Monthly Archives: September 2015

7 Reasons to Use a REALTOR When Selling Your Home

 Selling your home can seem a daunting task. When you close that deal, you want to make sure that your home goes to the best buyer for the best price. It may seem cheaper to sell your home yourself, and many do; however, there are a lot of details to work through.

“Selling your home through a REALTOR® can help you make sure you get the best value overall,” says Steve Mallett owner of Mallett Integrity Team Real Estate based in Austin, Texas and specializing in luxury homes and residential sales.

Steve offers seven reasons why you should use a REALTOR® instead of selling your home yourself:

  1. REALTORS® Know How to Navigate the Process – A REALTOR® is the manager of your home buying process. Steve explains that you and your REALTOR® will begin with extensive discussions to head off any road blocks later on. Your REALTOR® is aware of your concerns, needs and priorities. They are there from the beginning to end, navigating each step of the way with you. Selling real estate can be a tricky business, full of regulations and involved steps. Your REALTOR® works for you, staying on top of the latest regulations and helping you meet them.
  2. REALTORS® Know How to Professionally List the Property – In the age of Web 2.0, it’s not enough to upload your phone photos to a few random sites. Buyers expect professional photos, videos and flawless online presentation. To get the most exposure, you also need to manage your listing across multiple channels. REALTORS® will do all this for you, including coordinating with photographers and videographers to make sure your listing is top-notch. “Hitting the right emotional and responsive chords with buyers is the goal,” says Steve. “Determine who the likely audience is, and market directly to that audience.”
  3. REALTORS® Know How to Prepare Sellers – Before you sell, your home must be in the best condition possible. Your REALTOR® can advise you on what repairs need to be done, and they frequently know good contractors. You may have to have inspections done before you sell, and will probably have to do repairs. A REALTOR® can set up any required inspections and instruct you on how to prepare. Sometimes homeowners will take out a loan against the house to finance costly repairs, but this can’t be done while the house is on the market. A REALTOR® may help assess the situation, and then wait to list it until the repairs are completed.
  4. REALTORS® Can Help Sellers Prepare for Showings – “Staging is extremely important,” says Steve. “That first impression is vital.” Not only do all of the repairs need to be done, but if you still live there, the place must be kept clean and staged. This means everything from maintaining curbside appeal to the little details, like placing out a plate of cookies or laying out your best dishes in a table setting. He advises that a home must be open and inviting, and that smells, pets and lighting must all be taken into consideration. “We don’t want a home not selling because a buyer can’t see their own furniture in the home.” Your REALTOR® may also advise you to de-clutter certain closets and rearrange rooms. They may explain which personal touches add a “homey” look and which things detract from a potential buyer envisioning their own decor.
  5. REALTORS® Can Help Get Buyers Through the Doors – REALTORS® not only get the traffic in, they know how to manage it. They can arrange and hold open houses in a way that gets as many visitors as possible. They also work with buyers so that showings are more convenient for you. This is especially important if you still live in the house. REALTORS® may also help weed through potential candidates so that you don’t waste your time with no-shows or non-serious buyers. “If a person needs to sell a house before buying another, the seller needs to know this,” says Steve. This all factors in to final decisions and net proceeds.
  6. REALTORS® Know How to Objectively Negotiate – You may think preparing and showing your home may be stressful, but receiving offers can be difficult. “The goal is to get the most money as the seller, and as the buyer the goal is to look at market value and if it’s priced appropriately. You don’t want to present an offer that’s an insult to the seller,” says Steve.  A REALTOR® can help you stay reasonable, without letting you take a lowball offer either. They will also be there to navigate a multi-bid and renegotiations. “Renegotiations fall apart all the time, and deals frequently don’t come through,” he says. “Each side has different concerns, and each party needs to know where the other stands.” Closing can be a confusing process, and there is a lot of paperwork to sign. Your REALTOR® has been through this many times and can explain everything you are signing and why. If you have any questions on anything, your REALTOR® is right there.
  7. REALTORS® Know the Area – “The key to a good agent is knowing the area,” says Steve. They know what the property values are, and have a good idea of future market changes. They also know where and how to list your property for best results. Having a home listed on MLS is not enough. A good REALTOR®, that is knowledgeable of the area, is essential to getting the highest price for your home.

Steve Mallett is the lead agent of the Mallett Integrity Team-Selling Real Estate in the Austin area since 2004.

Why Going FSBO Costs You Money

As the Austin real estate market heats up we are starting to see more and more people attempting to sell their home themselves.  The savvy ones will offer a buyers agent a commission but try to save the listing agent commission.  Occasionally a seller will attempt to sell with no commissions offered but studies by and Zillow show that these properties almost always take much longer to sell and sell for less than market value.

In a hot market sometimes a FSBO can be successful.  But at what cost?  Many times the type of buyers that do not use an agent are bargain hunters.  They scour the market looking for FSBO sellers that they can manipulate into a lower price.  They have already discounted the listing by 6% in their mind and start to negotiate from there.  In order to save the 6% (Negotiable in Texas) many FSBO sellers can cost themselves 10-20% by not knowing how to negotiate with a buyer that has no rules or ethics.

Agents must abide by a code of ethics and agree to treat all parties fairly while negotiating in the best interest of their client.  When you hire an agent you open your property up to thousands of agents working with cultivated buyers ready to buy.  That creates higher demand and higher prices for properties.

Most FSBO sellers are not aware of the legal requirements of selling a property in Texas. What forms need to be filled out?  What items need to be disclosed?  Who typically pays what costs at closing?  Saving 3% will seem silly if you are involved in a lawsuit because you forgot to disclose a death in the home or a prior repair.  Agents will help you avoid those mistakes.

FSBO sellers must qualify potential buyers, show the home, negotiate the contract and then work with the lender and title company to get the home sold.  Try this a couple of times and you will see that paying a fee of 6% (Negotiable in Texas) is small price to pay for the piece of mind that comes from letting a professional get the job done for you.  Research shows agents get more money for your home and are involved in less lawsuits than unrepresented FSBO sellers.  Do you really want to put yourself through that headache only to net less money?





Is HGTV Ruining the Public’s View Of Real Estate Transactions?

How fun are the reality shows these days? What a great escape from your day to watch the trials and tribulations of others. The real estate reality shows, in particular, are an entertaining format showing buying and selling and deals being made on the streets of cities such as New York and San Francisco.

But, as any agent who has ever actually bought or sold a home knows, they edit out just a little bit of the critical information and leave it on the cutting room floor.

I have to admit that I do watch some of these real estate shows myself. But I look at them more as a soap opera entertainment and a glance into a mostly made up real estate world.

Our clients, customers and even our parents and kids are watching it with a whole different takeaway.

Here are five of the largest misconceptions of clients who come armed with real estate reality show fever:

1. I have to sign something?

You never actually see anyone signing the multitude of contract and disclosure documents on any of these shows. It is obviously the most tedious and boring part of the process for the consumer, and of course, it makes for terrible television.

But, some clients get anxious — or downright upset — when you start presenting them with contracts and documents to sign because they didn’t think that was part of the deal.

They agree to the terms of buying their new home on the phone and expect that they magically own it the next day.

2. I want that house so go get it

When representing buyers, we all know it takes a long time to find our clients the right home. In the hot car all afternoon on many Sundays or rushing out at a moment’s notice when our buyers see the perfect home that just came on the market.

This is part of what makes real estate fun and exciting — the hunt. Some clients want to know why we don’t have their dream home in our back pocket and why we can’t get them into that home tomorrow afternoon.

On the reality shows it’s so easy, “I love that home and am going to buy it.” Moving trucks are on their way.

3. We meet the other agent at Starbucks

How many times have you negotiated a home purchase with an agent on the other side of the table at an exquisite restaurant — cocktails in hand? Or have you ever strolled out of a restaurant onto the crowded streets with clients on the phone trying to make that deal happen?

Maybe a few times, but it’s not the norm. Clients watch this drama on almost every episode of these shows and begin to expect that type of negotiation and drama.

Although a lot of agents would love that to be the case — me included — it’s just not the general reality.

4. You mean I can’t just move in?

Another large piece missing from the television drama is the days — and sometimes weeks — of reviewing disclosures, title reports, permit approvals, inspections, repair requests, appraisal, lender requests and lender underwriting, etc.

Buyers begin to expect that they sign some stuff and call their designer — and that’s it. Our clients have to be educated from the first day on what exactly it takes, physically and emotionally, to buy or sell a home.

5. I want that glorious open house, too

Sellers regularly comment on the incredible parties they see as open houses on TV. They want red carpets, the press, the original architect of the home, full catering with open bar and the Laker Girls.

They see this as the reason homes on TV sold — and for huge prices. What might be a shock to most sellers and buyers is that in most cases the fantastic party open houses they see on real estate reality shows are fully staged for filming.

They are timed perfectly with multiple takes and camera angles, and typically, the home already sold weeks or months prior to the filming.

We get confronted with this more and more these days, especially because the millennials are becoming homebuyers. And my favorite thing to tell them from the start is, “One of the biggest investments you will ever make in life is never supposed to be easy.”

Courtesy of Jay Lieberman, broker associate at Keller Williams World Class located in Westlake Village, California.