Should I Have an Open House?

Should I Have an Open House?

When people sell their house, a lot of Sellers think they have to do an open house for it to sell. Others pause and ask, “should I have an open house?” Well, it depends on who you ask. There is the real estate agent perspective and the Seller perspective. Both say, “yes” and both say, “no.” Here’s why. Real estate agents who say, “YES”: Know the property is in a high-traffic location and could produce a Buyer. However, not necessarily a Buyer for this property. Some real estate agents use open houses to pick up new Buyer leads for their business. When marketed well, a real estate agent can produce many leads from one open house. Want to make sure they are doing everything their client feels is necessary to sell the house even if they know it’s unlikely they will get attendees or find the Buyer from an open house. May just want to catch up on their reading or paperwork for a couple of hours while they wait for visitors. Sellers who say, “YES”: Just assume you must do an open house as part of the marketing plan. Feel that their property has the potential to get a lot of traffic and think they may get an interested prospect walk through. Want their real estate agent to do as much as possible to sell their house and feel that an open house is a good way to do that. Real estate agents that say, “No”: Feel that the property is not in a high traffic area and they won’t get many, if any, prospects, except for, perhaps, “nosey neighbors.” Are concerned to hold an open house due to liability of the Seller’s personal belongings or due to personal safety. Sellers who say, “No”: Don’t want random strangers walking through their home without ample supervision. Feel their agent does outstanding marketing outside of open houses and feel that their house would not be a good candidate for selling during an open house. Some Sellers of unique or high-end properties feel that their property is best marketed via word of mouth, print, and online and then having the prospective Buyer set up a private showing. So, should you have an open house? As you can see, there are good reasons to do open houses and then there are good reasons not to do open houses. It really depends on the Seller and the Real Estate Agent and making sure they are on the same page in their ideas and opinions of...

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When to Call it Quits

When to Call it Quits

  Being in the real estate business since 2004 and being the Managing Broker of firm, I have seen, heard, and experienced quite a bit. I never say, “I’ve seen it all,” because just when I think I have, something new happens. But I digress. I would say the main thing I have learned is that not all real estate agents or clients are created equal and sometimes you need to know when to call it quits. One of my agents had a listing that a non-resident buyer had under contract. The Buyer’s agent had a full-time job and couldn’t answer the phone, email, or text about real estate until after 5:00. The lender for the Buyer was not communicating and the agent couldn’t, and the buyer didn’t speak English. The Buyer was jumping through all sorts of hoops to get the loan, doing everything necessary and yet the closing date kept being pushed back – 5 times to be exact. To complicate matters more, the Seller was buying a house whose owner had to sell before they could buy the house they had under contract and that family had to sell to them before they could close on the house they were buying. 4 families were being effected, all sleeping on the floor because they thought they were going to close weeks ago. My agent communicated everything she knew but was not sure she was ever getting the whole story, nonetheless, the truth. She went to the Buyer’s lender’s office (which happened to be his house) and banged on the door, demanding answers, only to be faced with more half-truths and more delays. While she fought for the Buyer that wasn’t even her client, the Buyer’s agent was nonchalant and did very little to help, nor did he feel any responsibility toward the 4 families whose lives were in limbo for weeks. When he was asked to help so his client could close and the others could move forward as well, he refused. My agent stepped in, yet again, and got the deal done for everyone. Most agents would have given up well before it got to that point. This is why it is so important to find a real estate agent that you trust and one that will not only fight for you but fight to get the deal done if that is what everyone wants. If she hadn’t taken the reigns and exhausted herself, 4 families would have had to move back into their homes or continue sleeping on their floors while they put their homes back on the market. On the other side, agents, you need to understand that not all clients are created equal....

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Hurry Up and Wait

Hurry Up and Wait

  I’m in a band. We do a lot of hurry up and wait. If we are playing a private event, a lot of times we will have to have everything set up on stage in the middle of the day and we won’t play until 7:30 or 8:00. We may have to sit and wait for several hours to actually play the show. We often rush to get set up and sound check and deal with malfunctioning equipment and a deadline to make ourselves scarce prior to us playing. Then we wait and wait until finally we get the call that they are ready for us to start. Then the adrenaline starts to kick in and we play sometimes for hours. That is very much how it can be when you are selling your house. You scramble to do paperwork, get repairs done, de-clutter, organize and clean, get the photographs and video, we enter it online and then we wait. We wait for showings. We wait for feedback. We wait for a phone call saying someone is interested and then we wait for their offer. We respond to their offer and then we wait. Once all parties agree, we wait for the inspections and appraisal – holding our breath the whole time. You pack your things and wait for all contingencies to be cleared. Then we wait for the closing date. There could be any number of reasons for a closing to be delayed so you could wait for that. Then you wait to get the call that the coast is clear and you can go to closing. You sign the papers and wait to get your money. If you have an escrow account attached to your mortgage, you will wait for a refund. Hurry up and wait is one of the hardest things to do. I like to set expectations for my clients up front. I want them to know what to expect so that when it happens, they are not surprised or unnecessarily worried. It’s just part of the hurry up and wait of real estate. If you are ready to sell your house, be prepared to be rushed and then be prepared to wait. If you understand that and have patience, you will get through the process a lot easier. You probably have a whole list of other things that need to be happening anyway, so get some of those done while you are waiting. What are you waiting for? Hurry up! Let’s get your house...

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Trust

Trust

  Trust is an interesting thing. It is free to give, but costly if lost. If it is broken, it may never be repaired and sometimes, trust is irreplaceable. A friend told our secret. A colleague got the promotion by taking credit for our hard work. A contractor stole from us. A parent didn’t do what they said they would do. Words. An action. We’ve all had our trust betrayed somehow. It is disappointing. It hurts. What do you do when that trust is broken in a real estate transaction? Let’s take a look. You own a house that had some storm damage on the roof. You were able to get your insurance to pay out on a claim. You weren’t having any major leaks so you did a quick fox and used the rest of the money for some other improvements you’ve been wanting to make. Fast forward a year. You are selling the house. You’ve disclosed a few things you knew might come up but your house is in pretty good shape, overall, and it’s a hot market so it should sell fast. You receive two full price offers right away. Well that was easy! You decide on the one that had the best terms and moved forward. As suspected, a few things came up on inspection but no big deal. There was a question about some shingles on the roof but the inspector said it looked like there had been a repair and there were no active leaks. Then you get a call from your agent. He asks some more detailed questions about the roof and you start to get nervous. Apparently the Buyer was shopping for insurance for their “new home” and the agent pulled a CLUE report on your house. “A what?,” you think. It stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange. In layman’s terms, it’s a record of insurance losses. Remember that claim you filed? Remember that money you received? There’s a record of it. So, the Buyer knows you were paid for an entire new roof to the tune of $6500.00. That money is long gone and the old roof is still there. The buyer demands a new roof. You can’t deliver. You lose the buyer. Well, that’s OK, just go back to the other buyer, right? Not so fast. Now there is a disclosure issue. You have to (or should) tell that other buyer the situation. If you don’t, your agent should. They will probably want a new roof too, or a reduction in the sales price, or they may not trust you now and wonder what else you aren’t telling them. When you do something to lose trust, you could it...

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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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