a complaint for Procuring Case and/or violation of Code of Ethics?

  • REALTORS: Get with the program. Get an ekey to open lockboxes

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Alameda County, Home Selling in Alameda County, Agent2Agent in Alameda County  |  September 3, 2013 3:38 PM  |  1,372 views  |  No comments

    There is so much new technology to help us do our jobs better as real estate agents. Our clients expect us to be on top of things. We should always be prepared.

    I activated a new listing and immediately received an inquiry. But this one had me gasping in disbelief. This guy identified himself (according to his signature) as a

    • Insurrance Agent
    • Real Estate Broker
    • Mortgage Broker

    Yet, he asks "I don't have a Supra Key, so would it be possible to pick up a key at the office or something like that?"




    In this day and age of technology, where we've advanced to ekeys activated through a smartphone (or ipad), there is still an agent who doesn't have a lockbox key or any sort? Picking up keys from the broker's office has gone the way of the Model T Ford.

    And now, depending on one's preference, there are choices for the suprekey

    A bluetooth fob

    Or an adapter that attaches directly on the phone and you can enter the info directly on your screen 

    What could be easier to use?

    Besides having a decent car, one of the most important tools a real estate agent should have is a lock box key. If he doesn't have one, he shouldn't borrow another agent's key. Our local MLS doesn't allow it for agents who aren't partners or team mates.

    And finally, every agent should have a smart phone with access to texting, email, the internet and mobile access to the MLS.

    Needless to say, this agent just put himself in the bottom of the list. And if I were his client, I will be perturbed at his lack of preparedness to deal with showing properties.

  • Is your seller motivated, semi-motivated or don't care?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Alameda County, Home Selling in Alameda County, Agent2Agent in Alameda County  |  August 5, 2013 5:23 PM  |  1,480 views  |  No comments

    Where does your prospective seller fit in? Is the seller seriously motivated, testing the waters, or simply don't care? Is your seller motivated, semi-motivated or unmotivated?

    What will/can you say to overcome certain objections? What's your next move? You decide.

    Motivated seller

    Goodness, why would one accept a listing from an unmotivated seller? But sometimes, we may miss the signals or we don't really find out the seller isn't motivated until it comes to crunch time.

    Or can we?

    Sales Prospecting 101

    There are the same basic steps. This is where we. as sales people. should first qualify our prospects.

    We already know the factors when selling property: price, location, condition. Just add a few more factors, and voila! Here's a simple matrix where the agent can classify a prospective seller based on the seller's position about each necessary step in selling property.

      Motivated seller Semi-motivated seller Unmotivated seller

    List price


    Contract timeline

    Seller agrees with your comps, facts and trends. After all, that's why he hired you as the real estate professional.

    In this economy, will agree to 6 months listing agreement

    Seller wants higher price but will adjust if after a certain period of time, there are still no showings or offer

    He'll agree to a 3 months. If needed he may agree to negotiate an extension

    Seller dictates the price he wants to net from the sale.

    Says his place has so much more to offer than other similar houses in the area (in spite of the contrary)

    Does not want to be stuck with long term contract. Will give you 2 months to sell his place.




    Put a lockbox on. Just call with 1 hr notice and go

    By appointment only and he'll put out the lockbox

    No lockbox. Show only between 10 am - 5 pm weekdays. No weekend showings since that's the only time he can relax.


    Asks you whom do you recommend?

    May allow the stager to make some recommendations to pare down his things and bring some stuff to complement what's there.

    His things are nice enough, thank you.

    He likes those crocheted doilies so don't touch them.

    He does not want to arrange the furniture or take down any family pictures because they look fine where they are.




    Curb appeal

    Asks if he should vacate so that there's more space for the stager to work with?

    Will hire a cleaning service to do a deep cleaning of the house

    What colors will go well with the house?

    Do you know a good landscaper?

    What do we need to fix/replace?

    Will do a minimum of decluttering. After all he still lives there.

    Okay, maybe he'll hire a gardener to mow the yard and weed the flower beds

    Maybe he'll fix the leaky faucet, recaulk the tub and replace burn out light bulbs.

    Pet odors. What pet odors?

    He does not have the time or the money to do anything to the house/

    Buyers will just have to buy the house the way it is now. This is how people live. He won't change his lifestyle

    What stays with the house All the appliances match and fit well where they are. Leave them for the next buyer if the buyer wants them The refrigerator, washer and dryer won't stay. But if the buyer wants them, these are negotiable items. Taking the fridge, washer, dryer. Oh, that light fixture is fairly new, so he'll remove that and put in a Home Depot special
  • Is the potential buyer motivated, semi-motivated or just a looky-loo?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Alameda County, Home Selling in Alameda County, Agent2Agent in Alameda County  |  August 5, 2013 5:04 PM  |  1,544 views  |  2 comments

    Attention, Agents!

    Do you have a serious Buyer or a looky-loo?

    Home for sale

    You get a call/email, or you meet someone at an open house, who says he/she wants to see a property. How do you know if this is a good lead?


    Motivated Buyer

    Goodness, why would one take on a new buyer without qualifying him first? But sometimes, we may miss the signals or we don't really find out the Buyer is neither ready nor motivated until it comes to crunch time. Or can we?

    Qualify your prospects

    We already know the factors when buying property: pre-approval, funds, price, location, condition, timeline.

    Here's a simple matrix where the agent can classify a prospective Buyer based on the Buyer’s position about each necessary step in buying property.





    Name, number, email The buyer gives you all you ask for

    When you call/email, they immediately respond.
    The buyer gives you a name, but no number. Wants all communications through email Buyer says he wants to do the search on his own. When he finds something, he’ll call you. (Ha!)

    Office meeting

    Discuss property search

    Goes to your office for initial meeting to review/set search paraments and to strategize

    Spends time with you as you pull up some possibilities and gives you feedback so that you know what to search for.

    Agrees to set up meeting, but can you please send them a link to some properties to review in the meantime?

    They will drive by first. (And when they do, they might also call the listing agent!)

    Wants to see properties first.  Says he doesn’t have a realtor yet, and is still in the process of selection.

    You tell them that some properties need appointments.

    When are they available? No response.
    (You get that feeling in your gut you don’t want to meet them at any property)
    Pre-approved Buyer has already met with lenders and can provide the pre-approval letter and proof of funds. Buyer has an idea of what he can afford because he was pre-approved before but that preapproval already expired. (At least he did it!)

    Willing to talk with lendes you refer to him
    Buyer tells you he won’t have a problem getting pre-approved. They have a lender in mind.  (They all say that!)
    Funds for down payment and closing costs He has already saved enough for both the down payment and closing costs.
    May even be able to put 20% or higher as a down payment.
    He has some funds, but wants to see about loans with the least amount of down payment.

    But he asks, what’s an FHA loan when you bring up the types of loans.
    He is still saving up for the down payment.

    Wants to ask seller to pay his closing costs. In a seller's market, that's unlikely to happen.
    Type and location of property

    Regular sale?
    Short sale?

    States  his must-have and wish lists.

    Very specific about what type of home, where he wants to buy.

    States if he has time to wait for a short sale, or resources to fix a property.
    Willing to narrow search to a few locations.

    Eliminates certain types of homes
    (Good! He can focus)

    Uncertain if he has the skills, resources or funds to fix up property

    Casts a wide net over several cities.

    Wants to look at all types of properties, especially bank-owned properties because he  can offer 50% less. (He read that somewhere.)

    Uncertain if he has the skills, resources or funds to fix up property
    Budget range Specifies maximum budget. Will wait for lender to provide budget range Unrealistic about what he can buy. Says his budget range is $200-700K. (What?)


    3-6 months. No timeline/deadline.

    Four  months later, still looking.....

    Who else is part of decision-making? Once suitable property is identified, is ready to write offer. Once suitable property is identified, needs to consult with family members who want to see the property a few more times. But they’re only available on weekends and after hours.  
    (By which time, property may be in contract)
    Drops off from the face of the earth.

    Where does your prospective Buyer fit in? What's your next move?

    Do you have a serious Buyer or a looky-loo?

    Related post:

    Motivated, semi-motivated, or unmotivated seller?

  • Dear Potential Buyer --- wonder why we don't just get up to show you property when you call/email?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Alameda County, Home Buying in Alameda County, Agent2Agent in Alameda County  |  July 23, 2013 10:58 PM  |  1,648 views  |  11 comments

    I received an email from someone who found me online. There was no name or phone number, just an email address. He/she asked about a property, and I responded with relevant information.


    When he/she emailed back and wanted to see the property right away, I asked the usual questions. 

    • Are you working with an agent? And if not...

    • What is your name, number or best number to reach you?

    • Are you preapproved, if so, by whom? There are reasons why we ask.

    • Can we meet at my office so that we can discuss your requirements -- perhaps there are other properties that are also suitable?

    • When is a good time to meet (I wasn’t going to drop everything, jump in my car and meet this person)


    When this person didn’t respond back, I chalked it up as as a looky-loo. If this were a legitimate inquiry from a potential buyer, then he/she should not hesitate to provide the answers.

    But there are other concerns...

    Dear Potential Buyer --- here’s why we don’t jump when you ask us to see property, until and unless we know more about you

    Besides wanting to know if you’re a legitimate and qualified buyer, we also want to make sure we are not putting ourselves at risk by being careless and taking our safety for granted.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    See Realtor Safety Report 2011.


    There are certainly enough examples of realtors who were injured, assaulted, and even killed on the job.

    What would you do if someone you’ve never met --- i.e., a complete stranger --- called you to ask you to meet them somewhere without your knowing anything about him/her?

    Related Posts:

    Be safe. Be careful. There are dangers in the real estate profession. 

    Dear Home Buyer, here are reasons why we ask if you already preapproved for a loan before you start looking at houses

  • What could possibly go wrong during escrow when buying/selling a house

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Alameda County, Home Selling in Alameda County, Agent2Agent in Alameda County  |  July 3, 2013 10:23 AM  |  1,100 views  |  No comments
    Browsing through the MLS, I have run into listings that appear to be by FSBO (For sale by owner) who contacted services that will put their listings on the MLS but do nothing more.

    Here's the confidential remark for the listing:  "Listing broker does NOT represent the seller."
    That is one HUGE challenge, to essentially represent both parties during escrow.

    Which prompted me to reiterate
    -- for the benefit of both the seller and the buyer...

    What could possibly go wrong during escrow?

    A day before close of escrow, one party refuses to allow transaction to proceed due to unfulfilled commitment (I know of a million dollar sale that was delayed because the seller didn’t deliver, per prior agreement,  a permit signed off/approved by the city bulding inspector)


    Seller had done work on the property --- expansion, remodeling --- without permits. Someone files a complaint, and the city's Code Enforcement group mandates that permits are pulled, work is inspected, work re-done (or even removed)  if necessary,  fines are paid before close of escrow.  Buyers are unwilling to shoulder that responsibility and backs out.

    Seller did not complete agreed-upon compliance with local ordinances (such as sewer lateral test/replacement, automatic gas cut off valve installation where applicable).

    Seller was discovered to not have legal authorization to sell the property

    Mechanics liens are still on record against the property

    Other parties, such as heirs, file suit to halt the sale

    House suffers a calamity --- fire, burglary, hurricane, etc --- during escrow period and could not be delivered in the same condition as when the buyer wrote the offer

    Buyer does not qualify for the loan

    Buyer loses job or is unexpectedly relocated.

    Property does not appraise for the price that the buyer has offered

    Lender/underwriter doesn't complete loan process on time, or has more conditions to resolve before approving loan. For example, an FHA loan appraiser may identify Section 1 items that need to be cleared.

    Buyer does not clear his contingencies in time. And even when the seller issues Notice to Perform, buyer does not comply


    Significant repair issues are identified during inspections.  Buyer requests credits/repairs or price reduction. Seller refuses. Negotiation breaks down.no whining


    Buyer does not deposit earnest money into an escrow account in spite of constant follow ups


    Cancellation of contract is instituted, but one party refuses to sign or to allow deposit to be returned to buyer

    Buyer's own house was under contract -- but HIS buyer backs out and cancels that sale

    Buyer or Seller gets cold feet and wants to cancel agreement

    One of the parties to the agreement gets deathly ill...and sometimes, somebody passes away


    And of course, there are the other myriad challenges with other types of sales like short sales. And that’s another whole book!

    Indeed, what are the various events that could possibly derail a transaction?
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