Real Estate Commissions – You Charge HOW MUCH?

Real Estate Commissions – You Charge HOW MUCH?

  I often hear from consumers that they feel real estate commission are too high. I often hear from real estate agents that real estate commissions are too low. I guess it depends on what side you’re on!  I also train a lot of agents. In doing so, I am always struck by the same sentiment from all of them. “Wow, there is a lot more to this than I thought.” Yep, there sure is. I once had a client get his real estate license in hopes to save money since he bought multiple properties each year. He very quickly realized that not only was the time invested not worth the money saved, but that he really wasn’t saving anything after all the fees and taxes were paid. As Realtors, we own our own business which comes with several perks. It also comes with a lot of liability and a lot of expenses. There are tools we need to do a great job for our clients. We need equipment, so we can keep up with technology to service our clients. We are required to take continuing education that is a benefit to clients. We pay self-employment taxes. If we have any help with paperwork, such as an office assistant or a contract to close professional, we pay for that. Most hire professionals to do things like take photographs, videos and measure houses. That all comes out of our pocket. We have errors and omissions insurance and license fees. Marketing and advertising and gas to and from properties. We also pay our companies for the benefit of the experience and advice the Brokers give us and those are just hard costs. We’ve all heard the expression, “time is money.” Why are so many people so opposed to paying others for their time? Just like those new agents discover, there is a lot of time spent during the buying and selling process that most clients never see. Phone conversations with clients and agents, emails, text messages, drive time to appointments, scheduling and rescheduling showing appointments, inspections, appraisals, reviewing offers, drafting offers, negotiating, late nights and early mornings, coordinating closings with title companies to make sure that all the client needs to do is show up! Those are just a sample of things that Realtors spend their time doing behind the scenes, so their client doesn’t have to worry about anything but the move. Yes, time is money. Most of us think nothing of spending hundreds of dollars to go see our favorite entertainer or sports team but we balk at paying a professional Realtor handle the details of, quite possibly, the biggest investment we will make in our life. Before I...

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Nashville Investment Property

Nashville Investment Property

  Nashville is the “It” city. It has been ranked the #1 housing market in the nation. Depending on the day, we hear that 80-100 people move to Nashville every day. We were named the #1 Minor League Baseball city. We are in the Top 20 cities for tech jobs, #6 for young professionals and #7 for millennials. We are among the Top 10 cities in which to launch a career and Nashville has the third fastest growing large Metro economy. The list goes on and on. But, with all these accolades, does that mean that Nashville is a great place to buy investment property? Yes and no. With Nashville’s influx of residents, we have also had low inventory. Because a lot of those are millennials and young professionals, the demand for properties under $200,000 has increased significantly. Typically, this is where investors like to buy. They can get in a property for a decent price, rent it out for an attractive price, and still get a nice return on their investment every month. We were getting multiple calls a week for a while from people all across the country that wanted to invest in Nashville. Most used the word that investors dream about, “deal.” “I want to get a deal.” “I’m looking for a deal.” “Where can I find a deal?” and “If you find a deal, I’ll buy it.” Well, the truth of the matter is, there really aren’t many, if any, “deals” in Nashville right now. First time home buyers, young professionals, millennials and investors are all competing over the same property. Investors that have cash may be more attractive to sellers, however, cash is not always king and not all investors have cash. Some sellers don’t want to sell to an investor and will take an offer from an owner-occupant over an investor because they either want to help the “little man” or they don’t like the thought of renters living in the home they have loved for years. Another pitfall of investors is thinking that cash is king – no matter the offer. Sellers won’t necessarily take thousands less for their home just to have it close in two weeks. Some would rather wait another 2- 3 weeks and make more in the long run. If you plan on investing but you are getting a loan, you are in the same boat, for the most part, that owner-occupants are in and you will find the Nashville market a tough one to compete in. The best thing to do is to find the properties before they go on the market or at very least, the same day. Find a Realtor that diligently hunts for properties...

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DIY or Hire a Professional?

DIY or Hire a Professional?

  In the world of real estate there are a lot of things that can be done on your own. Whether you are buying or selling, many of the items on the to-do list can be handled by the most inexperienced weekend warrior. On the other hand, there are some tasks and projects that are best left to the professional. Here are some examples: DIY: Clean and De-clutter It may not be fun, but there’s probably not anyone else who can do a better job at this than you. You know what you are willing to get rid of, donate, and things that just need to be packed up and stored. When it comes to cleaning, enlist the help of a friend or family member and make it fun. Turn up the music and get scrubbing! Paint This is one that you may need a professional to help with but for the most basic paint projects, a fresh coat can make all the difference. If you are short on cash, you can definitely handle this one on your own. Minor handyman projects (patch small drywall holes, adjust door hinges) Big box often have free classes on how to do small projects to save money and hardware stores are typically more than willing to explain how to do something and make sure you have the right supplies. Change light bulbs The only exception to this one would be if the bulbs are too high to safely reach with a ladder – or you are deathly afraid of heights. Changing door and cabinet hardware This can really change the look of a room and be fairly inexpensive depending on the product choice. Tip: To make it easy, get the exact same size and make sure the hole sizes are the same, otherwise, it will be a much more involved project than it needs to be.   PRO: Home Inspection You would think this would be common knowledge, but DO NOT try to save money by performing your own inspections or forego them completely. Even if you are a builder or contractor yourself, you may not know enough about all the systems and codes to make a good judgement on your personal property. It is wise to pay a professional who has insurance and leave the worry to them. Mold remediation In humid climates, there are a lot of mold spores that fly around and often times, it turns into some organisms in the crawl space. Even if you read online about how it can be cleaned I recommend a company that deals with this one a daily basis. They use chemicals that are meant to destroy the organism and use techniques...

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The American Dream

The American Dream

  What is the American Dream? Most of us know it as home ownership. Not giving up your money each month, in rent, only to have nothing to show for it at the end of your lease. It’s having something that is all your own, something that you can paint the colors you want, landscape how you want, hang wind chimes in the tree, and rock out to your favorite tunes without Aunt Edna banging on her ceiling with a broom (I’m speaking from experience). Still, for others, the American Dream is simply to have a roof over their head, no matter if they own it or not. It’s to not be cold when there is frost on the ground. It’s to have a hot meal in the evening or food in their belly when their school is out for Winter Break. No matter what your American Dream is, hold on to it, work for it, and it can happen. There are countless stories of overcoming in our world. No one has to be stuck where they are. If you are stuck, I’m sorry, but that’s your fault. We all have it within us to make change. We all have it in us to make a difference. It begins with the way we think and grows into action. Use the energy in our Universe to make the changes happen. Set your mind to it and move steadfast in that direction. You will be surprised what will happen. I am pleased to be part of a television program called The American Dream. Each month, I will be talking about different topics, real estate and community related. We will laugh, we will educate, and most importantly, we will give back. The American Dream, whatever that looks like for you, would be far less meaningful if we didn’t give something back. I am blessed. I look around and realize there are so many people in my country, in my state, in my city, that need a little help. That’s what I strive to do through this program. My team and I not only want to help people with their real estate needs, but help people through giving back. So, tune in, tune the negativity out, and make a difference with us.  ...

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My House Won’t Sell!

My House Won’t Sell!

  Our market here in Nashville has slowed since Spring/Summer. That has resulted in a lot of frustrated Sellers. They may have put their house on the market at the end or just after the frenzy and now they are waiting, and some not so patiently. “My house won’t sell!” And everyone told them how quickly it would sell. “Your house is great. It will sell in a day.” “My friend had 13 offers on their house the first weekend, you won’t have any problem at all.” There are two problems with that: 1. They aren’t Realtors that are in the market every day, and 2. They are listening to old news. First of all, you have to make sure you have done everything to present your house in the best way possible. Before photos were taken did you make sure the interior and exterior were spruced up, neat and clean? Have you taken extra items off counter tops? If you present your home hastily and it doesn’t look its best, it could hurt. Did you have professional photos and/or video taken? Nothing screams “unprofessional” like seeing someone standing in a mirror with their phone in their hand in a real estate photo. Make sure money is spent to do it right the first time. Are you receiving requests for showings? If you are, you have done at least a good enough job with the photos and marketing to get people interested to come see your house. Are you accommodating those requests, even when it’s not convenient. If your house isn’t selling and you frequently decline showing requests, you are part of the problem. You knew when you decided to sell that people needed to see it in order to buy it. The more restrictions you put on potential buyers seeing it, the more likely they are going to buy something else before they get a chance to see yours and the less likely you are to sell at all. Are you keeping the house neat and clean at all times in case someone wants to see it at the last minute? People open closets, so don’t forget those and throw everything in one as you’re running out the door. Also, smells are a big turnoff to people. Too many candles, strong food odors, pets, flowers, smoke, even air fresheners can make some people head out the door. Allergies and sensitive noses can cause some buyers to decide against your house because they think there is no way they can get “that smell” out. If you feel you have presented it well and you are getting people in to see it and the feedback is positive, you probably have...

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Too Little, Too Late: 7 Steps to a Great Professional Experience

Too Little, Too Late: 7 Steps to a Great Professional Experience

Have you ever been in a restaurant and had mediocre to poor service and when it came time for the server to bring the check they all of a sudden changed their attitude and cared about your experience? Or how about the contractor who is working on your house that doesn’t care, tries to cover up issues instead of solve them, then follows up to “make sure you were happy with their service” and ask for referrals. Too little, too late. I see this in home buying, home selling and home building. A Buyer will write a lowball offer and then be very upset when a Seller accepts another offer before theirs is worked out. Too little, too late. If they really wanted the house, they should have offered a fair price to begin with and the Seller would be more negotiable and feel more a sense of urgency to come to agreement. Sellers will play hard ball when it comes to inspection results and items buyers are asking for. Then when the Buyer backs out of the contract because their requests aren’t being fulfilled, the Seller tries to throw money at it. Too little, too late. Home builders will take short cuts, leave things undone, not use proper materials, do the bare minimum and ignore requests to make it right, then come groveling when you mention you are speaking with your attorney. Too little, too late. As a consumer, listen to the experts. Your Realtor or representative does this every day. They see what Buyers and Sellers are doing, how the market is responding to certain situations and can advise you on the best way to handle it. We are all busy and so many of us have too much but we need to be conscience of not taking things on if we can’t do the job or not do it right. We all have reputations. We all have people we can refer and ask for referrals for business. Here are some tips on ways to make sure you and your client/customer have a great experience: Set expectations at the beginning. Ask how they like to be communicated with and how often. Let them know your process and how you manage it. Ask what would make this a great experience for them. Review contracts, quotes, etc. together before starting the job. Tell them you expect feedback before, during, and after the job is complete. When an issue arises, handle it immediately. Don’t make the mistake of giving someone too little, too late. Your reputation and possibly your income can depend on...

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