Whatcha Whatcha Want, Louisville Real Estate Edition

So Whatcha Want

Posted the other day over on LHB that many (most?) home buyers these days are looking for real estate deals. And, new construction doesn’t fall into that category.

Today, I’ll talk about the other side of that coin.

Sometimes it makes sense for you to buy what you want. I can hear you know, “Really Mr. Bigshot real estate guy?!?”

Hear me out. What if you do pass on picking out that perfect floor plan, walking the lots and selecting the choice piece of land, browsing loads of flooring and other new home options and building your dream home? What do you get instead? Well, you get “almost right” or not quite perfect.

Will you be as satisfied? Most assuredly not.

Will you be financially better off? Probably, but what if you move sooner than you had planned because your Louisville real estate deal got old, quick?

Make sure you take the time to weigh the pros and cons of Louisville new construction with current homes on the market. Sure, only 49 new homes were built in Louisville last year but I bet if you asked those homeowners about their new home, they’d all agree that it was the right choice for them.

If you like someone to talk it over with, I’m happy to help. All you need to do is pay for my coffee.

Once Again HGTV Hangs Me Out to Dry

Bang for Your Buck logo
Curse you BFYB! What do I have to do for you to love me back?!?

Not sure what I have to do here people. I mean, c’ mon… I’ve applied on multiple times, never heard back. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Is it just that they have so many emails coming their way that they can’t respond? I’m a fan over here. I promote your shows for cryin’ out loud. Can’t a guy get even a little respect?

So then comes the brutal cut.

I see the following headline: Local Realtor on HGTV ‘Bang for Your Buck’ show.

WELL, I KNOW IT’S NOT ME!

Look, I’m happy for LaTonia (actually happy might not be the right word) but when are the good folks at HGTV going to reward my almost non-stop attention that I’m directing their way?

I’d rant some more but I need to send them some more emails…

We All Need New Customers

Photo of two girls talking

Do you need new customers? Of course, you do! So do I… and so does everyone else!

Where do new customers come from? There are only so many avenues. Off the top of my head, here is how new customers come to most professionals.

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Print
  • Billboards/Signage
  • Web Advertising
  • Word of Mouth

Let’s play a game that Sesame Street made famous.

One of these things is not like the other
One of these things is not quite the same
Can you guess which one is not like the other
Can you tell me before I finish the game?

Obviously, the Word of Mouth referral path is different. It’s also the most valuable. Most everyone can agree that referrals are the most desirable way to get new clients. That’s why almost all of my fellow real estate agents put something like this in their email signatures: “A referral is your greatest compliment!”

So how do you gain more Word of Mouth referrals (besides doing your job quite well)? Networking!

I’m new to the world of networking but I’m learning that the power of networking is also the power to grow my business.

If you have any tips for me, please share and I’ll do my best to return the favor.

Have a great day!

Golden Post of Real Estate Links

Photo of Golden Coins
A virtual bounty of golden links can be found in the following post about Louisville real estate. Photo credit: Jeremy Schultz

When things get busy, I don’t always remember to post on this site like some of the others. My bad. But to make up for it, here are some real estate posts from Louisville Homes Blog recently:

Lots of great stuff in the works for 2011. Check back when you get the chance. Cheers!

Short Sales Can Make You Lose Your Mind

Surely, you don’t want to lose your mind. I know I don’t. But unfortunately, short sales are a big part of today’s real estate landscape. All you can do is be prepared and then hope for the best!

Just picture yourself in a small boat, out in the ocean, miles from land and no real means of communication. Then add an agitated partner in the boat with you. Also, that partner is looking to you to save them.

That’s what it’s like to be a Louisville Realtor® with a first-time home buyer in a short sale purchase situation. Our contract was accepted back in August. We’re scheduled to close Thursday.

Yes, that’s right… we’re talking 150+ days of waiting, changing, hoping, fixing, waiting some more, one closing rescheduled and here we are.

Will my client get a great deal? Yes.
Did I do everything humanly possible to help him? Yes.
Was it still an ordeal? Oh yeah.

Just so you know, it’s a wild ride. If you’re not an easy-going, go-with-the-flow kind of person, I’d say “steer clear of short sales.” There are better ways to lose your mind, trust me.

How Will 2011 Be Different?

It looks like there won’t be a major upswing in home buyers/sellers in the upcoming year. At least that’s what the experts are saying. So how can I improve upon this past year? And trust me, there definitely needs to be improvement. I’m still in the Top 20 but more is needed.

  1. TrePryor.com version 3.0: You can never stop improving. In addition to all the new SEO best practices I’ve learned, I want to organize reorganize the overall site structure better for people using the main section, the Best Louisville Neighborhoods and all the related real estate content, like maps, photo databases, etc.

    The biggest thing will be the new and improved IDX. I’m actually interviewing Louisville Web programmers this week to help.
  2. Network Like a Monkey: I don’t know if monkeys network but if they don’t, they should… and me too! I don’t especially enjoy it because it feels forced but a weak market, I need to everything in my power to up my exposure and help those around me to do the same. I do like what’s going on at Insider Louisville.
  3. Increase Marketing: My marketing budget has been minimal because, well… I’ve been taking things cautiously. But I do believe that I need to increase marketing this year in targeted spots. WayFM sponsorship is continuing, along with SoI quarterly’s and monthly emails but am looking at a lead buy that might be positive.
  4. Additional Web Properties: I have a couple of concepts floating around in my head that will be fun to create and use for cross-linking. More importantly, they should be engaging to my target market. We’ll see…

What are your plans for improving yourself in 2011?

Giving Away My Commission for the Holidays

Hands holding money
Can you ever have enough money? Don’t be fooled. You’ll always want more.

The Christmas Holiday is, after all, the season of giving. Jesus came to Earth to give Himself up for us.

This year, we’re working hard to teach our kids about looking for people in need, then acting on it by giving them what you can.

So imagine my chagrin when after a recent closing I was told by my Broker that another agent says they deserve my commission. At first, I thought “No way, I did the work, I deserve it!”

Then I started to think about how the negative feelings and stress will put a damper on our Holidays. When a comprise was offered, it was pretty easy to go ahead and give back a portion of my pay even though I still believe it rightfully belonged to me.

That was when I remembered, Luke 6:30.

“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.”

There will always be more money. How many opportunities do you have to so easily obey your heavenly Father?

Real Estate Pet Peeve

Ok, it’s pet peeve time. Feel free to chime in with your own. 1st Amendment baby!

So tell me… how many times has the following situation has played out for you.

My Own Real Estate Pet Peeve

You are looking for something on the Internet. You’ve hit the search engines, browsed Web site after Web site, finally locating just what you need then go to click on the Add to Cart/Checkout/Contact Us link or button only to be thwarted. Argh!

I constantly find this in real estate. Far too many agents are either fearful of email spam or are too lazy to deal with them appropriately that a very large number of them refuse to post their email address on their Web site.

Stop and think about this for a second.

The first and foremost action that a Realtor wants from someone visiting their Web site is for that person to contact them. Yet, they either hide that very piece of information on some far-away page or don’t publish it at all! Insanity!

Most Realtors will post their phone numbers because spam of that sort hasn’t grown to gargantuan proportions just yet, but with email, many agents simply won’t post it. But what if this visitor doesn’t like calling people on the phone and simply had a quick question that they were happy to send via email?

Listen, no one likes email spam but the alternative, especially in this real estate market, is far, FAR worse.

Make It Easy to Real Estate Leads to Contact You

So to that real estate agent who wonders why your Web site isn’t generating those leads you had been hoping for, here’s a tip.

Contacting you, whether by phone, email, text or post office should be the easiest thing anyone does on your Web site.

It’s not New Years yet, but that might make a great resolution. What do you think?

Do Your Know Where You Stand with Your Realtor?

Every industry has its share of insider knowledge, quirks, and idiosyncrasies. Louisville real estate is no different. As society grows ever more complex, expertise becomes more and more valuable.

Photo of a Realtor working with a first time home buyer
Why go it alone with you can have professional help with no cost?

For people selling their home, there are times when selling without a Realtor® may make sense. The seller pays both sides of the commission and that’s no small amount of money. So, a solid argument may be made for a homeowner selling their property without an agent.

(Please note, offering a cooperating commission, one side, is almost always a smart choice. Offering no commission to a buyer’s agent is a recipe for frustration, in my opinion.)

Now all of that refers to selling a home. Buying a home is a separate deal. People buying a home should always use a Realtor. On to the point of this post.

Who Is Your Realtor? How Do You Know?

One of the quirky things about real estate is that customers don’t always understand how the buying process works. They often think of Realtors as mere salespeople—like a clerk you might find at Macy’s or Best Buy.

Unless the reasoning behind the process is thoroughly explained to them, a buyer might call a Realtor friend from college on Monday with a question about financing. Then on Sunday, they might call the listing agent for a home they saw online.

Given enough time and the buyer might call a 3rd and 4th agent, not understanding how that affects their relationship which each of them who want to be their only agent.

What Makes You My Realtor?

Here’s the danger. If a Realtor is not secure in their relationship with the client, there’s a level of apprehension that doesn’t serve either party well. Realtors put in a great amount of time searching properties online, sending emails or texts, arranging showings, following up with feedback and a myriad of other tasks all with the goal of helping a client purchase a home.

Here’s the point, a Realtor only gets paid if a home is purchased.

Most good agents don’t mind helping a client over the course of several months, even years, as long as they know they will be the Realtor who gets to sell the property in the end.

Finding the Best Louisville Realtor for You

Buyers have the freedom to choose whomever they like to represent them. They can start with one agent and decide that person isn’t a good match or isn’t putting in the time needed to help the buyer find exactly what they want, and then move to another agent.

On the selling side, there is a Listing Agreement, which outlines the terms of that business transaction. But what do buyers have? It’s called a Buyer Agency Agreement. These are simple contracts that outline the responsibilities of both parties, the terms of the agreement and has space for both parties to sign.

The Benefits of a Buyer’s Agent Agreement

The plus for buyers is that they know what to expect from their Realtor. It’s right there in black and white. If the agent doesn’t produce, ending that arrangement is spelled out in the agreement.

For the Realtor, they can feel better knowing the buyer has committed to using their services so all the long nights, weekend showings and abundance of paperwork will produce positive results in the end, in the form of a paycheck.

It’s my opinion that the entire Louisville real estate market would run more smoothly if Buyer Agency Agreements were required. All parties would know better where they stood and misunderstandings would be far fewer.

If you have any questions about what type of information lives in a Buyer’s Agency Agreement, please comment below or feel free to contact us.

Real Estate Scams, Don’t Fall for Them

I’m going to use this page to keep track of all the real estate scam contact info that I receive. This, in the hope that other agents can find it and not waste the time of these people.

If one of the following “persons” contacts you, do not reply. Simply delete the email. If you have additional scams to add, please contact me.

Real Estate Scam Contact Info

  • Mr. Eguchi Kaori / +44-758 745 0966 / eguchikaori01@yahoo.com [added 10/21/10]
  • Mr. Jirou Hayashi / 1-647-862-1135 / jirou_h@yahoo.ca [added 10/27/10]
  • Mr. Vincent Cheng / no phone given / choi.chengh@yahoo.com.hk (sent from: MKast@colum.edu) [added 11/17/10]
  • Mr Chao Zhou / no phone given / mrchaozhou_09@yahoo.cn (sent from: Elizabeth.Dolin@jud.ct.gov) [added 11/28/10]

I’ll update this blog post as I receive more. More info on the combating real estate scams:

  1. Protect yourself from Online Real Estate E-Mail Scams and Fraud
  2. Real Estate Scam Hits CENTURY 21

Time Is Of the Essense, Your Deal Could Very Well Die

Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste, the hours in an off-hand way
-“Time” by Pink Floyd

We live in an always-on society. It seems most believe there couldn’t be enough hours in a day. As Realtors, we’re pretty much on-call, day or night, especially in this market, where clients are hunkering down to wait out what appears to be the long, cold winter of the housing recession.

Now, the purpose of this blog post is to share a recent experience in the hopes that it might help even one of you avoid what happened to us.

Just a quick synopsis, my client needed 30-60 days to close. My client, by nature, is very optimistic. Even though he was pre-approved (with two lenders) he thought he had time to shop around, find the best deal and stroll to closing with time to spare. So, he didn’t click the start button for 27 days.

Turns out, with the recent foreclosure freeze and the massive numbers of refi’s due to low-interest rates, many lenders are quite busy and ultra leery about anything out of the ordinary.

My client’s situation was out of the ordinary.

Looking back, I was in contact with the lender with 33 days left in our window. Then again with 26, 19, 12, 7 and then every day up until our deadline. We couldn’t close.

With the deal blown up, we now have frustrated buyers, sellers, listing agent, buyers agent, loan officer and title examiner (and possibly some more I haven’t named). No winners, all losers.

The Sellers could have given us an extension—we were less than 1 week away, but regardless, the lesson learned here is push, PUSH, PUSH at the beginning to move things through the pipeline. You never know when you might run out of time…

And then the one day you find
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun

Drop Everything, Call Your Investor Clients!

At this very second, what is at the forefront of every Realtor’s thinking? That’s right, “I need to make a sale!”

But you might say, “Yeah, but the market is down.” Or moan that, “People aren’t buying.” Well, you could sit back and feel sorry for yourself. (Which does more harm than good.) You could send out another round of direct mail pieces that may, or may not, bring in any new leads.

Or, you could call every single investor client that you’ve ever had and show them this.

“If you don’t own a home, buy one. If you own one home, buy another one. And if you own two homes, buy a third and lend your relatives the money to buy one.” – John Paulson 9/27/2010

Before you make any calls, read up on John Paulson. I’ve made it easy for you:

Investors who don’t take advantage of our current market will regret it later. Period.

Don’t have any investor clients? Then call any of your clients who might want to be real estate investors. If I had a few more dollars stored away, I’d buy some additional real estate myself. Heck, I still might!

Bottom line: Make the best move based on current market conditions. Right now, it’s a buyers market and rental properties are performing pretty well in most markets. With the uncertain economic future here in the United States, that’s likely to remain true for some time.

The Best Realtors Help People

I’m not sure that could make it any plainer than this:

The Best Realtors Help People

Photo of people helping people. In this case, building a house.

Some call it karma, others say the idea is related to the Golden Rule. Whatever the case, I’m finding it increasingly more evident that when I put my own needs/wants on the back burner, listen as hard as I possibly can to my clients and then try to help them get what they want… that is really when life is good.

Being successful in business is just a by-product of this mindset.

I’m a Realtor but try it for yourself in your line of work. Whether you are here in Louisville, Kentucky or across the globe in Nepal. (Hello!) Take the next week and put others first. At the end of the week look back and see how it turned out for you.

I predict you’ll be happy with the results.

Counting Your Chickens and Other Old-Fashioned Wisdom

I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase, “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.” Today’s non-agrarian youth might be unaware, but this basically means anything can happen. Let’s see how this famous quote relates to the stages of a real estate deal.

Chicks and the Eggs They Came From

This is probably more the standard operating procedure (SoP) in the world of real estate than most other fields. For one reason, purchasing a new home is such a major decision people run on high alert. Add to that, humans are primarily emotional beings. Someone not normally prone to stress can find the whole process unusual and can easily lose their cool. Because of this real estate deals can quickly go from being a Done Deal to becoming an Atomic Explosion.

3 Stages of a Real Estate Deal

Stage 1. Once a home seller gets a contract signed by both parties, that deal should make it to closing 65-75% of the time. This percentage used to be higher but all the changes in financing have made things trickier when/if we get to Stage 3.

Stage 2 contains home inspections and other related issues. In today’s Buyers Market, home buyers call all the shots; after all, there are currently 9,610 Louisville homes for sale. Any home seller who wants to move forward with the deal needs to look long and hard at the Repair Request given them and see if agreeing to all the items is worth the cost compared to potentially losing this Buyer.

A buyer’s power is also enhanced by carte blanche that lives in the inspection clause of our standard Louisville real estate contract.

When we get to Stage 3, we’re looking at whether or not the Buyer is going to be able to get all his financing in order and on time for the upcoming closing.

Deals Die for Many Reasons

I write about this particular topic today because I’m working to sell my client’s home. We made it through Stage 1 but in Stage 2, our Buyer requested that my client replace the entire roof, rather than just the $380 worth of repairs that the professional roofer identified. Do it, or he’d walk. I don’t have to tell you that this was far from reasonable. My client responded with a very generous offer that the Buyer promptly rejected and now we’re scrambling to find a new Buyer for my client’s home.

So please… learn from our pain that even solid agreements can fall apart when you least expect. To quote Oscar Wilde, “To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.”