In the Market? Here’s What You Should Know About Contingencies

Home contingencies are aspects of home purchase contracts that protect buyers or sellers by establishing conditions that must be met before the purchase can be completed. There are a variety of contingencies that can be included in a contract; some required by third parties, and others potentially created by the buyer. While sellers in the current market prefer to have little to no contingencies, the vast majority of purchase contracts do include them, so here’s a primer to help you navigate any that come your way!

Financing Contingency

The most common type of contingency in a real estate contract is the financing contingency. While the number of homes that sold for cash more than doubled over the last 10 years, the majority of home purchases — 87% of them, in fact— are still financed through mortgage loans.

Why is this important? Because most real estate contracts provide a contingency clause that states the contract is binding only if the buyer is approved for the loan. If a contract is written as cash, in most cases, the financing contingency is removed.


Why Does The Financing Contingency Exist?

This contingency exists to protect the buyer. If a buyer submits a winning offer, but can’t get approved for a loan to follow through with the purchase, this clause can protect the buyer from potential legal or financial ramifications.

Tip: Homeowners can, and should, request to see a buyer’s prequalification letter before accepting their offer.

Home Sale Contingency

For many repeat homebuyers, they must sell a property in order to afford a new home. Whether they’re relocating for work, moving to a larger home, or moving to a more rural area, 38% of home buyers in a recent survey reported using funds from a previous home to purchase a new one. This is where a home sale contingency comes into play; this clause states that the buyer must first sell their current home before they can proceed with purchasing a new one.

Why Does This Contingency Exist?

This is another contingency that exists to protect the buyer. If their current home sale doesn’t close, this clause can protect the buyer from being forced to purchase the new home. In other words, they can back out of the new home contract without consequence. Keep in mind that in a seller’s market, this type of contingency offer is less desirable to sellers; in fact,  they may rule out your offer completely if this is included.

TIP: In many situations, homeowners can negotiate escape clauses for the home sale which would allow them to solicit other offers and potentially bump the current buyer out of the picture.

Home Inspection Contingency

Not only is it common, it’s also wise to include a home inspection contingency in any offer. Whether it’s a new home or an existing home, there is no such thing as a flawless house. Home inspections can uncover hidden problems, detect deferred maintenance issues that may be costly down the road, or make the home less desirable to purchase completely. A home inspection contingency essentially states that the purchase of a home is dependent on the results from the home inspection.


Why Does This Contingency Exist?

Whether it’s a roof in need of replacement or an unsafe fireplace, homebuyers need to know the maintenance and safety issues of the properties they’re interested in purchasing. If a home inspection report reveals significant (or scary!) findings, this protects the buyer from the financial burden that repairs would require. This is why agents will tell you it’s never a good idea for a home to be purchased without a home inspection contingency.

TIP: The findings from the report can usually be used to negotiate repairs or financial concessions from the seller.

Sight-Unseen Contingency

Especially during sellers markets, it’s not uncommon for a home to have dozens of showings within the first couple of days of listing. This breakneck pace can create a scenario in which homebuyers may not be able to coordinate their schedules to get a timely showing appointment. To help prevent missing out on the chance to buy a home, buyers in this situation will sometimes make offers on the home, sight unseen.


There’s no sugarcoating it…this is a high-risk strategy with ample opportunity for negative consequences. However, if this strategy is used, many real estate agents will add a sight- unseen contingency to their offer. This contingency states that the offer for purchase is dependent on the buyer’s viewing of, and satisfaction with, the property.

Why Does This Contingency Exist?

In a market with shrinking inventory, desperate buyers want a fighting chance at a hot property; in some cases, that can only exist by submitting an offer before they can see it in person.

TIP: Sight unseen offers are also high risk to the seller. If you include this contingency in your offer, try to keep other seller requests to a minimum. 

Why Contingencies Can Be Positive

In a seller’s market, buyers may feel the pressure to remove as many contingencies as possible in order to compete. But, it’s important to remember that contingencies are actually safeguards in place to prevent buyer remorse, expensive future repairs, or financial calamity. It’s always crucial for buyers to hire a seasoned real estate agent who can advocate for their best interests, negotiate and strategize in safe and competitive ways, and advises them of the risks of each decision.

Looking to Buy? Don’t Go it Alone!

The homebuying process is a complex one, but that doesn’t mean you’re left with all the heavy lifting. Find your dream home and a local agent on, then visit our “How to Buy” section for all the step-by-step insights for a smooth process.

Jennifer is an accidental house flipper turned Realtor and real estate investor. She is the voice behind the blog, Bachelorette Pad Flip. Over five years, Jennifer paid off $70,000 in student loan debt through real estate investing. She’s passionate about the power of real estate. She’s also passionate about southern cooking, good architecture, and thrift store treasure hunting. She calls Northwest Arkansas home with her cat Smokey, but she has a deep love affair with South Florida.


8 Steps to Prevent a Foreclosure On Your Home

Is Foreclosing on Your Home Looming on the Horizon? Read This First!

No one goes into owning a home with the expectation that they will have their home foreclosed. But as any savvy homeowner understands, sometimes the unexpected just happens in life. Perhaps because of an emergency, a death in the family, or another financial crisis, things begin to go south when you miss payments. Before you know it, foreclosure is looming in the not-too-distant future.

Don’t panic. Dealing with a potential foreclosure is never easy, but it is possible to work your way through the process, and even stop it from happening at all. There are free resources available to help prevent foreclosure, and you can learn more about avoiding foreclosure when you review the following steps. This way, you’ll make more informed decisions, and whatever stage of the foreclosure process you find yourself in, you will be aware of your options.

learning about foreclosureslearning about foreclosures
  1. Understand What Foreclosure Actually Is

Understanding foreclosure is one of the first keys to preventing it from happening. Foreclosure is a legal process in which a lender moves to repossess a home from a borrower following missed mortgage payments. If the home is repossessed, the lender will likely sell the home in order to recover some of the debt.

Foreclosure is a long process that negatively affects the credit of the borrower, but is also undesirable and costly for the lender. This means that it is in the best interest of the lender to work with you to avoid foreclosure.

  1. Identify Which Stage of Foreclosure You Are In

Once you understand the process in more general terms, knowing what stage of foreclosure you’re in can help you to make appropriately informed decisions. With this in mind, there are four stages leading up to a foreclosure that you need to be aware of.

Missed Payments

The first stage is missing payments. For whatever reason, the mortgage bill goes unpaid. As soon as you realize that you cannot make your payment, you should get in touch with your lender. There are many options to changing your lending agreement.

Public Notice

After 3 to 6 months of missed payments, the public notice stage begins. At this point, your lender has filed a document called a Notice of Default (NOD) with the County Recorder’s Office. You should also receive a notice posted to your front door in order to make you aware of the potential foreclosure.


After the Notice of Default has been posted, you will enter the pre-foreclosure stage. This notice activates a grace period of anywhere from 30 to 120 days, during which the borrower may pay the outstanding mortgage payments. If these payments are paid in full, the foreclosure is then dismissed.


Following the grace period, your home may be prepared for auction. Even at this stage, you still have options! Until the house has actually been sold, the borrower has something known as a Right of Redemption. This means that up until the moment at which the house is being sold at auction, the borrower can repay the debts and reclaim their home, thus ending the foreclosure.

If the home goes to auction, whether it is bought or not, it has still technically been foreclosed. In the event that a home is not purchased at auction, it then becomes a bank-owned property.

learning about foreclosureslearning about foreclosures
  1. Register With a Housing Counselor

If you’re still a little unclear about the process of foreclosure, the federal Housing and Urban Department provides free foreclosure prevention counseling. Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling is likely available at a location near you.

The HUD also provides a 24/7 Hotline through the Making Home Affordable program. This number is 1-888-995-HOPE (1-888-995-4673).

Working with a housing counselor can help you to understand your options and communicate better with your lender. By speaking to a counselor, you will gain greater understanding of your personal situation and options. Being better-informed helps you to make the best decisions for your specific situation.

  1. Get In Touch With Your Lender

No matter which stage of foreclosure you find yourself in, it’s always the right time to get in touch with your lender. Foreclosure is a costly process for lenders, so naturally, they prefer to avoid it. Your lender can help you to review potential payment-plan options or non-foreclosure alternatives that benefit you both more than the home actually being foreclosed. Talk to your lender about potential loan modifications, repayment plans, or lowering your interest rate.

  1. Avoid Scams

If you find yourself in the foreclosure process, cost-effective resources are available. Free federal and state government resources are available for foreclosure counseling, so if someone contacts you offering to help you for a fee, you’re wise to be be wary. Many scammers seek to profit from people who are in a desperate situation like this, and can be very convincing. You can find them anywhere, from the Internet to local newspapers, so remember to be vigilant.

Scammers may browse foreclosure notices posted locally and online to personally target borrowers. If someone contacts you directly, don’t accept help without first doing some research.

  1. Review Your Options

Working with your housing counselor and this guide, carefully review your options. Which stage of foreclosure are you in? What is your lender willing to do to help you both? Identify your choices and consider which options are best for you.

If you are in one of the later stages of foreclosure (either pre-foreclosure or leading up to the auction), you may want to consider a short sale. By selling your property for less than the amount of the unpaid mortgage, a short sale occurs. This is beneficial because even though a short sale isn’t good for your credit, it is far less damaging than a foreclosure. In some agreements, the short sale absolves you of the mortgage debt, and allows you to move forward relatively unscathed.

Also, be sure to talk to your counselor about a Deed In Lieu of Foreclosure. This agreement transfers the ownership of the property to the lender, and clears the borrower of mortgage debts.

If you’ve already worked with an MHA counselor and your lender, but you want more guidance, consider looking into state-specific foreclosure counseling.

  1. Assess your Assets

Do you have any assets that you can liquidate, like antiques, a second car, or an expensive stereo system? If anyone in your family can take a second job, you might consider this as a viable option. Even if the incoming cash from these assets may not be enough to make the full mortgage payments, it can still help you to avoid getting further behind. Plus, if your lender sees your efforts, they may be more likely to help you by adjusting the mortgage or working to develop a payment plan.

learning about foreclosureslearning about foreclosures
  1. Consider Filing for Bankruptcy

It’s a big decision and one that should definitely be discussed with your housing counselor, but filing for bankruptcy can be an option. This tactic comes in the stage leading up to auction, and acts as a hard break, because filing for bankruptcy temporarily halts the foreclosure process.

If you file for bankruptcy, your creditors must stop collection efforts. Because foreclosure is a collection effort, the foreclosure is technically stopped. However, bankruptcy does not dissolve the debt; it simply extends the collection period.

Filing for bankruptcy has other implications and is a serious decision for anyone. Talk to your housing counselor about whether or not filing for bankruptcy might be the right option for you.

You Have Options to Help You Avoid Foreclosure

Life sometimes throws curveballs, and you can’t always prepare for the unexpected when you’re a homeowner. If you find yourself headed for foreclosure, don’t panic. Don’t avoid the issue, and don’t go at it alone. By educating yourself on the support options available to you, you can make the best possible decisions to help prevent foreclosure.

Carson is a real estate agent based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Carson loves data and market research, and how readily available it is in today’s world. He is passionate about interpreting these insights to help his clients find and buy their perfect home. Carson got into the real estate industry because he loves the feeling of handing over the keys to a new home to happy clients. In his free time, he works on his backyard bonsai garden and spends time with his wife, Julia.


Why Is the Last Friday in May so Important When Buying a House?

When You Put in an Offer on a Home Can Have a Big Impact on How Much You Can Save

If you have plans on buying a home this year and you want to get the best deal possible, many signs point to the fact that you should be acting now. This is because after the month of May ends, you could be paying a lot more for the home you’re interested in.

In the real estate world, the month in which you buy isn’t the only important factor you need to consider; the day of the week you put in your offer can also affect your price. Here’s why the last Friday in May is so important to be mindful of, when you want to get the best deal possible on the home you’re looking to buy.

home buying in mayhome buying in may

Why Is It Best to Submit an Offer on Friday

You have five days in any given week when you can submit an offer on a home. In most cases, a buyer will find the home they want on a Saturday, compare the pros and cons of the home on Sunday, and then submit their offer on Monday. This is what most people do because it simply fits easier in their schedule best.

But many experienced buyers will tell you that Friday is actually the best time to submit an offer. Buyers who submit their offers on a home on Monday will often find themselves stuck in a bidding war for the rest of the week. But you can often avoid this unpleasant (and expensive) situation by submitting your offer on a Friday, before Monday’s rush of offers.

If the home is priced properly, then you will want to include in your offer a short acceptance period. The goal is to have the home under contract with the proper terms by the end of the weekend. With your offer accepted before Monday, you will avoid the bidding war process and wind up getting the home at the best price possible.

home buying in mayhome buying in may

Buying in May Versus June

When spring transitions into summer, the housing market typically explodes, which can make for a bad time to buy if you’re interested in saving money. After May ends, home prices start climbing because sellers anticipate the increase in buyer traffic.

June also sees home closings happening at a faster rate than most other months. This means there’s less time for a buyer to negotiate the price. Homes sold in June also tend to sell for much more than the asking price due to the increase in buyer traffic and the bidding wars that this can cause.

home buying in mayhome buying in may

Find the Home You Want Before Summer’s Market Shift

If you want to get into a home before the start of the summer onslaught of buyers and escalating home prices, then now is the time you want to start looking for a home. At, we can provide you with up-to-the-minute listings in your desired buying area. You even can use our filters to narrow down your options to only those homes that best fit your wants and needs, saving you time in the process.

Find the home you want and make sure you submit your offer by the last Friday in May to get the home you want at the best price possible.

Carson is a real estate agent based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Carson loves data and market research, and how readily available it is in today’s world. He is passionate about interpreting these insights to help his clients find and buy their perfect home. Carson got into the real estate industry because he loves the feeling of handing over the keys to a new home to happy clients. In his free time, he works on his backyard bonsai garden and spends time with his wife, Julia.


Five Things We Learned From Moving

We’re Ashley and Jamin Mills from The Handmade Home, and we’re honored to share our thoughts and lessons learned about the process of moving. Everyone’s story is different, but if you’ve experienced it you know it’s not for the faint of heart!

Once upon a time, almost three years ago, we took the leap. And it wasn’t so much of a leap, but more like that opening scene from Cliffhanger where we were hoping that faulty buckle didn’t slip and let us to fall into oblivion. Sound dramatic? Maybe so. But, after waiting three years to list it in a bad market, it took our home over a year to sell. Once it did, we moved our family and business to where houses sold like hotcakes. To say we took a financially heavy hit would be an understatement.

The difference between the two markets was as comical as it was risky. As if the move wasn’t crazy enough, we upped the ante by taking on a renovation with a house that had unexpectedly stolen our hearts from the moment we saw it. Throw in a self-made business and getting three children settled into a new life with a new school and it was probably one of the most stressful times of our lives. We’d waited so long for this to happen, we didn’t want to make the wrong choice. Many factors were involved, from money to inspections to house searches and so much more. (Did we mention money?)

It wasn’t all stress, though. We can look back fondly and say we also had some of our best moments and that we’d do it all over again.

There’s a list somewhere that addresses the most stressful life events a person can go through. Moving is near the top of that list. So, in the spirit of an encouraging word or two in case you’re just diving in, thinking about the process, or could use some tips from someone who’s been there, here are five lessons we learned from the process of moving.

1. Know your market.

When you’re making the big move, do your homework. It doesn’t matter if you’re moving across town, across the country, or just putting your home up on the market for kicks to see what will happen. The most prepared of house sellers will always be better off than those who aren’t.

Are you moving into a hot market, leaving a slow one, or vice versa? Will the buyer pay closing costs? Will the seller? We went from one market where the seller payed closing costs to another where the buyer did. Guess who paid for it all after already taking a hit? It was a big chunk of change on our part and we needed to be prepared.

Do you know what you’ll compromise on? Make a list of pros and cons before you begin the big search. No house is perfect, but it’s important to find ones that closely match your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Do you want a big yard? Is the school important? What about neighbors and proximity to your daily commute? What are area zoning considerations if you want to renovate? What have comparable houses sold for nearby? The list of questions can be neverending, so keep your wits about you by being prepared. Do as much prep work as you can, and future you will thank past you for not procrastinating.

An extra tip: Don’t just rely on your agent for this–hello internet, and hello!

2. Patience–it’s not you, it’s them.

We waited until we were in a solid place to begin the selling process, but when we finally listed, it took forever to sell. It was honestly one of the most frustrating processes we’d been through—especially when viewers of our home came through only to look for decor ideas, and told us as much. (You mean I interrupted dinner, packed up my three children and two dogs, and threw my underwear in the bathroom cabinet all so you can come through for good decoration ideas?!)

Then, when we finally had a deal on the table, the new owners got a little demanding despite the fact they were way past their due diligence. My point? Sometimes you can check all your boxes, cross your t’s and dot your i’s, but people are simply unpredictable. Take the process with a little grace and a lot of salt, because these things have ways of working themselves out in the end.

When we found our new home, it was as if it had been waiting for us. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. It was worth the wait and hassle, even if we didn’t understand the process at the time. It wouldn’t have worked out the same if the timeline had been adjusted. Sometimes, you just have to accept where you are and take lots of cleansing, deep breaths until you reach the finish line.

3. Expect the unexpected: Something probably won’t go as planned.

Remember that time we found a hidden toilet in the backyard of our new house? And, after moving, when we found out the inspector missed some major issues with the house, like support issues and residual flooding? Yeah, good times. It was one crisis after another, to the point where we’d surpassed the fetal position and were laughing hysterically on the regular. But it worked out, and all these fun issues were properly repaired.

Be ready to roll with it because no house is perfect, even if it’s a new build. There will be challenges thrown your way. Take a deep breath, practice some self care, and try to relax after doing everything you possibly can. We promise you’ll figure it out, and it will be amazing.

4. It can be emotional, but that’s ok.

Moving is an emotional process.

From gazing at photos of your home the first time it’s listed and wondering if you’ve made a mistake, to that last night with the last boxes packed when you may or may not sob on an air mattress over a chapter closing. You’ll question yourself a million times over. You’ll have a few sleepless nights. You’ll probably shed a few tears, because it’s a bittersweet goodbye. It’s fondly holding on to a closing chapter that’s leading you to a new and exciting one. Your home has been your dwelling place for some of the most memorable days of your life and it’s okay to feel emotional about leaving it behind.

Give yourself that space to feel, and hang in there knowing your next adventure awaits.

5. Use color coding in your moving process.

This is the most practical advice we can give when moving, packing and relocating so you don’t pile on the stress.

When you’re ready to pack everything up, use simple color systems. Don’t worry about sharpies and labeling everything. You can do that if it makes you feel better, but colored tape is the key to your happiness. It sounds so basic, but do not pass go and do not collect $200. Duct tape in various colors from your local store will be your new best friend. Blue for the kitchen. Red for the master bedroom. Yellow for the little girl’s room, etc. It makes boxes easy to spot and easy to move for everyone who’s helping. Place the tape on every side, in case they’re stacked for a while. That way, they’re easy to access later and you know exactly what you need at a glance.

Thank you so much for tuning in today, we hope this helps shed a little light on both the emotional and practical sides of moving. We’re in your corner, and hope you have an inspired day!

Jamin and Ashley Mills are the principal owners of The Handmade Home design studio in Nashville, Tennessee. They were named as 2 of the “Most creative people in the Country” by Country Living Magazine.

They have authored 4 books, are regulars on the CBS morning show in Nashville, TN delivering their take on design and renovations and are the authors behind The Handmade Home. They work with clients in the Nashville area helping them build or renovate their homes as well as work with clients nationally bringing a cohesive style to their homes as they create the spaces they love.

In their spare time, they’ve designed their own lines of art seen in Hobby Lobby and other places online, wallpaper, fabric, and other home and decor goods. They have three kids, two adorable pups and the best little maple tree with two wooden swings in the front yard of their home in Franklin, TN.


Tim Ferriss Reportedly Puts Florida House on the Auction Block; Turns Out He Never Owned a House in Florida

Time for a little weekend fun.

Here’s the story: published an article on January 17 titled “Self-Help Guru Tim Ferriss Is Tired of Waiting for a Buyer, Puts Florida Home Up for Auction” (don’t bother looking it up, the article has since been taken down.)

In it, reported that productivity maven Timothy Ferriss — podcaster, entrepreneur, and best-selling author of “The 4-Hour Workweek” — got tired of waiting for a buyer to snap up his palatial Florida home and decided to put it up for auction.

The article — syndicated to news outlets with millions of readers, including SF Gate — reported that Tim Ferriss’ decision was driven by the fact that the property had been on and off the market since 2011, with asking prices gradually dropping over the years from $12.9 million to the current $7.2 million asking.

Now, here’s where the fun part kicks in: apparently, Tim Ferriss has never owned any property in Florida.

Alerted by his book agent, who read the article in SF Gate and sent it to Ferriss (apparently mocking him for his interior design choices — scroll down to see why), Ferriss took it to Twitter to clarify the whole ordeal:

With no harm done, was quick to take down the post, and all syndicated versions soon followed. And while we don’t know what made the editorial staff think this particular property belonged to Tim Ferriss, his Twitter followers were quick to point out that it looks nothing like one would imagine Tim Ferriss’ house — and more like one would picture Tony Montana’s house. See for yourselves:

1690 N Copeland Dr Marco Island
Image credit:
1690 N Copeland Dr Marco Island interior
Image credit:
1690 N Copeland Dr Marco Island pool
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More real estate news:

$238 Million Sale of NYC Penthouse Shatters All Previous Records, Becomes the Most Expensive Sale in U.S. History
Paying Tribute to MLK’s Legendary Role in the Fight for Housing Equality
Once America’s Most Expensive Home, This Bel-Air Mansion is $100 Million Cheaper in 2019
These 8 Iconic Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings May Become UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2019


Shaquille O’Neal’s OG Home in Orlando — with the Superman Bed

NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal is known to have one of the craziest celebrity homes of all time: a sprawling, 31,000-square-foot megamansion he picked up in 1993 when he was a rookie with the Orlando Magic.

The mansion, which served as Shaq’s home for the past 25 years, is truly one of a kind. And that’s not just because Mr. O’Neal has very particular tastes — which are nonetheless showcased throughout the property — but because the home was never a financial investment for the Hall of Famer. And while Shaq has repeatedly tried to sell the property — it was last listed in 2019 for $22 million — in the end, it wasn’t meant to be and the basketball star decided to sell his Los Angeles home instead.

According to his former listing agent, Dustin Fealy with The Agency South Florida, the NBA star spared no expense in fitting his longtime Orlando-area house. “This was home to him, cost did not matter when it came to the security and comfort of his family.”

Set in Windermere, Florida, Shaq’s home comes with 12 bedrooms (including that iconic Shaq bed), 15 baths, a media room with a bar, a entertainment room with game tables and a wet bar, a few other unique amenities, and a Superman-themed bed.

O’Neal routinely took reporters on tours of the house, and even shot an episode of “MTV Cribs” there when, he introduced us to Shaq-apulco: his 95-foot long swimming pool with a large waterfall spilling over boulders and a swim-up bar.

Briefly listed earlier this year for a mind-boggling $28 million, Shaq’s house is now back on the market with fresh representation — with upscale brokerage The Agency now handling the listing — and a new price: $21,990,000. Scroll down for more details.

Definitely not your ordinary house

Shaquille O’Neal’s Superman bed. Image credit: Jasen Delgado Photography

Needless to say, Shaq’s massive Lake Butler home — set within the Isleworth private golf community in South Florida — is sized to accommodate a big family, stand to show the 28 rooms (!)

Believe it or not, the impressive size of the house pales in comparison with some other unique features.

The NBA superstar house comes with some unusual yet charming rooms, including a temperature-controlled, cedar-planked humidor with wine storage and an aquarium-style room with a triangular tank. Yet most striking is the wall mural of a true-to-size tractor-trailer barreling toward the interior of the room on an expressway. And, of course, Shaq’s oversized Superman bed, pictured above.

Shaq’s house. Image credit: Jasen Delgado Photography
Shaq’s house. Image credit: Jasen Delgado Photography

Shaquille O’Neal’s house also comes with two garages that together fit 17 cars, one a show-car garage with a fitness center and the other with dance and recording studios — making you think back to Shaq’s rap releases in the 1990s.

Unsurprisingly, the lakeside mansion includes a 6,000-square-foot indoor basketball court fit for basketball royalty, but does come with a rather unique “aquarium-style room” with a saltwater triangular fish tank.

Shaq’s house. Image credit: Jasen Delgado Photography
Image credit: Jasen Delgado Photography
Shaq’s house. Image credit: Jasen Delgado Photography

Don’t miss: Take a Tour of Tom Brady’s Custom-Built Home in Brookline, Massachusetts

Shaq’s house. Image credit: Jasen Delgado Photography
Shaq’s house. Image credit: Jasen Delgado Photography

The grandeur doesn’t stop with the interior, though.

Shaq’s house. Image credit: Jasen Delgado Photography

Shaq nicknamed his party-perfect outdoor area “Shaq-apulco” quite aptly. The 95-foot long swimming pool has a large waterfall spilling over boulders and a swim-up bar. All of this looks out over the lake, the long private pier with boathouse, and the life-size statue of Shaq’s favorite comic book character: Superman.

Oh, and did we mention that the property boasts 700 feet of prime Lake Butler frontage?

Shaq’s house. Image credit: Jasen Delgado Photography

Shaq’s latest attempt to sell the house

Initially brought to market in May 2018 with an ambitious listing price of $28 million — likely priced aggressively in order to leave room for negotiations — Shaquille O’Neal’s house kicked off 2019 with a whole new marketing strategy.

With new representation, in the hands of upscale brokerage The Agency, who specializes in million dollar homes and celebrity estates, Shaq’s home relisted with a more realistic price tag of $22 million. But even the lowered listing price failed to attract a serious buyer, so Shaquille O’Neal quietly took the property off the market and is now back to enjoying his longtime home.

More celebrity homes:

New Netflix Doc Sparks Renewed Interest in Aaron Hernandez’ Former Home
Spotlight On: the Razor House — Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz’ Crazy New Mansion
“Neverland Ranch” No More! The Sycamore Valley Ranch is Much More than Michael Jackson’s Former HomeMindy Kaling is Moving Into Frank Sinatra’s Beach House in Malibu, Known as Ol’ Blue Eyes’ “Happiest Place on Earth”


5 Ways to Win in a Purchase Money Market in the New Reality

During my recent conversations with sales leaders, managers across the board expressed concern about their originators adapting to the new environment of rising interest rates and the shift to purchase money.

Sherlock: not having an accurate view of sales performance is a recipe for disaster
Pat Sherlock

The decline in refinance business is a reality with mortgage applications dropping 43% in the last week, according to the MBA. This raises a critical question: how many lenders and originators will be able to transition to a purchase money marketplace when the easy money of refinancing is replaced by the hard work of finding customers who want to purchase and finance a home?

Every experienced mortgage lender has certainly witnessed big changes in interest rates over the last 20 years. Sometimes it happens quickly. Other times it can be a slow climb to higher interest rates. This time, it is a little of both. The global pandemic caused the Fed to drop interest rates to historic lows and now, with the end in sight, rates are inching back up.

The real question for lenders and originators that have 90%+ refinance business is: can they switch to the traditional purchase money market that still depends on local relationships or will they decide to sell out to other, better structured lenders? Frankly, the selling out strategy has likely already run its course, leaving lenders that have not invested in digital technology or sales training with few alternatives.

5 Steps to Success

That said, what changes should originators who have been living off of refinance lending make to succeed in a purchase money environment? Here are five recommendations:

  1. Develop a marketing plan. Yes, I know having a plan doesn’t seem like the right strategy when a loan officer is panicked and needs income. But, setting aside some time to analyze the market and identifying underserved opportunities is a worthwhile activity because where producers commit their time and marketing resources is always a balancing act. There are only so many hours in a day and spending them correctly matters a lot.
  2. Understand growth in the local area. An originator’s marketing plan should determine what home building activities in their local market are driving growth. Is it new construction, retirement homes, second homes, etc.? Every market is different and understanding where growth will be coming from is critical. Looking at the research the local municipality has already done is a good start.
  3. Identify underserved market opportunities and the people associated with them. Every market has underserved opportunities that some individuals have already recognized—you want to know these professionals. Rarely is an underserved market completely void of participants. An originator’s job is to develop relationships with the parties in the market before other loan officers decide to market to them. Building relationships takes time and requires originators to form relationships with builders, attorneys, real estate agents and other professionals.
  4. Don’t forget about previous customers. Since developing and building relationships is time-consuming, originators must also work their database of closed loans over the last several years. Former customers are already familiar with an originator’s service levels and a certain percentage might be interested in purchasing a second home or investment property. Some clients might be receptive to listening to a webinar on the latest trends in the local real estate market. This is a great opportunity for originators to partner with a realtor to target a particular audience. The real estate agent can provide his or her perspective as part of the webinar or live stream event. However originators reach out, they should avoid sending mass emails and direct mail. Consumers want a more personal, customized approach.
  5. Rekindle referral business. Originators who have a plan, determine their niche and develop relationships with referral sources and customers in an underserved marketplace are on the path to success in a purchase money environment. Working former customers is a smart way for producers to generate current business while establishing relationships with new referral sources.

Implementing all five strategies is a great way for originators to position themselves for robust performance in a purchase money market.

Pat Sherlock is the founder of QFS Sales Solutions, an organization that helps organizations improve their sales talent management and performance. For more information, visit


Lindsay Aratari Shares Lessons Learned When Selling A Home

My name is Lindsay Aratari from the blog Aratari At Home!  My family and I have been going through the process of selling our current home, and I am so excited to be sharing updates with you along the way.

If you haven’t had the chance yet, be sure to read part one of my family’s home selling experience. In that article, I talk about my journey through the listing process from listing our home to dealing with feedback from potential buyers. After two open houses, we still had not received any offers. It was at that point that my husband, our agent, and myself decided to restrategize and adjust our approach. Follow along as I talk about the offer we received, the lessons we learned, and the homes we currently have our eye on.

Our Offer

A couple weeks ago, we had a showing on a Friday night and with how our showings have gone, we assumed that we wouldn’t get an offer.  Our agent was texting us the entire time telling us how the potential buyers loved the house. Their agent kept calling ours with questions which is a good sign that an offer may be made. Later that night, our agent contacted us to say we had an ALL CASH OFFER and would close in thirty days! Needless to say, we were thrilled!  

The next day was a complete whirlwind. Our agent kept us up-to-date with the contract timeline, and we began telling family and friends as we started mentally preparing for our big move. We even celebrated by looking at new homes to buy!  

This excitement, however, was short-lived. Unfortunately, our agent called us that evening to say the offer would not go through. The buyers had realized that, financially, a purchase like this would not be in their best interest so they had to back out. We were so upset because we had already been preparing ourselves for the next chapter of our lives.

New Strategy 

With the offer falling through, it was back to the drawing board to see what we could do to get this house to sell. After chatting with our agent, we decided to leave the house at the same price for another week or so. If we didn’t see any action, we would plan to drop it one last time (we had already dropped the price twice).

When our week ended, we made the decision to do a final price drop. This was the price that we had received the offer at so we all thought it was fair and reasonable. Our plan is to leave the house at this price until it sells and continue to do open houses with our Realtor this month to help spark some more interest at this lower price point.

Lessons Learned

Overall, this process has been a lot harder than we originally thought. We knew going into the process there would be negotiations and stressful moments, but didn’t think it would take this long to actually sell our home. The house has been on the market for almost three months, and while we don’t want to just give it away, we’re ready to be close to family and start the next part of our journey. This is hard because as the current owners, we have memories tied to the home as well as money we’ve sunk into upgrades. We have learned that patience is a HUGE part of the home selling process and we will keep that in mind as we search for the right buyers. The right buyer will fall in love with our house like we did when we first bought it and we’re confident they’re out there. 

Currently, we’re trying to stay positive and luckily we don’t have any deadlines to move. That said, we are expecting our second baby at the end of August and had originally planned to be moved by the time she was born. Now, we will have our baby here and move after her birth.  It may not be the worst thing as I don’t have to find a new doctor or deliver in a different hospital. 

New Homes We Love

To say we are excited to look for new houses is an understatement; we love browsing and seeing what’s out there! makes it so fun and easy to explore not only your dream homes but to find your forever home! For the next house we purchase, we want something we can fix up over time as we plan to stay there for a very long time. We would like to buy something on the less expensive end and add our own touches to it over time.

Here are a few of our favorites on the market right now:

89 Harvest Rd Fairport, NY
205 Curtice Park Webster, NY
763 Somerset Dr Webster, NY
190 Champion Ave Webster, NY

These are just a few houses currently available that we see ourselves potentially living in. I am sure there will be others as we sell our house and begin the buying process. These are just some ideas as to what we like!

This is just a glimpse into our reality of selling our home. We are grateful to have a house that we love and can bring our babies home to every night, we know it will sell eventually and will be ready when it does. With that said, if you find yourself struggling to sell YOUR home, check out for a comprehensive how-to section on selling your home, or figure out why your home isn’t selling and make changes as needed! 

Good luck!

Lindsay Aratari

My name is Lindsay Aratari and I blog over at Aratari At Home! I live in Buffalo, NY with my husband, John Paul, our son, Dominic, & puppy, Freddy.  We live in a house built in 1900 & have slowly transformed it into our dream home. Other than being a mom; fashion, antiques, & a good DIY project are some of my favorite things.


Don’t Let Homebuying Myths Stop You From Becoming a Homeowner

Do you really need 20% of your own money to put down on a house? Of course not. Yet that myth and several others continue to keep many would-be homeowners on the sidelines in one of the most favorable mortgage rate environments in decades. Here’s the truth:

Downpayment Myths

You can always put down as much as you like and the more you do, the lower your monthly house payment will be. But the truth is, the median downpayment over the 30-year period ending in 2018 was just 13%, according to the National Association of Realtors.

And that’s for all buyers, including move-up or move-down buyers who presumably could have used the equity from the sale of their current residence to bring a lot more dough to the table. First-time buyers alone made a median downpayment of a mere 7% and if you wait until you accumulate enough cash to put 20% down, it could take years before you can buy.

Downpayment assistance is available for single-family houses, townhouses, and condominium apartments. Most programs will offer help and include grants, which need not be repaid, along with no-interest or low-interest second mortgages that are either deferred or forgiven completely. Some are aimed specifically at veterans, first responders, educators, and persons with disabilities or other special needs. And in many cases, the programs can be combined with each other and used with all types of loans, including those backed by Uncle Sam.

According to Down Payment Resource, an outfit that keeps tabs on the various programs, nearly 87% of the 2,500 platforms nationwide have funds available right now. But, a study by the Urban Institute found that three-quarters all buyers don’t know about them. Had they known about these funds, more than a third of all buyers would have qualified for $9,200 in assistance.

Credit Scores and Building Credit

Credit scores are snapshots in time that show how you use credit, and they are the holy grail of housing finance. The higher your score, the more likely you are approved for a home loan and possibly a lower rate interest rate. One key factor that goes into your credit score is how you pay your bills while another is how you use the credit available to you. So don’t be late and use no more than 30% of your available credit.

But you don’t need a credit score in the 700s, or even the 600s, to have your loan application accepted. Truth is, you can qualify for financing if your score is as low as 580. Based on scores for about 1 million members of credit reporting company TransUnion, the average ranged from 662, depending on location. But, the lowest the government will go on a Federal Housing Administration-insured loan with just 3.5% down is 580.

A good credit score is considered to be between 670 and 739 with a top score at 850. Mortgage applicants with a score below 620 are considered high-risk and might have trouble qualifying; however, some loan programs will take borrowers with lower scores if they are willing to pay a somewhat higher interest rate or make a larger downpayment.

Shop Lenders

Your real estate agent may recommend a lender, or you might already have one, but don’t limit yourself. Truth is, all lenders are not the same and it can pay to browse.

A recent LendingTree survey found that folks who shopped around found a rate of 1.02 percentage points lower than those who didn’t. On a $300,000, 30-year loan, that translates to a $48,364 savings in interest fees over the loan’s full term. You also can save $2,000 or more in the fees lenders charge, like appraisals, notaries, origination fees and the like, so be sure to shop around.

There are a number of other widely-held old home myths that trample potential buyers into non-action or indecisiveness. So the best thing you can do is find an independent housing counselor who can answer all your questions and offer sound advice. Counseling agencies can be found throughout the country and can provide advice on buying or renting a home, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. You are able to search reputable counseling agencies that are approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to assist you on your hunt.

Lew Sichelman

Syndicated newspaper columnist, Lew Sichelman has been covering the housing market and all it entails for more than 50 years. He is an award-winning journalist who worked at two major Washington, D.C. newspapers and is a past president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.


Robert Redford Says Goodbye to Secluded Napa Estate; Sells the Home for $7 Million

Robert Redford and wife Sibylle Szaggars Redford will no longer be the ones enjoying the peace and tranquility of their small slice of heaven in Napa Valley.

The two have sold their highly-private (and downright gorgeous) 10-acre Danza del Sol estate for $7 million, $500K shy of the initial $7.5 million asking price.

And a record-fast sale it was: the property was listed at the end of October and by the time we reached out to the agent to ask more information about the listing, it was already under contract. Spending merely 2 months on the market is quite a feat for million-dollar listings, which normally take much longer to charm buyers enough to open their checkbooks.

But with such a stunning property on his hands — Robert Redford’s home held headlines in every major publication in the U.S., all praising its beauty — listing agent Steven Mavromihalis moved quickly to find a buyer.

Image credit: Open Homes Photography

Software entrepreneur and investor Mark Friedman bought the property and plans on using it as a 2nd home. He currently lives in Austin, where he is a prominent figure on the entrepreneurial scene, but enjoys spending time in Napa Valley.

“We fell in love with Napa 15 years ago and have been spending more and more time there.” Friedman said in an exclusive statement for Fancy Pants Homes. “We were on a path to build a contemporary home nearby, but fell in love with Danza del Sol. Steve described the property as feeling like a “hug” and he nailed the description. Bob and Bylle have impeccable taste – the interiors have a warm, and understated elegance.”

Which means a special congrats is in order for agent Steven Mavromihalis. And that would extend beyond the lightning-fast sale of the property; the transaction marked the industry veteran’s first property sold under Compass, where he recently transitioned from Pacific Union.

Robert Redford’s home in Napa Valley is a secluded beauty

Most celebrity homes are beautiful. But very few command a level of admiration quite at the level of Robert Redford’s house.

And that’s because Danza Del Sol is not your ordinary million-dollar house. With a personality of its own, the property reflects the artistic nature and love for nature of its longtime owners — Robert is not the only talent in the household, as wife Sibylle is an environmental artist whose artwork has been exhibited throughout Europe, Monaco, Peru, Singapore, Japan, and the United States.

So before we look at the house, let me show you the artist workshop on the property: a grand 907-square-foot artist’s studio (that comes with one bedroom and one bathroom).

Image credit: Open Homes Photography
Image credit: Open Homes Photography

Danza del Sol is anchored by a lovely European-style, white stucco manor house– art-filled and sophisticated yet still casual and inviting. The 5,200-square-foot home has three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, and a huge family room with exposed white-beamed ceilings, built-ins, and an oversized wood-burning fireplace made of stone.

Floor-to-ceiling windows in the master suite offer mountain and tree-top views.

Image credit: Open Homes Photography
Image credit: Open Homes Photography
Image credit: Open Homes Photography

Keep reading: Step Inside Shaquille O’Neal’s Longtime Home — and Shaq-apulco Paradise

Image credit: Open Homes Photography
Image credit: Open Homes Photography
Image credit: Open Homes Photography
Image credit: Open Homes Photography
Image credit: Open Homes Photography

What would make Robert Redford sell the beautiful home it took him and his wife years to make perfect? Well, for the best reason there is: to move closer to family, the reason Redford and wife Sibylle Szaggars cited for moving back to the Bay Area.

More celebrity homes:

Dakota Johnson Gives AD a Tour of Her Hollywood Home, which She Calls ‘Her Anchor’
Tim Ferriss Reportedly Puts Florida House on the Auction Block; Turns Out He Never Owned a House in Florida
Alexander McQueen’s Former Spanish Villa in Mallorca Will Make You Miss Summer Even More
See Inside Shaquille O’Neal’s Longtime Home — and Shaq-apulco Paradise