Category Archives: FSBO help

FSBO Homeseller Mistakes to Avoid

There are things you can do to help sell your house, and there are things you can do to submarine your sale.

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I work primarily with owners selling their own houses, and sometimes, if these sellers are not especially careful,  this sector can be inclined toward one or more of these items.

Overpriced Home

The Overpriced Home comes along with its two little brothers,  Unwilling to Negotiate, and Won’t make Repairs.  Their family tree is that of Over-valued opinion of my Own house.   Shoppers know that house means important things to you, the seller, but they are looking at how it will fit on them and their lifestyle.  It might take some fitting and tailoring here and there.

The sellers know that bannister has gotten looser over the years.  They have gotten used to it over time.  They know not to lean on it.  A repair would involve complete removal and reinstallation of the whole section, and if the buyer wants that , they can do it, but we’re OK with it as it is.

These sellers may be unwilling to make that repair and unwilling to cut the buyers a price break so they can fix it.  To them, their house is pretty much perfect.

At this point, the crazy aunt comes in.  Crazy Aunt Showing Ability has lots of activities.  She works, of course, but there’s also tennis lessons, piano lessons, football practice, bridge club, and the book club to consider.

Value of Your House

This may be the time for you to realistically and brutally look at your opinion of the value of your house and the value of your spare time.  Selling your own house is not always fun.  It’s almost never convenient.  But if you are grounded in reality and common sense, you will find it to be a rewarding process both psychologically and financially.

But if you are not motivated enough to sell to realize that your house may not be more special than the hundreds of other houses for sale, or that your time is not more special than that of the people you are hoping will want to buy your home,  then you may not be cut out to do this.  Selling your own home is hard work!

That’s why it pays so well!


Don Martin, a 33 year veteran real estate broker and firm owner, helps people save many thousands of dollars selling their own houses and using the MLS for peak exposure. Details of that process here. He is the author of sixteen books, and has been called the most prolific real estate professional in the country today. Follow his real estate blog here and his writing blog here.  His Amazon page is here.


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Why can’t you just put my telephone number on my MLS listing?

The MLS is like a great big old country club.

The country club may have the best golf course in town or the finest restaurant in the state.  But the fact is, if you’re not a member, or WITH a member, you are not going to be able to enjoy either one.   (Click to Tweet!) When it comes to the MLS, the brokers are the members.  It was originally created by brokers for brokers.  You can be a guest, but it takes a lot to become a member.

As guests, a lot of people have been satisfied without having to become a broker themselves.  You can always see some of their actual remarks here.

My customers ask me if their phone number will be on the listing.  The answer is YES…  and NO.  It’s on there in three places, but just not where they can see it unless they are a Realtor.

So let’s look at why the MLS was set up in the beginning.

The MLS was set up to SHARE INFO between brokers!

Period.  A broker could use another broker’s info to sell the house directly.  A broker could use another broker’s info to publish as their own in order to sell it.  In fact, they each spend a considerable amount of money to have that privilege.

A Tale of Two MLSes

People don’t generally realize that there are two.  All the information that exists regarding a certain listing is on the master MLS listing.  That is the one that we, as Realtors use to input details of the house.  That is also the one that we, as Realtors use to get the info we need to set up showings and to make offers.

There is also a sanitized version that does not contain information about commissions, or contact information for showings.  This is the public version.  Some websites that offer search engines available to the public use this sanitized version.  If the public has questions or wants to make an appointment, the only point of contact there is the Realtor who put it there.

If a Realtor wants to give a print-out of listings to a prospective buyer, he gives them the sanitized version so the only number they have to call is that of the Realtor who gave them the info sheet.  In the agreement with all Brokers is permission to take that information concerning a house and fit it into their own template, so that it looks like one of their own listings.  They can then make money by being the buyer’s broker.

None of this would be possible if the information included directions to call someone else.  But remember this is a tool that belongs to Realtors.  You can use it if you do it correctly through a broker.  But if you need to drive a nail, you can borrow a carpenter’s hammer, but you can’t  put YOUR name on it.  All you can do is drive the nail and give it back to the carpenter.

You can’t out-smart the MLS!

So don’t even try.  Spend your energy on something more productive.  They will see it if you try to photo-shop your phone number on the house, the roof, the lawn or in the sky.  They will detect even the faintest of watermarks. They will see it in the text, even if its backwards or encoded.  They will see it even if you have a small “For Sale” sign in the yard that can be magnified to reveal the number.

I don’t mean for this to sound like the voice of experience, but I do know what I’m talking about.  If you’re a newcomer, it’s easy to think that you have thought of something equally new, but don’t spend too much time on it.  They just don’t allow your contact number on the listing.

So do it right, and get it done now!  Call me at 615-973-8970

or go to mlsDon.com to get started.

Don Martin

Martin Properties

Call me if you if you have any questions.
Don Martin
Martin Properties
(615) 973-8970
Graduated Real Estate Services
Nashville-Knoxville-Memphis
TNFlat-FeeMLS.com or mlsDon.com

 

 

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I want to have my house in the MLS with no agent or broker.

I want to have the super-charged exposure of the MLS to sell my house, but I don’t want an agent or broker involved.

While that may seem nice on the surface, it just doesn’t work, and you can’t do it.  Websites that use terms like “agent-less”, or “no more agents”, or “no-broker”  may be a little misleading. You CAN”T be in the MLS without one!

What you need to admit is that the brokers and agents themselves don’t necessarily offend you, but the commission they charge certainly does.  So why can’t we just do it ourselves?

The MLS is like a great big old country club.

The country club may have the best golf course in town or the finest restaurant in the state.  But the fact is, if you’re not a member, or WITH a member, you are not going to be able to enjoy either one.   (Click to Tweet!) When it comes to the MLS, the brokers are the members.  It was originally made by brokers and for brokers.  You can be a guest, but it takes a lot to become a member.

As guests, a lot of people have been satisfied without having to become a broker themselves.  You can always see some of their actual remarks here 

Moreover, the club has to be in your state

or licensed and active in your state.  Regardless of how catchy the name or website of a national company may seem, when it comes down to it, they will have to find a broker in your state who is willing to give you a MLS entry-only listing, and do it for even less than you are paying the national website.  My company, for instance, is in Tennessee, and I can’t help someone in Kentucky, even if they begged me.  But we do help people in Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville.

So to sum it up, you CAN shop around and save money with a broker, but you will have to involve one in some way.  Some brokers are easier to work with than others, and some websites are easier to use.  On one of ours, you can start inputting your listing on-line any time of the day or night.

 

Don Martin is 30+ yr broker/owner of Martin Properties.

Call me if you if you have any questions.
Don Martin
Martin Properties
(615) 973-8970
Graduated Real Estate Services
Nashville-Knoxville-Memphis
TNFlat-FeeMLS.com

This real estate website design template is Copyrighted

110 Royal Glen Blvd. Murfreesboro, TN

3 Key Elements to Selling Your House

From time to time people decide to change the place they call their home. They decide to move. People fall into a couple of major categories- they may be in fairly temporary circumstances, renting a house or apartment or living with parents, etc or they live in a more permanent situation such as owning their own house. The first is fairly liquid, in that when the end of a term or period of time occurs, they simply walk away. The second is more challenging, in that the owners of their current house must find NEW owners for that house before they can move on.

If you are in that second group, and you must find new owners for your house, then you need to sell your place. People do that in either of two manners. Either they enter into an agreement with a real estate agent to market their house, and pay the agent a commission out of the proceeds of the sale, or they sell the house themselves, By-Owner and pocket the commission that would otherwise be subtracted from their profit. Regardless of the method of selling, there are three critical concepts that will serve you well if you internalize them early-on in the process.

Clean It Up

Look at your house objectively as much as possible.  I’m sorry if this sounds blunt, but cut that grass.  Trim those shrubs.  Fix that gutter where it’s hanging down a bit at the corner.  Move the kid’s toys and the grill out from in front of the house.  Ask a friend if your house looks like something someone would consider buying.

Inside the house, do much the same thing.  I’m not saying as some agents do, that you have to make it look as though you don’t live there.  What I am saying is that when people see you live there, they see you are tidy.

We all love our kids.  We all love to eat.  We all love to clean up and put on fresh clothes.  The trick is not to have the den full of the kid’s toys, the kitchen full of dirty pans and dishes where we prepared meals, and the bathrooms covered in dirty clothes.  Over the years I have not only seen houses left like that for prospective buyers to see, but I have also seen houses like that in the listing pictures!  It is called incrementalism .  Something starts out messy and over time, gets even messier gradually and without being noticed by the sellers.

Don’t Overprice

You know what your house is worth.  You can easily obtain lists of the houses that have sold in your neighborhood.  An agent would be happy to run you what is called a CMA, competitive market analysis, to demonstrate what your house will probably bring.  So don’t be confused.  I am a proponent of pricing your house boldly, but not ridiculously.   If you are selling your house For-Sale-By-Owner, remember you are already saving some of the commission that was probably paid in those comparable sales.  So don’t get crazy.

It is sad, from time to time, when one of my customers who is selling their house FSBO with me in the MLS say that they just didn’t have any luck selling their house that way, and then list with a full-service Realtor.  Because that full-service Realtor is going to put the house right back in the same MLS.  He or she will only make you price it lower AND pay commission.  So go ahead and price it lower BEFORE you pay commission as well.

Be Accessible

Yup.  You AND your house.  When somebody calls, answer the phone.  If you have to use an answering service, return the call.  ASAP.  People want what they want, and they want it right then!  It has be come an internet world in some of the public’s eyes and they have gotten used to Google waiting for them to search anytime night or day.  Of course you can’t compete with the ‘net, but you must not leave people waiting too long either.  Discipline yourself to check your voice-mail regularly and frequently.  Return the calls.  Attention and interest have short half-lives.  As time passes beyond their initial call, their interest diminishes exponentially.

Make you house easy to see.  I have worked with people who said to prospects that they only showed the house on Thursdays.  Try, within reason to let a prospect tour your house when they want or need to.  Close the bedroom door if the baby is napping.  Miss the bridge club this week.

Some buyers are emergency-room nurses and doctors.  Some buyers work third shift.  Some even work an odd number of days on and off.  You may well have to be inconvenienced on your way to the other side of this transaction.  Just keep your eye on the goal.  These three elements will put you a lot closer to scoring!


Click HERE to put your house on the MLS !


profileBroker Don Martin, founder and CEO of Martin Properties, besides helping hundreds of FSBOs save thousands of dollars, also delivers seminars, keynotes and motivational messages to real estate and sales professionals. His 30+ years of experience in sales, marketing, real estate, promotion, management and technology has empowered thousands to expand their knowledge and achieve their goals. Connect with Martin Properties on Facebook, TheReasonableRealtor.com, MLS-TODAY.com or Amazon.com.

 

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What if someone wants to buy my house?

BUY MY HOUSE?

We have our house cleaned and neat and ready to impress.  It is for sale, with a sign in the front yard and we have it in the Multiple Listing Service as well. We have completed the Property Disclosure form, signed it, and made some copies. This afternoon we have an appointment scheduled with our first lookers.  WHAT IF THEY WANT TO BUY IT?  What do we do then?

This is simple.

There are only two types of people and circumstances you will have to deal with. Don’t imagine a menu of possibilities. Two types. One type involves a real estate agent. The other does not.

In the situation where the buyer has an agent, the agent will do the paperwork, you don’t have to. That is the good news. The bad news is that you are insulated from the buyer by that agent. You are trying to get a meeting of the minds without a meeting of the eyes. The buyers will make offers concerning the purchase of your home. You will be expected to accept, reject, or counter those offers. It is beyond the scope of this article to deal with the forms and paperwork involved, but accepting or rejecting are no-brainers and counter-offers are not that difficult.

Bear in mind that the decisions are up to you. The legwork is up to the agent for the buyer. One of the important things I tell all my sellers id that they should always look at the last page of an offer where it asks that they respond to the offer by a certain time. Some buyers like to put a short time line on their offer. Sometimes that puts extra stress on the seller. See an earlier article titled “You want an answer by WHEN?” Sometimes the reason behind it is valid, sometimes it is not. Just remember that you are in control, and don’t be intimidated.

You need to take your time and make counter-offers until you are happy with the deal.

Even more simple.

The second of the two is the lone wolf, the John Doe, the unrepresented. You have a blank contract form. I call it a contract form, because there is no offer and counter-offer when it is the two principals involved. You both know what you are asking for your house. The buyer knows how much he is willing to pay.

Just sit down at the kitchen table and fill in the blanks so that it is in writing. Really, there are three items. How much money? When will it close? Does the refrigerator stay? When you agree on the terms, and you put them in writing, it becomes a contract. Make each of you a copy and let the buyer take the original to his mortgage lender.

From this point, most of the effort belongs to the underwriters, appraisers, and inspectors, but you are no longer in the driver’s seat, and you need to do your level best to accommodate the scheduling of these guys.

The most important point is that when someone is ready to buy your house, the best thing you can do is to LET IT HAPPEN. Don’t try to make it happen. It’s either you and an agent with an offer, or you and a buyer who wants to sit down and work it out. Don’t worry, be happy.

Ingredients I give to my customers ASAP

  • Property Condition Disclosure
  • Disclosure Exemption (if they haven’t lived there in 3 yrs)
  • Lead Based Paint Disclosure (if built 1978 or earlier)
  • Non-Realtor blank purchase agreement
  • Example of correctly completed Agency Agreement
  • Example of correctly completed Compensation Agreement
  • Blank Realtor’s Counter Offer form
  • Blank Status Update form so they can keep me advised
  • Some of my business cards for their friends…

Click HERE to put my house on the MLS !


profileBroker Don Martin, founder and CEO of Martin Properties, besides helping hundreds of FSBOs save thousands of dollars, also delivers seminars, keynotes and motivational messages to real estate and sales professionals. His 30+ years of experience in sales, marketing, real estate, promotion, management and technology has empowered thousands to expand their knowledge and achieve their goals. Connect with Martin Properties on Facebook, TheReasonableRealtor.com, MLS-TODAY.com or Amazon.com.

 

This is you happy about your new MLS listing.

Welcome 2016!

New Year’s Day

Well, it’s a holiday today!  There are a number of football games to watch.  There is a lot of food to be eaten.  There is company to visit.  But there is still the fact that some people need to buy a house, and some need to sell one.  If you are a For-Sale-By-Owner selling your own house, you probably have a keen desire, not only for that sale to take place, but for it to take place more inexpensively not having to pay the commission of a listing agent.

My company and I exist to help you make that happen.  We are a resource for you, and one of the pieces to that puzzle and process is this website it’s forum/blog area.  There you can ask questions and make comments that may help you or another in the future.  I hope to continue in this, our third year of publication, to make it more useable, enjoyable and FSBO-friendly.

So you may gradually notice some design changes in 2016.  I welcome your feedback as we go through the process.  In the next installment, we will be dealing with a question I may have glossed over in the past, that of what to expect on your first showings, and more precisely what to do if the looker decides to buy.  This can be a bit of information, and I may have to deal with it in more than one article.

But for now, HAPPY NEW YEAR!  We’ll talk soon…


Click HERE to put my house on the MLS !


profileBroker Don Martin, founder and CEO of Martin Properties, besides helping hundreds of FSBOs save thousands of dollars, also delivers seminars, keynotes and motivational messages to real estate and sales professionals. His 30+ years of experience in sales, marketing, real estate, promotion, management and technology has empowered thousands to expand their knowledge and achieve their goals. Connect with Martin Properties on Facebook, TheReasonableRealtor.com, MLS-TODAY.com or Amazon.com.

 

Listing Contracts

Types of Listing Contracts

A listing contract is an agreement between a seller and a licensed real estate broker that authorizes the broker to represent the seller in the process of selling his home. There are several different types of listing contracts, but very few of them are used. The most common one used is the “Exclusive Right to Sell” listing. But you will find that there are a lot more types, allowing you to choose the level of services authorization to give to your agent. Here are some of them:


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One-Time Showing

This type of listing contract is  in effect for one showing to one prospect.  Otherwise the owner is free to sell the house themselves and pay no commission.  This relationship only makes sense if the house is not listed, and not in the MLS.   The listing contract identifies the potential buyer and guarantees the agent a commission if that buyer buys the home. Just like open listings and some exclusive agency listings, this type may lack  marketing efforts on the part of the agent.

The commission the seller will spend is negotiable, with negation made prior to the showing, and may cost as much as the buying and selling side of a traditional listing, payable at closing- transactionally funded.

Exclusive Agency Listing

This one involves a broker, who, therefore makes it possible to have the house in the MLS for the exposure. An exclusive agency listing will give sellers the right to sell their own home, without paying  commission unless the house is sold through a licensed real estate professional. Should the house be sold without any help of agents, the contract allows homeowners to pay no commission at all. The reason why this type of listing contract is widely used is the temptation of not having to pay a broker.

The expense to the seller may be that of the buyer’s agent side of a traditional sale, payable at closing, and a smaller, flat-fee to the agent who gets the house in the MLS, usually payable in advance.

Exclusive Right to Sell Listing

The most popular type of listing with some sellers and all brokers, this contract gives the full right for your broker to do whatever it takes to sell your house. For obvious reasons, this is probably the type of contract where you can expect the most incentive from the agent – a good marketing effort can take place here, and the homeowners’ work is much reduced.

The cost to the seller is the most of these three, but it is usually paid out of the proceeds at closing.

Any of these listing relationships can involve different levels of service.  Before you choose your contract, always make sure you know every type of listing available to you. Take in mind how much effort you would like to contribute to the home selling – this is often what distinguishes the types. Discuss the possibilities and disadvantages of each type. Remember, a listing contract is your first legal step in selling your house – take that step carefully and have it in writing exactly what you are expecting from the agent.  The best surprise is NO surprise!


profileBroker Don Martin, founder and CEO of Martin Properties, besides helping hundreds of FSBOs save thousands of dollars, also delivers seminars, keynotes and motivational messages to real estate and sales professionals. His 30+ years of experience in sales, marketing, real estate, promotion, management and technology has empowered thousands to expand their knowledge and achieve their goals. Connect with Martin Properties on Facebook, TheReasonableRealtor.com, MLS-TODAY.com or Amazon.com.

 

Earnest Money

In a real estate transaction and negotiation, an important issue is how much trust the seller has in a buyer and how “strong” the offer is. The existence and size of an earnest money deposit can help put a seller at ease to some extent.


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Good Faith Deposit

If you are selling your home, you should always require a buyer to make an earnest money or good faith deposit. The deposit simply establishes that the buyer is serious and, to some extent, has the financial capacity to complete the purchase.

The amount of the deposit is often dependent upon the agreed sale price of the real estate. Although percentages vary from state to state, a cash deposit equal to three percent of the sales price is typical. For instance, the deposit would be $3,000 for home selling at a price of $100,000. As with most transactions, this percentage is negotiable.   The size of the deposit somehow reflects the “strength” of the offer by some yardsticks, as though a low offer may be offset somewhat by a high earnest money deposit.  I have, over the years seen $500 and $1000 earnest money deposits, and once I saw a rather nice wristwatch used as an indicator of good faith.

Once the buyer and seller agree to the amount of the good faith deposit, you have to decide what to do with the deposit. Importantly, the seller should not hold the deposit as doing so could make the buyer uncomfortable. Instead, the money should be held in an escrow account of a third party.  Potential third parties include escrow and title insurance companies, an attorney, as well as your agent’s company or your buyer’s agent’s company if there is one.  It should be somewhere safely protected from buyer and seller, because if the transaction falls through, and the disposition of the deposit is contested, the matter may eventually go to a legal interpleader hearing.

A good faith deposit can act like insurance for a seller.  A transaction can take 30 to 60 days, during which the property is off the market. The earnest money essentially compensates the seller for this time in the event the buyer is unable to complete the purchase of the property.

Depending on the laws in your state, a buyer who can’t close will forfeit his earnest money. Typically, the only exception to this is when the contract language indicates the deposit will be returned if the buyer can’t get a home loan. Of course, including such language can open the seller up to repeated frustration when bad credit buyers fail to get funding.

Earnest money deposits are just a fundamental part of a real estate transaction. Buyers should expect to pay them and sellers should demand them.


profileBroker Don Martin, founder and CEO of Martin Properties, besides helping hundreds of FSBOs save thousands of dollars, also delivers seminars, keynotes and motivational messages to real estate and sales professionals. His 30+ years of experience in sales, marketing, real estate, promotion, management and technology has empowered thousands to expand their knowledge and achieve their goals. Connect with Martin Properties on Facebook, TheReasonableRealtor.com, MLS-TODAY.com or Amazon.com.

 

Staging your home like a “Boss.”

 

 

Are you considering putting your house up for sale, but not even sure where to start? Maybe it will take too long to sell, or maybe you won’t get the price you want? Think about “staging” your home, or in other words,  making it easy for a prospect to imagine owning your house.


Join our merry band of peeps and get a FREE REPORT – click here!


To be really effective, you need to look at both the outside and inside of your home. Here are three tips to get you started with the inside:

1. De-clutter. This is one of the most important things you can do.  It may be easier to think of de-cluttering like this you are just getting a headstart on moving!

Pack up everything you don’t need and store the boxes out of sight in the garage (or consider temporarily renting a small storage locker or what is called a “pod.”)

2. Organize your closets – put similar colors together, pants together, skirts together, and shirts together.  It will make the closets look bigger.  An organized closet appears bigger, and you want your closets to look as spacious as possible.  Have the shelves almost empty if you can.

3. Make your home look more like a model. You want to remove as much of your “stuff” as much as possible so potential buyers can imagine themselves and their own belongings occupying that space in your house. That means minimizing – putting away everything you won’t  use while on the market. Clear off the kitchen counters as much as possible – stash unused appliances, and small clutter in a few attractive baskets or boxes or hide it away.

And the biggest tip of all? Imagine yourself as a potential buyer looking at your house for the first time. What first and second impressions are you getting? Would YOU buy this house? What would you like to see different before you put an offer on your house?

And don’t worry about spending some bucks to get your house ready to sell – you’ll get it all back when your house sells. Don’t ever spend a dollar unless it will make you a dollar, but the correct staging will help you sell your home in a shorter time and at the price you want.


profileSpeaker Don Martin, founder and CEO of Martin Properties, besides helping hundreds of FSBOs save thousands of dollars,  delivers seminars, keynotes and motivational messages to real estate and sales professionals. His experience in sales, marketing, real estate, promotion, management and technology has empowered thousands to expand their knowledge and achieve their goals. Connect with Martin Properties on Facebook, TheReasonableRealtor.com,   MLS-TODAY.com or Amazon.com.