buyer’s agents sacramento

Vacant Home Showing Tips for Sacramento Buyer’s Agents

vacant home showingThis blog is about vacant home showing tips for Sacramento buyer’s agents. It’s a blog I feel compelled to write in hopes it will help other agents in Sacramento, mostly newer agents, with how to show vacant homes. But my next piece of advice really applies to every single agent who puts together home tours for buyers. That piece of advice, which often falls on deaf ears and blind eyes, is please, oh, for the love of god, please read the data contained in MLS.

MetroList constantly refines and tries to improve its system. Recently it added locations for the lockbox, which can be a pet peeve of buyer’s agents. Agents do not like to trudge through the mud or forage through a maze of bushes to find the lockbox. This is great improvement. Tells an agent right where to find the lockbox.

Although, sometimes I still get calls asking me where to find the gas meter. Since the gas meter is my favorite spot to attach a lockbox. Well, let’s just say the gas meter won’t get far on foot. Or, if you were a gas meter, where would you hide?

Now if you are a fairly new buyer’s agent about to fret over vacant home showings, please don’t. For one thing, you do not have to make an appointment unless the listing specifies and that would be rarely. Yes, that is true. When you see vacant with lockbox, that is your clue that you don’t have to call anybody, nor text nor ask for permission. Why, you can pick any old time you want to show that vacant home and just go. How easy is that?

But agents do not seem to know this. I received an email from a discount broker, won’t say which, asking if the date and time requested would work for a showing. The agent also asked if there was a better time to show than the time the agent had selected. In that email was also a request to let the agent know if I would be present at a vacant home showing. I was very curious as to why I would receive this type of email, so I inquired.

I mean, the house is vacant. It says there’s a lockbox. There is no reason the listing agent would be present at a vacant house or any house really, other than maybe a $2 million home in El Dorado Hills. Which means I can only presume the agent just wrote down the address and didn’t bother to read the directions or any information.

The agent replied that sometimes listing agents get upset if they don’t know a showing had happened. Seems very odd. The whole reason for vacant with lockbox is so agents do not need to make an appointment. Further, because there is a lockbox, SUPRA notifies me of every agent showing. So I know the minute an agent enters a vacant house. It sends the agent’s name, phone, broker name, email and time of entry.

But then my eyes fell on the license number of the agent. All new agents, those licensed within the last year or so, have a DRE license number that is numbered in the 2 million. Meaning in comparison to my license number, for example, which is 00697006. It means I obtained my license in the 1970s. Today’s new agents might have a license number like 0204256. Dead giveaway.

May I suggest a better way to let the listing agent know of plans to show, if that is a concern, is to compose a different email template. Perhaps an email that seems more professional, to wit:

This is a courtesy notice that I am planning to show 123 Main Street today at 3 PM. MLS states the home is vacant with lockbox. If that data has changed, please let me know.

How hard is that? It doesn’t require correspondence back and forth. The listing agent does not need to confirm a vacant home showing. Just lock up the house, leave a card on the kitchen counter. If the listing agent contacts you to ask for buyer feedback, it is considered a professional courtesy to send it.

Elizabeth Weintraub

The Difference Between Real News or a Con Job

real news or a con job

Do you know the difference between real news or a con job? Are you being solicited as a consumer or are you receiving important information? In our Sacramento Bee on Sunday, my eyes fell on an article about 5 things that make you money when selling a home. None of the things in that article made any sense. Five bullet points and the middle point talked about a new roof, naming a certain roofing company. A new roof won’t make a seller more money. It’s a maintenance item not an improvement. A few more paragraphs down, the roofing company website was noted. This was not an article. The piece was an advertisement.

They are getting so clever and slick with this stuff. OK, says I, instead I will read my new RisMedia magazine. Except half of the articles in that magazine are written by third-party vendors who would LOVE to do business with Realtors. In fact, the entire slant of many so-called informational articles are about why the reader should purchase the author’s service or product. Makes me wonder if the magazine charges the vendors who supply it with content.

It’s bad enough there are news stations in this country where you can’t get the news. You would think it would be news because they call themselves a news station. But it’s not. You know how you can tell whether it is real news or a con job? If it is real news, the reporter will give you the facts without personal commentary. If it is not real news, the reporter will share what the reporter thinks about it. This is not real news because reporters are independent third parties reporting the hard, cold facts. Not opinions.

When they share opinions, they are no longer reporters. They are television personalities with commentary. Like Geraldo.

I have a strong aversion to being sold stuff and having it disguised as real news. I like to tell myself that I know the difference between real news and a con job, but that line is constantly blurring. Makes me wonder if children today will know the difference when they become adults. They don’t read newspapers. Only skim headlines now.

Common nature for many people to have an agenda. Just saying, I’m not gonna go into what you should think about the news, but at least try to get your factual news from a reputable source. If you hear a talking-head on television sharing an opinion, flip the channel until you find a real news station. Can you imagine Walter Cronkite inserting his own thoughts into a news story? That would be ludicrous.

Similarly, if you’re looking for an agent to help you buy a home in Sacramento, do not ask the listing agent to represent you. Hire an exclusive buyer’s agent who will represent only your interests and not that of the seller. Don’t get ripped off. You owe it yourself to hire your own buyer’s agent. It costs the same, and the specialty services offered by a real-life buyer’s agent will blow you away. We have expert buyer’s agents on the Elizabeth Weintraub Team waiting to hear from you. Call 916.233.6759.

Elizabeth Weintraub


Reason #49 Sellers in Sacramento Might Reject Buyers

reject buyers

Sacramento sellers can have odd reasons to reject buyers’ offers.

Believe it or not, but there are real estate agents in this business who unintentionally blow their buyers’ purchase offers out of the water. If you’re a buyer whose offer was not accepted by a seller, you might look more closely at your agent. You probably do anyway because it’s human nature to blame your agent when your offer doesn’t come back signed. It’s not always your agent’s fault, though. Sometimes, it’s your fault for not listening to your agent. And, honestly, sometimes it is your agent’s fault.

I hear agents tell me that their buyer won’t do this, and their buyer won’t do that, and I want to say: Did you ask? Did you ask your buyer? Because I know they probably did not. They might be a white knight agent. They might be a control freak. They might be clueless.

They might be all of those things, I dunno, but I do know that you get further with honey than with vinegar. You can’t push a listing agent, no matter how hard you try. And if you do try, you can alienate yourself and your buyer. Nobody cares about your interpretation of law or real estate practice or anything else you read on the back of a Bazooka gum wrapper. I swear, this is such a simple concept but so few seem to get it.

Once you get past the listing agent, you still need to deal with the home seller. All sellers are different. They bring backgrounds and experiences that may be foreign to you to the table. Get over it. Just when you think you can second guess, you will be wrong. You never know how they might look at something, which is why I like to ask for feedback and input from my sellers.

See, the thing is in a Sacramento seller’s market, sellers are in control. They’re in control from the beginning to the end. It’s their home, they own it, and they make the decisions.

I recall a home I sold several years ago. We had multiple offers from a bunch of buyers clamoring for the home. When we have an even-playing field, I lay out the offers and let the sellers choose with no input from me. Hey, it’s their home. Their right to choose. I do ask why they might prefer one offer over another, and it’s always a different reason.

The reason the seller’s rejected certain buyers for this particular home was the buyers had come over to the house too many times. In the buyers’ minds, they were excited and wanted to show their new home to all of their friends and family. Plus, they wanted to take measurements so they could layout their furniture on a diagram before moving in. But in their excitement, the buyers treated the sellers’ home like a Macy’s display floor. Their offer wasn’t even presented yet.

The sellers felt the buyers repeated visits meant the buyers were indecisive and the sellers rejected their offer. Yet, another example of when you see a home you want to buy, you need to stop what you are doing and buy it.

A Good Purchase Offer Does Not Make the Seller Issue a Counter Offer

counter offer

Small mistakes in a purchase offer can require a counter offer.

With almost every new Sacramento listing these days comes a flurry of purchase offers from an assortment of buyer’s agents. Every strong listing agent in Sacramento is witnessing this sort of stuff right now. Some of us, I should add, are fairly detail oriented, and we expect purchase contracts to arrive with all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed. It should not be surprising, then, when we find mistakes in the purchase contract that it means we will undoubtedly be required to suggest a counter offer to the seller.

A well written contract is a purchase offer the seller can immediately accept. If an agent is submitting an offer in a multiple-offer situation, for example, and that offer is less than list price, a buyer’s agent should not force the seller to issue a counter by making a mistake in the offer. Because a seller will start looking at other things in the offer to object to, perhaps and quite rightly so, starting with the sales price.

Sometimes agents will toss other factors into an offer such as requesting a certain title company when the seller is paying for the title insurance and may have a preference for a different title company. That’s enough to require a counter offer as well. If an agent is from out-of-area and uncertain about what types of expenses are customary fees paid for by the parties in Sacramento, the agent could call the listing agent to ask.

It’s not just listing agents who might gravitate toward easy-to-sign purchase offers; it’s also the sellers themselves. Sellers read entire contracts, believe it or not, and they can note subtle differences among the offers. For example, if the listing in MLS does not offer FHA nor VA financing, the likelihood is it was not a mistake. The seller might prefer only cash or conventional offers. A buyer’s agent’s opinion about that is of no consequence.

I’ve even had agents send this Sacramento Realtor a purchase offer accompanied by an email asking to please send us a counter offer. Not only is that in bad form and could possibly violate a fiduciary relationship with the buyer, but it also suggests the agent has been unable to get the buyer to understand the realities of the marketplace. That’s not exactly the kind of people we want to go into escrow with, although, sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw with buyers and buyer’s agents are stuck with who they get. You can’t always change people, especially the stubborn ones.

My advice for agents is to just write the best offer, check for mistakes, and try not to encourage the seller to issue a counter offer.

When Sacramento Home Buyers Cancel a Contract

cat doctorDelivering bad news to a seller in Sacramento is every bit as horrible as shooting antibiotics down your cat’s throat. You know it’s gotta be done, and you’re the one who’s gotta do it, but it’s not pleasant. I don’t know a Sacramento real estate agent alive who wants to tell her seller a buyer has gone sideways and fallen off the edge of the cliff, but so many of them are not watching where they’re walking these days. They seem to be unsupervised.

La-dee-la-dee-la-dee-dah, oops, over the cliff. It’s almost like a video game. Not real.

I blame it partly on DocuSign. It’s so easy to sign a residential purchase contract these days, why, you can sign on your cellphone. Blip, blip, done. It’s easier than buying a latte-half-soy-pumpkin-caramel at Starbucks. With whipped cream. Except by the time you finish consuming that 800-calorie fat bomb, at least you feel satiated. When Sacramento home buyers sign a purchase contract, it’s much more forgettable.

Oh, did I buy a house this afternoon? Slaps forehead. How silly of me. No, sorry, I didn’t want to buy a house. I wanted tickets to the TBD fest. Clicked the wrong thing. Please cancel the contract.

It’s a sorry state of affairs when I find myself grilling buyer’s agents about how much time they have spent with their buyers, how well they know them. Agents tend to use the term “client” rather loosely. Some stranger calls, asks to meet at a home and, around 2:00 AM, after the bars close, that person decides to sign the RPA waiting patiently in DocuSign, is that person a client? Or, is that a person we’ll have to chase around for the next couple of weeks to get the cancellation signed because her intentions to buy a home were never there in the first place?

Perhaps buyer’s agents should discuss next steps and consequences, and help a buyer figure out if the buyer truly wants to purchase a home before presenting a buyer with click here.

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