Consider the Homeowner During Buyer Home Inspection

September 12, 2007

I felt like I was going in for a rectal”,  said one of my recent home sellers, explaining how he felt when the buyers and their home inspector marched thru his house for a 3 1/2 hour home inspection.  While other sellers have not been so descriptive with their feelings, most feel the same way.  While this market certainly makes the sellers the underdog, I have some suggestions for buyers before and during the home inspection.

1. If you know of a major issue (heater / roof / septic) which may need replacement, voice this concern before the inspection to the seller, so they know what you’re looking for.

2. At the same time, let the seller know you are not going to “nickle and dime” them for cracked sidewalks, broken window seals, or a wiggling pantry door knob.

3. Understand their position.  Put yourself in their shoes.

4. Meet face to face if there is an issue which can not be agreed to. Be cool. Be open minded.

Most homesellers know what their home needs. They just don’t know how strong  your requests or demands will be.

No Pre-Approval? Don’t Get Scammed!

September 6, 2007

A mortgage pre-approval is not a loan commitment. It typically means a lender has checked a buyer’s credit, takes their word for it that they currently are employed and  make $ xxx annually. The lender in turn prints out a letter or certificate which states the buyer has  been “pre -approved to buy a home for with a mortgage of $250,000”, etc.

Recently, I have had buyers or their agents refuse to provide me with this information. Over anxious sellers get confused and frustrated by this, and sometimes the buyer, getting into a seller’s ear, will convince the seller that the pre-approval is worthless anyway, since it is not a loan commitment. I have watched buyers tie up a sellers property, then get denied for their loan. This recenly happened with a buyer who made an offer on my listing, refusing to provide me with info. When I did a little homework, I discovered he had tied up another local property listed in the same neighborhood.  I spoke with that listing agent, she told me, “He never gave me his pre-approval, and I asked him too.”  Of course, this was very negligent of the agent.

What happens next?  The buyer, knowing they have the seller in a bad position, asks the seller if they can rent the house, and do a lease-purchase, buying the home in 6 or 12 months.

This is a scam.  Refuse any buyer’s offer who will not provide you or your agent with a pre-approval, especially from a local, credible lender.

Fighting the Sign Battle

August 31, 2007

This article talks about homeowner’s right to a for sale sign, even if their association does not allow it.

Personally, I am the type of person who would fight the fight, and I suggest you keep this article if you live in an association. Some things are worth fighting for, and a for sale sign is paramount to a successful sale. I have been told by many homeowners that their association is no longer doing battle over this issue for fear of a lawsuit.


August 31, 2007

“Courage is not the lack of fear, it’s the action we take in the midst of fear.”         -George Patton

Afraid that your home won’t sell?  Take action. Act as if you must sell. Your faith must outweigh your fear. Be positive.  Visualize the end result. Start packing. Make it happen.

Duct Tape and Chewing Gum

August 30, 2007

Recently, I have had some very generous clients replace or repair big ticket items in their home while on the market, in order to make sure their buyer did not have the hassle or frustration of dealing with the expenses.  For example, one seller replaced his electric panel for $800. Another seller replaced their septic system for $14,000. And yet another seller replaced 4 windows to the tune of $1,800.  I sincerely was moved by their deeds.

On the other hand, I have watched as some sellers try to hold their home together with duct tape and chewing gum. Broken closet doors, appliances, and general disrepair should be corrected before the home goes on the market, not hidden.  Occasionally I have to remind sellers that (in some cases) I represent both the buyer and seller as a disclosed dual agent. This means I have to point out the chewing gum, or have the seller fix it.

Things which are hidden will always be exposed, either at the home inspection, during the walk-thru on closing day, or right after closing. Do the right thing.

“We were insulted by their asking price”.

August 29, 2007

I recently received a “low” offer on a listing, and the seller told me there would be no counter offer, as he was “insulted by their offer”.  I gently relayed this to the buyer, and the buyer said,  “That’s okay, we were insulted by their asking price.”

That sums up 65% of this market, doesn’t it?

Keep An Eye On the Prize

August 28, 2007

Simply put, for most people, the pain of reducing their house by $10,000 or $20,000 far outweighs the (future) pleasure of being in their beautiful new home (which they probably purchased for $30,000 less than it would have sold for 18 months ago.)

In life, most people cannot focus on tomorrow, or next week or month. If they don’t get instant gratification, they give up.   I am startled at how many folks cannot see past the end of their nose.  My suggestion to sellers who are struggling is this:  Keep an eye on the prize.  Focus on the end result, not the pain involved with getting there. While I understand that this market may take 100 days for you to sell, it also may take you 180 or more, depending upon your home, how you price it, and how it is marketed. That can be alot of “pain”.

Here are some ideas:

1. Have a photo of the home /apartment / condo whatever you wish to buy placed near your desk at work.

2. Close your eyes 2-3 times daily and visualize yourself, your friends, and your family in your new home, enjoying the holidays, or a picnic or a party.  Make it specific. This will keep your spirits up, and amazingly, will subconsciously keep you moving toward your goal.

3. Take your “lumps of pain” up front and fast. If it is clear in day 21 that the market for your homer is not robust, be more objective about the price, condition and the marekting which needs to be done.

4. Remain positive. Don’t tell friends, family and co-workers how bad things are, or how you are disappointed. Don’t tell people how pathetic your agent is, and that he couldn’t sell water in a desert.  When you get depressed, see #2.  Dwelling on the negative brings you more negative.

Bad News For the Media

August 27, 2007

Good news for real estate and the economy usually means bad news for the media, as they “sell”  better during hard times and catastrophes.  Click here for some good news…

Leaders Who Lose Touch

August 27, 2007


Several years ago when I was an office manager and I did not sell real estate, a couple of my agents told me that I lost touch with the real estate industry since I had not listed or sold property for several years. I scoffed at that, my ego not letting them make any sense.

Fast forward to 2003 and the opening of my office, and I quickly realized that they were right to a large degree. Just yesterday, I read a magazine article in a prominent real estate publication written by a stuffed suit in a very large real estate company. This person babbled on and on about the virtues of customer service, while never really saying anything, never telling the reader “how to”, it was a just do it laced with lots of fancy catch phrases. I know personally that this Senior Vice Person has not listed or sold a home in 20+ years.  Her company uses it’s reserves of millions, maybe billions (she didn’t generate that money, she is just a stuffed suit) to acquire other smaller firms, thus adding to their office and agent count. Then they re-brand them and share their fancy marketing materials with them.

Simply put, the leaders of this industry have mostly lost touch, and have no idea what the hell the consumer really wants, needs, expects or likes or dislikes. Most leaders at the top are completely disconnected.  They would be lost for months if plopped in a real estate office and told to generate new business.

Reduce the Commission, Reduce the Price, Sell the House

August 26, 2007

If your house is priced at $405,000, and a set fee broker can save you $14,000 in commissions, you can now price your house $14,000 lower, thus making your home more attarctive to would be buyers. At a new price of  $391,000, more buyers would be inclined to bid on your property as it is now a better value.

Other than the high fees, what do you have to lose?  Keep in mind a set fee broker is not a discount broker. Typically, many discount brokers provide less marketing, less exposure. A set fee broker can handle your entire transaction from start to finish.  At Help-U-Sell, you are able to participate in the transaction, thus having more control over the process if you wish.