Frequently Asked Questions
In a hot market, why not drop a “For Sale” sign in your yard?
It’s easy to market a house in a hot market. Unfortunately, the moment you advertise your home with a FSBO sign or on Craigslist, the first dozen calls will be from real estate agents looking to list your house at a full commission rate! If your home is not serviced by a licensed real estate agent like Danielle Landis, those agents will attempt to get you under contract before showing your home to their client. And some agents may offer a discounted commission but our program will still be less expensive. While marketing may be easy in a hot market, there are other considerations. An agent performs 4 duties for you: accurate home pricing, marketing, expert negotiating and worry-free closings. Having a qualified agent working on your behalf may save you thousands of dollars. We can provide tailor-made solutions for your real estate needs.
In a slow market, why struggle selling your home "by owner"?
There is nothing wrong with attempting to sell your home by owner. Calculate how long it will take for most people in the area to drive by your home and see your “for sale” sign. If you live on a busy thoroughfare, it might take a month or more for most people to drive by and see the sign. If you live on a very private street in a small neighborhood, it might take only a day or two for everyone to see that you are selling your home. Once most people have seen your sign – and it produced no interest, it is reasonable to assume you need another method to advertise your home. In our experience, advertising homes in the local newspaper does not attract any attention. Advertising your home on Craigslist, etc. will produce a lot of calls but not the kind you want. Mostly, you will receive calls from real estate agents trolling for business or the “pennies-on-the-dollar” cash buyer trying to get your house for next to nothing. Research by real estate industry experts says that at least 85% of all homes sold are the result of being advertised by real estate agents on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Another 10% are sold because there is a for sale sign in the yard. Once you’ve attempted to sell your home by owner without results, it is recommended you market your home to the other 85% of buyers. Our program is designed to reach those buyers in the least expensive way possible.
Can I save money by being more involved in the sale of my home?
With our listing program you are in control. You have choices. Many of our clients want to save 2.5% commission by being highly involved in the process. They want to return buyer’s calls, show the home to potential buyers and other tasks that help produce buyers. We’re OK with that. Other clients do not want to be that involved and happily allow us to do the job of showing and selling their home for them. We’re OK with that too. Just let us know. We’re happy to meet your needs.
What is the least/most commission I will have to pay to sell my house?
Other agents may charge a set percentage to sell your home – perhaps 6%. It doesn’t matter whether your agent brought the buyer, another agent brought the buyer or YOU brought the buyer. Even if you showed your home to a family member and they purchased it, other brokerages may still charge the full price to sell your home. Our listing program is simple, effective and more flexible than other programs. When your home is sold, you will pay your agent 1.5% of its sales price to handle all the selling/closing details and paperwork. If any agent brings a buyer, you will pay a 2.5% buyer’s agent commission to them out of the proceeds. However, if you find the buyer yourself (and we want to help you do that), you keep that 2.5% in your pocket.
Do other real estate companies treat you differently because you offer a discount program?
We started this program in 2004 – more than a decade ago! To be honest, back then we were a little concerned that our program would not be received well. I am happy to report that we have never had an issue with any agent or their company. They quickly learned that we operate professionally. One full-priced agent said it best: “I guess I don’t care how much money you make (or don’t make), as long as I am paid fairly for bringing buyers to your listings.” That’s why we insist that every client offer at least a 2.5% commission to buyer’s agents – it keeps the business coming our way.
Do I have to be here for showings?
The decision to be present during tours is yours alone. Experience has taught us that agents and their clients are less inclined to share their thoughts and discuss the home’s merits while the owner is present. This could damage the sale. Most buyers will not sit at the kitchen table and write an offer with their agent while the seller is nearby. Because of this, it is our recommendation for the seller to leave the home while an agent is touring the property with their clients. Some sellers want to be present to answer a buyer’s questions. However, this stage of the selling process is more about the “feel” of the home rather than the “facts” of it. Some sellers worry about their possessions during a tour. We recommend making sure valuables are either secured or removed from the home during showings.
Can I add more or change the pictures?
The MLS requires a minimum of 1 exterior photo for each listing. You can have a maximum of 12 photos attached to your listing. We recommend 4-6 photos as the optimum number of photos. Also, if your home is listed during a season change, i.e. winter to spring, we encourage you to send us fresh photos and we’re happy to upload them for you.
What happens if I no longer want to list it/cancel/expire it?
You are in full control of your listing. You may expire your listing at anytime you choose. We will email you a form to expire the listing and can update the file (and the MLS) as soon as we have your signature to do so.
How long does the listing contract last?
Our clients decide how long a listing will last. We recommend the initial listing last six months. You are free to cancel it at anytime. Also, you are free to extend it for one year too. However, it is our experience that most homes sell in the first 6 months of being listed. If your home is not selling quickly, we recommend taking a serious look at buyer feedback and addressing those buyer concerns.
What happens if someone not represented by an agent wants to make an offer?
If you want to be more involved in the home selling process, you can show and sell your home to buyers who are not represented by a buyer’s agent. (If they are represented, let their agent handle the heavy lifting!) Once you’ve shown your home to a non-represented buyer and you’ve come to agreement on the basics such as price and possession terms, you can turn the transaction over to us. We’ll handle the rest. We’ll handle all the paperwork, counsel you and your buyer about the details and guide the transaction through closing.
OK, tell the truth: What does it really take to sell a home?
We’ve sold thousands of properties and here are the basic elements needed: a well-marketed home and a well-developed buyer.
First, your home must be marketed correctly. There are 3 simple elements to selling a home: Price, Pictures and Description. Because of modern technology, 85% of all homes are sold because they are properly advertised on the Internet. Decades ago, homes were sold because agents marketed them. Not so much today. The Internet markets homes. Through the Internet, buyers either search for available homes or receive emails from their buyer’s agent with home details sent directly to them. Either way, it all starts with the Internet. Buyers see the price, pictures and description and then make a decision to tour the house. Then, if they are working with a real estate agent, they will contact their agent to schedule a tour. If they are not working with an agent, they most likely will contact the listing agent or seller. That’s why price, pictures and descriptions are so important – they greatly influence whether a potential buyer will look at your home, which is one reason our program is so successful – it targets the most central marketing elements.
Secondly, a buyer must be developed. Deciding to sell your home didn’t “just happen”. Time, events and experience occurred and the decision to sell your home evolved. That process can easily take 6 months to a year before a seller is ready to list their home for sale. In the same way, buyers usually don’t “just happen” either. The buying process normally takes 6 months to a year too. Buyers usually start by ”window shopping” and touring open houses long before they are ready to buy a home. During that time, potential buyers usually meet an agent who will teach them about the process, help them pre-qualify for a mortgage and expose them to the real estate market. (Buyer’s agents are very important to the process and their work should never be marginalized). The best bet you have to sell your home is finding a buyer who is fully qualified and ready to buy.
When a well-developed buyer finds a well-marketed home, that’s when houses get SOLD. Our job is to make sure that it happens.
How do other agents gain entry into my home?
All listings are equipped with a real estate agent lockbox. Also, there are two sides to the MLS, the public side – which you see, and the agent side – which only real estate agents see. On the agent access side, there is an informational field about setting appointments. There, we give agents information to access the home. We recommend using a program called ShowingTime. This allows agents to contact you directly via text message, through an app on your smart phone or via email to schedule an appointment. Once the appointment is approved by you, the agent receives notification of the code to gain access to the lockbox. We can also place specific instructions like “Needs 24 HR notice” or “Beware of dog.”
Can I make changes to my listing?
Yes. We encourage you to make corrections and updates to your listing. Whether it’s price changes or description text, etc. you can manage the content of your listing. Often, we can make the changes over the phone or by email. Sometimes, your signature is required. In that case, we will email you the correct form and we can update it as soon as we have your permission.
How long can I live in the house before I must turn it over to the new buyer?
Possession time is negotiable between the seller and the buyer. The real estate board requires that home sellers advertise the number of days they expect to keep the home before moving. Then, a buyer can offer that time period or attempt to negotiate a different time period in their purchase offer. It usually takes around 30 days from the sale date to the day of closing. During this time, the home seller still owns the property and has the right to possess it. After the closing date, the buyer officially owns the property. The time between the closing date and the date when the buyers take physical possession is called possession time.
Here’s our advice: Advertising a shorter possession time makes your home more attractive to homebuyers. If you have already moved out of the property, you should advertise possession to occur at closing. If you need extra time to move out, you should plan for 7, 15 or even 30 days for possession. Most home sellers do not require more than 30 days. One other thing, if you do not have a moving plan firmly in place, you should request the full 30 days.