Thursday, December 31, 2009

Are you buying a home with an easement or does your home have an easement?

I was looking with a buyer at condominium units in Washington, DC and have been making casual inquires.

So, I found out that one condominium unit owner is thinking of sellingand has a garage spot,but his garage spot has an implied easement. How is this possible? The way the condominium was designed,the builder had a parking spot (this owner's spot) in the same path as the building's trash area. It is apparent that the trash can not be removed while a car is parked in the spot. So the owner must move his car out of the way every time the building has trash pick up. A major inconvenience.
This has been going on for over 20 years. This was either a structural defect by the
condominium builder or the condominium builder got greedy and tried to create as many parking spots as possible,that could be sold along with condominium units. Either way,the home buyer never thought about potential easement issues when buying the parking spot and my buyer would potnetially be buying into an easement. Apparently the owner has tried many times unsuccessfully to fight the easement.
The easement has made it very difficult for the owner to rent or sell his place. Because of the easement,this garage spot remains empty almost all of the time because of the hassle. It is unfortunate and really hurts the value of his property.

I know property owners who have yards that have been used for many years as short cuts and paths to different destinations. So, some people have claimed the area on the property as an easement.

When you are buying a home,whether a single family home or a home in a Condo/HOA community,read all of the disclosures carefully. There is a section for home owners
to fill in,answering if there are any easements.

Below is some more information about easements.

~CHGO2:20136943.v1 |9/25/03 11:41 AM
A. An easement is a non-possessory right in the holder of an easement to make some
use of land. In other words, an easement is a “lesser” interest in the fee estate that
allows the party benefiting from the easement to make some use of the property,
such as using it for access, installation of utility lines, etc.
B. Dominant vs. Servient:
1. The “holder” of an easement right, or the party that is benefiting from the
easement, is referred to as the “dominant tenant”. Likewise, the property
benefiting from an easement is referred to as the “dominant estate” or
“dominant tenement”.
2. The party “burdened” by the easement is referred to as the “servient
tenant”. Likewise, the property burdened by the easement is the “servient
estate” or “servient tenement”.
C. Exclusive vs. non-exclusive easements
1. Because an easement right is non-possessory, it generally does not allow
the party benefited by the easement to exclude others or to stop them from
also enjoying the property. In other words, easements are generally nonexclusive.
2. However, easements can be specifically granted as exclusive easements,
allowing the holder of the easement right the ability to exclude others.
A. Appurtenant easements vs. easements in gross
1. An appurtenant easement is an easement that is intended to benefit a
particular piece of land (dominant estate/tenement) rather than a particular
individual. In this case, there is also a servient estate/tenement—the land
over which the dominant estate has its easement rights.
a. Example: An easement is granted to a shopping mall parcel for
access across the neighboring property owner’s private road in
order to allow shopping mall customers to get from the shopping
mall parking lot to the street. This is an easement appurtenant to
the shopping mall parcel, which is the dominant estate. The
neighbor who has granted the easement owns the servient estate.
~CHGO2:20136943.v1 |9/25/03 11:41 AM
2. An easement in gross is intended to benefit a particular individual
regardless of whether she owns any land. The land over which this
individual has her easement rights is the servient estate/tenement. In the
case of an easement in gross, there may be no dominant estate/tenement.
The intent is to benefit the holder of the easement right, but the holder’s
right to use may well enhance the value of the property she uses in
connection with her exercise of an easement right.
a. EXAMPLE: Jim grants Sally an easement to fish in his pond,
which is located on his privately owned property. As part of this
easement right Sally is also granted an easement to enter onto
Jim’s property to go to and from the pond. While Sally may live
next door, she may move miles away, and the easement follows
her; NOT her property. This is an easement in gross; Sally is the
dominant tenant; Jim is the servient tenant; Jim owns the servient
estate (with the pond on it). There is NO dominant estate.
3. Most of the easements you will come across in commercial real estate
transactions are appurtenant easements.
B. Easement by implication, or quasi-easement
1. Narrow circumstances; court would be implying the easement as a matter
of law—requires a court finding that the parties had intended to create an
easement but simply failed to do so expressly
2. An implied easement can be created only when the grantor conveys a
portion of the real estate he owns or when he divides a larger tract among
separate grantees. In either case, a severance of parcels occurs, which is
a necessary prerequisite to an implied easement.
3. An easement can be implied at the time of severance ONLY if the
“easement” use existed prior to the severance. Susie owns 2 lots, one of
which fronts on a street and one of which is landlocked. Susie’s driveway
crosses both lots. Susie decides to keep the landlocked parcel and sell off
the frontage parcel. Susie forgets to reserve a driveway easement for
ingress an egress to her parcel. In order for Susie to establish that an
implied easement should be created, one of the prerequisites Susie must
prove is that she used the driveway located on the frontage property to
access her property PRIOR to the conveyance of the frontage property;
i.e., PRIOR to the severance.
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C. Easement by necessity
1. When property is divided in a way that leaves a part of the property
without access to a road (i.e., landlocked), an easement of ingress and
egress (“way by necessity”) is implied across the other part(s).
2. An easement by necessity exists only as long as the need exists. In other
words, if the landlocked property later has direct access to another public
road, the prior implied easement by necessity would go away.
D. Easement by prescription
1. Analogous to adverse possession—complicated concept but the bottom
line is this—an easement by prescription essentially follows the line of
thought that “it has been used for so many years for this purpose, an
easement, though not expressly created, was created by prescription”.
Example: Joe’s property is located between Sally’s home and the park.
Every day Sally walks across Joe’s property with her dog to get to the
park. Every day Sally walks back from the park across Joe’s property
back home. Sally has been doing this for 30 years (very old dog). Sally’s
argument that she has an easement by prescription would flow from this
type of fact pattern.
E. Affirmative and negative easements
1. An easement is affirmative when it entitles the dominant tenant to use the
servient tenement for a particular purpose, such as Sally’s right to use
Jim’s fishing pond.
2. An easement is negative when it entitles the dominant tenant to prevent
the servient tenant from using the property in a particular way. For
example, if Ralph gave Carol an easement for a view corridor across
Ralph’s property such that Carol’s view of the lake would never get
blocked, Ralph could not build a tall structure, wall or other obstruction,
or allow an obstruction (such as a tree), to hinder Carol’s rights under her
view corridor easement. This is referred to as a negative easement;
Carol’s view corridor rights allow her to compel Ralph to NOT do
F. How are easements created?
1. By express language, or grant. This is the most common method of
granting an easement: by a deed or written conveyance. “I grant you a
non-exclusive perpetual easement right to cross the westernmost 10 feet of
my property.”
~CHGO2:20136943.v1 |9/25/03 11:41 AM
2. By reservation. In conveying land by deed, if the grantor wants to reserve
certain easement rights, another way to create that easement is by
reservation: “I convey fee interest in Lot 1 to you, Grantee, but I, Grantor,
reserve a non-exclusive easement for ingress and egress over the driveway
located on Lot 1.” This is a less common, but perfectly acceptable,
manner of creating easements.
G. Easements distinguished from licenses.
1. Easements and licenses are similar property interests, but there are some
important distinctions:
a. An easement is generally a perpetual, non-revocable right, while a
license is often revocable and is typically limited in duration.
b. An easement is insurable from a title insurance standpoint, while a
license is not typically insurable.
c. An easement is typically recorded; a license is not typically
d. Generally speaking, an easement is a more powerful property
interest than a license.
2. Requirements for creating an easement (generally the same as deed
formalities); when these formalities are not complied with, the grantee has
merely a license:
a. A written instrument
b. signed by the grantor and
c. delivered to the grantee
d. Easements are also typically recorded, which provides notice to
third parties
H. Examples of certain types of easements:
1. Short form utility easement
2. Easement for ingress and egress over someone’s property
3. Cross-access or reciprocal easement and maintenance agreement
a. Shared driveway
b. Shopping center parking area
~CHGO2:20136943.v1 |9/25/03 11:41 AM
4. Construction easement
5. Conservation easement
6. Easement for light and/or air
a. No common law right to light or view—learn how to grow
b. Air rights use
7. Condominium/Townhome Declarations
8. Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions and Easements
a. Shopping mall REAs
b. Mixed Use High-Rise Declaration of CC&Rs
I. One of the most important jobs a real estate lawyer has during the title and survey
review period during contract due diligence is to identify all existing easements,
both benefiting and burdening the property that the purchaser is acquiring.
1. Identify whether easement benefits or burdens the property, or both
a. If it benefits the property, make sure the easement is added as an
insured parcel under the title policy. If it is not insured, and the
purchaser is somehow deprived from its use of the easement, the
purchaser will have NO recourse against the title company. VERY
b. If it burdens the property, determine to what extent, location, etc.
2. Identify the type/nature of the easement
a. Is it a utility easement? Access easement?
b. Is the easement critical to the use of the property?
c. You need to get a full understanding of the purpose of the
easement, its function, who is benefited, whether it is necessary,
3. Ascertain the location of the easement
~CHGO2:20136943.v1 |9/25/03 11:41 AM
a. This is one of the CRITICAL elements of the title and survey
review. If the easement is, say, a sewer line maintenance
easement, make SURE it is not located under any improvements.
If it is located under existing improvements, you must look to the
language in the easement to determine whether that is a problem
(typically anytime an easement runs under improvements that IS a
4. Identify which party has maintenance obligations, if any
a. If the easement is a cross-access easement for a driveway,
someone needs to maintain the driveway, repave it, plow it, etc.
Typically a cross easement will obligate one of the parties to
perform the maintenance and the other party will share in the
maintenance costs.
5. Identify whether there are any costs/payment obligations associated with
the easement
a. Same example regarding cross-access easement for driveway
6. Does easement provide for the right to obtain an estoppel from the other
party/parties to the easement?
a. Sometimes easements, particularly if they are complex enough,
contain rights to obtain an estoppel from the other party/parties to
the easement to verify that all fees are current, all maintenance has
been performed, there are no disputes, no pending litigation, etc.
7. Is there any way to get rid of a burdensome easement or somehow obtain
title company relief?
8. Termination
a. Unity of ownership/merger—operation of law
b. Valid written release
c. Abandonment
d. Lapse of time for easements limited in duration (such as a
temporary construction easement)
e. End of necessity
f. By default
~CHGO2:20136943.v1 |9/25/03 11:41 AM
g. Invalidity
h. In the case of an easement by prescription, failure by the dominant
tenant (benefited party—Sally walking her 30 year old dog) to
object to unreasonable interference with the easement by the
servient tenant (Joe erects a fence across the easement area) or a
third party; if the dominant tenant (Sally) fails to enforce that right,
the easement will go away.
A. “Running with the land” is a phrase that means that, no matter who owns the real
estate, the easement (or other covenant) benefits or burdens the successor owner
of the property. In other words, a beneficial easement that runs with the land will
benefit future owners, while a burdensome easement that runs with the land will
burden future owners. In the discussion of appurtenant easements and easements
in gross, an appurtenant easement runs with the land of both the benefitted
(dominant) and burdened (servient) estates (tenements). An easement in gross
will run with the land as far as the burdened (servient) estate (tenement) is
concerned, but it will not run with the land of the benefited (dominant) estate
(tenement), because an easement in gross is personal in nature, and is not tied to
the benefited party’s property ownership.
IV. PERSONAL EASEMENTS--These are easements in gross, as discussed above. They
follow the person, not the real estate. They do NOT run with the land
A. An easement is a property right, and the benefited party has the right to enforce it
just as they would have the right to enforce a deed conveyance or another type of
land grant.
B. If the nature of the enforcement is such that the benefited estate/party is trying to
compel the burdened estate/party to honor the rights granted by the easement, the
best avenue of protection is making a title claim contemporaneously with a
demand from the other party to the easement. A necessary precursor to making
the title claim is that the easement was insured under the title policy.
C. If the nature of the enforcement is such that the burdened party is trying to compel
the benefited party to comply with the terms of the easement (such as paying
necessary share of maintenance costs), you would seek compliance like you
would in any other contractual dispute.
D. Some easements provide for arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yes,homes do sell on Christmas Eve

Interesting trend in Mongtomery County, MD and Washington DC, with the number of homes that sold and settled on Christmas Eve: 1998=0, 1999=9, 2000= 0, 2001= 12, 2002=20, 2003=31, 2004=16, 2005=0,2006= 1,2007=5, 2008=16, 2009...?. Does these numbers correlate to how you saw the market during these years? So,if you look at Christmas Eve as any kind of barometer,the real estate market has experienced a positive trend the last few years. May this trend continue.

It's a great day to buy a house. I'm going to be on office phones from 11:00 a.m. - 1 p.m. 301-718-4100 or my cell 301-943-4370 Owners of unsold homes may be jolly and waiting for the gift of an offer on their homes. They may rather just sign and celebrate then have a tough back and forth negotiation that takes some joy out of their holiday.

Why not celebrate the holiday with a new home.


Adam Bashein
Licensed in MD & DC

Weichert Realtors
7821 Tuckerman Lane
Potomac,MD 20854
301-718-4100 ext. 132

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I have a potential listing appointment because my advertising has created facial recognition as well as name recognition!

I was at the supermarket and a gentleman introduced himself to me,asked if I am Adam Bashein, the realtor. He recognized me from my advertising, told me his home in a Maryland suburb isn't selling,the listing expires soon and if his home doesn't sell,he's going to give me a call. He already bought and moved, so the home is vacant. I said it was a pleasure meeting you,thanks for recognizing me,it is good to see advertising dollars well spent and hope to speak with you soon. He has my contact information.

A short while later I went out to tour homes that are on the market for sale,including his,so if I have the pleasure of speaking with the gentleman again,I can talk about the features of his home verses the competitions' home.

It's about marketing and being at the right place at the right time.

What happens when a home seller isn't sure that he/she wants to stay with his/her realtor? How does a seller go about exploring other options before making a decision to stay with his/her realtor or to make a switch. How should the potential realtors follow up on their conversations with these sellers?

When home sellers are unhappy with their listing agents, they have 2 choices,based on the verbiage in the listing agreement: (1)either to terminate the relationship with written notice or (2)to wait for the listing expires. Of course, if they decide not to sell, then they can withdraw their home from the nmarket. If the home sellers want to talk with other realtors to see what other options are,then the sellers must take every initiative in making telephone calls and inviting realtors to meet with them in person. Realtors cannot market/solicit business from home sellers who are currently in an agency agreement with another realtor. So the only way I will talk with the seller is if he takes calls me to talk on the telephone or to meet with him

It's about marketing and being at the right place at the right time. I'm here whenever you need me in Metro DC.


Adam Bashein
Licensed in MD & DC

Weichert Realtors
7821 Tuckerman Lane

Potomac,MD 20854
301-718-4100 ext. 132

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thinking of selling your home soon or down the road? Here are some potentially profitable home improvement ideas

This article is from the January 2010 issue of Realtor Magazine.
1. If you are in Metro DC (Maryland,DC and Virginia), contact me!

2. Open the link below. Some home improvement projects are low cost to do, but have have high impact on sale price.


Adam Bashein
Licensed in MD & DC

Weichert Realtors

7821 Tuckerman Lane

301-718-4100 ext. 132

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter,spring,summer or fall,if there is buyer he/she will call

I was fortunate to recently get a listing in my neighborhood,Kemp Mill,a subdivision in Silver Spring,Maryland. Some people,including the seller asked me if the winter was indeed a good time to sell or if it was better to wait until the spring.
There are indeed good arguments for waiting until the spring,but here are some reasons to sell now:
1a. The first time home buyer tax credit was extended until April 30th 2010. Contracts need to be ratified by April 30th,2010 and settlement by June 30, 2010 and (b) they added a tax credit for repeat home buyers who are selling. Contracts need to be ratified by April 30th,2010 and settlement by June 30, 2010
---So,one thought on waiting to put your home on the market in the spring is that some buyers don't want to purchase during the academic year. Some buyers may not want to buy during the winter months. It may be hard for the seller to keep up the house/make it show well in the winter with snow,raking and other household tasks.
The potential tax credits won't be available at the end of the academic school year (at least not at this point). There may be more buyers trying to take advantage of the opportunity and so in a sense we are in the "spring market" right now.
--If you are a repeat buyer and want to be eligible for the tax credit,you also need to put your home on the market now as the repeat home buyer tax credit is based on selling your current home and buying your new home in a certain time frame.

2. Another reason to sell now or anytime is that people move at any point during the year due to such things as job transfers,if their family expands and their current home is now too small,they are renting and their lease is up and for such unfortunate circumstances as death and divorce.

3. Some buyers move look for homes in the winter...if they are looking for a winter home.

Interestingly,in part,due to the snow over the weekend,I got a call from buyers who want to see my listing today at 1014 South Belgrade Road. Perhaps they found the walk to their synagogue to be difficult/long probably because of snow,ice and slush on the sidewalks. My listing is right around the corner from their synagogue,so the home would be a perfect location for them.

At my open house on Sunday,one group came through who is also interested in the location for being close to the synagogue. Ideally they would like a home with a main floor bedroom (rambler or cape cod)because one of the buyers has arthritis is their leg. There are a couple of ramblers/cape cods on the market,but if one is Sabbath observant and needs to walk to his/her synagogue on the Sabbath and High Holidays,my listing might be a better fit,as they wouldn't have a flat walk (from both homes one needs to walk up/down a hill). If one needs a main level bedroom,he or she might be able to convert the carport into a bedroom or put an addition on the home.

Hopefully one of these buyers will be the next home owner of 1014 South Belgrade and if not,there are plenty of buyers out their looking for a home with a superior location.

Anyhow,the point is that one can make good arguments for selling in any season. Buyers are always out there with different circumstances and the extension of the tax credit for first time home buyers as well as the repeat home buyer tax credit
certainly make it advantageous to sell your home now.

If you need help, let me know.

Life is good!


Adam Bashein
Licensed in MD & DC

Weichert Realtors
7821 Tuckerman Lane
Potomac,MD 20854
301-718-4100 ext. 132

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mortgage Rates at all time low. Time to buy or to sell!

According to today's (12/5/09) Washington Post,30-year mortgages are at their lowest level on record @4.71 percent. According to the Post,rates have been "pushed by an aggressive government campaign to reduce borrowing costs".***

It is a great time to buy a home. The lower the rates are the more house you can buy.
With the combination of historic rates and housing prices stabilizing,you should really consider buying. If you need to find a lender,I'd be happy to refer you to somebody.

As far as selling,low rates enable buyers to buy more house than ever and if your home is priced correctly/shows well and is easy to preview,your home will likely sell.

Real estate markets vary by state and by subdivision. I work MetroDc if you want to talk about the market to see if you are comfortable with the housing prices and begin the search with you.

It's a great day to buy a home. If you live or are interested in living in Silver Spring,Maryland stop by my listing tomorrow (Sunday 12/6/09 from 2-5).
The address is 1014 South Belgrade Road Silver Spring,MD 20902

Life is good!


Adam Bashein
Licensed in MD & DC

Weichert Realtors
7821 Tuckerman Lane
Potomac,MD 20854
301-718-4100 ext. 132

Monday, November 30, 2009

Silver Spring/Kemp Mill Settlement today. New business tonight!

I am delighted for my clients that we settled today on their new home at 11720 Stonington Place,in Kemp Mill Estates, a subdivision in Silver Spring, Maryland. The buyers looked long and hard for a home that would their needs. The search was for over a year. Furthermore,the buyers were able to look at what the home could be...the potential. The home is a model that the buyers were looking for and they got a price that they were comfortable with. While the home isn't completely renovated,in fact it could use a lot of updated,the buyers were able to visualize the work that they would do if they would become the lucky home owners. In addition,the buyers brought in contractors to get estimates on the improvement projects that they would undertake,not just to compare prices,but to make sure they were within budget.

I am truly grateful for their business. For a real estate agent,there aren't many better ways to end the month than with a settlement,although there are still a couple of hours left in Novemeber!

I am looking forward to taking a buyer out tonight in Potomac,MD and hopefully it will be the home of their dreams. When it comes to your real estate needs, I am wherever you want to be in Metro-DC

Life is good!

Adam Bashein
Licensed in MD & DC

Weichert Realtors
7821 Tuckerman Lane
Potomac,MD 20854
301-718-4100 ext. 132

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Attention future home sellers...buyers are visiting and buying your neighbors' homes!

For the 10th Straight week we have had more buyers at open houses than we had for the coinciding time period in 2008.

Does this simply mean that more people are looking at homes? No! More people are buying. Sales in Montgomery County Maryland are up 10% compared to last year.

If you are thinking about selling,ivite me over to provide a free, no obligation pre market analysis of your home .

Life is good!


Adam Bashein
Licensed in MD & DC

Weichert Realtors
7821 Tuckerman Lane
Potomac,MD 20854
301-718-4100 ext. 132

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The lasting impression or written thank you notes

Don't forget to send a thank you card--handwritten and through the mail,whether it is to thank people for birthday presents,meals people made to help you after a birth or G-d forbid death and to thank clients for their business. I thought it was nice and was just so impressed as I was going through the mail to get a thandwritten hank you card from Z Folio Gallery in California for a purchase made a week and a half ago.

Often many of us take the "easy route" and zap an email or don't send a thank you at all,which leaves givers wondering if you appreciated their gifts/purchase and may make them less inclined to help you/give you future business or refer you.
Think of it this great do you feel when you receive a birthday card in the mail? I'll go out on a limb and say you feel pretty darn good and appreciated by you. I think a written note is one of the most honest and sincere acts of kindness and good will.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Review of Olney Real Estate for Sale

Yesterday I previewed some homes for sale in Olney,MD that are priced pretty well and are great opportunities to enjoy home ownership. If there specific homes you would like me to preview,let me know!

1. 18550 Clovercrest Circle in "James Creek" 3 bedrooms,2 full baths, 2 half baths
---Home is an end unit.
Exterior: The back yard intersects a forest in the back...there is no fence on back of yard to seperate your property from public land/other property. There is a small fence on the side.
There is room for a patio and you could probably add a deck off of the living room french doors. Currently the doors open to the outside but other than getting air you can't go outside.
When you walk in there is a half bath immediately to your left. You go upstairs and to your immediate right is the kitchen which has room probably for a table of 4 or if you wanted to add an island/another prepping area in the kitchen. Beyond the kitchen is a living room/dining room area. There is a fireplace in the corner of the room.
Upstairs bedrooms are average size. The master bedroom has a private full bath. Downstairs is a walkout basement and you enter the garage through the basement. You probably will have to put some money into the basement...I would have it checked for water damage/mold.
The home is priced well,I think, at $314900. Also have the hoa/condo fee. I talked to a for sale by owner down the street who is asking $425k. I didn't go inside. Maybe it is all granite all over the house,or everyhing top of the line.

2. 18704 Tanterra WAy "Brookville Knolls" 4 bedrooms,2.5 baths detached home on .25 acres of land. Flat land. Fenced yard in back. Garage + offstreet parking. Home is a contemporary.
Kitchen has lots of counter space. Nice view of front yard from kitchen. There is a seperate dining room area. Nice family room addition off kitchen with skylights. Private master bedroom. Seller is offering a home warranty (usually cover appliances).
So,I understand the home is asking higher than maybe you want to be at $365k. The questions are from a buyer standpoint,the benefits of a home with/ or without a condo fee/hoa fee--these fees are forever. Consider short term and long term costs and if it works. Single family home is also detached. Both homes have a garage. I wonder how much less the sellers would take since the kitchen does need to be good condition,but old.

3. 18519 Bowie Mill Rd. 4 bdrm,3 full bath. Large flat yard. Fenced yard. 1 car garage+ driveway space. NEw a/c 8/09 1st floor master bedroom with lare walk-in closet and private bath. Kitchen with maple cabinets. Asking $375k. Again I know above your range and like above. Consider costs of always having an hoa/condo fee verses not having one in your short term and long term costs
and it works.
Charming outside and inside. = website about Olney

For more information and or questions about these homes and real estate in Olney,contact me today!

I am here to help and am anywhere you want to be in Metro DC


Adam Bashein, Realtor®
Licensed in MD & DC
301-943-4370 (cell)
301-718-4100 (office)
By the way, I am never too busy for any of your referrals

Weichert Realtors
7821 Tuckerman Lane
Potomac, MD 20854

Great news about Tax Credit for first time home buyers

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Giving referrals generates leads and increases your sphere of influence

What a small world. I called an out of town agent,in Massachusetts,to refer a potential home seller to him. The agent will pay me a commission for the referral if he gets the listing and upon a successful transaction. Very coincidentally he has a client moving to the Metro-DC area for a job and may be referring them to me. Unfortunately for his client,there seems to be a chemistry problem with the agent he was initially referred to. So, we'll see. I refer business because I believe in "giver's gain" can't get referrals without giving referrals.If you can't give,you won't get. A bonus as a realtor is that I earn commission even on out of town real estate transcations by referring them out.

By the way,I am never too busy for any of your referrals.

Make it a great day!


Adam Bashein
Licensed in MD & DC

Weichert Realtors
7821 Tuckerman Lane
Potomac,MD 20854
301-718-4100 ext. 132

Enforcing lease terms and payment of rent

Many real estate investors/landlords rely on rental income to cover most if not all of their monthly mortgage payments and association fees. If they cannot command enough rent to cover these monthly expenses,they of course have to come out of the owner's(s') pocket(s).

Two issues I have been recently discussing with clients are the benefits of "oral leases" verses written leases and protecting yourself when your tenant(s)checks bounce.

I see very few upsides to oral leases. Everything is he said/she said,from what the tenant's rent is to how long the tenant's lease is. The benefit to a landlord might be that he/she can successfully kick a tenant out in a swifter manner than a written lease might say. But if a tenant wants to leave early,then he/she could probably leave quickly without recourse. Any arguments are he said she said.

Some landlords have told me that they do oral leases because their tenants tend to be month to month so the tenants will leave soon any way. They also argue that it takes too long/is too much of a hassle to do the paper work. I also hear,well the tenant is a friend/friend of a friend. Well,month to month tenants could end up renting longer than he/she/you anticipated. To beat the dead horse again an oral lease has no terms. Treat your investment like business and have things in writing whether you know your tenants or not. Don't let people take advantage of your kindness and being lax because of relationships.

Let's talk about rent. Most written leases drafted have a clause saying that if the rent check is late or if the rent check bounces,that the tenant owes X + the rent check. That is pretty basic and if your lease doesn't have that,make an addendum to your lease immediately. What many leases don't address are other potential consequences of rent check bouncing and/or being late. One bounced/late check can have several consequences. The landlord will pay a bounced check fee if the rent check doesn't clear...ok,that is covered by the lease clause on bounced checks.

What many leases don't address is if a tenant's bounced check/late check causes you to be late on paying your monthly expenses,such as mortgage (if there is one),HOA/condo fee (if there is one)and utility bills (if your tenant doesn't pay these),or if the bounced check causes any or all of these checks that you wrote to subsequentally bounce and you pay the fee for each of those bounced checks and the late fees charged by each company. You might want to talk with a real estate lawyer and/or property management company about adding such a clause to your leases.

So one remedy to avoid bounced checks is to require your tenant(s) to pay rent with a cashier's check/money order. I have never heard of a cashier's check/money order bouncing. Some people like to see their rent checks/touch the money. Ok. The downside is you still need to make a trip to the bank to deposit the check no matter how light or busy your schedule is. A negative about receiving rent checks in the mail...if you are out of town and your rent check comes in,you won't be able to deposit it until you get back to town and if your cash flow for making other monthly payments relies on the rent check,then you may fall behind on the other payments and that is nobody's fault but your own.

Another thing to consider is seting up a direct deposit/paypal for your tenants to pay your rent. Your tenant's(s')bank probably won't let him/her pay bills if there aren't sufficient funds in his/her account. This is certainly a good and efficient method of avoiding bounced checks,but you should still consider setting up a clause if their rent checking being late causes you to be late on other monthly expenses related to your property. The other benefit of having tenants make such a payment is that there is no argument on a late rent check that the mailman must have been slow on delivering my check to you because I mailed it out several days ago. You have online documentation of when the tenant(s) paid their rent. You just have to make sure your online account information is secure and you have to be careful about online identity theft and/or online hackers. But having online payments does save you time on going to the bank,depositing the check(s)if you are busy and/or out of town when the check arrives.

So,I suggest to all the landlords out there to always and forever use written leases,add terms to protect you in cases where a rent check is late or bounces where the terms go beyond one bounced check fee and determine the best/most efficient method for you to ensure that rent checks clear.

Make it a great day!


Adam Bashein
Licensed in MD & DC

Weichert Realtors
7821 Tuckerman Lane
Potomac,MD 20854
301-718-4100 ext. 132

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My new listing in Silver Spring,MD: 4 bedroom split level

Welcome to 1014 South Belgrade Road (corner of South Belgrade and Lamberton Drive)
in Kemp Mill Estates.

4 bedroom,3 full bath split level with 3 "off street" parking spaces.
1 bedroom on second level with private vanity. Master bedroom + 2 other bedrooms upstairs.

Your new home is on the first side street as you enter the neighborhood from Lamberton Drive.
Fabulous location.
Many of life's necessities just steps away: Kemp Mill Shopping Center, Kemp Mill Park, Parkland Pool, Public Transportation and more. You and your car will love all of these conveniences.

Please click on the link below for more information about your new home and contact me with questions and/or to set an appointment to see your new home.

Life is good!


Adam Bashein
Licensed in MD & DC

Weichert Realtors
7821 Tuckerman Lane
Potomac,MD 20854
301-718-4100 ext. 132

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Testimonail from a client who relocated from out of state to MD-DC for a job

"October 12, 2009

Several months ago,my husband and I had the pleasure of working with Adam Bashein to find a rental unit. We were moving to the DC area from out-of-state and were in town for only a few days.

During the apartment-finding process, Adam was helpful, responsive, and accessible.
Because we only had a few days to find a place to live, we were under pressure to work quickly.

Adam took time to understand the criteria that we were looking for in a new home.
He returned our calls promptly and willingly answered our questions. Thanks to Adam's diligence,we were able to find an apartment that met our criteria in a few short days.

We are thankful to have Adam as our realtor for finding our current home and would highly recommend him to any of our friends in the area."

I take pride in making every client feel like my most important client, regardless of whether he or she is buying,selling or renting and independent of how much money I will have earned from a successful transaction.

Testimonial from a satisfied home buyer who recently purchased a home near University of Maryland

"Adam is a delight to work with. He is hard-working, caring, and enthusiastic. He has a wide network of contacts, both for finding sellers or buyers, and for finding service providers. Definitely top notch!"
Service Category: Real Estate Agent
Year first hired: 2009
Top Qualities: Personable, On Time, High Integrity

Lender disclaimer as the date for The First-Time-Homebuyer Tax Credit Approaches. How to strategize if you are a buyer or a seller?

If you are a first-time-homebuyer and are counting on the $8000 tax credit with your purchase (double check with your lender on your eligibility and if you are eligible for the full amount),
check in with your lender and ask if his/her office/broker is making any disclaimers on their ability at this point in time to close your loan on or before 11/30/09 (currently people are lobbying to extend the date,but it hasn't been extended as of today).

I spoke with one lender yesterday whose company is sending out a disclaimer to buyers who they are working with, saying that the lender isn't liable if their loans don't close on or before 11/30/09. Why would a lender send out such a note? Things can happen that prevent settlements from closing and/or the loan from closing on the date of the proposed settlement.

The lender is protecting him/herself from potential claims/ law suits, if any first-time home decide to seek an $8000 claim from lenders (if 11/30/09 comes and passes and settlement on their new home hasn't occured). This is a good business move by the lender to cover him/herself. Will other lenders send out such a disclaimer to their clients? I would not be surprised. Lenders of course want your business. This lender is just making a disclosure the way home sellers make disclosures/disclaimers about their homes before buyers make a decision whether to go forward and make an offer on the home or to continue their home search.
I am meeting with buyers tonight to look at homes in Potomac and Rockville Maryland tonight. I will also discuss how a possible solution for them, if settling doesn't occur on or before 11/30/09. I also have a great strategy for sellers to make their homes more attractive to first-time homebuyers.

I believe at looking challenges in the eye and being solution oriented. If that is what you are looking for, let me know. It would be a priviledge to work with you and or be referred by you to someone you know who is buying or selling a home.

Happy Settlements!

Life is good!



Adam Bashein

Licensed in MD & DC

Weichert Realtors

7821 Tuckerman Lane

Potomac, MD 20854

301-718-4100 ext. 132

Friday, October 9, 2009

FHA Appraisal and Property Requirements

One of my clients in Montgomery County, Maryland is purchasing a home using an FHA Loan. We had a contract ratified and recently had a home inspection. Below is a link reviewing FHA's overall standards and requirements,which we looked at to get an idea of what to expect from my client's lender (after he receives the appraisor's report).

I thought that if you are considering purchasing a home with an FHA loan,you may find this link
to be beneficial. provides the overall FHA requirements.
The Content is current as of 10/12/07.

Consult with your lender or I can refer you to a lender for more information on loans on which loan would be most advantageous for you to use. There are homes for sale which may not be eligible for FHA loans...
we'll talk about this in our home buyer consultation and as we go through the home purchasing process together,if we come across such homes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Providing References to potential clients

Interesting take: at yesterday's home inspection in Silver Spring, Maryland, my client's home inspector said that when people ask him for references,he says no. To find out more about me,look me up on the internet. Am I really going to give you the name(s) of somebody to contact who isn't going to say anything other than I walk on water.

You were already referred to him; met him in person on purpose/by accident and decided to talk to him down the road when you had a use for his services;you saw an ad he placed;you saw him on the internet; or other. Whatever led you to discuss business at hand,it was obviously compelling to you and you decided to enlist his services. So, in his view there is no reason for you to ask for references other than shopping price.

I think most of us are "taught to ask for references", and if we don't, we are being careless. But,he does have a point. I would only provide sterling references. If you were in sales or interviewing for a job,wouldn't you only provide excellent references?

I think references help validate a potential client's instinct on retaining your services and can talk about the quality of your work,anything unique about the transaction,how you are to work with,the type of personality the person you may retain has and help you decifer if their is a good match between you and the contractor. If somebody asked you to provide references,how would you respond? If you asked somebody to provide references and he or she said no,how would you respond?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Honest and Sincere appreciation from a client

From start to finish Adam Bashein has helped me, my wife and our new born son get into our first house! We were so pleased to have him assist us throughout the whole process. We were so pleased that Adam was always punctual and so well versed in the home buying process. We felt a genuineness from him that many individuals these days seem lack. Adams attention to ours needs as far as location and price were met to the T. If me and my family decide to by again I can say without pause, Adam is someone we can count on.
Tucker Stubbs

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How are "private real estate deals" done and are they good for you?

This blog is based on a question that one of my friends in Kemp Mill, a subdivision in Silver Spring, Maryland posed to our neighborhood list serve.

In my neighborhood and other neighbor there are real estate transactions that take place where in certain cases (1)there isn't a for sale sign in the yard;(2)internet advertising;(3)any appearance of a home owner trying to sell his home/have his/her home listed with a real estate agent,but then we hear that the home just sold. Is this good for buyers? Is this good for sellers? Are real estate agents ever involved in these transactions? Do they agents offer 'a-la-carte services' when they are involved in these real estate transactions?

Below is an answer which I sent directly to the person who posed the question. A few other people in my neighborhood asked if I saw the question and what I thought. So, I thought his question to be topical and definately "blogworthy".

...As far as homes that "never" go on the market in certain areas,where home owners/home sellers are relying on their closest network to tell people of a "home that may be for sale". There are also cases were people have told their realtors something along the lines of if somebody you are working with likes my type of home and is in 'X' price range,show them my home and I'll give you 'Y' as a commission for bring the buyer.Another situation that occurs is that listing agents make calls after signing an agreement with home owners to put their home on the market in hopes of getting both sides of the deal. So,sometimes they first show buyers they are actively working with or call people they hear are looking and try to put a deal together before a sign ever gets in the yard.Some of these deals are for sale by owners without agents and some are with agents as I described above. As far as full service,you would have to ask the owners their opinion and what their goal is. If an owner's goal is to be discrete,doesn't want their home to be sold and not be too bothered with many people going through their home,then their goal may be achieved,although it seems like many people in Kemp Mill have their antenas up. Some sellers want to move a.s.a.p. for whatever reason and think a private deal can also be executed quicker. Certainly an agent may be motivated to sell before a sign goes in the yard to get both sides of the deal for certain,which would result in him/her getting a higher commission than one side of the deal. Some sellers like the approach of having the house very publicly open thinking they may get multiple offers based on more exposure and maybe sell for higher than public deals.What begs the question is if the home buyer is paying a premium for buying the home before "it goes out there on the market",where the agent says you have an exclusive at such and such a price or if there would be more demand/more offer,offers at higher prices if the home was very publicly marketed to everybody. Quite a bit of the time homes do sell less than if they were on the market (where the seller probably would have netted more money even after paying a full service real estate agent).In pure for sale by owners,the buyer/seller may still hire a real estate agent as a consultant for a flat fee for putting the contract together,overseeing the financing and appraisal process,over seeing and working through inspections,walk through, etc.That's more than my 2 cents worth.

301-943-4370Adam Bashein

Licensed in MD & DC

Weichert Realtors

7821 Tuckerman Lane

Potomac,MD 20854

301-718-4100 ext. 132

(question my blog is in response to)
Buying Real Estate in Kemp Mill - Please ExplainOne unique aspect of buying real estate in Kemp Mill is the number of housesfor sale that never go "on the market" (i.e., are not officially listed oreven advertised for sale).

Someone please explain this approach to me.Is it that these houses are for-sale-by-owner? My impression is that this isnot quite the case, because there is often an a real estate agent involved.So that point leads to me another possible scenario: is the agent being hired to do a-la-carte services for the sellers instead of a full servicerepresentation of the seller (that would not include a MLS listing)? Even then, it does not make full sense to me because I would think that a sellerwould want to maximize the selling price by advertising the sale to thewidest possible set of buyers interested in living in the Kemp Mill area.

Adam Bashein
Licensed in MD & DC
Weichert Realtors
7821 Tuckerman LanePotomac,MD 20854
301-718-4100 ext. 132

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

To be a blood donor in Metro DC contact Jonathan Bart

Mr. Bart saw my posting on a local listserve that there is a blood shortage and asked me to refer people in the Metro DC area to him.

Absolutely (permission to post). "We are always looking for blood donors.You should also mention that we Platelet Donors as well. BecausePlatelets don't last as long, usually less than a week, we frequentdonors as well. There are some differences between Blood and Plateletdonations:1 - Platelet donations can take up to 2 hours2 - You can donate approximately once a week (as soon as the donationsite has healed, usually 2 to 3 days)

The website above has more information on Platelet donations (alsocalled Apheresis).

Remember, if anyone you contact donates Blood or Platelets, make surethat they mention that I was the person that referred them to donate.Thank you.Jonathan"

-----Original Message-----From: [] Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 9:52 AM

"Blood shortageI have to agree with Adam. As an employee of the Red Cross, I knowfirst hand what a shortage can mean to someone.With the Fall season here, Winter is just around the corner. Winter isalways a bad time for donations. The cold, the bad weather, etc. Ifyou can give when the weather is good, that helps us later. Thank youfor all the donors that are able to give."Jonathan Bart

The 'Hot Market dilemma': Do I write an offer on a home I like on the spot or go back for a second look first?

I took my clients to see the same home in Potomac Monday night and again Tuesday night to make sure it "was the one". So I called the listing agent first thing this morning for disclosures...the home received 3 contracts over the weekend and one was ratified last night.

The home does need work,but it is in a very desirable neigborhood, Inverness Knolls. The sellers were already in negotiations when we looked at the home. It is hard to say if they would have considered our offer unless it came in and we wrote higher than the price they were negotiating,perhaps offer a quick settlement and short contingency dates.

The home was priced well,based on other like homes that recently sold in the neighborhood and was in a cul-de-sac. The home does need work,but it is in a very desirable neigborhood.

There is a saying that 'The house you are looking at Today and want to think about until tomorrow may be the same house that somone else was looking at yesterday and will write a good offer on today'.

I will say that if the first time you see a home you are not 100% certain of a home,for whatever reason, and you won't be heart broken about not getting the home,then the correct move is to take a second look and review the facts. Based on my client's feelings,we made the correct move in going back to the home the very next day before making a decision. If after Monday,the thought was to meet again on Tuesday to write the offer,without needing to see the home a second time,then I would have strongly suggested we write the offer Monday night.
Other homes will come up for sale. As soon as they do,my client and I will be the first people in the door.

My Silver Spring Settlement Today is an Example of Focussing on the Result and Not the Process

One of the reasons I used as a picture from Brookside Gardens in yesterday's blog about the Montgomery County real estate market is because I have a settlement today for a residential rental property in Silver Spring,MD that is a few blocks away from Brookside Gardens. It has been an unusual transaction, to say the least, and I am just focussed on getting my clients into the home they want.

My clients,who are relocating from Florida to Maryland for a new job,contacted me around a month ago in response to an internet ad that I placed. The move was sudden for my clients as a great job opportunity came up,which required them to relocate.
They were looking for a home in the Silver Spring area near a metro stop for work,convenient for shopping and near parks for their children. Instead of buying at this juncture,even though it is very advantageous to do so with the $8000 tax credit, my clients decided to rent for a year, just to make sure they like Silver Spring, Maryland and that he is settled in his job before buying. So, they decided to rent a home and if all goes well,we will begin house hunting again in the summer for a home to purchase,when they know the area better.
I emailed my clients a handful of homes,which I thought they would be interested in and we spent an afternoon previewing them. We had to find a home for them as soon as possible. To add a couple of dynamics,the wife was in Florida with their children until we found a home and was busy locally coordinating the moving company.
So,I showed the homes to the husband, who would then tell the wife what he saw as the positives and the negatives of the home.
There were several challenging dynamics with the home which my clients chose. The biggest hurdle has bee the communication gap between the listing company and the home owners:
(1) The home owners live in Arizona and currently there is a 3 hour time difference between Arizona and Maryland, which made it challenging to respond rapidly to one another's questions and comments during negotiations. Often landlords who are out of town enlist property managers to work out most of the details,but the landlord and property management company are in the process of breaking their business relationship,as you will read more below.
(2)There is a tension between the owner and listing broker who is listing and managing the home. I have heard both sides of the story -- there are always at least 2 perspectives. They have been in an unhappy business relationship for months.
The listing and property management agreement between the two ends September 25,2009 and they are severing ties at that point. According to the property manager,he tried to end the business relationship earlier because of the tension between both sides,but, according to him, the owners said no--perhaps the owners wanted to find a new property manager before parting ways with the current one. That would make sense to me. But,I don't know.

Anyhow,as soon as my clients sign the lease and the landlord returns the lease signed on his side and everything goes as schedule,the relationship between the owner and listing broker/property manager is over.

My clients gave the listing agent a list of repairs that need to be completed within a short time frame after my clients move in,but since the agency relationship between the owner and current lister is ending,the current lister will not be overseeing or be responsible for execution or failure of execution of repairs. So,my clients and I had to type a seperate addendum to the owner independent of the soon to be former property manager,to guarantee the work will be done in a timely and workmanlike fashion.
Since the owners are in Arizona and it is challenging for him to self manage his Silver Spring home,they have just retained a new property management company,who I called to introduce myself.
The new property management company is going to inspect the home because:
(1)they haven't seen the inside of it before
(2)the owners of the home were shocked at the alleged property condition of their home (which was eluded to in the offer to rent his home) and want the new property manager to (a)verify the condition; (b)budget and schedule repairs.
The good news is that in my conversations with one of the home owners,he seems reasonable and said as long as the new tenants are reasonable,things will work out well.
As the buyer agent,I wish that the transition from one property manager to another took place either prior to the lease signing or after the repairs were completed so there would be less paperwork and we could perhaps more efficiently take care of the home repairs documented by my clients.
But, since I am neither the listing broker,property manager or owner of the home,I have no say. At the same time, if this transition from one property manager to another was something my clients were going to be comfortable with and feel their interests would be at risk/it would impact repairs being done on the home after all of our conversations,then my clients shouldn't sign the lease. Perhaps they are thinking big picture and are only going to rent the home for a year.
My clients signed the lease a short while ago and created an additional addendum seperate from the lease for the owners to sign,agreeing to repair terms. I think it is a fair addendum and it protects them since the property manager executing the lease is now removed from the situation.
I will certainly keep a close eye out for my clients and make any calls to make sure that any agreements in the lease and lease addendum between the owner and my clients are executed. I probably won't have any say since I am not the property manager, but will guide them if they feel their tenant rights are being violated. I do hope that with a fresh start of new tenants and a new property manager, that my clients will enjoy calling their landlord's home,their home for the next year.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Washington DC real estate update -report based on 8/09 statistics

Are you looking to buy or sell in Washington, DC

Here are some interesting statistics based on mls,excluding for sale by owners.

When you open the link below you will notice a couple of good trends in the DC real estate market:

1. Over 11% less inventory on the market in August 2009 compared to August 2008 and over 15% less inventory year to date in 2009 compared to 2008. More homes are selling. More buyers are getting off the fence,perhaps for the first time home buyer $8000 tax credit.

2. We saw over 45% more real estate contracts accepted in August 2009 compared to August 2008 and year to date we have seen over 17% more contracts than in 2008.

3. Over 29% more homes sale successfully settled in August 2009 compared to August 2008 and year to date 2009 settlements are up over 11% compared to 2008.

Statistics will vary be marketneighborhood you live in, and type of home you live in,want to buy in and/or sell in. How is the market where you are living in ,buying in or selling in? Let's talk.

If you or somebody you know is looking to buy or sell in Metro DC or just wants to talk about the market,I'd love to hear from you. I am never too busy for any of your referrals.

Life is good!

Adam 301-943-4370,,301-718-4100 ext. 132

August 2009 Montgomery County,MD Real Estate Statistics,compared to year to date and 2008 real estate market inforrmation

Photo courtesy of Brookside Gardens in
Silver Spring, MD

A couple of positive signs of the changing Montgomery County, Maryland real estate market that you'll see from the statistics and graphs:

1. 8/09 sold and settled real estate sales up 17.1% from 8/08 and 2009 year to date is up 14.1% compared to 2008 .

2. 8/09 homes under contract ("pending") is up 38.6% from 8/08---a tremendous amount of more buyers getting off the fence go buy last month,perhaps to take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit that expires in a couple of months. (There is lobbying going on to extend the credit) and 2009 year to date contracts are up over 30% from 2008.

3. In 8/09 the difference in list price to settled price (not including seller subsidies) was up 1.3% from 8/09 and 2009 year to date is down less than 1% compared to 2008.

4. Active homes for sale in 8/09 were on the market until sale an average 84 days, while in 8/08 it took 98 days on market until a sale. Year to day 2009 homes have been on the market until sale an average of 100 days compared to 101 days in 2008.

5. There was 44.4% less inventory of single family homes on the market in 8/09 compared to 8/08 and 47.4% less inventory of condos/townhouses on the market in 8/09 compared to 8/08.

These statistics are showing more home buyers are making purchases and less homes are now available---an increase in demand for homes. If you are a buyer and see a home that you really like, you shouldn't wait too long before making an offer as these statistics suggest that other buyers may be looking at the same home you are. This is also a good sign for home sellers that if there homes show well, are priced well and are easy for buyers to preview,that they will sell.

Real estate trends and statistics do vary by the city and subdivision you live in. How is your neighborhood? Let's talk.

Life is good!


Adam Bashein
Licensed in MD & DC

Weichert Realtors
7821 Tuckerman Lane
Potomac, MD 20854
301-718-4100 ext. 132

This information report is created by MRIS. It does not account for for sale by owners or sales not through mls.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ten Facts about the First-Time Homebuyer Credit

Adam Bashein
7821 Tuckerman Lane
Potomac, MD 20854
21st Century Strategies for today’s consumers!

Ten Facts about the First-Time Homebuyer Credit
Many taxpayers who purchase a home this year will qualify for an $8,000 federal tax credit. The refundable first-time homebuyer credit is a major tax provision in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. But time is running out to qualify for this credit.

Here are ten things the IRS wants you to know about the first-time homebuyer credit:
•1. To be considered a first-time homebuyer, you - and your spouse if you are married - must not have jointly or separately owned another principal residence during the three years prior to the date of purchase.

•2. You cannot claim the credit before there is a completed sale and purchase of the residence. The sale and purchase are generally completed at the time of closing on the purchase.

•3. To qualify for the credit, the completed purchase must occur before December 1, 2009.

•4. The home must be located in the United States.

•5. The credit is either 10 percent of the purchase price of the home or $8,000, whichever is less.

•6. The amount of the credit begins to phase out for taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is more than $75,000 or $150,000 for joint filers.

•7. The credit is fully refundable. A homebuyer with no taxable income, who qualifies for the credit, may file for the sole purpose of claiming the credit and receive a refund. The credit will be paid out to eligible taxpayers, even if they owe no tax or the credit is more than the tax owed.

8. The credit is claimed on IRS Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyers Credit.

•9. Taxpayers can claim the credit for a qualified 2009 purchase on either their 2008 or 2009 tax return. For those who have filed a 2008 return, a Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return can be filed in order to get a refund in 2009.

•10. The credit for qualified 2009 purchases does not have to be repaid, as long as the home remains your main home for 36 months after the purchase date.
Qualified taxpayers who have been considering a main home purchase may find extra incentive from this tax credit to buy now so they can complete the purchase before the December 1 deadline.
For more information on this and other key tax provisions of the Recovery Act visit the official IRS Website at,,id=204335,00.html

Whether you or someone you know is thinking of buying, selling, renting, or talking about the real estate market, I’d appreciate you calling on me to make your real estate goals become realities.
Have a great day. Life is good!

Adam Bashein
Cell: (301)943-4370
Information deemed to be accurate, but not guaranteed

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"News of Interest": Interest on security deposits in Maryland and DC

If you are renting a property or are considering renting a property,become familiar with the local rules and regulations on security deposit laws,which are also tide to how a landlord may deduct from the security deposit due to damages by the tenant. I focus on Metro DC
since that is where I practice real estate. Sometimes getting your security deposit back from a landlord can be a hastle, which is one reason to consider buying verses renting: no responsibility or ties to a landlord;only pay your mortgage and HOA if there is one (and of course follow by-laws).

If you are a landlord,this information is important. You don't just give back the security deposit,you have to give back security deposit with interest. If you are deciding to hold onto your home and rent it while buying another place in order not to "sell low/sell in a down market",keep in mind that you have to deal with (1)paying the mortgage while your home is on the market for rent--as you would do anyway while your home is on the market for sale if it isn't paid off;(2)it may cost you if the rental market value of your home is less mortgage rate---doesn't cover your monthly mortgage payment if you have one (and/or your HOA/Condo fee);
(3)you aren't just paying back the security deposit,but paying interest; (4)you are dealing with possible damage to your home which could cost more than the rental income you collect;(5)you also could deal with tenants being late on rent,not paying rent and having to deal with collecting,and evicting which can be difficult in a tenant friendly town;
(6)we don't know how long it will take for the sales prices to rise to where you want them to be and it could end being years which could cost you your capital gains benefits; (7)you may deal with days on the market and paying mortgage/hoa when you put the home back on the market for sale. There are many issues to consider.

Back to security deposit interest for landlord. You also need to keep a receipt that you gave the security deposit back for 2 years to protect yourself. If you deduct money from the security deposit due to tenant negligence,mess,damage,you must itemize what you are deducting a show receipts. The interest on security deposits,depending on where you live has been 3-4% and every 6 months you multiply the security deposit by the interest. This can add up. So you should read and consider the link below.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Before spending money,determine if it is a good business expense and think of the potential return.

I was talking with a colleague,who meets friends every so often. They recently ate in an area where you pay for parking. A friend suggested my colleague invite them his way to avoid paying for parking. Bless my colleague's heart, it was worth the $X he said and he was happy to go. He did exactly what I do.

I've invested about $100 in parking in the last year for networking events,lunch in the city with friends,meeting clients to work on sales listings and sales contracts,presenting and receiving offers,and for going to properties for inspections and appraisals. Sure, I would rather meet at a place closer to me,even perhaps in a less costly area,but I don't want clients and associates to perceive that I don't have the funding and/or don't think it is a good expense. At the same time, I will certainly not be shy to say it was great meeting you down here,why don't we meet next time,so you can see my neck of the woods.

B.T.W. my colleague got a referral from 1 of them ,which will pay the fee back 100 times.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Looking for a cost-effective,efficient way to market your neighborhood?

Whether you are selling real estate, computer services,cars or any product under the sun, the most important thing for you is to figure out how to get your message to your sphere or neighborhood in both a cost effective and efficient manner.

I was just given an opportunity,of course at a price,to buy an ad that will be:

(1)Name me as the sponsor of their post mailer;

(2)be exclusive as nobody else will be able to purchase an ad...whether they are also realtors or in another industry;

(3)Reach about 1600 people on the organization's mailing list,in a neighborhood where I am want more business.

(4)Where I won't have to "scrub" the list for do not mail as it is the organization's mailer

(5)Once I submitted my art,the organization coordinates the printing,addressing and mailing of the piece

The bottom line cost to me is going to probably be 10-12 cents a mailer, which may be half of the postage cost per piece, and if you do the math that way,then I am paying zero for the printing or addressing. This is my first month sponsoring the mailer and I have to decide how many to purchase in advance before other people seize the exclusive opportunity.

Sponsoring a mailer is a great way to get your name out there in a charitable manner,which will also promote your business and be very cost effective,I think. Look into local organizations and find out about being an "exclusive sponsor",even for a month if not every month. And, if other companies including competitors place ads in these mailers, it is even more important for you to participate to promote your business.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How appraisers can help or hurt buyers

Part of the home buying process after your offer on a home is accepted by the seller is getting the home appraised. The purpose of an appraisal is to determine the homes worth and market value. If a home doesn't appraise for the price which a buyer and seller agreed upon, then the lender will only issue a loan for the amount which the home appraised for. At this point,a negotiating point,the buyer and seller can talk about making up the difference between the contract price and the figure which the home appraised at. The buyer may insist that the seller reduce the contract price to the price which the home appraised;the seller can stick to the contract price and tell the buyer to improve his offer;or the seller may agree to lower his/her offer if the buyer also agrees to increase his/her offer to make up the difference.

Over the last couple of years the appraisal industry has been heavily scrutinized,as some appraisers have been accused of "making sure their number matches the sales figure"---either due to pressure from the lender,listing agent and/or buyer agent to make sure a deal happens.
Some lenders and appraisors have faced pressure from clients and agents that they will not use their services or refer their services if the homes don't appraise. To be fair many agents want homes to appraise to keep the deals together. If a home appraises for higher than the contract price,which a buyer doesn't have to disclose to the seller,then the buyer is probably happy and should be very happy with how negotiations went on the sales price. Even If when a home doesn't appraise,in a "buyer's market" the buyer may have an upper hand and be happy with his/her agent, since there is so much housing inventory. The buyer may be just has happy if the home doesn't appraise,thinking the seller will agree to a lower price and just be happy to have a buy and not having to look for another buyer. Strictor rules have been enforced regarding appraisers to limit their communication with real estate agents--agents can't choose the appraisers to avoid the appearance of price fixing.

I am currently working with a buyer in Frederick, Maryland and we agreed to sales terms with the seller. One of the terms of the contract is that the home has to appraise at the agreed upon sales figure. I was told that the appraiser was going to complete his report last Friday, meaning to me that he did his diligence,evaluating the market trends for similar homes,actually going inside the homes which he is comparing to the home which my buyer is purchasing, and of course going inside the actual home which my buyer is purchasing. As reluctant as I am to tell other people how to do their jobs,appraisers should go inside of homes to see the homes features and faults. Driving buy a home to see just the outside and/or looking at recent sales history based on sales data on the internet and court records doesn't tell the entire story.

On Friday I touched base with the listing agent,who told me that neither she or the sellers had any contact with the appraiser,which is of particular concern to me because the home is owner occupied and at least one of the sellers is home almost all of the time. So,the owners would know if an appraiser or anybody else came inside of their house.

The listing agent expressed her concerned. If the home does not appraise that it is because the appraiser did nothing more than drive by the home or look at sales data on the internet and court records. She believes the home should appraise. Based on the sales data I have seen, I would be surprised if the home didn't appraise. But,I am not a professional appraisor and don't know everything they do to calculate values of homes.

The listing agent basically warned me that the appraisal will be challenged if it is below the sales figure because to her it appears that the appraisor didn't do his due diligence. Will the home appraise,I don't know. If it doesn't appraise I will 100% represent my buyer and talk about
the fact that the listing agent and buyer agent aren't appraisers.

At the same time,I did tell my buyers to be prepared that, if the home doesn't appraise, then the sellers will likely appeal the appraisal and could file a complaint about the appraisor for not performing his due diligence. Meanwhile,let's keep our heads' cool and wait for the report to come in.

Many homes do appraise and many homes don't appraise. The question is if the evaluation was done in a professional and ethical manner.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Getting somebody to call you,even months after you met

During the spring I held many open houses for a home on Briardale Drive in Derwood,Maryland trying to sell the listing,or if I didn't sell that house,at least connect with the people who came to my open houses.

After open houses I call,send notes,and type emails to the open house guests asking for feedback,if they have any questions on the home,any questions in general about real estate and how I can help them out. I continue to follow up with the open house guests,inviting them to future open houses I am holding at that home,in that neighborhood,price reductions on the home,other homes on the market and sales activity in the neighborhood.

So,at about 3:30 p.m. today I received an email from open of these open house guests who I hadn't heard from since March. They are preparing to put their home on the market,want to meet so I can see their home,talk about the market and see if we are a good match. Making positive impressions on prospects and following up does pay off...sometimes the next day,sometimes the next month,sometimes the next season and sometimes next year.
I am humbled that they have such a positive impression of me to invite me into their home.
What a great way to start September

Using my own home in selling another home

Sunday was a busy day for me. I had an open house in the afternoon in Washington, DC and in the morning took buyers back for a second look at homes that we had already previewed in Kemp Mill,a subdivision in Silver Spring, Maryland.

My buyers and probably other buyers as well would have made offers right away on one of the homes,a 4 level split-level with a basement and sub-basement. The first time we looked at the home the floor in the kitchen was in dire need of repair,carpeting in the home needed cleaning or replacing. The home was big and bland. Kitchen cabinets and counters are probably original,baths should be updated.

I went back to see the home again on my own and noticed that the floor in the kitchen was repaired and that the carpeting was cleaned. Although the home still looked "original" these repairs make the home show much better. So I showed again to one of my buyers.
On Sunday I went back again with the buyers and a friend/mentor they asked to come along and to give his opinion on the condition of this home and a second home...a rambler on Kenbrook Drive.

The friend/mentor said that while the home needs some work,it is a good home and for the buyers to consider it. As we were going through the home,I thought to myself,I live in a 4 level-split 5 minutes from this house from Stonington and have done a lot of work on the house. Maybe if the buyers see my home,they will see the potential in the home on Stonington,which will either clinch their decision that they want to move forward on Stonington or remove it from consideration.

I always talk with buyers and sellers about sales comparables...other similar homes on the market and/or other similar homes that have sold. If the other comparable homes aren't on the market or unavailable to be seen,then buyers and sellers can go by the next best thing...a print out of the properties with pictures which the listing agent posted on the internet for the home. Fortunately,I realized that my home was a great comparable home for the buyers to actually see the inside of for what it is...even though my home isn't for sale. Don't let the rumors get started.

I will say that it was easier to act on the idea of showing the buyers my own home because we have established a rapport and are friends. I would probably be reluctant to bring somebody into my house who I don't know very well. But the point is that when you are selling,part of customer service that seperates some sales people from other sales people is to take advantage of all of their resources and to come up with out of the box ideas to help their clients.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Is it worth rolling the dice when you flew into town to find a home?

Whether working with sellers or buyers,I often get the comment,why don't we "try this list price and see what happens" or "let's try this offer and see what happens".

I will listen to the home seller's/home buyer's logic and reasoning for any price they want to offer. I will gather as much information about the home,the community and any "inside information" that may impact the price point....such as if another like home is coming on the market/I was told that another buyer looked at that home and also registered an offer. Whatever my client wants me to list their home for sale (or rent for) or purchase (or rent for)I will do and at the same time will tell them to temper expectations if the number is not consistent with the market/the inside information I have.

I took a client in town from Florida,relocating to the area for a job. I contacted a listing agent to register my client's offer on a home in Silver Spring just off of University Blvd. that we were going to write and that the offer was about $10,000 less than the asking price. When I talked with the listing agent, he told me that 2 other offers were coming in.
I conveyed this to my buyer to show that there was obviously other people interested in this beautiful home,with the home being on the market only a few weeks and receiving multiple offers,there was a chance that one offer would be full price. There is also a chance that the other people will make lower offers and/or not look as strong financially in which case the offer could be accepted. So,did my client want to re-think his offer or was he happy with his offer?

My client told me to roll the dice and stick with his offer,which was a pretty good offer, and if they come back with a counter offer we'll go from there. He flew back to Florida to resume packing with his wife and family for the big move. I got a call last night from the listing agent that one of the offers was full price and that the person was strongly qualified,so the owners will work with that offer and thanks for my efforts.

My client was let down,but ready to move on to the next home. So he is going to fly back into town next week. Will his next offer be full price? I don't know. It depends if the place is priced well. I'll show him the comparables,talk about what happened last time and see how he wants to play it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The bonding of buyers and sellers can be worth thousands in negotations.

Today was truly a wonderful day. I wrote an offer for the proud parents of a new born and presented the offer.

A week and a half ago one of my clients had a baby who is cute as a button.

Amazingly,having the baby increased their focus on finding a home immediately,when more often I have found people changing and postponing their plans while enjoying their new child. And,this is their first child,so I thought they would put the search on hold for several weeks.

On Monday we visited several homes in Frederick County,including one where the sellers were home. So we had an opportunity to establish a rapport. We had scheduled an appointment to see the house last week but it got cancelled because the mother went into labor that day. So my clients and the sellers were delighted to see the baby and we talked about family how the sellers raised their children in the house. The sellers even told us that they were moving to be closer to their grandchildren, one who is 6 months old.

The sellers were proud to show us around the home and the house projects they did over the years. There was a very good connection. As a real estate agent I often think it is better for the potential home buyers to look around a home while the sellers go out because:
(1) you may lose a negotiating advantage if either party sees how much the other wants to buy/sell and they will factor that into the offer;
(2)buyers don't always feel comfortable walking around a home,taking notes and evaluating if the home is for them or not;
(3)sellers may not want to be around just in case they come across as desperate to sell and lose a negotation
(4)it is hard talking about the home you are touring and comparing it to other homes while the seller is there or in the next room.

In this situation I knew the sellers were going to be around (one of the sellers doesn't move around too well) and I was able to tell my clients,the buyers to take mental notes and to not say anything in front of the sellers other than niceties and talking about the baby.

I met with the buyers,wrote an offer on these sellers' home and included an cover letter,as I always do to discuss the market,why the buyers like the house and work that needs to be done and the terms. I truly believe that terms due include intangibles,such as whether the buyer and seller relate to each other and if they can even see themselves walking through life in the other's shoes.

In this case, because of the connection we made with the sellers I was able to write a letter that really touched the sellers and they are seriously considering the buyers offer,which is lower than the asking price. While the sellers want their price,I really touched their hearts and that could be worth a few thousand,maybe over ten thousand dollars to the buyers.

Below is an exerpt from my cover letter. Due to the sensitivity of the sale,I am not mentioning the home address,the buyers or the sellers:

"...The Sellers and the buyers had the pleasure of meeting on Monday, along with the buyer;s new baby, "X" when I was helping them find a home to begin the new chapter in their lives. As I mentioned, we had originally planned on seeing the home last week, but little baby X was determined to be part of the house hunting process and mom went into labor the day we had originally scheduled to tour. We have looked at many homes over the last couple of months and hope that the search ends here. The buyers have been renting a home and look forward to enjoying pride in ownership and taking advantage of the benefits of first time home buyers. The sellers have obviously loved and taken care of their home for many years and the buyers will love the home every bit as much. The buyers and sellers have a mutual interest in buying and selling the home: family considerations. The buyers want to move into a new home as soon as possible for themselves and the new baby and the sellerswant to move as possible to be closer their grandchildren,including a 6 month old."

I feel very proud of this cover letter and am proud of how I represented my clients.
The sellers may end up accepted a lower offer than they would have otherwise if a personal connection wasn't made. We shall see.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The small world of real estate

I've been working with one of my buyers on finding a home in Silver Spring, Maryland and one of the homes we looked at the other day is listed by one of my good friend's mothers. The home has 3 bedrooms,a nice kitchen and gazeba plus great curb appeal. The owner has taken great care of it.

I haven't crossed paths before with my friend's mother businesswise, but she remembered her son mentioning that I am a realtor. Her son and I went to high school together,were roommates for a few months in Israel,have maintained a friendship and gave each other honors at our weddings.

It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with my friend's mother and engage in positive networking. Transactions work out so much more smoothly when agents as well as the buyers and sellers in the transaction have a good rapport. The only question is if this is the home of my buyer's dream or not and if we can come to a meeting of the minds on price and terms. Time will tell.