Monday, October 29, 2012

"No more 'n a sock full"

Years ago, when I first started my career in real estate, I was so excited to get a call from a homeowner who wanted to sell their home.  The market sales were robust and I was itching to do get out there and  learn the business.

One day, I got a call from a gentleman in Falls Church.   He was definitely selling a home and he wanted to speak to me about listing his property.  Yes! I thought, this is what I have been waiting for.

I arrived to the appointment on time and proceeded to tour the home with the seller.  When we got to the basement I could see it was unfinished.  I asked the seller point blank if the basement ever leaked.  He told me that as a general rule no.  On occasion, however, it has leaked yet "no more 'n a sock full" at one time.  Seeing my bewildered look, he further explained that when he has come down to the basement and seen water during a storm, he bunches up a sock and throws it in the corner and the water has never been more than a sock could handle.

Oh, ok, I thought.  Now how do I explain that to prospective buyers as a listing agent?

Well, the owner ended up selling on his own and I didn't have to be concerned with the proper disclosures to prospective buyers.  I'm sure the seller did his own explaining...... just fine:)

I'm wishing all of you safety during Hurricane Sandy and I hope none of you have any water issues and if you do I hope its "no more 'n a sock full" !.  God bless!

                                                  Carla Brooks

ps. image is courtesy of

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Water Line Replacement Insurance

For years, I have been recommending the insurance offered by Dominion Power to clients.  Dominion Power offers water line replacement, resulting landscaping costs, and sewer line replacement  insurance to customers for a low monthly fee.

This past week I found out first hand how the reimbursement program works when I discovered a water leak in my front yard.  The first step was to call the Fairfax County Water Authority and have them confirm that a water leak existed.  If the leak is a slow leak then the water to the house can be left on without interrupting water service to the resident. Luckily, my leak was a slow leak and my water supply could be left on.

  Once the leak is confirmed by the Fairfax County Water Authority, the next step is to notify Dominion Power.  Dominion Power then sends out their contractor (American Plumbing) to survery the situation and decide what needs to be done and when a contractor will be sent out to do the work.

I waited over a week for the contractor to have a crew in place to repair the leak.  I was told that the customers with no water service would be taken care of first.  This made sense, yet did not make the wait period any easier.   I watched water build up in my front yard for over a week and felt concerned that somehow all this water might possibly damage my lawn.

Anyway, the repair date arrived and all went smoothly.  The repair can be done without digging up the whole yard since the new line (copper 7/8 inch) can be placed inside the old line (plastic 1 inch) and connected to the  house lines. 

After the installation, the Fairfax County Inspectors have to come out to approve the installation.  No one notified me that the inspectors would be out the next morning so the final inspection failed. The next morning an inspector showed up from the county.  I was surprised to see the inspector since again no one called to schedule an appointment.  The inspector told me that the county had so many water lines to inspect that they did not have time to call.  Ok....

Anyway, the work passed inspection and the copper line will be guaranteed for 10 years.  The catch?  There's always a catch, right?  Since the ruptured line was plastic the insurance covers only a like-kind line replacement.  The insured party has to pay for the upgrade to a copper line.  How much did the upgrade cost?  $610 !!!

So there you have the drill.  The insurance is well worth the monthly fee since a line replacement could run thousands of dollars. 

If you'd like to buy or sell a home, call me today.  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own. 

                                                           Carla Brooks

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Now that the real estate market has more buyers than sellers, some properties are escalating in price with multiple bids.  Appraisers are scrambling to bring values in, at (or above) the sales price so the buyer can qualify for a loan.  The appraiser generally must provide 3 comparable properties in the general area of the property under contract that support the contract price of the property being appraised.

When an appraised value comes in low on a property under contract, there are a few options open to the buyer and sellers:

1. the seller can lower the sales price to the appraised value.


2. The buyer can make up the difference between the appraised value and the contract price by bringing more money to closing


3. the seller and buyer can negotiate a new price somewhere in between the contract price and the appraised value


4. the buyer can void the contract

According to statistics with the National Association of Realtors, 15% of contracts are negotiated to a lower price due to low appraisals and 11 % of contracts are cancelled due to low appraisals.

The realtor's role in the process is to keep the buyers and sellers informed at the listing stage of the property, the contract negotiating stage and the contingency period of the contract.

If you'd like to buy or sell a property call me today,  I will treat your transaction as if it were my own....

Carla Brooks