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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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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Is Common Courtesy Really Common?

Is Common Courtesy Really Common?

  Is it just me? Am I getting old? Or is common courtesy not so common anymore? More often I see people in public that seem to think the world revolves or should revolve around them. Drivers don’t signal. They cut others off or speed up so someone can’t merge into traffic. Social media is a breeding ground for people to share their negative opinion even when it’s not asked for. Contacting customer service at some companies is as useful as trying to pull a tooth with no tools. Unfortunately, I see it in real estate as well. Agents and parties to contracts take days to respond, have no regard for deadlines, communication is scarce, and when it comes to negotiation – well, there isn’t much going on sometimes. So why am I pointing out what you may think is obvious? Because kindness still wins. I recently booked a trip online. Later I saw the hotel was having a sale that would save me some money so I called the hotel directly. In a lot of cases I would have had to cancel my reservation and book a whole new trip, wait for my refund, waste time, etc. However, I was nice. I used common courtesy and the representative handled everything for me. I engaged her in conversation and she ended up sending me to a concierge to book a restaurant reservation for me that she highly recommended. Then there was the real estate deal that had more complications than the average transaction. One party and their agent was difficult to deal with at first. They only wanted to allow the other party to access the property at certain (inconvenient) times and they were not at all interested in negotiating repairs that were quite reasonable. The other side could have been just as disagreeable, everyone could have been upset and the deal could have fallen apart and the agreement could have been terminated. The Seller could have had to find another willing and able buyer and the Buyer could have had to continue their search for the near perfect home. But, one of the agents decided to use common courtesy to get the deal done. They communicated each step along the way to make the other party comfortable. They offered to go out of their way to be available at the property, hand deliver items, take measurements, and make everyone’s life a little easier. The other side slowly started to soften up. They realized that no one was trying to take advantage of them. They understood that things could go a lot smoother with a lot less stress if they would use some common courtesy and treat the other...

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Tell It Like It Is

Tell It Like It Is

  “I may not tell you what you want to hear, but I am going to tell you the truth.” As a Realtor, this is what I say to clients. I have to say it. I’m obligated. First of all, ethically, I need to. Secondly, I just couldn’t run my business any other way. So why do so many people get lied to during a real estate transaction? Why don’t people just tell it like it is? I think there are several reasons. Some people just want to be liked. Others don’t like confrontation. Still others want to get the business no matter what. I don’t understand any of those. I am hired for my experience, for my market knowledge, marketing, and my negotiation skills. If I don’t tell a client the truth just to get the business, to be liked, or to not have a confrontation, what does that do? A lot, actually. It says a lot about my character. It says that I am not strong enough to take the heat of telling someone something they may not like. It says that when it comes to negotiating and fighting for that client, I won’t do a very good job if I just say what people want to hear. The most common time that people don’t like what I have to say is when it comes to the value of their property. We all think our house is the BEST, right? Of course. And, it may well be. However, just because you spent $75,000 putting in extra insulation and imported tile from Italy, doesn’t mean your house is worth that much more. And, I’m the one that gets to tell you the harsh reality. I like it best, when, on the rare occasion, I get to tell a homeowner that their house is actually worth a lot more than they thought because values have risen more than they realized. I have kept people from selling. I have kept people from buying. I have also lost business because I told people the truth. I would do it all again. At the end of the day, do you want someone who will agree with you and have your house sit on the market? Or you don’t win a competitive offer situation because that agent didn’t tell you that you needed to be able to offer more than list price if you really wanted that house? Some people won’t like it, and that’s OK. If you want to sell, or you want to buy, find yourself a Realtor who will tell it like it is. Don’t go for the “yes” man or woman. A good one can get things done and...

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Expect the Unexpected

Expect the Unexpected

Have you heard of the phrase, “house poor?” I never like my clients to use all their cash for down payments and closing costs. It is important to have access to cash and expect the unexpected. When you own a home, you need to be ready for anything to cost you money. You probably have prepared yourself for buying new furniture or a refrigerator. You may have even budgeted for new blinds or carpet replacement. But what about plumbing or electrical issues or window replacement? That was probably not on your wish list when you signed on the dotted line. Picture this: You want to add a beautiful wood deck off the back of the house. You want it landscaped beautifully and have some twinkle lights inside a pergola framing the deck. Your daughter’s baptism is next month and the whole family will be in town to celebrate. You can’t wait to show off the house and the new deck. You envision evenings on your deck, under the stars and the twinkling lights with a glass of wine in your hand, breathing in the sweet smell of having put your stamp on your new home. Screech – halt! You pull a permit for the deck and the electrical and it is discovered that the existing out-building was not built with a permit and the electrical that you were going to tap into is not up to Code, so now what? Now you have to have that electrical box redone so you can have your twinkle lights on the deck because the house box is maxed out. Ok. Not so bad, but it’s going to add about $1000 to the total cost. But you proceed. Once the deck is in full swing, you begin work on the landscaping. While holes for the shrubs are being dug, the septic line is uncovered and, unfortunately, so is a leak. It could be worse, you think. It could have began sweeping into your house and causing real issues and that does explain the rotten smell in the air off and on for a couple weeks. You pause the beautification and call the plumber. It won’t add too much to repair the leak and you are glad you found it before it caused more trouble. The project continues and it is smooth sailing now. Or is it? The deck and backyard is complete and you are enjoying a warm evening outside only to go inside and realize that someone must have turned the AC off. It’s hotter inside than it is on the deck and your family is arriving in 36 hours. UGH!! You guessed it. You need a new HVAC unit and there’s...

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