Archive for the ‘Realtor tips’ Category

Home Sellers, List Agents Beware: Lockbox and Home Break-ins on Rise

Friday, June 17th, 2016

There seem to be a a slurry of lockbox break-ins and subsequent home break-ins or attempts lately in the San Diego County area, so if you have a home for sale or are a listing agent, please read on so you can be informed and safe. th

Several agents – including myself – have reported lockbox break-ins or attempted break-ins within the last few months. One agent group to which I belong had multiple agents telling stories of lockbox thefts, with subsequent break-ins or attempts. It seems there is a pattern: the thieves come in the middle of the night and use power tools to break the lockbox off doors or pipes. They then take it and return with the key the following day to attempt home robbery.

One agent reported that her seller noticed in the morning as he was leaving for work that that lockbox had been cut. He stayed home and had a locksmith come immediately to change the locks – the thief/thieves returned later that day and attempted to access the home, but luckily were unable to do so – they decided not to use another lockbox.

Another agent said her lockbox had been cut and the thieves returned and stole an oven from the home.

Last month my sellers heard someone tampering with their lockbox between 2-3 AM (Mrs. Seller happened to be up nursing the baby); when Mr. Seller ran to the door and opened it the thief jumped in his waiting car and sped away. We removed the lockbox.

I spoke with the Carlsbad Police Department and they have not had any reports of this from agents or homeowners. I encouraged my clients to report their incident when it happened, but they did not get a description of the man, nor could they tell the make or model of the vehicle or license plate number – it all happened so fast – so they did not report it. The police department recommended not using lockboxes.

After reading the other agent stories a few days ago I removed a lockbox from a listing of mine and made showings by appointment only. Obviously this is an inconvenience for buyer agents, because they and I have to find mutually available times to meet, but it is better that my sellers are protected.

Keep in mind that real estate lockboxes are very well-made and are supposed to be break-in proof, according to the local Realtor association, but with battery operated power tools it is obvious that this is not the case. Never use contractor lockboxes, as these are much more flimsy and easier to break open. Either way, if you are a listing agent or seller you may want to consider this information and decide how to proceed.

If you are an agent please let me know if you have a similar story to share – and please report it to your local police department. This effects our business and our clients…hopefully there will be a way to stop it from happening that will not inconvenience home sellers and agents.

 

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Realtors Beware of Fraud When Purchasing Business Products

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Yesterday I found out I was the victim of fraud, resulting from a purchase I made from a well-known real estate business products company. It turns out one of their employees, who had helped me place an order over the phone (I tried to do so online but needed the art department to fix some art work), stole my credit card number and went on a shopping spree – spending about $1000 on my card. fraud

I found out about this because of the kindness of a vendor, who realized that my zip code and the shipping zip code were different. He Googled me and called me to ask if I had spend a large sum at his online fishing clothing site. I don’t fish, nor do I wear fishing related clothing. Thank you to this vendor, who took the time to investigate what he thought was a “fishy” purchase (pun intended), I contacted my bank.

It took me a few hours to realize that I knew exactly where the fraud occurred. Luckily for me, I do not use my business credit card often, other than some monthly recurring business fees. I happened to use it to order some products early in May, and the company was based in Florida. The 9 charges that were made on my card were in Florida, so I put it all together and contacted the company. They were able to figure out who it was and I filed police reports both in Florida and in my hometown.

The lesson I learned from this is that I will never again provide my credit card information verbally when placing an order. I did receive apologies from management (personally I would have comped me for my order for all the trouble I went through – I had to deal with this for several hours during my work day – but that’s a difference of opinion in the definition of customer service).

So next time you order business products online, no matter how trustworthy the site, if you have no alternative than to pay over the phone make sure to ask for the supervisor or top manager – do not give your personal information to ANY employee. Sadly, the guy who helped me place my order that day was great on the phone – hopefully he will be practicing those skills from a cell for the next several years (I was told that he had done this before and they couldn’t prove it – they now have evidence to do so). Makes me miss prosecuting people like this guy. In short, he messed with the wrong lady.

If you are into fishing and want to buy some great clothes, please shoot me an email and I will hook you up with the vendor’s site, as I checked it out and he really has some nice clothing! There are still good people in this world, and that solidifies my belief in the human race. So thank you to Neil from Florida!

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Updated California Residential Purchase Agreement Coming Soon

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

If you are a real estate agent in California you may have heard that there will  be a new Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA) on November 24, 2014. What does this mean to agents? First of all, it means you will need to learn how the new contract will affect your sales. Since many agents don’t bother to ready through the RPA on a regular basis, this is a chance to start off fresh and really understand how the document works and protects your buyers and sellers. http://www.dreamstime.com/-image9839542

Here are some of the highlights of the new RPA.

1.  Extended buyer contingency period. The standard contingency period of 17 days will be extended to 21 days. This offers more protection for the buyer, but may have the sellers biting their nails for 4 extra days. Nevertheless, it gives the lender more time to secure the loan and provides better peace of mind for all in that respect.

2.  Loan and appraisal contingencies will be separate. The current contract ties the two together, so that removal of one means removal of the other. The new RPA will separate these two contingencies, such that the buyer will still have an “out” if the home does not appraise or if the loan is denied, even if the other contingency had been removed. However, the seller is protected as well, in cases where buyers have waived or removed the appraisal contingency, as they cannot back out if the home does not appraise.

3.  Buyer direct deposit added to initial deposit field. There will now be a check box allowing the buyer to select to send their initial deposit to escrow via direct deposit.

4.  All cash offer added to first page. The “all cash offer” check box has been added under Finance Terms in section 3 on page one.

5.  Broker scope of duty. An entire paragraph has been added (section 18 B) that outlines the broker’s scope of duty in regards to the contract – what the broker is and is not liable for in relation to the contract. This provides more protection for brokers.

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It is important to take a class to understand all the changes to the RPA so that you are prepared and know the legal ramifications. Most local associations are offering free classes, so check with yours and sign up. As with all legal documents, changes usually offer further protection to the parties involved in signing them, so make sure you are able to best represent your clients and stay educated!

For a list of courses around the state click here.

For a list of online self-study courses click here.

 

 

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Real Estate Agents: What You Need to Know to Avoid Litigation

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Because we live in a litigious society, if you are a real estate agent or broker there is always the threat of litigation hanging over your head. Working on a daily basis with contract and legal consequences, we all need to keep vigilant to protect ourselves. If you are named in a lawsuit or go into arbitration proceedings, keep in mind that you may have to pay the full cost of your errors and omissions insurance deductible.dreamstime_5338072

Here are some ways to help you stay away from the arbitration table and out of the courtroom:

1.  Have your broker review all your contracts. Unfortunately this is not something that is done with every contract in every brokerage, but it should be. Many brokers review the contracts and related documentation towards the end of the sale. If there were any egregious errors or omissions it may be too late at that time. I have often wondered why the local boards who make the rules do not make it a requirement that a broker review every contract before it is sent out. I have seen more poorly written contracts than I can count, and one recently where the buyers’ agents actually designated me as the representative of their client! Needless to say, I make a lot of phone calls to brokers.

You may think you know how to write a contract and you may have many years of experience doing so, but if you are not a lawyer it is a benefit to you to have broker review every time – it could save your behind and your pocketbook.

2.  Do not draft any addenda without legal or broker advice, as the wording needs to be approved to avoid legal ramifications. Remember, only attorneys are allowed to draft contracts. Most agents freely draft addenda and amendments all the time, but this really needs to stop. There are ways to word changes in order to make sure that the intended result is properly defined and cannot be construed any other way. Many agents may disagree with me here, but we need broker review on any documents related to the contract, because it can be construed as practicing law.

3.  Never give legal advice to clients. Almost every agent knows that this is a big no-no, but as a lawyer I have personally heard countless agents say things to their clients that either is legal advice or is on the cusp of being classified as such. If a question involves anything about the contract other than general answers (such as expiration dates, how long a contingency period lasts or where to sign, for example), then advise your clients to seek the advice of an attorney.

4.  Read the contract and all related documentation before your clients sign anything, every time. You might think I am crazy, but I know for a fact that many agents either have never read the documents they have their clients sign, or do not read them often. I know this because I see mistakes all the time. I know it is boring (we lawyers write a lot of words to cover every point), but I promise you that this will benefit both you and your clients.

This comment is timely, as the California Association of Realtors is about to launch a new Residential Purchase Contract. Take the free classes that will be offered to learn about this new contract and how the changes will affect your clients and the way you fill out your contracts. The same goes for all locales and all paperwork. Your association likely always offers classes on learning the proper paperwork you’ll need as a real estate agent. If not, talk with your broker.

5.  Read through all paperwork after it has been signed to make sure you didn’t miss anything. I don’t think this needs explanation. Let’s just say that I am appalled by things that are left out in contracts all the time…things that likely would have been discovered by proof reading, and certainly by broker overview.

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The only way to avoid problems is to be vigilant, and doing so in real estate means understanding all forms, staying educated about changes and ramifications, never giving legal advice, and having all your paperwork reviewed by your broker. The hassle it may create will be nothing compared to being dragged into arbitration or court.

 

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Should We Report Unethical Real Estate Agents?

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Unethical people stink. We can find them in every profession, including real estate. I certainly have seen my share of such types and I know many other agents who have stories of their own. The frustrating fact is that many agents do not report ethical violations, and these people continue to work in such a manner. What can we do about it? It’s simple: REPORT THEM.

For those who are unaware, real estate agents and brokers, like many other professionals, are bound by a strict code of ethics. If you have never read the code you should – it is built on the idea that we are dealing with legal situations and that we represent others in these situations. It promotes professionalism and respect for our colleagues, and asks us to strive to do right by our clients, colleagues, our profession, and by society. It is something we should each read at least once a year.

There are a few ways you can report violators:

1.  Report to your local association. This is the quickest way to deal with an ethics violator. Associations may differ in their processes, but my local association has a simple way of doing so. First, a complaint form is filled out. It is submitted along with a written statement and any documentation that the complainant might possess. The complaint is reviewed by a committee, and then is scheduled for a hearing if found to warrant such (the complaints are deemed to be factual). The respondant is notified, has 15 days to respond,  and then both parties attend the hearing.

Many agents do not bother reporting violators because they do not want to face the respondant, or because they do not want to go through the time the process requires. But it is worth it to do so, because these unethical people will just continue to do what they are doing, and you could prevent innocent people from being hurt or damaged due to such actions.

Punishment: The local associations do not have the authority to take a respondant’s license away, but if they feel there are issues of public trust involved they can report the issue to the Department of Real Estate (DRE), which does have authority to revoke licenses.

The local boards can place a letter of warning in the respondant’s file, levy fines, require them to take ethics classes, and suspend membership from the association. If the agent’s association membership is suspended it will be published in the national database, where everyone can see it.

2.  Report to the DRE. The DRE’s role is to investigate potential violations of real estate law, such as financially related scenarios (e.g. where an agent/broker took monetary kickbacks), or loan fraud. Punishment is stricter, as the member could lose his/her license.

Check your agent’s status! You can check whether there have been any issues with your real estate agent/broker by clicking here. For agents and brokers, click on “Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons,” and them enter the required information.

If you are a buyer or seller and feel your agent may have committed an ethical violation, contact his/her broker. You may also want to contact their association and see what options you have in reporting them.

As professionals we need to report violations by other agents. If you are in a transaction and there is something fishy going on, you need to save all copies of communications with the other person, and any other evidence. Do not worry about getting involved in an investigation – we as a profession are only as strong as we choose to be. If we do not report those who don’t follow laws and rules, we are only hurting our profession and ourselves.

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5 Things Real Estate Listing Agents Should NOT Do!

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

There are times in any business where one must laugh at some of the antics that go on behind the scenes, some of the unprofessional things others in the business do and say. We have all been there, no matter in which field you work….I am sure you can conjure up a few times you were left scratching your head over something a colleague did. The real estate industry is no exception, and in fact I think there is even more room for inexcusable behavior because most agents are independent contractors and do not have anyone looking over their shoulder most of the time.

Listing agents have been made fun of in other blogs for lack of proper grammar, spelling errors, and all kinds of other things. I have to admit despite my shock at the lack of editing, I do find these blogs humorous (albeit sadly so). But there are a few things that REALLY make me question some agents’ professional goals. Here are the top 5 on my list:

1.  Listing a property and being unresponsive. If you list a home, obviously the seller thought highly enough of you to give you the listing…so now you actually have to do some work! Placing a listing on the MLS is an open invitation to people to ask questions. If you are not going to make yourself available to do so, than what are you doing listing homes?! This is one of my biggest frustrations, and I have had to tell many clients, “the listing agent has not returned my calls/emails.” I had one agent just last month who didn’t respond to calls, emails and texts about a property for almost a week! My client finally then wrote an offer, only to be rejected because another had come in during the noncommunicative time. This is not right, folks.

2.  Copying information from similar listings without verification. As agents are aware, when a buyer purchases a home there is a period of due diligence, where the buyer conducts inspections and investigates the property to her/his satisfaction. However, when you are inputting a listing to the MLS, it is so important to get the information right. If you find another similar property in the neighborhood and merely copy that information into your listing, you could be providing false information to buyers. Even though they have time to discover this, doesn’t it make more sense to get it right from the start, so as to avoid wasting anyone’s time, including yours and your seller’s?

3.  Directing agents to a website to book an appointment. In this day and age we are so technologically savvy, and I love that, BUT…real estate is still and will always be a business about people. We are not selling widgets, we are selling more than just a home – we are selling a lifestyle. The more personable and friendly you are, the better it is for everyone. If you want to have your showings scheduled via a website, fine. But I have 2 caveats: make sure the website works properly, AND provide a phone number where the agent/consumer can reach a live individual with questions!

4.  Limiting the method of communication with the listing agent.  I agree that there are times when a quick question can be addressed via email, but there are times when I like to speak with the agent, so I can get a feel as to how the agent works and ask multiple questions, especially if the property is a distressed property. An agent should NEVER limit the means of communication between other agents who may have interested clients with valid questions, as this is doing a disservice to your sellers.

5.  Placing viewing restrictions on the property. I understand there are times when some viewing restrictions must be imposed, such as in the case of tenants, a family with a baby or very young children, unfriendly pets or perhaps a homeowner who works at night and sleeps during the day. But if you want to get the home sold you have to coach your clients about being as flexible as possible. Putting a home on the market and telling agents it is a “drive by only, then submit offer in order to view property” is plain ridiculous and a waste of everyone’s time. Similarly, if you do not plan on letting people in the home, for pete’s sake have your sellers fill out a Instruction to Exclude the Listing from the MLS until it is ready to be viewed, and then place it live! Do what you can do to make the property as accessible as possible.

The real estate industry is not only consumer-centric, but is based on good old-fashioned principles of cooperation. If you want to represent your sellers to the best of your abilities, you and your listing need to be as accessible as possible.

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Planning for Business Success in the New Year

Monday, December 26th, 2011

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, spent with loved ones, and was able to take a little time off. I rarely do take time off, and these past few days were truly wonderful – just being with my family and not paying attention to my phone or computer. It was well-deserved and much appreciated, and now I am ready to focus on the New Year.

This time of year we typically see lots of advice on how to prepare our businesses and ourselves for the new year, so that we can be more successful. I hope the following will help you to focus on prioritizing, planning and achieving success.

Organize. I know many talented, smart business colleagues who are not reaching their full potential because they are not organized. The clutter in their business lives truly makes it hard for them to drive forward and be the ultimate version of themselves. Organization is so important in business and in all aspects of your life, and there is no time like the present to start. Whether you use programs and apps to keep track of expenses, files, clients, appointments, or plain file folders and tabs and spreadsheets…there is just so much out there to help you get organized.

This could obviously be a post in itself, so I’ll leave it at this: find the way that helps you best, and just get started. Load all your contacts into a program, organize your files, record all your expenses in a program or at least in a folder. Then make lists of all the things you can do to stay organized throughout the year, and stick to it.

Prioritize. I have really been focusing on this task with my middle-school aged daughter, and it is hard to learn. Many of us tend to jump in and tackle things, with no plan. But if you stop and prioritize first, you will make your life a lot easier. Sometimes in business everything can seem like top priority, and this is where you need to take a step back and not let things bog you down. I make a list each morning when I start work of the things I need to accomplish that day, in order of importance. Throughout the course of the day my list might be altered, things will have to be pushed down to the bottom, and others will have to be tabled until the following day. But the fact that I have this list every day makes getting things done a lot easier.

Contact management. This is clearly a must for any business dealing with clients or customers. Staying in contact with these people is not only important, it is the difference between business life and death. Keeping all your contacts in an organized fashion helps you to stay in contact with them, call them, and not forget that they are your most important assets. There are many programs to help you do this, from free (like MailChimp) to expensive (like TopProducer). You can also use spread sheets, but make sure you update them constantly and pay attention to these most important assets!

Blogging. I have written blogs about the importance of blogging, yet many people still do not blog. If it is fear preventing you from doing so, you have nothing to be afraid of. You do not have to be a writer to blog. What you do have to be in an area/field expert – talk about what you know. The more you do, the more you will be seen as an expert, which will drive customers to you. and open up other opportunities. If you don’t like to write you can use video. The important thing is just to do it, and to make your content rich with information – fun, interesting, and informative.

Time management. Your time is extremely valuable. Many of us get so caught up in all the things we have to do that we fail to take care of ourselves, spend time with loved ones, relax…we need all those things! You cannot be successful if you are just a driven machine all the time. Each weekend I schedule all my appointments for the week ahead – business appointments, meetings, classes, and everything else – like picking up my children from school, working out, family time, date night with my husband and personal appointments. If it is in my schedule it is sacred (sometimes things need to be moved around, but I strive to stick to it). If you still can’t do it, you might want to think about hiring an assistant.

The bottom line is that you can be more productive and more successful. Of course, there are other things you can do and you can take things  to another level with apps, programs and other ideas, but whatever you do this coming year, try to keep organized, prioritize, and make time for yourself. Have a very happy New Year!

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Why Is It Difficult for Investors to Buy Condos?

Friday, December 16th, 2011

In the last several months I have seen my investor clients face some big challenges in purchasing condominiums. I have had two sales almost fall apart in the 11th hour – luckily both buyers were able to close with cash at the last minute. There are a few roadblocks investors need to watch out for if they are considering condo investments.

1.  Owner occupancy rates below 51%. This issue is the most frustrating. In order to get a loan a complex must have an owner occupancy rate above 51%. Many complexes in the lower price ranges do not, and they are magnets for cash investors because of the low prices. If your investor needs to get a loan the lender needs to establish the occupancy ratios. The problem is that many times the information from the property management company confirming this is not received in a timely manner.

No matter what the reason, this is becoming a bigger problem for investors who need to obtain loans to purchase income property. I spend a lot of time conferring with my title representative to get owner occupancy information for complexes BEFORE I write offers. But today a mortgage colleague pointed out to me that the title companies may not have the most current information, and that I need to obtain that from the management companies. This creates another issue – many of these companies charge for this information, sometimes around $50. So who is to pay this money – the Realtor, the buyer? What if you have to research 5 or 10 different complexes to find one that will work…this could add up to a lot of money out of pocket.

There simply has to be a better way to find out this information, other than writing an offer and wasting everyone’s time (plus taking the property off the market, which precludes other offers the seller may have been able to obtain during that time).

2.  HOA lawsuits. This is another sale killer, and one that an investor client of mine just experienced – luckily she too was able to close with cash. The problem here is when the HOA is named as a defendant in a lawsuit, the lender likely will not issue a loan on the property. In my case, the HOA was suing a former owner for back HOA dues, and he in turn countersued the HOA, claiming it told him his dues would be waived in lieu of doing some construction work on the complex for the HOA. Apparently this was never in writing, so it could be a frivolous suit, but the lender still sees it as a suit against the HOA, which makes it a risky loan. It is unfortunate they cannot look at individual circumstances, but that of course would be time consuming.

3.  Too many mortgages. If an investor buyer has several mortgages s/he may have problems with financing a subsequent property. Buyers and agents need to speak with mortgage professionals before writing any offers, to make sure they understand whether they will qualify for another loan. Even so, I had one investor buyer who was told he would qualify, and in the 11th hour it did not work out. You need to be careful and allow time to research these things.

If you are an investor buyer, or if you are a real estate agent who works with one, you need to be careful and discuss these potential pitfalls with your client(s), as they can definitely create problems. Best to be prepared and try to gather as much information as possible before your client makes an offer. If you have any stories of failed investor purchases please share them below.

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Too Much Going On? Get Organized

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

This is definitely the time of year many people feel there is simply too much going on. It is easy to become overwhelmed – we need to tie up our end of the year business, finish projects, visit doctors, plan parties and holidays, buy gifts, spend money…it can be maddening. Throw in the fast paced nature of our lives, with all the mobile connectedness – and it is enough to drive us crazy.

This morning my sixth grader woke up and realized she forgot to study for two tests today. This is my A student, who never has to be reminded to do her homework. Yesterday after school she did her homework and then had a few girlfriends over – a rarity, as there is usually too much homework (most kids barely have time for sports, after school activities and, hey what a concept – just being kids). She started off her day worried and stressed – not the ideal situation I want for my child.

The point is that we all need to be a little more organized, a little less anally retentive, and realize that we will get through it. I am thinking of hiring an assistant. I have finally come to admit that I cannot do it all myself. Delegation is permissible; I can still direct and approve. If we want to be the best at what we do, whether it be our job, parenting, or anything else, the key is organization. Believe it or not, the tech-savvy world is on your side on this one, and there are easy ways you can stay organized and be able to do it all.

Use your smart phone calendars. Yes, these devices are a blessing – allowing us to work from our children’s soccer games, access our desktops from out of state, or send documents in an instant. We also need to learn there is a time to turn them off. But for organizational purposes they really are beneficial. Use the calendars on your phones, set reminders for yourself. This is the best way to stay organized.

Organizational Apps. If you need extra help, there are organizational apps available on your smart phones. I do not personally use these, but for those who need extra help I have heard they are fantastic.

Make a daily schedule. Every morning I write down a list of what I need to accomplish that day. Of course, things can change in an instant, but I know that my goal is to get through that list as best I can. I number it in order of importance. If I don’t get to everything it is not the end of the world, but I know that the most important things will get accomplished. I check my phone calendar as I make my list, and make sure I am in sync with what needs to be addressed.

Schedule personal time in advance. I schedule personal time right into my calendar each weekend, for the week. I put my workout and yoga schedule into my phone, so I know that I cannot make any appointments during that time. This way I am not trying to fit exercise into my busy schedule, but instead I am building my schedule around my health. This benefits not only me, but my clients and workload, because I feel better and can be more efficient.

Use free time to stay in contact/learn/plan. If you end up having free slots during your workday, that is the best time to do several things: call or visit your clients, catch up on reading industry news and blogs, and planning for the upcoming week. Take a client or colleague to lunch or coffee. Staying in contact with your clients and colleagues is the best way to stay on top of industry information and show people how much you appreciate them. This is my favorite thing to do.

Most people who have a high degree of stress in their business lives are not well organized. We can ALL be better organized, even if we think we are already there. This is a great time of year to look at your business plan and make those necessary tweaks, to reconnect, plan ahead and focus on your goals. It may seem overwhelming, but staying organized will benefit you in the long run.

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Realtors Who Don’t Do Their Job

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Like most hardworking Realtors, I look through MLS listings daily, and often I am surprised at what I see Realtors doing. Here are some of the things that really make me wonder whether the seller knows things could be better, that they deserve more, and why the agent is doing business in that way.

Know the facts! If you take a listing, make sure you verify all the facts before publishing it to the MLS. I showed a home last year that had the wrong zip code/city listed. My client had asked about a home in a particular neighborhood, and it was not coming up in local searches of the neighborhood. If your home has a “peek” as opposed to a view, be honest about that. If you don’t know something and cannot find out, state in the listing that the answer is not known. I have seen all kinds of data mistakes over the years, so it is imperative to be careful.

Listing photos: Every agent should use a professional photographer to take photos of a listing. There are a few exceptions, but the majority of properties just show better if a professional photographer takes the shots. Lighting and special lenses make a huge difference. Today I saw a few listings that had pictures that were blurry, dark and just hard to see. This does no justice to the property, and there is evidence that buyers who look online will not click on listings that have bad photos, or only a single photo. The money you spend on a photographer who can also provide a virtual tour (people love videos) will pay off.

Using comments to create a sense of urgency:  “This one won’t last” and “hurry” may seem like a good idea to some, but this type of posturing wouldn’t make me want to see the home, especially in a buyer’s markets. Instead, you want to use descriptive language to really highlight the home’s features and make the buyer feel that the home is special. If the home sits for a while with no bites you may want (aside from a possible price reduction) to change your descriptions.

Typos and grammar: Maybe it’s the writer in me, but when I see a listing with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes I cringe. If I were the seller I would NOT be happy if my home were listed in this way. Seriously, if you cannot proofread, or if English is not your first language, please have someone proof your comments for you before you post the listing to the MLS! Not only are you doing your seller an injustice, but you are also making yourself look unprofessional.

Some photos have an expiration date: If you listed a house before Christmas and you have photos of the living room with the Christmas tree and stockings, there comes a time to take new photos. No one should see that tree or snow in the yard in August. Again, it’s not helping your seller or your reputation.

List and pray technique: As the majority of us know, if you have a listing you can’t just put it on the MLS and hope to get offers. Believe it or not there are many agents who do this! This is a blatant failure in client representation, and in my eyes it is a breach of the duties we owe our clients. A client recently told me he “knows that listing agents don’t really do much.” Well, I don’t know about you but if I got paid for the time I put into each listing I would be a happy camper. An agent should be working his/her tail off to sell a listing. It involves not only money but a lot of time, hard work and creativity. Sellers should realize they deserve this – they are paying for it!

There are slackers in every profession, and there are those who are successful but seem not to work too hard. I believe that you are only as good as you feel – if you can truly believe that you worked as hard as you could to help a client, you are doing the right thing. If not, learn from your mistakes and do better next time. There is always something to learn, and always ways to improve.

 

 

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