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Make the most of your home investment

Ask Our Broker Life on Mars … and Venus It’s a different world when men
and women go to buy a home

BY CHARLES SCUTT women often differ significantly ping for a new home, compared Colo.
CTW Features in terms of their approach to to 43 percent of women. “Men seem to be more bot-
purchasing a home. The reasons for contrasts like tom-line and pragmatic, while
THEY SAY OPPOSITES ATTRACT. For example, results of a this have a lot to do with funda- women seem to be emotional
But how do opposites shop – recent survey conducted by mental emotional and personali- and ‘fall in love’ with things like
I refused to pay a broker who particularly when it comes to Countrywide Home Loans reveal ty differences between the gen- the colors and the fireplace.
home buying? Experts insist and that only 23 percent of men said ders, says Peggy Spiro, a broker
acted as agent for his wife. research shows that men and they spent too much time shop- for RE/MAX Alliance, Louisville, See MARS – VENUS Page 2
Was he right to begin with?

Q: I sold a house to a broker who
acted as an agent for his wife so that he
could get the commission. When I found
that out, I refused to pay the commis-
sion. He agreed. Was what he did a
proper thing to do in the first place?

A:When you listed your home for sale you agreed to pay
a brokerage fee.Typically, the listing broker agrees to pay
some portion of that fee to any other broker who brought
in a ready, willing and able purchaser.
In this situation, a broker represented his wife. If he
plainly disclosed up front and in writing that he represent-
ed his wife, then why should he not get a fee? He’s doing
the work of a buyer broker and your cost has not increased
because your fee was established in advance.
Sometimes there’s a lot of concern about brokerage fees.
That’s fair and appropriate, but, at the same time, the cen-
tral purpose of selling a home is to get the highest net
result after all costs. If paying a broker gets you to the
promised land of big profits and little hassle with an
acceptable cost, then why not? If it was me, I would have
taken the offer if it met my prime objectives.

Q: My mortgage has been in “forbearance” for sev-

eral months. In other words, I have an agreement
with the lender to make up for some missed pay-
Over here: Sprinkling color throughout a room – on the table and couch, and in the furnishing choices – directs the eye to look at only what you want it to see.
ments. However, my employer owes me a large
lump sum, enough to bring my loan current. I have
not gotten the money from my employer and now
the lender wants to foreclose. What happens if I’m

A: You will lose your home, your credit will be damaged,

Cause Color to Cause Effect
you could be bankrupted and – in some circumstances –
you may continue to be responsible for lender losses and
Make a bold statement in your home by tricking the eye into where to look
even face income taxes on any debt that has not been
repaid. BY KIT DAVEY spread color throughout their environment. VISUAL HARMONY
CTW Features They innately know where to put their To create a sense of visual peace and to
What’s happening with your employer is separate from
your agreement to repay the lender.That agreement, appar- knickknacks, potted plants and artwork.You have the eyes take in the room as a whole,

olor is one of the most important ele- can observe this ability in the pages of any you need to balance the color. First, stand
ently, has been broken, and now foreclosure has been ments in decorating any space. Our interior-design magazine.The designer care- with your back to one of the walls in the
threatened.This means you must contact an attorney eyes yearn for color and unconsciously fully and subtly has placed color throughout room. Make note of the room’s predominant
immediately – today, this moment – to avoid the loss of scan the space in front of us seeking its the room for strong effect. color scheme. Mentally pick one of the col-
your home and other damage. delights.To illustrate the power of color, imag- By understanding color’s ability to draw ors in your scheme.As you’re standing with
ine yourself seated in an all-white living room. the eye, and strategically placing it in your your back against the wall, look for this color
Q: We need to review our last will and trust. Can A crystal vase of bright-red tulips sits on an end
table across the room.Your eyes sweep over
home, you can:
• Bring visual harmony, wholeness and
in the left side of the room, the middle of the
room and the right side of the room. Look for
you recommend an attorney who can give us honest the room and naturally come to rest on those peace to a room. it in the carpeting, walls, upholstered furnish-
advice and not to sell us something we do not need? red tulips – and will return to them again and • Draw the eye toward or away from an ings, artwork and accessories. Notice where
again – because the room is out of “color bal- object or area. the color is missing or is too intense.Then,
See ASK OUR BROKER, Page 2 ance.” This simple, effective technique is a called
Many people have a natural ability to color balancing. See COLOR Page 2

COLOR throws, books, sculpture pieces,
etc. Strategically placing color in
in one of the areas to either side
of the window.Your eye will be
wholeness and visual peace. Use
your creativity to cause an imbal- Ask Our Broker
It’s all in where you look this way causes the eye to scan unconsciously drawn to the ance of color if you want to draw
the entire room without getting color and take less notice of the the eye away or toward some-
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 stuck in one area or skipping view out the window. thing in your home.
over another. You can use this same tech-
move to the next wall in the nique to attract attention to an © CTW Features A: One of the most important characteristics of any
room and check for the color in LOOK HERE, NOT THERE object. If you want people to professional is that you have faith and confidence in that
these three areas as before. Go all To draw your eye away from notice a new marble mantel- Kit Davey, an interior design-
individual’s ability and ethics.Ask people you trust for
the way around the room check- an area, you must create a color piece, adorn it with lots of color er based in Redwood City, Calif.,
ing for the presence of this color. imbalance. Let’s say you don’t and keep the adjacent areas free helps clients redecorate their their recommendations, meet with individual profession-
Repeat this process with the want people to notice a small of color. If you’d like to give spe- homes through the creative use als and find someone you believe is competent to handle
other colors in your scheme. If window looking out into a neigh- cial attention to your new oil of their existing furnishings. E- your affairs. Be aware that initial consultations with attor-
color is weak or not present in bor’s yard. Face the area you painting, place it on a white wall mail Kit your questions at neys often are available at little or no cost.
one of these areas, bring in acces- want to keep people from look- with no distracting color near it. kit@ctwfeatures.com.
sories to make up for its absence ing at. Place lots of color – fur- Color is powerful. Use color
– pillows, artwork, flowers, nishings, artwork, accessories – balancing to create a sense of
Q: The day before the closing I asked for my
HUD statements, only to find that the sale price
had been altered. I quickly hired a lawyer who
found out that all the closing statements were
based on a second sales contract that reflected a
MARS – VENUS couples actually creates a
healthy, balanced dynamic, says
purchasers – up from 16 percent
in 1993 – and were the second-
They want to make sure the
other party knows they are fair
$53,000 price increase. My broker said this was a
mistake. Three months later, while doing my taxes,
He buys, she buys Denham. largest group of homebuyers. and careful about not insulting
“In general, women tend to be Single women, however,“end the seller.The truth is that while I checked the public record and found that a deed
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 very intuitive and sensitive to up taking a lot longer to decide, negotiating, both strategies can was recorded showing that original sale price plus
environments,” Denham says. often second-guessing them- work beautifully and both can $53,000. What should I do?
Women want to feel an emotion- “They have an easier time imag- selves,” says Wyatt.“They often go backfire.”
al connection to the home and ining a vacant property with fur- back a second time to a home In the end, the woman in the A: You were absolutely right to ask for the settlement
figure out how they are going to niture, which makes sense being with a male friend and try hard relationship almost always has
papers 24 hours before closing.You also were right to
make it a home.Women also that they are generally the deco- to educate themselves more than the final say to move forward
seem to second-guess their deci- rator of the household. Men are the average buyer.” and write an offer, says Denham. retain an attorney.The reason an attorney is so important
sions, while men don’t,” says usually not as in-tune to their As far as touring homes for “Men just want to feel they’ve is that an outside professional can provide independent
Spiro. environment, but feel good in a sale, the outcome is predictable, done their research, they’ve advice and information. Lastly, you were smart to check
“In general, men seem to look space that reflects well on them; at least in Spiro’s market. looked at the properties, they’ve the sale record after closing to determine if your transac-
more at a home’s structural they look better because of this “Women work as the scout been educated about what offer tion was or was not properly recorded.
integrity, functionality and or that house.They are very con- and will come to an open house is fair. But the answer to ‘Will this
There are millions of closings each year. Mistakes some-
specifics, such as if a home has cerned about the logistics of the during the week, while they house make you happy?’ is gener-
three bedrooms, a garage and a house – where is the parking, the hunt together with a man over ally decided by the wife. I think times happen at settlement; most are minor and clerical.
large yard,” says Angela Wyatt, a placement of electronic systems, the weekends,” she says.“Think men win the small battles, but In this case, the public record shows a vastly higher sale
broker with RE/MAX Signature etc.” about it. How many men love to women win the war.” price. Does it also show a larger mortgage debt? Given
Properties, Portland, Ore. Additionally, men are more shop? Women do it to relax and Lastly, male and female buyers that you and your attorney corrected the materials at
“Women look at the layout, the willing to forgive a house’s connect, while men seem to may not always agree, but they closing, how was the higher price recorded? Please con-
charm and the details.” imperfections.“So a wall has to have a purpose and a goal.” do find common ground on
tact your state attorney general for additional information
Lorraine Denham, an agent be moved? That’s no big deal, When it comes down to bar- many issues, based on other find-
with Coldwell Banker, Chicago, they’ll say. For some women, that gaining, Spiro finds that men ings of the aforementioned and help.
says in her experience with cou- could be a deal killer,” says seem less likely to compromise Countrywide survey.The poll
ples purchasing together,“the Denham. on the fundamentals like number showed that both women and Q: We’re in the process of selling a commercial
husband is concerned about One major factor accounting of bedrooms and baths, size of men acknowledged room for property. We have interested buyers, however,
things like good energy efficien- for why women may take longer the garage, storage space and improvement in their approach questions are beginning to crop up regarding the
cy, having a great place to relax to shop for a home than men is overall condition of the home. to the home-purchasing process,
removal of an in-ground, 1,000-gallon fuel-oil tank.
and low maintenance.The wife is financial disparity.A recent poll “The woman doesn’t want to with both genders indicating
concerned about how the house by The American Association of compromise on schools, closets, that when buying their next resi- What should we do?
works for the family, the flow of University Women Educational kitchen, play areas – more family- dence they would:
meals, the placement of dining Foundation indicates that oriented items. I’d say women • Save more money for the A: The concern is that such a tank can leak and thus
rooms and eat-in areas, and safe- women in the same occupation are a harder sell on the house down payment and closing costs can contaminate nearby property and ground water. Call
ty.” and major earn only 80 percent itself, while men are tougher on (25 percent) your local building-inspection office and ask if they can
Men, says Denham, have an as much as men one year after the price negotiations.” • Learn more about the home-
recommend someone qualified to inspect and remove
idea about what they want and graduation from college. For the most part, Denham buying process prior to starting
will not budge on their needs. Despite these hurdles, Spiro agrees. home sale negotiations (25 per- the tank.According to The Home Inspection &
“Women have an idea about says that women are becoming “Women are much more likely cent) Construction Information Web site (http://www.inspect-
what they want, but are more independent and want to know to take the whole negotiating • Buy a new house as ny.com) one study found fewer than two leaks per one
spontaneous and willing to bend they can afford a home in all personally, while men tend to opposed to an older home (22 thousand tanks.
for others.They are more aesthet- economies – particularly single stay detached,” she says.“Men percent)
ics-oriented and will ask ques- and divorced women, who are come to the negotiating table •Purchase in a different neigh-
tions like, How attractive are the growing into an even larger seg- with their gloves on ready to borhood (21 percent) © CTW Features
finishes? Is the house impressive? ment of the real estate market, spar.They expect a counter and
How do the colors work with statistics show.According to the don’t mind haggling. It’s almost a © CTW Features
my furniture?” she says. National Association of Realtors, game to them.Women, on the Need real estate advice? Peter G. Miller, author of “The
This yin and yang of varying in 2005 single women com- other hand, want to start the Common-Sense Mortgage,” would love to hear from you. Send
sensibilities and priorities among prised 21 percent of all home negotiating on the right foot. your questions to peter@ctwfeatures.com


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