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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Selling a Home? Here’s a List of the 5 Most Common Things That Need to be Done.

Well, you have decided to sell your home.  You have found a realtor and put the home up for sale.  Now what?  Below is a list of the 5 most common things you must get before and after closing on the property.

1.  Paperwork (ASAP)

This is by far the most important thing you must do.  Any and all paperwork you can find in regards to your mortgage and any lines of equity you might have must be pulled out.  The better the paper trail, the quicker the closing.  Banks are not great at getting the paperwork showing what you owe and have paid off together.  If you get an offer on your home, you will want to close as quickly as possible.  The bank can stall that process more than 30 days.  It can be a real nightmare to rely on the bank to put all of the pieces together.  Do yourself a favor and create a folder to put all of your paperwork in.

2.  Pipes and the winter weather (Only if you don’t occupy the home)

If you don’t occupy the home you are selling, you will need to winterize the pipes so that they don’t burst in the cold weather.

3.  Utilities (once you are a week or less from closing)

You will need to get a final water reading.  You will also need to call the gas and electric company to notify them of the transfer in ownership.

4.  At the closing

Make sure you bring a photo I.D.  Your driver’s license will suffice.

5.  Homeowners Insurance

Once the closing is complete and everything has been funded, you will want to call and cancel your homeowners insurance.

note:  Each sale is unique.  It is imperative that you have good communication with your realtor.  Make sure you go over the necessary items that are needed so that there are no surprises.  In addition, make sure that you know the timelines for getting each thing accomplished.  If a water meter is read too soon, you will need to get another reading before closing.  Timing is everything when you are wrapping things up for closing.

 

If you are interested in a consultation with Wendy McCance, you can contact her at:

Real Estate One

26236 Woodward Ave
Royal Oak, MI 48067 
248-414-1248 ext. 119
wendymccance@realestateone.com
 
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Posted by on December 28, 2012 in advice, houses for sale, real estate

 

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Getting Through the Lean Months

After having such a busy schedule these last few months, my schedule has slowed down considerably as the holidays are fast approaching.  Like every new realtor, there is a worry about getting through the lean months.

Lets face it, you can advertise and farm areas to death with no immediate results.  These methods are key in establishing yourself and making your name familiar with the masses.  This is not a fast way to sustain your income though.

I make it a priority to keep my name circulating through flyers, email, social media and volunteer work.  Even so, I still need a source of income.  I think that in the beginning, many people fall off the real estate wagon because they don’t have the funds or a backup plan to sustain them.

I am a writer.  I can pull in extra money from the articles I write.  This is an ideal job because I can juggle my real estate career and my writing career without a conflict in schedules (at least at this point in my career).  I do realize that down the road, this could become a bit more challenging as I get busier.  For now, I find this to be a good compromise.

My advice to anyone starting their career is that now that you have worked to hard get here, don’t let something like paying bills get in your way of success.  It’s inevitable that down the road you will see an increase in your income, but this is a career where making money is slow in gaining momentum.

Have a back-up plan.  Something that won’t affect your number one goal of being a realtor.  Whether it is a part-time job, or a small side business, you will need some sort of supplement.  Below I have listed a few ideas for ways of making some extra money.

1.  Teach classes at a local community center.  They can be classes on how to get your home ready to sell or how to rent out your home.  The class might be based on a hobby you have or a skill you possess.

2.  Become a freelance writer.

3.  Set up a social media campaign for clients.  (maybe for other realtors or small business owners).

4.  Sell items at craft shows if you are creative.  Slow months for realtors are busy months for craft shows.

5.  Babysitting is a big business.  Try care.com or sittercity.com.

6.  Running errands or pet sitting are always in demand.

7.  Lastly, think about the skills you possess.  Maybe you are a great organizer or know how to do bookkeeping.  Whatever it is, take advantage of it so that you have more money flowing through your household.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in advice, career, how to, self-help

 

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Communication is a Key Trait of a Successful Realtor

There is nothing more frustrating than chasing down a person you are relying on for answers.  This is especially true when you are buying or selling a home.  This is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life.  If you don’t have good communication with your realtor, your situation can become extremely stressful.

I live by the motto that you should always fill in the gaps and have the questions answered before your client can come up with the questions.  Lets take the example of selling a home.  Selling a home can be an emotional and sometimes stressful process.  The family has memories in the home they are selling.  The home needs to be ready at a moments notice to show to potential buyers.  Keeping your home in perfect order while you are still living in the home can be exhausting, especially if you have kids or pets.  The reason a family might be moving might not always be under the best of circumstances which can create more stress..  Basically, when the process of selling the home begins, there are already certain expectations about what a client might expect and what the outcome might be.  The last thing a homeowner needs during a time like this is to worry about chasing after the realtor for information.

I worked with a family that was selling their home not to long ago.  The house was put on the market and by the end of that same day, an offer came in.  It all happened so fast that the family barely had time to process what had just happened.  The offer which was above the asking price was accepted and a date for closing was set.

What people sometimes don’t understand is that the date is an educated guess.  Situations come up which can hold up the process.  In this case, title work was not completed by the date the closing was planned for.  This is actually a very common scenario especially when more than one bank is involved.  The sellers at this point would obviously become a little anxious and possibly nervous that the buyer might back out because of the date being changed.

Contacting the sellers right away to let them know what is holding up the closing needed to be done the moment I found out.  Easing any worry was done by checking in with them on a consistent basis.  I might not have an answer to what the new date would be, but I could tell them that I spoke with the other realtor and their client was very understanding of the situation.  I contacted them when I found out that all the paperwork was in and we were just waiting on the bank to process the information.  I wanted to make sure that I was able to make them feel confident about what was going on.  I needed them to know I hadn’t fallen off the face of the earth (even if there wasn’t much to report).

Having good communication with your clients is really a key to your success.  People are putting a tremendous amount of trust into your ability to take care of them.  It has been incredibly rewarding to talk with a client and have them express relief and appreciation for knowing what to expect next and knowing I would be there to take care of them.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in advice, career, real estate

 

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If It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

I got a phone call last night.  The person on the other end of the phone offered me an opportunity to sign up to get names and numbers of potential buyers/sellers for a small fee for each lead.  Although as I type this, it sounds ridiculous, the person on the other end of the phone was quite convincing.

The deal was that each time someone called this company interested in buying/selling a home, I would receive an email with all of the contact information and what the buyer/seller was looking to do.  I would pick my territory ahead of time and would only get leads for the area I was working in.  I would then have a certain amount of days to decide if this lead was legitimate.  If it wasn’t, I could call and replace the lead with a new one.  Each lead would cost me $25.00 and I would keep 100% of the commission.  The person on the other end of the phone spoke quite a bit about how important it was to get agents who would call the contact right away and were serious about making more money and handling themselves professionally.

After I had spoken with this person for a few moments, I asked them how they got my name.  They said they had pulled it from Realtor.com (which I do have a profile on).

The person calling me then tried to close the deal.  I said that I would like to see a website to read over all of the information before committing.  This was the smartest thing I could have done.  I needed to read over information and absorb what they were offering.  I also wanted to check them out for consumer complaints.  Basically, I needed to pull myself away from the sales tactics and look at everything rationally. I decided I would talk with my manager before signing up if I was convinced the program sounded good.  I knew my manager would be able to give me some good advice about what I should do.

I received a website address and was told that to finish signing up I would need to call them back.  I got off the phone and began to look over all of the information on the website.  The website mentioned that those leads could be handed out to up to 4 different agents.  I was never told that.  Right there, it was a deal breaker.  I read on and realized that much of what I read made little sense to me.

After reading the website, I looked for customer complaints.  I found pages of complaints.  Every person said the same thing, that the program was a scam and that they had lost hundreds of dollars.  Apparently you must give a credit card number for them to charge when you receive a lead.  People were complaining that they signed up for a couple of days and then quit.  They were still charged enormous fees.  Someone wrote that one of their supposed contacts was for someone who had been dead for 8 years (they found this out when a relative answered the phone).  Other people complained that when they contacted someone, the person said they had never heard of the company and weren’t looking to buy/sell a home.

The bottom line here is that as a newer realtor, I am still learning how to gain additional leads (it’s what the business is all about).  Being a newer agent makes me a prime target to get solicited from some not so honest companies.

I am writing this as a warning for any other new agent.  Please be cautious before you sign up for anything.  If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  I don’t think there is a perfect system out there to generate endless leads (who knows I could be wrong, but I don’t think so).  Make sure you pull yourself out of the conversation.  Say you’ll call back if you are interested, but do your homework and research the company.  Above all else, if there is someone at work who has been in the business for a long time, ask them for advice.  They are sure to have had the same experiences and can tell a good deal from a bad one.

 

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in advice, business, career planning

 

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Failure is a Stepping-Stone Towards Success

I wrote this article for my other blog, Searching for the Happiness.  I am sharing it on this blog because the advice is really quite universal.  When you feel that you have pushed yourself as far as you can go, remember the advice below. 🙂

Have you ever had a moment where you feel like you are at a crossroad and somehow the right words fall into your lap?  I tend to be the type of person who works hard towards a goal, see progress, then see a lack of any more forward movement and take that opportunity to stop, regroup and reflect.  I have found that if I quiet my mind and pay attention to what is around me, the answers or at least the right motivational words tend to appear.

This last few months have been quite a whirlwind of activity.  My busy schedule has suddenly lifted and I am left with that feeling of what should I do next?  I have begun to cherish these moments since I have learned how to make the most of them.  Downtime is a time to refresh your mind and create some new ways to go after your goals.

I tend to take time to organize the house and organize my work files.  I will do some reading and research to center myself again towards what I want to achieve.  I find that if I can’t see clutter around me, and if my mind is clear and focused, I can get back on track and make some more progress towards what I am focused on.

I happened to read an article that talked about how to look at failure.  Personally, I found the idea of looking at failure as something not to dread, but instead to celebrate as fascinating.

Everyone has had goals they have faced where you worked hard, picked up steam and then just sort of hit a plateau.  You no longer saw any more movement towards your goal.  What you had been working so hard at became stagnant.  This is the moment where many people give up.  They don’t know what else they can do.  Since they seem to be suddenly at the peak of their abilities, they quit.  They are bored and no longer inspired to continue to work at something that seems to have gone as far as it could possibly go.  Sound familiar?

This is the moment that you should be feeling goosebumps of excitement not disappointment and failure.  When you reach that point where you feel like you have gone the distance, you are truly on the brink of a major event.  If you have patience and faith in yourself, the world will open up with some amazing possibilities.  You will eventually reach your goal if you just stick with it.

I have read so many stories of people on the brink of quitting and the amazing turnaround that happened to them.  They couldn’t see what was in store for them, but were so grateful that they stuck it out a bit longer.

The best story of this phenomenon that I read recently was of Gabby Douglas, the olympic gymnast.  She had been away from her family for a year training with a host family.  She was bored and homesick.  She called her mom asking to come home.  She figured she would get a job at the local fast food joint and train as a runner.  Her mom and the host family were able to convince her to stick with gymnastics.  They supported her and got her back on track.  She ended up with incredible success at the olympic games (to say the least).  Who would have guessed she almost blew such an incredible achievement?

So, here I am in the midst of pushing on towards my goals.  As I have taken a moment to reflect on where I have been and where I am heading, I keep finding these articles full of inspiring tales that have motivated me to stay focused and on track.  I hope that these tidbits of wisdom help you as well to accomplish all that you are aiming for in your own life.

*If you would like to read more posts full of inspiration, please follow the link below.

http://searchingforthehappiness.wordpress.com

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in advice, career planning, self-help

 

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Great Links and Ideas to Keep you Focused and on the Right Track

There are moments when as a realtor you need to regroup and readjust your goals.  Whether it be from burnout or a lull in traffic, every now and then, it helps to get some advice or some new ideas to energize and renew your goals.  Below are some terrific links i have found that I have found help me get back on track when I need a boost.  I hope you find some of these links valuable for you in your own career.

http://www.toolsforrealestate.com/my-17-best-business-tips-for-real-estate-agents/   17 best business tips.

http://realestatelicensedirect.com/real-estate-agents/   Having a mobile office, flyers, stress management and ways to amp up your career.

http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/how-i-sold-it  How I sold it stories plus a slew of other very good articles.

http://www.netreal.net/articles/flyers/improve-your-promotional-flyers-and-improve-sales.html  Article about putting together a good flyer.  Additional articles on the left side of the page are worth a look at as well.

If you have any additional bits of advice or links you would like to share, please leave a comment.  Thanks.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in advice, career, real estate

 

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Reorganize and Set New Goals

This time of year is always busy.  There is Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all back to back.  Personal obligations increase as family stops in from out-of-town, there are holiday parties to attend and endless amounts of shopping.  Even during the craziness of the season, my mind drifts back to where I am at in my real estate career.

I have been doing a lot of soul-searching about what I have accomplished so far in my career and what I would like to see happen this next year.  I have definitely gotten my feet wet by renting out properties and listing and selling a home.  I feel more comfortable with the mounds of paperwork and the knowledge of what is the correct protocol while working with a client.  With the uneasiness of so many new experiences behind me, I can now concentrate on what I have learned and what areas I need to tweak.

My biggest pitfall was getting so wrapped up in the activity of working with several clients at once, that promoting myself fell into the background.  I felt overloaded and had difficulty juggling the task of continuing to get my name out there.  I did hand out flyers and send out emails, but now that I am wrapping up some deals, I have little on my plate to work with.

I am looking forward to the fact that December is a little bit of a quieter month.  I need to reorganize all of my paperwork and come up with a better filing system.  I need to sit down and tear apart all that I have done to make a solid career out of real estate and plan a new way of going after business.

I am grateful for all of the experiences I have had.  I am thrilled that I work for a company that has weekly training seminars that help you on your path.  Ideas are always fresh this way.  We have had so many different people come and speak with us at these meetings.  Truly, that is my favorite part of these meetings.  I love to hear from so many different personalities.  There are so many ways to go after business, and it’s great to pull a little bit of an idea from one person and a little more from someone else.

By the time January hits, I will be running full force again.  I will have completed my work makeover and will feel organized.  I will have a plan in place and some extra confidence to back me up.

Have you considered where you are at with your own career?  Have you ripped apart your way of going after business and restructured your plans?  I believe in keeping things fresh.  If you spend too many months working one system, you will get bored and a bit lazy.  I believe that every now and then you should shake up your system.  Reevaluate where you are at and what you want to accomplish.  Success is there for the taking.  Being mindful of what your weaknesses are and adjusting your plan of action can be the difference between success and failure.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2012 in advice, career, how to

 

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