Archive for December, 2012

The Pros and Cons of Multiple Offers

Monday, December 17th, 2012

A multiple offer is the dream scenario, right? Could there possibly be any bad news in more than one person being interested in buying your home? While there are major pros to this situation, there are also a couple of cons to be aware of:

I know you’re asking yourself what possible downside could there be from multiple offers on my home?  Sure, for the most part, getting multiple offers on your home is a dream come true. So, let’s start with the Pros:

  1. You will likely get your full asking price or very close to it.
  2. You will probably be able to avoid stressful negotiations.
  3. You are more likely to find an offer that matches your specific needs – speedy sale, getting a higher price, contract contingencies, etc.

But before we start jumping for joy, let’s look at the Cons:

  1. In a buyer’s market, buyers don’t like to get into a bidding war and are more likely to walk away and find a property they don’t have to compete for.
  2. If you come back with an over-confident counter offer, you risk alienating your buyer.

Bottom line, multiple offers on your home are a blessing, but this is a buyer’s market so tread lightly and trust your Realtor to guide you through the negotiations.

Real Estate Terminology: What Is Accessibility

Monday, December 17th, 2012

ACCESSIBILITY – the ease and convenience with which a property can be entered by customers (Barron’s Dictionary of Real Estate Terms)

It is very important that when you put your home on the market it is accessible to prospective clients. I view accessibility in two different ways:

  1. Accessibility to view the home online
  2. Accessibility to personally view the home


It is very important that your home has a strong presence on the internet. According to the National Association of REALTORS 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Home Sellers, 89% of home buyers begin their real estate search online. In fact most home buyers spend several months viewing homes online and educating themselves about the local real estate market before they purchase a home. There are several important factors of your online presence:

  1. Does your home/property  have photos (multiple photos, not just the front of the home)? Lack of photos will automatically eliminate it as a possibility (unless the home was recently placed on the market). Professional photos are even better! (87% feel property photos are very important*)
  2. Is your description of the home detailed? It is very important that your description of the home is accurate and detailed. Again where most buyers are trying to educate themselves about areas, home features, etc, the more info the better! (83% feel a detailed description is very important*)
  3. Does your home have a virtual tour? Virtual tours can have a huge impact for buyers as it allows them to orient themselves in the home. They can figure out how each room flows or fits in with each other. One of my clients almost eliminated a home because it didn’t have a virtual tour. She’s glad she didn’t because she ended up purchasing the home. Virtual tours are very important! (61% feel a virtual tour is very important*)

* National Association of REALTORS 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Home Sellers


I can’t stress enough how important it is to ensure the home is accessible for a prospective buyer when a showing is requested. You NEVER know if you just declined a showing to a perfect buyer for your home. When I work with buyers and we have a hard time accessing a particular listing, they inevitably assume that the Sellers may be difficult to work with if we decide to bring an offer. I must put a side note here that there are times when a showing can not be accommodated, buyers do understand that. If that is the case, maybe offer another time that would work better or if your home won’t be available for longer period, withdraw it from the market. You can always reactive the listing once showings can be accommodated. My point is that every effort should be made to get a potential buyer through the door.

Happy Holidays from Harry

Monday, December 17th, 2012

At the end of this year, I would have been in the Real Estate Business in Suffolk, Virginia for forty years. My Dad, who taught us this business, always had a wonderful time at Christmas. It was a time for him to celebrate  another successful year in the business helping clients achieve real estate dreams, whether it was buying, selling or finally renting a home of their own. We still have the privilege of working with friends and new friends to find that perfect home, sell a home or lease a good place for their family.

When I got in the business, there were no MLS, no computers, no cell phones, no calculators, no copy machines and no Internet. I used a “slide rule” to calculate square footage. Do you know what one of those looks like? Today I have more access to market information on a smart phone than we had on good computers just a few years ago. Cameras are obsolete and “real time” is where we live and work.

But Some things never change: good old professional advice, trust and vision. We help our clients understand the current market so they can make good decisions. As I reflect on this year and how much the market has changed for the good, I am thankful that we are headed in the right direction for sellers and home prices. It may be a slow road back to normal, but we are headed in the right direction.

I like Christmas at the office, too.  The decorations the staff pulls out and puts up we have used for years.  They all have stories we remember and share.  A few photos of them are below. They bring warmth and smiles and memories.

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Wishing you and yours the best of the Holiday Season and thanks for 40 years of old friends and new friends. Looking forward to more of the same!

Harry L. Cross, III

Recipe of the Month

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Red Velvet CheesecakeFOHOSC09

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
Total: 10 Hours, 45 Minutes


1 1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 (1-ounce) bottles red food coloring
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnish: fresh mint sprigs


  1. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar; press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Beat 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar at medium-low speed with an electric mixer 1 minute. Add eggs and next 6 ingredients, mixing on low speed just until fully combined. Pour batter into prepared crust.
  3. Bake at 325° for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 300°, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center is firm. Run knife along outer edge of cheesecake. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven; cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Cover and chill 8 hours.
  4. Beat 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth; gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. Spread evenly over top of cheesecake. Remove sides of springform pan. Garnish, if desired.

Southern Living Magazine

Featured Property of the Week

Friday, December 14th, 2012

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321 Westwood Dr    Suffolk, VA 23434

Check out the beautiful kitchen in this home complete with large fenced-in backyard. Brand new water heater and central heat & air installed in 2010.

Listed by: Susan Wilkins

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Featured Property of the Week

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

new pics 016 1396 White Marsh Rd    Suffolk, VA 23434

Brand new kitchen with granite & tile. Peaceful country living, yet a short drive to all Hampton Roads. Huge master suites on 1st & 2nd floors with walk-in closets and tile in the bathrooms. Barn/workshop and detached screen party house. Call today!

Listed by: Lee Cross

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