Real Estate Agent vs. FSBO

What are the benefits of each?
To be truthful, I always thought I’d sell my home as a For Sale By Owner, FSBO, just to save the money. I mean 6% to sell your house really cuts into the profit, right? Or, so I thought. As it turns out, in the long run, you stand to gain a substantial amount of money if you are Using Your Home as an Investment . Check out my blog on that if you get a moment.

Experience Matters

As promised, I will discuss the benefits of having a real estate agent and the benefits of selling your home on your own. Where shall we begin? First, I’m going to tell you why I’m qualified to speak on this topic. I am now a real estate agent. By my own confession, I thought I would always choose to do a FSBO transaction upon deciding to sell my home, however, now I’m completely convinced this idea is not the best choice. In my time as an agent, I’ve seen some really promising sales go south quickly. In fact, I had a really bad week where I had 3 contracts fall through in two days. I’ve written on it before and probably will again. Not because I’m trying to repeat myself constantly but, the enormity of experience that comes with that set of circumstances is inconceivable to most. I’m not sure if any of you are experienced real estate agents or if you’re just interested in real estate in general and happened upon this blog but, I do know that unless you’ve experienced something first hand you don’t usually know how to navigate it. Well, now I can say that I have experienced it and I can navigate it for you or for myself. That is just one reason you might choose to hire an agent.

Food For Thought

Who is the authority on home sales? You, who works as a nurse, doctor, plumber, fireman or engineer? Or me, who works full-time selling houses? I can assure you that there is a huge learning curve in this business. There is a reason that a real estate license is required and it’s because there is a whole lot on the line.

A Few Good Reasons

Now, you may have tried and succeeded at selling your home on your own and it is entirely possible but, let’s establish one thing. You are not even remotely considering the legal ramifications of this transaction should it end in litigation. If you are an attorney, you may want to try to sell your own home otherwise, leave it to a professional. As with any other profession that involves financial risk, we carry insurance for that. Here is another thing you may want to consider. Real estate agents are usually backed by a brokerage whose broker in charge also has insurance and who is ultimately responsible for making sure that your agent is doing exactly as he or she should be doing. Let’s face it, there are always some rotten apples in the bunch but, the choice is yours. Choose a reputable firm who has been around for a while. It is my opinion that you reconsider hiring anyone who works for a mom and pop brokerage. These are easily identified by the use of the person’s name such as “Mike Jones Realty” or even “your city realty.” Why? Because they may or may not have regular training for the agents or worse, they may not have a mandatory insurance provision for their agents. You just don’t know what you’re getting. I’ll give you an example. I recently tried to purchase a home for investment for myself. I was acting as my own agent however, the agent for the seller was acting as some sort of agent / broker hybrid. I mean she was affiliated with a large brokerage but, she was not identifying herself as an agent for them. I know that’s confusing and that’s exactly what I’m talking about. What are you and who do you work for? This sale never came to fruition. Not because of me but, because of her. She never answered her phone and I do mean that quite literally. She would text you all day long in short-hand with misspelled words but, to get a phone conversation out of her was practically impossible. I was a cash buyer in this transaction. There were few if any hang-ups but, it did not close after, get this, five months of trying. I’m over it but, boy was it a major thorn in my side trying to negotiate a deal with this person. I want to tell you that she did work for a major national brokerage. When I couldn’t get her to answer, I called her brokerage house with the initials KW and don’t you know I got the same treatment from them. The BIC, broker in charge, did not return my 3-4 phone calls and numerous emails for about 3 weeks. I’m not exaggerating. There was no accountability in their firm. Be careful of that. If your agent stinks and sometimes that is the case, make sure you know who their supervisor is.

Century 21 Expert Advisors

In my firm, we have an exceptional training program and it is headed up by a woman who spent most of her career training real estate agents. She’s knowledgeable and has had first-hand experience as an agent herself.  She also holds a brokers license though she is not our official broker in charge. We are encouraged to attend training camps weekly and take extra time to advance our market knowledge. We have countless tools available online to enhance our business as well as some materials in-house should you prefer a hard copy. I really can’t say enough about Century 21 Expert Advisors in Charleston, South Carolina. We are part of a group of agencies which include Century 21 The Harrelson Group in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I mention this because we are the top sales agency in the state. The man who owns our franchise is Greg Harrelson. He is always personally available and he’s made it his priority to train the agents who work for him through whatever means necessary. The best part is that they really do make it feel like it’s a team effort and that we are part of the family. I mean I know it sounds cliché and all but, I have a genuinely good relationship with each person and all of them are hard-working, caring individuals who are friendly and helpful to one another. That’s about as good as it gets in the workplace. Am I correct? It’s a great place to work if you’re looking for an agency to call home.

Fast And Furious Negotiations

There is one more thing that I’d like to mention. Unless you were born in a country where bartering and trading were the norm, most people are very uncomfortable negotiating. Here is a quick example. In it, you are the seller. You have a house that you are trying to sell for $200K. The person who wants to buy your house is working with an agent and they make a really low offer. Let’s say they offer you $150K. What do you do? You could say no and stop the negotiation all together or you could make a counter offer but, what should it be? Is this person a cash buyer or do they need financing? What kind of financing are they getting and how long will it take to close. When was the last time you had an inspection done on your property? Do you know if there are any material defects? Did you know it’s commonplace to renegotiate again after the inspection takes place? Do you know what your responsibilities are legally if there is an inspection and the deal falls through? Do you know why that matters? I do. And I know how to navigate those waters, so to speak. Another thing and I’m not usually one to toot my own horn but, I’m an excellent negotiator. I’m guessing your full-time job doesn’t require you to negotiate even a small percentage of the time but, mine does on a daily basis. Do you as a FSBO seller want to negotiate with me? Wouldn’t you presume that you’re chances of winning this negotiation are pretty small if we go toe to toe? On the other hand, if you have an agent representing you, you have someone who knows the ins and outs of this dance. They may not be as good as I am but, your chances of coming to a more concrete, fair price are exponentially higher when you remove yourself from the equation. Why? Because negotiation is wrought with emotion. You think your house is worth more than it actually is because you’ve become sentimentally attached to it. Your real estate agent knows the true value and can more easily come to terms on that front while effectually explaining that to you. It’s not a place you want to find yourself without representation my friend. Just sayin’.

Agency Benefits

To recap, the benefits of hiring an agent are minimally these:
Experience, experience and experience
Legal accountability and insurance
Ongoing training and development
Market knowledge
Expert negotiating techniques

FSB0

Now then, what are the benefits of selling your home as a For Sale By Owner? There are a few and here is what I have personally experienced. The most obvious one is that you could end up with more money in your pocket though it’s certainly not a guarantee. In fact, studies show that FSBO sales are notoriously low as compared to agent represented sales. See the information below.

FSBO stats

I’m Giving You The Benefit Of The Doubt

 

But, for the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume you do end up with a few more dollars in your pocket. What else is beneficial to a FSBO seller? You could consider it a benefit that you are personally responsible for the marketing and advertising of your home or that you are perhaps more reliable than an agent with respect to being available for showings. That is unless you work full-time. Did you know that most showings happen during the week as opposed to the weekends? As well, they are normally scheduled during the day from 10am to 5pm. Maybe you work from home and this is perfect for you.

The Multiple Offer Conundrum

Another thing I’d like to mention is that this is a really hot market and if you live in Charleston, South Carolina or the surrounding areas, you could potentially get multiple offers on your property especially if it is priced below the $350K mark. Great problem to have right? Yes. If you know how to handle this matter legally. Let’s say you look that up online and feel confident that you could manage your obligations as the seller. That could be a benefit I suppose.

Call Me

Let’s face it, I went into this with the proposition that there were benefits to each of these scenarios. If you are not convinced that the benefits of having an agent far outweigh the drawbacks, you may need to reconsider your position. I have only touched on a few things that real estate agents do in this blog. You would be amazed at the actual list of things an agent can be responsible for. For now, I’m just going to say this. Should you decide to sell your home on your own, I wish you the best of luck. However, if you’re in the market for a great real estate agent, give me a call. I might just know someone who can help you. Wink. Nod.

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A Christmas List-ing

Well, it certainly looks like the holidays are in full swing.  With Thanksgiving just days away, I thought I’d write a quick blog post about listing your house during the holidays.  There seems to be some convoluted information out there about selling real estate during the winter, specifically during Christmas time.  There is a widely held belief that people are too busy or that they are spending their money on Christmas presents not houses.  But, what if I told you that there is data which suggests the opposite?

To Fish Or Not To Fish

Here is today’s example.  In this example, you are the seller.  As such, you have two choices.

Choice A – I try to sell my house during the winter months October, November, December and January

Or

Choice B – I try to sell my house during March, April, May and June

Ice Fishing…(play along with me on this)…Selling In December

I’m told that real estate starts heating up in the spring.  Judging by MLS data alone, one could certainly make a case for selling in the springtime but, I have a different theory.  Think about this for a moment.  In most sets of circumstances, for example, if you were fishing, you’d want to throw your hook in the water where you’d find the most fish to increase your chances of reeling one in.  But, there is another way to fish.  Using this method, you will likely catch a fish even though it may take a little bit longer but, the benefit is that you will catch a goliath grouper.  If any of you are fishermen or women, you know that this is one of the largest fish in the ocean.  This is what could happen if you list your house during the winter months.

The Benefits of Ice Fishing

You see, listing your house at a time when there are fewer properties to choose from is beneficial to the seller in two ways.  First, it allows you to set your price at the top of the range because you know that there are fewer homes on the market.  This drives up the demand and typically the price.  Now, don’t take this out of context. There are too many factors to consider when pricing a home which I’m not going to discuss in this blog post but, for example, if your home is worth between $325K and $340K you could certainly start the listing on the higher end when there is less inventory available for buyers to choose from right?  Fewer homes equal higher prices and more homes equal lower prices generally speaking.  When the competition is greater, you want to attract buyers with a better price than your competitors but, when the competition is slim, you have the potential to hold out a bit.

The second reason I think selling your home during the holidays can be beneficial is that the “tire kickers” are not typically running amock this time of year.  As real estate agents, we find that only the most serious buyers are still shopping for houses in October, November and December.  It’s common to find that those shopping in the winter months are doing so because of a job transfer or because they are looking for a great place to retire. These buyers are on a mission and nine times out of ten are well-qualified to make a purchase.

Jingle All The Way To The Bank

There is one more thing that you should consider as a seller.  Interest rates are on the rise and buyers who may be able to afford your property now may not be qualified in the spring of next year.  We cannot see the future but, we know the economy is good now and rate hikes are a serious threat to the real estate market in general.  So, if I were you and I had the choice between selling now or selling in the springtime, I’d absolutely have to say that the cards are stacked in your favor to do so right now.

Christmas In The South

There is a little thing called Southern Hospitality around here so let me give you one last word of advice.  Should you decide to list your house during the holidays, make sure you are positively the best-dressed house in the neighborhood.  I’m not talking quantity but, quality is encouraged.  Tasteful Christmas decorations with white lights are always inviting when your house is being shown.  As well, make sure it smells like Christmas.  Cinnamon or vanilla are nice fragrances during the holidays.  I always love Spruce or Pine scents but, the choice is yours.

Call Me

I hope you’ll consider this perspective and if I can help you sell your home no matter what month it is, I’d love to do that. Feel free to call, text or email me with any questions you may have. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to each of you.

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Negotiation Strategies… Double Down or Fast Friends?

Today’s topic is the artful negotiation.  Many of you out there would just cringe at what I am about to say, however, there are some of you who just get so tickled to win at negotiating anything.  Case in point, my husband who absolutely loves to negotiate anything at all.  If he can save $5 bucks on something using artful negotiation, he would.  Mind you, it’s not because he’s cheap in any way.  In fact, he really does love the finer things in life and doesn’t mind purchasing them for his own use or mine.  He just gets positively elated if he can convince someone to sell him something for less than the asking price.  In this blog, we will discuss two strategies.  The first strategy we will call the “Double Down” and the second one we will call “Fast Friends.”  Are you ready to learn the art of masterful negotiation as it pertains to real estate?  Okay.  Let’s do it.

Strategy 1.  The Double Down

Step one in artful negotiation is to know where you really want to be at the end of the dance.  If you are buying a house, for example, you would take the price you want to pay, subtract that from the asking price and then double that amount.  Let’s try it. The house I want to purchase is $250K but, I’d like to pay $240K for it.  The reduction from list price to $240 is $10K so my offer would be  $230K.  I would double the $10K to $20K and then make my offer hoping that the seller will meet me in the middle by counteroffering a $10K reduction instead.  That would put me exactly where I want to be at $240K. It’s simple right?  That is the Double Down strategy.

Strategy 2.  The New DD

You’d be amazed at the number of transactions that go down exactly like that.  I mean it is a textbook example of price negotiation.  But, what happens when you really want to win and I mean badly.  Let’s look at another type of the Double Down strategy.  In this case, the house is only $150K and I want to buy it as low as possible for a fix and flip so the price is critical.  If I can get the house for $100K I win, if not I’m out of the negotiations.  Here you would not be able to “Double Down” in the traditional manner, so I’m going to teach you a New Double Down strategy called “The New DD”  Yes, I’m very creative that way.  In this circumstance, you would offer to pay $100K knowing that the seller will inevitably counter with their desired sales price.  Two things just happened here.  First, you hurt their feelings by telling them that their house which they believed to be worth $150K was only worth $100K to you.  Ouch.  Second, you just found out exactly what they were actually willing to sell for.  Remember, this is a dance and it takes some time.  Now what?  Well, we are going to try again.  Pretend that their counter offer was only $140K.  That’s pretty far from the $100K that you said you would pay or you’re out, right?  So this time we offer $130K just to see if they will still dance with us at that price.  For argument’s sake, let’s say they do accept that offer.  Now then, we are $30K away from where we need to be to win this house.  Here is where you really have to buckle down.  We have a ratified contract that states we will buy the house at $130K if, after our due diligence period, we find it to be in good condition.

It’s Best To Be Prepared

At this time, I would like to break this to you as gently as possible.  In almost every one of my negotiations, this is what takes place.  There is the first negotiation whereby we come to an agreement on the sales price then we have an inspection which changes everything.  It’s back to the drawing board so to speak.  I want you to know this and be prepared for it in your own life as a buyer and as a seller.  Put this one in your repertoire.  It’s tough to swallow as a seller because you feel like you were hit with a 1-2 punch but, as a buyer it’s gold.  In my blog A Guide for the Proactive Home Seller I teach you how best to anticipate this as a seller and what to do to dismantle it early on.

Critical Moves

Now then, we are in the due diligence period of our contract and we are going to move very quickly to get an inspector on site.  Remember, these guys are paid to find what’s wrong.  They haven’t done their job if they give you a clean report on the house.  Quickly, I just sat through an inspection of a townhouse that was only 2 years old.  The inspection still came back with plenty of findings.  This is what they do.  You are paying them to find problems and in this set of circumstances well, that is a good thing.  After we get the findings, we are going to figure out the price it will cost to fix those things and then make our move.  You will want to call in an expert contractor to give you an estimate of what they would charge to fix these items.  In our example, we need to have some leverage with which to renegotiate so we are practically hoping that they will find some issues that are somewhat significant like plumbing or electric but, not to the extent of foundational cracks.  I’ve been through this before right?  I’m here to tell you that if it’s there no matter how small or insignificant, the inspector is going to document it.  Get your contractor to address all issues no matter how small they seem.  I’m willing to bet that you’re sitting pretty right now with respect to your contractor’s cost estimate being on or near $30K.  A quick reminder, this house was intended to be a fix and flip, therefore, it is not one that started as a move-in ready house.

Round Two

Next, we go back to the seller with our newest findings.  The due diligence period allows the buyer time to inspect the property and either buy as is, request repairs of the seller or renegotiate down to the price it would cost to fix those things.  That is what we are going to put forth.  It is highly unlikely that the seller will want to fix those things and we are not aiming to buy “As Is” so the hope is that the seller will reduce the price based on the inspection findings and contractor’s estimate.  If that happens, it’s a buyer win.  The New DD is in full force only you are doubling down on the negotiations instead of the initial price reduction.

Strategy 3.  Fast Friends

The third and final negotiation technique for today is called “Fast Friends.”  In this artful negotiation, you have to do a little work beforehand.  The premise is that you found a house that you like and are trying to decide between two.  Your offer will be low because the “other” house that you like costs less and that is the price you are willing to pay.  Let’s make an example here.  I really want to buy a house that costs $250 and I’m also entertaining another house which costs $235K.  You are going to make this known in the negotiations so that there is a sense of urgency for the seller.  Here is how to do that.  Write a letter.  I know it may sound corny at first but, it works.  You will write a short letter about why you like their house but find it’s price a little far from your budget. Compliments are the best way to make friends and in this set of circumstances, you are trying to do just that.  Tell them how much you admire their garden or their choice of kitchen upgrades make it personal.  In the letter, you should also casually mention the second house and how it also has nice landscaping and an upgraded kitchen so that they know you are comparing apples to apples.  Then you make your offer for the price of the second house.  Your real estate agent will convey the letter with the offer and the sellers will have the opportunity to read it and reflect on what you’ve written.  That’s a good thing and it is very important in this negotiation.  It’s your chance to build rapport, pull some heart-strings or just make friends with the seller.  If you need help with this, ask your agent.  I’m sure he or she would be willing to help you.  To be clear, I am in no way asking you to lie or make up stories.  I mentioned that you’d have to do some work beforehand and that is true.  You will have to find a home that is similar to the one you want so that you can make these comparisons.  Again, ask your real estate agent to find you one that matches your criteria which costs what you were hoping to spend.

I Think I Like You

Here is why this works.  When you build rapport with someone, they typically give you the advantage.  If they are considering multiple offers, you stand out.  When they need a reason to bend on price, you’ve given it to them.  Or how about when they just want someone to love the home as much as they did?  This is the kind of thing that people eat up.  If someone told me that they would treasure my garden and that they love flowers as much as I do, that would melt my heart a little don’t you think?  Now, if I have to choose between two offers, even if the other is slightly higher, I feel as though we have a personal connection.  I’m not making light of this.  I’ve used this tactic myself in a no-win situation and still won.

My Own Experience

If you’re interested here is what happened to me.  I had a buyer who found an older home in a well-established neighborhood.  The price was particularly low for this area and we were not the only ones who noticed.  It was a multiple offer situation and there were seven contenders.  I’m here to tell you it was a pressure cooker situation.  We had to make an offer desirable enough to beat out six other people before 5 pm and there wasn’t much room in my buyers budget to go up.  We drafted a letter about the house and the sweet cat that met us at the door looking for love.  We told the owner that the buyer would be sure to take good care of that little cat as we realized quickly that it must have been the former owners.  Sadly, the owner had passed away and her daughter was selling the home.  Well, that was it.  Of course, the daughter who was selling the house was smitten with the idea of someone who was willing to take over that responsibility.  We were not the highest bidder in this situation.  In fact, there was an offer that came in with what we call an escalation clause.  That means that this particular buyer was willing, in this case, to pay $1000 more than the highest bidder and had written that in the offer.  Who won the bid?  We did.  Why?  Because it was personal.  It had all of the right ingredients at the right time.  You see, the daughter was likely feeling emotional about the sale of her mother’s home and this was the perfect response. Frankly, the sale of any home is emotional for the seller. The whole transaction is a series of ups and downs emotionally so if you can break that tension by making Fast Friends then you already have a leg up.

Call Me

In the meantime, if I can help you to find the home of your dreams or sell your current house, please don’t hesitate to call me.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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A Guide for the Proactive Home Seller

Today, I’d like to share with you a few little things that you can be doing right now to make your home sale go much more smoothly.  As with most home sales, the lions share of the work up to the buyer.  You sit, fingers crossed, waiting for them to do the inspection, get appraisals and above all get qualified financially.  All of these things are out of your control but, what if I told you that you could make things go faster and smoother if you simply took these 3 steps.

  1.  Get a Pre-Inspection Done
  2. Handle Known Issues Ahead of Time
  3. Sell Your House “AS IS”

I’m going to take a moment to give you my thoughts on these three items in a moment but, I want you to realize something as we go.  I’m in the same boat that you are.  I’m planning to sell my house very soon.  It is 12 years old now and I don’t want any surprises when it comes time to list it.  I’m going to mitigate any issues by handling these three things on my end first.  Here is how I plan to do it.

Pre-Inspection

This one is a hard pill to swallow however, I’ve been through many situations whereby we have a great offer and it comes to inspection time then Wham.  All bets are off. The inspection reveals some major issue that is going to cost a bundle to fix. Some sellers try to anticipate this by adding a few extra dollars to their acceptable sales price so that they can offer a reduction to the buyer if necessary. You could get lucky with that but, you may not.  I’ll give you an example.  I was selling a house that was about 40 years old and it was in really decent shape or so we thought.  We came to terms on an offer and went under contract.  An inspection revealed that there was some fungi growing under the house in the crawlspace and the buyers withdrew their offer.  In this case, the homeowner took the inspection report and had a contractor correct all of the major issues listed.  It cost them a whopping $11K to do it, but, that was how they wanted to handle the situation.  This is where a pre-inspection would have come in very handy.
We could have gone into the listing knowing these issues ahead of time, handled the fungi problem which was the biggest issue of all and put it on the market knowing that there were no other major hang-ups to getting the home sold.  This would have been important when it came to the buyers ordering their own inspection because we would have indicated that there was an inspection on the home prior to the listing date and that they could have access to it after we had a ratified contract.  Now, let me bring this picture into focus.  By doing the pre-inspection, we would have put ourselves in the driver’s seat for negotiations.  No surprises, just facts, and figures.  Chances are that when they had the fungi addressed, the contractor would have also estimated how much it would cost to fix the other minor issues so now we have a complete picture.  Let’s say that the house was listed at $325K and the seller was happy to let it go for $320K.  We would already know that any inspection report the buyer could come up with would not add up to more than $5K in additional repairs right?  Then it becomes more of a take-it-or-leave-it situation for the buyer.  The seller is in the driver’s seat with respect to this negotiation.

Handle the Issues

By handling the big issues ahead of time, you are mitigating any fall-throughs that may arise.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that I’ve seen some stuff come back on the home inspection report and it’s never pretty.  As I mentioned in  Negotiation Strategies… Double Down or Fast Friends?  it’s the inspector’s job to find issues and if he or she doesn’t, they are not going to get paid.  After you receive the results of your own pre-listing inspection, you have two decisions to make.  First, you should decide what you are willing to fix and second, you should decide what the true price of the home is.  With these things in mind, here is an example of what I mean.  Let’s say that your home inspection reveals rodents living in your attic space.  The cost to remove them is a whopping $900 plus we see that there are condition issues in the crawlspace with moisture which will cost another $1300 to address and last but not least you know that you need new carpet ($4000) to get it sold for the right price.  The grand total of all major repairs is $6200.  If we leave these things untouched and the buyer’s inspection reveals them then guess what would happen?  Well for one, they would have the upper hand in a potential renegotiation but, for two, they could easily pull out of the deal altogether because who wants to buy a new house with dirty carpet, rodents in the attic and moisture issues?  No one.  The answer is not one person.

It’s Your Job

So, let’s backtrack a little bit.  Instead of leaving the inspection to the buyer, it costs you about $400 to get it done.  You sink the $6200K into the repairs and voila your house is market ready.  You might say, “Yeah but, it just cost me a small fortune just to list it.”  To this I say,” Yes, but, now you have two more things that you didn’t have before.  Number one, you have a house that is market ready, can pass a buyers inspection and is priced correctly.  Number two, you have peace of mind which is actually priceless.  You see, if you go under contract without having your own inspection and your contract falls through because of the buyer’s inspection findings, guess what?  You’re on the hook to fix those things anyway.  Pay me now or pay me later as they say.   Who wants to buy a new house with dirty carpet, rodents in the attic and moisture issues?  When in doubt, please refer to the last sentence of the previous paragraph. Wink. Nod.

Selling Your House “AS IS”

Now that we’ve done the first two items on our list of three, this one is super easy and very important.  When you list your house to sell, make sure your agent states that it is being sold “As Is” in the remarks section. Why?  Because it’s kind of a catch-all.  People who know what “As Is” means generally won’t come back for a renegotiation on the price after an inspection. For the purpose of this discussion, selling your home “As Is” means that you have no intention to spend another dime on fixing anything in it before moving on.  Again, there are two ways to do this but, the first is a real roll of the dice.  One, you could opt for not having an inspection or fixing anything at all and seeing how the cards fall.  If the inspection is fairly clean, chances are your deal will hold and you will not have a second renegotiation because you stated that it was an “As Is” sale.  But, and I hate to sound negative, chances are that there will be something that the buyer isn’t willing to deal with as in our last example and they will pull out altogether.  Put yourself in their shoes.  If you were buying a $300K house and it had $6200K worth of repairs needed the minute you walked in the door what would you do?  Keep shopping.  Yes, you would move right along and find another one that didn’t require anything but your family and some decorations to make it your own. Or number two, you could take the road less traveled which puts you in the drivers seat the entire time.  You get the inspection yourself, fix the major issues and then list it “As Is.”  This way your bases are covered.  There will be no crushing blows with regard to the findings and you won’t likely have to come to terms again on price because you already told them, “Hey, I’m not spending another dime to sell this house.”  Since your agent stated that it was an “As Is” sale.  Win-win?  You must decide for yourself but, don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

Emotional Rescue.

I’d like to share one more thing with you before we close.  Selling your house is very emotional.  You might think that I’m speaking to the ladies here but, I’m telling the guys also. Now, this is going to make you laugh… or cringe but, I once met a couple in their home for a listing appointment and I told the husband that his house wasn’t going to sell for the price he wanted to get and he threw me out.  He was so angry. It’s my job to be up front and honest.  He wanted his house to sell for a price that was higher than what he owed on his mortgage and it wasn’t worth that amount at that time. It’s emotional.  I get that. No matter how you think you’re going to handle it, I’m willing to bet that you will be shocked by how your feelings change your behavior.  This is the #1 reason that you should hire a real estate agent.  You can’t make logical, practical and reasonable decisions nor can you see 4 or 5 steps ahead in your negotiations when you’re angry or offended that someone would offer you $50K less than your asking price but, your agent should know how to deal with it. That’s part of what they get paid for.  Now, I’d like to end this by telling you that I was right.  I didn’t get the listing for the house where the guy threw me out but, it sold for exactly what I told him that it would sell for.  And that was enough satisfaction for me.

Call Me.

In the meantime, if I can help you sell your house I’d positively love to do that.  I’m never too busy for you or your referrals.

new BCPC p1

 

 

Now Is The Time To Sell…And Buy

WIIFM?

What’s in it for me? That is what WIIFM stands for. I’m here to tell you that this is what most people are thinking when they are having any type of conversation but, especially one about real estate. Today, it is my intention to tell you exactly what’s in it for you. Allow me to explain. I am a realtor in Charleston, South Carolina and I am fortunate to be working in a city that is poised for greatness with respect to its current real estate market. Don’t get me wrong. Things have been heating up around here for a little while now but, it’s really going to become obvious to you shortly. What do you think is going to happen after we introduce the following businesses to the already robust economy in Charleston, South Carolina?

Welcome to Charleston, SC

1. The Charleston International Manufacturing Center
2. Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air — launched operations at the airport this year
3. Blackbaud has acquired Reeher – a data analytics and fundraising platform
4. Volvo manufacturing plant, worker training center
5. Science Applications International Corp. SAIC is expanding into Hanahan
6. Mercedes Benz Vans – now operational in Ladson
7. Brightway Insurance – now open in Charleston
8. Call Experts, a Charleston-based call center, has tripled its West Ashley office space
9. Roper St. Francis Berkeley Hospital is expected to open in the summer of 2019.
10. WestEdge- Please check out this link because it’s fabulous.

http://www.westedgecharleston.com/

Why is this so important?

I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. For those of you who need a little bit of help seeing the future of things, when a great and dynamic business comes into town, they usually need smaller support businesses to feed them materials, parts and supplies or to help with logistics, analysis, auditing or any number of other elements, right? Yes, they do. It is my belief that by the time the new Volvo plant is up and running, you will see quite a few of its vendors taking their new place in the Lowcountry as well. And how about Frontier Airlines? Don’t you think they will be bringing along some of their own? How about the Charleston International Manufacturing Center? Are you starting to catch my drift? These companies are big and they have a large following. This is excellent news for the economy of Charleston, South Carolina and it is also excellent news for the real estate market here.

What’s in it for you?

Well, this is just the beginning of the incline. We have only just broken ground for a few of these companies. That means that you are right on time. You can buy low and sell high. Or perhaps, you can pick up that rental property you’ve been thinking about because the market will be infused with plenty of newly transplanted employees of these corporations. Or better yet, if you’ve been living here for a while and you have at least $50K in equity in your current home, I have another blog you should read called Using Your Home as an Investment

Home-Prices-Jump
The possibilities are endless for the next few years and you should start to consider how this economic climate plays into your future plans. For those of you who have seen great increases in the value of your home already, let’s do that again! I’m always up for touring some new homes in the area. If I’ve piqued your interest, feel free to check out my website http://www.StacieSmith.Homes  It is connected to the Charleston Trident Multiple Listings Service. (MLS) There you will find the most up to date and accurate information available on properties currently listed in the Lowcountry.

Call Me

Here you go. Feel free to call, text or email me with any questions you may have.

BCPC

Please Sell My House…Quickly

Today, I’m going to try to persuade you that my argument holds merit and that you should not only consider what I’m saying but, also take action so that you and your family can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Today’s topic is the future of the Lowcountry and how it promises to be a great investment if you make a few strategic moves today…or soon anyway.
I’m referring to the real estate market in case this is the first time that you are reading my blog. My name is Stacie Smith and I am a real estate agent in Charleston, South Carolina. I’ve been writing recently on Using Your Home as an Investment   and Steady As We Grow…in which I share the reasons why it’s a great time to sell your home in the Lowcountry.
People often think that they are perfectly content to stay in the same home for the rest of their lives just as their parents did. They plan to pay it off and live there until they die. Hopefully, by the time they retire, they will not have a mortgage or it will be small enough to manage and they can just live on their retirement savings. I’m here to tell you that this kind of thinking is sooo far away from what you should be doing right now. If you own a home in this city or any of the outlying areas within a 50 mile radius, this is for you. You are fooling yourself if you think that it is better for you to keep the house you live in now for 10 more years than to sell it and buy something newer. It doesn’t matter whether it’s smaller or larger but, it does matter if it’s newer or at least completely updated. Why? Simply put, because it is the time to sell. For those of you who enjoy investing in the stock market, you know the term “buy low and sell high” right? Well, this is your time to sell high.
I’m going to acknowledge that there is a big hindrance in the minds of most sellers. They can’t get past the transaction fee, or commission that is paid to the brokerage. In my blog, Using Your Home as an Investment I cover that and do the math in a most simplistic way for those of you who are apprehensive about the costs involved. I’m going to give another example here for the purpose of explaining the cost effectiveness of this investment model.
Let’s presume that you own a home in the Lowcountry and you have at least $50K in equity in it right now. The new home that you’re considering is slightly more expensive than the one your living in and it’s beautiful. I mean it has everything. I’m saying this because there is value in living somewhere that you love. There is also peace and enjoyment in not having to spend a bunch of money on maintenance and upkeep. We’ll just say, for argument’s sake that your new home costs $350K and your old home is going to sell for $250K. Let’s do the math. If you only have 50K in equity, after your mortgage note is satisfied,  when the 6% commission gets paid, you will have  $35K.   From that, subtract closing costs which we will  calculate that to be $5K even though that would be pretty high. I just want you to feel very comfortable that I’m not using best case scenarios to make my point. Now you have $30K in your pocket to use as a down payment on your new home. In my scenario, you had $20K in costs associated with this transaction. ($15K in commission + $5K in closing costs) It is my belief that you will see a complete return on that money if you make your new home purchase sooner rather than later.
On a side note, which is also applicable, we are seeing double digit increases in home values in the Lowcountry right now. That being said, you stand to gain that same percentage on the value of the new home. But again, I want you to feel comfortable that I’m not manipulating the figures for my benefit so, let’s assume that you don’t have a double digit increase on the new property. In fact, lets say you only have a 5% increase in value over the next year. ($350K x 5% = $17,500) That puts you right at $17,500. Add to that the savings you would realize by not having repair and maintenance costs and you can see how this transaction would easily pay for itself in a years time. This example did not take into account the enjoyment, peace of mind and potentially higher gains that you could also expect from making this move. Nor did we project out the potential appreciation over the next 5 years or more which will be compounding annually. Barring any unforeseen cataclysmic events, you practically can’t loose.
I’d like to put in a disclaimer here. I don’t claim to know the future nor am I expecting this kind of real estate market to last forever in Charleston, South Carolina. I’m simply trying to convey that your home is your biggest investment. As with any investments it takes money to make money and you should leverage that in the best way possible for you and your family. These examples are just that. Please note that they are for demonstration purposes only and actual results will vary.
Meanwhile, if I can help you with to sell your home or even to help you with a property valuation that is straightforward and accurate, don’t hesitate to call, text or email me.
Let’s Move To Charleston, South Carolina

BCPC