top sacramento realtor
Virtual staging a home for sale can make a huge difference for sellers in many ways, but did you know it can increase buyer showings, too? As I always say: “if I don’t show it I can’t sell it.” I am about to show you a way to use staging a property with reduced costs of about $40 per photo.
Real staging can cost several thousand dollars. A property may not look as warm and inviting once the furniture is removed and this can make a powerful impression online. Take a look at the photo above. Can you tell that this is a virtual staging? There is not any furniture in this room. There is not a TV above the fireplace. These images are superimposed onto a high resolution photograph! See the original layout below.
Imagine my surprise to wake up in Hawaii on February 1 and discover my company named Elizabeth Weintraub as the number agent at Lyon Real Estate for the month of January 2019. I have been working from our vacation house in Hawaii since November. Won’t be returning to Sacramento until early March. One of my team members contributed a sale to January, but all of the other closings were my listings.
When I mentioned this accomplishment to my sister, she asked me how the other agents felt who are working so hard in Sacramento, while here I am lounging about at Kona Haven Coffee (with phone in hand, I should add). I don’t know how the other agents feel. Maybe they feel like they should go to Hawaii, too, and then sales will pick up. But if the sales aren’t happening where they are, being in Hawaii won’t change that.
My elevator speech about success as a real estate agent is not canned, nor do I consider it really an elevator speech. I can condense just about anything down to one or two sentences, though, so I tend to wing it. For example, when I go to a seller’s home for a listing appointment, I conduct much of my interaction based on reactions from the seller. No identical appointments. No canned presentations. Although I do complete my agent visual inspection during every first visit, and I take copious notes. Carrying a clipboard and writing notes is my method of operation. In fact, you can get into just about any private event by carrying a clipboard and making notes.
Now, you probably remember the saying about being yourself because everybody else is taken. When I first started writing a blog about 12 years ago — gosh, it’s been THAT long — it concerned me for all of 5 minutes about my reader’s perception. Blogging is about putting yourself out there. And that can be scary for some people. But I’ve never been overly guarded and once you hit your 40th birthday or so, suddenly you have given yourself permission to be yourself. I don’t know why it can take that long for most people but it does.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my success as a real estate agent is based on my unique ability to service a listing better than any other agent. My investment in tools, resources, education and technology is immense. I strive to be the very best Sacramento agent I can be because that’s who I am. Why would I want to be anything or anybody else? My entire life has been based on doing things the way I want to do them. It gets results or I wouldn’t do it.
This means I don’t care how another agent conducts her business. It’s not any of my business. I constantly run into agents who want to give me advice and expect me to do things the way they do them. The reason I have success as a real estate agent is because I don’t follow that advice. Otherwise, I would be just like those agents, and I am not. In fact, my sellers have shared that other agents feel intimated by my success. They tell my sellers: don’t hire Elizabeth because she has too much business. She won’t take care of you. Because they couldn’t do it if they ran my business. But nobody is standing in my shoes but me. I take care of each client like they are my only client.
Sounds like sour grapes to me from the mouths of those other guys.
Everybody is unique. People worry too much about what other people think of them or how they appear. Nobody cares about you, really. They are too wrapped up in their world. I especially recall one fabulous Christmas during a solo vacation in Vanuatu at an expensive resort. The waitstaff seemed concerned about me dining alone. I waved my arms, “Look around, nobody is looking at me. They are looking at each other.”
I accept responsibility for my own actions, my own results, and enjoy spectacular statistics as a Sacramento Realtor. My sellers tend to make more money because of my efforts and they enjoy a smooth transaction. That will never change. There is no other Sacramento Realtor like Elizabeth Weintraub. So go be a maverick in your own career. My success as a real estate agent is no accident.
You know where I learned how to say “third time is a charm” in Sacramento real estate? Twelve years ago when short sales were getting started in Sacramento as the market began to crash. Because nobody back then wanted to buy a short sale. Soon that was pretty much all there was to buy, so that attitude changed. Now that we have almost no short sales at all in Sacramento anymore, you would think a Realtor would never have to say “third time is a charm” ever again. Ha!
Listen to this story. I first listed this home in Natomas in August, just as I headed out to Hawaii for a few weeks. Although this home has many nice features, the drawback was it faced the freeway. It didn’t just face the freeway. The freeway was in its face. You could see big trucks on the overpass and cars whizzing by the front yard. Oy, this will be a challenge to sell, I thought.
But then I brightened up. I’ve sold a lot of homes that face the freeway, now that I paused to reflect. We have low inventory. High demand. Sure enough, we received an offer. The agent typed the wrong seller’s name, which made me wonder about multiple offers. I could tell how much this excited the sellers. We just closed on their new home, which involved paying more than list price, so they thought they could apply that principle to this offer.
I didn’t want to burst their bubble and say do you know how lucky you are to have an offer for a home that faces the freeway? But I did discuss why protocol suggests not demanding more than list price when you have only the one offer. Then, suddenly the buyer’s agent withdrew the offer. Turned out her buyers purchased something else. Did they write multiple offers? Possible.
A few weeks later, whammo another offer arrived. IIRC, the buyer’s agent partnered with the buyer’s lender, and they were both out-of-area. That makes transactions more difficult because they don’t know local custom. Sacramento is very much its own local marketplace, unlike the Bay Area or Southern California. Also different from Placer or Yolo.
The lender sent the offer, too, which made it even more confusing. When escrow did not receive the deposit, we issued a Notice to Buyer to Perform and only then did the buyer finally wire funds. Too many red flags with this file but you cannot cancel a buyer for red flags.
We came to regret the whole ordeal. Shortly after the home inspection, the buyer flipped out. Some of the windows needed to be replaced. Since they were under warranty, the sellers hopped on getting new windows ordered. These things are never easy to do because builders pass the buck and the warranty companies pass the buck. So a seller needs to be really diligent, persuasive and committed to the process.
The buyer did not like the fact we ordered new windows. Say what? She made no sense. She then demanded that the sellers re-stucco the 8-year-old house. Why? Dunno. Nobody knows exactly why, and her agent / lender didn’t seem to help the situation. Next thing we know, the buyer canceled. To us it appeared to be cold feet.
Well, third time is a charm. A few weeks later, we received an offer in early November. Another buyer agent / lender situation. I am not in the minority when I say you could can be a fantastic Realtor or a expert mortgage loan officer but you can’t wear two hats. Something has always got to give in this situations. I don’t believe you can be an expert at both.
Sure enough, this buyer loan file ran into delays. Delays, loan conditions that were undisclosed, and extensions. We had four extensions with this escrow. That’s positively insane. But you know what? We experienced a Christmas miracle. We closed with the third set of buyers last Thursday, all the while I am back in Hawaii for the winter. Third time is a charm. It is weird, though, to start work on this in Hawaii in August and still be working on it in Hawaii in December.
Further, who figured 3 sets of buyers would want to live in a home that faces the freeway. In a buyer’s market, that house would probably still be for sale. In a seller’s market, no such thing as a bad location.
When I share the fact that I’ve been writing a Sacramento real estate blog every day for going on 12 years now, it shocks people. They cannot believe that I would do it. Every day, I write a blog. Why? Because I believe I have something to say. Further, I’m opinionated as all hell. You ask me what I think and I’ll tell you. I might volunteer if you don’t ask. I have a ton of opinions. Who are those people who answer surveys without an opinion? When it’s yes, no, or I don’t know, they choose I don’t know. Why is that?
Some agents tell me they can’t write a Sacramento real estate blog because they don’t know what to write. I write about what I do. For better or worse, I work every day. Stuff happens every day. There are ways to talk about the inner workings of real estate transactions without disclosing confidential information. Even after 43 years in the business, I still learn stuff I didn’t know. How can an agent have nothing to write about?
Of course, my Sacramento real estate blog is not always about real estate. It could be political, especially in today’s world, lots of shit there. Odds are it could be extremely personal about myself. On the other hand, my blog could be about exotic places I travel, a restaurant, a movie, a musical, a concert, life, death, love, happiness, sorrow or, like most of my posts from my house in Hawaii, it might feature a gecko. I write whatever I want because it’s my freakin’ blog. There is really nothing off limits except anything that could potentially upset a client. I would never do that. I will upset other people. In a heartbeat. Just not my clients.
Finding inspiration for my blog comes from what happens during the day. For example, it rained all day yesterday in Hawaii on the Big Island. But I was happy as a clam out on my lanai, working, occasionally glancing up at the fog creeping across the ocean. I put another listing into escrow, third time is a charm. Too many flakey buyers out there right now. We’ve had two cancellations on this listing already and for no reason. Put it back in MLS to reset the days on market and bam, sold.
Knock, knock. My scheduled quarterly pest control company showed up at the door to ask if I wanted them to spray the exterior of the premises. Hmmm . . . it was raining. Seemed like a waste of money to give them the go-ahead. “It’s mostly under the eaves,” the worker offered. Spoken like a worker who doesn’t want to reschedule. Like rain water doesn’t hit the house and travel. I think a drier day is better.
About Buyers Who Suddenly Cancel Escrow
Then, earlier in the week, I talked with an agent who said her buyers want to submit an offer on a listing. I asked if it was possible for her to have a long conversation with the prospective buyers, to inquire if they really and truly intend to buy a home. Because I’m increasingly growing tired of buyers who say they do and then change their minds.
I hate what a cancellation does to my sellers. It tears them apart. I’m not that concerned if I have to sell a home twice or three times and get paid once because I’ll eventually get paid. I’ll sell it again. My listings all close. I’m loyal to my clients. But watching my sellers’ world turn upside down because some idiot buyer walked away, though, that’s what I find most bothersome.
I’m wondering now if that agent took my advice and talked to her buyers because I don’t have an offer from her. Ha, ha.
Oh, well, checked on my closings, and two escrows are rolling into January. Even with those gone from my production, I’ve still got $37 million closing this year. Best year ever. It just keeps getting better. And that’s why I just keep writing my Sacramento real estate blog. It brings business. It saves my sanity.