Monday, June 17, 2013

When the Going Gets Tough...Hire an Expert!! Great Article...

Want to Sell?  Hire a Realtor

Home sellers are more than twice as likely to get their homes sold if they use a Realtor®, rather than trying to sell their home on their own, according to a new survey conducted by HomeGain of 400 home owners nationwide from July 31 to Aug. 10. Seventy-three percent of the home owners surveyed said they used a Realtor®.

On the other hand, 21 percent of those surveyed said they tried to sell their home themselves. The survey found that 66 percent of the home owners who used a Realtor® were able to successfully sell their home compared to 30 percent of for-sale-by-owners. 

What’s more, the survey found that 22 percent of the for-sale-by-owners eventually decided to use a Realtor® to try to sell their home. More than half of those who did were then able to sell their homes too, the survey found. 

“The value of a Realtor® in a real estate transaction is made strikingly apparent in our 2012 FSBO verses Realtor ® survey of home sellers,” says Louis Cammarosano, general manager of HomeGain. “A qualified Realtor ® understands the dynamics of the market and can better assist home sellers in the pricing and preparation of their homes for sale.”
Source: HomeGain

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Not Created Equal...

Not all licensed real estate agents are created equal. And for good reason.  Not all sellers and buyers are created equal nor do they have the same needs and expectations.  I am saying this because over the past few weeks, as I have attended listing appointments, sellers in particular have been surprised that not all agents do the same things or have the same designations.

First, not all licensed agents are Realtors.  Realtors are members of a trade association that take real estate ethics to the next level.  All agents should abide by real estate law, but the Realtor association lays down an additional layer of ethics through their code of ethics and their adherence to the Golden Rule. In my humble opinion, using a Realtor, asking if your agent is one, and knowing the difference, is pretty important.

Not all companies use a showing service to set appointments.  Make sure yours does.  Nothing is more frustrating to a buyer and a buyers' agent than wanting to see your home and not being able to reach the listing agent or anyone at their firm.  Hire an agent whose company subscribes to a showings service that is open 7 days a week and 364 days of the year. Lost showings are lost offers. Period.

Not all agents in the same firm use the same marketing tools.  Ask when interviewing what your agent is going to do for you, that other agents both in their firm and outside their firm are not going to do.  You want to choose an agent who invests in their brand and business. Agents who have "skin in the game" treat their business like a business and have incentive to sell your home.

Agents do NOT get paid a salary.  We make money only when we sell a home. For the most part we are all self-employed, independent contractors who run a small business under the umbrella of a larger firm.  Usually we pay the firm to work under that umbrella.

Not all agents are FULL-TIME.  Your should be.  You need someone who works on a daily basis and understands the full-time nature and access to availability that the real estate industry demands.  Ask during your interview how much they are in the office and how many hours, on average, they work a week. If they stumble on that question, then they probably don't have a business-plan for their own business and might be challenged when it comes to a marketing plan for your home.

Not all commissions are the same.  There is NO STANDARD fee. It's all negotiable.  However, make sure you know what you are paying for because usually you get what you pay for.  If your agent has a difficult time protecting their fee and income, how do you think they are going to fare on your behalf when an offer comes in and they are negotiating YOUR equity? 

If you have specific questions on interviewing the right agent for you or if you would like to set up an interview please give us a call 336-817-3598 or shoot me an email.


Hit the Road Jack...

If you're planning to hit the road this summer for a quick getaway or a lengthy family sabbatical, there are a few things you might want to plan on in order to care for your home while you're away.  Though this list is certainly not 100% comprehensive, it does serve as a nice checklist for the highlights.

-Pets...make sure you arrange boarding ahead of time. Kennels are booked early and there's nothing like stressing over whether or not your pet is going to be well-loved while you're out of town. Shots and records need to be current and printed prior to arrival in the event your pet has not boarded a particular kennel. If pets are staying home or staying with family/friends, make sure you leave specific instructions on care along with ample food and treats. It's usually a good idea to have  a visitation or two prior to your trip to introduce both parties.

-Mail...Have a trusted neighbor, friend or family to check your mail every other day or request your local post office to hold your mail until you return. This is a free service not often used.

-Plants...You've worked too hard this Spring on your flowers to let them burn in the hot Summer sun.  Pay a neighborhood kid or find a service that waters and/or weeds flower beds and gardens.

-Thermostat...Set your thermostat at a higher temperature to prevent unnecessary running while you aren't there. However, avoid the temptation to turn completely off as it will take longer and require the system to run harder when you return to get things back to a normal comfort level.

-Refrigerator...It's a great time to throw items away that might expire while you're away. Nothing worse than coming home to molded, smelly food in the fridge.

-Laundry...Have the majority of your laundry completed prior to leaving because when you come home, you know there will be LOTS to do.  No need to double the burden.  If you don't have the time look into laundromats where you can drop off laundry for wash n' fold that's paid for by the pound.

-Yard...If you are going to be away for longer than a week, find a yard maintenance person who can trim the grass.  Nothing says, "I'm not home" like an unkempt yard.  No reason to invite thieves into your home.

-Drive By...Some local police departments will actually drive-by your home while you are away while on their regular beat.  Ask your local police department if this is a service they offer.

-Security System...If you have a security system TURN IT ON!!  If you don't, give me a call and I can put you in touch with some companies that monitor and install very reasonably.  The added comfort of knowing your home is monitored while you're away is worth every penny. Some even offer video activation so that you can check in on pets and the house.  Not to mention, most insurance companies usually give you a discount if you have a system.

Happy Trails to You!!