It’s not always about the price.

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

Helped my Seller negotiate a deal for his house yesterday. We had multiple offers. I love it when that happens. The Seller ended up accepting the LOWEST offer. After discussing the three offers, that were presented, we decided that the one with a 20% down payment and a pre-approval letter direct from a National lender, had the best chance of closing. The other two offers, even though about $5,000 higher, were both with 100% financing, and were first time home buyers.

This just shows that price is not always the deciding factor for a Seller. It can be the probability of the transaction closing, as in this case. I've also had Sellers take deals because they met and liked the Buyers. One Seller practically gave his house away because he met the Buyers. The Buyers were a young married couple expecting a baby and had never owned a house before. The Sellers were elderly, didn't need the money, and sold them the house for about $30,000 less than market. And they had other offers to consider! Didn't matter, they wanted this young couple to have their house.

It can be something as simple as an offer written professionally versus a sloppy offer with incomplete information. You just don't know what will motivate the Seller.

It's just another reason why, as Realtors, we need to make sure our offers are presented in a professional manner. Complete the offer properly. Attach a personal letter from the Buyers, if they really love the house, let the Sellers know that. Sellers can be very attached to their homes. Especially if they are older and have raised their family in it. Your Buyer's sincere personal comments in a letter, with their offer, could save them thousands, or beat out another offer.

So put some thought into your Buyer's purchase offer. Don't just slap it together and think the Seller will accept it because the price is right. Remember…….. It's not always about the price.

I hate evictions!

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

Started the eviction process on one of my tenants today. I hate that. It's the last thing I ever want to do. Especially since it's a single mom with two small children. But what can you do? She was having financial troubles last month and I gave her a months free rent to try and help. I probably would have helped again this month but she hasn't called and won't answer the door when I knock. So what do you do? I had to post a three day notice. I honestly hope she can find the money before the three days are up. If not, I have to move forward. I really feel for the children but I can't support her family and mine.

Why do tenants place us in this position? The worse thing they can do is not communicate with me. I had another tenant who lost his job and couldn't pay a few months ago, but I was able to hire him as a handyman to help my wife around the house. He worked for me for three months instead of paying rent. During that time we found him a job with our lawn service and now he is back on track and paying rent. I'm not a bad person. I want to help when I can. But if they avoid me my hands are tied. I believe tenants think that landlords are rich. They don't understand that their rent pays the mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance, repairs and lawn service. We have to pay these things whether the rent is paid or not.

Well that's my story today. It bums me out. I will keep her in my prayers tonight. I hope she calls. I hope she finds the money. I hate evictions!

I know what you are going through……….

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

Working on refinancing a couple of my rental properties this week. Very frustrating. Very stressful. It seems like as soon as you have provided every document the Mortgage Broker has asked for, he calls and ask for more.

Got me thinking about how as Realtors it is easy to forget the amount of stress our Sellers and Buyers are under when trying to buy or sell Real Estate. As professionals we go through this every day and it is easy to make light of a difficult situation. When our customers and clients call us upset and overly concerned about what to us is a minor hiccup we have to be really careful to show them patience and understanding. We must be quiet and let them blow off steam. Be agreeable. Give them a couple of minutes. Then and only then can we explain things to them in a calm manner and help them to get back on track and stay focused on the end result.

I am glad I am going through this financing experience. It had been a while since I've done this. Next time one of my customers calls I can honestly tell them………"I know what you are going through. I can relate."

Have you gone beyond the call of duty lately?

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

Bought a new stove today. Unfortunately it won't be coming to my house but will be delivered to the house I closed on last week. The Sellers, my customers, were supposed to put a new stove in the house but decided to cut corners and put in a refurbished stove instead. Looks great. Works great. But it's not new. The Buyers nor their Realtor did a walk through prior to closing and I didn't notice it when I was in the house. The Sellers are going through a nasty divorce and had already moved and went their separate ways.

So what are you going to do? The Buyers are expecting a new stove when they arrive next week. I figure my Sellers have enough on their plate and I know that calling them on this is just going to create more tension between them. So I bought a new stove. Haven't seen it but hear it is really nice. Real shiny. Think I'll place a few business card magnets on the front and write the Buyers a little letter letting them know how I solved this problem for them. Maybe I'll get some business from it in the future. Maybe they will invite me over to dinner since my lovely wife doesn't cook. Have you gone beyond the call of duty lately?

Are your customers and clients being neglected?

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

Following up on one of my deals today scheduled to close this coming Friday. Finally reached the Buyer's Realtor after leaving several messages only to hear how hectic her week has been with the kids getting ready for school blah, blah, blah. Anyway she suggested that I follow up with the Mortgage Broker and Title Company to make sure we are still on track for Friday as she doesn't have the time to deal with this this week. OK, correct me if I'm wrong but sometimes I wonder why I am even paying the buyers' Realtors. This happens ALL the time. Fortunately for them I prefer to cut them out of the deal as soon as possible anyway so I can deal directly with the Mortgage Broker. But what about the Realtors that don't want to deal with the other side of the transaction? Are these Buyers having the same difficulty with their Realtor as I am? I do realize that there are part time Realtors in this business that have conflicting obligations, like another job, but please for the Buyer's sake dedicate some time during the day where you are able to follow up and take care of your Real Estate business.

Buying or selling a house is a BIG deal for the consumer. As Realtors we must be in a position to see them through this experience and give them 100% of our attention in getting their deal closed. If you can't do this full time then you need to partner up with another Realtor that can handle your business when you are not able. We owe the consumer no less than this. Are your customers and clients being neglected?

Does your Realtor really represent you?

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

When hiring a Realtor in Florida it is important to decide how the Realtor will be working for you and what duties they do or do not owe you. I have provided a link at the bottom of this post that will take you directly to Chapter 475 of the Florida Statutes where you will be able to find all information related to having a Real Estate license in Florida. Following is the "nut shell" version of Brokerage and Non Brokerage relationships.

In Florida Dual Agency is illegal. The only exception is on a commercial deal where both Buyer and Seller have assets of over 1 million two sales associates from the same office can work as "designated sales associate". One for the Seller the other for the Buyer.

In a residential transaction a Realtor has three choices of how to work.

1. Single Agent-this is a fiduciary relationship. You can work for either Seller or Buyer but not both. Your duties include confidentiality and full disclosure.

2. Transaction Broker-this is a form of limited representation but does not create a fiduciary relationship. Limited confidentiality and limited liability. You can be a Transaction Broker for either Seller or Buyer or both. If working for both parties it cannot be to the detriment of either party. In Florida we are presumed to be "Transaction Brokers" unless single agent or no brokerage relationship is established with a customer in writing.

3. No Brokerage Relationship-no representation at all. Can be with either Seller or Buyer or both. No confidentiality.

And then we have this thing called "Transitioning to a Transaction Broker"

FLORIDA LAW ALLOWS REAL ESTATE LICENSEES WHO REPRESENT A BUYER OR SELLER AS A SINGLE AGENT TO CHANGE FROM A SINGLE AGENT RELATIONSHIP TO A TRANSACTION BROKERAGE RELATIONSHIP IN ORDER FOR THE LICENSEE TO ASSIST BOTH PARTIES IN A REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION BY PROVIDING A LIMITED FORM OF REPRESENTATION TO BOTH THE BUYER AND THE SELLER. THIS CHANGE IN RELATIONSHIP CANNOT OCCUR WITHOUT YOUR PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT

Click for Chapter 475 Florida Statutes.                 Click here for Realtors Code of Ethics

Did you know a fiduciary relationship is forever?

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

Did you know a fiduciary relationship is forever? When working for a Seller or Buyer as a "Single Agent" you are creating a fiduciary relationship.

Brief definition from Wikipedia: for full definition click

A fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care imposed at either equity or law. A fiduciary is expected to be extremely loyal to the person they owe the duty (the "principal"): they must not put their personal interests before the duty, and must not profit from their position as a fiduciary, unless the principal consents. The fiduciary relationship is highlighted by good faith, loyalty and trust.

Once this relationship is established it does not go away just because your listing has expired or your Buyer is no longer working with you. You are still bound by this relationship. This means that whatever your client has told you in confidence must remain confidential until your client has given you permission to remove the confidentiality. And you have the duty of full disclosure to your principal. This is where in my opinion the problem comes in with having an Agency relationship in Real Estate.

Example: Suppose you have a listing as a single Agent and the Seller, your principal, has told you that she has been having financial difficulties. She is a few months behind on her mortgage payments and needs to sell quickly to avoid foreclosure. And she has asked you not to disclose this information to anyone. Ok, no problem, so far. A few months go by and your listing agreement expires and the Seller decides to list with another Company. About a month later you are searching for homes on the MLS to show the new Buyer that you are working with. This Buyer has signed a "Buyer's Broker Agreement" agreeing that you will work for him as a single Agent. The Buyer is now your Principal. Lo and behold the best match for your Buyer is the property that you had listed that is now with another Company. You take the Buyer to see it and he falls in love with the property. You rush back to your office and start writing a purchase offer and your Buyer looks at you and says "It looks like this property has been on the market for several months. Do you know why the Seller is selling?"

Here's your dilemma. You can't mention the pre-foreclosure or you are breaking your fiduciary relationship with the Seller and you can't not tell the Buyer because you owe him full disclosure.

This is a very simple and common example. It doesn't even take into account dual Agency or the fact that an Agency relationship starts with your Broker and filters down to all the Agents under that license. So what do you do?

Leads can’t be bought………..

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

I am always reading and hearing about leads. How do you get them? And what do you do with them? Have you bought leads from this company? Well this got me thinking about what is a lead? A lead to me is someone that contacts me and tells me they want to sale or buy a house in the next 30 days and they were given my name by so and so whose house I sold last year. Leads are gold. Leads are money in the bank. They are ready to buy or sell and they are ready to work with you. Leads will turn into customers or clients and if satisfied will result in more leads by referring your services. If you could get a couple of leads a week you could easily covert them into six to eight closings per month. Leads can't be bought. Leads come from hard work and a loyal customer base that is built over years from providing honest and professional service. And from keeping in touch with past customers and clients.

Usually when we are talking about leads I think we are really talking about prospects. A prospect is someone that may be interested in selling or buying sometime in the future when Venus aligns with Mars. These are the people who spend days on the internet contacting every Realtor they can. Or call off the yard sign while riding around on a Sunday afternoon. You can buy prospects. There are many large web based "lead mills" that are wanting to sell you what they call "leads." Folks these are not leads they are prospects. To pay for these types of "leads" in my opinion is a waste of money. If these prospects were truly leads they would not be selling them to you for a few bucks.

So save your money and concentrate your efforts on keeping in touch with past customers and networking with people in your community. Always provide honest and professional service and before you know it you will have a steady stream of leads. Remember leads can't be bought they must be earned.

No money? No problem.

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

Negotiated a deal on one of my listings yesterday. The Buyer is purchasing using 100% financing with Seller paying closing costs. My market is affordable housing with the majority of homes priced from $190s to $250s and it seems like most of the Buyers lately have been purchasing with no money down. Now don’t get me wrong I am in favor of home ownership for everyone but I fear a lot of the Buyers are going to have financial difficulties in the near future. With high insurance costs, property taxes and mortgage payments I am seeing payments of close to $2,000 per month for a starter home. That’s a pretty big nut to crack every month in my area where most families are regular working class people and don’t have any reserve funds if they should encounter a financial setback.

Also, a good number of these purchases are being made with ARMs with the Buyers basing their ability to pay on future raises at work or a part time job that they may or may not be getting. In my opinion Mortgage Brokers and Realtors are being overly aggressive in selling these folks on the advantages of home ownership without really taking the time to counsel the Buyers on the true costs involved. And since they don’t have to come up with any money at closing they are sitting ducks for Mortgage Brokers who are charging them sometimes outrageous fees for doing these types of loans.

So my challenge to Realtors who are dealing with first time Home buyers with a little or no money down is to really take the time to explain the pros and cons of purchasing a home. If the Buyers are fully informed and are wanting to move forward then help them to negotiate fees or guide them to the myriad of programs available that can help them with financial assistance. Placing a Buyer in a home he can’t afford can damage them for years. It can cause bankruptcies, divorces and even illnesses. So let’s “Protect the public” it’s what Realtors are supposed to do.

Would your contracts pass this test?

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

Received an offer for one of my listings yesterday. At least I think it was an offer. It came in on a standard Far/Bar purchase contract. The only problem, with what I was able to read, is half of the information was either missing or incorrect. Unless of course the Buyer meant to ask for a 21 day closing and include a 30 day financing contingency. Now I admit I'm not very good at math but it looks like this Buyer has up to 9 days after closing to get final loan approval. Since the address is wrong on the contract he will probably need this extra time to locate the house he just bought.

Fortunately for this Realtor I will take the time to write up a new contract and hopefully we will be able to negotiate a deal. After all my Sellers just want to sell and the Buyer just wants to buy.

As Realtors it is very important that we are able to write legible and binding contracts for our Sellers and Buyers. There is no excuse for not being able to do this. We our actually bound by Article 9 of our NAR Code of Ethics to ensure that all contracts and addendums are properly completed, signed and dated by all parties. Take this seriously as our customers and clients are relying on us to protect their interest. I can't remember where I heard it but someone told me once "to write every contract as if I had to defend it in front of a Judge." Would your contracts pass this test?

 

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.