I Love Zillow!

I Love Zillow!

  Why isn’t my listing on Zillow? Why is old information showing up? Why doesn’t it have all our photos? Why is another real estate agent’s information listed as if they are the listing agent? When I find houses on Zillow and send them to my agent, a lot of them are under contract and some of them have already sold.  Here’s the answer: In order to pull all of the information to the site, Zillow has to have an agreement with the local MLS or an individual real estate brokerage. If there is no agreement with Zillow, the listings will not automatically pull through and, therefore, not show up on the website. If they do pull through, the information may not be what your agent entered into MLS and/or your actual listing agent may not be the one listed. Zillow is a business. It is not set up as a service to hand out information for free. It is a marketing website that happens to use real estate as it’s platform. Zillow makes money by selling advertising. They sell advertising to real estate agents and put that agent’s information on pages advertising other real estate agent’s listings. Sound wrong? Yeah, some local MLS’s thought so too, so they decided not to allow Zillow to take the listings any longer. If this is the case in your market, your real estate agent needs to manually upload your listing to Zillow. There still may be other agents being advertised on the page, but your agent can “claim” the listing and make sure that consumers have their contact information in case they have questions or would like to schedule a showing. So, how do you make sure you are getting the most current, accurate information? My first piece of advice would be, consult a Realtor®. They can cross check the listings you find with the local MLS information to see how accurate the information is. They can also help you determine price by doing a Comparative Market Analysis of your home, taking into consideration upgrades and other factors. They can also help you with the For Sale by Owner properties you may find listed on Zillow. Secondly, there are actual real estate apps that pull directly from MLS and will have the most current, accurate information. One of those is a private app that I give my clients. You can do all the wonderful things you can on Zillow, it is updated every 15 minutes, you and in a few short weeks it will have nationwide listings (yay!) If you’ve read this far, here is a link to my app https://homescout.app.link/6157307050 My favorite feature is that when you “love” a property, the app will notify you immediately if there is a status change...

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The Real Estate Gamble

The Real Estate Gamble

  I was speaking with a past client last week. I helped her buy her house 11 years ago. Her house was built in 1905 and she fell in love the moment she walked in the door. The place had charm, it had character and best of all, to her, it felt good. She is only the fifth owner in over 110 years. That says something about the house. The neighborhood has changed a lot over the years and neighbors are selling to developers and building what we call “tall skinnies” on postage stamp size lots. My client understands people wanting to make money and because of the development, it has greatly increased the value of her home but she is not going anywhere. She receives phone calls, mailers, and personal solicitations frequently and she is not budging. She is determined to protect what is hers – a piece of history. She was so thankful that I was a part of helping her preserve history. She made my day telling me how happy she has been all these years and how she just wants to preserve the house and take great care of it for future generations. It got me thinking about how much I love what I do. I get to be a part of preserving history, building wealth, new beginnings, and growth. Some may just see it as a transaction. I see it as a lifelong relationship. To some, it may just be a property. I see it as a home or a tool to build wealth. You need someone on your side to look out for your best interest. Are you trying to build wealth or are you trying to find a forever home and preserve a piece of history for future generations? You need someone who is going to be there to help you navigate through the weeds 11 years later when your precious home is being threatened. Just like a financial advisor that you trust to help you make decisions that will affect you for years to come, a great Realtor can be a wonderful resource and member of your personal advisory council. Next time you are thinking about buying or selling, look at it with a fresh perspective. Have an advisor on your side to help you through the paperwork and possible legal pitfalls. If you wouldn’t take $100,000 or more to Vegas and throw it all down on one number, why would you trust a less-than-professional person with an investment that is likely worth much more than that? Can you do it yourself? Maybe. Should you? Probably...

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Too Late

Too Late

  I had a crush on this boy for several years in high school. He was a couple of years older than me and he was the end-all be-all. I thought, “If I could just date him, everything would be great.” But I had a problem. I was a nerd – and he was totally popular. He was nice to me because he was a church kid. His parents taught him well and we all hung out and everyone had a good time but I was definitely not dating material in his eyes. So the years passed and my “love” for him stayed true. The day we had a party for the graduating Seniors and he left for college was a dark day. I lost my chance. I would never see him again, or so I thought. He came home for holidays and breaks and he would come to church with his parents. Now he was a college boy and that made it even worse! Much to my surprise, he came home for the summer and, well, I had grown out of my “nerdiness,” I guess. Either that or he lost a bet. Nonetheless, he asked me out – on a DATE! I was speechless. I mean, this guy that I had been drooling over for years, actually wanted to go out with me…in public. I wondered if he realized that I would call all my friends immediately and give them every detail after the date. So that I don’t keep you in suspense any longer, I said, “yes” and we made a plan. Honestly, I don’t remember much about the date. I just remember being really bored and really disappointed. I had spent so much energy dreaming of what it would be like to go on a date with him and then I was completely let down. So, there is a reason I tell you this story other than for entertainment and chuckling at my “nerdiness.” I have run across people that have had their eye on a particular house or a certain neighborhood for years. They think that once they live THERE, everything will be great. I have had others who think that once they get that bigger house, everything will fall into place. They have to keep up with the Jones’, have the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood, the perfect car to put in the garage and the perfect furniture inside. What they don’t think about is the bills that show up in that perfect mailbox and the maintenance costs that go along with that perfect house and the HOA fees that come with that perfect neighborhood or the commute time that takes them away from the...

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10 Frequently Asked Questions About Real Estate

10 Frequently Asked Questions About Real Estate

  As a Realtor, I get asked a ton of questions. I compiled a list of the top 10 most frequently asked real estate questions and my answers. (Disclaimer: These answers are my personal answers. Different agents and different areas may require different things.) How do you (the Realtor) get paid? In most cases, Sellers will pay a commission to the Listing Broker. That Listing Broker will offer compensation to a Buyer’s Agent. Therefore, as a Buyer, you do not owe a commission for the work a Realtor does for you. In cases of For Sale by Owner properties, some Sellers choose not to offer a commission to an agent. In those cases, a Buyer would be responsible for the Realtor’s fee. Realtors generally don’t get paid unless a closing takes place so all their expenses are paid by them up front and they only get reimbursed and/or paid if someone buys or sells a property. Some people have thought that I receive a salary and that I am reimbursed for my expenses. Most Realtors do a lot of work before ever getting paid and sometimes we don’t get paid at all. Can I be at the home inspection? If you are a Buyer – absolutely. You might want to give the inspector some time to inspect before you get there so he doesn’t get distracted. Getting there for the last 20-30 minutes of the inspection is a good idea so the inspector can walk you around and let you ask any questions you may have about what he found. If you are a Seller – stay away! You may have legal liability to disclose anything you know the inspector finds. Talk to your agent, but typically you do not want to know more than you need to. If you are concerned about security, ask that the Buyer’s agent be at the inspection and/or make sure the inspector is licensed and insured. Do I need to be at the appraisal? No. Appraisals typically take less than 30 minutes. Your Realtor may decide to be in attendance to let the appraiser in and/or give them some comparables, particularly if the property is unique but it is not necessary for you, as the Buyer or Seller, to attend. If you are the Seller, however, you may be at the property if you so choose. You may give the appraiser a list of improvements of the property to help the appraised value. How long does closing take? If you are the Seller, generally, you have very few documents to sign so your closing is about 30 minutes or less. If you are a Buyer paying cash, your closing will be very short as...

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Fast Food – Fast Houses

Fast Food – Fast Houses

We live in a fast-paced society. Fast food, fast cars. Some people get pets on a whim and then once they realize the cost of time and money, they give them back. Others get into business relationships and get out after they realize the red flags were there from the beginning, but they didn’t pay attention. The same thing happens in real estate. I’ve had clients “want” to sell their house only to come to me after an offer is received, having second thoughts. I’ve had other clients that “have to have” this house but get cold feet once the reality of the costs sets in. Some people will tell you that it’s never too late and that it is a good thing you figured it out before making a big mistake. Yes, that is true. However, it is MUCH better to be sure BEFORE you get into the situation. Have you ever dated someone and thought later, “Wow, there’s 6 months of my life I’ll never get back”? When you get into real estate deals, you are not only wasting your time and energy, you are putting others in the same position. There are many people and expenses that are involved. That being said, one of the most unfortunate things I’ve seen is people who buy a house without much forethought or due diligence and sell it less than a year later because they didn’t think the whole thing through. They not only waste their time and energy, but a LOT of money. They have closing costs, real estate commissions, loan fees, and moving expenses that all could have potentially been avoided if they would have slowed down enough to make an informed decision. Does the house sit near a train track and you think it might be no big deal? It might not be, but if you are a light sleeper or you have a dog that barks at every little noise, you might want to re-think that purchase. Is the house a dream house but far from work or the conveniences you are accustomed to? The drive might not bother you at first but when you forget something at home or need something quick from the store for the recipe you are making for guests tonight and have to go back, it might be less than desirable. Have you always thought you wanted the charm of an old house? The charm is great but so can be the expense of maintaining it. If you have the money, time, and it is worth it to you, it could be a perfect fit, however, if either of those is scarce, you might consider a newer home built to...

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Best Home Search App

Best Home Search App

  It seems like everyone is interested in real estate. Even if you’re not in the market to sell or buy, you’re probably curious. It is interesting to know what is going on around you. What did that house down the street sell for? Or you’re driving around on a Saturday afternoon and want to know what the house you just saw with a sign in the yard is listed for. Did you miss the house because you didn’t see it on the app you use? Are you late to the party because everything you look up was sold three months ago? Where do you search for real estate? Chances are, you get on your phone or tablet and open up an app. A lot of consumers I speak with say that they use apps such as Zillow or Trulia to search for properties and find sales prices and estimated values. But, there are a couple of reasons why apps and/or websites like these might not be the best ones for you. First of all, if you have been following my blogs, you have read “Is Zillow Accurate?” Secondly, apps and sites such as these are not real estate apps – they are marketing apps. They take your information and sell it. They use it to sell to lenders, real estate agents, etc. that pay for leads. Thirdly, some MLS areas have opted not to share listing information. I read one study that showed only 49% of the current MLS listings were showing up on these apps. That’s a LOT of homes not being seen by the consumer. So what is the alternative? Where do you search for real estate information that is up to date and accurate? I am glad you asked! If you live in Tennessee, download the HomeScout app. You can use the VIP code: 6159170139. It is linked directly to the local MLS in Middle Tennessee. If you live outside of Tennessee, contact me and I can get you set up in your area. This is the greatest tool that I have seen. It tells you the status of the property, how long it has been on the market, shows photos, provides school zones, room sizes, property taxes, how long it has been on the market, and more. You can make your own notes about the property, favorite properties to watch, and even schedule a showing. The other exciting part of this tool is that I can enroll current homeowners in an automated system that will provide comps for their area every 30 days. You can now be a nosey neighbor without anyone knowing. Or, even better, you can stay on top of the market...

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