FAQ’s

FAQ

Have a question that you want answered?  Email us at paradise at Hobizbo dot com; we are happy to help.

Where does the home data on Hobizbo come from? Is it real time?  How accurate is it and how often is it updated?
Our data comes directly from CRMLS (California Regional Multiple Listing Service) and is as accurate as the brokers who input it.  We refresh the data multiple times per day so you can be sure the status of a home is ‘real time’ current.

Why do some property listings have amazing property photos and others look significantly lower in quality?
Some of the photographs are taken by Hobizbo professional photographers and some are not.

According to the National Association of Realtors Annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 83% of buyers rated photos of properties for sale as the most useful feature.  We set out to raise the bar even higher by offering professional photography for homeowners and real estate agents, free of charge, to create an amazing experience for buyers.  

When I Ask Hobizbo a Question through the app, who is actually answering these?
Hobizbo is built by brokers, not agents, and staffed by brokers.  Our Certified Hobizbo Specialists, as we call them, are the best and most experience brokers available with over 100 years of combined brokerage experience.  Please note our terms of use clearly provide that Hobizbo INC., is in no way entering an agency relationship by providing support through our Certified Hobizbo Specialists. 

If I schedule an appointment with a ‘Certified Hobizbo Specialist,’ does this mean they are my agent?
No, it does not.  The agents on the Hobizbo platform are simply available to help you tour the home and answer any generic questions you have.  You can choose to work with each other but by no means is there an expectation that you must.  You should choose the agent whom you feel most comfortable working with and you won’t know that until you meet a few different agents.  Once you do select an agent, be sure that all aspects of the relationship are carefully explained in a written agreement. 

I have never written an offer before but want to use “Write An Offer.”  Can I talk to someone at Hobizbo about the process?
The short answer is YES, Hobizbo is here to help answer as many questions as we are legally able to without creating an agency relationship.  Hobizbo is not and will never be your ‘agent’ in the transaction.  If you need an agent, we’ll be happy to refer you to the best there are in your given area.  We are able to answer questions about the technology but cannot provide specific advice as to your offer or home buying scenario. 

Do I need an Agent to use Hobizbo to ‘Write an Offer?’
You do not need an agent to use the write an offer feature.  Most homebuyers do hire an agent to assist them through the process for a number of reasons but if you feel you have the experience to do so on your own, all the power to you.   

If I write an offer without an agent, is Hobizbo my agent?
No, Hobizbo is not a party in the transaction, simply a platform for you to be able to submit your own offer.

Some buyers who have been through the home buying process before (who understand how it works) have told us they don’t need (or want to pay) a real estate agent.  Whether you want to buy a home with an agent our not, Hobizbo makes the process of making offers fast, easy, and fun.

I have an Agent already, should she/he sign up and write the offer for me?
It’s completely up to your agent.  Hobizbo is by no means suggesting a buyer and seller use anything but a CAR form once the buyer has been chosen and parties are going to escrow.  The distinction is Hobizbo is using a letter of intent (LOI) to solidify the main economic and qualifying deal points, before the formal purchase and sale contract is drawn up.   A typical home offer includes a 9-page agreement and other disclosures that generate an average of 25 pages of documents.  Some of those include: 

• Buyer’s inspection advisories,

• Disclosures regarding real estate agency relationships (and confirmation of real estate agency relationships),

• Wood destroying pest and allocation of cost addendums,

• Pre-qualification letters,

• Bank statements,

• Copies of earnest money checks,

• Disclosure and consent for representation of more than one buyer or seller,

• Agent visual inspection disclosure,

• Cooperating broker compensation agreement,

• Statewide buyer and seller advisory,

• Buyer’s agent fax cover sheet,

• Personal letter from the agent with pictures of the family and dogs,

These documents will be needed from whomever the seller decides to sell the property to, however, listing agents do not need (or want) all this paper in the initial offers reception process.  What the seller and listing agent truly care about are a few key terms, including:

• Price,

• Escrow Period,

• Earnest Money Deposit,

• Financing Terms (Proof of Funds/Pre-Approval Letter)

• Loan Contingency Period,

• Inspection Periods,

• Closing Costs Credits / Home Warranty,

• Escrow and Title Allocations

Hobizbo LOIs are nonbinding agreements that lay out these general terms, which form the basis of the CAR purchase and sales agreement.  The LOI gives both parties to the transaction a chance to study the terms of the deal before they formally commit to each other.  The Hobizbo terms of use and the introductory screen to write an LOI in the app include a clause that clearly states the LOI is not a legally binding agreement and that either party may back out at any time.  In addition, Hobizbo recommends that the ensuing CAR contract contain a clause stating that no prior documents are binding between the parties.

Please read our terms of use for more information. 

Why do I have to upload my proof of funds and pre-approval to submit an offer?
When the real estate agent sees an offer with those documents attached, the agent instantly has more confidence that you are serious, qualified, and intend to close escrow. The agent will also know that you and your agent are thorough and on top of your game.

A pre-approval is a fairly simple thing to get, and an approval isn’t much more these days. If you are working with an agent they can certainly refer you to a good lender who can help you get that pre-approval you should have for the Seller to seriously consider your offer.  If you don’t have an agent yet, send us a message and we’ll refer you to the top lenders we work with.

Do I need to be pre-approved or pre-qualified before I “Write An Offer?”
The short answer is YES, you should be ‘pre-approved’ before writing an offer (assuming you want your offer to be taken seriously.)  

Note that there is a distinction between approved and qualified.  Without good preparation, many buyers get lulled into the mistaken notion that if a lender pre-qualifies them for a mortgage this means that they have been pre-approved for a home loan. Unfortunately, there’s a world of difference between these two terms.  To be pre-approved, you’ll complete an official mortgage application (and usually pay an application fee), and then supply the lender with the necessary documentation to perform an extensive check on your financial background and current credit rating.  You will receive a conditional commitment in writing for an exact loan amount, allowing you to look for a home at or below that price level. Obviously, this puts you at an advantage when dealing with a potential seller, as he or she will know you’re one step closer to obtaining an actual mortgage.

What if I change my mind after I make my offer?
Many home buyers will experience second-thoughts about buying the house shortly after making the offer or at some time during the period of time leading up to the closing. The nice thing about writing an offer with Hobizbo is that it’s non-binding until the seller accepts your terms and both you and the seller sign a binding purchase and sale agreement.  Even after that point, you have a number of contingencies in the contract, which allow you to cancel for just cause.  Be sure to consult your licensed real estate agent or an attorney with specific questions.

Just know that buyer’s remorse (as it’s known in the industry) is completely normal and most homeowners experience it to some degree.  If you’re still not so sure, when making an initial offer, be sure to include an Option Period (especially if you are needing a few more days to be certain of your decision).  

What’s an Option Period? An option period is a period in which a Buyer is granted the right to terminate a purchase contract for ANY given reason.  An option period can be one day, seven days, ten days… it’s completely negotiable.  The Buyer offers the Seller a sum of money (about $25 a day or so) for the unrestricted right to walk away.  Often, the Option Period is used (by the Buyer) to have inspections, talk to lenders or just to talk with their family.  If the inspection is good, the lender says “you’re qualified” and parents say “go for it,” the option period expires and the Buyer moves forward toward closing.

How is Hobizbo different than RedFin and Tulia/Zillow?
Redfin is a technology-powered real estate brokerage.  While Redfin real estate agents earn a salary, not commissions, they are still in the business of representing buyers and sellers in the purchase and sale of homes.  

Hobizbo INC. is a licensed California real estate brokerage building technology for homebuyers, seller, agents, and brokerages, alike, to make the home buying adventure faster, easier, and more fun.  We do not represent buyers and sellers in buying and selling homes but do help buyers and sellers find the best local agents to assist them in the process.    We believe in speeding up the process of writing and negotiating an offer.   We believe in providing concierge level service to buyers who expect instant results with 24/7 immediate access to experienced local real estate agents. 

Zillow is a leading online real estate marketplace dedicated to helping homeowners, buyers, sellers, renters, real estate agents, mortgage professionals, landlords, and property managers find and share vital information about homes, real estate, and mortgages.  Zillow is a media business model and makes money selling targeted, relevant advertising to real estate professionals, and connecting home and mortgage shoppers with professionals who can help them.

Trulia is a leading online real estate marketplace giving home buyers, sellers, owners and renters the inside scoop on properties, places and real estate professionals.

We believe in servicing buyers and sellers at the point they want to be serviced.  We believe buyers want a beautiful and intuitive mobile interface that streamlines the transaction in a way that aligns them with sellers and their agents to make that personal connection more meaningful, engaged, and informative.  After all, the best access to consumers locally is through agents, relationships that exist in the real world.  Hobizbo serves as the facilitator of that local community as a local advisor, ensuring buyers and sellers are matched with the best agents, not promoting our own or those who are paying us to do so. 

 

Latest Real Estate Data from NAR

WASHINGTON (April 22, 2014) – Existing-home sales were essentially flat in March, while the growth in home prices moderated, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Sales gains in the Northeast and Midwest were offset by declines in the West and South.

Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, slipped 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million in March from 4.60 million in February, and are 7.5 percent below the 4.96 million-unit pace in March 2013. Last month’s sales volume remained the slowest since July 2012, when it was 4.59 million.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said that current sales activity is underperforming by historical standards. “There really should be stronger levels of home sales given our population growth,” he said. “In contrast, price growth is rising faster than historical norms because of inventory shortages.”

Yun expects some improvement in the months ahead. “With ongoing job creation and some weather delayed shopping activity, home sales should pick up, especially if inventory continues to improve and mortgage interest rates rise only modestly.”

The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in March was $198,500, up 7.9 percent from March 2013. Distressed homes3 – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 14 percent of March sales, down from 16 percent in February and 21 percent in March 2013. “With rising home equity, we expect distressed homes to decline to a single-digit market share later this year,” Yun said.

Ten percent of March sales were foreclosures, and 4 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in March, while short sales were discounted 12 percent.

Total housing inventory4 at the end of March rose 4.7 percent to 1.99 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 5.0 months in February. Unsold inventory is 3.1 percent above a year ago, when there was a 4.7-month supply.

The median time on market for all homes was 55 days in March, down from 62 days in February, and also 62 days on market in March 2013. Short sales were on the market for a median of 112 days in March, while foreclosures typically sold in 55 days and non-distressed homes took 53 days. Thirty-seven percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.34 percent in March from 4.30 percent in February; the rate was 3.57 percent in March 2013.

First-time buyers accounted for 30 percent of purchases in March, up from 28 percent in February; they were 30 percent in March 2013.

NAR President Steve Brown, co-owner of Irongate, Inc., Realtors® in Dayton, Ohio, said first-time buyers have been stuck in a rut. “There are indications that the stringent mortgage underwriting standards are beginning to ease a bit, particularly regarding credit score requirements, but they remain a headwind for entry-level and single-income home buyers,” he said.

“We also have tight inventory in the lower price ranges where many starter homes are found, but rising new-home construction means some owners will be trading up and more existing homes will be added to the inventory. Hopefully, this will create more opportunities for first-time buyers,” Brown said.

All-cash sales comprised 33 percent of transactions in March, compared with 35 percent in February and 30 percent in March 2013. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 17 percent of homes in March, down from 21 percent in February and 19 percent in March 2013. Seventy-one percent of investors paid cash in March.

Single-family home sales were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.04 million in March, the same as February, but are 7.3 percent below the 4.36 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $198,200 in March, which is 7.4 percent above March 2013.

Existing condominium and co-op sales declined 1.8 percent to an annual rate of 550,000 units in March from 560,000 in February, and are 8.3 percent below the 600,000 level in March 2013. The median existing condo price was $200,800 in March, up 11.6 percent from a year ago.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 9.1 percent to an annual rate of 600,000 in March, but are 4.8 percent below March 2013. The median price in the Northeast was $244,700, up 3.2 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 4.0 percent in March to a pace of 1.04 million, but are 10.3 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $149,600, which is 5.9 percent above March 2013.

In the South, existing-home sales declined 3.0 percent to an annual level of 1.92 million in March, and also are 3.0 percent below March 2013. The median price in the South was $173,000, up 6.7 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West fell 3.7 percent to a pace of 1.03 million in March, and are 13.4 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $289,300, which is 12.6 percent higher than March 2013.

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Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with 165,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Are Real Estate Agent Ratings Fair?

Agent ratings, one of the the hottest topics in the real estate industry, are sure to be debated at conferences like the upcoming Inman Connect in San Francisco in July of this year.

NeighborCity and HomeLight, two start-up companies in the agent rating space, draw information from a mix of public records and data from brokerages.  In April, MLS companies sued NeighborCity, alleging that it used data and listing information without their authorization.  Other companies are generating ratings that don’t rely on transaction data. Using Social Search by Trulia, consumers get agent recommendations through Facebook.  According to the site, about half of all the reviews come from sellers and buyers while the others are from friends and family of the agent.

So what’s the big deal?

Questions about their fairness, whether you can trust them, how third parties will use the data, agents have no shortage of reasons for being reluctant.  One thing is sure, we Americans love to critique services.  More than one in four adults participates in scoring either services or products on some kind of rating site.  It’s fair to say that agent reviews and ratings are inevitable.

We need quick ways to find data about the people with whom we will do business and the products we will purchase. The current ranking systems are approaching this all wrong: the problem is a failure to see the interrelationships that make up the whole. Most buyers end up with a broker they shouldn’t wind up with.

How do you evaluate the agent’s ability to deliver the customer experience you want?

Consumers often provide most accurate feedback when surveyed by a neutral third party.  Try to meet some of their past clients.  Find out what they liked and didn’t, how well the agents knows the neighborhood, how well they connected with them emotionally.  Ask them if they would recommend this agent to thier friends or family.  Ask them what their most memorable experience was and what they thought was different about this agent.   Maybe this will begin to help the 57% of home buyers who are not ‘completely satisfied’ with the home buying process.

 

 

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Instant Gratification

On a Wednesday at 1:15 pm I listed a home for sale.  By that Friday at 6:59, I’d received 23 offers.

Yes it’s a seller’s market (low inventory, low interest rates, rising demand) and yes the home was well priced but come on, 23 offers in 2 days, we realtors have lots to be thankful for!!

The carbon house-print this process has produced is absurd.  These 23 offers total over 525 sheets of paper, and that’s not counting all the paper that the buyer’s agent printed to be able to submit the offer.

Did I have to print all 25 pages out?  No, and I won’t next time.  The standard form California Residential Purchase Agreement and Joint Escrow Instructions is (only) 8 pages.  But it’s the laundry list of random documents that really get the paper count up:

• Buyer’s inspection advisories,
• Disclosures regarding real estate agency relationships (and confirmation of real estate agency relationships),
• Wood destroying pest and allocation of cost addendums,
• Pre-qualification letters,
• Bank statements,
• Copies of earnest money checks,
• Various advisories which I may or may not ever need,
• Disclosure and consent for representation of more than one buyer or seller,
• Agent visual inspection disclosure,
• Cooperating broker compensation agreement,
• Statewide buyer and seller advisory,
• Buyer’s agent fax cover sheet,
• Personal letter from the agent with pictures of the family and dogs,
• Etc, the list goes on and on.

These documents will be needed from whomever the seller decides to sell the property to, however, I DO NOT (or want) ALL this PAPER at this stage in the process.  Hobizbo was born from exactly this process.

Hobizbo_Instant_Offers

Hold that thought for a minute and let’s go back to my life with all these offers.

What’s going to happen next is my seller and I are going to sit down tomorrow afternoon and review the offers.  Then we’re going to counter each buyer on a few key terms, which is really what we TRULY CARE ABOUT:

• Price,
• Escrow Period,
• Earnest Money Deposit,
• Financing Terms / Loan Contingence,
• Inspection Periods,
• Closing Costs Credits / Home Warranty,
• Escrow and Title

By the way, this counter will be 1 sheet of paper with our thoughts on the above points.  Granted, this process can go back and forth a time or two but eventually we’ll choose the lucky buyer.  The rest as I mentioned earlier, is business as usual, and the paperwork for that buyer will go to escrow and the process goes on.

Ok, so back to Hobizbo.  The time it took to print all those offers and respond to each agent, who are all calling and emailing me like crazy, was several hours.  Agents all over the country are dealing with this phenomenon.  Hobizbo allows buyers (with or without an agent) to simply submit the key terms of the deal (already mentioned above) in the form of a letter of intent.  These terms come through a simple mobile app and can be easily responded to and, best of all, NO PAPER.

As an agent, my time is money.  Why should the buyer’s agent have to chase after their client when they can make and negotiate the terms with the tap of a few digital buttons?  They shouldn’t.  This is why Hobizbo provides both agents and buyer INSTANT GRATIFICATION.

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