I’m sure a lot of Real Estate Agents, Buyers, and Sellers have seen this scam, presented by email spam. It is a simple scam. The scammer sends out emails to people who the know are going to close on a real estate sale. There are many variations of this scam, the most popular introduces either a virus or spyware to your computer. Maybe both.

The email tells you to immediately sign a set of documents. They are set up to Esign All you need to do is click a link. DON’T DO IT!

How to Detect and Avoid the eSign Scam

Check out the Sender

The email is not from one of the available esign companies. That is the first tip. The email address clearly appears as a made up email address, and normally ends with a DOT, something other than COM, NET, or one of the other common business suffixes.

What you want to do is learn How to Detect and Avoid the eSign Scam. If you suspect anything, forward the email to the Real Estate Agent you are working with. Most have extensive experience and training on internet fraud.

If you want to check into the email, RIGHT (not left click, which will active the link) make sure you RIGHT click on the link. A box will open and chose COPY LINK. Then paste the link into a word processor document. Preferably a blank page. Now you can see the link, and where it will take you. Now you can copy the site name, and enter it into your favorite search bar on your browser to see what comes up. Most will show information on a company, usually like a company providing cloud based storage for documents. No Real Estate firm deals with offshore cloud based accounts. The link may also be to a Google account. Still, DON”T trust it. Call your Agent to find out if there is something for you to sign.

This is popular with scammers using that ransom virus and its offshoots. You don’t want to go there.

One Example of an Email Scam

Here is an example. The email is from an unknown address.

Webscam@BrennanWasdenLLC. onmicrosoft.com

This is not an email address for any Esign company. The email contains a link in blue letters that says:

View|Download files

When I copy the link location, I come up with this.

Http:// dfgcxfatrfamhf .com/press/drobox2017newdocindex/db2016/

I cleared the formatting and added a few spaces to render that link harmless, and changed a few letters so it will not link to anything.

Notice where the company name should be, after the Http, is a set of nonsense. That tells you, it is a made up domain, no company exists, and it is a scam.

Where the Scammers Got Your Information

How do they know you are working on closing on a real estate deal? There is a leak in the system. Someone in the trail of emails is using a public, unsecured email account like Gmail Yahoo, Hotmail, or some other free service. I can email back and forth with a bank and title company all week long with nothing happening. As soon as I forward information about a closing to a client using unsecured email, I get a flood of email scams. I have to tell my clients, I will call you when I send documents to esign. Don’t open up any other emails concerning any type of documents. It is as simple as that.

This is not restricted to the Real Estate industry. Scammers will send this scam to any email address they can. So be careful with any email that asks you to click a link. Look at the senders address, and the actual link if you feel qualified.

I was on the phone with a friend today. He was just walking into a house he won on an online Real Estate auction. As he walked through the house he told me, they removed the doors, counter tops, plumbing fixtures, sinks, light fixtures, ceiling fans, air conditioning units, and a host of other items. The house was stripped clean.

As a licensed Broker in the State of Wisconsin, we receive hours of training on auctions. State licensed auctioneers have pages of laws to abide by, and are required to provide specific documents to potential buyers. Online auctions often consider themselves immune to state laws. In this case, I can’t be sure what happened, who removed those items, or what the motive was. All I know is, that sale did not involve a standard state approved Offer to Purchase covering exactly what fixtures are is included in the sale of a house in writing. This is a good lesson to learn, state approved contracts are designed to protect both parties involved in the sale of Real Estate. Auction or bidding sites may or may not use standard Real Estate contracts. Auctions run by state licensed auctioneers have certain protection for buyers. Online Real Estate auctions may or may not be conducted by state licensed auctioneers. Why take the risk?

Serving these Cities, towns, and villages

Adell, Cascade, Cedar Grove, Elkhart Lake, Fond du Lac, Grafton, Kiel Ootsburg, Plymouth, Port Washington, Sheboygan, Sheboygan Falls, Random Lake, Waldo, West Bend

Also
Fox Point, Franklin, Glendale, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Shorewood, Wawautosa, West Allis, Whitefish Bay, Cedar Grove, Butler, Elm Grove, Lannon, Menomonee Falls, Sussex and other local areas.

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“It’s not having the ability to see into the future, what matters today is the experience to see problems before they become issues and delays.”

Having trouble closing an accepted offer on your house? Most people, buyers and sellers have seen that problem over the past few months. Stricter lending laws have made closing a much more difficult task in 2016. This is a challenge for great Real Estate Agents to rise to the top.

One of the goals these days is to pass the appraisal with no issues or flags. This is the area great Real Estate Agents need a reliable, experienced team of experts. There are two ways to approach this challenge. One is on the buyer’s side. The other is on the listing, or seller’s side.

Small items can be more than a thorn in the side of Real Estate Agents and well as Buyer’s and Seller’s. Today a Real Estate Agent has to be able to look at a long list of potential issues, identify possible problems, and rectify them before they become major problems. Missing one little detail can delay a closing by weeks. Little issues have been costing sellers hundreds of dollars in last minute repairs. In some cases, those issues have resulted in denied loans. In today’s market, that equates to the loss of hundreds, maybe a $1000 loose or more for Buyers.

How to avoid those problems. You need a team of excellent lenders, inspector, and at times, contractors. Selling a home today reminds me of my days as a project engineer. When we first started a now job, we’d identify the set process for that particular project. We then followed the written procedure to the letter. Every step was outlined and followed step by step to ensure success.

Coping with Changes in Real Estate Today

Today there are four types of sales that will close. Cash offers. The perfect home with no issues. Properties with small issues the seller can resolve, or has money to pay contractors to resolve and loans involving repairs completed after the sale and closing. This places the repairs in the hands of Buyers. Repair loans require the most amount of works and preparation.

203K Rehab Loans

203K loans can be tough to close. In many cases, 203K and other rehab loans fail, because lenders and Real Estate Agents fail to follow the proper procedures. There is a set procedure. Trying to skip steps can and will result in additional cost and time. Substantial delays may result in the loss of the sale.

Today more than ever, a great team, proper planning, and the right procedure are the key to success. The old system only works for the perfect homes, and seller’s with the ability to make necessary corrections and repairs. Even in those cases, minor issues can cost sellers hundreds of dollars. At the very least, small issues may lead to unforeseen delays. Avoiding those issues should be the goal of every Real Estate Agent. The days of a quick 10 minute visit, sign the listing contract, handshake, and out the door Listing Agents are in the past.

Even in the cleanest, best maintained homes, options should be considered. Very important options that could save time and money as the sale progresses. The particular process depends on the condition of the home. The list of potential issues is too long to display here. The fact of the matter is, that list comes from experience, and is rather fluid, or changes as those new lending rules settle in. I can tell you one thing. Make sure you deal with an experienced Real Estate Agent who makes it a point to attend every inspection. If they haven’t accumulated that knowledge and experience over the years, they’ve placed themselves on a long, steep learning curve.

 

I woke up early this morning thinking about what to put on this new website, and how to promote it. How about a section on country life? That’s a good idea. How about a story on the lack of communication theses days. That could branch out to a number of stories. What about what I learned in my first 60 years of life? That would be a summary of all the stories I was thinking about.

One of the things I learned over the last week, while trying to get this website off the ground was, I gotta get more organized. I have been looking all over this computer for stories I wrote and I thought were ready to post. Before I dumped the old, more expensive website, I copied the top 10 stories for  Real Estate Buyers and Sellers. And a few more on other issues concerning Real Estate. I found the section for Seller, but what did I do with the Buyers stories? I always have a back up plan. So I went to plan B. That didn’t work out so well. I have a new computer, and that does not have Lotus Notes on it. So I can’t open the files. I realized, I have not used Lotus Notes for years. That told me, Real Estate has not really changed over the years. The only thing that has changed is, the Internet is giving some people a monopoly on just about every field of business in this world. People bid on Internet ads, and it is getting really expensive. I mean really expensive. So where does that money come from? Expenses are of course passed onto the consumer, some how. In Real Estate that means, it will cost more to list and sell your property. A few years ago I received a call from one of the leading websites a lot of people use to search for a new home. The zip code I lived in had a starting bid of over $3000 per month. Think about that. What does that amount to? Agents are giving up a sale, or at least half of a sale a month to a company that will put their picture and phone number on the side of every page you visit in that zip code. What does that mean to the average buyer who decides to use that agent? You think about it. Wouldn’t you expect a little bit of high pressure sales?

By the way, Plan C worked and I have the posts I wrote for Buyers and have been posting some of those. I consider myself more organized than most people. I’ve been around computers since they were the size of a room, and didn’t do much of anything. I saw something special in a computer and looked at how to use it as a tool. I worked in the design and engineering fields. I worked as a temporary rent a pencil. That was one of the slang terms for an engineer that was hired as a temp. I worked for a number of companies and later was sold off as a consultant. I caught onto systems companies used, and developed some rather simple filing and numbering systems that saved tons of time. Also communication skills between engineering and the many departments they worked with. Word soon spread and I was hired out as a consultant to a number of companies. When I went into Real Estate, I wrote down the most effective step by step process and followed it to the letter. I had maybe 2-3 late closings over the years. Today I hear stories that most closing happen late. That’s when people play the blame game. How is a first time home buyer supposed to know they were supposed to do this or that, or have those forms in by a certain date unless someone tells them? That goes right back to the high cost of advertising and the need to push the new sale through. In reality that never works. Things pile up and the next thing you know is you have a log jamb. Common sense will tell anyone, the more work you try shoveling out, the more drops off the shovel. You not only have to be organized and effective, you have to know and respect your limits.

I also learned this age of cell phones and Internet is contrary to proper communication. Sure they are tools, but how many people know how to properly use a tool? It tales years to learn how to efficiently use a grinder, file, sander, or spray gun. Put any of those in the hands of an untrained person and that spells disaster. Then people expect to take an expensive, sophisticated tool like a cell phone, laptop, or computer, put it in the hands of people with zero training, and expect to see miracles. Lots of luck with that. I’ve found out, this automatic word fill in and spell checking feature on this laptop can make you, or break you. I’ve also found out that as soon as you get really efficient on any phone app or computer program, some idiot who really doesn’t work for a living decided to change everything. Open the program up and everything is moved around. How irritating. How rude. That’s one of the reasons I switched over to a Linux system. I’ve worked with Linux a long time. I know one thing, no one adds, changes, or updates a thing on my computer without my permission. On a Windows system they come in and update everything whenever they want. A dollar says, the person who decided to create those updates never used the program to perform a real job, has no idea what you do for a living, didn’t bother to test the new software program before releasing it to the world, and obviously forgot to add a few lines of coding on your favorite feature. Some days it seems the only thing a computer does well is frustrate you.

I’ve learned the good old days are not gone. There is city life, and country life. There is the fast paced life, and the slow and easy life. And the choice is yours. Be driven, or take the wheel and be in control. There is a world of difference. Look for future stories about country life, and what it feels like to relax for a moment. Oh, and the really cool old time stuff in small towns.

What else have I learned? A lot of things. But right now a few of those other articles need a little attention. And I have to do some marketing. I remember when everything on the Internet was free. Some of it still is. And I intend to use all of them to promote this story and my website. Websites are nice, but they are no substitute for personal contact and a real conversation. And that’s what life is all about. The people you meet, services you provide, and becoming a success in whatever you do. Not just a success, but the best. I’ve learned the best is not measured in volume, sales, or dollars, but in quality, pride in your work. In the evening when you look out over the field to watch the sunset and you don’t have to worry about steps you missed, details you forgot, and a million things you have to do tomorrow to cover your butt. Know your process, the steps involved. Use your computer to set up a calender of events, due dates, reminders, organize phone numbers, and do a few other things. I’ve been around computers long enough to know, computers have limitations, and so do people. Computers can be a great tool, but what happens when the tool begins to control the user? More on that later.

Serving these Cities, towns, and villages

Adell, Cascade, Cedar Grove, Elkhart Lake, Fond du Lac, Grafton, Kiel Ootsburg, Plymouth, Port Washington, Sheboygan, Sheboygan Falls, Random Lake, Waldo, West Bend

Also
Fox Point, Franklin, Glendale, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Shorewood, Wawautosa, West Allis, Whitefish Bay, Cedar Grove, Butler, Elm Grove, Lannon, Menomonee Falls, Sussex and other local areas.

Major Home Groups

No matter what price range, or location you are searching for a home, condition is still a controlling factor.

I divide condition into three major groups, poor, average, and exceptional. This is true for every price range and location.

Poor 


Homes is poor condition make up the majority of the market in the lower price range. Next the average homes will be priced at market value for the area. Exceptional homes will be at the upper level of the price range.

Average

Average homes are usually not priced on the lower end of the market, but often present a better value after taking into account the cost of repairs on a lower price homes. Average priced homes often feature 1 or 2 desirable updates. There are 6 major updates, roof, kitchen, bath, finished basement, heating and A/C systems, and windows. Homes priced at market value are generally in good shape and well maintained. This is a wise consideration, often representing savings in the overall picture.

Exceptional

 

Exceptional homes are priced on the upper range of the market. These homes often provide 3 or more major updates, and are very well maintained. These usually offer features and upgrades not found in lower priced homes, such as decks, patios, over sized garages, baths, and kitchens. Searching is a more enjoyable experience based on the fact these homes most likely feature more pictures, and usually do not disappoint when viewed. Buyers usually find a home that meets, or exceeds their expectations within a short amount of time.


Special Note

Buyers searching in the lower price range will find the majority of homes in need of varying degrees of repair. These usually have few, if any updates. The major concerns will be foundation, roof, heating and cooling systems. Buyers generally will be faced with choosing between which repairs they are willing to take on. Most likely buyers will need a 203K or other remodeling loan in which repairs can be made after purchasing. Finding a lower priced home will require a great deal of research, and personal viewings before an acceptable property is located. It is not uncommon for buyers to spend 6 months or more viewing homes before locating an acceptable home. This problem is further complicated given the fact, many of the homes listed have few if any pictures to view on the Internet.

Serving these Cities, towns, and villages

Adell, Cascade, Cedar Grove, Elkhart Lake, Fond du Lac, Grafton, Kiel Ootsburg, Plymouth, Port Washington, Sheboygan, Sheboygan Falls, Random Lake, Waldo, West Bend

Also
Fox Point, Franklin, Glendale, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Shorewood, Wawautosa, West Allis, Whitefish Bay, Cedar Grove, Butler, Elm Grove, Lannon, Menomonee Falls, Sussex and other local areas.

Home Buying. What are the steps? 

Home Buying Steps

Make a list of your needs and desires.  A new home should have everything you need and most of what you desire.

  • Begin your search early.  Keep up to date on current market conditions and price trends, interest rates and loan programs.
  • Know your limitations.  Don’t get involved with repairs and updates beyond your scope of experience and your budget.
  • Gather a team you know you can rely upon.  This will include a Real Estate Agent, a Lender and an Inspector.
  • What are your hopes and dreams in a new home.  What are the features you need most?  Is the kitchen the most important room?  What features will prompt you to buy, finished basement, 2 car garage, location, updates?  Let me know what you want, and I will find it for you.

Looking for the perfect home may be an experience of a life time.  It can have its up and downs.  Here are a couple of hints to keep the process is perspective.

Dennis Herman

Real Estate Broker

 

Wouldn’t it make sense to work with a local Real Estate Agent who lives, works, shops in Sheboygan and knows the market trends?  With all the factors effecting market prices an experienced, local Agent is the smart thing to do.
I do not specialize in finding the bargain basement deal of the century, but I am very good at finding the best value on the market when you need it.
Contact me to find your next home in the following Sheboygan subdivisions:
Harmony Hills, Carter’s Crossing, Quail Haven, Lilly Creek Highlands, River Heights, WESTON HILLS, Ridgefield, Timber Stone, Spencers Pass, Brook Falls, Taylors Wood, Creekwood Highlands, and more!
Serving these Cities, towns, and villages

Adell, Cascade, Cedar Grove, Elkhart Lake, Fond du Lac, Grafton, Kiel Ootsburg, Plymouth, Port Washington, Sheboygan, Sheboygan Falls, Random Lake, Waldo, West Bend

Also
Fox Point, Franklin, Glendale, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Shorewood, Wawautosa, West Allis, Whitefish Bay, Cedar Grove, Butler, Elm Grove, Lannon, Menomonee Falls, Sussex and other local areas.

5 Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

   

1. They don’t ask enough questions of their lender and end up missing out on the best deal.

2. They don’t act quickly enough to make a decision and someone else buys the house.

3. They don’t find the right agent who’s willing to help them through the homebuying process.

4. They don’t do enough to make their offer look appealing to a seller.

5. They don’t think about resale before they buy. The average first-time buyer only stays in a home for four years.

 

Serving these Cities, towns, and villages

Adell, Cascade, Cedar Grove, Elkhart Lake, Fond du Lac, Grafton, Kiel Ootsburg, Plymouth, Port Washington, Sheboygan, Sheboygan Falls, Random Lake, Waldo, West Bend

Also
Fox Point, Franklin, Glendale, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Shorewood, Wawautosa, West Allis, Whitefish Bay, Cedar Grove, Butler, Elm Grove, Lannon, Menomonee Falls, Sussex and other local areas.

Home Buying

Buying a home should be fun, not stressful. As you look for your dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.

1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the REALTOR® you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality.

2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.

3. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family — the people who will be living in the home.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.

5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.

6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself — room size, kitchen, etc. — that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.

7. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.

Serving these Cities, towns, and villages

Adell, Cascade, Cedar Grove, Elkhart Lake, Fond du Lac, Grafton, Kiel Ootsburg, Plymouth, Port Washington, Sheboygan, Sheboygan Falls, Random Lake, Waldo, West Bend

Also
Fox Point, Franklin, Glendale, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Shorewood, Wawautosa, West Allis, Whitefish Bay, Cedar Grove, Butler, Elm Grove, Lannon, Menomonee Falls, Sussex and other local areas.

New Home Construction Consultation

Trying to decide between buying a new home and an existing? There is more to consider than the price on the surface. Both options may contain hidden costs. Following is a list of factors to consider.

  • Price

  • Options

  • Potential resale value

  • Taxes

  • Equity

  • Potential maintenance costs

  • Cost of improvements to an existing home

  • Size of the home or square footage. Compare the same size homes.

  • The age of the home plays a part in the actual value. Would you pay more money for a newer home?

  • Does the layout of the home fit your lifestyle?

  • What type of improvements may have to be done to an existing home?


Building a home gives you the opportunity to add the features that are important to you. This is true for the inside of the home as well as the outside. The kitchen is the most important room in the house for many people. Often plans can be changed on paper at little or no extra cost which can make the kitchen area into a dream kitchen. Modifications can also be made to the garage area, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.. You may decide to build a house that includes some of today’s more energy efficient features. You can choose your own flooring, counter tops, light and plumbing fixtures and room colors. You can decide how much money to spend and what areas to invest the money in. Even the outside landscaping. If you like to garden you can reserve a spot for that using your own specifications. You can plant the trees, the type and location you will appreciate in the years to come. You can add a watering system and any other number of options that are available to you. The choices may be endless. The hardest decision is what features can I include in my new home.

Contact me for a free copy of questions to ask about building a new home and information on how to begin. Changes during the construction process can be costly. You could save thousands of dollars by making certain all of the details are agreed to before signing a contract with a builder. I can give you a list of details that will tell you how to avoid most of these complications and help keep your final costs in line.

 

What do I do to put my house on the market?

I do a lot of Buyer counseling, telling Buyers the step by step process to purchase their first home. Not many people ask me what to do when they want to sell a home. After conducting a number of searches I found a number of active listings with no pictures, some with no description and a few with the same copied and pasted description. I don’t know why people don’t ask what it takes to List a home for sale. Maybe they think they already know. Maybe people think it’s an easy process. Maybe people think it doesn’t matter who they List their home with — they may think all Real Estate Agents know what to do and are all the same. Well not all Agents are as dedicated or professional as others when it comes to Listing a house for sale. Here is a list of a few qualifications to consider.
How to List a Home for Sale
Experience:
Experience is a factor. It takes more than a combination of over 12 years or Real Estate Experience and a Broker’s License to get the Best Price for your home. It takes imagination, dedication, and communication. Figure it out yourself. Details have to be more than a hand written system of procedures to showcase the best features of your home. It takes listening skills as well as a great eye for detail
Pictures:
Photography is an art. Pictures not only show pride of ownership, but pride in the work of the Agent. This is the one that really irritates me. I see so many Listings with few, no, or poor pictures.
Write Up:
Description should be designed to capture the attention of Buyers, as well as inform them of the outstanding features they are buying.
Communication:
When it comes to selling your greatest asset in life, good communication is the most important factor. You have to know how many views your house had on major websites, how many people viewed your home. You need a call when a showing is set You need to be updated on what the market is doing, and other major details. Good communication brings peace of mind.
How to list a home for sale.
Listing a home for sale is more than placing an on-line ad. Selling a home is understanding the importance of providing the following services.
  • Great Communication

  • Great Pictures

  • Great Write Up

  • Market Reports

  • Showing Set Up

  • Showing Reports

  • Explaining the details of an Offer to Purchase

  • Explain closing costs and estimated proceeds

  • Follow up with scheduled tasks

  • Communicate with the Selling Agent

  • Schedule the closing

  • Final Closing

        

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Serving these Cities, towns, and villages

Adell, Cascade, Cedar Grove, Elkhart Lake, Fond du Lac, Grafton, Kiel Ootsburg, Plymouth, Port Washington, Sheboygan, Sheboygan Falls, Random Lake, Waldo, West Bend

Also
Fox Point, Franklin, Glendale, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Shorewood, Wawautosa, West Allis, Whitefish Bay, Cedar Grove, Butler, Elm Grove, Lannon, Menomonee Falls, Sussex and other local areas.