PreMLS.com Hundreds of “Coming Soon” Homes in VA, MD, DC!

Update 7/10/2013 Just got PreMLS.com and have launched in 6 cities in the US.

The legend has it that once upon a time there was one book per real estate office that had each real estate home for sale. Likely updated MONTHLY! Then the data moved to computers, but only for agents to see, and then the data went online where the agent OR the buyer could check it WEEKLY for new homes.

Then consumers demanded faster, so Realtors got fancy and delivered DAILY email alerts for new listings. That was earth shaking. But that wasn’t good enough. Sites like FranklyMLS.com started offering nearly INSTANT ALERTS for new listings. Beating out other buyers.

But now the time has come. To be even faster. Even more Instant-er!

Are we talking mere seconds? No. How about going Back to the Future and knowing what will be on the MLS BEFORE IT HAPPENS!! And in a large quantity! Possibly 10-20% of the marketplace one day.

How is that possible?

Consumers demanded it, so Frankly made it, and the Agent community embraced it.

A FREE agent-only (more…)

  • 28
  • June
  • 2013
Posted in Buying Advice, Don't Miss Best Of, Listing Advice. | 17 Comments »

Bidding War Exhaustion: Sellers Don’t Underprice!

More and more I am seeing the technique of purposefully underpricing a listing in order to create an artificial bidding war. It is a very tempting pitch from your listing agent, but don’t fall for it! They may want you to underprice in order to sell your home quickly and to move on. Their goal might not be to net you the highest amount. And it doesn’t work, in my opinion.

Example (ass described in the video)

Listing 1, our listing. $429,000, sold for  $432,600 or 101% of list.

Listing 2, not ours. $399,000, sold for $433,000 or 108% of list

One might initially think listing 2 did better. However, #2 was listed a month after #1 went Under Contract fast (so they should know that it went near full price, and newer listings in an up market tend to ask for about $2,500  more). Listing #2 was nearly identical, but two floors higher plus a fireplace. Two floors is about $6,000 in value, a fireplace, maybe $2k. Yet they only got $400 more on a place worth $8,000 more. The result of underpricing to create a bidding war… a loss of $7,600-$10,000 in value. Oops!

Why doesn’t it work? Bidding War Exhaustion ™, (more…)

  • 28
  • March
  • 2013
Posted in Bidding Wars, Buying Advice, Listing Advice., Youtube | 7 Comments »

(Meet Baby Tayo) Bidding Wars from a Seller’s Perspective {Video}

Now for Listing Advice. I previously spoke about Bidding Wars for Homes for Sale in Maryland, DC and VA in my post Bidding Wars. Secret to Winning A Home in the DC Area (of which about 20 people emailed me directly for my #1 secret tip).

But this video is from the perspective of the SELLER who might find themselves selling in this Hot Market.

The first instinct is to think one’s house is “easy” to sell. It actually becomes kinda a joke because we hear it so frequently. Everyone thinks their home will be an easy one. Yet it never is.

Especially now that there are bidding wars and it is a seller’s market (meaning sellers have more power now). Heck, why not just throw it up on the MLS (see Throw Up Listings, from 2007, but still applies) since it “sells itself.”

I wish it was that easy. Or maybe I don’t because then I might be out of a job.

Our goal is to get you the highest NET possible. That includes being aware of what you are paying in commission and your alternative options (but heck why go anywhere else). We respect your (more…)

  • 12
  • February
  • 2013
Posted in Bidding Wars, Listing Advice., Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Back-Up Contract. An “Aha” Moment. For Buyers, & Sellers Too!

What is a back up offer on a home for sale?

A “Back-Up Offer” is an offer that is submitted when a home is already Under Contract (as seen on FranklyMLS with the strikeout line) with another buyer. (sidenote: this post kinda conflicts with my “this home is not available” post on the FranklyMLS blog, feel free to call me out on it).

If the seller signs it, it becomes the “Back-Up Contract.”

Does it happen often?

Sure. My guess is 10-20% of deals. Especially in the first week of being UC. I once had a listing with 4 contracts that fell out!

How does one put in a back up offer?

The second potential buyer will submit, preferably with their buyer’s agent (which should be an exclusive agent), a regular 20+ official contract with an addendum that outlines the details of the “back up offer.” This offer becomes ratified when it is signed by both parties. Then, in the event that the first contract does not perform, then the back-up offer immediately becomes the “primary contract”.

Why do 10-20% of contracts fall (more…)

  • 25
  • October
  • 2012
Posted in Buying Advice, Listing Advice. | 36 Comments »

Testimonial: You Too Can Save $1 Million Buying a Home With Us!

YouTube Preview Image

Disclaimer: Do not believe the post title, it is a hyper exaggeration. Your results may come in under $1,000,000 in savings.

But why save Trillions, when you can save Billions?

Ok maybe a bit much, but quote is the cliff notes: “FranklyRealty.com got me more money than I ever would have imagined.” Why exaggerate when you got that?

With all those compelling options buyers and sellers have today, I think I need to go into more detail explaining exactly how a great agent can help you NET more and more importantly win a home when inventory is tight.

This client is the perfect candidate to explain exactly what we do. A year ago his approach to real estate was typical “I’m smart” (oftentimes a lawyer or professional) and “I will go For Sale By Owner, FSBO, to save money selling and I’ll be really smart and I will use a rebater to save on buying.”

YouTube Preview Image

But then he got educated. Read almost every blog post in this Blog and became a convert (ie. even smarter than smart). He took the leap and used Frankly Real Estate and is here to share his experience with others considering FSBO, Rebating or your mom’s friendly Realtor (which is an upcoming post, so make sure to subscribe!). Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking going solo via FSBO (see best post ever on “saving” $20,000 via FSBO) or Rebaters.

Heck, my long standing moto has been “I used to rebate, but then I got good”.

Written by
Frank B. LLosa, Esq*
Never too busy for you!
Broker FranklyRealty.com in Maryland, DC, Virginia Twitter @FranklyRealty
Owner FranklyMLS.com Home Search

P.S. What do you all think about an informal (rsvp required) home buying seminar for repeat or 1st time home buyers in the $500-$1.3M range (too many seminars out there for the $100-$300k range buyer). I thought the concept was cheesy, but was like “actually it could be pretty cool.” You in?

p.s.s. Did you see my tweet on how my HGTV stars/clients are selling their Arlington home 3 years later? Here is the listing: AR7949281 it looks amazing.

* Licensed Attorney in NJ

  • 19
  • October
  • 2012
Posted in Buying Advice, Listing Advice., Testimonial | 6 Comments »

Broker claims “A” listing results. Actually more like a “D.”

I won’t call this brokerage out by name (even though they would like the Google Juice.)

I just read a blog post from another firm that rants and raves about how they are able to get Thousands More (versus the average agent*) for their customer and in fewer average days…

Sounds great right? Maybe I should even list my Mom’s house with them!

So I thought, let me see how many failed listings they have. Because if a home doesn’t sell, it wouldn’t count toward their stats, right?

This is what I found from the first data range I reviewed

Sold= 15
Withdrawn = (more…)

  • 7
  • June
  • 2012
Posted in Listing Advice., Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

On Fire. FranklyRealty.com & The Agents

FranklyRealty.com is on fire, adding 5 full time agents (noticed I didn’t say “new,” we don’t take new agents) in the Va, DC and MD areas.

But also the agents are on fire.

I periodically do a search on the search bar of FranklyMLS.com for our company name: FranklyRealty.com. This lets you see in 1 click all of our Active and Under Contract (crossed out= UC) listings. Just one measure of how we are doing.

And this is what I was delighted to see:

  • 21
  • March
  • 2012
Posted in Listing Advice. | 2 Comments »

Realtor Commissions. The Great Hush Hush Exposed.

Are 6% Realtor commissions “customary” or “prevailing,” or the “average?” (hint=no). Do you get what you pay for? (hint=oftentimes no) This post is long but it uncovers the unspeakable… COMMISSIONS!

Why does it matter? Because on a $500,000 home each percent is $5,000! Any ignorance about commissions may lead to a royal ripoff. The trick is that less commission isn’t always more “savings”, but the flipside is also true, because a higher commission isn’t always followed with better performance. Knowledge is power.

Background: Ever wonder why there are nearly no Realtor blogs discussing commission structures openly? (probably not, but for the other 3 of you…) It all has to do with an AntiTrust price fixing case against a few Realtor brokers decades ago. (I just covered it in my AntiTrust Law class, this is my last semester at AU! for those that are curious followers.)

These brokers got together for a dinner at Congressional County Club in MD. The organizer was F0LEY, the then President of the Local Board of Realtors. He got up and said he was changing his firms rates to 7% from 6%. (insert tons of details here). 

His excuse was the market was horrible and tons of homes were listing, but nothing was selling, so they were in dire straits. Ultimately, several were found guilty of conspiracy to raise commission rates in violation of the Sherman Act, an Antitrust law.

Fast forward 30 years, the Realtor community is still terrorized and instructed to NOT TALK ABOUT COMMISSIONS publicly with other agents. And to even get up and leave a room if somebody talks commissions. I have seen it, it is pretty funny when the word commission is mentioned and everyone freaks out and becomes a lawyer “You can’t talk about that!”

It got so bad that the Virginia Assoc. of Realtors’ legal counsel didn’t want to say “6% commissions” when teaching agents, so he referenced a number of hypothetical “chickens” instead of using actual percentages. He happened to use the number 600 chickens. Hum, if that isn’t a wink wink to the number 6, then I don’t know what is. (see Blog post on topic or video see minute 11:20) Gimme a break.

In my opinion, in the end, this chill effect & gag order has the opposite result. Instead of colluding to increase prices, the new silence solidifies what the consumers (and press) think is the “Normal” Realtor Commission. And the press make it worse with headlines like: “Chipping Away At Realtors’ Six Percent” (link). Or Wikipedia’s “The median real estate commission charged…  6%”. This is WRONG. (more…)

  • 21
  • February
  • 2011
Tags:
Posted in Listing Advice., Realtor Commissions, Realtor Rebates | 37 Comments »

Does Frankly Realty Scare You? A Testimonial.

Frankly Scared Scared of hiring a smaller Virginia, DC or Maryland real estate firm?

For those of you that might be thinking “What or who is Frankly Realty?” and are

scared to pick a firm that only uses experienced full-time agents (go ahead, crank call any firm and say you want to start in a week as a part-timer and see how excited they get!”), this testimonial is a must read.

Background: This seller had experience selling several properties using “long standing, reputable firms.” But her latest home was listed unsuccessfully by 2 big brand agents for over 300 days.

Then Frankly Realty agent Cathy Poungmalai got the listing. Cathy suggested and helped with light rehab, staged it, used amazing photos (with a main photo collage) and several other techniques leading to “never a shortage of buyers,” 4 offers and this unsolicited testimonial.

    Here are the testimonial highlights:

  • “We’[v]e always used long standing, reputable firms”
  • “Your statistics were remarkable” (more…)
  • 15
  • November
  • 2010
Posted in Listing Advice. | 5 Comments »

Boy Is It Hard to Find A Listing Agent/ Realtor in VA

This is part 1 of a new series on picking a Realtor to list your home in Virginia. Make sure you subscribe to the blog.

Wow, do I feel for you! It is REALLY hard to find a good Listing Agent/Realtor… anywhere (not just Virginia).

How do I know? Because I’m going through it right now! I’m helping my brother pick a Realtor to sell his house in Texas (yep not doing FSBO since I want him to net more).

Overcoming his hesitations are EXACTLY like customers here. It is HARD to cut through the BS. Here are some typical questions he had and my answers. (He was amazed that I had a blog post for everything. Also I apologize for jumping around.)

1) I taught him to not fall for the oldest trick in the Realtor book… the Buying a Listing Trick (recommend a high price to win the listing, just to drop later, which nets the client even less). He got that, so he warned the agents he was talking to that he wanted real pricing and he would NOT pick based on the highest price.

2) When he mentioned staging, one Realtor’s reply was Sure we can do that, or we can list, wait two weeks and then stage it. That might save you some money.(more…)

  • 9
  • March
  • 2009
Posted in Listing Advice., Staging | 19 Comments »

Don’t Buy Our Listings! Staging Required

Don’t Buy Our Listings!?
Why?
Because they are Too pretty. Too staged. Too well marketed.

Our listings NET sellers more (not buyers). Many agents will tell the sellers, “I can get you top dolla‘ “ (or they BUY a listing) and then turn around and tell buyers “this is a great ‘deal’!”

Well, you can’t have it both ways.
Is it a good deal for the seller or the (more…)

  • 5
  • August
  • 2008
Posted in Listing Advice., Staging | 18 Comments »

Agent Trick: “Buying a Listing” Vs No Recommended List Price

When I say “Buying a Listing,” I’m not referring to the actual act of buying a home. Instead I am referring to industry agent to agent jargon. It refers to an unethical trick where some listing agents will inflate the recommended list price in order to win the deal.

I have referred to my mother several times in my blog. I’ve learned more about real estate from her than anybody else, oftentimes from (more…)

  • 12
  • February
  • 2008
Posted in Listing Advice. | 25 Comments »

Dec vs. Jan. When to LIST Your Home.

Part 2 to my: Current Sellers “Wait Till Spring”? Yeah Right. Lose $10,000, which focuses on sellers that put their home on the market around September and whether they are better off trying to get a deal done in December, vs waiting until Spring to get a higher price. My data showed that they got $10,000 LOWER if they waited until Spring.

The question that I still have is:

If you have a home for sale that is “ready” (a fully staged Arlington Virginia Home), are you better off (more…)

  • 27
  • November
  • 2007
Posted in Listing Advice., Staging | 11 Comments »

THROW-UP listings. Do it “RIGHT,” Not “RIGHT NOW!”

Ever heard the phrase “Hurry up and wait”?

How about the bastard cousin: “If you hurry up, expect to wait.”? Not as catchy?

Anyhow, the fastest way to sell a house is to slooooooow doooooooown and do it right from the beginning. A rushed job will NET you less and take 3 times longer (more…)

  • 21
  • July
  • 2007
Posted in Don't Miss Best Of, Listing Advice., Staging | 42 Comments »

60 Minutes: Redfin Saves $27,000 vs FranklyRealty.com Client Saves $152,000!

Last week 3 people texted me (or would that be “text me”)
saying “Turn on 60 minutes,” yet I missed it! (see it)

America was lured in by the… 20 year long regurgitated story “Attack on the 6% Realtors” and comments about “saving thousands.”

After watching such a biased infomercial, of course Redfin seems like a no-brainer. Well my blog readers have a brain (more…)

  • 24
  • May
  • 2007
Posted in Buying Risks., Don't Miss Best Of, Listing Advice., Realtor Rebates, Redfin | 25 Comments »

Bidding Wars? It’s The Staging Stupid!!


First of all, a shout out to Megan (FranklyRealty.com Realtor) for her most recent bidding war in Old Town Alexandria. Sold in 3 days, $13k over list. Photos at 1322Princess.com. One key to her success… Staging! (see bottom for before & after photos)

So, a buddy of mine in Chicago wanted to sell his place and he wanted my help deciding the best route to get the highest net.

He, like almost every person (more…)

  • 1
  • May
  • 2007
Posted in Listing Advice., Staging | 38 Comments »

Go FSBO! Save $20,000! Realtor Tells All!!

You’ve seen the magazine headlines about selling For Sale By Owner and saving $20,000! Well I’m going to tell you exactly how to do it! Other Realtors will hate me for it, but I think consumers deserve to know all the REAL options available. The inside scoop.

First the “facts.” Did you know that the National Association of Realtors, (NAR) the group that put out ads that say now is the time to buy and now is the time to sell (see blog) came out with a report that shows the average FSBO home sold for (more…)

  • 29
  • April
  • 2007
Posted in Don't Miss Best Of, Listing Advice., Realtor Rebates | 55 Comments »

Excellence Comes Standard. Frankly Client Bill of Rights, From The Real Estate Gadfly

Gadfly,” 1) a person who upsets the status quo by stimulating innovation by proving an irritant. 2) any of various flies, like a horsefly, that bite or annoy livestock.

billofrights_01

First JetBlue left customers on the runway for 10 hours. After this disaster they came out with a JetBlue Bill of Rights.

Then a class action lawsuit was brought against C0ldwell Banker (Article) for violating RESPA laws for steering clients to profit-sharing “partners.”

Before there is a further disastrous out lash from consumers against Realtors, we must adopt a new standard. All shadiness needs to be removed from the industry and excellence should come standard.

FranklyRealty.com will start in Virginia, DC, MD and I envision shortly other firms will subscribe to the “Frankly Client Bill of Rights” throughout the country. This is not trademarked, go ahead copy me. You’d be an idiot not to.

Who will join us? Who runs a real estate firm that is willing to follow our lead and offer a new elite level of service and disclosure?

While I’m honored to be the first to come out with this, I’m also embarrassed at the same time that this isn’t already the default. Consumers might read this and say “d’uh, seems obvious,” I agree! But why is it that not one real estate firm in America subscribe to this? YET!

Introducing the Frankly Client Bill of Rights:

#1 No ABA’s, Affiliated Business Arrangements

We make our money on the commission, we don’t need to make a few hundred bucks steering you. No “One Stop Shopping” filled with partners filling our pockets. (blog on ABAs)

#2 No Admin Fees

These $200-$400 junk fees were invented by large real estate firms for both the buy and sell side. No more having clients sign confusing disclosures unknowingly. We don’t charge them, never have. (blog on Admin Fees)

#3 No Dual Agency

Dual Agency is ILLEGAL in some states. I wonder why? Dual Agency is when there is only one Realtor between a buyer and seller. A Dual Agency Realtor can not help both sides. So legally they are not allowed to represent EITHER SIDE, and instead “represent the contract” only. That makes the agent a mere worthless paper pusher. We don’t do that. We will only represent our client, the buyer OR seller. In the case where a buyer comes without an agent, they will be an “unrepresented buyer” (like a FSBO) and will sign a disclosure saying who we w ork for. (new blog soon)

#4 No TELLING you what to pay

We won’t tell you what to pay for a place. Ever! We won’t even answer the “What if you were me” question, since… We aren’t you! It is your money, and your risk tolerance. Instead of telling you a price, we will go over a ton of data to consider and conclude with our “VEGAS ODDS SYSTEM” on what the other side MIGHT do and separate it into three categories: Accept, Counter or Walk. Ultimately you decide how aggressive you want to be. (No “selling” blog)

#5 No Home Warranty Insurance Kickbacks

Even though it is illegal to receive a commission for selling insurance (unless you are a licensed insurance dealer), the Home Warranty companies have figured out a way to give agents and firms an “admin fee” of $60 to sell their goods. Why bother? We won’t accept that commission as we feel that is illegal. Instead we will pass that “admin fee” to the buyer/seller. This might seem like a small amount, but the principle is what matters. Again we make our money on the commission, we don’t need to upsell you to make another $60.

#6 No Buyer Agent Bonuses/Bribes

We outline our compensation up front in our Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement (Don’t Sign Them Yet blog). If there is a bonus to the buyer agent, the buyer gets that in a form of a rebate on the HUD1. We can’t be bribed to push you into a particular listing. (blog on 10% agent bribes)

#7 30 Photos & Custom Domain Name Website Per Listing

It boggles my mind when a $900,000 listing posts 3 photos taken with a camera phone (see Sucky Agents) and then wonders why it didn’t sell for 200 days. And this is from a “Top 3″ large company, not a “discounter.” They even allow agents to check a default button to allow the MLS to dispatch a high school photographer to take a free exterior shot. I call this the free drive-by shooting option.

Simple new requirement: Each listing must have at least 20 photos taken with a 22mm wide angle camera (like the v570) or from a professional photographer.

Each listing will also have their own domain name. No need to point prospects to “HugeRealEstateCompany.com” just to get lost looking at another 10,000 homes. Instead prospects can go directly to the photos of the listing with their own domain like: 2001OdysseyUNIT X.com

#8 Professional Staging

We won’t list a house unless we can make it look better than a model home. Why? It works. It gets you more money and the house sells faster. (See Bidding War blog). Just yesterday we got 3 offers in 3 days for $20k over what other Realtors said would be the seller’s top price (referrals available).

#9 You’re High Tech, We’re High Tech

How about 100% paperless transactions from start to close? No unnecessary “meeting to sign” papers or trips to Kinkos. We also use instant messaging, cell text messaging and of course email… from our phone. Prefer  paper? We can do that too.


Thank you for following Blog.FranklyRealty.com as we recalibrate the real estate industry! Sign up via for updates or email this to a friend.

Are you a buyer or seller? Print this out, have your Realtor sign the Frankly Client Bill of Rights? (Tell me how it goes)

Are you a Realtor with another firm that can’t promise the above? Then switch or start your own, maybe I’ll even help you!

Thanks for all the comments, keep em coming. And if you like this blog, please pass it on! Oh and tell me if you find typos, I don’t like looking dumb.

Written by Frank Borges LLosa- The Real Estate Gadfly

Virginia Broker/ Owner FranklyRealty.com

Blog.FranklyRealty.com Featured in BusinessWeek, CNBC, WSJ etc.

p.s. #10 As with JetBlue, we also promise not to leave you on the runway for 10 hours.

  • 6
  • March
  • 2007
Posted in Listing Advice., Shady Agent Tricks, Staging | 48 Comments »

Sucky Listing Agents. I Vent.


Ok, I’ve had it! Yes, many Listing agents suck! I’ve said it. Off my chest, what a relief.

On the one hand I’m pissed because their laziness adds to my workload 3 fold.
But then on the other hand their suckatude (level of suckiness) makes me look better I guess.

Ok, what am I ranting about?

Here is one example: I just got a reply email from a listing agent selling a $1.5M home in Virginia. I have a client looking to buy a home that is specifically on a golf course backing to one of the holes. Max price is $4M (yes I dropped that irrelevant piece of information just to impress you).

You would think it would be easy for me to find with all my tools. Just do a Matrix search (back end Realtor search) for View= Golf Course. Problem is, if the listing agent doesn’t check that box, then it won’t magically appear in my search. That agent was either too lazy or too inexperienced (did I say the listing was $1.5M!) and doesn’t know how to fill out a simple MLS listing.

And it doesn’t end there.

He had only one photo on the listing! You are selling a $1.5M place? I even got ticked off enough that couldn’t hold back and I had to ask him directly:

  • “I gotta say, that a house like that with no photo on the MLS, you are doing a TON of harm to your clients. I almost didn’t write because of the lack of photos. Can you help me understand why some agents don’t use photos? I don’t get it. It only costs $12 through keystone [our MLS].”

His reply was:

  • “I do not understand your e-mail. There is a picture on MLS listing and further information on our website.”

Um. Thank you for lowering the bar so much that I look like Javier Sotomayor (the world record holding high jumper, A Cuban like me). Yes there was one photo, I meant why did you have only one photo! Not only was it a pain to go to his website and find the listing (that is why the MLS was invented so that all the info could be in one place), it still only had one photo. that is what you call “more information?”

I once had to hire somebody to drive 2 hours to take photos of a $5m mansion because the listing agent only had like 4 photos. He took 100. Actually I do that for every home that I see with a client, I take about 100 photos and I make an online mini album for them to remember each listing. Does your buyer agent do that? And I digress… Back to sucky listing agents…

The secret about MLS photos

If a Realtor is too lazy to take one photo, for free they can have the MLS take one. This entails the MLS paying a high school photographer to literally do a drive by shooting. They slow down the car and grab a shot and hurry on to the next house, a drive by shooting. You can tell if your Realtor opted for that if the full MLS listing says “Photo Option: VIC Exterior Only”

And then to upload 6 photos it costs a whooping $6, and the super rich will splurge and pay $12 for 20 photos!

That isn’t the end.

How frequently does this occur? I did a sample search in my building.

8 active listings:
* 4 had no photo at all, not even the free drive by.
* 3 had the free one drive by photo
* 1, only 1 spent $12 and uploaded 6 photos
(full disclosure: The stats aren’t ever this bad, this is unusual. I’ll get you full stats later)

No wonder some were over 260 days on the market. Yeah the market is slow, but having no photos doesn’t help. And one even offered a special $5,000 extra bonus for the agent? Why not have your client save $5,000 and market it well, no, that would be asking too much, how about just not suck.

SOON I WILL POST HERE THE % of homes in ALL of Arlington with and without photos.

What about Virtual Tours? I guess they are ok, but I don’t like them personally. They tend to crash my computer and some annoyingly force you to watch the “tour” with romantic zooming in and rainbow transitions with Celine Dion in the background, to add to the mood. Just give me 20 photos, so I can click on the next listing. I’m busy, lets get on with it. Is it that so tough?

When picking an agent, ignore the 4 inch binder that costs $250 to produce and is standard issue from their office (including a group shot of 100 agents, as if that somehow will help sell your house) to win your business. That binder won’t sell your listing. Ask him right there in real time to pull up their last 2 listings. See if he ordered the free drive by photographer service. See how many photos they have posted (and he better not trick you into showing you photos on their website or firm website, that is hogwash, nobody will see it, make sure it was on the MLS and that they paid the $12). And then take that binder and keep it in your car trunk. They work great when you need something heavy to put under your tire after parking on a steep hill in the winter.

Oh and if any of my competition is listening, when you put up a listing, you might want to have your photos ready and upload them that night. Why? Well the following morning will be your most important listing day? Why? Because your new listing is sent automatically (not spammed) to a ton of people that specifically signed up for email alerts in your listing’s area. If you put in your photos a day or two later, guess what? Your NEW and exciting new listing will have “photo coming soon” and will oftentimes be trashed.

Also did you know that a listing with multiple photos gets seen exactly 6 times more frequently online? I hate stats, but I believe these. Who wants to waste hours at work surfing and looking at houses if there are any photos?

So my main issue is a lack of photos on the MLS, secondly I have issues with an agent that won’t fill out important details on the MLS. Those two might not seem like major things, but they are early indicators to future problems and other laziness.

How hard is that agent going to fight to get you that last $10,000 if they can’t do something as simple as market your property with multiple photos?

Update: You need to see Norm Fisher’s blog about “The Unbelievably Bad Real Estate Photography Hall of Fame and the virtual tour!

>- Written by Frank Borges LL0SA-

  • 19
  • January
  • 2007
Posted in Listing Advice. | 25 Comments »

Listing Case Study: Bidding War! Market Turn Around? Or Good Agent?

SOLD! 14 Days, 3 Written Offers, Above List! A Case Study.


What is going on here?
A bidding war in the dead of Winter? (slight exaggeration, it actually closed in Dec, but was under contract in mid Nov). Is it possible in this market to have had 3 written bona fide offers that were bid above list price,

even after those confusing seller concessions? Is this the tipping point and the start of a major market recover? Or was this an isolated incident involving a great agent and his professional stager?

In this blog I will expose exactly how this was done. None of the regurgitated “How to sell your home” articles that Realtors get added to their website as part of their $299/yr internet website package.

Some of you will take this information and try to sell your home yourself (which is a pretty hilarious blog in and of itself), and others will use it to kick their Realtor into shape. Not a problem, but the smart ones will just call me (or email). Oh and I guess some Realtors might read this too and use these techniques. I say, no need to compete, just join me, I have to have more up my sleeve than just this, right?).

A Listing Case Study: (Do not try this at home, or expect it from your current Realtor)

Property: Fairfax Condo

Hurdles:

  1. The place was a wreck.
    (Sorry C&C, I love you all but it needed work, and I think you’d agree). For example they got a $3,000 carpet allowance when they bought the place… but they didn’t change the carpet. I have to ask permission before I can link to the entire album, but here are a couple BEFORE PHOTOS:
  2. Competition! There were 4 other units in the community for sale, some for 100 days. One of the units had the exact same floorplan!
  3. Pricing. Picking a price was very tough. There was a ton of data that was all over the place. Believe it or not, I tend to not come to a price until AFTER I’m hired. Why? I don’t do the typical interview of several listing agents, all of which come in with a suggested price. I learned from my mother’s mistakes growing up, she always picked the agent with the highest suggested price, it never worked out well. Now that I’m in the business, I found out that frequently novice agents recommend a high price, just to get the listing, knowing that eventually you will drop your price and they will get paid, oftentimes resulting in you getting several thousand less. Instead I work WITH the client on pricing, and they ultimately decide what to do.

  4. Market slowdown AND heading into the winter.
    This wasn’t easy, we had a race against the clock, the holidays. We could wait until spring, but who knows where prices would fall (or raise) to.

The Strategy.

  1. Staging, Staging, Staging.
    I brought in my professionally licensed Stager. (This should be a separate blog) She was amazing. Not only did she stage the place to look like a model new home, she guided a team of workers to renovate the place. New hardwood floors to have that unique pop unlike the competition, granite countertops , (the premium stuff, not the cheap stuff that the other unit had) new appliances, new carpet in the bedroom. All for about $10,000.

    In this market place, your house has to be remarkable. There is a reason that new home builders have amazing model homes… it makes things sell. So many listings out there are dumps inside. Buyer just don’t have good imagination. You can’t just say “$5,000 allowance for carpet,” it doesn’t work. For one, buyer’s will be off in their estimations by 100%. So a $3k carpet, in their mind will be $6k. New kitchen will be $10k instead of $5k etc etc. Staging was done by Staging by Patricia

  2. Pricing. We came up with $280,000. I actually INCREASED the price by $5k at the last moment. It just looked soooo good. I had spreadsheets that showed ratios comparing recently sold units to what they sold for 3 years ago (when my client bought mine) and looked at the current actives. This wasn’t a case of “Oh he just listed it low to sell fast.” Actually I was scared that the house would NOT appraise, as in too high!

  3. Photos, photos, photos.
    Did you know that it costs a Realtor $12 to post 20 photos? Yet maybe 20% of Realtors do so. And as a buyer, you know you love looking at everything! The good, the bad, everything. The more you see the more compelled you will be to see it person. Versus what? Make the place a mystery and compel people to come for a visit? Wishful thinking.
    Anyhow, the photos rocked if I may say so myself. As a former professional photographer, you can’t get this from a regular digital camera.(side note, did you see my photo was on the cover of USA Today’s travel section last week?)
    Also the main photo was a collage. I did this because a) it tells people that this link will have more photos b) some home search websites only show the first image.
  4. Domain name with more photos: I bought a www.555streetname.com and linked it to a photo album with even more photos. Check out the photos here.
  5. Typical Washington Post ads (small, bigger isnt’ better) and Craigslist ads. No rocket science here.
  6. Agent Follow up.
    An oh-so-important variable that is oftentimes overlooked. You have to contact each and e
    very visitor to get their feedback. I do this online by tracking the lockbox reports. I email them to get feedback so my client has in writing the agent’s thoughts. Usually this is not a negotiation, just honest feedback on what they liked and disliked.

The outcome

  1. Not much traffic!
    The market was slow, maybe only 5 real buyers saw it and 5 lookers.
  2. But Everyone LOVED it.
    The feedback was amazing, but it still wasn’t selling. A few people expressed a strong interest but nobody was willing to make the first leap to write. In this marketplace, there ARE buyers, but they are scared and kick the tires longer.
    “Let me know if you get an offer”, is what I kept on hearing. They all loved it, but nobody was taking the final step to make an offer.
  3. Finally I get one offer.
    After letting everyone know that everybody else loved the place and that everyone was “about” to write (which was true, I don’t lie or fib on this stuff), one person finally wrote.
  4. Dial for Dollars.
    This is what any good agent should do when they get an offer. They let EVERY remotely interested party know that an offer has hit? Is that ethical? Um, why not, I represent the seller and my job is to fight to get him that last $5k- $15k, and this is one way to do it. Would an agent that gives you a low commission rate do this? What to make an extra $50? Maybe, if so… hire him! This step can almost double the work for the agent, and for only a couple hundred dollars more in commission it isn’t worth it for most. I do it to a) help make you that last $10k and b) hope that you will tell your friends about it.
  5. 2 more offers.
    Step 4 worked and I was able to receive a total of 3 offers and with great terms such as a flexible closing date so the sellers could find a home (without a formal home purchase contingency)
  6. Bidding war after 14 days!
    In the olden days, a bidding war only occurs within the first week. Here we were on day 14 with a bidding war in a dead market. I don’t think the agents even believed me.

SOLD! 14 Days, 3 Written Offers, Above List!
Ultimately I was able to get the sellers $15,000 over one of the offers and a net that was a few thousand above the already stretched ($5,000 was added at the last second) sales price and a 2nd offer that escalated over list (I’m talking net sales price, even after the seller subsidy).

While I’d like to go into the details on their purchase, that stuff wold reveal secrets that I don’t want the other side to know about. It took a few weeks to negotiate and that was also a tough one, but they got an amazing price $45k below list (which shouldn’t be a metric since I’d rather you get a place for full list price on an aggressively priced house than save $50k on a place overpriced by $100k).

- Written by Frank Borges LL0SA- Va Broker/Owner FranklyRealty.com
703.827.4OO6 Like this? Sign up for more!

  • 17
  • January
  • 2007
Posted in Listing Advice. | 5 Comments »