Sometimes Great Challenges Create Great Opportunities
We are all experiencing a time like no other. It is affecting us each in many different ways. Some of us are facing great tragedies; some of us are finding great strengths from within. All of us are learning to adjust and adapt and find ways to make the most of this time while staying safe.
As Real Estate agents, we have had to “press pause” in our industry so that we can keep our communities safe. But we continue to serve our clients.
How you may ask?
Well, there were many of you who were getting ready to list your home for the “Spring Market” before we stumbled upon this time. So what we have been discussing as Realtors with our clients are suggestions of things that they can do during this time to make their home “Real Estate Ready”.
A basic any-day update you can do is purge and de-clutter! We all fall victim to not having the time to organize and clean out closets or drawers that have filled with things we don’t use or wear. By getting rid of things that are not being used, you open up your storage spaces so that you can clear your visible surfaces of clutter and other items. Re-organizing a kitchen cabinet for example may make room for you to store away a toaster or coffeepot that would normally sit on your countertop. This would allow your counter surface to show much nicer and larger.
A larger yet doable project is to repaint a room a neutral color. Sometimes a fresh coat of paint can make all the difference in how a room presents itself. For example a lighter color will help a smaller room with limited windows show larger and brighter.
If you are looking to really make impact, and you are handy, get to work on that home renovation project you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t had the time. A popular one that can add value and show-ability to your home is taking up an old carpet and refinishing the flooring.
As we are entering into Spring, we have nicer weather to be grateful for. This makes it easier for us not only to improve the interior of our home, but the exterior as well. Basic clean up, weeding, turning over the flowerbeds, trimming the hedges, power washing the house all can make a great difference in curb appeal.
Have a larger exterior home improvement in mind? This could also be a good time to research companies that provide upgrades or repairs to exterior items such as roof, siding, driveway resealing or repaving, window replacements etc. Many businesses will be looking for work once this pause is lifted and having done your research in advance will give you a running start.
Like any project be it big or small, take is slow and don’t get overwhelmed. Make a list, break it down and simplify what you want to achieve. Once it is completed you will feel a great sense of accomplishment and control at time where so many of us are seeking control within our environments.
We hope this was inspiring, motivating and helpful. Know that we are here for you as your Real Estate resource and we will all get through this together.
Meg Smith and Associates Real Estate
Who Is Your Realtor?
Why you should
choose one Realtor to help you buy a home.
I went to a
conference several years ago where the speaker had talked about it. How when
people were asked, “Who is your Doctor?” they could answer the question
immediately. “Who is your Dentist?”
Same. “What Nail Salon do you
like?” Almost every service job and
answer came immediately. Why doesn’t the same principle apply to the question
“Who is your Realtor?”
Your home is your
single largest financial asset and yet people will choose someone who is in the
business part time or a friend that they know “sells houses” but doesn’t have
the experience to best serve the client.
What’s worse is some buyers go from one open house to another without
any representation until they find a house they like and then begin the negotiations
with the Listing Agent! People believe
that by negotiating with the Listing Agent that agent will be more willing to
negotiate with them because they want
DOUBLE the commission. I think nothing could be farther from the truth.
The Listing Agent
has been hired by the SELLER to
represent them. Their job is to get the most
amount of money for the seller. They
do not work for you.
If you choose one Realtor
to work for you as a Buyers Agent, they work for YOU. Their job is to get you the best price for a house and to advise you as what the
market comparables look like, what the fair market value is, what past sales
look like, as well as what strategies we utilize regarding when to put in an
offer. The list is endless. It amazes me
that people do not research their Realtor’s qualifications before beginning
their house searching process and choose one Realtor to represent them to get
them the best price for a home.
If you needed your
appendix removed, would you choose the doctor who has just begun his career? Or would you take the surgeon who is well
known in this field and whose personality and skill match your own?
There is a major difference between a Realtor who
works part time in this field and one who
has been in the business a while.
Negotiating is a skill. Picture it as if it were a surgery where you get
better the more you do it. If you only did one appendectomy prior to being
hired, don’t you think a surgeon who does 5 surgeries a day would be better at
In today’s market
with inventory being so low and multiple offers being common practice, you need
an agent who is readily available, knows the paperwork necessary to present a
formal offer, and can look out for your best interest by having a network of
lenders and attorneys to recommend to you to give you the best and most
There are so many
other considerations to take into account.
For instance making sure Certificates of Occupancy or CO’s are in place,
attending the engineering inspection and knowing what falls under “normal
sellers representations” to protect your client, and attending the appraisal
and knowing how to reposition your deal if the appraisal falls short.
research. If you are choosing a new
restaurant don’t you look at the reviews of new places to go? What are the Realtor’s reviews? How many homes has the Realtor sold? What is that Realtor’s local knowledge of the
neighborhoods you are interested in?
There is a major
difference between Realtors based on their education and a Realtor based on
their experience. Do you research - so the next time someone asks you “Who’s
you Realtor?” you will be confident answering as you will any other question.
Meg Smith and Associates Real Estate
Realtors Are Like Seashells……
Growing up in Hales Corners Wisconsin, I was lucky enough to enjoy fishing and boating as part of my childhood on a Lake affectionately called “Mud Lake” to those who lived around it, and “Upper Kelly Lake” to those who did not. I have always found that when life gets too hectic, all I need to do is drive to the nearest beach or body of water and the sound of the waves or a walk on the beach makes everything calm again…..
When walking the beach on a recent trip to Florida, I thought about how Realtors are a lot like Seashells……You are walking through tons of seashells and all of a sudden one jumps out at you and that is the one you choose! There are 22,000 Realtors on Long Island. What makes one unique to you?
Buying or selling Real Estate is listed as one of the life’s most greatest stressors ranked 11th among the following other stressors:
1. Death of a spouse
3. Marital separation
5. Death of a close family member
6. Personal injury or illness
8. Dismissal from work
9. Marital reconciliation
11. Buying or Selling Real Estate
With this in mind- I hope you will consider the following when choosing which Real Estate Office to represent you…
1. How long has that Realtor been in the business?
2. Do they do this business Full Time- and is this their only source of income?
3. What is the reputation of the Agency within the community and what do their reviews say about them?
4. What kind of Education/Certifications does that Agent have? If they are a Broker or an Associate Broker, keep in mind they have had to take extra classes and have passed an additional State test. Furthermore, they have had to have a certain number of house sales/commercial deals under their belt in order to qualify for this certification.
5. Do they have extra certifications? For Example: CBR (Certified Buyers Representative), SRS (Seller Representative Specialist) which gives them extra knowledge to add to the transaction.
6. Do you feel Comfortable with the Agent? I rank this as extra important as during the Real Estate transaction you will be interacting with them under the most stressful of times. Do you trust them?
7. If you are hiring them to list your house- will they do your house justice when showing it? Did they ask you pertinent questions about the heating system, electrical system, the internal features of your home so that they can relay that information to buyers? (I always joke to my Agents that they better say a whole lot more when they show the house than “this is the kitchen,” “this is the living room”, etc)
8. What kind of marketing plan will they have for you? Will it be the same for your house as every other house their office has- or will they come up with an individualized marketing plan for your house to showcase your homes most distinctive features?
9. Are they willing to give you past clients phone numbers as references so that you can hear firsthand how a previous clients experience was?
These are only a few of the things you should consider when picking your Realtor. After meeting with a few, I think you will find Realtors really are like Seashells…… one will catch your attention!
I Am Worth MORE Than A Robot - I Think!
So… my mother-in law gave me an article written in Newsday’s LI Business section from Monday August 7th, 2017 entitled “Selling Homes Online Listing, 2% fee…..” with the subtitle “Tech company starting “big data, “robot” real estate operation on LI.”
The gist of the article is that a company from California has opened its first Robot company in Uniondale after having some initial success in California. They are touting a lower commission rate by getting rid of a lot of the support staff and expensive marketing practices currently used by traditional brokerages such as ours. A home that utilizes this Robot technology will have a tablet-like “robot” named REX that will be stationed in listed homes that is programmed to answer some 75 typical questions.
The company will provide an agent to let buyers into the homes. They will not utilize multiple listing for their marketing.
My mother-in-law and brother-in-law asked me what I thought about this after I read the article…
A myriad of thoughts and people sprang to my head.
What about the older generation who are used to sitting down and talking through the details of the deal and need to have explanations and assurances of how the process works today vs. when they bought their house 40 or 50 years ago. I thought of my dear client Maggie who was 84 years old when I helped her move from a 4700 square foot house into a 2 bedroom apartment- and we had a “move manager” work in conjunction with a moving company so that her apartment was set up in 48 hours with every box unpacked- every picture hung- so that she could move into that apartment and not feel the trauma of the move. Could a robot manage that?
I couldn’t imagine her wanting “Rex the Robot” in or around her property.
I imagined her being a buyer- and having to utilize a robot in order to ask questions. I couldn’t imagine that either.
I thought of a recent experience at Quest Diagnostics where they had switched to tablets for signing in- and me being pretty tech savvy not being able to figure out how to change the screen from Spanish to English… and then after I did figure it out- the next group speaking Spanish and Not being able to figure it out at all…. And the jam up of the line and people getting upset that there was no-one to talk to to try and figure out the system.
Or comparing it to the grocery store self-help lines where the one staff member devoted to this system is busy all the time fixing the machines after people have problems.
I am curious as to what happens when one of the questions asked of the computer isn’t one of the 75 questions pre-programmed- what then?
There are currently almost 23,000 Agents that are affiliated with the Multiple Listing Service on Long Island (one of the largest groups in the country) and they are not going to be utilizing these agents to sell their homes? So who is going to help these homeowners sell their homes?
For anyone who has bought or sold a home recently, you know the process is extremely stressful and there is a lot of emotion involved in the entire process. You are selling a place that you have called “HOME” and moving to another place that you hope will be better than the place you left behind. Many times this move is not by choice. Job loss, divorce, a death in the family, medical issues-these are all reasons people have to move, which makes a difficult process even more difficult!
With HGTV programs- buyers expect houses to be perfect. No clutter, not too many personal items, no toys strewn about (I joke that I have been in real estate when kids could actually PLAY with their toys when I showed a home!!!). With cell phones- the buyers want to schedule an appointment immediately- when they are driving by- so a house must be ready to show instantly. More stress!
I think the value of your Realtor is being able to answer all your questions as situations arise. We can listen, guide, encourage, advise, assist. These are qualities we give to both a buyer and a seller. I think that this is a business that doesn’t fit into a computer program of algorithms….. it is a PEOPLE business- where people need their Realtors to answer and guide them through the whole process.
When I look back at my career in Real Estate (and I do call it a Career) I feel the greatest accomplishment of this job is making a transaction happen as seamlessly as possible……. And solving problems as they arise (and the problems can be endless!). The process is exceptionally emotional and exceptionally stressful- and I believe Professional Realtor can make all the difference…..
so… I like to think we truly are worth more than a Robot!
What do you think?
Our Changing Market and How It Affects You
If you or anyone you know has been looking to buy a home recently, you are sure to hear some very interesting stories as our market takes a very sharp turn to an extremely favorable sellers market.
Some of the challenges that buyers are experiencing can only be explained with an explanation of the market conditions. You fall in love with a house and make an offer, only to find out there are multiple offers on the property and your agent tells you to come up in price. You come up in price, but its still not enough. You lose the bid for your “dream home” and have to start again. How is it that a highly qualified buyer can’t find a home?
It’s a struggle most home buyers are facing now. The market dictates our path of home ownership. A sellers market occurs when there is little inventory, and great interest rates on mortgages. There are more borrowers approved then there are houses to fulfill the demand. This easily becomes a sellers market and a higher price point is obtained through a system called supply and demand. Homes are selling higher than expected because we have a shortage of homes.
An experienced realtor can help you get through this difficult market, but it is important that you choose someone with experience in this type of housing climate. A seasoned agent will be able to walk you through this process and best advise you on how to obtain your goals. Most importantly, once you obtain an accepted offer, you should work expeditiously to have that home inspected so you may move to contracts. Remember your deal is never secured until fully executed contracts are signed!
Likewise, we at Meg Smith and Associates stand ready to help sellers in this market negotiate the best offer for your home, and follow through in the most professional manner. Call us for all of your real estate needs!