Posts Tagged ‘listings’

Keeping the “Real” in Real Estate

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

The real estate business has definitely evolved over the last few decades, with the growth of technology being the main contributor. But when it comes down to it, working with a real estate agent is not just about finding a savvy salesperson, but rather it is about finding someone who truly has your best interests at heart and is willing to work hard to find the right property or sell your home, at the right price, with the best terms. It is not so much a sales relationship as it is a trusted adviser relationship. An agent plays many roles throughout the buying and selling process – researcher, chauffeur, adviser, negotiator, paperwork coordinator, and therapist – to name a few. For sale

As they always will, many people try to come up with ways to find and convert “leads” to clients, from advertising to cold calling to handing out cards to people all day long and asking for referrals from past clients, friends and family members. In the last year I have seen some interesting attempts to woo potential buyers and sellers, and although I am impressed with those who are trying hard, I must say I have been surprised at some of these methods:

1.  Recorded Calls: I received my first recorded sales call from a real estate agent last year. I was surprised because the agent, who had a lot of enthusiasm, sounded like he was trying to sell me a used car. He went on and on about how he could help me buy or sell a home, and about his strengths as an agent. Now, I must say that selling real estate is not difficult – anyone can do it. BUT not everyone can do a great job at taking care of the PEOPLE, the clients. I have always said that this business is not about houses, it is about people.

2.  Print Marketing: Marketing via mail and email has always and will continue to be a very strong way for the real estate agent to get business – s/he creates a lovely flyer or brochure and lists skills and past sales and testimonials to make her/him look amazing. S/he even uses words like “Number 1 agent” and “Top agent,” “sold more homes than anyone else.” The trick is that many agents can say these things by putting a spin on the information, and these statements can be true.

justice-scalesMany of these advertisements actually constitute ethical violations in my opinion (and I have been trying to get the rules changed to prevent this, but that is another story). For example, if you are a broker who oversees say 30 buying agents, and among those agents your brokerage or team sold 100 homes last year, how is it ethical for you yourself to claim you sold over 100 homes last year – you did not do that personally, your agents contributed many of those sales. But to the average homeowner who receives your marketing piece, you look like you have done more business than anyone else. Glossy marketing pieces with claims to being “the top producer” do sway the average Jane and Joe many times. Like the political arena, I think that if agents are going to make claims like this they need to explain the truth behind the claims.

3. TV Commercials and movie theater advertising: These types of marketing can also be valuable, but again the time is limited and the agent has only a few moments to convince you of how incredible they are at their job. There is no fine print – but if it gets you to remember their name and call them then the piece has achieved the goal set by the agent. Again, anyone can make a great marketing piece that makes them look like the best agent ever – and of course that is what all salespeople try to do.

4. Broker Calls to Agents About Homes “Coming Soon” to the Market: This newest method is interesting, and is aimed at local area agents. A broker has an agent make calls to other agents’ voicemails, reading from a script about a home that is not yet listed on the open MLS but soon will be – they tell the agents (it seems agents are chosen based on who sells the most in a given area – not all agents receive these calls) that they are giving them a chance to show the property to their buyers before it hits the MLS. Now, if you happen to be an agent working with a buyer and get a call describing the perfect home, this could be a win-win for your client. But if you are an agent and do not get that call, or if you are a buyer looking online and waiting for the perfect home to pop up, you are truly at a disadvantage in such a situation. So this can be a good or poor method of advertising, depending on how you look at it.

5. “Coming Soon” Listings Posted on Third Party Sites: There are some third party sites (such as Zillow and Trulia) that allow agents to post “coming soon” listings. Not all agents can do this – they must pay to become an elite member of these sites, and then they have the “privilege” of posting such properties. It’s great for the agents – they likely get at least some calls from potential buyers – but for those buyers who are not looking on those sites they get the short end of the stick if the home sells before hitting the MLS. Similarly, agents can send out e-flyers or emails about listings that are coming to the market soon, and if this is done fairly (sent to ALL agents in a county), then that is a great advertising tool. It is not fair to the potential buyer who is not working with an agent and who waits for properties to list on the MLS, but of course this is just one of the many benefits of working with an agent (we tend to hear about up and coming listings from many industry sources – agents, appraisers, lenders, sellers, etc.).


From my perspective I believe that all agents should be able to advertise and “sell” their services and skills. But I think there are 2 rules that need to always be adhered to by real estate agents and brokers: 1. Keep it classy. 2. Be honest and ethical. If the local real estate associations who govern agents and make rules set out to make the rules stricter, I think it would be beyond valuable to potential buyers and sellers.

If you are looking for a real estate agent, remember to get the full picture – what can s/he do for you that is different from other agents? Make sure you will not be just a number – some agents have teams of people working for them and they represent many clients – if you like this than great, if not you may want to look for an experienced agent who treats you like you are the only client. Everyone has different needs, so make sure you get all your questions answered and find the person who is best able to help you; shiny materials and boasts about being a “top producer” should play into your decision minimally (although you do want someone who can sell your home with strong marketing and advertising abilities), but you need to feel comfortable with the person and what s/he can offer you.

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How To Get the Highest Appraisal Value for Your Listing

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Appraisals are getting “tighter” and soon even more deals could begin crashing as buyers and sellers haggle the run up in asking prices. Understanding  ( to an appraiser) your  listing is simply a $500 appraisal fee, to you it’s a 3-6% commission; so by being proactive you will minimize the risks of losing large commission checks !   images

Quick Background on Appraisals

Dodd-Frank created a standardized federal licensing process for loan officers (“L/O’s) and appraisers. All appraisals must be performed by an independent third party (“arm’s length”) appraisal service.

The appraiser’s job is to inspect the property, compare it to similar (sold) properties, in closest proximity (up to one mile) and in the most recent time frame (up 6 months). The appraiser uses mathematical formulas (primarily price per sq. ft.) to derive a market value.  Pretty straight forward, until we get to amenities -then it becomes very subjective. One appraiser can value a fireplace at $8,000 and another at $15,000 or a view at $35,000 and another at $100,000.

There is no effective way to determine which appraiser is most accurate.

What Agents Can Do

dreamstime_988060If the appraisal is going to be “tight” there are actions you can take:

1.  When the appraisal is ordered make sure the loan officer lists you as the only “property access” contact. If the home is vacant, take off the lock box (and enter that notation into the MLS).  This guarantees the appraiser will call you for access to the property. Meeting the appraiser at the property is an opportunity to present the most up to date comps.

2.  If it feels appropriate, walk the appraiser thru the highlights of the property.

3.  Be friendly and helpful but NOT pushy!!! Appraisers are very sensitive about pressure to “hit the value”.

4.  Are there listings currently closing? Call the other listing agents and get info on when they are due to close. Better to delay the appraisers’ appt. until another home (with a higher value) closes a day or two later.

5.  Don’t rely on the MLS,  call your title service (daily if necessary) to check on a pending recording. As you know: It’s not unusual for MLS data “to lag” several days!

6.  FHA and VA appraisals often focus on more on “minutiae” than conventional Fannie/Freddie appraisals. Minor repairs ( i.e. leaky faucets – missing lite bulbs-etc)  can require an appraiser to come out for a 2nd time to “sign off” on the completed repairs) and delay your escrow’s closing by days/weeks and add several hundred dollars to the buyer’s costs. So be prepared to (pre) employ a handyman to fix small items (In reality, buyers will want many items repaired anyway).


This helpful article was written and reprinted with permission by Dan Dobbs. You can visit his website at I felt this was a great article to share it because it provides great information to agents and sellers alike, which can help make sure all is done to assure a successful appraisal.

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December Real Estate Sales are HOT!

Monday, December 16th, 2013

It may be a little cooler here in San Diego than we are used to, but the real estate market is definitely heating up. Every year I think that December will be a slow month and that I will get to relax a bit, and every year I am wrong..this year is no exception. There are 1179 pending sales in the county as of December 1. I think this December could end up being one of the busiest in years for homes going into escrow.images

Why is the market so hot right now? I think there are a few reasons, but suffice it to say that the buyers who are out there looking are very serious, and they are making very strong offers to boot. Here are a few reasons why I believe the market is on fire this December:

1.  Market changes: I think the biggest factor in the buyer frenzy is that there have been some significant changes in the market here in San Diego (and in many other places as well). For starters, most listings are priced well, and the multiple offer frenzy seems to have died down. Even though inventory is still on the low side, those homes that are listed tend to show well. Priced right + show well = interested buyers. The buyers who are out there looking are very savvy – most of them have seen multiple properties and know not only what they want, but how much homes are worth. When they find one that meets all their criteria, they are willing to make offers over asking price to prevent multiple offer situations.

For sellers this holiday season is going to turn out to be a great time to list and sell – if their homes are priced right and show well, most sellers will be happy they lived through the hassle of selling during this time of year.  Loan qualification changes: I have discussed this in several blogs, so it is no surprise to hear that the major lenders have stated that it will be more difficult for people to qualify for loans come the new year. Tougher qualification standards will be put into play, creating the possibility that some buyers may be pushed out of the market. This could have some potential buyers worried, creating more of a sense of urgency to find properties sooner rather than later.

3.  Interest rate rise: We have been hearing about this one for a while as well, and there is no doubt in my mind that there WILL be rises in interest rates in the new year. How much and how many is a mystery, but this still seems to have an affect on those buyers who are ready to purchase and want to lock in the lowest rates possible.

4.  The unknown future: Given the status of last year’s Spring inventory (which was very low), it remains to be seen what will happen come Spring 2014. There are many factors that will influence whether we will see an inventory surge – interest rates, loan qualification standards, the economy and job market, etc. There will be a big comfort factor involved in whether sellers choose to list their homes or wait until things stabilize further in the economy. Fear of the unknown future may cause some buyers to buy now rather than wait to see what happens. Many feel that real estate is on the mend, but that it is still a volatile economy. This can go either way, but with the number of serious buyers out there right now I think it is creating the desire to buy now rather than wait it out and see what happens in the Spring.

It definitely is a hot market here in San Diego this December…it will be interesting to see the numbers come out and be able to compare them to the last several Decembers for previous years.

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Selling Your Home During the Holiday Season

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

I wrote the following post several years ago, but it is still pertinent (probably even more so today, as there are many serious buyers home shopping right now). The holidays can be a great time to sell…have a look (or a second look) and see why:Xmas tree & menorah

Heading into the holidays can be a stressful time for most people, especially when you have a home to sell in the midst of all the celebrations. Many sellers take their homes off the market before the holidays, or avoid listing them altogether, to avoid added stress, but this time of year can actually be a blessing for the home seller. There are some good reasons to keep or start marketing your home over the holidays.

1.  Serious buyers. Buyers who are looking for homes over the holidays tend to be serious buyers, given the fact that they are looking for homes during the holiday season. With less inventory out there this makes it an ideal time for sellers.

2.  Less competition. Since so many sellers take their homes off the market you will have less competition. If your home shows well (holiday decor is ok and is expected at this time of year) and is priced well this could be a big benefit to you. There are buyers out there who need to find places to live over the holidays. If you are worried about showings when you are celebrating or have guests, simply have your agent ask for more notice for appointments, and you can even specify showing times that would be easiest on you.

3.  Highlight the warmth of your home. The holidays are a great time to really highlight the warmth of your home. As long as you don’t go overboard with decorations, gift clutter or holiday smells (like holiday candles), a little festivity can give your home a welcoming feel. Make sure not to block any ares where natural light comes into the home.

While selling your home over the holidays can be challenging, if you designate showing times and keep your home in tip top showing shape, there is no reason you have to let it interfere with holiday enjoyment.

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7 Markets With The Fastest Rising List Prices

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013


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