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A homeowners seminar is needed in Sequim. Many homeowners are frustrated because they have not been having a good experience with their listing agent. The real estate business has changed dramatically, and the vast majority of today’s brokers are operating out of a 20 or 30 year old business model. Marketing a home is not what it used to be. Now there are some answers for anyone who wants to sell their home in this homeowners seminar. The lessons apply no matter where you are in the United States.
Local Sequim homeowners (and Port Angeles homeowners too) can register for this homeowners seminar by calling the phone number in the video. The seminar is taught by national real estate expert Chuck Marunde who started in real estate four decades ago. He practiced real estate law for 20 years, and he is the author of many real estate books. Chuck started his career as a teacher, and he is passionate about a little thing called the “truth,” and in real estate that means sharing the truth about real estate marketing today. He founded iRealty Virtual Brokers ten years ago, and the thousands of articles he has published on the Internet have been read by millions. Realtors and attorneys from all over the United States call Chuck for guidance. Now you can take advantage of his knowledge and experience by attending this free homeowners seminar.
If you’re outside the Sequim area or in another state, you may not have the opportunity to attend this homeowners seminar, but you can read Chuck’s book, The Seven Myths of Selling Your Home., in ebook or paperback. Wherever you want to sell a home, anywhere in the country, this book will share insider secrets about the real estate profession, about sales gimmicks, and the kinds of questions you really need to be asking a listing agent when you hire one, including how to interpret the answers they give you. In other words, this book shares what you need to know to be able to discern truth from fiction, honesty from dishonesty, and what kind of marketing works and what does not work. Find out how Chuck became the number selling agent by total dollar amount of homes priced over $200,000 in all of Clallam County, including Sequim and Port Angeles, for the past seven years. Only homeowners may attend. No Realtors.
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How to Sell a Home today is a dramatically different process than it used to be, especially in this Internet age. If you are going to sell your home in California, Colorado, Florida, Alaska, or wherever you are now, so that you can buy a home in Sequim, be very cautious about how you go about selling your home. If you use 20 year old methods, you may be sitting on your home for a long time, and then you may not get the highest price. The vast majority of Realtors around the U.S. are not tapped into the new world of marketing. I know, it’s crazy, but it’s true. So today I will share the tip of the iceberg on what works and what does not work to get your home sold for the highest price in the least amount of time. How to sell a home today is not what it used to be.
When I started in real estate 40 years ago (I’m 61 today), my broker in Fairbanks told me exactly how to sell a home and what to do with a new listing. He said, “Run your listing in the Sunday issue of the print newspaper once every 90 days, hold an open house, put up a sign, and send out ‘Just Sold’ postal cards to the neighbors.” That was the sum total of how Realtors marketed their listings for decades. Now are you ready for some shocking news?
Roughly 90% of all Realtors across the U.S. are still doing what I was doing 40 years ago. I know. It’s nuts. I ask my colleagues periodically why they are running their listings in the Sunday paper when it’s so expensive, and when the buyers are not searching the print newspaper classifieds for their next home–they’re using the Internet. They all answer the same way, “Well, my client expects me to do something.” In other words, many Realtors are just using smoke and mirrors to make their clients think they are effectively marketing their home. That is just plain crazy. Of all people who should know how to sell a home, you would think Realtors would know.
Here’s one of my biggest frustrations. Sellers don’t seem to have the knowledge or discernment to realize that their listing Realtor is just blowing smoke and not marketing their home to the most qualified buyers. I can’t blame sellers. How would they know? They haven’t spent a lifetime in real estate or marketing or sales.
Here is what does not work today like it used to. Running an listing in the print newspaper is so outdated and so ineffective, it is just a total waste of time. Holding an open house is a waste of time. Even the NAR (the National Association of Realtors) national survey showed that less than 2% of homes actually sold at an open house. That’s a 98% failure rate. Unless you’re in a unique hot market where people are looking at homes at open houses, it is a total waste of time and effort. The truth is, Realtors like to hold open houses so they can pick up new buyer leads.
A for sale sign is still important, but again almost 100% of buyers are using the Internet now to find their ideal home. They’re not driving around and around forever until they see a sign. But a for sale sign is till good–it’s just not the way buyers find their home today. Sending out postal cards to a neighborhood is okay, but it’s old school and not nearly as effective as using the Internet to market to highly qualified buyers.
Do you know what the number one complaint across the U.S. is after people have listed their home with a Realtor? “I listed my home with a Realtor, and [he/she] put it in the MLS, but I haven’t heard anything and they are not even showing it. Other Realtors show it more than my own Realtor, and I don’t know what’s going on? There was a pretty listing presentations, and they made a lot of promises, but all they did was throw it in the MLS, and that’s it.” How can it be that even Realtors don’t know how to sell a home today?
The keys to effective marketing a home today is a whole new world of marketing, and few Realtors around the country are tapping into Internet marketing. I’m not making this stuff up. Want some proof? I’ve built the largest Internet marketing system on the Olympic Peninsula, and for the past 7 plus years (since Jan 1 of 2009), I have personally sold more homes by myself than any other Realtor or team of Realtors in this market. I’ve written books on the subject of how to sell a home (The Seven Myths of Selling Your Home, The New World of Marketing for Real Estate Agents), but I don’t think other Realtors are reading books any more. (Okay, I’m being sarcastic. That’s my effort at humor, but my kids tell me I’m not very funny!)
The point is this. If you want to sell your home in another state so you can buy a home and retire in Sequim, make darn sure you connect with a listing Realtor in your market who knows how to market your home using the most powerful marketing available today so they can real the most qualified buyers and get you the highest price in the least amount of time. Do not use “old school” Realtors. Find one who knows how to sell a home today. In Seven Myths I share insider secrets you won’t know if you haven’t spent a lifetime in the industry, including gimmicks, the misuse of statistics, and all kinds of sales games that are played just to get you to list. Do not get caught up in nonsense, and definitely don’t end up listing your home for a year with someone who doesn’t know how to sell a home today.
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iRealty is pleased to announce a Sequim Real Estate Seminar for homeowners. This will be an important seminar for anyone who wants to sell their home, because the real estate industry has changed dramatically, and what worked years ago to sell a home no longer works today. The seminar is for Sequim homeowners, and attendees who register will receive a free copy of the brand new book, The Seven Myths of Selling Your Home by Chuck Marunde, J.D.
Forty years ago I got my real estate license in Fairbanks, Alaska. My broker told me then exactly what to do to advertise a listing. He said, “Put the listing in the Sunday newspaper once every 90 days, hold an open house, and send out a few dozen ‘Just Listed’ postal cards to neighbors.”
Here’s what’s amazing. Forty years later traditional real estate brokers have not changed their business model. They still have a big bricks-and-mortar building, and they use print newspapers, hold open houses, and farm neighborhoods with mailings. None of these approaches work any more. In fact, they quit working many years ago.
In 2010 in The New World of Marketing for Real Estate Agents I wrote about how the traditional brokerage was no longer valid, and an entirely new way of marketing properties and reaching qualified buyers had arrived. The world changed, but more than 90% of real estate brokers around the country still haven’t adapted.
So this real estate seminar is different. In 20 minutes I will demonstrate how consumer preferences have changed, how traditional methods have fallen to the wayside, and how technology and the Internet have created entirely new ways to reach qualified buyers.
Come and find out what Chuck is doing and how he became the number 1 selling agent of single family homes by volume above $200,000 in Clallam County for the past seven years total (1/1/2009 to 1/12/2015). [Source: Olympic Listing Service]
To register for this Sequim real estate seminar call 360-504-2291. Seating is limited, so register early, and bring your spouse.
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Have you worked with traditional brokers in recent years? How are traditional brokers doing today? In 2010 in Chuck Marunde’s book, The New World of Marketing for Real Estate Agents, he wrote, “The real estate industry is in the midst of extraordinary change. There’s no doubt about that . . . The traditional bricks-and-mortar real estate brokerage is hemorrhaging, and the headlines lately have been about closures, bankruptcies, consolidations, and mergers.”
Why have traditional brokers been going out of business, declaring bankruptcy, or consolidating? Because they no longer have the right business model. Consumers don’t want their model anymore. It is outdated and low tech. This week I talked with a broker from a traditional brokers office, and I was surprised to learn that they still use hard copy files and don’t use any kind of digital transaction management system. I started using a digital system to keep all my real estate documents organized about 10 years ago, as have many modern brokers who are bridging the gap between the old and the new. But many of my colleagues are stuck in a very old business model. Nearly everything they are doing today I was doing when I first started in real estate sales almost 40 years ago, including print advertising, farming letters, open houses, and paying for a big brick building. It’s really kind of surprising that their business model is 40 years old, isn’t it?
This photo above, which I took inside the Silverdale Mall one hour from Sequim, shows a big empty space. What traditional brokers had a kiosk in this location for many years? It was Windermere. They recently moved out and left a great big empty space, which is such a classic example of this continuing hemorrhaging of the big traditional brokerage. Consumers changed their habits and preferences long ago, and yet many traditional brokers just don’t get it. Of course, they finally do get it when they find themselves struggling to survive or have to close their doors. I’ll tell you this. They are in denial, and they will be vociferous in their denial. They will claim they are doing fine all the way to the end.
There’s an entirely new way of doing business, a way that keeps up with technology and is effective in reaching qualified buyers, which is the whole goal for sellers. There’s one Sequim broker who broke free over 10 years ago from the traditional brokers paradigm, and that is Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate, also known as iRealty Virtual Brokers. Chuck Marunde is the founder and owner, and is regularly the top selling individual broker of single family homes by volume. Some who are claiming to be number one are actually counting Chuck’s sales of their listings as their own sales. Oh my, the games people play with consumers (that would be you). While Chuck doesn’t care about statistics or where he stands with respect to competitors, his sales record only proves his business model is way ahead of the competition.
You can buy The New World of Marketing for Real Estate Agents online at Traditional Brokers v. The New Brokers. A good companion read would be Chuck’s latest book, The Seven Myths of Selling Your Home.
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A client asked me how long it would take to sell a home in Sequim if they decide Sequim is not where they want to live. I’ve never had a client ask this question. I should add that in 20 years I’ve never heard of a single person who moved here to retire and then decided right away that they didn’t want to live here. Still, this is an interesting question that deserves an answer.
If the market continues to improve on this same trajectory, slow and steady, and if home builders do not flood the market with new homes (unlikely), and if the future does not bring a major national economic reversal, the ideal Sequim home will be very sellable in the future.
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Home improvements can help or hurt the sale of a home. When you are buying a home and when you make some home improvements, your first thought is probably not, “is this home sellable?” I believe it should be one of your considerations, because someday you will need to sell. That time may be many years away, even 20 years away. But when you do want to sell, sellability and price will be top of mind for you. For one person, this bright red tile bathroom was the cat’s meow, but I can guarantee that the majority of retirees moving to the Sequim area would be repulsed by this bathroom. It would hinder the sellability of this home.
I wrote an earlier article related to home improvements entitled Sellability and Appreciation, and one reader had a very good comment, which I include here so we can flush this idea out on whether some home improvements are good or bad for resale.
She wrote, “This is just depressing. All this time, I have been very careful not to customize the home I am in, avoided making anything but widely acceptable upgrades, knowing I will need a buyer for this home to relocate for retirement. But at the same time, I have anticipated the joy it will bring me to actually place mosaic tile (made up of all my saved broken Chintz plates and saucers) around my fireplace so that my home finally feels like ME. To paint the walls pastel pink. To possibly have vintage appliances. To paint any brickwork or wood paneling a shabby chic white. Instead you are saying that I need to continue to have escrow beige carpet, stainless steel appliances and neutrals throughout so that I can sell my retirement home before entering assisted living when I am 90. Most depressing.”
I think my response is worth sharing. I wrote, “Ann, your point is well made, especially with the kinds of specific improvements that make your home special and unique for you. My emphasis [in that article] is really not on specific improvements as much as it is on the bigger picture–the floor plan, the location, and the quality and style of the home. What you emphasized are the unique improvements that you would make to create that little piece of ‘Heaven’ for your own home. As long as unique improvements are not way outside the Bell Curve of what the average person would see as attractive, that’s okay. If you have a nice floor plan on a lot in a nice location, small improvements like an unusual colored tile in the bathroom are not likely to push a qualified buyer away, unless they are too radical or there are too many unique improvements for the average buyer. The truth is, one of the best reasons to own a home is so that you can make it your own little Heaven with some of those very special improvements. The thought in the back of the mind, however, should be that the more “unique” your improvements, the more likely the home gets pushed to the outer boundaries of the Bell Curve and becomes harder to sell someday.”
Home improvements can substantially improve the value of a home and the appeal of a home to prospective buyers, or home improvements can chase buyers away in droves.
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Selling a home and buying a home at the same time is no small challenge, and there are many details to coordinate. Many clients have asked me, “What is the best way to handle selling a home back in (Colorado, California, Oregon, or Florida, etc.) and buying a home in Sequim?” How do you synchronize the closing date, the finances, and the moving trucks?
Here’s the scenario. John and Mary own a home in another state, and they recently decided that Sequim is where they want to retire. So they looked at some homes in Sequim, and they found one they love. It’s perfect. But they haven’t sold their own home yet, and they want the cash from their old home to purchase their new home. Their dilemma was how to coordinate and time everything for both the selling of a home in another state and the purchase of a home in Sequim.
There are several options, and I have worked with clients who have used each one. First, you could take the most conservative approach and wait until you sell your home and have cash in hand before you make an offer on a Sequim home. But for some buyers, that means they will miss out on the ideal home, which will most likely be sold by then.
The second approach is to get a loan on the new purchase before you’ve sold your old home. But for some people that means having two mortgage payments, unless your old home is paid off. And for some people that is a little risky because they don’t know how long it will take to sell their old home.
The third approach is to get an equity loan on their old home (if it is free and clear or nearly free and clear), and use those fund to purchase their Sequim home. Now they’ve secured their retirement home without missing out on the opportunity, and they can pay off their loan when they sell their old home. Then the old home is sold and the loan paid off.
If you need help working through the decision making process, call or email me anytime at 360-775-5424 or ChuckMarunde@gmail.com. Selling a home and buying a home at the same time is challenging, but my clients do it all the time.
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“How to sell my home” is an important question if you want to sell your California or Colorado or Texas home prior to buying a home in Sequim. Maybe you’re in a hot market, and your home will sell the first day with offers above the listing price, or maybe you’re in a normal market or even a slow market, and it will take good marketing and time. The challenge for a homeowner without hands on experience within the real estate industry is that there are many myths about selling homes, and real estate professionals propagate some of these myths.
If you plan to sell your home, this is a must read. Homeowners around the country want honest answers to their question, “How to sell my home.” The subtitle of the book is 20 Secrets You Need to Know. They are secrets only because the vast majority of homeowners don’t know them. This book reveals what the author has learned over three decades in the real estate business as a real estate attorney and a real estate broker. Just one of the chapters could save you from common traps for the unwary and save you tens of thousands of dollars. This book would be especially valuable for anyone who is planning to sell their home and retire, because at that phase in your life, you cannot afford big mistakes, and you need maximize your net proceeds from the sale of your home. This book will help answer a number of important questions about “How to Sell My Home.”
Here are the chapter titles, which gives you a peek into the contents about “How to Sell My Home.”
Myth 1: Traditional Advertising is All You Need
Myth 2: You Need a Listing Agent to Sell
Myth 3: List With the Highest Bidder
Myth 4: Every Agent Has the Best System
Myth 5: If It Doesn’t Sell, Try Something Different
Myth 6: Just Keep Reducing the Price
Myth 7: It’s Easy to Sell Your Own Home Today
Chapter 8: 26-Point Interview Checklist
Chapter 9: Never Let an Offer Die
Chapter 10: How Important Are Photographs?
Chapter 11: Accept Only Unambiguous Offers
Chapter 12: Handling The Home Inspection
Chapter 13: The Biggest Problem for Buyers
Chapter 14: The Closing Date is a Moving Target
Chapter 15: The 353 Day Short Sale
Chapter 16: MLS Marketing & The Twilight Zone
Chapter 17: What is Good Customer Service?
Chapter 18: How to Have a Great Relationship With Your Agent
The concepts and secrets in this book are relevant in any State in America. If you are selling where you live now in order to retire in Sequim or Port Angeles, this book could be very helpful. You will be able to answer the question, “How to Sell My Home” after reading this book, and you’ll learn what you don’t know about marketing your home, listing your home, and much more.
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How do you find a listing agent who can help you get your home sold? The following is taken from a chapter in The 7 Myths of Selling Your Home. The book includes many insider secrets that homeowners have never thought about, and this topic on what sellers need in a listing agent is very likely a revelation for most sellers.
I got a call from a retired couple who wanted to meet with me in their gorgeous home. They had listed their home for a year with another agent. It had not sold, and they shared that there had been very little activity, that they did not hear much from their agent, and they didn’t get satisfactory answers from their listing agent about what to do next to market their home. They came to the conclusion that simply putting it in the MLS was not enough. We discussed what a listing agent is expected to do, and too often what a listing agent does not do.
I met with them, and they asked me how I do what I do. They found me on the Internet and realized I had the largest Internet presence of any agent they could find on the Olympic Peninsula. After 40 minutes of explaining to them how I sell so many homes and how I connect with so many qualified buyers, the husband had an epiphany and turned to his wife, “Honey I know what we’ve been doing wrong. We were looking for a listing agent when we should have been looking for a buyer’s agent like Chuck who actually connects with so many qualified buyers.”
It was a marvelous moment, a moment of truth and revelation. This gentleman had articulated something I knew but had never expressed so clearly. A home seller today wants an agent who is connecting with qualified buyers and selling a lot of homes himself. The revelation was that traditional listing agents are not necessarily that kind of agent today, if they ever were. This client came to the realization that the ideal listing agent today is most likely a great selling agent who also knows how to list and market homes. (more…)
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The real estate inventory of active listings in the northwest has reached a crisis point for buyers. Some local brokers in Sequim and Port Angeles are saying that the real estate inventory of nice homes for buyers is at the lowest seen in many years. I talked with a broker from Olympia, Washington yesterday, and he said their real estate inventory is lower than it has been since 2005.
The Northwest MLS reports that, “Buyer anxiety is rising as the pace of home sales is faster than brokers are able to replenish inventory.” In Portland and in Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, and Tacoma the real estate inventory is low, and buyers are having to compete in the Seattle area by bidding above the listing prices. Homes are selling in a matter of days. In Sequim I have buyers who are working extra hard to find that needle in a haystack simply because the real estate inventory is so low.
Fortunately in Sequim and Port Angeles, we have not seen a big jump in prices, and bidding is rare. But buyers are having to do much more research online before they come to view homes, and when they find the ideal home, they cannot afford to fool around, because several other qualified buyers are undoubtedly also looking at the same home online. The first to get mutual acceptance with the seller wins. That’s how the shortage in the real estate inventory if affecting buyers.
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An emotional seller can kill your purchase. Happens all the time. An emotional seller is a homeowner who just cannot set aside their personal emotional connection with their home. They will attribute value to a home based on their own memories and on how much they have invested emotionally in their home over the years. When times are good, they sell their home for a lot more than they have in it, and that feels good, but when the market is down, the financial loss can cause them unbearable emotional pain, and that is reflected in how they negotiate on price with a buyer. But here’s the clincher. They don’t think they are emotional. They think they are being objective! They are totally sincere, but they are not objective, and it can be the reason they can’t sell their home.
I represented a buyer who found the perfect home and decided to make a reasonable offer. On the selling end, the primary decision maker was packed full of emotions when it came to her home. She didn’t ask her Realtor how much her home was worth–she told her Realtor. The listing agent in this kind of scenario is in a very difficult position. Even a strong agent has no ability to bend the mind of a seller who is totally convinced her home is worth so much. Since setting a reasonable listing price is not something anyone can do with mathematical precision, an agent doesn’t have a slam dunk on persuading a determined seller that the listing price should be less. Maybe a buyer would pay that much. You never know for sure. (more…)
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Have you been dealing with how to sell a home? I’ve learned that people who have had a long successful professional career in a field other than real estate may not know how to sell a home in this market. I want to share three keys I’ve learned in 37 years in real estate on how to sell a home, especially in this market.
I recently met with a very sharp retired professional whom I highly respect. His story is one I’ve heard many times before. He listed his home with a nice real estate agent he has known for many years. His real estate agent listed his home in the Olympic Listing Service (OLS), but that agent is not a member of the much bigger Northwest MLS, so his listing never got in the NWMLS. Real estate agents outside Sequim in the state of Washington primarily use the NWMLS, and all Seattle, Bellevue, and Tacoma real estate agents exclusively use the NWMLS and do not have access to the OLS subscription site. Not being in both MLS’s severely limits the exposure a listing will get. This gentleman was very disappointed when he learned what his agent had not told him, that she would not put his listing in the NWMLS. Not good.
In addition, the NWMLS has what is called an IDX data feed that is syndicated to 2,000 other sites, which is dramatically more than the IDX data feed for the OLS. Again, this means less exposure if a listing is not in the NWMLS. I suppose I could have entitled this article, How Not To Sell a Home, instead of How To Sell a Home. (more…)
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Today I want to look at what Obama’s re-election means for real estate? Now that President Obama has won his re-election bid for the presidency, what does this mean for you as a buyer or seller? I had a gentleman recently express an interest in a home, but he said he wanted to wait until after the election before deciding to draft an offer. I do not know what he was thinking. But now that we know who will be in the White House for the next four years, how will that effect real estate values, the mortgage market, and interest rates?
Efforts thus far to help people in foreclosure have not seen measurable results, and The Home Affordable Refinance Program “fell vastly short of its goals” according to the New York Times. [See Obama Housing Plan News] I don’t know anyone who has expectations that the real estate market is on the verge of a strong recovery. But if you are planning to buy a home, or if you are planning to sell a home, what should you expect in the months ahead?
I’ve been saying for sometime that we can expect interest rates to begin a slow process of climbing upward from this historical low (3.5% fixed for a 30 year loan). Under Romney I believe interest rates under less government control would have meant interest rates would go up sooner rather than later. Under Obama I believe interest rates will still go up, but perhaps not as quickly. If you plan to buy a home, I would suggest that you might be motivated to buy now rather than later, because it is inevitable that interest rates will go up. How soon? Increasing Federal debt, the Federal Reserve’s efforts to keep interest rates low with the use of various monetary policy tools, European economic woes, the continuing economic stress of this recession on unemployment, all point to a slow recovery, but certainly to the eventual increase in artificially low interest rates.
Likewise if you are hoping to sell your home, or if you have it currently listed for sale, you are undoubtedly contemplating what Obama’s re-election means for real estate. When interest rates increase, buyers’ ability to buy homes will be hindered. First, many buyers may not qualify for a loan at a higher interest rate. Second, many retirees simply don’t want a huge monthly mortgage payment, so they may put off buying altogether. My recommendation to sellers is that you put together a hard core strategy to get your home sold within the next few months, but certainly within the next six months. After that, you may be stuck with it for a long time. In my opinion, this has less to do with who is elected president than it does market forces and monetary policy.
What does Obama’s re-election mean for real estate with respect to other concerns, like the foreclosure market, short sales, the health of the mortgage market, the strength of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the secondary mortgage market? It remains to be seen, but Obama’s approach will be more government involvement than Romney’s approach would have been, that much is clear. Whether the President can have an impact, positive or negative, on these broader issues is probably a subject with a thousand labyrinthian trails. Connecting the dots between a president and the health of the mortgage market is very hard to do. There are broad economic forces at work that have few direct connections to a president’s policies.
The re-election of Obama does not settle all the questions about what national economic policies will be implemented, or how they will reverberate throughout our complex economic system. While his re-election settles one big political question, it still leaves retirees with a feeling of uncertainty on many fronts. The DOW’s 300 point drop the day after the election was an indicator of the uncertainty. Many tax increases are set to automatically kick in, health care is a confusing issue for most, and political gridlock has become the rule, rather than the exception. Perhaps one could say that Obama’s re-election raises more questions than it answers.
We simply do not have sufficient data to be able to say the real estate market is in recovery, or that the economy will begin to recover now. We also do not know if we will avoid a further decline in what could be a slower economy in the months ahead. There are International and national variables that could surprise us. With respect to buying and selling real estate, I suggest focusing right now on buying a specific home or selling a specific home, and let the rest of the world take care of itself.
Suffice it to say here, if you are a buyer, you ought to be motivated to buy sooner rather than later, or not at all. If you are a seller, you ought to be motivated to quickly develop an effective strategy to sell sooner rather than later, or not at all. I hope this helps answer the question, “What does Oabama’s re-election mean for real estate?”
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Never let an offer die is one of my rules as a real estate broker. Whether I am making an offer on behalf of a buyer, or receiving an offer from another real estate agent on a listing, I never let an offer die. This is incredibly important for you as a buyer or as a seller, and let me explain exactly why.
I represented a buyer who asked me to draft an offer on a nice home. I did, and I submitted the offer to the listing agent. When I submit an offer, I scan it and email it to the listing agent, and then I call the listing agent immediately to let him or her know it is in their inbox. After three days of no news and no response from the listing agent, both my client and I were getting impatient. Finally, on the 3rd day the listing agent emailed me to let me know that the sellers chose on the first day not to respond to the offer at all. This is a text book example of how not to handle an offer on the seller’s end. But had the seller and their agent applied this simple rule, Never Let An Offer Die, there would have been a counteroffer, and we would have reached an agreement. How do I know we would have reached an agreement? Because my client and I applied the rule, Never Let An Offer Die, and we re-submitted the offer and forced the seller and their agent to respond until we finally did reach mutual acceptance. Had we not applied this rule, the seller would not have sold their home to this buyer.
I drafted and submitted another offer for a client from Texas. The listing agent did not acknowledge receipt of the offer, and did not respond to repeated phone calls and emails. Weeks went by. Nothing. Finally I reached the listing agent on the phone, and we had a conversation about the property and whether the seller will respond. I was reassured that the seller will respond. I drafted a new offer and submitted that to the same agent on the same house. Nothing. As a buyer’s agent, I am prohibited from contacting the seller directly. Apparently my client will not be able to buy that house, although I am certain the seller wants to sell. Again, if the rule, Never Let An Offer Die, had been applied by the listing agent, we might have closed that transaction. If these were two isolated examples of the rule not being applied, it wouldn’t be so bad, but they are not. (more…)
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How long does it take to sell a home in Sequim and Port Angeles? The average days on market (aka DOM) for homes sold is the best indicator of how long it takes to sell a home. Clearly the days on market will vary in different price ranges. I’ve collected data for homes sold in Sequim and Port Angeles for the first nine months of 2012.
This graph shows homes sold in $100,000 price ranges, and the last price range is $600,000 plus. Here’s how to read this graph. Homes that sold between $100,000 to $200,000 were on the market for an average of 111 days. Homes that sold between $400,000 to $500,000 were on the market for an average of 223 days. For the five homes that sold above $600,000, they were on the market an average of 420 days.
How many homes sold in each price category? The total homes sold in each category are 239, 163, 65, 25, 6, and 5, respectively. It’s clear that the majority of homes sold in Sequim and Port Angeles are priced between $100,000 and $300,000, but that won’t be surprising to most people. It also won’t be surprising if we ask, “How long does it take to sell a home,” in this price range, the answer is less DOM than higher price ranges.
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“How not to sell a home today” is the title to an article I never thought I would be writing. But the title jumped out and smacked me in the face today when I was trying to schedule showings for a qualified buyer.
This morning I made several phone calls for appointments to show this qualified client more homes. I tell sellers all the time that they should make it easy for buyers to view their homes. Anytime a seller makes buyers and their agents jump over a number of hurdles to get inside the home, the chances of selling it dramatically drop. Today’s real life example about how not to sell a home makes the point.
One of the homes we will look at is in Diamond Point. That’s vacant, so that’s easy to get into with no notice. Two more homes I want to show my client are in Port Ludlow. These are two different homes listed by two different traditional brokerages. On the first listing I call the listing agent at her cell number. No answer. I want to show it this afternoon, so I can’t sit around waiting for someone to “call me maybe.” I call her brokerage. I get a long voice message with lots of options. I don’t want to listen to a long list of names and their extension numbers, so I dial “O” to talk to the receptionist. Guess what? There is no receptionist answering the phone at this big name brokerage. Okay. Patience. I call the cell phone number of the co-agent on the listing. No answer. I try the main listing agent’s cell phone several more times, and finally she picks up, and tells me I need to call her office to have someone arrange the showing. I tell her no one is picking up at her office. She says there are lots of people there. I tell her no one in the entire office is answering the phone. She tells me to go ahead and call the sellers directly. Thank God. I do that and get an appointment. (Wow, talk about how not to sell a home!)
The second listing is also in Port Ludlow. Again the listing does not give us the option of simply calling the sellers, which it clearly should. The listing requires that you call the listing agent. I do that but the listing agent doesn’t answer his phone either. Amazing! After a couple of hours, the listing calls me, and it turns out the darn house is vacant anyway. We do have a great conversation, though, and I ask him about why it is so darn hard to show homes in Port Ludlow. He says both owners are agents are stuck in old worn out practices. Tell me something I don’t know. Do sellers understand any of this? I don’t know, but I doubt it.
If you are a seller, and if you are serious about selling your home, you’ve got to make your home showable at a moment’s notice, and the buyer’s agent should not have to go through several people to get to you. Believe me, if buyers cannot see your home conveniently, they have plenty of others they can look at and buy.
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What if you could sell your home for more in this recession? Is there a way to sell your home and substantially increase your net proceeds? Yes there is if you own your home free and clear. Not very many people own their home free and clear of any mortgage today, but for those who do, you have a gigantic advantage, and if you are not desperate to use the cash proceeds to survive now, you have a gold mine in your home. Let me show you how this works. Glance at this graphic below, and see if you can interpret it, and then read the explanation below.
If you own your home free and clear, you can sell it on a private contract. In other words, you can carry the paper, collect the monthly payments from the buyer, and earn interest on the unpaid balance like a bank, only you can earn even more. A privately held mortgage is entitled to earn a slightly higher interest rate than a commercial mortgage company. If interest rates on a fixed rate mortgage amortized over 30 years is 4%, you can charge 5% or 6% on a private contract.
In the above example, the left side shows what happens when you sell your home for cash (or when the buyer gets a loan). If the sales price is $205,000, and you re-invest those proceeds in a safe 10-year CD with Chase Bank at their current rate of 2%, at the end of 20 years you would have $305,820.
Now if you sell your home for more on a private contract using a promissory note and a deed of trust, you can raise the price for the buyer who may not qualify for a loan but has $25,000 for a down payment and a sufficient monthly income. A buyer who cannot qualify for a loan but is still an excellent buyer is willing to pay more to own a home. They know they will be building equity and that the interest is deductible. But even more important, they will get to own their own home, and that is worth a lot.
In the right side of the graphic above, you can see the same home can fetch a price of $275,000, and with a down payment of $25,000 from the buyer. As the seller you would receive monthly payments over 20 years with 5% on the unpaid balance for a total of $420,794. This is $115,000 more than if you sold it for cash. This is how you sell your home for more even in this recession.
This makes more than just financial sense. If you sell your home for cash, where are you going to safely invest the money in today’s crazy market? In the stock market? In bonds? In 2% CDs? If you sell your home on a private contract to a qualified buyer, your investment is secured by that real estate. There’s no better security. Your capital is not at risk as it would be in the stock market, and if your buyer defaults, you actually end up making more money because you get to keep the down payment, all the payments the buyer made, and you can foreclose and resell the home to another buyer. This is a great way to invest your money in your own real estate and get an excellent return. Now you know how to sell your home for more.
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How to sell a home in this market is the $64,000 question these days. Many claim to know how. Some know what used to work. Only a few have bridged the gap from the old to the new world of marketing. Technology and the Internet have changed everything in real estate, but not everyone knows. Buyers know, but sellers mostly do not know. Buyers are doing their research on the Internet, but sellers are not.
The real estate industry is in the midst of extraordinary change. There’s no doubt about that. The real question for real estate agents and brokers is what to do about it. The changes have been so dramatic in such a short period of time that the vast majority have been caught flat footed. Tens of thousands of agents around the country are looking for a new business model and the tools to implement a solid strategy that will help them not only survive, but thrive in the years ahead. From “The New World of Marketing for Real Estate Agents” by Chuck Marunde
Many people know that print advertising and other traditional marketing techniques no longer sell homes as they once did, but few know the technologies and Internet marketing strategies necessary to connect with buyers from all corners of the U.S. Chuck Marunde has been quietly working on this since 1995. For the first time, he will reveal his secrets publicly.
On June 11th Chuck will hold a seminar entitled How to Sell a Home in This Market at the Sequim Library at 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Seating is limited so anyone interested in attending should register online right away. The seminar is free for Sequim homeowners only. Some of the topics covered include:
Register online for this seminar now at How to Sell a Home in This Market.
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How to sell a home is one of the most important “how to’s” of the day. Most sellers would readily acknowledge that they are not experts in marketing and selling a home in today’s economy. As a result, sellers do the best they can by doing some reading, by talking to people they know, and perhaps interviewing a couple of real estate agents. Most sellers will use their life experiences or previous career experiences to help them filter through all the information and make decisions they feel will help them sell their homes.
One of the challenges sellers have today when it comes to how to sell a home is that times have changed. Their experience and knowledge from previous decades is not necessarily a reliable foundation for marketing decisions today. Remember when print newspapers and real estate magazines at the news stands were so popular? On weekends buyers would comb the Sunday issue of the newspapers and browse hundreds of listings and then simply call the listing agents on the ads. This was the buyer’s most effective way to find their home for decades. Newspapers made a fortune selling advertising to real estate companies for a long time, and then . . . suddenly brokers quit paying for mass print advertisements. Why? What happened?
Buyers changed. That is, buyers no longer use print newspapers or print magazines to search for their homes. Most sellers get this, but what they may not know is that this is just the tip of the iceberg on the subject of how to sell a home. The death of the American newspaper is symptomatic of a much larger marketing paradigm shift. Much larger.
What’s fascinating to me is that while buyers changed how they shop for homes, traditional real estate brokerages around the country didn’t recognize that, and they refused to adapt their advertising methods for sellers. For several years brokers and agents have continued to advertise in print newspapers even though they openly admitted to each other that newspaper advertising no longer brought them buyers (neither phone calls nor walk-ins). For sellers this meant they weren’t connecting with buyers, and they weren’t selling their homes. For traditional brokerages this meant they were throwing advertising money over the bridge, and it finally caught up with many brokers around the country who realized they could no longer afford to pay for advertising in newspapers. Many major newspapers around the country have been left with huge unpaid advertising bills by major brokerages. Brokers have been going out of business all over the country, and even Sequim has seen a drop in agents from 258 in 2008 to only 107 today. The point is that sellers who have relied on a traditional marketing approach to sell their homes have gotten caught in all of this wasted effort and misspent advertising dollars.
The print newspaper industry continues to shrink. The Washington Post published this today:
Many daily newspapers have been moving away from paper for years, emphasizing digital news. To try to combat the industry’s decline in readership, advertising and profits, a handful of newspapers are now cutting back their publishing schedules from seven days a week in print to just three. The latest to go to three days a week: The storied New Orleans Times-Picayune, one of America’s oldest papers [175 years old], which announced Thursday that it plans to limit its print schedule beginning this fall to Wednesday, Friday and Sunday editions. (more…)
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Recently I was out showing homes to a wonderful couple who are retiring to Sequim, one of the 10 Best Places to Retire in the U.S., according to numerous magazine articles. One of the homes that made it through our filter of searching for the ideal home in the Sequim MLS and the Port Angeles MLS was a custom home built on several acres of private land, and it not only suited these clients, it was almost perfect. What could ruin this picture? [Actually, there many things that can and often do destroy the perfect scenario, but here we focus on one major issue.]
THERE’S A BIG LESSON FOR SELLERS IN THIS TRUE STORY
If you were a buyer, and you found an ideal home and looked at the listing and the photos long before you arrived in the Sequim and Port Angeles area, and you saw a price that was within your budget, how would you feel when you arrived if you learned that the price had been increased by $20,000 or $40,000. If the house had been on the market for a year or more, and it was not being maintained and was vacant, a price increase of that magnitude would turn most buyers off. And it did turn these clients off.
Why would a seller increase the price in this real estate recession after their home had been on the market for a very long time, and when it was vacant and clearly not being maintained (an indication the sellers were in financial distress)?
Your guess is probably as good as mine, but the answers that come to mind do not include words like “wise,” or “smart,” or “intelligent.” [How’s that for using positive words to express the opposites?] If this kind of home is listed under these circumstances with a real estate agent, what kind of discussions must have gone on with the home seller? Well, I don’t want to pick on my fellow agents, but you have to wonder about increasing the listing price in this day and age, don’t you?
Conclusion: If you want to be sure your home does NOT sell in this market, and your home has already been on the market for a long time, increase the listing price. That should all but guarantee you won’t be receiving any offers from intelligent buyers.
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