Monday, April 3, 2017

Landing the Plane

     While a great deal of the emphasis placed on the practice of selling real estate is on the marketing and obtaining of a buyer, that is only a small portion of what a real estate agent does. And, I would interject, that it is not necessarily the most important part of the process.

     Anyone who has ever flown an airplane will tell you that taking off and cruising, while challenging in their own right, are relatively simple. That relative simplicity comes in comparison to landing the plane. The same goes for real estate sales. Marketing and contract writing are fairly push-button operations with only a few "disastrous" outcomes. However, bringing the sale to a safe and profitable conclusion is fraught with peril.

     Let's take a page out of my book from today: As I am writing this at 1:30pm, I have a closing scheduled for 3pm. The buyer's agent is out of town on a cruise and has left an associate in charge of the closing. So far today, the package from the title company that was supposed to arrive before 10:30 had an anticipated delivery time of 5:00pm. After a call to UPS, the title company, and a prayer offered up to God, my friendly UPS man walked in the door at 11:52 with the package. Next, after opening the package, I found that all of the documents necessary for the closing were not in the package and there was no indication if there would be a representative from the lender at the closing to clear this all up. A quick call to the stand-in buyer's agent yielded my least favorite response, "I don't know." After she made a few phone calls on her end, she found that "Bob" (no other information than a phone number was available) was the loan officer in charge and she would give him a call. That call helped to lay a lot of worry to rest as Bob said he would be there. Now, I sit in my office waiting for the next obstacle to arise with the anxiety of knowing that a deal can always fall apart even at the last minute.

     As you can see from the details of just the last 4 hours and the anticipation of the next 2 hours, the front end of a deal is not the treacherous end. It is the end of the deal. It is the time when it all wraps up and comes to a conclusion that the gremlins come out to wreak havoc on your plans. My clients are currently unaware of the anxiety that I have faced today. They will arrive at the closing none-the-wiser, and leave with a check in hand to go on to their next adventure. This is what I get paid for. I take on the task of representing people in transactions so that they don't have to worry. And, while it is glamorous to be a high flying marketing guru, the only pilot that gets paid is the one who can land the plane.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Placing A Value On Your Property

There is a common question among all home sellers: "How much should we ask for our home when we put it on the market?" As a real estate professional, I will tell you without a doubt if any agent tells you that they have a foolproof method, they are lying.  There are many factors that go into finding a price that will generate interest in your property while at the same time maximizing the return on your investment. Here are the big 3:

  1. Comparable Properties. The first place I look when deciding who to advise clients is comparable properties. These are properties that have similar characteristics to the subject property. I look for similar bedroom and bathroom numbers, region, construction style, etc. Unless you are in a subdivision with very similar homes, this can sometimes be very difficult to do and requires a great deal of research.
  2. Market Trends. Each market has trends that can vary from city-to-city or even from region-to-region within a city or county. Are prices trending up? Down? Flat? These are all factors that need to be examined when determining value.
  3. Property-Specific Features. Not all property is the same. Just because it is comparable, does not mean it is identical.  Does your home have an in-ground swimming pool? How about a sauna? Theater room? Features such as these can add value over comparable properties and need to be evaluated individually. Remember, that not all features are positive, and negative features need to be taken into consideration as well. Think about your septic and water systems. Being off-grid may be a benefit to you, but a typical, American buyer may not share the same mindset.
Our tendency when pricing is to look at what it cost us to buy or build. We also place emotional value on property that is based solely on our feelings about the property. If you ascribe value strictly based on any of these factors, you can expect to experience frustration and a lack of success. It is always best to have a disinterested third party help you to honestly assess the value. Real estate professionals have the tools and expertise to help make these decisions quickly and accurately, and will often readily offer to help without obligating you to use their services. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your property.