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Sell your home

Hot Market? Try 88 Days….

88 days is the average days on the market for homes in San Antonio as of today…..so why do we keep hearing about houses flying off the market?

Some do….but usually the ones that “fly off the market” are the more affordable homes…..AND homes that don’t need a lot of repairs.

So if you are considering putting your house on the market…..clean, clean, clean.  Pretend you are a homebuyer…..and take a good look around your house.  Open the front door with the key….if it’s hard to open, it immediately sends a message to the buyer to look for more items that might need to be repaired.

Todays buyer wants a house in MOVE IN condition….so if your house needs new carpet….install it now.  If your appliances are worn out, replace them now.  If you have walls that need paint….and the list goes on and on.  Every buyer I show homes to is looking for a house they don’t need to do work on…..because buyers don’t have time to do that work.  Unless your house is an incredible price…they will just pass on it and move to the next house.

The press says we don’t have a lot of homes on the market…. but the number of homes on the market is 7,767.  That’s right….seven thousand, seven hundred and sixty seven homes to compete with.

When you do have your house ready to sell…don’t make it hard for the Realtor to show it.  They might be showing ten homes in an afternoon to the same buyer….and if you make it too difficult, they will just pass and might not come back.

If you need help getting a list of what you need to do to get your house ready to sell  I’m happy to help.  (210) 273-6161

Pocket Listing

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I had the opportunity to visit with an old friend who shared with me her most recent real estate transaction/experience. She needed to help her daughter sell her daughter’s condo in Colorado. None of the Realtors she knew responded to her emails requesting they contact her…..I didn’t press to find out how many Realtors she emailed or if she called any of them…….but she shared that her next step was to complain to another friend about how none of the Realtors wanted to help her sell her daughters condo because none of them responded to her emails (shame on them)……..so the friend recommended a Realtor to help.
The Realtor referred to her was young, innovative, aggressive and had an idea that she had never heard of…..he would sell the condo for only 3.5%! He told her to think of ALL the money she would save by only paying 3.5%! He also told her that if he sold it himself….he was only going to take THREE percent! AMAZINGLY…..he sold it himself in just a few months…..so “THEY SAVED TONS OF MONEY by only paying 3 PERCENT”!
What this “innovative, aggressive and young” agent did to sell her daughter’s condo wasn’t anything new….but I didn’t burst her bubble by explaining why. She is a friend and thinks she got a fantastic deal. It’s called a “pocket listing”.
MANY years ago….before the internet…..no one had a chance to know when a new house or condo went on the market unless the agent that listed the property shared the information with others in their office. When a property doesn’t go into the multiple listing service I always wonder….if buyers from all over the world knew about this property….what would it sell for? Would it sell for more if more people knew about it or just the handful of people that found out? Who was the “young, aggressive, innovative agent” really representing? His paycheck or the sellers bottom line?
The ONLY times I recommend a “pocket listing” ;
Celebrity owners…..lots of real estate agents wont be able to resist showing their friends and family homes of the rich and famous……..selling your home does not mean part time agents or new, inexperienced agents should be allowed to waste your time and mine.
Your home is considered a “luxury” home……again, part time agents or new, inexperienced agents might enjoy showing friends and family a home that they might never get to see in their lifetime and wasting your time and mine.

My out of state friends daughter was NOT a celebrity nor was her condo considered a luxury property…..It will probably take a few lawsuits to occur before sellers that tried this “innovative and aggressive new idea” realize they might have sold in less time and at a higher price if they had put the property in the MLS system and let the world know about it….nothing drives up price better than having millions of buyers view your photos and wonder if another buyer might also be considering buying your home….but until then….PLEASE don’t suggest that this is a “new idea”…..we quit doing things that way when we began putting homes on the internet with photos. And if you are a celebrity or have a home that would be considered a “luxury” home…you can count on me to keep your information private and get it sold quickly and for top dollar.

Virtual Staging

Photos are everything……since we are all looking online before we go out to see a house we might consider purchasing.

Lots of buyers can’t vision how or where to place their furniture…..and some sellers don’t want the drama or time involved in actually adding furniture to their empty homes they hope will sell quickly.

Virtual staging allows buyers to see where they will place their furniture and gives them ideas on how to decorate for their purchase.

I LOVE the before and after….what are your thoughts?

2017 Average Sales Price

Last year the average sales price was $249,000 for homes sold/listed with a  Realtor.

The average price was $210,000 for homes sold by an owner without a Realtor.

The average price was $151,900 if the buyer and seller knew each other and didn’t have a Realtor.

Let’s hope that the $151,900 folks at least were related.

 

Information for this blog is from Inside Sales Predictability 2.17.2018 Michael Reese.

 

 

 

San Antonio Home Sales for January

Everyone is always talking about how great the real estate market is in San Antonio…..but is it really the “hot” market they are saying it is?

This January 1760 homes sold….versus 1687 homes in January 2017.  The days on market for a home in January was 67 days….last January it was 62 days.

Some homes do “fly” off the market….so if you like a house, don’t wait for someone else to put their offer in.   67 days really isn’t very long for a house to get a SOLD sign and interest rates are starting to creep up.  If you’re thinking about a move….you should consider updating that prequalification letter and start your search before everyone else realizes that the house they could have bought last year is now out of their price range because of rising interest rates.

We’d love to help you sell your home or find your new one.

Give us a call at 210-273-6161 or email us at Lisaharder@live.com.

Buyer Ready

Most buyers have to see your house in person to decide if they want to buy it.  You can have great photos, a great virtual tour and a great Realtor….but being prepared for the buyers visit can make or break the sale.

Here’s a quick checklist to make sure you are ready:

  1.  Make your house easy to show.  A buyer might be driving by your house to visit another house and decide they want to see your home before they make an offer on the house down the street…..if they have to wait until tomorrow or wait an hour or so to see your house….they might just decide it’s not worth waiting for.  Have your home set up for immediate access if possible…if you have dogs or kids and need a few minutes…make sure you are ready to jump in the car within minutes and wave bye at them as you drive off.  The easier it is to show your house…the more likely it will sell.
  2. Keep it clean and ready for a quick exit at all times….so you can jump in the car and leave.
  3. Try to never reschedule the appointment.  Some buyers fly into town to see houses for a day or two….which means they are looking at houses in one neighborhood and heading in another direction half an hour later.  Trying to reschedule the appointment means they have to reschedule all the other appointments that have been made…..which sometimes means they decide you might not be very motivated to sell and never return to view your house.  If they can’t get inside….they probably won’t buy your house.
  4. Make sure it smells clean.  If you have pets, hide all evidence that you have a pet if possible.  We have had buyers decide against a house because they realized a cat lived there.  Crazy…but true.
  5. If it isn’t possible for you to leave (you just sat down for dinner) and you realize that the agent is sitting outside the house…don’t be upset.  Be glad they decided at the last minute to show your home.  Remember….if the buyer doesn’t visit your house….they probably wont buy it.  Explain you are sitting down to dinner but you will happily allow them to show your house….open the door with a smile and explain you’re eating and that you’ll stay out of their way.  And stay out of their way.
  6. If you’re house bound….in a wheelchair…..leaving is probably not an option.  Do yourself a favor….say “hi” with a big smile and also add “I’ll be out of your way….if you have any questions, my agent asked me to tell you to give her/him a call since I’m paying them the big bucks to help me”.  That will usually avoid the buyer’s agent (remember….they represent the buyer) to question you if the refrigerator can remain with the sale, or if the washer and dryer can remain with the sale….and other questions about items you might not be willing to sell with the house and then feel obligated to sell because you want to sell your house and they asked you while visiting.   If they ask you questions like “Why are you moving” or “Where are you moving to”….very nicely respond with “My agent told me to make sure I asked you to call them (him/her) if you had any questions”.    It’s easy for you to give away furniture, appliances, curtains….lots of things you really didn’t want to leave….because you talked to the buyers agent or buyers.   That’s why your Realtor really doesn’t want you home if possible.  All negotiations should be done by the Realtors…that’s why you are paying them!

Today’s market makes some sellers feel they don’t have to clean their house….can only show it with a days notice….or even worse, don’t have to make any repairs to very obvious things that need repairing.  These sellers are the houses you drive by and wonder why they haven’t sold.  Don’t be one of those houses.

Virtual Staging

I’d never tried virtual staging….but when I had a seller that had no interest in having furniture moved in and out of their home I realized quickly…no buyer was interested in even visiting the home because they couldn’t figure out how to place their furniture.

I ran across a very talented artist that offered virtual staging as a solution….so I sent him over 8 photos of my listing…and these are what were returned.

I know this is going to help sell this home…..it now looks warm and inviting…and it’s easy to see how pretty it can be with the right furniture.

Knowing where to put your furniture can be a challenge…and having a huge living room can be difficult for everyone.

Note how cozy the dining room looks with the added bar cart!

The master bedroom seemed very “cold” with the white tile floors….but once staged, you can appreciate the advantage of having a rug instead of wall to wall carpet.

Even secondary bedrooms can use the virtual staging help…look how much nicer these rooms look with furniture!

A Realtor’s Job

What’s this Realtor really doing all day?

30 years ago most real estate agents were woman, over 50, with husbands that had great jobs…. as long as they made enough money to pay for their lunches and real estate expenses…and were home with dinner prepared most evenings….things went fine.  The office kept half their commission…but in exchange for half their commission the office did all of the marketing for homes for sale, paid for all the business cards, paid for any folders and flyers that went with the agent when the agent was being interviewed for a possible new house listing….the Realtors expense was:  gas, a nice car, lunch money in case they had to pay for lunch while showing homes and their real estate dues to the local board of Realtors.

Today it’s a lot different.  But a few agents still think the above is still happening and it’s hurting the industry…..as the old saying goes….”One bad apple spoils them all”.

I meet a lot of people who tell me when they retire they are going to become an agent and housewives who tell me they love to look at pretty homes so once the littlest is in school they are going to become a Realtor….and sometimes I have time to tell them what I really do…and sometimes I just move on….let them learn the hard way.

A Realtor that makes enough money to pay for the expenses of their job works somewhere between 50 and 60 hours a week.  I’ve had many years of working 70 to 80 hours a week.  2017 finds me somewhere between 50 and 60 hours a week.  I sometimes feel guilty……I am not used to having any free time….which is why I have several blogs and am constantly researching new ways to advertise the homes I have for sale.D&L4

If you’re used to working 50 plus hours….this is the job for you.

A Realtor can’t commit to picking the kids up from school or watching every baseball game your son is in…..some say they can….but let’s discuss this.  If you have buyers in from out of town to look for a house….count on being with them from 9 in the morning to sometimes 9 at night.  Your commitment to your family can’t be while a buyer flew in town for their home search…..they will find another agent if it is.

Dinner every night ready for your family?  Don’t count on it.  The phone call you get a 4:30 asking to see the house you just listed means you go open that house.  Sometimes you don’t even have time to put up what you got out to cook.

Weekends off?  Ha, ha, ha.  That’s when sellers are off work and can meet with you to discuss what they need to do to get their home on the market.  Weekends are also when buyers are off work and can go see that home.

So… based on that….you think you can be a Realtor working just nights and weekends?   Ha, ha, ha.  Monday through Friday I am at my computer placing my ads, researching the next place to drop an ad, analyzing the different programs I pay for to make sure everything is working properly, negotiating offers, calling sellers to tell them what I am doing for them, calling buyers to tell them what I have found for them, picking up signs, getting keys, putting out signs, designing ads, talking to title companies, checking to see that the settlement statement is correct, going to closings, calling lenders for updates, calling agents for updates, cleaning my yard signs, making sure I have enough yard signs, designing new marketing material….and more.

If you want to be a great agent (meaning; make enough money to justify working 50 and 60 hours a week) you need the following;

  1. You have to be internet savvy and like to learn new programs on your computer…not games…software.  The internet has changed this game and I am constantly changing with it.
  2. You have to be available Monday through Friday 8 to 5 and after 5 and on the weekends…..and be happy about it.
  3. You should have good grammar and great writing skills so you can write ads for yourself and homes you are selling.
  4. You have to know how to take great photos and have a great camera.   Sellers want to see their homes on the market and may not want to wait for your photographer to show up a few days later and then send over photos a few days after that.  And you can’t put a house in the computer for sale without great photos…shame on you if you use your cell phone.
  5. You have to be willing to spend hours researching neighborhoods, viewing homes to see what the competition is for your sellers and learning everything you can about the area you sell in…on a weekly basis.  Things change quickly….and you need to know what the latest change is.
  6. You have to be a great negotiator….or you will never get the SOLD sign in the ground or through inspections and appraisals so you get a paycheck.
  7. You have to be able to pay for all the expenses the broker used to pay for….you still need a nice car with a big enough trunk for several signs, money for lunch or dinner if you are caught away from your desk or have buyers in from out of town, money for your board dues, your Realtor.com dues, your website expenses, your FACEBOOK ads, your camera, your printer, ink for your printer, folders for buyers and sellers, business cards, name badges, signs, sign riders, ………..Count on spending $50,000 a year before you make a dime.  And that doesn’t include self employment taxes or the additional expense I pay to have private health insurance.

If you’re willing to do all the above…..I welcome you to our field.

 

Walk AWAY from that house….oh, wait…RUN!

Sometimes it’s best to walk away from a house purchase…..even after spending money on an option fee and inspections.

In fact, that’s why we have an option period in Texas….so you can have professionals go out and inspect the house to see if it’s worth owning.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to have our buyers sign a “Termination of Contract”…..even though it wasn’t our buyers asking to sign it.

Our first warning should have been when the seller’s son-in-law called to let us know that all communication for the purchase would be directly to him….bypassing the agent on the Multiple Listing Service .  We knew a “For Sale By Owner” sign was on the property….but had also seen the property on the local MLS.  We checked our MLS….still showing as “active” but in remarks…it asked us to send all correspondence to the seller.  Turns out…not really the seller, the sellers son in law.

Our buyers hired a home inspector and also had a septic company go out to the property to make sure the septic system was in working condition.  A number of items were brought up by the home inspector that were items of concern…so our buyers asked for a few repairs.  The seller’s son (not a Realtor, nor the owner) immediately responded that no repairs would be made.  Our buyers decided to move forward…they really wanted the house.

Closing was to occur on October 5th and the offer was contingent on the sale of the buyer’s home.  The sellers son in law called on September 11th asking for our buyers to remove the contingency.  He also stated that if they didn’t release the seller from selling the house to them he would do his best to make sure the buyer’s didn’t ever get the  earnest money back.  His words (in WRITING) followed with an ugly email:  There is no “good faith” on this side because we feel we have been misled (?),  and mistreated (?), the appraisal has not even been completed, we want to be released from this contract immediately.  If your clients hold us up any longer and will not release us until 10/5 and do not close as promised and signed they can kiss the $1K earnest money goodbye, I will tie it up indefinitely.  Sign the release….get your $1K refunded.

The buyers, after reading the email, decided to forget about the purchase.  They don’t qualify without the proceeds from their home…..which is why it was contingent on their sale.  They had put new windows in their house, new siding outside, had it painted inside and out, replaced the fence….all done and ready to put on the market for a very quick sale at $200,000 on Sept 12th.  The house they were buying…..$310,000 and needed lots of updating. We have since learned the sellers daughter called the lender and told her they had another offer…but it wasn’t as good as this offer.  She also told the lender that the Mom, the seller, had borrowed money to fix up the new house she had bought in a new city and needed the funds from the sale to pay the borrowed money back.

I can’t help but believe if we had been able to work with another agent on this sale…..instead of the seller’s son in law, a hot head, we might have been able to close on this home.  We wouldn’t have seen an email that was so “heated” from the son-in-law…..we would have either got a call from the Realtor or an email asking how the process was going for putting the home on the market and getting it sold.   In San Antonio…homes that are fixed up and ready for quick move in for $200,000 or under FLY off the market….especially in North Central San Antonio with great schools and in a great neighborhood.  We probably would close sooner than  the next buyer…..and it appears, from the disclosed call to the lender, that the seller would have netted more from our sale than the next sale.  So…did the seller borrow the money from the son-in-law and he couldn’t afford to risk it not being back in his account by October 5th?  We’ll never know…..but I still believe you hire Realtors to get your home SOLD and keep the emotions out of the transaction….and everyone wins because they understand what is happening, when it is happening and why it is happening.  Without the Realtors you have this situation….a seller who has no clue what really is happening and why….and a seller that will end up with less money in her pocket because her spokesperson was a hot headed relative that didn’t know real estate.

 

 

 

 

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