Experience…the difference; Experience the difference!

I believe that anyone seriously interested in buying a home possesses an attention span greater than 140 characters.  If you fall outside of those parameters, you need to slow down.

One of the largest purchases of your life is important enough that you set aside 5 or 10 minutes to read information. Maybe a good rule of thumb should be that you devote one minute of reading for every thousand dollars you plan to spend.

After all, it’s your money, your house, your life.

Consider this a job application.

I want to work for you.

You may not realize it, but you need to hire me.

My name is John MacArthur and I am a Realtor in the DC area (Maryland and the District of Columbia).

c21nm  Century 21 New Millennium

The first thing most people consider is the broker. My broker is the number one Century 21 franchise in the world. I don’t work for some cute little boutique firm.  I don’t work for one of those “mom and pop” companies that are still locked into the way things were done before Al Gore invented the internet.  I don’t work for some local firm trading off the name of their forefathers. Nope, I work for Century 21 New Millennium and I have all the resources necessary to assist you.  My broker has been heralded as being ahead of the curve and creating a real estate experience based on today and tomorrow.  Having those resources behind you will give you the support you need to find the right home.

Reputation

When seeking someone to represent you in your undertaking, you have to have more than a gut feeling about your decision.  Certainly, you can ask for references.  The downside of getting a list of references is that they will all be stacked in the favor of the person offering the list. Only an idiot would give you the name and number of a disgruntled past client.  The other hiccup involves the people on the list. Some people do not want their name and number given out.  I always like to offer a recommendation I am very proud to have received a JD Powers award for customer satisfaction.

“John is a true real estate professional who combines passion, integrity, and a deep knowledge of real estate to produce outstanding results”
                                                                                                                                                      David H. Stevens, Assistant Secretary – former, FHA Commissioner at HUD
Results
Your comfort level during the process is a number one priority.  Too often, consumers feel like they are talking to a wall when purchasing a home.  Too often, consumers are being shown homes that are not even remotely close to what they are seeking and often priced no where near what they would be comfortable spending.  While working together, you have my focus on the task at hand.  I listen to you. I hear what you are saying .  I provide feedback. The truth. There is no need to go seeking dreams. Home buyers need to be working in real terms with attainable goals.
I will share the truth with you. It is important for  you to have complete information about neighborhoods, traffic, schools and value. Understand, the asking price on any home is just a number. Your offer has to be rooted in value to you. It is my job to prepare you.
John MacArthur
This is my profession.  I do this on a full time basis. When I am not working with clients, I am staying up to date on market changes, changes in the laws, changes in financing and changes in real estate.  It is not secret that the market has changed a great deal. I make sure that I keep my finger on the pulse of the market.  I have negotiated million dollar contracts and made sure that an $18,900 purchase transpired correctly. I have served on advisory committees to the Montgomery County Council and represented the Montgomery County Contingent at the National Head Start Meetings. I have worked with the County Council on services for Clarksburg.  I have lived in this area my entire life. I have raised a family here.  I know the I-270 corridor and the brand new ICC and more importantly, I know where all the pot holes are and how to avoid them.  This is my home and I look forward to helping you make it yours.
I can be reached at 301-509-5111.  Experience … the difference; Experience the difference !

Home buying stress? You are not alone!

It is not easy being YOU

          It is another day in your quest to buy a home.  Depending on the length of your current journey, at times you are feeling like that tiny bit of dust caught between a very solid rock and hard spot.  You know all the things that are bothering you and nobody else seems to get it.  You are not alone.

          There is a very old saying “an apple does not fall far from the tree”.  You hear it when folks are describing how children seem to have many of the characteristics of their parents.  People chuckle and give a knowing nod and the moment passes. Most of us do have some characteristics that seem awfully similar to our parents.  Oh sure, we strive to be better.  We secretly fear that we are becoming our mother or father. We all want to be in individual, viewed on our own merits.  But still, we are all slaves to our up bringing and the world that formed us.

          You may be wondering, what does this have to do with your current stress level?  Everything.  You see, the world that you grew up in was as large as the universe you understood and as small as the invisible barriers you did not realize existed.  Your world was shaped at your dining room table.  Dining room table worlds are like snow flakes, no two of them are exactly alike.   Your experience and understanding are what you bring to the home buying process. It may be the biggest piece of the puzzle (after all, you are buying the home), but yours is just one piece that has to some how smoothly interact with all the other pieces.

        

They all apples and none of them are exactly alike.

          Your real estate agent, your lender, your home inspector, your appraiser, your spouse or co-buyer (if any) are all apples in their own right.  They all have fallen close to their own tree.  They bring their background, belief system and personal style to your journey.  Just like you, every single one of them believes what they are saying and doing is the right thing.  Often, they use language from their industry that is comfortable to them but entirely foreign to you. You have to add to the mix that they are interpreting every thing you say based on their understanding of the words and phrases you use.  In the effort  to make sure everyone is on the same page, at the same time, the process may seem to slow down or come to a screeching halt.  It is still moving forward, but it sure can feel like progress is not part of the equation.

          Your stress is a direct result of the difference between your expectations and your perception of the reality of the moment.  Whether anyone wants to accept it or not, perception is your reality.  How well your expectations are being managed will directly impact your stress level.  Something that may be overlooked is the fact that everyone else involved is dealing with perceptions, expectations and stress.  You are not alone.

How do you take all these apples and make the best pie?

          You can’t.  Individually, your agent, your lender, your home inspector, your appraiser, your spouse or co-buyer can not do it alone either.  This is one case where too many cooks can not spoil the broth.  Everyone has to work to understand where each person is in the process.  Even if everyone has an understanding, stress will exist.  You can lower your stress level if you calmly express your concerns and make sure that your concerns are understood. Once your concerns are expressed and understood, you can get answers. If the answer is not understood, ask the question again, and again and again until you hear and understand the answer.  Knowledge can help alleviate the stress.

          Sure, you will get answers that compound your problem at times, but if you know the problem, you can search for a solution.  Seeking a solution will bring stress, but it should be eustress.  Feeling out of the loop only generates distress.

          One thing you can be sure of in your situation.  You are not alone.  If I can be of any help in your home buying journey, I promise you that I will do my part of focus on you and do my best to make sure you understand the process. My direct phone number is 301-509-5111 (I can also be reached via text message at that number)

MacArthur receives J.D. Power Award!

John MacArthur receives J.D. Power Award for customer satisfaction

         RE/MAX Chairman and Co-Founder Dave Liniger offered congratulations saying “It truly reflects your professional excellence, your enthusiasm for education, your commitment to distressed sellers, your individual drive, and many other qualities that serve the interests of your clients. Your efforts change lives, and those people have spoken.”

         Home buyers and home sellers used a 1,000-point scale.  Consumers used the following categories:

  • Overall satisfaction
  • Agent/Salesperson professionalism
  • Variety of additional services
  • Real estate office
  • Real estate company marketing (seller survey only)
         MacArthur is licensed in the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland. His broker is Century 21 New Millennium located in Washington, DC.  Dave Stevens, the former Assistant Secretary – FHA Commissioner shared ” *“John is a true real estate professional who combines passion, integrity, and a deep knowledge of real estate to produce outstanding results”.
         If you are interested in having a JD Powers award winning agent represent you in your real estate transaction, you can contact John at 301-509-5111 or click CONTACT JOHN.

Buyers beware … Fair Housing does not limit your decisions

Buyers beware, Fair Housing does not limit your decisions.  The Fair Housing Act was adopted in 1968 and then modified by amendments in 1988.   The law was part of the Civil Rights Act.  In short, it prohibited discriminating against people based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap, when those people are seeking housing.

The law covers those that are selling, renting or lending money to people.  End of story.

This may be one of the intended goals.

It is far from reality.

         People by nature are more comfortable with people that are from a similar race, color, national origin, or religion. People often prefer to live in an area where their particular chosen lifestyle is accepted.  People, across the board, want to feel comfortable in their new living environment.  It is just my opinion, but that seems to be human nature.

It is not a violation of the Fair Housing Act to assist them in finding a home that THEY want.

         Real estate agents seem to get confused or perplexed when dealing with buyers and/or renters.  They rebuff inquiries about neighborhoods or fall into the “strange mode” of ” I can show you anything based on your criteria, but I can not comment on the racial make up, color make up, predominant national origin or predominant religion in any area.” “I can not tell you about schools, crime or sexual offenders, but I can direct you to websites where you can discover the information your self.  I can not tell you about any potential changes to the community, but I can direct you to the planning office where you can research that information for yourself.”

          When asked, what then is your value Mr. or Ms. Realtor, I guess they can reply “I have access to the homes. I can open the door for you.”

          Oh, now there is justification for the money you earn! 

         It would seem to me that the value of an agent working with a buyer or renter is in part their knowledge of the community.  Clients come to agents and are quite open in their desires.  Should they be left to the whims of the agent? If someone asks to live in a predominantly Asian community, is the agent doing their job when they drive them all over hill and dale (when any agent that actually lives and works in the area knows full well where Asian communities are located).

          If a client wants to look at homes that are within walking distance of a religious location, is the agent doing their job when that drive them all over hill and dale ( when any agent that actually lives and works in the area knows full well where religious locations are located).

         I happen to believe that locating the right home is my job.  If there is reluctance on the part of the seller because of the race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap of my client, well then we shall seek the protection of the Fair Housing Act.  That is what the act exist for…to protect, not hinder those that are buying or renting a home.

          If you happen to be a single woman and the thought of walking through the gauntlet of young men jeering every night when you come home makes you sick,  you do have a right to find a home that may preclude that experience.  If you have a good agent, they should be able to assist you.  Just because testosterone laden cat calls are not illegal, does not mean you have to live where they might well exist.

         The internet is chock full of data that buyers can use. You can go to crime sites and see the crimes reported. You can go to city data sites and see the demographics of a neighborhood.  You can go to school sites and see the demographics of any school, including test rankings, racial breakdown and percentage of free lunch participants.  You can search and juggle data as infinitum.  Your agent should have internet access as well.

The law dictates that you can not be discriminated against on basic criteria.  YOU have the right to discriminate against anything you like when you are buying or renting.  No government can dictate where you choose to live.

          Buyers beware … fair housing does not limit your decisions. Fair housing protects your right to act on those decisions.  The law is a good law, but it is not a guideline for purchase or rental decisions.  Keep that in mind the next time you ask an intelligent question of an agent and get sent to Wikipedia or Google.

Is now a good time to buy a home?

Is now a good time to buy a home? This is another one of those questions that seems to be cropping up everywhere lately. It may be the result of the self serving advertisements run by the NAR and lenders and real estate agents. You have seen them. “Interest rates are at historically low levels”, “Home prices have leveled off”, and the real doozy “Real estate is the best investment you can make”.

I am reminded of an old rock n’ roll song “Don’t believe all those lies, darlin’ just believe your eyes”.  Can we begin with one basic fact.  You are an individual. While some statements above may be true in your case, that are not true for everyone.  You need to make a decision based on your circumstances. Ignore the hype and deal with the facts.

Your decision should not be as hard as it seems.  First, you have to decide if after careful review of all facts, you can buy a home…do you really want to buy a home.  If the answer to that question is no, don’t bother going through the exercise.  You have to want to own a home.  Owning just because you can is not enough. If you want to own a home, there is a good chance you will appreciate the home and you will take care of the home (and when times get rough, you won’t just walk away from the home).

So, you have decided, Yes you do want to own a home.  Let’s try and answer for you, is now a good time to buy a home?  Look at your current living situation.  It does not matter how much you are paying in rent right now. You have to decide how much you are comfortable paying for housing every month.  You have to decide upon a figure that you will pay every month.  The amount should not leave you broke.  You will need to save money from the day you move into the home until the day you retire. Things come up. Appliances wear out, plumbing springs leaks, lawns need maintenance, etc.  Owning is more than eating, sleeping and watching television.

Once you determine how much you are comfortable paying each month, you can do some basic math to see if you should proceed.  Just for general principles, divide the monthly figure you came up with by 6. (eg. 1800 per month divieded by 6 equals 300).  The figure you have now is just about the amount you would pay in principal and interest for a  $300,000  loan.  This is not exact, it is a ball park figure.  It is just to give you a general idea of what you might be able to afford.

Your next step is to sign on the internet and pull up real estate for sale in the price range you have determined. (In the example, you might pull up homes ranging from $275,000 to $300,000.)  Look at what your money might buy and look at what your money might buy in the area you would like to live.  Now you have some information that is useful in determining if now is a good time to buy a home.

Now, if there is nothing you would want to own at this point in your search, you have answered the question. Now is not a good time to buy a home.  If what you are comfortable paying will only cover rent in an area, then you should rent until your situation changes.

You see, it is always a good time to buy a home.  It just may not be the best time for you to buy a home.  All the advertising and slick talking salesmen can not change facts.  It is a good time for you to buy a home when you can comfortably afford to buy a home in the area you wish to live.

If you would like to have me help you analyze your personal situation, CONTACT ME.  I would rather point you in the right direction and help you in the future than lead you down the wrong path and destroy a relationship forever.