Tag Archives: Don Martin

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.


Please return phone calls.

It all starts with a phone call.

Whenever I get a new agent with my company, or whenever I first work with and independent homeseller or FSBO, I try to impress on the this one thing at first.  Nothing happens in this industry without a conversation.  Nothing ever gets sold without a conversation.

We carefully select the nicest looking primary photo for the MLS for one purpose only.  We want the looker to take the next step.  That step is to click on the picture and go to the media page where there are more pictures.  We want all of those pictures to be very nice-looking.  In fact it is good to have captions under those pictures.  All to encourage the looker to move on to the next step, which is to actually go inside the home.  This natural flow is a process that can be interrupted and therefore, usually ended.

The step that actually gets that prospective buyer through the front door of the house involves calling for and setting up an appointment.  The buyer may be calling the seller by himself,  or if he’s working with an agent, the agent will generally be doing the calling.  But that is a very important step in the sale process.

Phone calls rarely come at a perfect time.

It seems that I can be working beside my silent phone for hours, and the minute I walk away from it, it rings.  Sometimes if I am eating, it rings.  It has been known to ring while I am watching a movie, working in the garden, or even taking a nap.

In a perfect world, we would be sitting at our desk or table with a tablet and pencil and calendar when the phone rings.  On the table we could also have all the specs on our house and all the utility bills in little piles around us in case the caller asked about those things.  So it is just not going to happen that there even exists a perfect time.  There are only two times.  When you can answer the phone, and when you cannot answer the phone.  Let’s say you work eight hours and you also sleep eight hours.   So the odds are that the prospective buyer will not talk to you, at least when he first wants to.

How does your voice mail message sound?

I have been on the receiving end of answering machines/voicemails that are not very helpful.  I want to be encouraged that even though I picked a bad time to talk right now, eventually I will get to speak with a person who can answer my questions.  Too many times instead I am greeted by adorable, but hard-to-understand children, lengthy musical selections, or someone eating a cheeseburger while recording the outgoing message.

Listen to your outgoing message.  Write down what you are wanting to say on your message if you need to.  Practice it a bit before you record it.  Go get your neighbor to record it for you.  Just don’t leave  people with the initial impression that if it’s this hard to talk to you when you’re not here, how hard will it be to talk to you when I CAN talk to you.

How often check and how quickly return?

Check for messages often.  Maybe every half-hour or so.  If you are at work and can’t check for messages until 6, say so on the outgoing message.  Don’t have your message say you will be gone all day, but rather that you will be in and out and promise to return any phone calls at 6.  the best surprise is NO surprise.

Customers and buyers today like things to be immediate.  If they know they won’t get a call-back until six, that’s one thing.  Otherwise they will be getting cranky in about seven minutes if they haven’t heard back from you.

Phone tag.

There is always the very good possibility that as you are returning a phone call you call at a less-than-perfect time for the OTHER party.  Just leave a short message identifying yourself and saying that you are sorry you missed them.  Now they can never feel that you have slighted them by not returning their call.

And now you are back at square one.  Rinse and repeat.

Are you working with a Realtor?

This should be one of your first questions when you finally do speak to the prospective buyer.  This will determine the next step.  I will deal with some tips and dialogs you need at that point in other articles.  But for now you have succeeded in the First Conversation step.  Some people never get there, but you have,  Congratulations!

Flat rate MLS Services

Agency is a Hot-Button Issue for the FSBO

A sense of FSBO pride as well as savings.

A FSBO, someone who has the fortitude and courage to sell his house For-Sale-By-Owner,  generally has confidence.  Sometimes they just exude confidence.  Sometimes they are confident to point that when they discover something about the real estate world they had not yet been exposed to, they argue.  They simply don’t know what they don’t know.

Some learn quickly, but some enter various stages of denial over some of the necessary paperwork, but, it all usually works out.  There is much commission to be saved doing the work yourself.  And in the end, the FSBO can, does, and should feel very good about themselves.  FSBO pride is natural.  But it’s not easily shared.

Enter the MLS agent

If you want to sell your house, you NEED to have it in the Multiple Listing Service.  The MLS is like a big ol’ country club.  It may have great food.  It may have a championship golf course.  But you can’t enjoy any of it unless you are a member or you are WITH a member.

You can’t enjoy the MLS unless you ARE a broker-member or you are WITH a broker-member.  And if you are WITH a broker-member, you have an “agency” relationship.  Maybe not the old-fashioned “exclusive right to sell,” list and move in together relationship, but maybe the newer “exclusive agency” team relationship, but there must be some kind of agency relationship.  Otherwise, any broker could possibly list and put in the MLS 100 homes today, if we could just go through a phone book and not worry about having to have a pesky relationship with the sellers.

Definition of Agency

To have an agency relationship around here there must exist two forms signed by the seller and the member-broker.  One is a Confirmation of Agency form, and the other is a listing/permission agreement spelling out what broker and seller will and won’t do, the length of time (expiration date,) the asking price, and the commission being offered to a cooperating MLS member-broker, expressed as a flat amount or a percentage of the GROSS sale price of the house.

Sometimes the FSBO thinks that since he sold his own house without an agent, he resents having to sign a form admitting there was an agent involved.  But we have to observe state law and country club rules.   Regardless of the level of real estate service you have used, you will still have to observe the rules.  This is not optional.

Incidentally, there is a spectrum of real estate service that we will deal with later.  There is full-service, limited-listing service, and MLS entry-only service. They each demand different levels of need and sophistication in home selling,  It is important to know the difference, because one might seem like a great price, but then not include contract review, or selling help, which you assumed every agent would give you.  Ask questions. Be clear.  Try to anticipate your level of knowledge.  Don’t be like two sellers I heard this week say, “Nobody told me about that!  Is it too late to add that to the contract?”


Feature House – 3968 Kristen St.                 Spring Hill, TN  37174

3968 Kristen St. FSBO

 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathrooms, 2393 sq ft – $229,900

Flat rate MLS ServicesCall me if you need to talk some real estate.

Don Martin , Martin Properties 615-973-8970

The MLS is not just a glorified TRADER’S POST or CRAIG’S LIST.

MLS is made BY Realtors FOR Realtors.

In the beginning, the group of real estate agents who held themselves to a higher standard of ethics and practice, and called themselves Realtors, realized that they needed to be able to share knowledge of each other’s activities.  When Realtor A was engaged to sell a property, he often depended on the help of Realtor B and Realtor C so the total of all their efforts would be more effective.  The Multiple Listing Service, the MLS was borne out of the necessity for communication of the different Realtor’s efforts one to the other.  When Realtor A listed a property “For Sale” the details about it was available to the other members of the MLS

Then along comes the For-Sale-By-Owner, FSBO, who decides to sell his property himself to save the commission he would otherwise pay to an agent to do the job.  Not all real estate agents are Realtors and therefore not all agents are members of the MLS.  But it is becoming more and more necessary that, to sell quickly, it must be in the MLS.  The FSBO can’t be a Realtor or a member of the MLS either, of course, but they still need that exposure.

Enter the flat-fee, limited-listing broker who will let the homeowner sell his own house and still have the details about it available through the MLS by way of the membership of the flat-fee, limited-listing broker.  The FSBO now has a huge exposure for a lot less commission.

What the MLS will do for you.

In my area, just being in the MLS gets your house in front of 5000 pairs of Realtor’s eyes.  Some of them may be currently working with a prospect who would be perfect for your house.

Almost as importantly, this information is gathered by secondary and tertiary websites that expand the exposure.  These days, when people are looking for a new house, the often enjoy searching these secondary sites on their own from their living room.  Then, if they like a particular house, they proceed from there.

There is no telling how many tens or hundreds of thousands of eyes see your house on those sites.  And the speed of the home sale is often directly associated with the amount of exposure.

What you can’t do.

People are occasionally surprised and even a bit disappointed by two factors.  Their contact number will not be placed where anyone but other Members can see it.  The whole purpose of the MLS is for its members.

The homeowner is confined to the template of the MLS.  They cannot include long, flowing descriptions when the area they want it to be is a very limited area or even a multiple-choice pull-down menu.  Sometimes the pre-conceived idea gets whittles down to the bone.

Flat rate MLS Services

If you are interested in speaking about your house, please call me.  I am Don Martin, The Reasonable Realtor.


FSBO Flat Fee MLS Listing in Nashville

Flat rate MLS Services

FSBO Flat Fee MLS Listing in Nashville is a good thing, and it gets you started on the path of selling your house, and paying a lot less or even no commission.  Here is a good place to get that. But that is only part of the story.  Here is some of the rest of it.

You need to keep your home presentable.  That is easy or not easy depending on the number of people living in your place, and depending on how you define presentable.  Still it’s going to require more effort than usual.

You are going to need to keep yourself fairly available to answer your phone.  You can use voice mail, but that isn’t perfect, because, as a civilization, we are used to the internet and auto-responders.  We want what we want and we want it now.  If you use a voice mail, you may need to discipline yourself to check it frequently.

Continue reading



“Whether you are buying or selling, the ten secrets will likely put money in your pocket or at least help you hang onto some of your money.It’s been a few years since I have bought or sold a house. Things have changed!
I liked the easy to understand explanation for some fairly complicated real estate terms and I would recommend this book to anyone who is considering buying or selling real estate. A lot of things you don’t know can sure cost you a bunch of money!”


I will keep you posted… Please go to my page at Amazon.com/author/donm and help yourself to the free kindle today, and I would love it if you would buy another of my books while you are there. Please leave me a review, too!


Thanks to everyone-

Don Martin

Martin Properties

(615) 973-8970

Ask Dr. Real Estate about “COMING SOON” Signs

Flat rate MLS Services
More than once I have been asked by a For-Sale-By-Owner, “What about these ‘COMING SOON’  ‘PENDING’ and ‘SOLD’ add-on signs I see- should I have one of those?”  The answer in a word is “no.”  In two words, the answer is “not really.”

These common sign riders have a specific place in the real estate industry, but you are not in the real estate industry, except for your one house.  But we can examine the use of them if you wish.

Continue reading

New Looks for the Old Website!

We have been doing some fairly extensive work on The Reasonable Realtor website.

The first page is no longer the blog page, but rather a real Welcome! page that shows you what all we offer, but there is a very easy jump to this blog area.  We will be starting to include a featured house listing in some of the  blog entries.  The entries will also be categorized to make subjects easier to locate.  These changes will be progressive in nature as we ramp up the new style.  Of course, our purpose for existence will always remain to deal with all things real estate, helping you to save and/or make money with you adventures in home ownership or buying/selling property.  We will still answer your questions, but also point out items to you that are new or interesting.  There will possibly be some humor involved from time to time.

Continue reading

They’re pulling your leg

You need to sell your house.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are over and the dead of winter is coming pretty soon.  Everyone says nobody will be shopping for a house now.

Guess what- everyone is either wrong, or they are pulling your leg.  It may be winter, but some people still have to move.  Maybe they have been transferred in their job.  Maybe there is a problem with their current house.  Maybe their lease is up.

Continue reading