Top 5 Reasons You Need A Realtor

5ReasonsYouNeedaRealtor

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Being Honest With Your Agent

honestyHonesty is the best policy, right? I absolutely agree but not everyone lives by this mantra. I cannot seem to shake my frustration over a situation that happened over 7 days ago – maybe if I vent (I mean blog) I will gain a little perspective and feel better.

Last week I received a phone call from a prospective buyer. He was very interested in purchasing a second home in Mammoth Lakes and had done his homework on the internet. After a lengthy conversation, we clarified how much he wanted to spend, where he wanted to buy and the size of the condo that would meet his needs. The search was narrowed down to four properties and plans were made to view them the next day. As always, I confirmed he was not working with another agent. He planned on making the trip in one-day (6 hours each way) and would meet me in my office at 2 PM. After the phone call, I called the listing agents, prepared all supporting documents for the tour and picked up keys. The next morning I received a phone call from the prospective buyer indicating he would be one hour late since he did not leave home as early as expected. No problem.

An hour prior to his arrival I visited all four properties to confirm the keys worked, turn on the lights and open the drapes/blinds. When I arrived at the first property, the listing agent was actually showing it to two gentlemen. She offered to leave everything open and ready for my showing in the next hour. After staging the other three properties I returned to the office to wait for my new client. Two men walked in to my office and I immediately recognized them as the people viewing the first property with the other agent. I introduced myself and acknowledged I had just seen them at one of the listings. The client immediately clarified he had only viewed the last property because he had contacted the listing agent. He said it was the only property he had viewed with her and it was not the property for him.

As I reviewed our agenda for the tour, I explained there was no need to visit the first property since he had already been there. We proceeded on the tour and were able to identify his top property. He had some additional questions that required me to research and we agreed to speak the next day. As our meeting ended, I summarized each of our follow up actions and clarified again he was not working with another agent.

Here is where my frustration lies. Why didn’t he tell me he was meeting with another agent when I asked if he was working with anyone else? Did he really get a late start or was he an hour late because he was meeting with the other agent? Would he have said anything to me if I would not have actually seen him viewing the property with the other agent? Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe in other parts of the country buyers meet with multiple agents. In my small town, we have a professional courtesy. If a client mentions he is working with another agent, it is customary to find out why they contacted me. If they do not want to work with the other agent for a specific reason, no problem. But if they are just “shopping” then I refer them back to their agent. It is just good business.   My time is valuable as is that of the other agent and client.

Okay, I feel better now. I should not let this one experience cause me to question the integrity of other clients. I have been fortunate to deal with nice, honest people and need to focus on those positive experiences. If you are a prospective buyer, remember being honest with your agent sets the tone for the entire relationship and transaction.  This holds true for both agent and client.

Footnote: As promised, I did follow up with the prospective buyer and will hopefully be making an offer on a property this week.  I’m sure it was all a big misunderstanding:-)

How do you interview a Real Estate Agent?

Smart consumers interview potential real estate agents before deciding on whom to hire. Just as you are sizing up the potential for a good fit, rest assured that the real estate agent will likely be interviewing you, too.

1. How Long Have You Been in the Business?
Experience is valuable, but that’s not to say that freshly licensed agents aren’t valuable. Much depends on whether they have access to competent mentors and the level of their training. Newer agents tend to have more time to concentrate on you. Some agents with 20 years of experience repeat their first year over and over. Other 20-year agents learn something new every year.

2. Will You Please Provide References?

Everybody has references. Even new agents have references from previous employers.

3. What Are the Top Three Things That Separate You From Your Competition?
A good agent won’t hesitate to answer this question and will be ready to fire off why she is best suited for the job. Find out what area they consider themselves experts.

4. May I Review Documents Beforehand That I Will Be Asked to Sign?
A sign of a good real estate agent is a professional who makes forms available to you for preview before you are required to sign them. If at all possible, ask for these documents upfront.

5. How Much Do You Charge?
All real estate fees are negotiable. Typically, real estate agents charge a percentage, from 1% to 4% to represent one side of a transaction: a seller or a buyer.

6. What Haven’t I Asked You That I Need to Know?
Pay close attention to how the real estate agent answers this question because there is always something you need to know, always.

Source:  About.com

Do I need a Realtor to buy or sell property?

There is no law that says you need a Realtor to sell your property in California.  That being said, real estate is a complex transaction involving the sale of what is very likely one of the most valuable assets you own.   The legal requirements involved in buying and selling property in California have become increasingly complex in the past several years.  An active licensed Realtor is trained in these areas.

The top 5 reasons to hire a licensed professional Realtor:

1. Education & Experience:  You don’t need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a professional who does.

2. Realtors are Buffers:  Realtors do the screening for your showings and visits.  If you are selling, they will make sure and keep the “lookers” at bay and encourage the serious buyers to make an offer.

3. Price Guidance:  A Realtor will help guide clients on the selecting prices for sellers and buyers.  They are experts in the local market.  Based on market supply, demand and the conditions, the Realtor will devise a negotiation strategy.

4. Negotiation Skills & Confidentiality: Top producing Realtors negotiate well because, unlike most buyers and sellers, they can remove themselves from the emotional aspects of the transaction and because they are skilled.

5. Handling Volumes of Paperwork:  Purchase agreements run 10+ pages.  That does not include the federal, state and local disclosures.  Most real estate files average thicknesses from one to three inches of paper. One tiny mistake or omission could land you in court or cost you thousands.

Do I need an Realtor to buy or sell property?

There is no law that says you need a Realtor to sell your property in California.  That being said, real estate is a complex transaction involving the sale of what is very likely one of the most valuable assets you own.   The legal requirements involved in buying and selling property in California have become increasingly complex in the past several years.  An active licensed Realtor is trained in these areas.

The top 5 reasons to hire a licensed professional Realtor:

1. Education & Experience:  You don’t need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a professional who does.

2. Realtors are Buffers:  Realtors do the screening for your showings and visits.  If you are selling, they will make sure and keep the “lookers” at bay and encourage the serious buyers to make an offer.

3. Price Guidance:  A Realtor will help guide clients on the selecting prices for sellers and buyers.  They are experts in the local market.  Based on market supply, demand and the conditions, the Realtor will devise a negotiation strategy.

4. Negotiation Skills & Confidentiality: Top producing Realtors negotiate well because, unlike most buyers and sellers, they can remove themselves from the emotional aspects of the transaction and because they are skilled.

5. Handling Volumes of Paperwork:  Purchase agreements run 10+ pages.  That does not include the federal, state and local disclosures.  Most real estate files average thicknesses from one to three inches of paper. One tiny mistake or omission could land you in court or cost you thousands.

What is the best way to market my home?

When real estate markets cool down, typically inventory increases and the number of buyers decrease. Slowing market conditions make it more difficult to sell homes, yet some homes still sell. So, why do some homes get offers and others sit on the market? The answer relates not only to the home itself but equally important it lies within the poor quality of the marketing efforts.

Here are mistakes sellers and their agents repeat over and over. Don’t let it happen to you.

Pictures:  Pictures are the first thing a potential buyer will see and speak volumes and are noticed before the written word.  Make sure the photos are high resolutions and are not too dark and have unnecessary elements cropped out.  These include pictures used on fliers, websites and other marketing materials.

Information:  You need more than a property address and number of bedrooms.  Make sure you tell the buyer why they should make an appointment to see the home.  What makes your home unique?

Home Previews:  Just like buyers, agents don’t have the time to look at every home on the markets.  Make sure your agent includes the home at least once on weekly caravan for other agents and ensure your home is as attractive as possible.  Agents are more likely to sell a home they have toured.   In addition, make sure your home is easily accessible for potential buyers.  The easier to see –  the more likely to sell.

Advertising:  Whether you pay for the advertising or your agent does, you need to let everyone know it is for sale.  Say “yes” to advertising. This includes online, print ads, open houses and virtual tours.

Source:  About.com

What is a CMA and Why do You Need One?

CMA is real estate acronym for “Comparative Market Analysis.”  A CMA is prepared by a real estate agent providing data comparing your property to similar properties in the area.

The first thing an agent will need to do to provide you with a CMA is to visually inspect your property. This inspection won’t be overly detailed – just a visual walk through allowing the agent to make an accurate assessment of its condition and worth.

The next step is for the agent to obtain data on comparable properties. This data is usually available through MLS (Multiple Listing Service), and a qualified agent will make adjustments for differences in your property and the other properties available.  This will give the agent an idea how much your property is worth in the current market. The CMA is not an appraisal. An appraisal must be performed by a licensed appraiser.

The CMA process takes place before your home is listed for sale. This is a good assessment of what your house could potentially sell for.

CMAs are not only for prospective sellers. Buyers should consider requesting a CMA for properties they are seriously looking at to determine whether the asking price is a true reflection of the current market. Owners who are upgrading or remodeling can benefit from a CMA when it’s used to see if the intended changes will “over-improve” their property compared to others in the neighborhood.

Source: California Association of Realtors