Seller motivation is important in any Sacramento real estate transaction and extends beyond an urge to sell a home. It extends all the way to closing. Seller motivation means many things, though. When buyer’s agents ask me if my seller is motivated, they are asking if my seller will accept a lower price for her home, and the correct answer to that question is: I send all offers to the seller. A listing agent who responds without permission: heck yeah, let’s negotiate, could be guilty of violating her fiduciary duty to the seller.
Sometimes I spot listings in MLS in which the listing agent has entered that phrase into confidential remarks, the seller is motivated. This may cause a person to think to herself: sure, of course the seller is motivated because the seller has his home on the market, right? Followed by well, there is the matter of the home being priced $100,000 over market value, so that sort of extinguishes the flames of seller motivation right there. In those types of cases, seller motivation might be a secret code to buyer’s agents, letting them know the agent is aware, say, of overpricing, but can’t say so.
Sellers often don’t want to reduce the price because they expect a buyer to negotiate. They fail to understand that buyers really don’t want to negotiate. They cannot wrap their heads around that fact because they are too stuck on the mentality of being a seller. In cases of homes priced too high, buyers often just skip them.
There is also seller motivation that backfires and turns into seller’s remorse. This tends to happen when a home quickly sells or at a higher price than the seller anticipated. The flurry of marketing activity, preparing the home for the market, surviving buyer showings and open house traffic can shift the focus from moving out to getting ready to sell. When the purchase offer arrives, it can cause shock, especially when the seller typically needs to sign within a 24-hour period. A seller can feel pushed. Aggravated.
Harried, exhausted, irritated and feeling like always running a day behind can cause seller’s remorse. It’s not unusual for a seller to question whether he or she has done the right thing by signing a purchase contract. Often this feeling of uncertainty will pass if they just give it a little bit of time to settle in. We all do not process data in the same way. This is why it’s more important now than ever to establish and review your reasons for selling a home before putting your home on the market.
I try to spend a sufficient amount of time with prospective sellers before I take a listing. I met with two different sellers on Friday who are not yet ready to sell their homes. One seller lives in Elk Grove and the other in a 1920’s brick bungalow in Midtown Sacramento. It was easy for me to ascertain that the time is not right because I asked the right questions. The last thing anybody needs is an unexpected upheaval in her life or feeling coerced into signing a listing agreement. I have plenty of patience and compassion. When you’re ready to sell your home in Sacramento, I hope you will call Sacramento Broker #00697006, Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759.
It seems that Sacramento sellers are wanting a lot of guarantees in a sale these days, some of which they just can’t get. That’s a recipe for a few frustrated sellers. For example, I’ve had sellers tell me they want 100% assurance that the buyer can get the loan. Well, I’d like to be 29 again, too, but it ain’t gonna happen. OK, maybe not 29, maybe 39 instead. Yeah, like Jack Benny and 39. A perpetual 39, never a day older.
We can get a preapproval letter from a lender, and we can do all the due diligence possible about that letter, but it’s still not worth a damn thing. Lenders are not required to guarantee that the buyer can get a loan. Some of them don’t even run credit reports, if you can believe it, and I do because I see this sort of thing all the time. Many don’t even complete a loan application, because it’s too much work for a buyer who might never get an offer accepted, or whatever.
We can demand a DU (desktop underwriting) but even that is not a guarantee. It will disclose FICO scores, but that doesn’t mean that one of the parties doesn’t have a lien filed against her or an ex-husband has had a foreclosure in the past or that a buyer won’t lose his job midstream. Anything can and often does happen during escrow. Buyers change their financial situation and ruin their chances of buying a home, all on a whim, as they seem to undergo a temporary lapse in judgment. But it was so pretty, sparkly, dangly, fast, sleek, new, modern, um, they forgot. Oops.
I recall a couple of sellers who demanded that I lay out for them every situation that could possibly affect them during the term of escrow. What? Do you want to sleep at my house while I do this? Then, they asked if I would recite line-for-line each page of the 10-page purchase contract and explain each sentence as though I am a lawyer. In the middle of another escrow, sellers decided they no longer cared for the buyer and asked to replace the buyer with a new buyer, as though I have the power to magically unwind a contract. Abracadabra. I do my best to anticipate problems and head them off before developing, but I can’t possibly predict every scenario that could pop up during escrow.
Some things are surprises because, well, they are a surprise.
Like when a buyer drops dead. I don’t always expect that to happen. But it does.
But I know what it is. It’s fear. It’s fear that sellers are doing the wrong thing or making the wrong call. If one little problem pops up, there are sellers who will try to find a way to pin it on the listing agent. And that’s OK, really. You could pin a tail on this donkey, and I wouldn’t feel it. I don’t force them to take responsibility for their own actions. I’m not their mother. My job as a Sacramento Broker is to move them from Point A, which is putting the home on the market, to Point B, which is to closing and pocketing a big ol’ wad of cash in the seller’s bank account — at which point, they forget all about the drama.
I can’t guarantee that nothing will ever go wrong, but I can promise to try to fix it.
Call Elizabeth Weintraub, Broker #00697006, at 916.233.6759.
On a real estate agent community website yesterday, an agent asked what makes good customer service. Some agents said under-promise and over-deliver. Others admitted it varies from each client’s perspective, while a few went off on whether customer service should be good or like Tony the Tiger says, GREAAAAAATTT.
I find this to be an interesting question because I’ve always employed just one tactic to provide good customer service: Keep the client happy. It seems so simple but it’s not. First and foremost, a Sacramento REALTOR needs to figure out what will make the client happy. Levels of happiness and the types of actions that make a person happy vary across the board. While one client might be happy that a REALTOR answers her phone, another might expect that phone to be answered on the first ring and disappointed if it takes 7 rings before the REALTOR picks up.
A potential seller who has several homes she wants to sell down the road and I talked yesterday about her listings, objectives, and how I work. She doesn’t like pushy agents who force an agenda or those who will say anything to close a transaction because they’ve got a mortgage to pay. Most of us don’t like high pressure sales or dishonesty.
I explained that her schedule is my schedule. If she is not in a rush, neither am I. If she wants to accept only an offer at X price, regardless of how long it takes, that’s fine with me because it’s what will make her happy, providing that X price is attainable. I’ll tell her if it is or if it isn’t. She can count on me to perform.
She’ll never wonder what’s going on in her transaction because I will tell her. Email, text, phone, pigeon carrier, whatever she prefers. Just joking about the bird. I will send a drone, heh, heh. Communication and keeping clients informed goes a long ways toward client happiness. I also know that when a person has a question, typically that person wants an answer and doesn’t want to wait forever to get it, which is why I try to always immediately respond. I hear more and more clients tell me that a fast response is what makes them happy.
Every client is important to this Sacramento Broker. I want that 5-star review and will earn it. Call Elizabeth Weintraub, Broker, #00697006, at 916.233.6759.
There are some business relationships you never want to end because they are so much fun, especially when everybody in the escrow is happy and excited, and then there are the oddballs . . . well, we won’t go there. Those are few and far between, though, because I’ve been a lot more selective of with whom I decide to work in Sacramento real estate, because there is only one of me to be pulled in a dozen different directions. I strive for no conflicts during escrow and prefer no conflicts after closing a Sacramento home.
I generally go out of my way to help my clients after the escrow has closed. Sometimes they want to know if I can recommend any tradespeople or vendors, and I’m happy to share personal recommendations along with the caveat that their experience might be different than my experience.
Sometimes they want to receive a copy of their closing papers that they’ve misplaced, and I will gladly provide those documents to them, either via email or snail mail, whichever is their preference. Or, they might just have a question about types of home improvement projects they might tackle and whether it would add resale value down the road. I love to talk about home improvement projects almost as much as I love selling Sacramento real estate.
But then there are the calls and emails from other real estate agents who have some kind of pressing dilemma, a conflict after closing. Often it’s the former buyer’s agents who received the initial call from their previous buyer. And the nature of this call tends to fall along the lines of there is some kind of defect or problem the new owner believes the seller withheld or failed to disclose. Naturally, the new home owner expects her buyer’s agent to pursue the situation with the listing agent, and they want the listing agent to involve the seller and resolve the issue.
Yet, that is not how it works, I’m sorry to report. After the escrow closes, the listing agent no longer has a fiduciary relationship to anybody in the transaction. She is not allowed to practice law without a law degree. A Sacramento REALTOR just can’t get into the middle of conflicts after closing because that is best left to the parties themselves to resolve. It’s not that the listing agent doesn’t care; it’s that she can’t offer legal guidance. After the escrow closes, her job is finished, and she’s no longer a hired gun.
Call Elizabeth Weintraub, Broker #00697006 at 916.233.6759.
Ask any writer, the most powerful type of word in the English language is a verb, hands down; yet when it comes to describing a home for sale and marketing Sacramento real estate, verbs are not nearly as useful as a noun, and proper nouns are better. As a Sacramento REALTOR who also writes professionally, I adore verbs. Verbs punch. Verbs shove prose front and center. A home description, however, is not capable of much movement or lively action, and it’s difficult for four walls and a roof to, say, spring to life through a verb.
A friend whose business is to ghost-write for real estate agents apparently incapable or unmotivated to describe a home for sale says she is adverse to adjectives, which made me ponder verbs and nouns, and how I employ parts of speech in my marketing comments. The marketing comments is the cornerstone for a Sacramento REALTOR’s listing and second only to photographs.
True, some homes are challenging to describe. There are tract homes in Elk Grove and Natomas, for example, that resemble each other so closely that it’s challenging at times to come up with a way to describe it in a unique manner. When I am faced with those decisions, I generally lean on my emotions and pluck something useful from the aisle of gut instincts. That’s because buyers buy on emotion. They may think they are buying a four bedroom, three bath, but they are really buying is the way that home makes them feel.
I’m fond of repeating: it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. I often coach my sellers on the types of things to write on their disclosure statements; in other words, how to convey negativity with temperance. One of my new sellers whose $1.5 million home won’t go on the market for a few months, handed me her writeup, and I’ve been considering revisions. She made an excellent point when she referred to an exterior ramp made for “people on wheels.” See how how much better that reads than handicapped access? Besides, people on wheels, could refer to a kid on a bicycle. I love it.
But when she noted this home feature of “heavy reinforcement to withstand earthquakes,” I’m fairly certain we do not want the word “earthquake” in a marketing piece. It denotes negativity and fear. It’s not like we really ever face any earthquakes centered in Sacramento anyway. A different term such as “reinforced construction resists movement” would paint a softer picture and deliver a stronger message. The benefit would be smooth walls and blemish-free ceilings. It’s always feature > benefit.
If you’re looking for a Sacramento Broker who consistently puts thought and care into each and every single listing, give top producer Elizabeth Weintraub a jingle at 916.233.6759. Or text. Broker license #00697006.