Buyer Starts Process by Asking Questions?


When buying a home, it’s important to think carefully about your offering price—but also your offering terms.

Most purchase offers define both. And in some cases, terms and conditions can represent thousands of dollars in additional value for buyers—or additional costs.

Terms may include inspections, requests for specific property repairs, or timing considerations, such as a conditional purchase clause (if, for example, you must first find a buyer for your current home).  When finding a REALTOR® you want to ask specific questions to qualify their professional abilities as your representative!


ASK Go Straley Group to send you the TOP SEVEN !

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Did you hear the woman ate a horse?


I pondered why the United States was uniquely dependent on employer health care.

I pondered why the United States spends $2.1 Trillion in health care each year.

My research delineates that 34% of health care is paid by private insurance, 47% by Public insurance, and 19% by consumers.

In 2006, healthcare as a percent of GDP was 16% .

These numbers just don’t seem economically correct, but reading through causes, cures, and solutions seems to be like traveling through a maze.

As a patient, if I don’t have a health care plan, providers sometimes double or triple the rate over that of the rate under and insurance plan, so I need to plan to contain the costs, but the costs of the plans are not contained either.  It does not seem like the sensible economic system where costs are shown and consumers choose purchases based on utility.

A look back in history reveals the following:

“In describing how the United States arrived in the predicament it currently finds itself, the author accurately lays the blame on decisions made 60 years ago. Wage and price controls in effect during World War II meant employers had to turn to forms of non-cash compensation to recruit or retain workers. Workers pay taxes on cash wages but not on fringe benefits like health insurance. Over time, it became common for workers to fund their family’s health care by using tax-free insurance policies obtained through employment.” Herrick, D. (2005)

I liken the whole situation to the well known nursery rhyme!
I just hope we restore some sensibility and self responsibility before we get to the “horse”!

If you don’t address the problem directly with wise open direct economic decisions, this is what happens:

There Was An Old Woman

There was an old woman who swallowed a fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed a fly,
Perhaps she’ll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she’ll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a bird,
How absurd! to swallow a bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she’ll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a cat,
Imagine that! to swallow a cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she’ll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a dog,
What a hog! to swallow a dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she’ll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a goat,
Just opened her throat! to swallow a goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she’ll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a cow,
I don’t know how she swallowed a cow!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she’ll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a horse,
She’s dead—of course!



Finding Nemo? Tell Me What My House is Worth.


A very simple question, how does the appraiser measure the contribution of an element such as a fireplace?

Is this a subjective process?

Can I have a simple answer??!!

Eureka, we have arrived!  This is what every REALTOR® simply wants to know, the $64,000 question.  The REALTORS® want this to be some easy methodology like: fireplace = $2,000, this one has it, this one doesn’t add $2,000 and done.  Same for granite, same for finished basement, same for hardwoods, same for garage, same for an acre, give me the numbers, plug them in, done!  The gap in understanding between the REALTOR® and the appraiser is the frustrating non-specific specific TRUTH of “IT DEPENDS!

Back up the truck and realize REALTORS® and the public understand that an appraisal is an “… opinion of value” (The Appraisal Institute, 2008) performed by a licensed appraiser.  The misunderstanding starts here in the “…”, and I will go tangential to illustrate and then circle back on topic.

I was involved in a volunteer job help program in the mid 2000’s and the client I was assisting reacted to something I said and he showed me a tattoo on his arm that said, “Money, the root of all Evil.”  Being that I am a huge fan of money as an efficient means of transferring manifested energy and investment, I paused for a moment and commented that I think a few words are missing from the phrase skewing the interpretation and possibly your actions in life.  Depending on the Bible translation you use, I found it to be, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (The Bible, 2017).  I realized that maybe he shortened it for impact and it would otherwise take up too much room, but that is inconsequential to the result. The truth is, when you leave off a few words, or even one, then the whole meaning changes and when the meaning changes, your thoughts change, and when your thoughts change, your actions change and when your actions change, your results change and when your results change, your whole world changes. 


Returning to real property valuation, the complete definition of an appraisal is, “The act or process of developing an opinion of value” (The Appraisal Institute, 2008).  The “It depends” is due the truth that “It depends”, because the appraiser has to go through the act or process to determine the amount of adjustments, they just can’t count 12 fireplaces in a 3000 GLA area home and make an adjustment of 12 x $2,000 = $24,000 adjustment.  The act or process will determine, by repeatable methods, that the collective actions of the market may only value fireplaces in 3000 GLA homes up to 2 fireplaces and after that, additional ones may even detract from value.  This is where the Sales Comparison Approach is valuable over the Cost Approach. 

By shortening the definition of an appraisal to “an opinion of value”, market participants believe that the appraiser is using a subjective process based on feeling, rather than an objective process based on a processing of data and facts.  Many people and REALTORS® use the subjective processing and thereby make mistakes in market valuation estimates. If the REALTOR® uses the accumulation of intuitive knowledge/data collected from 100’s of transactions, then they become a human computer that is going through a complimentary act or process to the appraisers’ work, as long as it is not subjective or based on inaccurately on feeling.  This is a noteworthy time for a repeat of my earlier post that “REALTORS® are Market Makers and Appraisers are the Referees!” (Straley, 2017).

As for the technical appraisal answer to this simple question, the appraiser will utilize the act or process called “paired set analysis” to find homes that are exactly the same except that one has a fireplace and one doesn’t.  This objective process, based on facts and data, will enable the appraiser to distinguish the appropriate adjustment for the property characteristic.  If a paired set is lacking in sales history of the market, the appraiser can also use a sampling process of closely related/similar sales data using a set with fireplaces and a set without fireplaces and averaging the two sets and finding the difference in the averages.  The larger the sampling and the larger the differences wash out (Martin, 2013).  The smaller the characteristic difference, the harder it is to identify the market value of that characteristic.  I find it much easier to explain on larger elements like a 2 car garage vs. a 3 car garage because the collective market valuation is much more evident.  

bigstock_121114772The cold hard truth is that Nemo is not easy to find and there is no fast track to some quick opinion of value. Finding the objective facts is much more difficult than it looks and agreed, it would be much easier, but less accurate, to just have a subjective opinion. To support that view, simply watch the vetting from a Dragnet scene and you will agree, “Just the Facts, Ma’am” is the best method (Dragnet, 1970’s).  Sure, you can log into 400 websites to “Find What My Home is Worth” and come up with 400 different values and average them all, but you are much better off if you hire an experienced Appraiser and a well educated REALTOR® to help make sense of this complicated process. 

In the REALTOR® category, I suggest you look for a candidate with a degree from REALTOR® University and a certification from the National Association of REALTORS® Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA) course (National Association of REALTORS® PSA, 2017), there is your Nemo! 

Michael Straley | Go Straley Group of eXp Realty | Stafford, VA. | Lic. in VA | 540-834-6263



The Appraisal Institute, (2008).  The Appraisal of Real Estate (Thirteenth Edition). 

The Bible, (2017). 1 Timothy 6:10. Retrieved from

Dragnet, 1970’s. Retrieved from

Dragnet, 1970’s. Retrieved from

Martin, S. P. (2013) Advanced residential applications and case studies (2nd Ed). Laguna Hills, CA: Ashley Crown Systems, Inc.

National Association of REALTORS®, (2017). Pricing Strategy Advisor Certification (PSA). Retrieved from

5 Biggest Negotiation Blunders


According to the 2011 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the second most popular reason buyers use a real estate agent is to help with the negotiation process. However, buyers can negatively impact the process making mistakes which lead to them losing their dream house. Don’t make these negotiation blunders:

1.       Not entering with a negotiating strategy: Before submitting an offer, try to remember that the seller has already decided how much money they want from the sale of their property. “Knowing how to negotiate effectively is the key to getting the best deal,” says Rebecca Straley, Accredited Buyer’s Representative “Without a plan, you might risk losing the house you want.”

2.       Giving up too soon: Buyers might get discouraged when they are competing against multiple offers on a house. However, the biggest mistake a buyer can do is panic and withdraw their offer. You should stay involved for at least one round of negotiations, but also establish your maximum price.

3.       Not providing earnest money:  Earnest money is a cash deposit you make when submitting your written offer on a property to show your “good faith.” Sellers are understandably suspicious of offers that offer a low deposit amount.”  Buyers show their desire, willingness and ability to a seller, based on the “good faith” deposit.

4.       Having too many contingencies:  A contingency is a term or condition that must be met for an offer to become a binding contract. Home buyers with too many contingencies tend to weaken an offer.  Some examples of contingencies are securing a job transfer, selling your current home or obtaining specific financing terms.  Minimizing contingencies – increases success, so use contingencies wisely.

5.       Weak negotiating position:  Sellers usually like to go with a strong bargaining position. Some examples of strong positioning is being pre-approved for a mortgage or having little to no contingencies. “With these factors in your favor, you may be able to negotiate a lower price. On the other hand, in a ‘hot’ seller’s market, if your  ‘perfect’ home comes on the market, the other buyers not the seller may be your biggest concern.” Rebecca Straley, ABR®, encourages speed of offer may be the key to unlock the door to the ‘perfect’ home.”

However, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative can counsel you on making an effective offer that will land you the house of your dreams. Straley is one of more than 40,000 members of the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, who have attained the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation. The Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation is designed for real estate buyer agents who focus on working directly with buyer-clients.  Having an ABR® can guide you through structuring your offer and negotiation strategy.

Michael and Rebecca believe an agent seeking tools through education and experience are primary assets to you as a buyer.


How’s the Market?

Watch David Knox and Rebecca talk about the Market

People ask me all the time, “how’s the market?”  Usually this happens while I am in the checkout line, at the market – lol!  Well it’s not an easy answer – because there are lots of markets.  Of course, we are distracted with the National Numbers we hear on the news, but we all know real estate is local.

It is so local, your house and the house down the street may have different values.  Your house may have a different value a month from now, then today, based on trends either historical or future forecasting.  So it’s important to keep in touch with the sales and the unsold homes.

My answer always is, “it depends”!  or “Unbelievable”!

It depends on what market you are talking about.  There are categories and it is not only geographic.  There are categories based on neighborhood, based on price ranges or building styles and even school districts.

Therefore be very careful, if someone says, “the market is great” or some says, “the market is bad”, because it always depends.

This brings me to thinking about Automated Value Models, sometimes called AVM’s, but that is another big subject.

So how’s the market?  Talk to a professional, or find out through analysis over time.  You want to know the trending, the price gaps and the absorption rate too?

Please subscribe to our blog – we have a lot to share.  Or I can come over for coffee!

What’s My Home Worth? online?

What’s My Home Worth?

It’s Important to begin with the end in mind!  Knowing what your home is worth is always important.  Understanding your Net Worth is Essential for Financial Planning.   Pricing may change based on selling activity in the past six months.  We can keep you posted or advise you of ways you can track your home values without ever having to make a phone call.

What’s your home worth?

Go Straley Group Website – GO STRALEY GROUP OF EXP REALTY – Lic. in VA.

Rookie Panel Rocked the House


Women’s Council of REALTORS®
hosted a panel of 5 Rookie Realtors® today at the Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS®! As a strong veteran REALTOR®, Rebecca Straley, had considered passing the meeting and doing the “most productive” task on my list. Instead I decided to go and listen and learn – which is always progress!


We love our industry and are personally on a mission to encourage and improve our profession and one method of doing so is to inspire those looking to move into an HGTV Career!

facebookcoverblackFirst I was able to relive the passion I remember with a curious heart, absorbing information from all the sources, as I knew little about the nuances of each individual transaction. The passion for real estate is what brings success to the individual and the transaction.

I was very pleased to hear each of the Outstanding High Achiever Rookies tout their “I can do mentality”! I heard comments like – fear and confidence, I will not allow myself to fail, I can do this!

The common denominator began with hard work, long hours, and a sincere desire to succeed.2016 ccg medals

Most of the agents, had minimal investment potential and were “All In”! No one spoke of the back up plan!

All panel members discussed developing an authentic style that is unique to you and the willingness to be vulnerable with clients and competition.

Everyone understood the importance of being a market expert and the willingness to put in long, late hours to prepare for the next meeting.

Some were analytical, some were social, a couple were tactical but they all worked from the heart.

Real estate agents are a giving and caring people, which makes the profession easy to challenge, as heart felt people are often considered soft, weak or untrained. REALTORS® are a caring people because they understand the importance of a home purchase and they are willing, customarily, to put forth mountains of effort and delay payment of services rendered, until the very final step is completed, with settlement.

201603 ms1REALTORS®, that are successful early, understand the core to success is transactions. The business is a craft and the precision of the artisan is the beauty of the experience. Doing is the best method of learning, when each piece is in evolution, as you attempt to master.

The market, the individual, the regulation and even the purchase cost or power changes each day with each unique situation. The rewards begin with mastery.

Statistics define that only half the REALTORS@ sell more than 1 or 2 homes a year, which makes for little confidence. Today all agents had confidence because they continued activity and considered people first.

Best advice to you REALTOR®, new or experienced, is to knock on doors, have face to face communication, interact on Facebook and answer the pone.

pano_cherry_lakeIt is true – REAL ESTATE IS A PEOPLE BUSINESS! and knowing comes with doing so tracking reviews and transactions is a great starting point to evaluate your sincerity and expertise in the business and it is an even most wise decision for folks looking to buy or sell, review your potential agent’s activity – just ask them – how many homes did you sell last year?


Go Straley Group of eXp Realty – 800 Corporate Dr. #301 Stafford, VA.  540-658-3090





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