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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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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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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When Selling: Is Opendoor Good or Too Good to Be True?

When Selling: Is Opendoor Good or Too Good to Be True?

When something sounds good, we want to know more. That’s what happened when I heard about Opendoor. I have seen the same advertisements that you have. They will buy your house for cash, you save yourself so much time and you can close almost immediately. My team motto is that we take the stress out of the home sale and home purchase process. So naturally, I was curious. I did some more research and I asked a few people who had personal experiences. So what did I find? Is Opendoor good or too good to be true? Let’s take the good first: Simply put your address into their website and Opendoor will send you an offer on your home within about 24 hours. Their offer is cash. You don’t have clean your house for showings. You don’t have to do any repairs. You do it yourself – no Realtors involved. You can close typically within 10-60 days. Sounds good, right? Let’s see if it’s too good to be true. The rest of the story: Their offer is most often below market value. They do their own inspection of the property and take the cost of any necessary repairs out of your proceeds. They charge 6-13% of purchase price for fees. You don’t have anyone looking out for your best interest. What do you think? When I read these facts, along with personal experiences of known individuals and online reviews, I think there are some real positives if you fit into a specific category: If you need a guaranteed FAST sale/closing. If you are willing to take less than market value. If you DO NOT want to show your house to perspective Buyers. If you DO NOT want competitive offers. If you DO NOT want to have to do any repairs. If you DO NOT see the value of a Realtor. You may fall into one of these categories and that’s OK. Opendoor may be a perfect solution for you. Let’s look at the other side. With a traditional sale, using a Realtor, you are likely get offers for a much higher price than an Opendoor offer and possibly even higher than market value in some markets. This can offset any Realtor fees (and remember, Opendoor charges 6-13%). The offers could be cash. If the Buyer is getting financing, part of the Realtor’s job is to manage the process and make sure the financing is going through smoothly. In certain markets, it only takes one day of showings to sell your house. If you live in this kind of market, you will probably get a higher sale price and shouldn’t sell yourself short, in my opinion. As a listing agent,...

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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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