Tag Archives: Real estate agent

First Step for Choosing the Right Sapphire Real Estate Agent

When interviewed following the successful close of their home’s sale, a convincing majority of homeowners say that one of the most decisive factors came early on: choosing the right real estate agent. The reasons given go further than simply chaperoning the business transaction. The right agent does more than pare down the stress level that can creep into the process at any moment; does more than handle the numerous contractual issues that need to be addressed before a sale can reach a tidy conclusion.

The right agent lets you rest easy, knowing that your listing is getting the full energy and professional attention it deserves. When the choice is the right one, you know that your property is on display 24-7—being presented to the potential buyers most likely to buy.

Unless you inherited the property, you probably have clear memories of the Sapphire agent who was there when you originally bought. If it’s a positive image of a friendly, knowledgeable professional who tackled the details with skill and energy—and who seemed to make everything somehow easier than you expected—then that someone is sure to have the inside track.

If that’s not the case (or if enough time has passed that he or she is no longer available), you’ve got to choose your agent. But rather than letting the impending task loom as an arduous undertaking, take heart! Consider that you are in the proverbial catbird seat (whatever that is). Just look at it from my perspective, as a real estate agent in Sapphire.

Every Sapphire real estate agent is engaged in a sort of retail business. The homes for sale are our “products” on the shelf. Now, although it’s true that every real estate agent in the area is able to expose their buyer clients to the entire “inventory”—including the other Sapphire agents’ homes for sale—it’s much more desirable when our own “shelves” are stocked with great properties.

That means that your home is in strong demand among Sapphire real estate agents, and most of them will do their best to make hiring them as painless as possible. If you have some direct questions you’d like to ask (but would normally be too polite to do so), you needn’t hesitate. “What homes weren’t you able to sell last year…and why not?” is a good one. So is, “Can you give me the contact information for three recent clients?”

The right real estate agent—the one you want—won’t make you feel as if you’ve posed an awkward question. A great agent will be able put you at ease in any situation. If he or she fails to do so, that’s not the right agent! (and finding that out means your interview succeeded).

Selecting the right Sapphire real estate agent to sell your property is the logical first step because it makes all the following steps so much easier. I hope you’ll include me on your list of the most likely candidates…and give me a call to prove why you should!

Mystery of The 184 Things Your Sapphire Real Estate Agent Does

As its name clearly implies, The 184 Things a Real Estate Agent Does for You is an exhaustive list of the actions a Sapphire real estate agent is called upon to perform on behalf of a client. It is an authentic real estate Golden Oldie.

Whenever someone wonders aloud what it is that Sapphire real estate agents do to earn their commissions, many of we agents have the option of digging around in a drawer for a wrinkled printout of The 184 Things. If there were a Real Estate Hall of Fame, The 184 Things would be sure to have its own spotlighted exhibit…or even an interactive video display (so the kids could push colored buttons that would seem to make the list interactive).

Since the list is 184 items long, it’s a good bet that, given the option, very few of our clients would have read the whole thing (if they had, they’d probably be so exhausted they might well reconsider selling their house at all).

Actually, the truth is real estate agents don’t perform all 184 in the course of any single home buying or selling transaction. Some items refer to specific kinds of deals; some others aren’t always necessary. But they’re all authentic, and for most Sapphire transactions, we really do execute on a lot more than half of them. To give you the flavor, they are actions like “Verify legal description,” “Confirm lot size via owner’s copy of certified survey, if available,” “Prepare detailed list of property’s ‘inclusions & conveyances’…,” and so on.

Like so many other epochal historical events, the birth of The 184 Things seems shrouded in mystery. You might think that the reason is because it happened so long ago—but 2006 isn’t really that long ago. Perhaps the mists of time haven’t actually had a chance to fully enshroud the event…so maybe simple confusion is responsible. Most historical citations credit its origin to a 2006 House of Representatives Financial Services Sub-Committee hearing, during which the president-elect of the NAR presented the Things at the conclusion of her testimony. This could have happened after some House member made the innocent mistake of asking what real estate agents do to earn their commissions…but the actual exchange that provoked the list has been lost for all time.

At any rate, despite the House hearing being often credited as the point of origin for The 184 Things, there are problems with that story. The House archives’ transcript of the hearing shows a written Attachment that has 180 Things—not 184! But that’s not the only mystery, because the Attachment has a footnote, which seems to credit the Orlando Regional Realtor Association. It’s only after you consult the ORRA’s web site that you come upon what may be the original list, with all 184. If they ever do build a Real Estate Hall of Fame, it could be a reason to put it in Florida…

I don’t need to do each one of The 184 Things every time I set about helping a client buy or sell their Sapphire home—but it’s certain I do an awful lot of them. My own list is simply one with all of the things that need to be done—and that turns out to be different for every client and every property. The first item is always the same, though—and it’s all yours: call me!

A Highlands Real Estate Agent’s Hybrid Kind of Relationship

11-25-real estate agentThe relationship between you and your Highlands real estate agent is unlike most working relationships people establish—and understanding why the difference is important can be useful when you go to buy or sell a Highlands property.

For openers, working with a Highlands real estate agent is a hybrid kind of situation. Although you do ‘hire’ your agent—and that agent is “working for you”—there is also an element of partnership involved. This is no mere technical abstraction.

If you have ever run any kind of business, you know the difference between having an employee and having a partner. A good employee performs the tasks assigned, is compensated in accordance with that performance, and goes home at the end of the day to enjoy the fruits of their labor. A partner, on the other hand, does everything that an employee does, but a lot more, too. For one thing, a partner usually has ‘skin in the game’—has accepted some of the risk that every private enterprise involves. As compensation, a partner looks forward to a share of the profits should the business succeed. Although an employee may be paid on a commission basis, there is a difference: unlike most partners, an employee is subject to no investment expense or downside risk.

Naturally, adding an ownership element makes a difference in performance—in going the extra mile. That distinction is ruefully captured in the timeworn observation that if you see someone bending over to pick up a gum wrapper in front of a shop, you’re looking at the owner!

Your Highlands real estate agent has a similar motivation. If you are selling your home, you certainly have a lot of skin in the game! It’s your property that’s up for sale, and your investment in it is major. Your agent will be co-venturing in the sale—not only contributing the time and effort that’s required, but also accepting the risk of your mutual sales enterprise. When you think about it, you stand to benefit from the significant ongoing cost of operating a busy real estate office, developing and distributing marketing materials, advertising your home, and putting in as many hours of work as it takes to complete the sale. It’s your ‘partner’ (the agent and the agent’s broker) who will bear those expenses.

If you are going to buy a home, the relationship is similar. Whether in the office or out on the road, your Highlands real estate agent will absorb the cost incurred in helping you seek your next home. If a sale doesn’t come to pass for any reason, your ‘partner’ agent accepts the risk that there won’t be a payday at all. It’s a powerful motivation to work hard on your behalf.

The unique nature of the relationship you step into when you team with a real estate agent in Highlands is one that’s developed over centuries. For your agent, in addition to the degree of independence that’s built in, there’s one extra benefit that has a value beyond money. At the end of the day, it’s the reward of seeing a client’s family moving into their new home, or be handed the buyer’s check at the final closing. Feeling the glow of having helped make that kind of major difference is truly priceless!

Choosing a Sapphire Agent with this ‘Must Have’ Quality

There is one overriding quality you must demand when you hire the Sapphire agent who will be your partner and representative. It’s a quality you and you alone are qualified to judge. And it should be the final determinant—the last factor you consider before you make your final agent choice.

Now it’s true that in many instances, this quality isn’t even one you have to think about. That’s true when you have previously worked with a Sapphire agent who did what she or he had promised. When you’ve bought a home or sold one, been helped through successful negotiations, dealt with the unexpected snags with a minimum of disruption—and finally wrapped up the closing paperwork on schedule—you probably need search no further. It couldn’t be easier: pick up the phone, and voila! Your agent is on the job!

But if you’re new to the area; or previously had only a so-so experience with a Sapphire agent; or if your Sapphire agent is no longer available for some other reason, Job One before any selling or buying begins in earnest is the only part of the process that you will have to undertake completely on your own: identifying the agent who will serve you best.

When you choose a lawyer or accountant to represent you, a number of factors come into play that aren’t involved in choosing a real estate agent. With other professionals, their fee structures can be crucial. Although hiring the best lawyer in town can be out of reach for strictly financial reasons, that’s not true in real estate. If you’re buying, your agent’s fee come out of the seller’s proceeds—in other words, all town real estate agents, from best to worst, cost you nothing! If you’re selling, most agents work on substantially similar percentages. Another factor that plays a greater role in choosing candidates in other professions is convenience—where their offices are located. With real estate, everyone who actively works in the Sapphire area will make your location (or the addresses of your prospective next home) the focus of activity. The agent’s own location isn’t a determining factor.

So what is that final determinant? After you have interviewed the agents who seem initially qualified—what should be the decisive factor?

It’s trust.

In the momentous enterprise that lays before you, the overriding factor has to be the degree of trust you feel in the individual who will be your teammate. It’s why you are the only one qualified to make the choice.

The process of buying or selling a home involves laying out your highest hopes and deepest reservations about home ownership—and trusting that between the two of you, the best opportunities will be uncovered, the best bargains struck, and all will be protected by properly executed documentation. Trust is the feeling you have for how the two of you interact—how the chemistry is there or is not. It’s how comfortable you feel when you are communicating, because you should trust your agent’s insight into your needs and goals, so that you can depend on the guidance he or she provides.

I hope when your next real estate venture is close at hand, you’ll make me one of your interviews. And if we’ve worked together before—welcome back!

Five Questions to Ask Your Highlands Real Estate Agents

9-16-realestateagentThis is a list that hasn’t changed much since Hannibal first considered getting a larger place for his elephants. He decided that the Roman Empire would be a fine choice (but history tells us that the move didn’t work out).

If Hannibal had consulted a knowledgeable Roman real estate agent, he might have chosen a more suitable property, and history would be different. Hiring the right agent can be pretty important—and choosing the right agent means asking some good questions. 

Here’s a list of five questions to pose when interviewing Highlands real estate agents. It doesn’t come with a crib sheet, because there aren’t any perfectly correct answers. If there were such a thing, sooner or later all the interviewees would know them.

Instead, this list is intended to provide a simple way to compare the candidates’ responses—at the same time, providing some essential information about the current state of the Highlands real estate market. Along the way, you should get a chance to sample how well you and each agent communicate. Was your question understood? Was the answer clear? It’s vital that you and your representative stay on the same wavelength. Here’s the list:

How long have you worked in real estate—and how long in Highlands?

Knowing the nooks and crannies of Highlands‘s real estate market is one of the most important qualities a Realtor® can bring to the effort. Experience in the industry is the surest way to head off technical hitches before they can cause trouble.

2. What’s your best guess about how long it will take to sell my property?

The current average DOM (Days On the Market) for Highlands homes in your category are only a general guide for what to expect—and a canny real estate agent will explain that as part of the answer. If the topic of the asking price becomes a part of the discussion, you’re on the right track: one is closely related to the other.

3. How will you go about marketing my home?

The advertising media should include web and print initiatives. If the candidate has brought recent samples to show you, it displays good professionalism.

4. Will you take professional photographs of the property?

Quality photography is essential to any serious campaign, so letting potential real estate agents know that you understand its importance does double service. The agent will be on notice that you prioritize this aspect of sale preparation, and will also know that you will be diligent in readying the property for a good shoot. 

5. How successful have you been over the past year?

Knowing how many homes an agent has sold recently is important, as is a follow-up question like: “How many didn’t sell?” If the agent has cogent reasons why they didn’t sell, or offers how a different approach might have helped, those too can be relevant indicators. An agent who is analytical and open to new ideas can be a good partner.

It’s always good practice to interview more than one Highlands real estate agent before settling on your final choice. I hope you plan to include me in the mix!

A Businesslike Decision—Switching Your Highlands Realtor®

6-17-realestateagentIt’s true of any commercial offering: sometimes a perfectly saleable item doesn’t move off the shelves as rapidly as predicted. Real estate is no exception—not every Highlands home is sold as quickly as its owner and the property’s Realtor® wish. When that happens, and the term of the original listing expires, an important decision must be made: should the listing be renewed, or should another Highlands Realtor be enlisted to try a different approach?

If you have been dissatisfied with the amount of effort your current Highlands Realtor has demonstrated up to now, the decision will be easier than otherwise—especially if you have already communicated your impression and been less than overwhelmed by the response. You are right to expect that your Highlands Realtor will have posted attractive, accurate listing material for the MLS, has included your property in the advertising program that goes out to the community, and has been diligent and professional in showings and (if it was agreed upon) open house presentations. You should have been able to contact her or him within a reasonable amount of time when communications were called for, been satisfied by the punctuality of appointments when scheduled.

If performance in any of these basics has been unsatisfactory, it’s entirely reasonable to entertain a change in representation. On the other hand, if your Realtor has not disappointed in any dimension, you are left in a problematical situation—one which has no clear-cut solution. Whether or not your inclination is to stick with the team in place, to make the right decision you need more information. The best guidance is—get it!

  • Before you decide whether or not to extend the relationship, ask your agent to review the days on market (DOM) for similar nearby Highlands properties. An analysis will show whether yours is the only slow-moving property, or whether it has simply hit a lull in neighborhood activity.
  • Ask yourself whether you have paid attention to the suggestions offered by your current Realtor. If you have chosen to bypass any of them, this could be an appropriate point at which to reappraise.
  • If you have had many showings with few offers forthcoming, it’s a pretty good sign that your asking price is higher than prospective buyers believe is justified. If that’s the case, changing Realtors alone isn’t likely to have the desired effect. You’ll need to fix whatever problems visitors are seeing…or else lower the price.

If a hard-headed analysis tells you that switching Highlands Realtors is warranted, don’t worry too much about the reaction you will get. Most Realtors are very professional; they know that clients do occasionally change representation for a number of reasons, and that hard feelings are simply not warranted. Be ready to interview several agents and to compare what they offer. Pay extra attention to how they propose to stimulate activity—you are well-positioned to appraise their ideas!

For my clients, in addition to an energetic marketing approach, I put a premium on keeping the highest quality communications flowing at all times. Give me a call whenever you have a Highlands real estate query!

Five Tips for Finding Your Ideal Highlands Real Estate Agent

6-17-realestateagentA few of Highlands’s professionals operate as one-person enterprises, but that’s unusual. Even a one-doctor medical practice has back-up staff. Most lawyers, even if they aren’t in a partnership arrangement, have at least one assistant or secretary to help. Small commercial businesses are called ‘mom and pop’ operations because…well, you get the picture. Almost any serious enterprise takes a team effort to get anywhere—especially in this day and age.

So it’s no surprise that when they set about buying a Highlands home or selling their own, most Highlands folks don’t take on the project all by themselves. Even though the average American family buys a new home every 7 to 10 years, constantly changing state and local regulations make keeping up with them a professional-level challenge. And even though the first part of the buying process—finding the most likely listed properties—can be started from your computer, as soon as the winnowing begins, the knowledge of a Highlands real estate agent—someone who lives and breathes real estate—soon becomes crucial.

As we wade deeper into the 2016 election cycle, one of the themes that keeps coming up is “leadership”—the ability to recruit and direct expert help. When buying or selling a Highlands home, it’s no different: you want the team you assemble to be as strong as possible. That will free you for your most important leadership role, the decision-making. The first order of business is to find an agent who will not only assist with all the real estate transactional details, but also help identify and recommend other reliable professionals you will need in successive steps of the process. Since finding that agent starts with you, here are some tips to help focus your selection:

  • Everyone responds differently to differing personalities. What type of person do you click with? Do you envision a real estate agent who is a straight shooter—who will deliver realistic advice, a bubbly personality full of optimism—or perhaps a bit of both? Jot down the personality traits that you would like to see in your agent.
  • Identify needs unique to your situation. If you’re house hunting on a tight budget and need a home fast, you want an agent experienced in finding affordable options. If you’re selling an expensive home in a much-sought-after neighborhood, you might want a Highlands real estate agent who’s sold high-end properties in the neighborhood.
  • Ask colleagues, neighbors, and friends for recommendations. Don’t collect referrals from just one source. Everyone in your neighborhood might use the same agent, but a colleague might have another recommendation. You want to shop around for an agent, so don’t rely on just one referral.
  • Check credentials. A credentialed real estate agent is absolutely essential. Of course, nix any agent who isn’t licensed in our state.
  • Interview your short list. When you meet with potential agents, ask for a list of recent sales completed near your price point. See if you are comfortable with how the agent prefers to communicate: phone, email, text, or a mix. Finally, request the contact information for a few recent clients to check references—and then check them!

Finding your perfect real estate agent starts with the effort put in by the leader: you. I hope your search includes this real estate agent…in fact, why not start by giving me a call!

Questions to get the Most from Highlands Realtor® Interviews

6-3-realtorEveryone agrees that getting the right Highlands Realtor® for your team is vital when you’re buying or selling a home­­. Defining ‘right’ isn’t hard, either: for some of us, that will be a Realtor with the kind of dynamic sales personality that seems to make obstacles just disappear; for others, the ‘right’ Realtor® is the one we just ‘clicked’ with instantly­­—somebody who speaks the same language—is on the same wavelength—who we sense immediately will be someone with whom we can work seamlessly.

Sometimes even veteran homeowners who have bought and sold residences over the years have never had to develop a penetrating interview plan. Their trusted circle of friends may have included a real estate professional, or they may have had a good experience with the Realtor who introduced them to the community. But if that individual is no longer available, it’s going to be necessary to find a suitable replacement.

It all comes down to interviews—and why it’s important to get the most out of them. Personality is a perfectly valid basis for weighing candidates who will be performing the kind of vital­­ service your Highlands Realtor will be called upon to do, but what if there is no single standout candidate in that department? If, after interviewing a host of equally sympathetic candidates, you can’t pare down the field with any degree of confidence­—what then?

You won’t have to flip a coin (or consult a fortune teller!) if you’ve asked each candidate the same group of relevant questions. Some of them will differ depending on whether you are choosing a Realtor to help you buy or sell a property, but these are universally relevant:

  • How long have you been working as a real estate professional? How long here in Highlands?
  • How do you keep your clients informed of progress?
  • What if I need to get in touch with you?
  • What kind of Highlands service providers can you connect your clients with?
  • Will you represent me only, or will you represent both buyer and seller?
  • What kind of team do you work with?
  • What is the proposed fee arrangement?

If you make note of the answers to these and other similar questions, you should emerge with a feeling that you’ve gotten the most from the interview process. Along with the ‘track record’ materials every candidate Realtor will be sure to volunteer, at the end of the day, you’ll have with a solid basis for comparison.

I hope you won’t hesitate to include me in your group of candidates!

Forming an Effective Team Puts Your Sapphire Agent to Work

1-21-agentOne of the most effective ways to maximize your chances of achieving the best residential real estate deal possible lies in your ability to partner effectively with your choice of Sapphire real estate agent. Your agent is your local guide through the complexities of Sapphire’s market—your assistant, tutor, and trusted right arm in the enterprise of buying and selling a residence. It’s your Sapphire agent’s job to make the team an effective one—but for all parts to truly work as a unit, some basic elements should be in place…and clearly understood by everyone:

For prospective buyers, when your real estate agent fully understands your search criteria, the end product is a more focused search that yields the intended results most efficiently. It will conserve an under-appreciated asset (your patience)—and free your schedule by eliminating properties that aren’t right for you. Shopping for a home can lead to a bewildering jumble of options. Simply searching online for properties, or driving around likely neighborhood choices looking for “For Sale” signs is an inefficient and time-consuming stratagem. What’s more, tapping into a Sapphire agent’s comprehensive understanding of the market—past and present—makes you much more likely to unearth the best value/price offerings as they become available.

For those who are selling a Sapphire home, an experienced agent wades through less-than-serious inquisitors, keeping you from getting bogged down with fruitless showings or unreasonable offers.

A move into an unfamiliar area comes with a certain level of risk. A trusted agent equips you with the insights you would otherwise be missing. It can mean the difference between landing your dream property and buying into a subpar situation—one you might regret for years. You only need imagine buying a home in the warmer months only to be blind-sided when access becomes iffy during the rainy season. An agent will have a more complete understanding of the benefits and disadvantages of all of Sapphire’s neighborhoods—as well as the ability to help you make an informed choice, irrespective of when you are available or ready to buy.

Establishing a candid relationship with your Sapphire real estate agent will not only afford you a buying or selling experience that’s as untroubled as possible, it will also provide you with a resident’s comprehensive knowledge of all the local factors long-time residents take for granted. Buying or selling, I hope you will consider giving me a call for a no-obligation chat about the current market!