5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Realtor

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Realtor

  WHO Who are you affiliated with? The company doesn’t necessarily make a difference but, are they on a team? Who is their Broker? Who can they call on if they need help or have questions during your transaction? If they are part of a team, it typically means you will always have someone to contact if you have questions or want to see a property. Not many individual Realtors have seen everything in the real estate world so it is always good to have resources to pull from.   WHAT What is your process for helping me purchase or sell a property? Do they have a written outline or flow chart of what to expect? If not, they may not be organized enough to have taken the time to prepare or they may be flying by the seat of their pants, so to speak. Make sure they know the process well. There are a lot of moving parts and details that can easily be missed if there aren’t checks and balances. You don’t want to be responsible for making sure the “I’s” are dotted and the “t’s” are crossed.   WHEN When can I expect to hear from you? Don’t expect to communicate with your Realtor every day unless there are things that need to be discussed, however, it is a good idea to understand when and how often is reasonable to expect updates. This is a good time to give them your expectations of how and how often you’d like to receive updates as well. Realtors aren’t mind readers so make sure you make your needs clear so you are not frustrated or disappointed.   WHY Why should I use you? What sets them apart? Do they specialize in what you are selling or looking for? Do they have extensive experience with your demographic? You may be looking for someone who has a lot of time to devote to you personally or you may prefer someone who has a lot of business and, therefore, may not be as personally, immediately available. Make sure their qualifications meet your expectations prior to hiring them, otherwise you may be underwhelmed with the service you receive.   HOW How will you market my needs? Whether you are buying or selling, your Realtor should be letting others know what you have to sell or what you want to buy. There are not only a plethora of public places to market, but Realtors have access to private groups and networking opportunities to make your needs/wants known to professionals that may have the means to meet that exact need.   As in any other business relationship, you need to feel comfortable that they can...

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Tomorrow

Tomorrow

  We all have obligations. Jobs. Bosses. Friends. Family. Bills. Dishes. A lot of those, we can’t ignore easily without consequence. If we don’t pay our bills, we don’t have water. If we don’t go to work, we don’t get paid. But what about those things that we can forget about for a minute? We are not promised tomorrow, and, while we need to make sure we are taking care of business and ourselves, there are some things that maybe we need to open our eyes to a bit more today. Self: So many of us fail to take care of ourselves. We have so many others that need cared for, that we don’t take time for our own self-preservation. If you have ever flown on a commercial airline, you have heard that, in an event of loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will fall from a compartment above. If you are traveling with someone who needs assistance, you are to secure your mask first and then help your companion. Why is that? Because if you don’t take care of yourself first, you will be passed out and you won’t be able to help the other person. This goes for your everyday life as well. If you are not well (mentally, emotionally or physically) you can’t do your best in any aspect of your life. Your work and your relationships will suffer and you will begin to feel drained and unhappy. Family/Friends: Often times, we can let work obligations get in the way of our most important relationships. Our family and friends sometimes get the leftovers of our energy. We take the stress, exhaustion, disappointment, and unhappiness out on the ones closest to us. If they are truly important to us, those relationships deserve the best of what we have. Make sure to spend quality time and let them know what they mean to you. It doesn’t take much time to send a text during the day just to say you’re thinking about them. Be sure to put them on your calendar just like a work appointment. Your niece’s piano recital is just as important to her as your top client’s emergency. It’s your choice to make priorities and not let the “unimportant” take their place. Animals: Our pets are possibly the only living being that loves us unconditionally and is always happy to see us. How have we shown our appreciation? Spend time with your pets and do something special for them. Buy them a new toy or a special treat. Just sitting on the couch with them can restore your soul and make you both very happy. Nature: The Universe has a way of showing her beauty...

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HELP! My House Isn’t Selling

HELP! My House Isn’t Selling

  Every once in a while I get a panicked call from a Seller asking what we can do because their house isn’t selling. I take a lot of things into consideration. Of course, location, price, and condition are the three major reasons why a house isn’t selling. If those three are good, I ask deeper questions. If it’s my listing, I have the answers to most of these. If it’s not my listing, I want to know these things. Is the house listed in the local MLS and all the major online “real estate” websites? In the rare case that a Seller is trying to be on the “DL”, this can have a major effect on how many people see the property. Also, some real estate offices do not allow their company listings to automatically be uploaded to Zillow and its affiliates. Like it or not, the more sites that the property is on, the more chance it will be seen and sold. Is the information accurate? I had a past client call me recently. Her parent’s house was listed with a family friend but it was not getting any showings. She wanted to see if I would take a look at the listing and give my feedback. Right away I knew why there hadn’t been any showings recently. There had been a price “reduction” a few weeks prior but what should have been a reduction to $1,200,000.00 was typed in as $12,000,000.00. The house didn’t warrant twelve million dollars and there certainly are a lot less buyers in the market for that price home. Be a second set of eyes for your agent. We all make mistakes. I send the listing to my clients and ask them to look it over. You know the property better than your agent. They may have not included a quality or feature that you feel is very important. I’m not saying do their job for them, but it is a team effort to get a house sold so don’t be shy about making suggestions or asking them to make changes. Are the photographs of professional quality? I have seen hundreds, possibly thousands, of house photos that are taken with a poor quality camera. They often have people or animals in them, or the agent’s image in the mirror. The angles are bad. The color is terrible. And a lot of times, they showcase things that should not be highlighted. Make sure the photos are great quality. As a Seller, make sure the house is as “picture perfect” as possible. Are you allowing showings? If there are too many restrictions or the showing requests are consistently being denied, you have a lot...

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Let’s Party!

Let’s Party!

  We all buy homes for different reasons and we actually use them quite differently as well. For some, a home is their respite. A place to get away from the world and leave the stress behind. For others, the door is always open and anyone is welcome to drop by at any time. Some treat it like an investment and barely live in it. And some personalize every square inch. For me, I like for my friends and family to feel welcome in my space anytime. I used to think that my house had to look perfect in order to invite people in – not anymore. I want my life to be about relationships and my home is a place to facilitate that. So, let’s party! I am throwing a birthday bash this weekend. (Not my birthday – I’ll warn you so you have plenty of time to prepare!) At first I thought I would have it catered – much easier. But with so many ideas of parties I want to have in the future and not an unlimited budget, I am going with Plan B. Will it be perfect? Probably not. But, will we have fun? Absolutely. My point is, you don’t have to plan for months, spend a fortune, and have the interior decorator come over to have a party. Who are you inviting? People you know, that like you, that you have fun with. If you have some snacks, drinks, music, and an eclectic group of guests, it will be a hit! Don’t stress out over the fact that you didn’t get that room painted or you still have the stove with the broken knob. Chances are, no one will notice the things you see. They are coming to have a good time, not to judge your house (and if they are, maybe you need different friends). So, how do you prepare for a party? Large parties may take a little more preparation so let’s talk about a normal, 12-25 person party: Food: It doesn’t have to be fancy. Get toppings and have everyone make their own pizzas, or tacos. You can grill pre-made burgers or have pizzas delivered about an hour into the party. Set out some snack foods like chips, dips and veggies. Be sure to think about refrigeration or heat. Drinks: If you are serving alcohol, keep it simple. You don’t need to “please” everyone. Have a signature drink you can make up ahead of time or just have a couple options. Have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages on hand. The great thing about bottles or cans is that they can be saved if they aren’t consumed – and you are halfway ready for...

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Should I Buy an Opendoor Listing?

Should I Buy an Opendoor Listing?

  You have likely heard of the phrase, “Buyer Beware.” Well, this applies as the answer to the question, “Should I buy an Opendoor listing?” I have shown Opendoor listings. I have read their website. I have read hundreds of reviews and testimonials from buyers and I have talked to other agents regarding this question. The consensus is this in a nutshell: You will not save money You MUST get a home inspection You need to be willing to walk away if they don’t repair agreed-to items prior to closing Many people think that Opendoor is a way to save money. In my research and experience, that is simply not true. Opendoor has a history of buying homes at a discount, charging the Seller extra fees in some cases. They, then, sell the house for market price. They do have a section on their website that indicates they will give $1000 credit to you if you use their preferred lender. You need to weigh the risk of using a lender that they are affiliated with. Everything could go very smoothly – it also could be another way for them to make money and the customer service may not be great. You could have delayed closings and other issues (however, this can happen with non-affiliated lenders as well which is a great reason to use a reputable, local lender that you are referred to by someone you trust. I recommend every buyer get a home inspection. If someone did not want to get a home inspection on an Opendoor listing, I would make them sign a waiver form so I had no liability. All you have to do is read the complaints on the Better Business Bureau website and you will see the common issue buyers have had with Opendoor is the fact that it seems they have a tendency to put “lipstick on a pig.” Continuing with that topic, there are so many reports of the lack of response or timely response when it comes to repairs being completed for buyers. Buyers have complained that their home inspection revealed a plethora of issues and even in negotiating those repairs with Opendoor, they were not repaired properly or not handled at all. With anything, there will be good experiences and bad. Also, most people who have good experiences will not take the time to type up a review but a disgruntled person will make it their mission to sling mud. What you need to decide is, do you want to take the risk to buy an Opendoor listing when there are so many bad reviews. At very least, I would advise you to use a Buyer’s agent to represent you....

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