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Dave Sutton, Windermere Portland

Making people outrageously happy with their home sale or purchase

By Dave Sutton, Windermere, Portland | Broker in Portland, OR
  • Sell Your Home Yourself? Five Reasons Why Not

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Oregon  |  May 3, 2011 6:44 PM  |  1,188 views  |  5 comments
    Nearly half of FSBO homes are sold to a friend. 

    That's one of many interesting statistics at http://www.realtor.org/research/research/fsbofacts

    Let's review five things about selling a house without a Realtor

    1) Many sellers think they will save a real estate commission.  Here's a little analysis of that math.

    If the selling commission is 6%, half of that (3%) goes to the agent who brings the buyer.  If you're not willing to pay that 3% to the buyer's agent, you are greatly limiting the number of buyers who will even see your home.

    I generally spend about 1% of the sales price on marketing - advertising, flyers, staging consultations, and other sales expenses.  If you do that too, now you have saved 2%. 

    But most FSBO buyers realize that you (are trying to) save the commission, which they think of as 6%, so they adjust their offer by that amount. You save 2% to get an offer that's 6% lower than you wanted.   How does that math wind up with more in your pocket.

    2) Selling a house is a very complicated transaction and is probably the single largest financial event of one's life.  Because of those two factors, friends or not, it is very easy to have a misunderstaing that leads to a lawsuit.  Remember anyone can sue anyone over anything, and when they do, it's like two lawyers tearing up YOUR $1,000 bills.  Liability can be enormous.  That's why Realtors carry Errors and Omissions (E & O) insurance.  In addition to that, I carry a $1,000,000 liability policy and I know what I'm doing.   How does that compare with your insurance and your experience selling homes?

    3) Owners selling without professional assistance said the biggest problems were getting the price right (23 percent), preparing the home for sale (18 percent), selling within the length of time planned (14 percent), having enough time to devote to the process (13 percent), attracting potential buyers (13 percent) and understanding and completing paperwork (10 percent).  That's from http://www.realtor.org/press_room_secured/public_affairs/tpfsbo

    4) Home buyers today start their search on line, and 45% use www.Realtor.com.  Only 15% visit FSBO sites. 

    5) Much as you would like to think otherwise, you do not set the sale price of your home (nor does a Realtor).  The market sets the price, and it's almost impossible for you to know that market price without a Realtor.

    So if you want to net less money, expose yourself to significant liability, guess at the market value and put up with the five headaches in #3 above, sell your house without a Realtor. 

  • Oregon Joins 25 Other States Requiring Carbon Monoxide detectors

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Home Selling, Property Q&A  |  March 21, 2011 10:05 PM  |  510 views  |  No comments
    We all know of almost universal regulations requiring smoke detectors in homes when they're sold, but more and more, carbon dioxide detectors/alarms are also being required.

    April 1 is the deadline for Oregon to have a carbon monoxide alarm in almost every home sold or newly rented.  I say "almost" because the trigger is for homes  "containing a carbon monoxide source".  Typically a gas furnace, range, oven, fireplace or water heater is a carbon monoxide source.

    A Q & A on the subject from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission is here
  • How do I Find what My Home Would Sell for?

    Posted Under: Home Selling  |  March 2, 2011 11:22 AM  |  292 views  |  No comments
    In short, ask a Realtor for a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA). 

    It will show you what comparable homes in your neighborhood have sold for recently (the most critical number) and the list price of similar homes currently for sale. 

    Much as we would like to think we can set the selling price of our home, in fact it is the market that sets the price.  Pardon the comparison, but it's no different than used cars - worth what someone will pay.   That's why the key number is what comparable homes have actually sold for. 

    Remember that every buyer will have the same numbers available as your Realtor gave you. 

    You needn't sell your home for the average comparable sold price.  You may get more if your home has unusual value-adding features (newly remodeled kitchen, extra large lot, view, etc.), but the reverse is also true.  If your home has a 1960's kitchen, small lot and view of the back side of an apartment house, you will likely get less than average.   A good Realtor can advise you on all those (and other) pricing issues. 
  • "How much does an MLS listing cost?" Was a Recent Question on a Real Estate Web Site

    Posted Under: Home Selling  |  February 27, 2011 10:06 AM  |  424 views  |  1 comment
    Valuable as it is, you need a lot more than an MLS listing to sell any home if you are interested in

    1) the best price
    2) assistance in preparing your home to generate the best offers
    3) assistance in evaluating all offers (highest price is not necessarily the best offer)
    4) listing on Trulia and a dozen other high-traffic sites
    5) screening people who want to preview your home (even if you are on the MLS don't let in anyone who comes to your door without an agent - they could easily be out to steal, on that or subsequent visits.  Instead give them your agent's card and tell them to contact your agent.
    6) eliminating showing your home to people not financially able to buy it.
    7) Helping you negotiate with potential buyers - there is so much that happens even after you accept an offer.  Do you agree to fix all the items on the buyer's home inspection list?  Give a credit for them instead?  How much?   And a dozen or more common points of disagreement between sellers & buyers.  

    That's a real "short list" of what you get from a good Realtor.  If you'll talk with two or three you'll get the idea, and you'll be delighted to pay a percentage of your sales price for all the services you need besides an MLS listing. 
  • I'm Making My Mortgage Payments. If I Sell is it a Short Sale?

    Posted Under: Home Selling  |  February 23, 2011 10:05 AM  |  214 views  |  No comments
    Making payments, or being current on payments does not prevent a sale from being a "short sale".

    If a sale would not net enough to pay the current mortgage balance (and you are unable to make up the difference from your own funds), it is a short sale, whether or not you are current on your mortgage payments.

    The most common short sale does involve people who are unable to make the mortgage payments, but that is not required.
  • Can a Home Buyer Save Money by Using the Seller's Realtor?

    Posted Under: Home Buying  |  November 29, 2010 11:18 AM  |  163 views  |  No comments
    Would you hire the fox to guard the hen house? Even if using the seller's agent might save you a few bucks (it won't), there is a lot more to the home buying process (yes, it's a process) than offering X and having the seller say "OK". that's only the beginning

    Every home sale is a negotiation of dozens (if you're lucky) or more (if you're not) conditions, contingencies and possibilities, both on your side and the seller's side. You need someone whose fiduciary (that means looking out for your money) is to you and not the person on the other side of the negotiations.

    What turns up on your home inspection?  "This is the finest home we've ever seen.  There is absolutely nothing amiss anywhere. Every system and appliance works perfectly".  Never happens.
    How do you decide what to ask the seller to repair (or credit you for the cost of repairs so you can get it done yourself).  Ask for every single thing on the average home inspection and you will most likely anger the seller so that, at the very least subsequent negotiations are very difficult, and you may just have the seller tell you to go away. 

    It's a process.  It's a process.  It's a process.  Am I getting through?
  • How do you Know Your Listing Realtor is Doing a Good Job?

    Posted Under: Home Selling  |  November 22, 2010 1:14 PM  |  211 views  |  No comments
    Communication with your agent is paramount (whether buying or selling), so first ask the question of your Realtor.

    Before you get too disappointed with your agent, consider two truisms of real estate.

    1) If your home has not sold in 30 days (maybe 60 in today's market), either it is unusual ($1MM+) or sometimes just "weird" (by an average home buyers estimation) OR it is over priced for the market.

    2) Your home will sell when all the lower-priced comparable homes on the market have sold. (If someone can buy a comparable home to yours for less money, why would they buy yours?)
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