What Some Agents Will Tell You To Get Your Business

Over the past few years I've had the opportunity to earn the business of quite a few sellers.  Some of them have been referred to me from my past clients, friends, family, etc.  Others have found us through the internet, or have witnessed us sell their neighbor's home, or are taking advantage of our FSBO Assistance Program that we offer.  I have to admit, we don't get every listing.  Even though, if you asked me we certainly should because we're just better. :)  But that's okay, I understand that the seller's may have had a personal connection with the other agent or maybe they were referred to them by a friend.  However, I get a little frustrated when I hear of the things that these other agents are promising to the sellers to try and convince them to list the home with them because I know the truth behind the claims.  Here are a few of the most popular tales that are told by some real estate agents:

1.  "I have buyers ready to buy that would be interested in your home." - There are a couple of things that just don't make sense about this claim.  First of all, if they have a buyer that is truly ready and able to buy a home, why wouldn't they be out with that buyer showing them one of the 55,000+ listings that are available in the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS).  However, let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they do have a buyer.  If they are holding off showing this individual a home until they secure a listing that suits the buyer's needs, they are doing this buyer a huge disservice.  For one, an agent can't truly represent both parties to a transaction when they are the only agent involved.  This is what is called dual agency, and technically it's legal, but with a single agent attempting to represent both sides of a transaction they then have to step back and remove themselves from the negotiation process and become a liaison between the two parties.  There are instances where this is almost unavoidable, but for an agent to make an effort to put themselves and their clients into this type of situation simply to collect both sides of the commission is dishonest.  And so is this the type of person that you want to hire to sell your home.  Secondly, again, let's just say that they do have a buyer that might be interested in your home, regardless of who you've hired to represent you, this agent will have access to show your home to their client through the ARMLS.  And in this instance you, the seller, will have representation and the buyer will have representation, just as it should be.

Bottom line, you want to hire the agent that you feel is going to provide you with the highest level of customer service and market your home at the absolute highest level possible, PERIOD!  If somebody tells you that they have buyers for your home, it's most likely a hook to get your business.

2.  "I can get your home sold for 'X' amount..." - ...even though your neighbor's house (assuming it's similar in square footage, upgrades, lot size, etc.) sold for less than 'X'.  I'd love to ask these agents just how they plan on selling a house for more than the market value.  To price your home higher than what the market will support is not helping a seller's situation at all.  In fact, it's a detriment.  When you put a house on the market, the first 2-3 weeks are critical.  A home will always have its most traffic during those first few weeks.  And if it's priced too high the buyers will simply move on.  You may think that if a buyer is interested in your home, then they will make an offer.  But that's not the case most of the time.  With 56,000+ homes available in the ARMLS, they will most likely move on to one of the other homes in the area that they see as more of a value.  And so for a real estate agent to tell you that they can sell your house for a higher price than what the market will support turns my stomach.  Because all this agent is going to do is tell you a higher price to get your business, and then when it doesn't sell 30-60 days down the road, they will ask the seller to lower the price.  I've seen it happen over and over again.  I am in the business of selling homes not just listing them.  And my goal is to get your home sold for the highest amount possible in the shortest period of time possible.  We're certainly not going to lie to you just to get your business.  That's not how we work.

Bottom line, you want to hire the agent that you feel is going to provide you with the highest level of customer service and market your home at the absolute highest level possible, PERIOD!  Just because an agent says they can get more for your home, doesn't mean that's the case.  Your home will sell for its market value and not a penny higher, no matter what somebody tells you.

3.  "Our national company has buyers coming from all over the country" - Well that's great, but just because the buyer is working with a particular real estate company elsewhere doesn't mean that they will only have access to the inventory of that particular company here in Phoenix.  This ties in with Tall Tale #1.  The beauty about our industry is the Multiple Listing Service.  This allows any agent to show your home to their clients regardless of the real estate company.  In fact you are better off not listing with the national company with buyer's coming from all over the country, because if they are representing you and the buyer, then they are actually not representing either of you.  As a seller you want your agent only representing you in the negotiations.�

Bottom line, you want to hire the agent that you feel is going to provide you with the highest level of customer service and market your home at the absolute highest level possible, PERIOD!  As long your home is given the absolute most exposure possible then the buyers will find it.  Whether that's through the services of a buyer's agent, or whether it's through their own home-hunting efforts from across the country.

4.  "I run full color print ads for all my listings" - Don't be fooled by this one.  It might sound great, but over 90% of buyers are looking for homes on the internet, not in magazines or the newspaper.  Print advertising doesn't allow your home to be showcased in a manner that is going to attract the most potential buyers.  One picture and a very small paragraph attempting to describe everything great about your home is not going to get the job done.  We provide a level of marketing that you simply cannot achieve in print advertising.  Click Here to read about just one aspect of our marketing that you just don't find with most other agents.

Bottom line, you want to hire the agent that you feel is going to provide you with the highest level of customer service and market your home at the absolute highest level possible, PERIOD!  The marketing plan an agent puts together for you and your home should reach the biggest pool of potential buyers.  Our marketing plan does that.  Give me a call and I'd be happy to provide you with all of the details.

5.  "I'll put your home on the Broker/Agent Tour so that we can get a bunch of agents through the home" - Again, don't be fooled by this.  On the surface it makes perfect sense.  Why wouldn't you want to put the house on the local tour so that 10-15 agents are able to see your home and relay the information to all of their buyers?  And if that was, in fact, why all of the agents were attending the tour, you'd be in good shape.  But that's not the case. The catch with Broker/Agent Tours is this....in order for an agent's listing to be part of the tour, the listing agent must be present at all homes on the rest of the tour.  So, with that being the case all of the agents taking part in a Broker/Agent Tour are there solely for the purpose of having their listing on the tour.  I've never been a part of a tour where there were agents present that didn't have a listing on tour.  So typically Broker/Agent Tours are just a charade and accomplish nothing.

Bottom line, you want to hire the agent that you feel is going to provide you with the highest level of customer service and market your home at the absolute highest level possible, PERIOD!  You don't need to be told things that you think you want to hear.  You need to know the truth about how to get your home sold for the most money possible in the least amount of time possible.

I am continuously hearing of new claims told to potential sellers by other real estate agents in an attempt to steal their business.  As I hear of new ones I'll add them to the blog in follow-up posts so that all of our current and potential clients can be as educated as possible.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] Phoenix real estate, FSBO, Desert Ridge real estate [/tags]

For Sale sign can be a target: Open House thieves to be sentenced next month

Safety is an issue we take very seriously with our clients. When you put a For Sale sign in your yard, you're letting the world know that you're selling your house. You're also letting the world of bad guys (and girls) know that you might be in a position where you'll let your guard down; after all, how many other times have you let random strangers into your home? To highlight this point, here is an article from AZCentral.com highlighting a couple who were arrested for stealing from open houses. But open houses aren't the only entry point for would-be bad guys – here is some of the advice we give our clients:

Hide the valuables. This one's obvious, but worth mentioning. The easier something is to steal, the more likely it is to be stolen. Don't leave your cash & expensive jewelry in an obvious place. Same goes for that autographed Mickey Mantle rookie card (your office/game room will look just as good to buyers if you replace it with a Brandon Webb or Steve Nash card. Your best bet would be to move your valuables off-site if at all possible.

Hide the weapons. Just like your valuables, this is probably not a good time to keep your hunting rifles in the closet. The odds of something bad happening are infinitely small, but the outcome could be so horrific that it isn't worth the risk.

Don't let strangers in. Someone knocks on your door and says they'd like to see the house as they might be interested in buying it. Your answer should be: "My realtor's phone number is on the sign; he can tell you all about it and meet you here to show you the home in person." Plain as day. If this person is remotely interested in your home, he/she will call me. If they had other ideas, you don't even want to imaging what could have happened...

Don't let strangers in, part 2. Three people knock on your door, a young couple and their "Realtor", and ask to see the home. The realtor even gives you his card. Your answer should be: "Give me five minutes to get a couple of things and get out of the way, and then you can use the lockbox to let yourself in." If they're legit, they'll respect your wishes and use the lockbox. If they had other plans, you just did a very smart thing.

Open Houses. This can be a useful marketing tool, but it can also invite bad guys into your home. As the above article showed, a realtor cannot be everywhere at once, so multiple people could enter your home and split up, making themselves hard to track. Talk to your realtor about this one – how we handle open houses depends a little bit on the situation: what's the current market like? how desirable is the home & neighborhood? how convenient is it for our seller to get out of the house? can we have two team members work it together?

Selling your home can be a stressful process, but planning ahead and thinking about everything before it happens can help you be prepared for it. Listen to your realtor's advice, and ask lots of questions. We want to make your selling experience as enjoyable as possible.

- Chris Butterworth

I'll Offer $100

On my way home from the office I've driven by this FSBO sign a handful of times and on about the 5th or 6th time seeing it I finally noticed what it said exactly....."MUST SELL, MUST SEE, Please make the best offer and we work together."  Okay my best offer is $100.  Can we work together?  Besides the fact that this individual now appears quite desparate, there are a couple of other things that I find wrong with this attempt to sell a home without an agent.  First of all I turned down the street this sign was located on and couldn't find the house.  I would have had to drive back to the sign to read the address that is written so small that there is no way you could read it as you drive by at 45 mph.  Odds are I'm just going to skip and go home.  Secondly, I'm not sure if this house is a 5 bedroom, 3000 sq ft home or is it a 3 bedroom 1500 sq ft home.  Is it worth my time to try and find the house, or call the number to find out the details.  Thirdly, with the market conditions the way they are currenlty this home is one house among 41 others for sale in about a 1 mile square around this home.  What are the odds that a buyer, who is most likely working with a real estate agent who is looking for homes for their client through the MLS, is going to ever see this house?  My guess is that it's probably going to be the last house to be shown, if at all, of the houses in that area that fit the needs of the buyer. 

Now don't get me wrong, if you are somebody that has a fair amount of knowledge about the real estate process and has the time and energy to handle the transaction on your own, and deal with the plethera of buyers that are going to call and want to see the home, then I would almost recommend trying to sell your home FSBO.  But even if you do have the knowledge, time, energy, patience, etc. now is not the time to try and sell a home without the benefits of MLS marketing.  There are just too many houses out there in the Phoenix real estate market for buyers to choose from without having to deal with the challenges of buying from a For Sale by Owner.  However, if you would prefer to try and go it alone to see what kind of success you might have, Click Here to read about our FSBO assistance program that we offer. 

-Steve Nicks

For Sale By Unrepresented Seller

While I was out this week with a client looking at homes, we passed a few homes being sold by unrepresented sellers (click to view my earlier post).  I am not opposed to helping my clients find every possible home that fits his/her criteria, so I picked up a brochure and we perused it.  To our amazement, this unrepresented seller was offering his property for $330,000.00.  Now, let me describe some key points of this home.  It was located in an older subdivision in Glendale, it only had a 2 car garage - although it did offer an rv gate with the ability to park an rv (no HOA) – and had nice curb appeal.  But we had viewed another home in the same neighborhood that had a 3 car garage, a pool, rv gate and parking as well, and it was priced at $289,000.  Now, I know what you're thinking... this home was priced low to sell quickly... actually, the home had been on the market for nearly 6 months, was originally priced at $299,000, and ended up selling for only $285,000.  When I checked the sales over the last year in that neighborhood, I noticed that the most expensive sale was a home that was slightly larger in square footage, it was on a much larger lot - a difference of approximately 3,000 sq ft. – and its sale price was $305,000.  The next closest sale in price was $280,000.  Nothing about the unrepresented seller’s home would substantiate an asking price of $330,000.  Yet, he was bold enough to print it on his brochure.

Now, I am not against owners selling their own home without a realtor.  There are several reasons why an owner might want/need to sell his home without representation.  But, when the decision comes to price your home, do yourself a favor and research the market in your neighborhood.  You can do this several ways (such as requesting a title company to give you the prices of recently sold homes in your neighborhood, checking the county assessor's website, attending open houses, or requesting a FREE comparative market analysis from a REALTOR).  There are so many things that go into considering an asking price, and you really are best off asking a realtor for his/her professional advice.  I offer a detailed market analysis at no cost or obligation to you.  Contact me if you would like my professional opinion.  But here are a few tips to consider to give you a general idea of how to price your home:  

  1. Price your home at a competitive price for what you are offering – if you have any combination of formica countertops, flat panel 36” cabinets, non-upgraded or original appliances (even if they look brand new) you must take a deduction.

  2. How's your carpet/flooring?  (If it looks worn or dated take another deduction).

  3. How about parking?  If you're in a neighborhood that offers 2 and 3 car garages, but your home only has 2... take another deduction.

  4. If your home is not one of the nicest homes available in the neighborhood, you will not receive the highest price… so don’t even ask it!  You may even drive off someone who may have considered offering a lower price, because they think you are unreasonable.

  5. If the homes available in your neighborhood have been available for a long time with no offers, don’t price yours in their range.

  6. Look at homes currently for sale to help get an idea of what needs to be done in order to achieve top dollar.

  7. Don't fool yourself... a pool is not an investment!  You put it in for your enjoyment, and the opportunity of having your kids have their friends over to play instead of always going to someone else's home.  The return on a pool is not anywhere near as much as you will pay for one.

If you are an unrepresented seller and you seriously expect to sell your home (your attitude is NOT "let's just see what happens"), you must be willing to spend the time, money, & effort to do the work that an agent would do to promote your home.  Buyers have way too many options available to call/consider something that might not be worth their time.  Chances are if your home is for sale... so is at least 1 more on your block!  What are you going to do to make yours a buyer's top choice? 

On a side-note, the Butterworth Group has a program designed just for you with NO COMMISSION!  We can help you along the way with any questions you might have.  Give anyone of us a call to find out more details!  Click here to view a postcard highlighting the key points! 

FSBO Assistance Program

FSBO. For Sale By Owner. It can be a daunting proposition... We can help. Our FSBO Assistance Program is FREE. No Cost. No Obligation. No Commitment. NO STRINGS ATTACHED!

Selling your home by yourself is a viable option, and can be a great way to save a lot of money on real estate commmissions. But it's not for the faint of heart; there is a lot of work involved, as well as some additional risk. For those of you with that special blend of knowledge, confidence, ability, and desire to sell your own home, we offer a great FSBO Assistance Program, the details of which are outlined below. But first, some straight talk about FSBOs.

    Most Need Help: Almost 9 out of 10 people selling their homes For Sale By Owner will eventually enlist the help of a Realtor.

    Buyers Negotiate: Many buyers know that a FSBO isn't paying a commission, so they expect to pay a lower price.

    Most help isn't free: If you use a service to put your home in the MLS, you will also need to pay a commission to the Realtor/Broker who finds the buyer, which eliminates a large portion of the savings you were hoping to keep.

    #1 Reason homes sell: The MLS system allows the 50,000 Realtors (give or take) workinig in the greater Phoenix area to see every home that's available which might suit their potential buyers' needs. This is far and away the number one way homes are sold in Phoenix; there isn't even a close 2nd!

So, if you're still determined to sell your own home, or if you want to give it a try for 30 or 60 days before asking for help, let me introduce you to our FSBO Assistance Program. Here's what we can do to help:

We'll give you expert advice and ideas to make sure you're doing everything possible to maximize your sales price, and minimize the time your house is on the market, including:

    Curb Appeal - You want to grab the buyers' attention from the second they pull up to your home. We'll come to your home to see it first hand & give you our opinion.

    - You want to make the buyers say "Wow!" as they walk through your home. We'll offer advice while we're there for the curb appeal.

    Preparation - things to do behind the scenes to make the buyers' experience better.

    Open Houses - how to market and run the most effective open house possible. We may even be able to provide open house signs for you to use.

    Safety - we'll share our knowledge and experience about safety, letting strangers into your home, and how the for sale sign in the yard can be a target.

    Pricing - a detailed market analysis, so you KNOW what the neighbors have sold for, or are currently asking, and how long they've been on the market.

    Buyer Qualification - let's make sure the buyer can qualify for their loan.

That's a lot of good stuff we're offering, so I'm sure you're asking yourself "What's in it for them?" Well, I'll tell you. Here's what we're looking for from you:

    Refer us. If you come away from the experience with a good opinion of us and how we run our business, please refer our name to your friends, family members, or co-workers who might prefer to work with a Realtor.

    Looky-lous. If someone looks at your home but decides it's not the right home for them (too big, too small, no pool, etc.), please allow us to assist them in finding their dream home.
    That's it. No Strings Attached.

Moving Sales

I was chatting with a FSBO that I've been working with for some time now and she informed me that she had a "Moving Sale" over the weekend and had more interest in her home than she did in the items she was selling in her "Moving Sale". She was very excited that she had finally got some people to her house and had gotten some exposure. There are several ways to get exposure if you are considering selling your home, many of which are quite costly. This method, however, is quite inexpensive, and depending on the success of the sale itself, may actually make you some money.

So if you are trying to sell your home without the services of a Realtor®, then holding a "Moving Sale" might be a great way to get the word out that you are selling your home.

This consept may also apply to those individuals who have hired a Realtor® to help them sell their homes. We almost always advise our clients to de-clutter their homes at least a little bit when preparing their home for sale. Having a moving or garage sale while the house is on the market may generate some additional interest above and beyond what your Realtor® is generating on his/her end.