buyer’s agents in sacramento
What Does Call First Lockbox Mean for a Sacramento Listing?
Call First Lockbox. What does that mean? My sellers know know what it means. They also know that I track activity, all the comings and goings at their home. That’s one of the reasons to use a lockbox. The little infrared gizmo beams all agent access info directly to a website for me. As a Sacramento Realtor I follow up on my listings. I email agents who show and ask if they have questions. It gives me an excellent way to obtain buyer feedback for my sellers as well.
When a seller emailed to say he had an evening showing a while back, I looked up the agent information in MLS so I could contact her. She didn’t use the lockbox, and she didn’t have a business card. I warn sellers to not let people into their homes who do not produce a business card. All agents, when they are working, should carry business cards.
You’d be astonished at what people say when I throw out this scenario: Say, a For Sale sign goes into the yard and a nice looking couple knocks at your door. They say they spotted the For Sale sign and want to know if your home is for sale. What do you do? Nine out of 10 people say they would let these people in and show them around. No, no, no, you do NOT let strangers into your home. An agent would show you a business card. No card, no entry. Besides, most showings require an appointment or at the very least a phone call.
But this guy felt OK about it because the agent called him beforehand to let him know when she was coming over. The listing was put into MLS as: Call First Lockbox. Some agents think Call First Lockbox means call the listing agent. Other agents think it means call the seller and make an appointment. It really means call the seller, tell the seller when the agent will show the home and . . . GO. This way, a seller needs only to return the call if the time is inconvenient to show. This is standard showing practice in Sacramento.
If we wanted agents to make an appointment, we would have entered the listing into MLS as Appointment with Seller. If we wanted agents to call the listing agent, we would have entered the listing into MLS as Call Listing Agent. This is an important item for buyer’s agents to know, especially in this sizzling hot Sacramento market. Buyers are practically breaking down doors to get in. They are lined up for showings.
The home that my seller showed to the agent without a business card? It sold to somebody else. This happened when other agents were calling and leaving a message, asking the seller to call them back. They didn’t get a call back from the seller. They didn’t get a call back because it was listed: Call First Lockbox. The seller was too busy accommodating agents who showed up after leaving a message to bother calling back those who did not understand MLS directions.
Buyers, if you wanted to buy a home in Sacramento lately but couldn’t get in to see it, perhaps this is why.
Working With First-Time Home Buyers in Sacramento
Probably because of the low inventory in Sacramento, we have been working lately with a larger than usual number of first-time home buyers. Almost half of sales this year so far are first-time home buyers in Sacramento. The rest are move-up buyers, which are also out in droves and sellers. Generally I work with these sellers to list and sell their home, and my team members help them to find a new home. We have a lot of competition for some homes but our buyers tend to end up in escrow fairly quickly, because we know the business.
It’s not easy for buyers to write that first purchase offer. Many are filled with trepidation that they will screw up somehow or make a huge mistake. But that fear is quickly overshadowed when they find out their offer was rejected because it wasn’t high enough, and some other lucky buyer snagged their dream home. Winning offers are not always reasonable. That’s extremely stressful for first-time home buyers in Sacramento to digest. To be so close, yet so far away, from home ownership.
Yet when we deliver an accepted offer, some buyers can’t believe it. They keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. They say, “Something is wrong with this deal. We got everything we wanted.” And then irrational fears set in. That little nagging voice in the back of their minds can’t let them sleep at night. Some worry something awful might happen, and their transaction will not close. But our transactions close. I make certain they close.
Two couples who were buying homes in Land Park last week expressed those fears, and neither of the couples knew each other. They both called on the same day to ask identical questions. It was eerie. But in retrospect, not uncommon.
Here are my top 10 tips for first-time home buyers in Sacramento can use to help alleviate the angst that accompanies buying a home:
- Get preapproved by underwriting. A mortgage broker can submit your loan application and verify your employment before you write an offer.
- Find a real estate agent you trust — in whom you can place your confidence.
- Get a copy of the documents you will sign before you sign them.
- Read the purchase contract and buyer broker contract — ask questions. For example, I point out paragraph 14-b-1 in the C.A.R. contract, which explains that buyers are entitled to inspections and can get their deposit back if it comes to that.
- Ask for a timeline on the closing process to fully understand all the steps involved. Always find out what happens next.
- During the transaction, don’t be afraid to call your agent with questions. Your agent will guide and advise you.
- Line up your insurance agent, don’t wait until closing to shop for insurance rates and plans.
- Locate a qualified home inspector. Ask your agent for recommendations, interview the candidates and ask for sample reports.
- Read every disclosure and report. Ask questions.
- Don’t change your financial situation once you are under contract. Don’t buy anything new.
And finally, realize that even the most organized and rational first-time home buyers may experience stress. It’s OK to shed a few tears. We don’t sugar-coat the journey and promise that nothing will ever go wrong because it might. But almost anything that can go wrong can be fixed. Have faith in your convictions and your agent’s track record.
Buyers go through highs and lows during escrow because it’s a complex and emotional process. If any real estate agent suggests that buying a home is all butterflies, cinnamon cookies and puffy-white clouds, you might want to find a more experienced agent to guide you.
What’s paramount for us is that when the transaction closes, our buyers are ecstatic. That’s our goal for first-time home buyers in Sacramento, and we don’t settle for anything less. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759.
Do Not Pass By the Overpriced Homes in Sacramento
If you’re looking for a good buy, try looking at overpriced homes in Sacramento. Look at homes that have been on the market for more than 60 days. The longer, the better.
Most buyers pass up these opportunities. Agents do, too. They presume the seller is unreasonable or maybe insists on a pie-in-the-sky sales price. They also believe that the seller has probably turned down other offers, so they reason it’s wasting time to chase a lost cause.
However, the truth is most buyers do not make substantially low offers to sellers. Agents advise against it, too. Few agents want to gain a reputation among peers in the community as being a low-baller or a time waster. Besides, if you look at MLS statistics for averages, you won’t spot these homes. Even in buyer’s markets, most homes still sell between 95% and 100% of sales price (not accounting for concessions), if they are priced right.
So the lonely, neglected listing just sits there. Collecting cobwebs. The listing agent pleads with buyer’s agents to submit an offer — any offer — but buyer’s agents tend to gravitate toward well priced listings; it’s simply human nature.
I advise buyers to hook up with an area agent who is on top of the inventory, be it me or some other Sacramento Realtor. That’s the only way they will know which properties might be a bargain in disguise. I’m always on the lookout for gems. They don’t pop up all the time, and every transaction is different, but if agents poke around in MLS and get to know neighborhoods, they probably already know which two or three homes in an area might be worth pursuing.
Area specialists should feel comfortable enough to share that knowledge with buyers and write those offers. You know what the listing agent said about the last overpriced home in Sacramento? She said not a single real estate agent had shared with her that it was overpriced. Why? Agents don’t want to insult other agents. Sometimes out-of-area agents face blackballing from local agents, too, because locals tend to frown on territory infringement. Ha! Spittooey!
It’s a complicated business. It pays to have a buyer’s agent on the side of buyers.
Which REALTORS are Bad Real Estate Agents?
There are some neighborhoods in the Sacramento metro area where I won’t leave a lockbox on the house because of the behavior of bad real estate agents. I’m not sure if it’s due to the fact some of these agents seem to work for brokerages that don’t spend a lot of time on training or if they are so new to the business that they are still wet behind the ears. Or, maybe it’s because they just don’t think, which is generally the cause of many problems with bad real estate agents in Sacramento. You know, if they would simply pause, consider the ramifications, the consequences of their actions before they . . .
Oh, who am I kidding? In my dreams. Like that’s gonna happen.
These are the agents who think it’s OK to open a lockbox and access a home before looking up the showing instructions. As if every home in that neighborhood with a lockbox is sitting idly, enticing them, begging them to trespass. I’m not sure what goes through their minds. But I do know this. Those guys are bad real estate agents.
It’s probably about time that the National Association of Realtors stops pretending that all REALTOR®s have a clue or that they are worthy of working with a client. A license does not give an agent the right to violate procedures, laws and common decency. And clients don’t know any better. They can’t tell an experienced agent from a novice, most of the time. In fact, I’m not sure clients know how much experience an agent needs. I’ve heard some clients say 5 years is a good length of time to get your feet stabilized in the business, but the years are worthless if the agent doesn’t sell very many homes.
My sellers get a good look at the underbelly in the Sacramento real estate business and the bad real estate agents. It’s not that I go out of my way because I most certainly do not. Agents do it to themselves when they call to make an appointment to show the home. I hear it from sellers after the agents call, and their opinion overall of buyer’s agents is generally not very high. I’m not even sure what it is the agents say or do, but I know some of them tend to alienate the sellers because the sellers tell me they don’t like the agent. It’s not really my business why.
That’s not good news for a home buyer trying to buy a home in the Sacramento area who is represented by one of these bad real estate agents. The buyers could be losing the offer before it’s ever written. Let’s not even discuss the unprofessional agents who turn belligerent when their buyer’s offers are rejected. If you have to ask, that would be your sign. Trust your gut instincts.
Holiday Etiquette to Buy a Home in Sacramento
Although the real estate activity dies down a bit at this time of year in Sacramento, which is what allows this Sacramento Realtor the luxury of working from Hawaii, people are still interested in pursuing real estate. There might not be an urgency to buy a home in Sacramento, yet that doesn’t stop buyers from looking for a home. If they have a little free time in their holiday schedule, buyers are more than happy to tour homes.
Besides, you never know, even though the intent might be to simply check out homes for sale in Sacramento with no real inclination to buy a home in Sacramento, that possibility is not entirely ruled out. If a buyer was to stumble into the perfect home, well, just about anything can happen and does. Suddenly, the buyer might be very interested in pursuing an offer.
I know some agents are very stringent about how and when they show homes. They have their own rules such as the buyer must have a preapproval letter. In part that’s because the buyer can’t make an offer without a preapproval letter. Also, because the agent knows the buyer is serious. That brings up the question of whether an agent should show a home if a buyer is not preapproved.
That’s a personal question that I can’t answer for every agent, but in my own mind, I say it is OK. Not every buyer wants her credit pulled if she is not ready to buy a home in Sacramento. As long as the buyer has the ability to quickly obtain a preapproval letter, say, within 24 hours, I would show homes to a buyer. In addition, this more relaxed time of year offers the perfect opportunity to show a buyer around town, drive different neighborhoods and point out the amenities, and when that buyer is ready to buy, even if it’s next year or next spring, we as agents hope the buyer will call us.
It is not a time to call an agent and ask to see homes if your own agent is out of town because that kind of unethical behavior is frowned upon. That would be taking advantage of an agent and asking that agent to invest time and energy in you, to work without any form of compensation, and that goes for calling listing agents, too. Most listing agents would expect to represent a buyer.
Your best plan of action is to call your agent, even if you know that agent is on vacation, that agent will arrange for another agent to help you. If your agent is non-responsive, call the broker of that real estate office.