Residential real estate buyers feel enabled by the Internet. They can go online and, with a few keystrokes, find everything that is for sale in the neighborhoods in which they are interested. So they increasingly believe that they can make themselves a better deal if they work without a buyer’s agent and offer and negotiate directly with the seller’s agent. After all, gatekeeping the information WAS the primary job of the broker, right?
Wrong! As agents, we have redefined our value proposition to clarify how our knowledge and expertise improve the quality of the transaction. Online sites like Zillow, Trulia, and StreetEasy offer almost all the details about every listing (those details are often wrong, but that’s another story.) But information and expertise are not the same thing. I present below a few of the many reasons why you are better off working with a buyer’s agent:
• You are probably not saving money on commission. Many buyers assume that if they view the property without an agent of their own, the seller’s agent gets only half the commission and the buyers will then benefit by paying a lower price. This is likely wrong for a couple of reasons. First, often the commission remains the same regardless of whether there is one agent or two; even when it is lower for a “direct deal” in which the buyer is unrepresented by an agent of his own, it is usually reduced by only a half point or a point. In most cases this is not enough money to turn the seller’s head. Second, since the seller’s agent by definition works for the seller, it is her fiduciary responsibility to get the buyer to pay as much as possible. So if there IS going to be a savings in commission, the seller’s agent wants to make sure that advantage goes to her client, the seller, in the form of a higher net sales price. More often than not the buyer doesn’t benefit.
• The deal is more complicated than it looks. Most people don’t think they can represent themselves in court or remove their own appendix, but for some reason everyone seems to believe he is an expert in real estate negotiation. Ours is actually a highly skilled profession which requires years of experience to fully master. Especially in today’s market, in which numerous factors tend to go into pricing and price flexibility (or lack thereof), an expert negotiator with knowledge of the area and the neighborhood substantially increases a buyer’s chances of making the best possible deal for herself not only in terms of price, but also in terms of closing date, inclusions, etc. In my experience almost no one negotiates well on their own behalf. There tends to be a lot at stake, and most buyers (or sellers) become too emotionally involved to make dispassionate negotiating decisions. Choosing the place you want to live may be a very intuitive and emotional process, but negotiating to secure it should be even handed, analytical, and rational.
• The buyer without the agent rarely succeeds in competitive bidding. Over the years I have learned a lot of tricks to help my customers secure the properties they want in competitive bidding situations. Without those tricks, buyers are almost always left behind. I see every week that the unrepresented buyer rarely wins the property.
• A buyer’s time is better used doing what she does best. We live in a specialized world. If as a buyer without an agent you probably are not going to save significant money, and if you are more likely NOT to obtain the property you want without an agent of your own strategizing with you, why would you not work with an expert? I have spent years developing the skills and expertise necessary to facilitate transactions in the complex world of purchasing and selling real estate. I understand that many buyers (and sellers) feel that the Internet provides them with everything they need to go it alone, but the evidence indicates otherwise. If you have questions regarding purchasing or selling Real Estate, I’d be happy to help! Please contact me at: email@example.com or visit my website: http://carrieshomes.kwrealty.com
In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.
If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.
Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen in order to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the ‘man cave’ of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?
The first step in your home buying process should be to get pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.
The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:
‘Must Haves’ – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered. (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms)
‘Should Haves’ – if the property hits all of the ‘must haves’ and some of the ‘should haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.
‘Absolute Wish List’ – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must haves,’ most of the ‘should haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!
Having your home buying list mapped out before starting your search will save you time and frustration, while also letting your Realtor know what features are most important to you before starting to show you houses in your desired area.
Whether you’re selling now, planning to sell in the future, or just want peace of mind, there are always things you can do to improve the value of your home. The below items will attract buyers and make the place you call home that much more special.
• Exterior – Though we’ve been told to do otherwise, people do judge homes based on curb appeal and first impressions. Put the best foot forward by sprucing up your home’s landscaping, exterior paint, siding, roof and garage doors.
• Paint – A few coats of paint is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to update the interior of your home. If you’re selling, keep things light and neutral so that buyers may easily imagine their things in your space.
• Kitchen – This space can make or break your home. As long as you stay reasonable with materials and design, you’re going to get your money back and then some on a kitchen remodel.
• Home Office – Technology has made it possible for more and more people to work at home. By updating your home office or designating a space to a new one, you show your home’s full potential.
• Flexibility – Your house is yours to make your own, but if you think you may sell in the future don’t over-customize. Buyers need to be able to see themselves and their possessions working in your home, so try not to pigeonhole your spaces.
What Is Your Home Worth?
What is your home worth in today’s market?
There are many factors and variables involved in pricing a home to be competitive within the Silicon Valley & San Francisco Bay Area Real Estate Market:
- A Home Seller sets the price of their home with me, their Realtor. As your Realtor, a Home Seller will benefit from my competitive market pricing strategies for your home.
- Pricing is the most critical factor when selling a home. Values are determined by the market sold price of nearby homes of similar size, condition and amenities.
- The more similar the homes are, the more consistent the values are. Values in neighborhoods of older homes will be more variable because some homes will be updated, and others not.
- Pricing right is crucial. The most Buyers visit your home within in the first weeks of being on the market.
Contact me today to find out what your home is worth in today’s market:
- Carrie Farghaly: Realtor at Keller Williams Cupertino
- cell: (512) 576-6402
- direct: (408) 564-6700
- office: (408) 850-6900
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org