What will a Sacramento home seller take? This is the question I get from 8 out of 10 agents when calling about a listing. I was perusing Elizabeth’s first blogs. Inserted below is an excerpt from one of her early blogs pasted below in italics. It surprises me that these agents continuing calling on our listings to ask these questions. Our fiduciary duty is that we will promote and protect our seller’s interests above anyone else’s, including our own. Why would we ever put a buyer’s agent’s interest above my sellers?
I wrote last July about how I yelled at the poor contractor whose life mantra is Dude, I flaked. He had promised to finish the home by the time it went on the market for sale, but the only good thing I recall about that was I stopped him in the nick of time from tiling the entire home. At least 2 of the 3 bedrooms now have carpeting. I made several trips to Rio Linda to shoot photos, do my inspection, attach contractor’s lock boxes and what have you just to get into escrow. It never occurred to me that I needed to check to see if the faucets worked or the electrical functioned, because the contractor had lived there while he worked on the house.
In fact, I thought the utilities were turned on. Not only were the utilities not turned on, but they were locked by the utility companies, both gas and electricity. The water was shut off, too. Made it fairly difficult for the poor buyers to try to do a home inspection. Of course, this was a VA deal, so we had to order a pest report, and some of the work was not completed by the contractor like it should have been, such as the horrible condition in the master bath shower that looked like somebody had died and plastered their decaying body to the wall.
Once my trusty handymen were able to fill the water heater and ignite the pilot, turning on the water caused a pipe to burst in the attic. Or maybe it was perforated all along, hard to say. The magnificent part of all this was when a licensed electrician went out to the property to fix a few outlets and discovered all of the Romex has been cut and yanked out of the attic. The fun surprises never stopped. Every day, new fresh hell.
This was on top of the title being messed up because it turned out the person we thought was on title was not. Further, the seller who had signed my listing agreement was not really the seller, but those are minor and insignificant points in the overall scheme of things. The fact that I couldn’t talk to the seller or contact the seller because of spotty coverage in the Middle East wasn’t even a factor. Besides, I discovered Viber from a client who travels a lot in China. Great app, check it out if you need to call overseas. It uses WiFi so there’s no roaming or enormous fees.
The miraculous part is this home in Rio Linda closed escrow yesterday. These VA buyers got a home in terrific shape, all new wiring, a new shower, brand new appliances, a roof certification after repairs and they were able to buy the home without putting down any money. The buyer’s agent was also invaluable throughout this long process of repairs. I hope I never do another escrow like this, though.
I am hoping this translates into a lot more offers, but I suspect that if I’m seeing an increase in listings, so are other Sacramento real estate agents. When inventory increases in the Sacramento market but buyer demand stays constant or cools off, that means not every listing will sell. It’s a fact we need to face and prepare for.
See, this is why I am a top producer, because I think ahead.
What does it mean for a home seller? It means your first offer might be the best offer and the only offer you might get. We all hope for multiple offers because multiple offers can push up the price, and the seller can pick and choose which is the best. But that’s not true in most cases. Most sellers will not receive multiple offers. Work that offer you receive, even if it’s not an offer you want. Try to find a way to want it and to increase its desirability to you to make it work.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that what you have on your doorstep is a ready, willing and able buyer who wants to buy YOUR home.
It also means it might take longer to find a home buyer. It could take several months. If it does, it doesn’t mean your agent is slacking off, it just means homes are taking longer to sell in this market. If you are lucky enough to get an offer within a few days, don’t discount it thinking other offers are coming along. They might not appear. Not only that, but try to ensure the buyer you do find is serious about your buying your home because some buyers freak out and get cold feet the minute an offer is accepted. If you go into escrow and suddenly the buyer cancels, well, I hate to say it, but it’s happening.
The bottom line is keep up strong communications with your listing agent. Ask questions. Don’t make assumptions. Be reasonable. And your home should sell.
Not to mention, every home seller has her own perceptions about how she believes things work.
Earlier this week for example I was talking to a seller about putting a sign rider on the post outside that says: Don’t Disturb Occupant. I often put up sign riders like this on vacant homes to try to dissuade the thugs who break into them, but I also use those riders for occupied homes in some areas. The seller said she didn’t need that sign rider because if anybody approached her doorstep with evil intentions she would shoot them. This astonished me, mostly because the seller was old enough to be my great grandmother. I asked if she had a gun. Her response was yes, everybody has guns.
Well, no, I don’t own a gun.
Regardless of how many homes this seller might have sold in her life or how much she might know about home selling in Sacramento, I still explained every step of the transaction to her; fully cognizant that I may need to repeat the steps later on. I try to imagine what is likely to happen in a real estate sale and then I share that knowledge with my sellers.
One of the worst things that could happen to me as a real estate agent is to have a seller wonder what comes next and not know.
Well, I guess I could be shot.
You might not think it’s possible for a homeowner to forget to sell a house in Sacramento but as a real estate agent, I can assure you that it happens. I often joke that if some agent just followed me around and picked up the real estate business I leave lying on the side of the road, they, too, could be a top producer. My biggest drawback is I don’t continue to ask sellers if they are ready to sell. I don’t want to insult their intelligence. But I also realize that sellers sometimes forget which agent they have called, much to my dismay.
It’s completely arrogant to assume that a seller will think only of calling this Sacramento real estate agent when she’s ready to sell. I mean, many do and wouldn’t dream of hiring any other agent because they believe I am the best Sacramento real estate agent for them, but people are different from each other — what one person does, another does the opposite. Not to mention, they have other things going on their lives than simply concentrating on selling a home. They have children, families, vacations, illnesses, financial complexities, career demands, political distractions, community involvement — complications to everyday life that often take precedence.
From now on, my plan for 2014 is to not let any business slip through the cracks. I will politely stay in touch until the cows come home or sellers tell me they no longer have any interest in selling a home.
Sellers don’t always use analytical criteria when hiring an agent. They sometimes believe by mistake that all agents are the same, so hiring the guy across the street or their Uncle Joe, doesn’t make any difference, when it can make ALL the difference in the world. They don’t know that the top 10% of agents sell 90% of all the homes in Sacramento or how to find that top 10% or even why it makes a difference.
And whose fault is that, that they don’t know? Fortunately, I know the answer to that question, and my focus in 2014 is to answer it for clients. If you’re getting ready to sell your home in Sacramento, call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759.