Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Home Seller Tips: An open house brings all sorts of unknowns into the process.

There has been a lot of discussion about the benefit of an open house - especially for the seller.   The reality is very few homes are ever sold by the agent at an open house.

Not every house is a candidate for an open house either.  But, if an open house is considered then there are preparations required by sellers and their real estate agent. 

Consider this incident...  "Real estate agent reportedly lets in jewel thieves during open house; $150,000 in loot stolen" 

Among the several thoughts that came to me was Glad it wasn't me!   Some of the other thoughts included 
  • The headline makes it sound like the agent was almost a willing party who "lets in" the crooks.
  • It appears there was only one person on site.
  • The preparation phase was inadequate.
  • You never know who is watching.
I am sure the agent did not open the doors to the thieves on purpose.

An open house brings all sorts of unknowns into the process.   

The neighbors, tire kickers, people just wasting time and an occasional prospective buyer may show up at an open house. Thieves can easily dress up as a buyer and even ask the right questions!

It is incumbent on a listing agent to determine the requirements of the open house and bring additional persons to help in the case of a large property.

Sellers need to be aware that strangers will be perusing their home.   Most real estate agents do not have personal knowledge about the character of the customer.  Sure, the buyers are pre-qualified based on ability to purchase and motivation but anything else is rarely known.

Sellers must prepare for selling by removing or securing valuables especially highly pilferage-able, small items like jewelry, money, laptops, etc.  Sellers should secure items like firearms, medications, and important personal papers (financial, passports, etc).

Finally, the good news...  There was a surveillance system.   Real estate agents and buyers need to always be aware that they are potentially being video-recorded.   In this case the agent did not have to try and explain the missing property!

The seller did indicate that this was his last open house.  His advice - "appointment only.'"  After all, you never know who cometh through the front door!

Ready to sell your Melbourne, Florida home?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 for your market analysis.

“Character Thief In Good Person” by kittijaroon provided by

Friday, August 26, 2016

Home Seller Tips: The Secret Location For Agent Interviews

One of the keys to selling your Melbourne, Florida home is to hire a real estate agent who is not only local but also knowledgeable.   

I always recommend sellers interview at least three agents before deciding who to hire.   [For more, read the related article links at bottom of post.]

But these real estate agent interviews are like a boy picking up your daughter for a first date.  They know they are going to be quizzed and better be on their best behavior with the right answers!

Sellers are at a disadvantage because these these agents will likely all appear to be knowledgeable.  All will probably be dressed to impress, responsive to questions and saying what you want to hear!

My suggestion is don't do the initial interview in your home but at this really really secret location....

At a nearby open house.

I call this the "just browsing" screening process. 

Choose homes for sale ideally in your neighborhood or another nearby neighborhood.  Stop by and take a look.  Be a browser.

Observe how the agent presents them-self to all visitors.  You know what you like and don't like in sale people.  And real estate agents are primarily sales people.  

Are they employing pressure and arm twisting?  Are they knowledgeable about the product (listing)? 

Do they make you feel comfortableAsk them about the neighborhood.   Ask them about home prices and seller attitudes.   

Don't ask the easy questions.  Ask about homeowner associations.  Ask them about criminal activity.  What about school quality and school assignment areas.  

See how far out on a limb they will go with answers.  A good local real estate agent will also know the limitations of their knowledge as well as potential liability.  Do not be surprised if you get advised to call the schools or local law enforcement folks for answers.   

This is not the final selection process.   

You may not find the agent you are going to hire but you may just find some to skip when the interviews start for real!  I like to tell new agents to always expect any contact at an open house to be an interview.

By the way, this "just browsing" interview technique works well for prospective buyers who can have a relaxed, no pressure consultation! 

Thinking about selling your Rockledge, Florida home?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Selling Your Home: Use the Right Bait.

The first hurdle prospective home sellers, especially longtime owner-sellers, must clear before putting their home on the market is they are selling a house and not a home.

While it may be perfectly natural for a person to become sentimental when selling a home the nostalgia must be tempered.  The nice thing about memories is they are easily transported to the next home.

Although not the only factor in selling a house pricing is the key factor.  Pricing a house unrealistically is akin to fishing with no bait. 

Anyone who has done much fishing understands their target and the best bait for the environment.

Similarly, when selling a home, it is key a seller (through their real estate agent) understand the environment of the sale.

The environment encompasses factors like
  • seller reason, 
  • motivation and 
  • circumstances (timeline, existing mortgage, property condition, competition).
With an understanding of the environment the bait (price) is chosen.

Pricing too high is like fishing with no bait whatsoever. 

Sometimes, a less than ideal bait will get some nibbles and, even a catch occasionally. 

Ready to sell your Melbourne, Florida home?   Give me a call or text at 321-693-3850 so we can talk bait...
Image courtesy of meepoohfoto at