By Scott Newman
Real estate is back in 2012 in a big way. Many markets are seeing price increases in response to dwindling inventories as more and more buyers are getting off the fence every day. With that in mind — especially since it’s been so long since we’ve had the opportunity to use the phrase “multiple offer” — I felt it would be pertinent and relevant to go through some best practices for handling multiple offer situations to make sure you’re in line with ethical and fair business practices.
Don’t Forget Your Loyalties: This is a big one, and it’s obvious, but many agents forget that you can’t disclose information that your client doesn’t authorize. No where is it written that you must disclose whether or not you have other offers on the table. Unless your seller has specifically directed you to do so, you should not automatically answer that question if asked by a buyer’s agent or buyer.
I have seen situations where a buyer will pull out of a deal because they think there is too much competition, and you can be legally liable for any negative consequence that results from your disclosing information you shouldn’t have.
To summarize, don’t ever forget that your ultimate loyalties lie with your seller, and just because you’re asked a question doesn’t mean you have to answer.
Treat Everyone the Same: This is another obvious one, but it’s important and bears repeating. To avoid accusations, legal action, and overall negative impact to your reputation as a professional, it’s imperative that you treat everyone the same way.
If you’re sending out a request for highest and best, send the exact same e-mail, forms, etc., to all interested parties who have seen the property so there is absolutely no doubt that everyone was informed of the status and had a chance to make an offer if they wanted. It’s better to e-mail an agent that showed the place six months ago along with everyone else, than it is to have your deal blown up by a lawsuit from a buyer who feels they were unfairly kept from knowing the latest update and opportunity to place an offer.
Keep Unbelievably Good Records: Continue reading »
By Melissa Krchnak
Who has an influx of buyers? We sure do! My market (the Inland Empire of Southern California) is crawling with them. Our middle market is sitting a bit, but our entry-level and high-end are moving quite quickly… with multiple offers over asking!
That got me thinking: With lower inventory and a ton of activity, should I be going back to the 2009 days of setting a cut-off date for offers?
I obviously want to make sure I’m doing what’s in my seller’s best interest… so, is that it? Maybe. Here’s what I think you should do if you set a cut-off date:
- Review your offers as you get them, but present all at once: I created a cover sheet that I attach to each one with a break-down of the offer with any special notes, so when I go to present, I have all the info right there.
- Have at least one open house before presenting offers: Like I say, “business comes from everywhere,” and who am I to deny a lucky buyer the joy of working with me?
- Have at least one brokers’ open: Give all your lovely agent friends a chance to check it out. I don’t do a brokers’ open on most of my listings, but if you’re only going to have it on the market for a limited amount of time, it’s probably a good idea to give everyone a fair shot.
- Have it on the market for at least 10 days: When the market was hot in 2009, 10 days was an eternity and I’d be swimming in 30+ offers. I don’t think it’ll get that crazy now, but I wouldn’t want my sellers to wait much longer than that – they’re tired of opening their door to strangers… I get it. Just make sure that 10 days includes two weekends. I usually list my homes on Thursday or Friday for maximum exposure.
I’ve had agents try to get me to extend the cut-off date, but if I have it in the MLS, and your Client (or yourself) is set-up on an auto-email, how did ya’ll miss it? Just curious. I always offer to hold it as a back-up in case something happens with “the chosen one.”
What’s your market look like? Do you need to chat with your sellers about a cut-off date when you’re taking the listing?
Melissa Krchnak is the assistant team leader for Keller Williams Realty in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Connect with her at kwrancho.com.
By Laura Rubinchuk Schwartz
I met with a very nice couple looking to retire and relocate out of the area, which means selling their home of 20+ years. It had been many, many years since they needed the services of a REALTOR® or learned of the new way things are being done to sell a home, prepare for listing, and the paperwork involved in the process. After a brief tour of the home and some chit chat about their situation and goals for selling their home, we got down to the nitty gritty details, like commission.
After discussing commission rates and such, they asked my favorite question of every listing appointment: “Well, what would your commission be if you sold the house?”
My answer: “I never do dual agency. I think it’s a conflict of interest. I represent you and your interests in this transaction, and at the end of the day, I want to make sure you’re happy and you feel like you got the best deal possible. If I am representing both parties, I don’t think that’s possible.”
With total blank stares, and then a smile, the wife said, “You’re too honest.” My response? “I’m honest, but I also think agents have a bad reputation and we’ve earned it. It’s not about the paycheck in front of them, it’s about the long term happiness of both parties.”
I am sure this is bound to stir up some strong opinions on both sides of the argument, but I wanted to lay out my thoughts on dual agency:
- Agency relationships mean I sign a paper that says I represent the interests of the seller. I am trying to get them to meet their goals with this transaction. I always keep that in mind when reviewing offers and be sure to point out specifics that may be issues for them.
- I always show the property when asked, regardless of representation. Continue reading »
By Alex Milshteyn
It seems that every year I learn the lesson of how important it is to follow-up.
I recently received a referral from a past client. My past client gave me a glowing review, hence their friends called me. I met with the lovely couple to talk about the sale of their home. I met with them twice, the first time to view the home and discuss their goals, and the second time to review my marketing program and the market analysis. At our second meeting, we had made the decision that it would be beneficial for them to redo the kitchen and the bathroom. They were not in a rush to move, but they preferred to move in early 2012. I left our last meeting with the idea that we would be in touch over the next few months to get the home listed.
I left the appointment feeling like the listing was mine and that it was a matter of time before they called me to list the home. I followed up 6 weeks after our second meeting and everything seemed to be on track with the remodel of the kitchen and the bathroom.
This is where I could kick myself!
My overconfidence of “having” the listing got the best of me and I put their file away as if it was a signed listing contract…well, it wasn’t. Last week, I was going through the MLS looking at the new listings and what do I find? This lovely couple listed their home with another agent. I felt like I got punched in the stomach. But what did I expect? I hadn’t talked to them in nine months.
As I do every time this occurs, I sat myself down and told myself that I have to be better, that I have to follow up, that I have to time-block these follow up calls, that I’m not the almighty real estate agent. My pride suffered but it was a lesson well learned. I must follow-up, follow-up, follow-up!
Alex Milshteyn, GRI, ABR, is a REALTOR® in Ann Arbor, Mich., who runs a real estate team of five professionals called Alex Milshteyn Real Estate Associates. Connect with him at www.alexmi.com.
By Dave Robison
According to NAR’s report about real estate professionals, the majority of us came from admin jobs rather than sales jobs. There is a high probability that the majority of you reading this are order-takers. The good news is you can change that. You can become a better sales person.
I admit it, I was an order-taker and learned this lesson almost 11 years ago. I was showing a friend of mine houses so he could buy his first home. No luck in writing an offer though because he couldn’t make up his mind and he was reluctant to put in an offer. (It was his fault, right?) My dad came out with me to show my friend the same homes a second time around. My dad said, “This is a great house, Kelly. Lets write an offer.” My friend said, “Okay,” and I got my first sale. (Oops, I blamed it on my client but it was really my fault!)
What was the difference? I was just showing homes, I was an order-taker. My dad was a salesperson. Here is how you can know what an order-taker will do versus someone who is a salesperson:
Example – Listing Client: “I’m not in a hurry. We don’t have to sell. We will move if that one buyer comes along.”
Order-Taker: “Okay, I will keep you updated with showings and whether we get any offers.” *Tries to smile while they feel frustrated with their client.*
Salesperson: “What do you mean by that?” “Tell me more about that.” “What is your timing on when you want to move?” (A salesperson will ask more questions so that the seller can come to a better conclusion. Being a salesperson means being a counselor, too!) Continue reading »
By Jeremy Williams
I have heard other real estate practitioners say, “If you don’t take the listing, someone else will end up listing the home, selling it and making a commission.” I recently fell into that mindset and regretfully so. After months of actively marketing a property using both my time and money, the seller pulled their listing agreement saying that they just needed a new set of eyes. Despite my early reservations following the listing appointment, in the back of my mind I kept hearing take the listing or someone else will.
Upon termination of the listing agreement, frustration set in, but then clarity shortly followed. I realized I had spun my wheels marketing a property that just was not going to sell because the sellers’ expectations were unrealistic. Being upfront throughout the listing period, I let them know that several changes cosmetically needed to be done to make their home competitive with other homes in the market. I also let them know that the market required being priced correctly. The sellers did not believe that I knew what I was talking about. They held firm and did not pay attention to the feedback received by those that toured, the fact that no one submitted an offer after multiple showings, and for several showings stayed on sight as opposed to leaving, making the prospective buyers and their agents uncomfortable. I knew I was in trouble when I once made a suggestion early on and was called out as being ridiculous. Continue reading »