Burning down the house!

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

Laid up today with a back problem. Since I work from my home I am spending the day on ActiveRain reading, learning, commenting and posting. Very enjoyable as usual. My wife the lovely lady that she is decided she would take over the cooking duties today and proceeded to make me my favorite “sloppy mac” for lunch. Well being the “wonderful” cook that she is she caught the kitchen on fire! Something to do with cooking pasta for 45 minutes on high while going outside to play with the dogs. After being alerted by the smoke detector I managed to roll myself out of bed and crawl to the fire extinguisher located in the kitchen mounted on the wall in the pantry. A few minutes later and the fire was put out and my house survived.

Fortunately for me at the beginning of the year I had done my annual review of safety equipment and insurances policies. My smoke detectors had been tested, the fire extinguisher was serviced, my homeowners insurance was reviewed and modified to reflect the new value of my house, all of my important documents were placed in a fire proof safe, the back up battery on the security system was checked and my will was updated.

While my wife is on her way to Subway to get my now long overdue lunch I think I will make my way back into the kitchen to get the “take out” menus out of the oven. I heard her mention something about making tuna casserole tomorrow and I don’t need her……Burning down the house!

“Where’s my money?”

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

Had another successful closing a couple of weeks ago. Seller was a repeat customer of mine from Scotland. I had sold her the house six years ago as a vacation home in Poinciana Florida. Since I had the property “Range Priced” it sold for more than full price in about two weeks. Average days on market in Poinciana right now are about 75. Anyway that’s not the purpose of my post but thought I would throw a “pitch” in here. The closing was very easy with no complications. The Seller being in Scotland closed by mail away and gave the Title Company instructions to wire her funds to an offshore bank on The Isle of Man. Well here we are two weeks later and the funds are lost in cyber space. Needless to say my Seller is a little upset since we are talking about $200,000. As her Realtor I am very frustrated because I have no control over this and I am at a loss at what to do. Fortunately my Seller is very understanding and realizes this is out of my control. Hopefully the trace that has been ordered will locate the funds.

Has this happened to you? Was the money located? What can we as Realtors do to ensure these wires go smoothly and in a timely fashion? Are these types of transactions covered under the FDIC? Oops! Sorry I got to go my Seller is on the line wanting to know Where’s my money?”

I’m not racist but…………………

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

Do these words make you cringe? Do you just want to leave before they go any further? The best way to tell a racist is when they say “I’m not a racist but……”.

Meeting with potential customers on a regular basis it doesn’t surprise me when I hear this but it does surprise me how often I hear it and who’s saying it. As Realtors we cannot go there! We must nip this conversation in the bud before it goes any further. There is a little law called the Fair Housing Act that we must abide by. How do we do this? How do we continue to work with this person? Do we just ignore it and move forward? Do we lay the law down?

I must admit that this always places me in an awkward position. I usually move forward at the speed of light then ignore it but I can never seem to forget it. It changes my relationship with that person. My dream is that someday we will learn to appreciate people for who they are not despise them for the color of their skin. I live in the great State of Florida and one of the best things about Florida is that it’s very multicultural. I wish all people would see it that way.

I’m not racist but…………..I do have a vision.

The facts Jack. Nothing but the facts!

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

Got a call from a homeowner a few days ago. Seems he had received one of my solicitation letters that I send out daily to all expired and withdrawn listings in my market area. He was wondering why he got a letter since he had just listed his house on the market a few weeks ago. Well I got his address and phone number and told him I would look it up in the MLS and call him right back. When I checked the MLS he was currently active but had been withdrawn for one day and re-entered by the same office by a different Realtor. I called him back and gave him this information and had a nice chat with him. Very pleasant and knowledgeable young man. Wished him luck with the selling of his house and told him to feel free to call me if he ever had any questions or needed any help.

Well lo and behold he called me two days later and asked if I could come by and see him because he was thinking about changing Realtors. Sounded good to me so I made an appointment and went to see him the next day. He had a great  house! I had a look around and sat down with him and his wife to go over market conditions and give him my opinion of what his house was worth and what it would take to get it sold. He was currently listed at $215,000 with a 4% commission. My suggestion was $195,000 with a 6% commission. While talking with them I discovered a few things 1. They had never seen a Market Analysis 2. They had never sold a house before 3. The wife had been transferred and they wanted a quick sale 4. They had never heard from their Realtor since being placed on the market. I left them with all the information I had prepared for them and told them to keep me in mind if things didn’t work out with their current Realtor.

Called me the next day to let me know they had fired their Realtor and wanted me to place their home on the market with me. They said they slept great the night I left knowing there was hope and that they now had the information they needed to make a good decision. I now have a beautiful new listing with great Sellers. “Range Priced” at “Market Value” ($189,000 to $209,000) and a 6% commission so we can offer a good Co-broke. All these Sellers ever wanted from their Realtor were the facts. I have now connected them with a Realtor found through ActiveRain to help them purchase in Arkansas, for a referral fee of course. The Sellers are confident about their relocation. I am happy with my new listing that’s priced right and had two showings as soon as it hit the market. And their previous Realtor…………….?

The facts Jack. Nothing but the facts.

Eddie don’t know squat!!!!!

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

Received an offer for one of my listings earlier this week. Came complete with a copy of an escrow check, a two week closing, more than full price, request for 6% closing costs contribution and the notorious unsigned “pre-approval” letter from Eddie. Well being the professional Realtor that I am the first thing I do is pick up the phone and give good ole’ Eddie a call. I figured I had best ask him about this 6% seller contribution on a conventional loan. Also, thought it might be nice to find out who Eddie is and who he works for. Well Eddie it turns out IS a Mortgage Broker and is ready and excited about getting a loan closed for these Buyers. Seems they were under contract before but the deal didn’t close. Something about the Seller. Anyway, Eddie being full of knowledge and very helpful told me that doing 6% in closing costs with this Lender is no problem and in fact the Buyers are fully approved from the prior purchase and all they need is a contract and an appraisal and he will close in 7 days! Wow! I am really getting excited now. So I let Eddie know the offer is for $205,000 and I want to make sure they are qualified for this amount. “No problem. This is less than the house they had under contract” Eddie says. “Get me a contract and I will order the appraisal today” This Eddie is on the ball!

Now like the good little Realtor I am, I call the Seller, who happens to be a Realtor and Appraiser, to present this offer since the numbers do work out OK for him. Well first we have a good laugh at Eddie but decide to take Eddie at his word and accept the offer. We change all the time limits to reflect Eddie’s optimism about closing in 7 days. And we decide to add a little addendum stating the closing costs contribution of 6% will be made only if on the closing statement. No last minute “under the table” monies will change hands.

I get my Seller’s signature and fax this contract over to the Buyer’s Realtor. I decide to give her a quick call to let her know when she meets with the Buyers she needs to get as much information from them as possible about where they found Eddie and ask them for a “Good Faith Estimate” just to make sure the numbers are OK.

Well the next day the Realtor calls me fit to be tied. It seems good ole’ Eddie had contacted her to let her know that he Buyers actually only qualify for $185,000! And the Lender will only allow a 3% Seller contribution! I guess the bottom line is “Eddie don’t know squat!”

Moral of the story: A pre-approval letter from anyone besides the Lender is a worthless piece if paper. It is very important to place your Buyers with Mortgage Brokers that you can trust and who have a track record of successful closings. Be diligent when helping your Sellers negotiate. Don’t accept anything with out making calls to follow up and try to get as much information as you can. Listen to your gut instincts.

This story has been embelished and the name has been changed to protect the gulty.

I’ll never work with them again!!

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

Have you ever had such a bad experience working with another Realtor that you swore you would never work with them again? I know it’s hard sometimes but we must remember that we are in business to assist Buyers and Sellers achieve their objectives. It’s tempting to not show a Realtor’s listings or suggest to your Seller not to accept a deal from a particular Realtor who we have had a bad experience with in the past. As difficult as it is, always try not to hold the Realtor’s incompetence against his customer/client.

The reality is, the Seller just wants to sale and the Buyer just wants to buy. Work towards helping them achieve these goals to the best of your ability. This may require dealing with unprofessional and rude Realtors on occasion. Bite your tongue, put on a smile and muddle through it. Take charge of the transaction. Be the one person in this stressful and difficult deal to hold it together and get the job done. Not only will your customer/client be impressed but the other Realtor’s customer/client will also become your biggest fan. This is how you build a long term successful business.

Anybody can handle a smooth transaction it is getting through the difficult situations that set you apart and make people remember you. Maybe your professionalism will rub off on the other Realtor. One thing is guaranteed the problems and issues we have with unprofessional Realtors will always be a part of our business. It’s our job to rise above it and keep moving forward with a good attitude. That is something we can control. That’s why they pay us the big bucks!!!!!!!!!

Newbie Realtors Beware!!

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

Recently I have heard several Realtors commenting on the influx of newbie and part time Realtors and why Brokers should not hire them as they are cutting into the seasoned professional‘s business. The general consensus seems to be to concentrate on our own business and let the market sort itself out. I agree with this. However I think we are missing the real issue. In my opinion the real issue is not how these inexperienced Realtors are affecting our business but how they are jeopardizing the Sellers and Buyers that are hiring them. A Seller or Buyer hiring a Realtor to help them, with what may be the single largest financial transaction of their lives, should be able to assume that a licensed Realtor is qualified to handle their transaction. This as we all know is not the case. Being licensed and being a Realtor does not necessarily mean you have a clue to what you are doing. To me this is very scary. I agree that everyone was new to the business at one time and must start somewhere. I do not agree that learning the basics of Real Estate should be a trial and error affair.

Brokers are obligated by law to train and supervise their Realtors. This is not a choice, this is law. At a minimum, new and old Realtors should be able to properly complete a legible and binding purchase contract and listing agreement. They should be able to prepare an accurate Market Analysis and be able to justify market value to their Sellers and Buyers. They should know to who and when to provide the proper Agency Disclosure. They should be able to intelligently discuss financing, appraisals, inspections, repairs and the closing process. These things need to be taught and learned prior to conducting the services of Real Estate. It is the Broker’s responsibility to make sure all Realtors are receiving this very minimum amount of training prior to holding themselves out to the public as being a professional capable of handling their Real Estate transaction. To be any less qualified than this is probably illegal and definitely unethical.

To be an experienced Realtor comes later. This IS learned by trial and error. Learning how to handle closing issues, negotiating techniques, people skills, preparing marketing plans, having a feel for a deal, being able to confidently counsel your customer/clients and many other skills that can only come from being involved in transactions. Hopefully, the more deals you do the more experienced you will become. One thing for sure about this business is you will never know it all.

My advice to new Realtors is to take as many training classes as you can. Learn the basic skills required to conduct your business. Read everything you can related to Real Estate. Find a Mentor. Hook up with a great mortgage Broker. Take the GRI classes. Take a seasoned Realtor with you on your first listing or buyer appointment. Have your Broker review all your contracts prior to presenting them. Read and understand the purchase contact including the standards. Practice preparing a Market Analysis before your first listing. And most important find a Brokerage that offers training. You can always switch to a higher commission split office later once you know what you are doing. Treat this business as a profession and dedicate your time to learning and you will find this a very rewarding business to be in.

Any thoughts on this?

By the way the message title of this post is to get your attention and is in no way an attack on new Realtors. My comments apply to all Realtors who do not conduct their business in a professional manner

What is the “Right Price”?

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

I have heard numerous times over the last few months from Realtors wondering why their listing hasn’t sold. The usual comment is “it’s priced right”. Well is it really? My experience has been that any property will sell if the price is right. What is the “Right Price” in today’s market? Is it “Market Value” based on the last 6 months of sales? Is it based on homes that have sold in the last 30 days? Is it the “Appraised Value”?

The “Right Price” is the price that will sell your listing in 60 to 90 days. But what is this magical number and how do we arrive it? Well in my market (Poinciana, Fl) the right price is 5% to 10% below recent comparable sales. When Realtors are searching the MLS they may have 70-100 homes that meet their Buyer’s parameters. My Seller’s property, in order to sell, needs to be in the top 5 (preferably #1) properties on the list (by price) and it needs to have a competitive or better co-broke. If you can achieve this positioning you should have no problem getting the listing sold in a short period of time. Seller’s need to know this. It is very important when pricing a house to look at the whole picture that includes active, pending, withdrawn, expired and recently sold listings. I know this is Real Estate 101 but I have met with many Seller’s recently whose listings have expired and they have never even seen a “Market Analysis”. When asked how the Realtor arrived at the listing price they say “this is what we told him/her we wanted.” They used a little known technique to price their property it goes something like this:

Down payment for house I want to buy + moving expenses + credit card debt + closing costs + Realtor commission + current mortgage balance=“Market Value”.

Now I know this may be the new math but folks it won’t get your house sold. When hiring a Realtor it is important that that Realtor provides you with a detail analysis of current market conditions and counsels you on what it will take to sell your property. They need to be 100% honest about pricing. It may not be what you want to hear but it must be what you need to hear. Then and only then can you make an informed decision on how to list your house at the “Right Price”.

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.