How Do We Search for a House?

There are two reasons we might use a search engine to search for a house today. 1) We are trying to buy a house. 2) We are trying to sell a house. Outside of pure entertainment, those are the only two reasons.

Are we siting on the couch with our laptop, looking for the next chapter of our lives, or are we trying to see how our house looks on the Multiple Listing Service? Three times, this week, I have been reminded that we, as human beings are not always born knowing how to use a property search engine.

Keep in you mind whichever of these is easier for you to keep in your mind. Brevity is the soul of wit (or I should say “hit.”) -OR- Less is more.

What is the address?

Let’s say we are looking for a house on 123 Guttersnipe Trace in Sub Arctic Estates.  The first inclination might be to put 123 Guttersnipe Trace, in the neighborhood of Sub Arctic Estates, hoping to find it.

The problem is the agent who entered the listing may have entered 124 Guttersnipe Trace, or 123 Gutter Snipe Trace, or 123 Guttersnipe Tc or 123 Guttersnipe Trce, and on and on.  The agent may have entered Sub Arctic Estates or Subarctic Estates or Subarctic Hills.  The combinations are many.  Sometimes part of the information is auto-populated by the tax records according to their own logic.

If a person is looking for a house to purchase, they are possibly missing a good number of the homes out there.  If they’re looking for Open Houses for this Sunday, their agenda will be sadly incomplete.

Worse yet, when they are selling their house, and they can’t find it, they are sure it is not on the MLS.  They are certain the agent they are using is so worthless, that the house isn’t even showing up on the MLS.  Time for an angry phone call!

In practice, when you are looking for ANY house on the MLS, the fewer details you put in as requirements, the more returned possibilities you will have to view.  You must be exact with your desired county.  You must be exact with whether you need “residential” or “condominium.”  But be “fuzzy’ with the rest of your requirements.

Just put the street name in your search, and not “Trace” or “TC” or “TRCE.”  In fact, just put the first couple of syllables of the name.  Put “Gutter” or even “Gut” and don’t put the neighborhood name at all.

If you have a reason to look for the neighborhood, then do the same.  just enter “Sub.”  Don’t even put the street name at all.  With any of these you may get back a list of two or three.  Just pick the correct one at that point.

Just always remember, the less you specify, the more returns you’ll get, but the house you need will more likely be there.  I know, no one has ever told you this before, but now you know.  Go searching!

Yes, I am the Reasonable Realtor, Don Martin, MARTIN PROPERTIES (615) 973-8970. Just make your comments here, or you can reach the Dean of Graduated Realtors at www.FSBO-GUY.com or “like” him at http://www.facebook.com/MartinProps

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

We know a picture is worth more than a couple of words, and in fact, it is worth much more than a thousand words when you are trying to sell something.  Occasionally people won’t even consider buying a car, piece of furniture, a widget, or even a house is they can’t see a picture.   We are a visual bunch, and without so much as a glimpse of a glance, we’re not sure if we are interested enough to be interested.

Sellers on e-bay spend considerable time and effort to take elaborate and detailed pictures of a fifteen dollar car-part for sale, but home-sellers think that they can snap an out-of-focus picture of a dark corner of a bedroom with a cell phone, and that will cause buyers to consider spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

For All You Non-Photographers Out There.

Base your effort on your possible reward.  Go ahead and have a professional do a photo-shoot package of your home, including a video tour if you can afford it.  It will go farther than almost any other expense you could incur.

If you absolutely cannot afford to do this, then try the cheap way, and borrow, or even rent the following type of equipment.  Get a single-lens digital camera with an interchangeable lens system,  one with a large “live back” will be better for this project than peering through a view-finder.  Get a zoom, wide-angle lens, 10 -20mm and put it on the camera.  Get a tripod adjusted to about 40 inches in height and mount the camera.

As you look at the room to compose the picture, zoom the lens out to take in a good amount of the room, a lot more than a normal picture, but not so much as to make it look cartoonish.  You just want the room to be able to “breath” in the photo, with no cramped spaces.

I See the Light!

If you intend to use a flash, don’t use the built-in flash, because the size of the lens will cast a shadow in front of the camera.  Use a separate flash unit pointed up.  Experiment a bit before you do the shoot.  I always preferred not to use flash, but that meant using ambient light, slowing down the shutter speed, and using a remote control since it is so slow.  Here again, experiment with the aperture-priority setting until you like it, then leave it set through the session.

You will be spending a good bit more time doing it this way, but it will be worth it.  Try doing a room or two at a time, then download and process them to see how you like them. Then take some more.  Your Picassa software give you some adjustment capabilities on your computer after the shoot.

imagesCAMERA

Digital single-lens reflex camera

Find more on pix making you more dollars on your home sale in later articles and in my books.  Thanks for now… let’s talk if you want to.

I am the Reasonable Realtor, Don Martin, MARTIN PROPERTIES (615) 973-8970. Just make your comments here, or you can reach the Dean of Graduated Realtors at www.FSBO-GUY.com or “like” him at http://www.facebook.com/MartinProps

This Could be the Day!

Day is here at last- the sun is rising.  This day there is a lot of scrambling, a lot of chatter…  This could be book day. As usual, I will keep you posted. Yes, I am the Reasonable Realtor, Don Martin, MARTIN PROPERTIES (615) 973-8970. Just make your comments here, or you can reach the Dean of Graduated Realtors at www.FSBO-GUY.com or “like” him at http://www.facebook.com/MartinProps

“Book Boy Day”

profile, the day of  "Book Boy" Flat-fee Freddie www.mp-info.com

One sharp dude.

Another Book Update

BookCoverPreview

Today was Thursday, February 13,  2014.

Still no book, so I am working on the “publicize” systems, like the Twitter accounts.  I’ll keep you posted.

“Book Boy”

Yes, I am the Reasonable Realtor, Don Martin, MARTIN PROPERTIES (615) 973-8970.

Just make your comments here, or you can reach the Dean of Graduated Realtors at www.FSBO-GUY.com or “like” him at http://www.facebook.com/MartinProps

Quick Book Update!

What I expect to be the final proof printing of the book “The New Real Estate” is on its way to me right this minute. If it is as it should be, it will be available to the public this weekend! I will keep you posted…

 

Yes, I am the Reasonable Realtor, Don Martin, MARTIN PROPERTIES (615) 973-8970.

Just make your comments here, or you can reach the Dean of Graduated Realtors at www.FSBO-GUY.com or “like” him at http://www.facebook.com/MartinProps

Don Martin

Martin Properties (Flat Fee MLS to Full or Graduated Services in Nashville, TN)

Hit Me With Your Best Shot-

Pat Benatar wrote and sang that line a few years ago.

If you are buying a house, the human nature is such that you want to steal it.  You want to tell your buds at the PTA, at the Y, or at the club, “yes, I absolutely STOLE that house,”  the implication being that you are a shrewd negotiator and an excellent business person.

The truth is that either you are telling a big whopper, or you were luckily unsuccessful, while you had drawn your weapon and were trying your best to blow a hole in your own foot.    While it is always OK to ask for the moon with a picket fence when you are making an offer on a house, just be prepared to pay for it.

People buy houses like some people buy cars- with or without emotion.  People who buy anything with an eye toward resale, are not buying for themselves, and they do not have an emotional connection with the purchase.  But people who are buying something for themselves do have that connection, so the rules change dramatically.

The non-emotional buyer can simply make a low-ball offer and move on, but the involved buyer is subject to a different set of dynamics.  When I am working with a buyer who is not buying as an investment to rent or resell, most of the time when my advise seems appropriate  and/or called for, I recommend that the buyer make his stronger offer rather than play the game that some do.  The negotiation process is the subject of an entirely different series of articles, but the purpose of this one today is to deal with that situation where the heat is on.  The buyer is ready to purchase a property that is very popular, whether proven or perceived.

image_22421 forsale

A house is perceived to be popular (right or wrong) when after looking at many houses here is one that seems perfect!  The more houses one has looked at on the way to this one, makes it seem even more perfect.  It may also be the object of a very full open house.  Or there could be a lot of business cards lying on the counter indicating several showings.  What ever the reason, if it’s perfect for this buyer, this buyer assumes it’s also perfect for everybody else.  If they have missed a couple of earlier houses, that only adds to the drama.

A house that is proven popular, can be demonstrated popular.  In Tennessee, Realtors even have a form, the “Pat Benatar Form,” F-37, that exclaims to the interested world there are several offers on the house subject house, so sellers are giving everybody the chance to do their best, and the deadline will usually be stated.  Here is your one opportunity to revise your bid/offer knowing it is your last offer.

At his point I always tell my buyers that if they love the house, this is the time to stretch out and make an offer so bold that it almost scares them, and they know they could never offer any more.  That way, even if they don’t get the house , they will always know that they did their best, that they did give it their best shot.  There is nothing worse than feeling or hearing that a buyer could have done better had they known all the facts.  After offering their highest and best, there may still be no winner this time for this buyer, but there will also be no lingering regrets.

There may be other situations like these two that we can talk about later. But for a buyer who really likes a particular house, you can play games on your computer, if you need to play games.  In bidding on this house, be serious.  Give it your best shot.

Good luck for now! Get to work if you want it to happen. Call me if you want to talk. Yes, I am the Reasonable Realtor, Don Martin, MARTIN PROPERTIES (615) 973-8970.

Just make your comments here, or you can reach the Dean of Graduated Realtors at www.FSBO-GUY.com or “like” him at http://www.facebook.com/MartinProps

And please don’t forget our book The NEW REAL ESTATE will be out in a few days.  You need to have it on YOUR bookshelf!

Don Martin

Martin Properties (Flat Fee MLS to Full or Graduated Services in Nashville, TN)

You want an answer WHEN?

Your house has been for sale for several weeks now, and it looks like the day you have been awaiting so long has finally arrived.  You have been presented an offer for your house.

Combinations and permutations are several, but for the purpose of this conversation, we will suppose that you are selling your own house, perhaps For-Sale-By-Owner and the prospective buyer is working with a Realtor, so the Realtor has prepared the offer and sent it to you.

A few years ago the presentation of an offer would include a hard copy of the offer along with a real earnest money check, and a few other side documents.  Today you will probably be presented with an electronic email image and a promise to pay earnest money.

No matter the method of presentation, there will probably be an ending point, before which the buyer would like an answer from you as to whether or not you agree on the terms of the offer.  This only makes sense from the standpoint of the buyer, because until you make a decision up or down, they probably cannot look at, and try to buy another house, because they are risking buying two if both sellers finally decide to say “yes.”

The second advantage to the buyer sometimes, is that a little extra pressure is placed on the seller.  Some types of people might get excited over an offer and a bit of pressure might cause them to agree to more liberal terms than they would normally prefer.

So, whether you are given the offer electronically, or had it physically handed to you by the buyer’s agent or even your own agent, do this first.  Go to one of the last pages, along about line 428 (they are numbered in the left hand margin.)  See when they desire an answer.

If the time they allow your decision is too short for you to do your due diligence, then point that out immediately.  People don’t usually buy a house in an emergency, so you deserve enough time to think it over, to get with your spouse, your family, your attorney, or whoever you need to consult.  Tell them by phone or email or in person, however you can.

Do not be too silly about this, but normal is a day or two or over the weekend, unless there is some other complicating circumstance, and if that is the case, they will probably share that reason with you.  Otherwise, you are well within your rights to point out that you need longer.  Tell the agent immediately that the truncated time-line is a deal-killer.  Tell them that you are excited about the offer, but you do need whatever amount of time you need.  Tell the agent that they need to take the offer and make that change first, and then you will go ahead with studying it.  If the time-line has to remain, then they still need to get the offer back, because you will not go any farther.

You will be worried about being so firm, but don’t be.  If you bargain from a weak position, you may well not end up with a result that is satisfying to you.

So remember, when you get an offer, look at the price, of course, but as soon as you can, look at the “drop-dead time” and be sure that gives you enough time to run a “net sheet” of all your expenses at that sale-price to see what your walk-away net will be.  If they are not going to give you enough time to do that, they are not serious about buying your house.

Whether you consult your mom or dad or kids or attorney or agent, or if you just need time to pray about it, don’t let anyone rush you.  The moment anyone seems to be trying to rush you, throw a penalty flag and take a deep breath.    Tell the other person what you need to do in your decision-making process.  If the buyer is legit, they will give you the time you need.  Don’t be shy.

Good luck for now! Get to work if you want it to happen. Call me if you want to talk. Yes, I am the Reasonable Realtor. Don Martin, MARTIN PROPERTIES (615) 973-8970.

Just make your comments here, or you can reach the Dean of Graduated Realtors at www.FSBO-GUY.com or “like” him at http://www.facebook.com/MartinProps

And please don’t forget our book The NEW REAL ESTATE will be out in a few days.  You need to have it on YOUR bookshelf!

Don Martin

Martin Properties (Flat Fee MLS to Full or Graduated Services in Nashville, TN)