REAL ESTATE NEWS & VIEWS
The Official Krisztina Blogsite
My new series SOLD! is off to a great start and I’m happy to introduce Episode #2: Seller Don’ts. No surprise, this follows Episode #1: Seller Do’s. I hope all you potential homesellers find both episodes useful. Let’s get to it! First and foremost, don’t hire a Listing Agent who offers you the highest listing price. You must ask yourself: Is it realistic? What are the Market Comparables? What is the cost of upgrades to merit that price? What’s the Agent’s motivation for the Listing? (Are they using the Listing to attract new clients?) What dollar value are they committed to investing into marketing? What is the Agent’s track record for Days on Market? Bottom line: an overpriced home will sit on the market and will more than likely suffer the pain of one or more price reductions! And if you are using a Team, don’t assume the Team Leader will be involved in your sale. Make sure you meet them at the first meeting and ask questions. What is their role? Who is the ‘Lead’ Agent? Who is your liaison? Who is driving the marketing plan? Who is hosting the Open Houses? And to all of these questions, ask why…and there will be no surprises.
Don’t be home during Showings. Leaving for the Open Houses is a given, but often people are loathe to vacate the home for individual showings. This is a huge mistake. A new home is an incredibly emotional purchase and people must be able to visualize themselves in the home at the showing. That’s very difficult if you are home working, eating or watching TV. That being said, of course, you must be given enough lead time and warning by your Agent. (PS This is also why you must keep the ‘Showing Clean’ state of your home!) And speaking of Showings, don’t turn down Showings especially in the first 2 weeks. That might just have been your Buyer! I know it’s difficult and life often has a way of intervening – be it family functions, work from home, sick children, unpacking from a weekend away – but I urge you to suck it up here! It takes roughly 30 Showings for 1 Good Offer. It’s to your advantage to try and get that offer in the shortest period of time! As for Open Houses, don’t get talked out of them! I believe Open Houses are an absolutely integral piece of the Marketing Plan for homes priced in the $800,000 or less range. Experience has proven that a well-priced, well-staged home will sell faster with multiple Open Houses than without.
If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days, don’t assume it’s your Agent’s fault. Weather and holiday patterns often affect Buyer activity from week to week. So it is important to look at the big picture. But of course, don’t be afraid to ask the questions: Has your Agent fulfilled their marketing obligations? Is your home priced at Fair Market Value? Have any significant changes occurred in the Real Estate market since you listed? This can happen in the Oakville real estate market where I work just as with other markets. When discussing the Listing Price of your home, don’t push a price on your Agent. (And if you can, don’t use that Agent!) There was a cost to you when building or buying your property. There was a cost to you for possible renovations. However, the Listing Price of your home is not those 2 costs added together plus a little for inflation or appreciation. The Listing Price of your home is Fair Market Value which is determined by the state of your home, the area comparables and the overall health of the Real Estate Market at any given point in time. Period! And when it comes to marketing your home, don’t focus on Print Ads. In today’s market, the Internet and Social Media have become crucial (and often more important) tools in your Agent’s Marketing Plan. And on that note, don’t over-advertise your home in the newspaper. A home that appears week after week can turn Buyers off.
And finally, don’t harass your Agent about the Who’s and What’s of Showings. Set up a communication plan for feedback and stick to it. Don’t ask about the prospective Buyers – it’s simply not relevant. When your Agent has actionable feedback or an offer in hand, don’t worry – they’ll call you!! Okay, I think you’re ready to sell now. Good Luck!!!
REAL ESTATE NEWS & VIEWS
The Official Krisztina Blogsite
I have just launched my new series, SOLD! Over the next year I will be discussing all the Real Estate topics that matter to you. These topics won’t just be applicable to the Oakville real estate market but will also be able to help anybody looking for resources in the real estate area. On my first episode, I tackle Seller Do’s. My first Seller Do is: Do your homework when choosing a Real Estate Agent. Research them through their websites, visit them as they host an Open House, talk to other Clients and interview more than 1 Agent. Remember, in the end the personality fit is sometimes just as important as the Agent’s experience. And if you’re hiring a Real Estate Team, do make sure the Team Leader is present at the first interview/meeting. Find out what the Team Leader’s role will be through the process – Who will spearhead the marketing? Who will host the Open Houses? Who will negotiate the offer? Who will handle the day-to-day communication? It’s crucial that you understand where everyone stands before the work begins. And if your Agent suggests staging and/or upgrades, do listen to them. A house that shows well and is well priced will sell sooner, often for more money. Do offer the cooperating Agent 2 ½ % commission. Although commission rates are negotiable, I strongly believe that offering a 2 ½ % commission will motivate more Buyer Agents to bring more Clients through your home and in the end will turn a quicker sale, possibly for more money. It is also important in this day and age that you fully understand your Agent’s Marketing Plan. How do they use the internet and various websites? How much print do they use? How much signage is used for an Open House? Do they use video tours? Do they have a Client pool that they might bring to the table? During the showing stage, do maintain staging and cleanliness. A potential Buyer could be calling for a showing at any time. (PS Selling clean and everyday clean is not the same thing!!) And speaking of showings, do hope for many showings in the first few weeks. The rule of thumb: in a good market, 30 Showings = 1 Strong Offer. So be patient and make your home available to Buyers. It is also important that you do have a Lock Box on your home at this time. No Lock Box limits your showing potential for other Agents. And the showing you lose might have been a sale! Although it sounds obvious, do shovel and salt your driveway and walkway as needed. Nothing turns off a Buyer Agent more!! (And of course in other seasons, keep lawns trimmed and gardens tended.) During the selling process, do have a communication plan with your Real Estate Agent for feedback on showings. I typically suggest one day a week, either by phone or email. If I have any crucial information (such as a pending offer or something in the home that we could change quickly), I will of course be in touch immediately. It doesn’t help anyone to call the Agent after every showing. They may or may not have gotten feedback and it often turns into a time-waster. If your home has been sitting on the market for more than 30 days, do find out why. Was it priced too high? If your Agent wants a price reduction, be sure to view their market comparables. Did the Agent fulfill their marketing obligations? Their Open House obligations? If not, perhaps you need to re-strategize with your Agent. Once you are in the process of negotiating an offer, do try to encourage a sit-down offer at which you can be present. More deals are completed when done face-to-face as it is much harder to communicate via fax or email. So that’s it for my major Seller Do’s. Watch for Episode #2 of SOLD! coming soon. Appropriately, the subject will be Seller Don’ts!!
REAL ESTATE NEWS & VIEWS
The Official Krisztina Blogsite
A Team is defined as “a number of persons associated in a joint action”. A Coach is defined as “a playing or non-playing member of a team who instructs”. I have always considered my relationships with my Clients to be in the team genre. We are a team with the same goals and the same hoped-for outcomes. If a Client is working harder to sell their home, it will make me work harder. Both sides need to listen and hear each other for the dynamic to be successful. But always remember, I am on your side!! If a great synergy is not achieved in this team relationship, like any other team, we won’t be as successful in reaching our goal. And it’s together that we can determine those goals. A Seller’s motivation might be price. But it might also be convenience or timing. And we would price and market the home accordingly. It’s also my role to think about the things my Buyer Clients may not – schools, transit, shopping etc. Needless to say in the Oakville real estate market and surrounding areas I have a vast knowledge of these things to better play my part on the team.
The Thesaurus lists synonyms for Coach as: Mentor. Educator. Teacher. Trainer. Tutor. Instructor. Advisor. Confidante. Counsel. Guide. Friend. Helper. Expert. Referee. Aide. Authority. I feel that through the buying or selling process, I probably wear each of these hats depending on what my Client needs at any given moment. And if we’re at odds, we need to communicate better to regain the team synergy. If my Clients aren’t hearing me, then it’s up to me to take a different approach to make myself understood. I need to find the ‘right questions’ and supply solutions. (Sometimes just asking the ‘right’ question will be understood so much better than asking 10 wrong questions.) And sometimes I have to go into Tiger Mode. This is the hat I least like to wear, as it’s often very stressing. However, sometimes Clients can get panicked or stubborn or simply stop hearing me (which often goes hand in hand with the panic mode or the stubborn mode!). It’s my role to protect their best interests even if they are their own problem. I value my integrity most of all. I will never give them the answer they ‘want’ to hear if it’s not the answer I believe is right. I will tell them if they are wrong and I will tell them my professional opinion – after all, that’s why I’m a member of this Team – because I understand the market and houses!! If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it. If it’s an opinion, I’ll back it up. But I will always be honest and I am ALWAYS looking out for the best outcome for them. This is why my Clients come back to me time and time again. And this is what I’m most proud of.
Bottom line: I want what you want, and sometimes Clients forget this. In the end, we must be a united front – but I will always be the ‘playing’ Coach on the team. And what do I get out of this team effort (besides the obvious)? My goal is always future business with my Clients, as well as referrals. (For me, referrals are the most amazing way for my Clients to say ‘Job well done’!)