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Selling your Own Home vs Using a Seller’s Agent

If you have ever thought about selling your home yourself, I’m sure you have wondered what the positive and negatives points are compared to a real estate agent selling your home for you.

First let’s go over the positive reasons for selling a home on your own.

1.  You will not be giving a sellers agent a commission.

2.  You will meet any potential buyers yourself.  I’m not sure if this is a positive reason, but it might mean a lot to some home owners.

3.  You are in control of the entire process.  For those of you who like to have their hands in the entire process from meeting buyers to the negotiation process directly with those buyers, this might be a plus.

4.  You decide when to show the home and will be present for those showings.

Now, let’s go over the negative aspects of selling your own home.

1.  You pay for any advertising.  On top of that, you will not have access to the MLS which all agents have access to.  That means that instead of agents emailing their clients your home information when it appears on the MLS, you have to find the interested buyers yourself.  Agents are also more adept at only showing clients who have a definite interest in the features of your home.  You could have people looking at your home that aren’t pre-approved, are just window shopping or truly are not looking for what your home has to offer.

2.  You will need to understand all of the paperwork needed to sell your home.  It is also highly recommended that you hire an attorney to write-up the paperwork and make sure everything is included.  An attorney might be more expensive to use.  Another consideration is that an attorney doesn’t typically write-up paperwork to sell  homes as part of their job and might miss something along the way.

3.  If you aren’t available to show your home, your home won’t be shown if you sell it on your own.  When you work with an agent, it doesn’t matter if you are on vacation.  The home can still be viewed and an offer can still be made.

4.  Knowing what to price your home at.  Why waste your time if you price your home to high?  You also have to worry about what an appraisal will decide your home is worth.  You could get an interested buyer who is willing to pay the price you are offering.  If the appraisal comes back and is lower, the bank will not finance the buyer at that price.

5.  When a buyer knows you are selling a home yourself, they know you aren’t paying a sellers commission.  Because of that, the buyer will typically bid extra low to cover the difference.  Meaning you might still be out the same amount of money or more.

6.  If you don’t offer a buyer’s agent a commission, many real estate agents won’t be enthusiastic about showing your home verse a home that is similar with a commission included.  (Although this is ethically wrong, it has been known to happen quite frequently).

7.  It will take much longer to sell your home on your own.  This is because of the amount of advertising needed. Also, the less you are available to show your home, the longer it will take to sell.

8.  When you take into account fees for advertising and the lawyer, you might end up paying more money, than if you used an agent.

9.  You will have to make sure you understand the laws.  You aren’t exempt from getting in trouble for lack of knowledge.  You must understand the laws regarding who you decide to sell to and why.  You will need to understand how to get a clear title before the closing of the home can occur.  Some cities require a city inspector to view your home and there is a fee.  You must also understand that any defects in the home must be disclosed to anyone who views your home.  Not mentioning that there was a flood in the basement several years ago, for instance can result in a lawsuit if the buyer finds out after purchasing your home.

Many people try to sell their home themselves.  A good majority of these same people end up using a realtor after a lot of frustration and money spent.  If you decide to go it alone, make sure you truly understand what you are getting into before putting up a sign in your yard.

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 January 27, 2013 in advice, houses for sale, how to, real estate

 

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Real Estate Agents are not Salespeople. We are Consultants.

When I decided to get into real estate, I figured that my background would be a perfect fit.  I have a strong history in the sales field.  I was really good in my field, and truly enjoyed the social aspect of a sales job.

When I took the classes and worked with a mentor, sales was what was discussed.  There were strategies and outlines.  There were even scripts you could use.  It wasn’t until I really got off the ground that I realized that sales has nothing to do with being a good real estate agent.

I’m sure there are agents out there that will argue that this is a sales job, but let me tell you why I think it’s not. My feeling is that if you are a good agent, you are not a salesperson but a consultant.  This is one of the few jobs where it doesn’t matter how hard you might try to sell someone on a home.  Buying a home is incredibly emotional.  It is also one of the biggest expenses you will have in a lifetime.  I don’t know anyone who is casual enough to allow a salesperson to come in and twist their arm to buy a home that might not be right for them.  Let me state it another way.  I could never be that person who puts pressure on a client.

My personal feeling is that if you are a good real estate agent, you will treat your client like you would treat a good friend.  There is respect, understanding and help in figuring out what type of home might suit that particular client best.

As a real estate agent, you are there to guide your client.  You must be knowledgeable and able to teach them the steps in home ownership.  You are the person that a client will go to for consultation.  Maybe the time is right for a customer to buy, and maybe it’s not.  The goal is not to sell a home, but to help a customer decide what’s right for them.

If you go about your job in this manner, the rewards will come.  A customer might use you later down the road because of your honesty and integrity.  You will gain a good reputation, and yes, you will sell homes and make a good living.

It’s all perspective.  I know that I would be turned off by an agent who felt like a salesperson.  On the other hand, an agent that acted as a consultant would impress me and leave a lasting good impression.

For those of you just starting out in real estate, this way of looking at your job might be of enormous benefit to you.  If you are an agent, how do you approach your job?  Are you a salesperson or a consultant?

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2013 in advice, career, houses for sale, real estate

 

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Buying a Home? Here are 5 Things to do Before you Start Looking

I have received several calls from people who are planning to buy their first home over the summer.  I tend to get the same questions, so I thought I’d put together a list of things to do before looking for a home.

1.  Get pre-approved.

I can’t stress this enough.  People tend to drag their feet getting pre-approved.  The reason why it is so important isn’t just so you know what amount of money you are approved for.  You also need to know how much you might need to save up for a down-payment.  Cleaning up any credit blemishes is another reason to get pre-approved as soon as possible.

2.  Put together a plan for how you will save up the money for that down-payment.

The amount needed for a down-payment can be quite a chunk of money.  Another thing that needs to be considered is extra money for unexpected expenses.  If you are getting a foreclosed property or if you want to update the home you have chosen, having extra money set aside is a must.

3.  Decide where you would like to live.

There are a million reason’s why a particular city is picked out.  The homes might be more affordable, you love the night life of the area, or maybe the area is close to friends and family.  What ever your reason, it is much easier to find a home you will love when you have an area picked out as being perfect for your personal needs.

4.  Start shopping taxes.

This really goes hand in hand with picking the area you will live in.  It’s amazing how two cities next to each other can have such a wide range in what is taxed on homeowners.  You should be aware of how much you can afford and how the taxes will play into your decision.  Maybe the taxes are low and you will be able to afford more home.  On the other hand, maybe the taxes are incredibly high, but the lure of the location is enough for you to go for the smaller home because you love the neighborhood you are choosing.

5.  Get familiar with what you want in a home and how realistic it might be.

At Real Estate One, we have a free program where we send emails to the customer which show homes for sale.  The homes the customer views take into account the criteria that is important to the customer.  Let’s say the customer names 3 cities as possible choices.  The home should have 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a garage and 1400 sq ft minimum.  The criteria will be set and the customer will get email updates with pictures and information on homes that fit those needs.

It’s a great program in that it gives the potential homeowner a peek at what is available with the criteria they have chosen.  If the choices are sparse, the customer can tweak their criteria and see if they fare better with what is available.

If you are interested in discussing how you can get into a new home or maybe you have a home you need to sell, give me a call.  I would be happy to help you set up a plan to get ready to move and then find the home of your dreams.

Wendy McCance
Real Estate Agent
Real Estate One
26236 Woodward Ave
Royal Oak, MI 48067 
Direct: 248-414-1248 ext. 119
wendymccance@realestateone.com
 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in advice, housing, how to

 

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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
 
4 Comments

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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