Get your sign out of the tree!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

$65.00. That can be the difference, from your listing selling or just sitting on the market for month after month. $65.00. That's the amount of money that could be standing between you and your next pay check. $65.00. This is how much it costs to buy a couple of worthless leads from a "lead mill". $65.00. This would pay for a mailer of 35 post cards that will get thrown in the garbage, or a hundred flyers for your listing that will end up getting wet and ruined in the brochure tube. $65.00. This is how much your bar tab could be while you are sitting there moaning because you haven't sold a house in 3 months.

$65.00. This is the amount my lawn service charges for one month of service on my listings. And the Seller will pay me back at closing. If they don't, who cares. I will take it out of my $8,000.00 paycheck.

Now here are some examples of what NOT spending that $65.00 will do for your listing. These homes are my competition. I took a listing this morning and snapped these photos while I was in the neighborhood. All of these were within 1 block of my listing. There were many more but I think you the point!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now this is what one of my listings look like. All for $65.00.

So, folks if you want to get paid, provide some service for your sellers. Don't ask them. Tell them you are doing it. And while you are at it, pay a cleaning crew.

And most importantly……….Get your sign out of the tree!

My listing has already been sold!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

My mom, I love her to death, sells timeshare resales. She has been in the timeshare business for almost 30 years and can sell ice to an Eskimo. She has won many National sales awards and is excellent at what she does.

But she has a hard time understanding what I do. Whenever I call her, and mention I sold a house today, she always says the same thing "Did you sell it? Or did another Realtor sell it". "Mom" I say "No, I didn‘t sell it, it was my listing but another Realtor sold it."

But you know, that is so far from the truth. I sold the house. I sold it when I spent 90 minutes convincing a Seller to price it right. I sold it when I talked the Seller into having a professional cleaning crew go through the house, or suggested they rip up the dirty carpet and lay down tile. I sold it when I positioned the house in the MLS, to get the most exposure. I sold it when the Realtor called me on a different listing and I talked him into showing this house as well. I sold it when I educated my Seller on paying closing costs for the Buyer. There are many things we do as listing agents that contribute to the house being sold.

As a matter of fact, if these things aren't done properly, there will be no sale. The house would be another property that sits on the market for 6 months only to expire or be withdrawn.

I heard a statement somewhere, "that a bad appraisal begins at time of listing." That is so true. It is also true "that a house is sold at time of listing".

A good listing agent will make the Buyer's agent job very easy. Priced right, clean, easy access and knowledgeable Sellers makes for an easy sale. So next time I talk to Mom, I think I will explain this to her. In the meantime, bring your Buyers on by…………….My listing has already been sold!

Counting the chickens before they hatch!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Had a listing appointment today. Yes, I know it's Sunday and I don't normally work on Sundays, but hey, I'm the Broker, I make the rules and I can break the rules. It was either today after Church or during the week at night. Well figured I would already be dressed in my "Sunday go to meetin cloths", so what the heck, I'd drive on over there. I'd still be home in time to cook lunch for "The Lovely Wife".

Anyway, I had sent these folks a preliminary CMA via E-mail last week and was really looking forward to meeting with them. I knew it was going to be a tuff one, but I felt up to the challenge. The challenge was, they had been listed for 6 months with another Realtor at $360,000, when the house, maximum, is worth only $299,000. They had already told me on the phone they were ready to reduce to $340,000. So I really had my job cut out for me. I won't take an overpriced listing so my goal was to get them to reduce $65,000. Also, since they were with a discount Realtor before, I needed to raise the commission a couple of points as well. So, if you do the math, we are looking at more than a 20% reduction in their anticipated Net.

Big challenge, but I woke up this morning ready to face it. I had prepared an analysis, to take with me, that was over 70 pages long. Now I don't know how you do your CMA's but 70 pages is a little over the top to say the least. It included:

  • Details on similar homes with pools.
  • Details on similar homes without pools.
  • Details on every pool home that had sold near theirs this year.
  • A list of every home on the market in their area.
  • A list of all of my sales YTD.
  • My grocery list from last week.

Anyway, you get the point. I was loaded for battle and well prepared to defend my position. Well I showed up for my appointment and as I had anticipated, the house, pool and yard were beautiful. So I was pleased about that. They had put a lot of time and money into it and it showed. The wife gave me the tour as I listened to her and I asked a few qualifying questions while we walked through the house. This is a very important step, as I am trying to find something that will help me in my presentation. I got lucky, one comment she made was, that when they were shopping for homes to buy, the first one they liked didn't appraise and they weren't able to buy it. Bingo! An excellent piece of info to help me with pricing.

So, hubby came in and we all sat at the table and I pulled out my arsenal of data. And of course the first thing I started explaining is how appraisals work and how they can affect the ability of a buyer being able to close on the house if it is not priced right. That was the right approach. It's true and it touched a cord with them since they had experienced exactly that. It opened the door for my discussion on pricing. Backed up with 70 pages of data, I made a strong case and after 90 minutes of hard fought discussion, we have agreed to Range Price the home from $289,000- $309,000 trying to sell as close to $299,000 as possible. Commission came up briefly but was not a factor.

We haven't done the paperwork yet, but I'm confident I have the listing. The Sellers are great people. It's an excellent property. It's priced right. I will be able to sell it. The Sellers will be able to move on with their lives. And "The Lovely Wife" had my "world famous" chicken and yellow rice with black beans for lunch. All in all, a very good day.

This listing, again, shows why it's so important to listen to your potential customers. They may just give you the information you need to succeed in your presentation. Pricing is everything in my market. Helping potential Sellers to understand this is what I enjoy doing. It gives me a great feeling of satisfaction. I just hope I'm not……….. counting the chickens before they hatch!

Real Estate is about people, not money!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Yesterday, I did a Blog post that contained a comment about another Realtor, giving the code to my lock box to a buyer so the buyer could do his own final walkthrough. I received quite a few comments about reporting the Realtor to his Broker or filing an Ethics complaint. Let me explain, why I didn't take those steps, even though, I agree, what the Realtor did was wrong.

First, I list homes "For Sale". That's what I do. I rarely work with buyers. Therefore, my business depends on other Realtors showing and selling my listings. With that in mind, my business plan has always been to "market" my listings to other Realtors and to give them as much incentive as I can to want to show my listings. My reputation with Realtors is how I make my living. My listings get showings, because over the years, Realtors have learned that they can trust that properties will be priced right, clean and easy to show. No surprises.

The Realtor, in question, had actually done a pretty good job up to the point of giving out my lock box code. I had a discussion with him about this and it will not happen again. I complemented him on the good job he did in getting the deal closed and hope to have many more deals with him in the future. Would this had turned out this way if I reported him to his Broker or filed an Ethics complaint against him? No. Absolutely not. He would never had showed my listings again and my future Sellers would suffer because of that.

So, here is a short list of the things I do to ensure that my listings are getting shown. Not only shown, but shown constantly by other Realtors.

My listings are:

1. Priced right, always. I am an expert on pricing.

2. Clean. Very clean.

3. Easy to show. No appointment necessary and always on a lock box.

4. Positioned properly in the MLS. This is achieved by "Range Pricing."

Realtors can count on me to:

1. Answer the phone. If not, return their call quickly. 8-8 seven days a week.

2. Always be professional.

3. Never loose my cool. Ever.

4. Negotiate the deal without voicing my opinion. It's the Seller's deal not mine.

5. Assist them in anyway I can to get the deal closed.

6. Take the time to help them if they are new to the business.

7. Discuss issues with them upfront and not in a confrontational manner.

8. Always be honest.

9. Always stay focused on the end result, getting my Seller a check.

10. Thank them for a job well done and let them know I really appreciate them showing and selling my listing.

Now, doesn't all this sound better than filing an Ethic's complaint or "telling on them" to their Broker? My Grandmother was the most loving, most generous, most caring and most honest person I have ever known. If I did anything less than this she would look down from heaven and shake her stick at me. I would never want that to happen.

So remember, treat your fellow Realtors with respect. Help them if necessary. Be patient with "newbies", we were all one once. And most important, never forget…………Real Estate is about people, not money!

Does that 50 cents have to be on the HUD?

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

I just love final walkthroughs! Why is it that Buyers and their Realtors sometimes try to spoil the elated feeling I get, knowing that we finally made it to day of closing?

I get the call this morning, telling me they did the walkthrough and everything is OK, except for the hole in the living room wall. What? A hole? How can that be? I was just in the house last week and it was fine. No holes! I don’t want to hear about holes two hours before closing. I mean the house is vacant. No one has been in the house but the appraiser. Then they spring the big one on me. “What’s the Seller going to do about it?”

Personally, I think that’s a pretty good question. “What’s the Seller going to do about it?” Well, my answer is “I don’t know”. I am still trying to digest the fact that there is hole in the living room wall. Well I got lucky, the other Realtor had a call beeping in on him and decided to take it and call me back.

So, I get myself out of bed (not sleeping mind you, but diligently “working” on reading all the ActiveRain posts from last night), anyway, I get myself out of bed, hop in my SUV and burn $10.00 worth of gas to go check out the hole in the living room wall. Now I’m a pretty observant guy and would probably notice a hole in the living room wall, but I don’t. No hole. Well, maybe they meant the family room. So I go look and again, no hole. Wait a minute, what’s that? Let me see, if I get down on my knees and squint just right I can see a tiny indentation in the wall about the size of my pinky fingernail. This my friends must be the culprit. The all elusive hole!

I call the Realtor back and tell him I have been at the house to look at the “hole” and asked him if he had actually seen it, or did he just allow the Buyers to go over by themselves to do the walkthrough? Do I need to even tell you his response? Of course he hadn’t seen it! It was too far for him drive to so he just gave the buyers the code so they could do their own walkthrough! The Buyers told him there was a hole in the wall, and asked, “What was the Seller going to do about it”. Anyway, I remained calm and politely told him to show the Buyers the definition of “hole” in the dictionary and that we would give them compensation of 50 cents. After all that, the Realtor told me to not worry about it, that he would take care of the Buyers.

I tell you, you got to love this business. The things people try to get away with. And the Realtor……….well that’s good material for another post.

The Moral is: Never, ever, take the other party’s, to a transaction, word on anything. Check, double check and check again. Look out for your own customer’s or client’s interest or that “hole” may be in your wallet.

By the way………..Does that 50 cents have to be on the HUD?

I hate open houses and I’m sticking to it!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

I hate open houses! There I said it. It's out in the open and I'm not taking it back. I don't do them and I'm not starting. My Sellers know this. I tell them this at time of listing. "I will sell your house but I will not do an open house, ever."

Well, I had two of my Sellers call me today wanting to do open houses. So being the good little Realtor that I am, I said no. Now don't get me wrong, I like pleasing my Sellers and I like being agreeable when they ask me to do things. But I'm not doing it! I'm going fishing. It's Saturday and the fish are biting. So what do you do?

Being as how both of these Sellers are long time customers, we compromised. They are having open houses. Yup, you heard me right. They are having open houses. One is having a yard sale and the other is home all weekend and wants to do it. So, I stopped by today and dropped off Open House signs, buyer sign in sheets and wished them good luck. I told them if they should happen to find a Buyer for their house, who is not working with another Realtor, I will give them a discount on the commission. They were thrilled! They can use the money and thought this was an excellent idea. They are really getting into it now. I told them I would be available by cell phone if they need me and I have arranged for my Mortgage Broker to be available for pre-qualifications if necessary. I hope they find a Buyer. I hope I can give them a commission rebate. I hope they don't ever ask me again. I hope I catch the big one!

Anyway, I have been thinking about this all day and decided I may offer this to my Sellers. After all, we are a team and who knows the house better than the Seller. Obviously, you do want to make sure you have a strong relationship with your Seller and they have to promise, no negotiating. I like it. I like it a lot. They can work. I can fish. And maybe we will both get paid.

So next time a Seller ask for an open house, just tell them…….. "I hate open houses and I'm sticking to it!

It’s scary out there!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

I participate in another Real Estate forum and some of the questions that I see make me wonder if some Realtors are in way over their heads. Here are a few examples:

1. If I do a lease/option contract when do I get paid?

2. As a Sales Associate can I represent a Buyer in a business transaction? (if you have to ask the question, you shouldn’t be doing the deal)

3. The transaction didn’t close on time. Can I file an Ethics complaint against the other Realtor? (my personal favorite)

4. I’m going on my fist listing appointment. Besides the “purchase contract” what other forms do I need?

5. My Broker’s not giving me any leads. Is this illegal?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not faulting the Realtors. In fact I am glad they are asking the questions. There are no stupid questions only stupid answers. But this is scary! Where’s the training? What are the Broker’s doing? How can they allow Realtors without the basic knowledge to conduct business, loose on the public? And why do these Realtors have to ask these questions on a forum? Where’s the Broker?

My belief, is that, the general public when contacting a Realtor, should be able to assume, that the Realtor has the knowledge required to conduct business. And that they are able to “protect the public.” After all, that’s what Realtors are supposed to do. It’s scary out there! What say you?

If it walks like a duck…………………

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Even the name sounds contradictory. Dual Agency. How can this be achieved? How can a Realtor, in all honesty, work for two Clients on opposing sides of a transaction? How can you place your Client’s interest first, when there are two of them, one trying to get the highest price possible and the other trying to get the lowest price possible? The concept of Dual Agency just doesn’t make sense to me, at all.

The State of Florida got smart in 1997 and made Dual Agency illegal. We are now presumed to be Transaction Brokers unless disclosed differently. I discussed this in a previous post, so won’t rehash it here.

An Agency relationship creates a fiduciary between the Agent and Principal. Take away the fiduciary and there is no Agency. In my opinion, when entering into Dual Agency relationship, this fiduciary must be modified, to the point of no longer existing, in order to assist both Clients equally. A fiduciary is NOT equal. Here lies the problem. Dual Agency, by it’s very nature, is not an Agency relationship. Below are some excellent links that delve into the problems with Dual Agency a little further.

http://www.realestatelawyers.com/Dual-agency.cfm

http://www.realestatejournal.com/columnists/housetalk/20031010-barta.html

http://realtytimes.com/rtapages/20050208_dualagency.htm

So what do we do? As Realtors we are obligated to “protect the public.” Our Code of Ethics is built upon this premise.

In my opinion, Florida has started down the right tract. Be an Agent, for one party and one party only. If you must work for both parties, then do it as a Transaction Broker. Personally, I would like to see it taken a step further and have no Agency relationship in Real Estate. Always, be a Transaction Broker. I believe this is a truer representation of what we really do. We are “facilitators.  If it walks like a duck…………..

Opinions appreciated on this real time CMA.

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

OK, this is an actual CMA and E-mail sent to an absentee owner. What do you think? I use a pretty basic CMA format from our MLS. Nothing fancy but it seems to work. The information is current as of this afternoon so it will also give you an idea of market conditions in Poinciana Fl. I'll trust you not to contact my Seller. If you do tell him I said Hi. 🙂 By the way, if you are newer to the business, please feel free to copy the format if it will help.

Following is the Market Analysis I have prepared for your house at XXX XXXX Ct. A few comments: The analysis includes 3 bedroom homes due to the fact there are only 2 other 2 bedroom pool homes on the market in Polk County Poinciana. One priced at $173,900 and one priced at $179,000. There are eleven 2 bedroom homes on the market with or without pools from a low of $159,900 to a high of $179,900. There have been eleven 2 bedroom homes that have sold this year with or without pools from a low of $125,000 to  a high of $179,000. The suggested pricing is based on price per sq ft living area and is basd on the highest sold price per sq ft. In my opinion the suggested price is maxed out. But we can discuss that when we talk.

Your home is in pretty good condion. I would recommend, painting the front door, replacing or removing the verticle blinds in both bedrooms, replacing the light fixture in living room, replacing the socket covers that were removed and clean, clean clean. Next to pricing, cleanliness is the most important. The pool surface is bad but no action required on your part.

Overall it is a very sellable house. Nice open floor plan. Great front yard. The back yard is kind of small but nothing you can do about that. Same with the 1 car garage. It is what it is.

All of these things have been taken into consideration in my pricing. I highly recommend the "Range Pricing". This will enable me to place the home into the MLS at the lower price, but still having the ability to negotiate to the middle of the suggested range.  My whole goal is to get them in the door. If they don't see it they can't buy it. Also, I think it is imperative that we offer the selling agent a x% co-broke. Obviously, if I find the buyer I will not charge you the co-broke. To be honest, that doesn't happen much, but it may.

The previous pricing of $209,000 was a waste of your time. There are 1,400 properties for sell in Poinciana, not counting FSBOs, as of this morning. You have a lot of competition. There are 235 homes under $200,000. So needless to say pricing is extremely important. Ok, that's all for me rambling. Please review all the info and let me know when I can get started. I did a complete photo shoot and measured while I was there today. So if you are agreeable I can have you up and running within 1 hour.  Call me with any questions or suggestions.

Please visit a personal page I've set up for you that contains a link to a Comparative Market Analysis report.

http://bryanttutas.mfr.mlxchange.com/?r=111496147&c=2&id=32373632313339.366

If it ain’t on the HUD, it ain’t happening.

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Let’s talk about Mortgage Fraud. Now I’m not an expert on this but I do see it quite often in my market. Or at least, what would be fraud, if my Seller and I didn’t just say no. These are a few of my favorite lines:

1. “Don’t worry I have a good appraiser, he’ll make it work”.

2.”If the Seller can give the Buyer a personal check for $5,000 at closing, we’ll get this closed”.

3.”No, it can’t be on the HUD”.

4.”Don’t worry this Mortgage Broker does this all the time”.

5.”The Lender said the Seller can hold a 10% second, after closing they can just tear it up”.

6.”Can we raise the price $20,000 and give the Buyer money back at closing?

7. “I have a buyer willing to pay $20,000 more for that property, will you give me an assignable contract”.

8. “What size prison uniform do you wear?”

9. “Can we be cell mates at Sing Sing?”

10. “You look cute, do you need a friend?”

Ok, maybe not all of those. I am surprised though how many times I get asked by Realtors to do things that are just plain fraudulent. Now sometimes, I like to think it is just out of ignorance. They figure if the Mortgage Broker said it is Ok then it must be legal. Don’t fall for it. The best rule of thumb is, “If it ain’t on the HUD, it ain’t happening.” Remember this line and use it often. As Realtors there are no excuses for not being able to recognize Mortgage Fraud when you see it. You need to be able to protect your customers and clients from these practices. Not to mention, your license and life as a free member of society. No commission is worth committing fraud for. Below are links to a few web sites that may help.

http://realtytimes.com/rtcpages/20050216_mortgagefraud.htm

http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel05/quickflip121405.htm

http://www.click2houston.com/news/9584679/detail.html

http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/housing/2005-10-04-fraud-usat_x.htm

So remember……….“If it ain’t on the HUD, it ain’t happening.”

About us

I am a licensed real estate Broker in the state of Florida. My opinions on real estate have been formed from my experiences and 15 years of working in the business. My opinions are in line with Florida Real Estate laws and the REALTOR(R) Code of Ethics. Your State’s laws may differ. So do your own homework before implementing any of my business practices into your business.