Selling the condo. Judy Donovan. Purpose of Inquiry. Find out how to sell my Grand Rapids condo When should I put it on the market? What about the renters? Find out how to choose a good realtor Discover how to price the condo Figure out if any work has to be done. Results.
Purpose of Inquiry Find out how to sell my Grand Rapids condo When should I put it on the market? What about the renters? Find out how to choose a good realtor Discover how to price the condo Figure out if any work has to be done
Results When should I put it on the market? What about the renters? When – I found out the renters lease was not up until the end of March - So I can list April 1 at the soonest. I can still find a realtor before then We can do a walk-through and determine if any work has to be done We can get the paperwork done We can agree on a price
Finding a good realtor how do you know a good realtor from an not as good one? By good I mean someone who knows the market, knows where to advertise, can determine the maximum price at which the condo will sell, etc. What I found out …..
Choosing a realtor I took the advice of several articles – choose the realtor with the most listings in my area I used a great website and put in the condo’s zip code and selected condos to see all listings There were 8 listings in the area There were two real estate companies with current listings
Possibilities Five Star Realty had the most listings Patricia Jackiewitz Jeffrey Blahnik Steve Visser Bruce Capel ReMax was next Nanette Sorenson Jeffrey Mohr Keller Williams
Rejected Keller Williams Daniel Tourlotte not in area – not comparable FS Realty Nicholas Himba Not comparable condo
Good Realtor – doing my research I will again search the listings when it is closer to the time for me to list. There are so few listings now that there is not a lot of choice. In the meanwhile, I can be investigating the possibilities I did find by checking out their websites and even and doing research (see following slides) If I think I have found a good realtor, I can interview him or her using the list of interview questions and answers presented later in this presentation
The Top Three Lies Told By Real Estate AgentsFind Out If Your Real Estate Agent is Dishonesthttp://homebuying.about.com/od/realestateagents/a/063008-LiarAgts.htm Here are misrepresentations to look for and investigate on a real estate agent's web site / blog:
Real Estate Experience If you can't easily spot a reference to the number of years the agent has been licensed to sell real estate, it's because the agent has none or very little (under five years) experience. The agent may toss other numbers at you such as how long they have lived in the state or the number of years the agent was employed somewhere else. But only one thing counts, and that's solid real estate experience. Tip: Experience is important because it means an agent should be able to anticipate problems and prevent them from manifesting. It also means you're relatively assured that over the years your agent has learned how to handle just about any type of potential difficulty without running elsewhere for advice.
Real Estate Listings Most agent web sites feature that agent's active listings. You should check for a link to "my listings," to determine whether that agent even has any listings. Only a select few, such as exclusive buyer broker agents, refuse to take listings. Listings are the backbone of experienced real estate agents. If you can't find a link, it's because the agent has no listings. Tip: Some agents without listings advertise other agent's listings. Read through the listings carefully to see if they belong to that agent. They may not. If you can't tell, call the office number and ask for the name of the listing agent -- you may discover it's probably somebody else. Some agents misrepresent all their company listings on their site as their own, when they are not.
Real Estate Specialty Agents generally advertise their specialty, whether it's a neighborhood, type of property or specific types of buyers they may represent. For example, an agent might claim to be a specialist at selling homes in a trendy neighborhood but haven't to date. Or agents may try to market themselves as an exclusive home specialist by showcasing only high end homes on their web site, yet they have never sold a home in that price range. Still, other agents may advertise that they are FHA specialists but have yet to close an FHA transaction. Puffery is the shameless new PR. Tip: Be aware that one sale does not a specialist make. Agents sometimes have difficulty drawing the line between what they aspire to become and what they are actually are, so don't be fooled. Agents can get sued for pretending to be a neighborhood specialist, but that doesn't stop some from misleading you.
Questions I will ask realtors Commission – will they negotiate? - see article at http://www.buy-and-sell-house-fast.com/sell-house/realtor-commission.shtml Success in down market – how many listings have they had and how much success in selling the last three years? I will also examine their websites and blogs In addition, I will interview each agent
Researching possible realtors Look Up An Agent's Real Estate License The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials. If your results show "no data," just click on the name to get the license number. Sometimes this site does not provide accurate dates, but the license numbers are correct. Armed with the license number, go to your state's licensing division. Do a search in Google for "(Name-of-your-state) real estate licensing division." Then look for license verification and enter the license number. This will tell you about when the license was originally issued. I say "about" for example, because records at the California Department of Real Estate go back only to about 1980.
Get a Copy of The Agent's Production Record You can ask your agent to print this out from MLS for you or you can ask another real estate agent to do it. For example, you might discover that the agent you are considering has been falsely leading you to believe she is a top producer but she sells only two homes a year. Tip: A successful real estate agent generally sells a minimum of one home per month or 12 homes a year. From the agent's production record, you can find out: How many homes the agent has sold per year How much they sold for Where they were located. Remember, if your agent lies about experience, listings or specialty, do you want to trust that agent to represent you?
Interviewing Once I narrow down the field, I will interview each possibility. The following 10 questions are ones I will use when interviewing agents. Each question is listed with a discussion on the first slide. The following slide gives the answer. About.comhttp://homebuying.about.com/od/realestateagents/How_to_Find_Interview_and_Hire_a_Real_Estate_Agent.htm
1. How Long Have You Been in the Business?The standard joke is there's nothing wrong with a new agent that a little experience won't fix. But that's not to say that freshly licensed agents aren't valuable. Much depends on whether they have access to competent mentors and the level of their training. Newer agents tend to have more time to concentrate on you. Some agents with 20 years of experience repeat their first year over and over. Other 20-year agents learn something new every year.
1. How Long Have You Been in the Business? While I am not suggesting that you hire some aging geezer with a cane, experience does count. It can mean the difference between knowing how to handle a difficult situation to ignoring it or not recognizing the signs of a potential problem before it develops into a crisis. Minimum of five years' experience.
2. What is Your Average List-Price-to-Sales-Price Ratio? Knowing the agent's average ratio speaks volumes. Excluding sizzling seller's markets, a good buyer's agent should be able to negotiate a sales price that is lower than list price for buyers. A competent listing agent should hold a track record for negotiating sales prices that are very close to list prices. Therefore, listing agents should have higher ratios closer to 100%. Buyer's agent ratios should fall below 99%.
2. Average List-to-Sales-Price Ratio When hiring a listing agent, expect to see list-to-sales ratio within 97% to 100% in a buyer's market; in a seller's market: 100% to 110% of list price.
3. What is Your Best Marketing Plan or Strategy for My Needs? As a seller, you will need to know: Specifically, how will you sell my home? What is your direct mail campaign? Where and how often do you advertise? Will you show me a sample flyer? How do you market online?
3. Best Marketing Plan / Strategy As a seller, you would like your agent to advertise weekly for you, do direct mail, send e-flyers, produce four-color brochures, and present you with a marketing campaign designed specifically for you.
4. Will You Please Provide References? Everybody has references. Even new agents have references from previous employers. Ask to see references. Ask if any of the individuals providing references are related to the agent. Ask if you can call the references with additional questions.
4. References You might find references on an agent's Web site, but you should also ask to see letters of reference. Clients often send thank you notes or letters to the agent's broker. Check a minimum of three references.
5. What Are the Top Three Things That Separate You From Your Competition? A good agent won't hesitate to answer this question and will be ready to fire off why she is best suited for the job. Everyone has their own standards, but most consumers say they are looking for agents who say they are: Honest and trustworthy Assertive Excellent negotiators Available by phone or e-mail Good communicators Friendly Analytical Able to maintain a good sense of humor under trying circumstances
5. Top Three Things That Make the Agent Different Examples can range from marketing to knowledge. Acceptable answers are: Strong repeat record of satisfied customers Extensive online marketing Good negotiation skills Assertive, doesn't take no for an answer Strong communicator.
6. May I Review Documents Beforehand That I Will Be Asked to Sign? A sign of a good real estate agent is a professional who makes forms available to you for preview before you are required to sign them. If at all possible, ask for these documents upfront.As a seller, ask to see: Agency Disclosure Listing Agreement Seller Disclosures
6. Review of Documents As a seller, ask to see the listing agreement. Ask about reserving the right to sell the home yourself. If you see a fee you do not understand, question it.
7. How Will You Help Me Find Other Professionals? Let the real estate agent explain to you who she works with and why she chooses these professionals. Your agent should be able to supply you with a written list of referring vendors such as mortgage brokers, home inspectors and title companies. Ask for an explanation if you see the term "affiliated" because it could mean that the agent and her broker are receiving compensation from one or all of vendors, and you could be paying a premium for the service.
7. Affiliation with Related Professionals Ask the agent if the title company she recommends charges competitive fees. All agents build teams of professionals, from title companies to escrow officers to mortgage lenders, home inspectors and appraisers. Ask if the agent's company is receiving compensation for the referral. If so, you might want to choose another professional. Payment of some referral fees are against the law.
8. How Much Do You Charge? Don't ask if the fee is negotiable. All real estate fees are negotiable. Typically, real estate agents charge a percentage, from 1% to 4% to represent one side of a transaction: a seller or a buyer. A listing agent may charge, for example, 3.5% for herself and another 3.5% for the buyer's agent, for a total of 7%.
8. Agent Fees All fees are negotiable. If you are a seller, ask about discounted fees. Sometimes agents will match fees offered by other agents.
9. What Kind of Guarantee Do You Offer? If you sign a listing or buying agreement with the agent and later find that you are unhappy with the arrangement, will the agent let you cancel the agreement? Will the agent stand behind her service to you? What is her company's policy about canceled agreements? Has anybody ever canceled an agreement with her before?
9. Personal Guarantee If the agent will not release you from a listing agreement prior to its expiration upon request, then you should hire another agent. Ask about it before you sign a listing agreement. Ditto with a buyer's broker agreement. Some agents will release you; others will not.
10. What Haven't I Asked You That I Need to Know? Pay close attention to how the real estate agent answers this question because there is always something you need to know, always. You want an agent to take her time with you -- to make sure you feel comfortable and secure with her knowledge and experience. She should know how to listen and how to counsel you, how to ask the right questions to find out what she needs to know to better serve you. Go to Page Two: Answers to Agent Interview Questions
10. Other Questions You might ask the agent to reiterate your goals and objectives. If the agent does not appear to have a thorough understanding of what you want, despite your attempts to explain what you want, then hire somebody else. Some agents do not listen very well. You want an agent who will listen to you and communicate with you. The best way to find out if the agent comprehends your desires is to ask the agent to repeat it back to you.
Pricing considerations The chart illustrates that $175,000 would be an ideal price. It would allow me to re-coop everything I put into the condo and even show a profit of $1000. However, are condos selling at that price? Yes it is the average of the listing prices for condos currently on the market, but I want to see the printouts of comparables sold over the last year. The final pricing decision will have to be made after discussion with the realtor and based on the information I find out. But, I have determined an ideal (though perhaps unrealistically high) price, and have an idea of the price range we will consider.
What work has to be done? There are lots of articles which give advice on how to fix up a home for sale. I have collected these articles in a Word doc and posted the document on the blog. I will look at this after seeing what shape the condo is in now – I have not been inside it for three years. Hopefully the renters have treated it well, but I won’t know until I take a look in March. Then I will revisit the doc and choose which items, in consultation with the realtor, to upgrade.
Revisiting of questions Find out how to sell my Grand Rapids condo When should I put it on the market? What about the renters? Find out how to choose a good realtor Discover how to price the condo Figure out if any work has to be done This inquiry has been successful in answering the above questions.