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Make the most of your home investment

Ask Our Broker Just a Hint of
The right color in the
home can produce a
If we hold our own open house variety of subtle effects
and find a seller, how do we BY KIT DAVEY
CTW Features
compensate our listing agent? WANT TO CREATE A RESTFUL
mood in your bedroom? Would
Q: We recently listed our house with a you like your kids to concen-
trate more while doing their
real estate firm and had our first open homework? Want to feel ener-
house. We now intend to hold open gized during your morning
houses on our own in an attempt to shower?
increase our selling chances. What Believe it or not, you can
would happen if we found a buyer dur- influence your behavior and
ing an open house held by us? Is it emotions through the color of
paint you use in your house.
appropriate to ask our listing agent to reduce their The proper paint selection
commission? may not only enhance your
décor but also positively affect
A: The reason to hire a real estate broker is because you your mood and energy level.
believe he or she can generate the highest price and the “When you’re ready to
best terms your property can yield in the current market. If repaint a room in your home,
ask yourself a few questions
you could do just as well, you would act as a self-seller. before you start looking at
Holding an open house is a form of negotiation. It allows paint samples,” recommends
buyers to look at the property and if a seller is there, so Carol Lorraine an image con-
much the better. Buyers can ask questions and get answers sultant and style designer with
that may differ substantially from what a broker might say. Self Images in San Mateo, Calif.
For instance, imagine that the property is priced at She suggests responding to the
following questions to help
$500,000.A buyer comes in and says they really like the narrow your color choices:
property and asks if would you take $475,000. If you say • How do you want to feel
yes, you have just lowered your price by $25,000 – and High rise, high cost: Luxe condos and townhomes may come with higher monthly assessments, but the increased in the room? Relaxed? Alert?
since you do not have a written offer, an actual bid from a funds means the association may be all the more better to handle repairs and maintenance. Cheerful? Romantic?
buyer could be less. Moreover, you could get a bid that has • What activities take place
you making a huge seller contribution – paying all the in the room?
transfer taxes, making repairs. etc.
Alternatively, if you say no, you may be rejecting a buyer
Assessing Your Assessments • Will you spend long or
short periods of time in the
with a real interest in the property. • What size is the room? Do
A broker, on the other hand, can offer an answer unavail- Beds and baths are important, but when buying a condo or townhouse, so is the you want it to feel spacious or
able to owners:“The property is listed for $500,000. If you cozy?
monthly maintenance. How much do you need, and how much is too much? Ryan Buhk, a sales rep for
wish to make a written offer at another price I will certain-
Kelly Moore Paints in San
ly show it to the owners for their review and considera- Carlos, Calif., also suggests ask-
tion.” Here, there’s no commitment to accept a discount BY CHARLES SCUTT contribute financially to its upkeep,” says Dale ing, if you entertain frequently,
and perhaps unattractive terms, but the opportunity to CTW Features Rainey, a Fresno, Calif.-based broker.“So the costs what kind of effect do you
make a bid is kept open. of maintaining the facilities are spread among all want to create in the space?

If you have an open listing or an exclusive-agency listing mart home shoppers take a fine-tooth comb to the homeowners.” But what about matching
you have the right to sell the property directly and not pay the fine print and scrutinize the sale terms “Just as you have maintenance expenses when carpeting, drapes and furni-
before signing on the dotted line of a home you own a freestanding home, such as having the ture? “Matching your paint to
a fee to the broker. However, the most common form of purchase contract, as well they should. But not roof repaired or the yard mowed, you have mainte- your décor should come after
listing is an exclusive-right-to-sell arrangement – a listing enough home seekers may be taking the necessary nance expenses in a townhome or condo commu- deciding on the mood you
agreement under which the broker is paid regardless of time to carefully inspect exactly what they’ll be pay- nity,” said Emily Cressey, an analyst with Grassland want to create,” suggests
who sells the property during the listing term. ing for in monthly assessments, say the experts. Investments, Seattle, and a board member of a Lorraine.
Should the broker hold additional open houses? Did the Whether you’re planning to purchase a condo, townhome community in which she resides.“The
broker promise to do so? If yes, you may have a scheduling townhouse, duplex or some other form of multi- monthly assessment is the HOA’s way of forcing WHAT DO COLORS COMMUNICATE?
family property, you can expect to fork over an homeowners to save up and pay for ongoing Leslie Harrington’s “Color –
conflict to work out. assessment fee every month – an amount predeter- expenses and infrequent repairs. Savings over the A Stroke of Genius,” a special
Before going further, please see what form of listing you mined by the community’s homeowner’s associa- long term is much easier than being charged a big publication for Benjamin
have. Do not hold an open house until you have discussed tion – that covers the costs of current and future one-time assessment when a large expense comes Moore paint, describes com-
maintenance of, insurance for and amenities up unexpectedly.” mon behavioral responses to
See ASK OUR BROKER, Page 2 included with the community. The HOA, in fact, is the body responsible for color. Keep these effects in
In an attached-home community,“you do not determining by vote how much to charge for
own the land outside the walls of your home – it is monthly assessments, she says. It creates a budget See HINT Page 2
shared by all members of the community, and all See ASSESSMENTS Page 2

Ask Our Broker
ASSESSMENTS estate company, HOA dues usual- oper did not adequately account lected in the recent past,”
ly are paid directly to the home- for operational costs, says Cressey says.“Evaluate the size of
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 owner’s association every month Swerdlow.“However, monthly the savings reserves the associa-
via personal check or bank trans- assessments usually rise with the tion has accumulated and com- the pros and cons with your broker.
for property maintenance and fer. cost of inflation as the cost for pare them to the condition of
maintains a savings account with Properties with deferred labor, electricity and taxes the property. If you can see that Q: I want to purchase a house, and my broker has
reserves to pay for unexpected maintenance, extensive grounds increase.” major repairs are going to be suggested the use of a lender and title company with
costs or less common big-ticket (lots of public areas including “While it may seem counter- needed in the near future, deter- the same name as the real estate firm. What gives?
bills. tennis courts, swimming pools, intuitive to look for homes with mine whether the HOA has the
Typically, monthly assessment etc.), and those that did not col- a high HOA fee, it can actually be funds on hand to cover those
fees cover the costs of items like lect enough money in the past to good to find a home where the repairs.” A: Real estate brokers and homebuilders often have
utilities for community facilities, cover large upcoming expenses charges are higher than average,” Also, try to attend your quar- affiliated mortgage, insurance and title businesses.While
exterior maintenance of roofs, may have especially high assess- says Cressey.“If the fees are kept terly or annual HOA meetings the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act generally
siding, fences and parking lots, ments, warns Cressey. too low, the association will not and ask questions of the board of prohibits real estate brokers from receiving fees related to
lawn care and landscaping, snow What can you do about it? have funds on hand to properly directors, says Cressey.“And if real estate settlement services, there’s an exception for
and ice removal, swimming pool Beyond being an educated con- handle needed repairs and ongo- you want to be more involved in
affiliated business arrangements.
upkeep, athletic facilities and the sumer, not much, says Rainey. ing maintenance.” the decision-making process at
administrative costs of running “Depending on how the asso- Rainey says to make sure that your community, join the HOA.” The question with an affiliated business is always the
the HOA.The tab also should ciation is set up, individual the HOA fee includes insurance Above all, when purchasing in same: How do they stack up against the competition in
include some level of insurance homeowners have very little if covering replacement of any a multifamily community, be sure terms of price, product and service? If an affiliated busi-
for the public areas and exteriors any influence on increases in common facilities, as well as ade- the property fits your lifestyle, ness can save money or provide another advantage, that’s
of the buildings. their monthly dues and how quate resources to maintain the Swerdlow says.“Find a building fine. If not, go elsewhere.
Rainey says that HOA fees can money is spent for maintenance,” grounds of the complex. that has amenities and grounds
In the case of homebuilders, there’s often a situation
vary from as little as $100 per he says. “Before you buy, request a that you will use and enjoy, and
month to more than $500 Additionally, keep in mind that copy of the development’s asso- avoid paying for luxuries that where a buyer is told that if they use an affiliated business
monthly, depending on the fea- monthly fees can significantly ciation bylaws, annual budgets you won’t use.” they will be entitled to various discounts. In such circum-
tures the community offers. change when control of a new and meeting minutes to get a stances, buyers are well-served measuring the value of dis-
According to Richard community is transferred from handle on how spending deci- © CTW Features counts versus the cost of affiliated services.
Swerdlow, COO of the Swerdlow the developer to the HOA if the sions are made and whether any Under RESPA, a broker must fully disclose affiliated rela-
Group, a Miami, Fla.-based real association feels that the devel- big assessments have been col-
tionships and a buyer or borrower cannot be forced to use
a given mortgage, insurance or title provider. If you feel
• Green evokes feelings of to them.“Light or pastel colors the color swatches up to the you have been required to use a given service provider
HINT relaxation, quietness and com- are generally more casual and walls, the furnishings, wood- contact your nearest HUD office for additional informa-
fort. It is associated with new darker colors more formal,” says work, etc. Check in different tion.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 growth and new beginnings. Lorraine. areas of the room, at different
Because it is such a calming Lorraine also encourages peo- times of the day, and with the
mind when making your selec- color,“green rooms” are provided ple to surround themselves with lights on and off. Narrow your
Q: I just passed the real estate exam and now
tion: for TV talk show guests and for color that is harmonious with choices to three. must choose a broker. How does one go about doing
• Red increases appetite and actors in theaters and television their body’s coloring:“If you’ve Return to the paint store and that? What are some questions I should ask?
energy levels, raises blood pres- studios.A green bedroom would ever had your colors done, you purchase a quart of each of your
sure and makes a person feel encourage rest. can use the hues which match top three choices. Buhk suggests A: As a newly minted real estate licensee, your first job
warm. • Blue can lower blood pres- your skin, eye or hair color to painting a 2-by-3-foot area onto is to find a supervising broker who can provide additional
• Pink is associated with inno- sure and body temperature. It’s create a nurturing, balanced envi- the walls, or onto a piece of ply-
training and experience.You might want to work as a paid
cence and sweetness, and is ability to cool down is so power- ronment.” wood that you can carry around
favored for packaging candy or ful that it is used in burn victim the room. assistant to an established broker for a while to learn more
for little girls’ rooms. Pink has wards, according to Lorraine. MAKING THE FINAL CHOICE “You’ll know you’ve made the and get some money, or you may want to work with a firm
short-term calming effects and is People who enjoy solitude may After establishing the emo- right selection when you look at that has a mentoring or educational program, or both.
sometimes used to color walls in enjoy its coolness. tional effect you’d like to create, the color and it feels right Look for brokers who are active in your area, market
prison holding cells. • Purple also can help to assess the colors already present inside,” says Carol. extensively, have a good Web presence and are highly
• Orange adds energy, extro- lower blood pressure, as well as in the room’s upholstered
regarded.Then meet with brokers or office managers to
version and vigor, and can suppress the appetite and quiet pieces, carpeting and woods.Visit © CTW Features
encourage thirst. (Sounds like a the mind. But as purple is mix- your local paint store and grab Kit Davey, an interior design- find out more about each firm.
great color for a sports bar.) ture of cool blue and warm red, 10 to 30 sample cards in the your er based in Redwood City, Calif., © CTW Features
• Yellow stimulates memory it may be a difficult color to live “mood” colors, body colors and helps redecorate homes through Need real estate advice? Peter G. Miller, author of “The
and encourages concentration -- with for long stretches. possible matches to the room’s the creative use of their existing Common-Sense Mortgage,” would love to hear from you. Send
a wise choice for a study, office The effects of these colors are décor. furnishings. Send your ques- your questions to Due to the volume
or library. altered by adding white or black Return to your home and hold tions to received, not all letters may be answered.