real estate agent

How to Get the Most Money When Selling Your Home

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Every homeowner wants to make sure they get the best price when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to ensuring you get the highest price possible.

1. Price it a LITTLE LOW 

This may seem counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their home a little OVER market value will leave them room for negotiation. In reality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for their house (see chart below).

Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers fighting with each otherover the house.

Realtor.com gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

2. Use a Real Estate Professional

This, too, may seem counterintuitive, as the seller likely believes that he or she will net more money if they don’t have to pay a real estate commission. With that being said, studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.

Research posted by the National Association of Realtors revealed that:

“The median selling price for all FSBO homes was $185,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number sinks to the median selling price of $163,800. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $245,000 – nearly $60,000 more for the typical home sale.”

Bottom Line

Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. This will guarantee that you maximize the price you get for your house.

 

Posted by the KCM Crew

Top 5 Reasons You Should Not For Sale By Owner

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In today’s market, with home prices rising and a lack of inventory, some homeowners may consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons why this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are the top five reasons:

1. Exposure to Prospective Buyers

Recent studies have shown that 94% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 17% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

2. Results Come from the Internet

Where did buyers find the home they actually purchased?

  • 51% on the internet
  • 34% from a Real Estate Agent
  • 9% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspapers

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale By Owner:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value

4. FSBOing Has Become More And More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.

The 8% share represents the lowest recorded figure since NAR began collecting data in 1981.

5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $185,000, while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $245,000. This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $60,000 more for your home, as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

You Need a Professional on Your Team When Buying a Home

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Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream home or if they should first try to do it on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide if You Are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with land mines; you need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and is ready for you to move into can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift through the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home.”

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in securing your dream home. 

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Realize that when an agent is negotiating their commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family?

If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal. 

Bottom Line

Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Talk with one of our agents today to get started on buying your next home!

5 Reasons to Resolve to Hire a Real Estate Professional [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Some Highlights:

  • As we usher in the new year, one thing is for certain… if you plan to buy or sell a house this year, you need a real estate professional on your team!
  • There are many benefits to using a local professional!
  • Pick a pro who knows your local market and can help you navigate the housing market!

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional When Buying & Selling!

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Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey; you need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but rather have been strengthened, due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to pick up steam. 

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions are, to make sure that you acquire your dream? 

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process. 

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $185,000 compared to $245,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of the most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?

Posted by The KCM Crew

Making the Most of an Open House Visit

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Here are some best practices for buyers at all ends of the home-buying spectrum.

Open houses are the gold standard in real estate. They’ve been around for decades and will be ingrained in the buying and selling of homes for years to come.

The average buyer attends three open houses, according to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, a survey of more than 13,000 homeowners, sellers, buyers, and renters. Seventy-one percent of all buyers attend at least open house, and first-time buyers are even more likely to go (77 percent attend one open house or more).

But as a buyer, are you making the most of your open house visits?

Here are some best practices and helpful questions for buyers at all ends of the home-buying spectrum.

Use the open house to learn the market without committing

For the most part, open houses are just that — open. They make it possible for anyone to see a property in a certain time period, without an appointment or even being a very serious buyer.

New buyers should leverage the open house opportunity to get a feel for the market. In today’s world, using online search tools, mobile apps and the open house, a buyer can start to get a feel for pricing and the market before committing to an agent. Most importantly, open houses are some of the best ways for buyer and agent relationships to start.

You don’t have to sign in (but don’t be rude)

The biggest fear of some newer buyers is that a real estate agent at an open house will be all over them, ask for their contact information and then start harassing them for the next three weeks. It does happen, but it’s also common courtesy to at least recognize and say hello to the agent at the open house. Don’t forget, in addition to trying to sell the home for her client, for safety reasons, the agent is keeping a look out for who is coming and going. It’s polite to say hello and introduce yourself to the agent, but you can also politely decline to sign in.

If you’re an active buyer, you should make yourself known to the agent. Let the seller’s agent know who your agent is and don’t be afraid to express interest. When it comes time to review an offer with a seller, listing agents like to put a face to a name.

Watch the other buyers

You can tell a lot about the activity and marketability of a home by watching the other buyers. If you observe a lot of people walking in and out quickly, the home probably has some issues. Are the buyers hanging around, asking questions of the listing agent and huddling in the corner talking to their spouses or partners? If so, it could be a sign this is a well-priced and “hot” listing. If you’re interested, too, observing other buyers at the open house could help you learn about the competition.

Ask the agent questions

The real estate agent is there for a reason. It’s his job. If he is the listing agent, ask him questions. He is a direct line to the seller. He should know more than anyone about the property and the seller. Your agent can funnel your questions to the listing agent. But if you’re there, ask away. Watch the agent’s facial expression and reaction to your questions. If it’s a competitive market, ask questions such as: “Why is the seller selling?” “Is there a certain day to review offers or have you had a lot of showings?” In a slow market, ask how long the property has been on the market and what the seller’s motivations are. A good agent will engage you because it’s good for his seller.

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Be open to meeting your future agent

When considering a new doctor, lawyer or CPA, you don’t get the chance to see them in their element until you’ve decided to work with them. Not true for real estate agents. Some of the best buyer/seller/real estate relationships begin at open houses.

A good agent is wearing two hats at the open house. In addition to watching the serious buyers and getting feedback for the seller, an active agent is also looking to interact with future clients.

Face to face, informal and relevant, the interaction with an agent at an open house is important. You can get a feel for a person just from a brief meeting. If you sense the agent could be someone you could work with, ask some open-ended questions, such as “How’s the market?” and “What areas do you cover?”

Why open houses have been around for decades

At any open house, there are people at every stage of the home-buying game, from just testing the waters to looking at homes daily, making offers and working closely with an agent. For someone new to the market, it’s helpful to know the best practices for visiting open houses and interacting with the real estate agent. For more experienced buyers, the open house is an opportunity to make a second or third visit, getting a closer look at the details and uncovering things you may have missed earlier. There are lots of reasons why open houses have been around for decades — and why you should take full advantage of them.

Take full advantage of the open house by asking questions to learn all you can about the home and listing.

Posted by Brendon Desimone on Zillow

52 Everyday Safety Tips for Real Estate Agents and Brokers

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In the car, at open houses or generally out and about, here are ways to keep yourself safe

It’s agent safety month in the real estate industry — happy September!

We’ve been thinking about agent safety all month, from our special report about how safe agents feel on the job to contributed articles about open-house safety and beyond.

This list is compiled from a variety of resources — the articles on Inman’s real estate agent safety resource page (which we update regularly), assorted sources online and my own experience taking and assisting in a women’s self-defense course.

I hope you find them useful!

In the car

Real estate agents are in their vehicles a lot. Minimize the chances of being caught vulnerable in a breakdown situation by taking these precautions.

  • Keep your gas tank at least half full. When the needle hits the halfway mark, refuel.
  • Follow your car’s guidelines for maintenance; get your oil changed regularly and don’t neglect routine upkeep.
  • Stock your car with jumper cables and everything you might need to change a tire at minimum. Bonus points for a car battery charger and empty gas can.
  • Hide $20 in your glove compartment or sunglass holder in case of an emergency (or simply a forgotten wallet at the pump).
  • Learn how to change a tire. Practice until you feel comfortable doing it yourself. Keep a maintained and inflated spare tire (at least one) in your vehicle at all times. Keep your jack and other tools in good working order.
  • Stash bottled water and nonperishable food items in your car.
  • Keep at least one portable charger in your car — you never know when your car battery might die while your phone is running low. Recharge your portable charger regularly (once a month should do) so you don’t lose your backup.
  • Think about the weather where you live. If the area is prone to blizzards, for example, keep a foldable shovel, blankets and extra coats/boots in your car for possible winter storms. Floods? You’ll want an extra pair of rain boots and an umbrella.
  • Wear your seatbelt every time you drive or ride in a car. Have clients with you? Insist they put theirs on.
  • Studies have shown that your ability to pay attention to the road drops dramatically when you are on the phone. Even if it’s legal in your state or municipality, hang up the cell phone when you have your hands on the wheel and feet on the pedals.
  • Do you have roadside assistance — and do you know what the terms are? Trust me: You won’t regret spending an additional $50 annually when you finally need your car towed and your plan covers 100 miles of towing instead of 5. (Brokerages: Discounts on towing or even complimentary roadside assistance plans could be a lovely extra to offer your agents.)

When showing houses or at open houses

Kirby Hamilton / iStock.com
Kirby Hamilton / iStock.com

Part of your job involves spending time with strangers in private spaces — single-family homes. Here’s how to make that less of a dodgy situation.

  • Preview neighborhoods before you list a property there. Check for cell phone reception and get a feel for how close each property is to neighbors. Familiarize yourself with where the police and fire stations are in the area.
  • Park under a light where you can see your car clearly from the door. Do your best to park somewhere you won’t get blocked in (on the curb instead of in a driveway, for example).
  • If you’re planning an open houseor listing a house, it’s not merely good marketing to walk up and down the street and introduce yourself to the neighbors — it’s also a good safety precaution. Invite them to the open house. (Depending on whether you feel OK about the neighbor, you can also point out your car and tell them to come find you at the listing if it’s ever in their way.)
  • Work in teams whenever possible. More than one person keeping an eye on things means fewer opportunities for something untoward to happen. If one of you doesn’t feel right about someone you’ve met, have a signal worked out and a plan for how to gracefully extract yourself from the situation or otherwise ensure your safety.
  • Charge your phone fully before you get to the open house or listing.
  • Know your way around the house before you are there alone with a stranger. At the very least, check the floor plan — you will want to know in which rooms you might be most easily trapped and where your potential escape routes could be.
  • Pay special attention when walking around a vacant homefor the first time (which should always be done in the daylight). Look for signs that someone might have broken into the house: open doors or windows, wood pallets or boxes or even step stools outside the house that might have been used to grant access, extension cords leading from doors or windows to outside or a neighbor’s house. If you see any of those things outside, don’t enter; call the police instead.
  • Look for graffiti on walls, trash in corners, food in the kitchen and other signals that someone might be living in a vacant listing. If you think a vacant listing might be occupied by someone who shouldn’t be there, your first priority is to get yourself to safety and then call the police and inform them.
  • Protect your clients by compiling a checklist of things they will want to secure or remove from the house during open houses and showings — examples include jewelry, prescription drugs, financial statements, extra sets of keys, mail and other items that could compromise their identity security or financial security, or that might be easy to pocket. Arrive at the open house early enough to walk through it with listing clients and help them flag and put away any items of value they might have missed.
  • Turn on the lights and open the curtains while you’re walking through the house with clients — this will showcase the house in its best light, anyway!
  • Hang bells on outside doors of the listing when you’re sitting in an open house so that you can hear people entering and exiting the property.
  • When you’re killing time at an open house, do it in a room that has good reception and where you have the most escape routes.
  • Definitely bring your mobile device — think twice about bringing the laptop and purse to an open house or showing. Those are probably better off stashed in the trunk of your car, and you’re probably better off stashing them there before you drive to the open house, not after you arrive.
  • Have open house guests sign in. Offer some kind of giveaway so they’re more likely to give you a valid email address, or a door prize drawing that they can cash in with a code emailed or text-messaged to them.
  • Ask open house guests to see business cards and even photo IDs (consider giving away a case of beer or a few bottles of wine for the door prize if you feel like you need an excuse or a reason to ask). Snap a photo of them so you have a record of who was in the house and approximately when, just in case you need it.
  • Prospects should always walk in front of you — women faced with a “ladies first” insistence can fall back on demurring that the client should really walk through the home and experience it without someone in front of him or her.
  • Don’t walk into rooms with no escape routes (examples include walk-in closets, laundry rooms, basements, attics and many bathrooms). Point them out and allow clients to walk through them independently.

When meeting clients for the first time

Another reality of your life: You will meet with strangers who want to work with you. How do you do that in a way that isn’t flirting with disaster?

  • Find out as much information about your prospective client as you can before meeting. Verify their identity — ask for their full name, contact information and a photo of their driver’s license and use a program likeVerify Photo IDto, well, verify it.
  • Don’t ever meet a client alone for the first time. The Realtor Safe Harbor appcan help you find a meeting place if you aren’t sure where to go.
  • Vet clients on social mediaand Google before you meet them for the first time. If they aren’t on social media at all but have told you they have a job that indicates they should be, that’s one red flag. Keep your eyes open for posts that indicate unstable personalities, and do your best to ensure that what you find on social media and the rest of the internet about your client doesn’t contradict what your client has told you.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, or the client is being extra pushy, that’s a hint to be extra careful. All-cash offers that are contingent on you dropping everything to show a property? That might be a scenario where you want to absolutely insist on bringing a buddy or two with you.

On the internet/in marketing materials

Alexey Boldin / Shutterstock.com

You need to market your business — but there is such a thing as too much information. Here’s how to keep your personal identity separate from your public one online:

  • Use a separate email address for home and work.
  • Get mail for work? Have it sent to your brokerage office or to a P.O. Box.
  • Consider separate lines for home and work. This might not be realistic, but a service like Google Voice can route calls from a Google Voice number to your “main” line.
  • What can you discover about yourself using Google, FacebookTwitter,Instagramor other places where your digital presence might be public? Open an “incognito” tab or sign in to a public computer and do some recon on yourself. Plug any holes that reveal more than you are comfortable sharing.
  • Is your birthday listed on your social media profiles? Some companies use birthdays to confirm identity — so you could be handing a scammer the keys to your account. Consider making that information private.
  • Don’t wear expensive jewelry in your marketing photos, and if you feel compelled to post something like that on social media, make sure it’s only visible to a select few friends.
  • Don’t pose in front of your car or your personal residence.
  • If you’ll be away from your home for an extended period of time — for a vacation or a baseball game at a city an hour or two away, for example — wait until you get back home to post about how awesome it was.

Protecting your clients

  • Always obey the speed limit and all traffic laws when you are driving clients in your car; your ability to show concern for their safety will reflect well on you professionally. (Better yet, have them get to the property or meeting place on their own.)
  • Alert your clients about possible money-wiring scamswell before the time comes to work with earnest money, down payments or closing costs. Give them clear and explicit instructions about how to get their money safely from point A to point B, and continue repeating those instructions throughout the process.

In general

Is there more you can do to keep yourself or your employees safe? Always!

  • Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel quite right about a client or situation, don’t hesitate to get yourself out immediately. You might not understand in the moment what behavior or turn of phrase triggered that gut feeling, but you’ll never be sorry you heeded it.
  • Consider taking a self-defense course. Many police departments offer courses geared toward women specifically and for affordable rates. Brokerages, consider hosting these at least once a year for your agents. A good program will include both practical ways to keep yourself safe (like all the suggestions above) as well as hands-on training for breaking holds so you feel confident that you will know what to do if that moment arises.
  • People who want your information will go to great lengths to get it. Know under what circumstances your doctor, dentist or even your vet might give out your contact or home address information. All of those service providers will likely be happy to give that information only under the circumstances you delineate.
  • Let people know where you are going! Put appointments or meetings on your Google calendar with names and contact information and make it public to your brokerage office, or use an app to alert a network of friends that you’re heading out. Don’t ever venture out, to meet anyone or attend to something by yourself, for work or pleasure, without telling at least two people (preferably more) where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Document and report any safety concerns to the appropriate authority — whether that’s your broker or the police.
  • Wear clothes that you can move around in.
  • Don’t walk around with your nose in your phone or juggling a bunch of items. Walk with purpose and look alert.
  • The more physically fit you are, the better able to deal with a dangerous circumstance you will be. You want your body in good enough shape to handle the adrenaline rush and then run away effectively, so train accordingly, whatever that means for you.
  • Put a decent passcode lock on your smartphone, and if you have an iPhone, make sure Find My iPhone is enabled so you can remotely wipe your device if the need arises.

Considering carrying a weapon to keep you safe? By all means — but please make sure you are comprehensively trained in its use, and do not reveal it to anyone unless you are prepared to use it on them. If you hesitate, your attacker could take the weapon away from you, turning a very bad situation into an even worse one.

Posted by Amber Taufen on Inman