“Selling My Home and I want a Great Agent” — Communication seems to be Paramount

Selling my homeselling-my-home

“I and selling my home and I want a great agent”. But after the sale the seller is not satisfied.

Here is a fact that always surprises young real estate agents when they learn it. 

When home sellers are surveyed by the California Association of Realtors and asked about their biggest complaints that they have about their real estate agent after the home has sold, what do you think that might be?

Invariably most agents say price when trying to guess the answer to this question. That is the obvious answer. Of course homeowners wish the home had sold for more money. Right? 

Wrong. Time and time again when home sellers are surveyed, their number one complaint is that their agent did not communicate well enough or often enough with them during the home selling process. 

Wow. I have always found this fact interesting. But when I think about it, I know why. Many times agents list a house, through it on the MLS, put on the key box, through together a flyer to place in the home and get on with other things. They wait for the offer to come. They do not follow up well or sometimes not at all with showings and the buyer’s agents. 

If the house does not sell, the listing agent avoids the seller like the plague because they don’t know what to tell the seller except lower the price. And they avoid the call because they fear the seller will tell him or her that they not doing his or her job well enough. Many time sellers have to chase down the listing agent to get updates. 

When I observe this type of poor customer service, it is no wonder why the survey reveals these frustrations so many sellers have. 

So what’s the solution for sellers? Find an agent that has communication systems. A listing agent/client communications system. This system should include a follow up system for every showing to obtain feedback. It should also include a communications schedule with the seller to provide critical market feedback among other things. 

We have a training session in our agent online university devoted to teaching these systems. 

We like to think of the relationship with our sellers as a partnership, not a potential Selling my homeconfrontation.   So we train our agents, when you hear “Selling My Home” turn on the customer service and communication systems. 


MLS Listings and MLS Search

Search the MLSMLS Listings, MLS Search which site? I just want to see great photos… 

What is the best way for consumers to search for real estate?

On occasion our clients ask us how they can search the MLS. Other clients ask us what does MLS mean? That is Major League Soccer right? We too often use our acronyms and industry lingo thinking everybody knows that the heck we are talking about.

What is a comp? I have to do my AVID. You have to fill out this TDS. By the way would you mind signing the AD form? The HVAC works well. Do you want ALTA title insurance? I have to do a BPO (this is not a body function), Did you read the CCRs? I am going to double side this one. He’s going FSBO. They are chasing the market down. What’s the LVR on that loan? You need PMI on that deal. Did you pay your CAR dues (nothing to do with automobiles). That is owned by a REIT. It just needs a little TLC. It’s a dog with fleas (OK not this one).

What language is all this? Sorry everybody. We will try to speak English from now on.

The MLS means the multiple listing service of course. I guess that means some kind of service that provides at least more than one listing. Most of these MLS’s have a public portal where you can search even if you are not a real estate agent or Realtor (there I go again with an acronym again. Sorry.

By the way, a Realtor is just an agent that has joined a board of .. Realtors. But that is another blog I may never write because that is boring. Anyway back to the MLS thing.

Most of these MLS consumer portals are very clunky. That is being kind to them. Many of these portals work in quirky ways which makes searching confusing to consumers.

You think it is confusing just for you on occasion? The Ventura County MLS for agents has a commonly used search feature by tract code which all agents use all the time but in reality there are listings in those tract searches that don’t show up if those listings where inputted by agents out of the immediate area. Here is the acronym for that glitch. Search Sucks. That means that agents think they are seeing all the listings that could interest their buyer but they are not. There is a way around it if you know about this glitch, which most agents do not. You can’t rely on the integrity of their data when you are searching for a buyer. Nice going MLS. A shot and a goal!!! Not.

As most of you know the MLS is the exchange where agents upload their new listings and buyer’s search for homes for their clients. It is how real estate sells for the most part.

So where do Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com fit in exactly you ask? They are aggregators of MLS listings for the most part. And they sell a lot of ads to make money … and not so much in some cases. They will even give you an estimate of value. Cool huh? Not really. See http://thrive.us/blog/much-house-worth/ for the scoop on that deal.

Home buyers and sellers should not really be concerned about an “MLS Search” per se, they just want to easily see all the homes on the market and look at lots of photographs and know the most important details. So after many years doing real estate transactions we went off an a mission to create a more pure search experience for you; clean, simple, map based with great photos. Not much else is needed. Maybe we will add a feature or two in the future but not too much. Less is more in my view. Maybe you agree.

How much is my house worth?

That is a great question.

In today’s digital world there are many ways to search for that answer. Big sites like Trulia and Zillow use tax data and algorithms to determine value. These robots can be very misleading to home owners.

An example could be two very different tracts on homes right next to each other, the same age but one has a freeway right next to it. The robots look at factors like square footage, proximity, number of bedrooms and other data and then average them without any intelligence to differentiate these micro neighborhoods.

Take for example the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. Two houses can be right next door to each other and both 4,000 square feet and the same age. One sells for $4,000,000, because Action Film Al has decked it out to the nines and the other for sells for $1,500,000 because it is a tear down. These two transactions make the robot go blue screen on you and spit out useless data.

Many years ago I partnered with some friends and bought a tear down in California for $800,000 and built a large spec that sold for close to $3,000.000. Robots cannot see the reality of these situations. The more eclectic the neighborhood the harder it is to figure out home much is my house worth.

You can use a search site and analyze the solds and try to do your own comparative market analysis but that has limitations as well.

Here is another situation. Lets say you have been in your home quite a while and your neighbor sells his house and the buyer does a massive upgrade and adds footage. The neighborhood is on the upswing big time so you ask what is my home worth now? Good question. Your neighborhood is a hot ticket now and your robot is a cold machine. “Open the pod door Hal”.

While technology is great, the best way is the old fashioned way. Find a true neighborhood expert that is a full time Realtor, sans the nametag and gold jacket. Then ask him or her to do a market analysis without cost of obligation. We love to do them and if the relationship blossoms over the time, all the better.

Find an agent that knows the minute details of every deal sold in the area. That’s the ticket. The truth will set you free… to do the right deal.

Thrive Launches Home Listing Search Website

Thrive Homes and Estates has launched its new website, Thrive.US,  which features a “pure search” experience for home buyers and sellers. The site is built with the intention of providing the best search experience on the Internet for people interested in searching for homes that are on the market in Southern California.

What do people want when they search for homes? It’s all about the listings. Devoid of clutter, countless ads and confusing features, the Thrive Search Experience™ offers a clean map-based user experience focused on pure search, and of course lots beautiful photos of fabulous homes.

Whether you are looking to buy a home or find out the asking or sold prices in your neighborhood, the Thrive Search Experience is fast and powerful and the star of the show is the property front and center.

Thrive founder Scott Farrell commented: “While there are countless search sites, a great search experience is rare. I could not find vendors that could provide Thrive with what we envisioned as the ultimate search experience for consumers so we designed it myself. To make that vision a reality, we had to hire a talented team of developers and build it from scratch, writing our own code

The Thrive Search Experience covers a large section of Southern California from Ventura County east to the inland desert areas and from north of Los Angeles to Orange County.  Start your search at the home page of Thrive.us.

How to Find a Realtor

…or how to I find a real estate agent that really knows what they are doing…
Real estate agents are commodity these days. Last time I checked there were over 450,000 agents in California alone.

That’s a lot.

You have heard of the 80/20 rule. In our industry it is more like the 99/1 rule. For one thing about 9 or 10 quit the business in their first year.

For the ones that stick it out for the long term, most of those do not do much business. That is why we developed (in our biased opinion) the most comprehensive training program for agents that takes months to complete. In addition, once they complete the training, deal making coaching commences. All with the intention of getting our sellers top dollar, finding buyers the perfect home for a great price and providing the best customer service possible.

But let’s get back to the question at hand; how to find a realtor. And I am assuming what you really mean is how to find a good realtor.

This is a very important decision for most people because the wrong choice can mean thousands of dollars in their pocket. In some cases hundreds of thousands. Remember we are in Southern California with high prices for homes.

Flying Solo or Not?
One thing that most people do not consider is whether or not the agent is flying solo or are they part of a deal making team. Most agents fly solo. What I mean by that is even if they are with a national firm, most agents are left on their own because many in house brokers are more administrative and do not support the agent in terms of deal making. We structure Thrive the exact opposite of that.

Having tenures with RE/MAX and Keller Williams, I witnessed how the regular real estate agent is left on their own and the service to clients can suffer if there are needs of the client beyond the experience level of the agent.

The agent you are considering should supply you with their bio. Are they educated? We prefer to hire agents with a college education. Are they members of the California and National Association of Realtors? What local boards are they members of? Have they ever had a complaint with the Bureau of Real Estate? These are all considerations that you should consider because they are factors for us when we consider hiring and agent.

While experience is an important factor, if they are part of a deal making team, you need to look at the experience of the team. How many years in the business, what type of transactions of they done in the past? Do they have testimonials? Have the navigated complicated transaction successfully?

Entrusting what may be your biggest financial asset in the hands of a real estate agent, you have better have a strong sense of trust. If it is not there, keep looking.

Are they a Super Producer?
While this sounds great, being a super producer means super busy. Maybe you need an agent with adequate time to really focus on your transaction.

So you may be thinking how to find a realtor that is smart and confident? Great real estate agents are very confident people. They are also very professional and they usually dress for success. Pay close attention to your first impressions. If they are impressive and sure of themselves, they are probably good negotiators. You need someone that is skilled in the art of negotiation.

Market Knowledge
During their listing presentation, the agent needs to demonstrate extensive local market knowledge. They also must know firsthand, what your home should sell for. If you are buying, your agent needs to know the neighborhoods intimately.

One of the biggest complaints both from home sellers and home buyers is poor communication from their form agents. We train our agents to provide a detailing marketing report to sellers no less frequently than once a week and to call all active buyers every day. Yes, every day, to ensure them that they have checked the market for new listings. We have high standards in this regard on you should too.

If you are selling a home, we train our agents to provide sellers with a detailed presentation of the nuances of marketing homes today, particularly luxury homes. In addition, our listings are syndicated all over the world for maximum exposure.

You need to investigate these aspects with any agent you are considering hiring to sell your home.

If you would like more information about real estate, please connect with us. We are here to help.