Here are some of the questions typically asked by Sellers, and my answers:
- What do I need to do to get this property sold? First we need to meet together, to see if we can work together, or not. It depends on the condition of the property, your budget, what will add value to the transaction. A lot depends on your timeline. Much depends on the nature of the sale: is a trust involved; is it a probate sale; is it long-distance (yes, I’ve sold a condo in Alameda without ever seeing or meeting the owner in Europe); is a relocation company involved or does it involve your own relocation without a company; is it a rental property and are you planning to do a 1031 IRC Exchange; is it a vacant property; has a death taken place in the property? I’ve been involved with them all.
- How much money will I net after expenses? I open up a pre-sale escrow and the escrow officer will prepare a net sheet with typical expenses, subject to determining the condition of the property. Those net sheets can be revised.
- Why should I pay for inspections up front? Buyers make better offers when they have an idea of what they are buying. And Sellers most likely don’t want to see their property BOM (back on the market) with defects/items that they didn’t know were there once the Buyers get inspections. Shocks and surprises are avoided. You, the Seller, need to understand what you are really selling. I can recommend strategies to deal with health and safety issues. Yes, you can still sell the house ‘as is’, but you and the Buyer just need to know what “as is” means.
- Do you have references?
I have hundreds of them… in writing… and can share phone numbers and email addresses with you.
- How long have you been doing this?
A long time and it’s never boring… since 1988.
- How long will all this take?
It depends on your personal preferences (motivation), market conditions, pricing, and property condition.
- Where is your primary market area?
- Alameda, all the time, full-time. Not often, but I may go out of Alameda.
- Show me your sales activity for the past 12 months.
Easy…it’s on this website, to the right of this column. You tell me how you want to see my sale activity: emailed, printed out and mailed, maybe by carrier pigeon?
- Do you represent the Buyer as well as the Seller in the transaction?
Nope. It gets messy. When I have the listing you know I am representing you.
- How do you market the property?
I use the multiple listing service, plus loads of internet sites that upload the MLS data. My team develops the website which is dedicated to the property. A professional photographer (which I pay for) comes to the property and shoots the stills of the property. The same photographer will shoot a virtual tour (Matterport), which can be converted into a dollhouse view – looking down on the floorplan, and it can go room by room. And the same photographer will fly a drone over the property, so any consumer can view the location, and what’s it’s surrounded by.
- Who sees the disclosures and why? I can send the disclosures and the property reports to any agent who emails me for them. It’s a one-stop-shop for buyers to bury themselves into. They love it. But I need you to tell me to send it to agents only, please.
- Here’s what I don’t do: Newspapers are history. The photos don’t show well in that type of media and it’s not immediate: too slow, too small of a readership. I won’t do it.
- PRICE is what gets attention, brings them in, and then generates offers regardless of the market. We work to really understand the market. Open houses are for neighbors, shoppers, walkers, bike riders, skateboarders, and a very small way for me to get new business. Your referrals mean everything to me…and prove to you what I can do for you.
- Why should we choose you?
I give you straight information. If I don’t have the answer I find it from a reliable source. I will tell you if I can’t find an answer. I do what I say I’m going to do, and I have the track record to support it. I expect you want a professional, not someone to be your best friend. Often friendships develop and we may even laugh and cry together. But the work comes first.
Marilyn, if these are common industry complaints from Sellers, how do you make sure your clients don’t have them?
- I never heard from or saw the agent once the listing was signed.
One of the hardest calls I make is telling a Seller that there is no activity for the property. If that is the case it is essential to discuss what is happening and what is not. You will know when/where I will take a day or two off, or go on vacation. I don’t disappear without you knowing about it. My team is behind me.
- The agent didn’t fully explain the market conditions to me.
I keep you informed even when there may be little to report. You deserve the truth and we work to find solutions. I often try to offer Sellers other options to selling, ones they may not have considered or even know of, before they put a property on the market. Even a slow market has trends and they need to be observed and then explained. That’s my job!
- The agent didn’t obtain feedback from agents who showed the property and then tell me.
I can’t force an agent to return a call for feedback, but a sincere call on my part often results in both the buyer’s as well as the agent’s comments.
- I didn’t get a net sheet showing me expenses associated with the sale.
I will show you a spreadsheet with the basic costs associated with a transaction and we refine that as we move forward.
- I didn’t get a revised net sheet reflecting terms in an offer that was presented.
See #4 above.
Ask any of my current clients or past clients about any complaints or concerns they may have, or have had. They are straight-forward about their satisfaction levels. I hope you don’t hear too many and if you do, I’d like to know about them, so I can address them.