Sunday, December 23, 2007

Why you should choose me to help you buy your next home

I work exclusively by referral. Working by referral allows me to focus on my clients and not on prospecting for other clients like most other agents do. My clients refer me to those that they know who are thinking about buying or selling a home or investment property. In this manner, fully 85% of my business is directly attributable to working by referral with the balance of my business derived from networking and website sources. I do no "smiley-faced", self-promotion type ads in newspapers, magazines or load your mail box with what are known as "farming cards" or as most call it -- junk mail!

How does working by referral benefit you? Simply by the fact that if I don't perform, you wouldn't think about referring anyone. Poor service or results would cause my business to vanish! Instead, I work for my clients before, during and after each transaction. In actuality, during 2007 my business continued to grow and amounted to my best year ever. Working by referral allows me to be careful as to whom I choose to work for. And, I'll be the first to tell you that we each have a decision whether or not to work with someone. I would caution you that it is critical to know the person you will entrust to advise and help you with what will probably be your largest monetary investment -- a home.

In California, we have what's known as "buyers agency". Buyers agency is simply that upon execution of a legal form, your chosen agent becomes your buyer's agent and works for you while legally being paid out of the seller's proceeds. Thus, there is no money out-of-pocket for the buyer when represented by a buyer's agency agreement. Going through an Open House, responding to an ad online or in the newspaper puts you in front of someone working for the seller who may not have your best interests in mind. Legally, they should be acting solely for the benefit of their principal as one of the four Fiduciary Duties that agents should honor. The other three are: to use skill, care and diligence; to be accountable; and, to disclose material facts.

My background consists of extensive, real-life experience in business, investments and finance with more than 23 years in corporate financial planning, analysis experience. My last position was a director of planning for a company which was purchased for $9 billion. This is important for my clients because it means I have a grounding in reality and can take a longer-term or investment approach to advising clients. Contrast my background with someone who might have sold shoes, computer chips, insurance policies and now homes. More than likely, they're looking for the next transaction. Please don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with selling -- I'm in sales, too! But before there is a transaction, I advise my clients of what is solely in their best interests -- whether or not it culminates in a transaction for me. I do a substantial amount of market research to uncover or spot trend changes to devise the appropriate negotiation strategy I advise my clients to use so that they accomplish their real estate goals.

A decision to purchase is always up to the client, in that manner, I don't sell, I advise. If you'd like to meet and get to know me better, please give me a call at 408-830-0092. Feel free to comment with your questions on:
  • REO or foreclosure properties
  • buying in areas still likely to have multiple offers (yes, there are some)
  • TV unreality realty shows (show three and buy one)
  • or, other real estate topics you have in mind.

Thanks for reading!

Why you should consider me to help you buy your next investment property

Contemplating on making an investment in real estate? Would this be your first, second, fifth? Find out how an agent with financial, investment and business experience can advise you to purchase or ignore a real estate investment.

In order to make an informed decision, you must be able to decipher operating statements, cash flows, rent schedules, and the like. Or, work with an agent who has done this for companies as well as investors in real estate. I take an investment approach to helping my clients with real estate investments.

The old saying "garbage in, garbage out" is appropriate with investing in real estate. When you go about buying a home to live in you place an emphasis on "soft" things like quality of the neighborhood, schools, community benefits, the size of the house and lot, and features in addition to the price and loan rates to see if you're able to pay for it!

An investor looks at potential investment candidates in a different manner -- they look at how it will benefit them in a financial sense. You need an agent with analytical skills on your team to advise how one investment property will compare with another. And an agent who can and will compare a real estate investment with an altogether different investment!

In analyzing a real estate investment, one needs to project or forecast what different expenses will be in future years. Unfortunately, information provided by listing agents (remember garbage in!) mostly provide the expenses and perspective of the seller and their experience. That doesn't help you, the buyer, and can actually hurt you tremendously. Many investments were sold sight-unseen by merely showing an investor a page-full of numbers that the listing agent and/or seller made up! Many of these investments were located out of state and are not performing satisfactorily for their owners.

When I analyze a property on behalf of my client, I look at what will likely happen to the numbers in the future and how it will fit into the investor's current and future portfolio of investments. You need someone with experience in developing and populating what's called "proforma" operating statements before any decision can be made to complete the purchase.

After all operating expenses have been estimated, there needs to be careful analysis and consideration of the major ratios inherent in analyzing investment properties. Most notable would be an analysis of Gross Rent Multiplier (GRM) which is calculated by dividing gross annual rents by the list price. This can be compared to other similar investment candidates. Another such indicator is called the CAP rate which is short for capitalization rate. The CAP rate is calculated by dividing net operating income before taxes by the list price to arrive at a percentage or yield equivalent. I provide both these analyses and others as well as important scrutiny of the investment's "cost of capital" using real, current rates.

While searching for and analyzing investment candidates, you need an agent who will "get into the numbers" and provide advice that will eliminate emotions or "knee-jerk" decisions that so often occurs. It is part of helping the client make the best decision possible. This agent has told investors "no" many times and is not afraid of doing so again! My goal is to serve my client at the highest possible level.

You also need an agent who is adept at reading and following market trends to keep investors away from potential problems. I research market areas to determine to best time to enter or exit from them. For example, I have a client with investments in the Phoenix area who was thinking about selling. Luckily, when I queried them, they didn't have to sell. So I recommended they retain their real estate investments and keep them rented out. They want me to alert them when the market condition in that area is more favorable for them to sell.

I tell my clients "cheaper is not always better and more expensive is not always more valuable". You can quote me on that!

To learn more about me, please click on the My Background link under my photo in the right column.

Let me know if you just want to talk. You can always feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

Thanks for reading!

Why you should choose me to sell your property

Some might have you believe that there are two types of sellers. Those that have to sell and those that want to sell. I believe that a seller need only to be informed and advised so they make the best decision possible for their situation.

This starts with employing what I call the Four "P's" of marketing: preparation, pricing, planning and process.

Proper preparation has to do with giving the best first impression possible given constraints of time, money and circumstances. I coach my clients that prospective buyers and their agents usually spend but a few minutes forming their opinions of your home so it's important to ask the following important questions quickly:

  • is it competitively priced?

  • does it have a clean/shows-well appearance?

  • does it offer or add what I call "value" to the marketplace?

Since markets do change, being competitively priced is important because you need a buyer's agent phoning their client to say "we gotta see this one" and prospective buyers searching online for a new home to basically say the same thing! I consistently research market trends to develop the best marketing strategy to get your home sold in the quickest amount of time and for the most money.

For your home's appearance you need only put yourselves into a buyer's mindset to see where there can be improvements made and remember to not overlook the negative things! I advise you on the appropriate high-payback items to make your home market-ready and coach you that how you live in your home is not how you show it! Depending upon the situation, I may recommend differing levels of home staging from accessorizing (complimentary service to my clients) through partial or full staging using an accredited home staging professional I've worked with. I've built up an impressive array of trades people to refer my clients to for virtually anything you might want to do to maintain or market your home.

Think of "adding value" to the market as not just merely a reduction in price but features or benefits your home offers that "showcases" your home and differentiates it from others. For example, features would be remodeled kitchen/bath. Benefits would be better schools and community offerings. I ask questions to quickly learn of other features and benefits not apparent to a quick glance or tour. When advising clients to make changes, I'm careful to work within their budget and/or time constraints. I look for high-payback items designed to increase your net -- otherwise, why do them.

Proper planning and an effective process are the only ways to assure you get the most out of marketing your home -- that is, the highest net (or what I call "walkaway capital") that the market has to offer. I advise my clients how to balance time and money to accomplish their chief goals of obtaining the highest net within the least amount of time and do so smoothly. To that end, I advise you to begin any negotiating from a position of strength rather than a position of weakness as so many sellers do. The structure of this advice is held in a customized, comprehensive marketing plan and strategy that are crucial to the successful outcome of your sale.

The main marketing elements of my plan are the use of: traditional and new-technology based online approaches.

To learn more about me, please click the My Background link under my photo in the right column.

I was awarded the designation Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) because of my experience and education in dealing with seniors as their transactions tend to be more complicated due to their large equity positions and tax exposure. I advise my clients to obtain the legal, tax, loan, financial planning input before making a decision to sell as it may be in their best interests NOT to sell. If they don't have a trusted expert in these areas, I refer them to a professional. The only compensation I receive for these and other professional or trade referrals is the satisfaction that I've helped someone seek to be better informed and ultimately make a better decision for themselves.

Please give me a call at 408-830-0092 to include me when you're ready to interview agents or just to meet and get to know each other better. If you have questions or feedback, feel free to leave me a comment.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Welcome to My Behind the Real Estate Scenes in Silicon Valley Blog

Welcome to my blog -- Behind the Real Estate Scenes in Silicon Valley!

This blog will provide readers who want a bit more specifics about real estate topics than what you would normally find in a newspaper or online article which can be extremely general and perhaps meant to scare or sell newspapers rather than provide relevant, local information on real estate in our Silicon Valley communities. We'll delve into market and industry trends, strategies, tips for buyers and sellers, and even ideas and tips on improving or maintaining your home or investment properties.

Also, we will venture into non real estate areas too! Things like community and neighborhood events, charities, dining, etc. My blogs related to dining experiences will sport the name "Real Eats" and blogs about movie reviews and comments will be called "Reel Estate".

My name is Tom McEvoy. I've been a California licensed real estate broker for the past eight years. I'm a Realtor and was awarded the Seniors Real Estate Specialist designation because of my experience and education in dealing with seniors.

Prior to entering real estate, I was in corporate financial planning and analysis for 23 years ending as a Director of Financial Planning in 1999. My business, finance and investment experience allows me to provide comprehensive advice to my clients as well as interact effectively with CPA's, estate attorneys, loan officers, financial planners and other professionals so that my clients may be afforded top-level expertise so they make the best decision possible.

My associations and memberships include the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors, the California and National Associations of Realtors, Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau of Santa Clara County as well as a member of MLS Listings Inc. our Multiple Listing Service. I possess an MBA from Santa Clara University, a BS degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from San Jose State University and an AA degree in Real Estate from Foothill College.

After working at two independent real estate firms during my first five years in business, I joined RE/MAX Santa Clara Valley, an independently owned and operated franchise, in early 2005. I have found it beneficial to belong to the largest realty member firm in the world with a network spanning more than 60 countries and comprising more than 120,000 agents. The power of RE/MAX extends to their widely-popular website

My business philosophy is to advise and educate my clients to enable them to achieve their real estate goals in the best possible manner. I am client-driven, not transaction driven and spend a great deal of time understanding my clients aims so that I can advise them on the appropriate strategy necessary to save them time and money.

The services I provide include helping people buy, sell or exchange residential and commercial properties. Properties include those occupied by the owners or those kept as investments. I serve clients from first time buyers of homes and income properties to trade up and trade down clients looking to meet goals due to changing life situations. In particular, I help senior citizens utilizing my designation of a Seniors Real Estate Specialist on whether or not to sell the family home, tax implications of selling income properties and the like. I also advise investor clients on exchanging properties to defer capital gains taxes through the use of Section 1031 of the IRS Tax Code.

Since I am client-oriented, my area of service is quite broad and mainly includes San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Alameda and Contra Costa counties. I have assisted clients outside this large area both in California and out of state with the help of a local professional that I team up with to assure my client receives the highest level of service at all times.

If you have any questions or suggestions for additional topics or subjects, please click comments below and post them here or contact me.

Thanks for reading!

To life's best,

Tom McEvoy, Realtor