Why is the Listing Agreement Important When Selling Your Home?

by: Maria Hass, Chandler and Gilbert Realtor

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A seller in her senior years approached me wanting to relist her house with me. She is not happy with her current Realtor from Keller Williams. She showed me the listing agreement, and to my surprise, the listing agreement expired more than a month and a half ago, but the Realtor didn’t inform the seller and continued to conduct open houses at the seller’s house even though they were no longer authorized  to market the house.
I talked to the listing agent and she said they had a verbal authorization to continue listing the house past the listing’s expiration date.
Whether or not this is true, EVERY agent should know that a verbal agreement does NOT change any terms of the written agreement. Everything has to be in writing.
In addition, the listing still shows “Active” in the MLS indicating that the listing end date entered by the Realtor in the MLS was not the same date that was agreed upon in the listing agreement.  Otherwise, the listing status would show “Expired” a month and a half ago.
The Seller has the option to pursue a code of ethics violation with the Arizona Department of Real Estate, an MLS violation for dishonest conduct and incorrect entry and an appropriate fine could be sanctioned against the Realtor.
What is the moral of the story?
1. Read the listing agreement before signing — Ask the Realtor to send you a blank copy of the listing agreement a few days before you meet so you have time to read the terms and conditions and ask any questions before signing.
2. Know your listing period by heart and mark it on your calendar.
3. Ask for copies of ALL the documents you signed showing your signature, not just a blank copy. This way you have a copy of the executed agreement.
4. Know your right to cancellation. The Arizona Association of Realtors (AAR) listing agreement, which is the standard form used by Realtors for resale homes, gives the Realtor a “unilateral right” to cancel. But it doesn’t give the Seller an automatic right to cancel. So, every Realtor has different terms when dealing with seller cancellations. Some Realtors charge a $500 upto $3,000 marketing fee to release the seller from the listing early. Other Realtors don’t charge anything to cancel.
Find out the Realtor’s cancellation policy before you sign.
5. The listing period varies by Realtor. It can be anywhere from two months to a year. The longer the listing, the longer it takes to get out of it if you are unhappy with your Realtor. A six-month listing period in Arizona is standard.
Protect yourself by taking time to read the listing agreement. Once you sign the agreement, you are bound to follow the terms of the contract.

February 23, 2017 at 1:18 pm Leave a comment

How Accurate is Zillow.com?

by: Maria Hass

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By now most people have heard of Zillow.com – a website where home buyers or home sellers can go to find out the worth of a property. But is it really accurate? My answer is a resounding NO! In fact, there is usually a huge difference between the home value calculated on Zillow.com versus the true market value of the home.

Why is Zillow.com not accurate?

1. Zillow.com determines a home’s value based on tax records, which are hardly accurate nor updated. I tried experimenting on my old home to see what the site has to say. Zillow.com estimated my home at $223,000. I was able to sell it for $250,000. Zillow’s estimate showed that my home was only a three-bedroom without a pool when in reality it was a three-bedroom plus a den with a Pebble-tec pool and built-in barbecue. Home buyers visiting my home without the help of a Realtor would argue that the home is only worth what Zillow says it is. Well, in the real estate industry, Realtors don’t give Zillow’s estimates any respect.

2. Zillow.com provides a comparative market analysis of your home based on what sold in the last year. Real estate agents typically pull up homes that sold within the last three months because the market is constantly changing. We also look at what is pending and active to get an idea of what the future sales look like. Zillow does not do that.

3. Zillow.com does not have specific search criteria. The website does not take into consideration the condition of the home, any upgrades to the home, the number of levels of the home (single-level, two-story, with or without a basement), the direct and indirect competition of the property for sale and any additions to the home. Zillow does not distinguish whether the home that sold backs out to a main street or to a lake. This property description alone can add $20,000 more value to a home on a lake and a lot less to a home that backs to a busy street. It does not know if the home that sold has an extremely big lot or extremely small lot. Again, this can add a greater value to a home with a huge lot. Zillow does not identify whether a home that just closed is bank-owned or a regular sale. The type of sale matters to real estate agents because distressed sales normally sell for a lot less than regular sales. So, your four-bedroom home will be compared to all the four-bedroom homes close by, regardless of valuable property features, condition, upgrades, etc.

4. Zillow’s estimate is computer-generated. There is no human intervention to identify the changing market conditions. It does not have the eye to see the condition and competition of the home for sale. Zillow.com is one big misleading home search website. It is a quick and easy way to find a home’s value, but is far from being 100 percent accurate. If you are serious about finding the value of a home, take time to call a trusted and knowledgeable real estate agent. Realtors have the tools and expertise at their disposal to find out what your home’s value really is. If you need help with determining the value of your home, feel free to contact me for assistance.

February 18, 2017 at 4:59 pm Leave a comment

Every Realtor is Different

by Maria Hass

There is a growing misconception that if Realtors belong to the same real estate company, then they all perform the same way.

This is absolutely incorrect! Here are some reasons why

The real estate firm does not move the transaction

Real estate companies like HomeSmart, Keller Williams or ReMax do not manage the transactions. The individual Realtor does. From the time the listing is marketed to when an offer is made, negotiated and closed, the Realtor oversees every step to completion and solves problems, if any. On the other hand, the firm provides Realtors educational training, technical support, broker support, marketing assistance and and processes commission checks. None of these matters directly affect your individual transaction.

Every Realtor is Different

Realtors differ in the way they conduct business, including their style of communication, marketing strategies, knowledge of the area, years of experience, personality and work ethic. Some Realtors may know the area better than other Realtors and can better price a house to sell. Some Realtors are more honest than others. Some Realtors may use technology more than others and will communicate better via email than a phone call.

Go with Performance and Do Your Homework

As a client looking to hire a Realtor, you need to gather as much information as you can about the Realtor before setting up an appointment with him or her. With online exposure, this information is not hard to come by. I’ve lost out on a listing in the past because the seller went with a referral recommended by their adult child. The house sat on the market for three months with no offers because it was $40,000 overpriced. The Realtor they hired has done multiple open houses pretending to work to sell the house, but in reality is looking to attract buyers as clients. No house will sell if it is overpriced $40,000. An honest and knowledgeable Realtor will know how to counsel the seller to list at fair price. I don’t have a problem selling a house in 30 days or less but I feel sorry for Sellers who hire the less qualified Realtor and see them go through the agony of house selling.  My philosophy is…“You hired me to Sell your house, not to list it.”

 

 

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With thousands of Realtors to choose from, which one should you hire? 

  1. Get recommendations from trusted friends and family.
  2. Find out the closing statistics to determine Realtor’s results.
  3. Check the Arizona Department of Real Estate to find out if the Realtor has any complaints on file.
  4. Find a Realtor that you trust and fits your expectations and produces RESULTS! After all, this is the reason why you needed a Realtor in the first place.

 

February 8, 2017 at 2:26 pm Leave a comment

Advantages and Disadvantages of Uniform Collateral Data Portal (UCDP)

by: Maria Hass – The Uniform Collateral Data Portal® (UCDP®) is a single portal through which lenders electronically submit appraisal reports for conventional mortgages delivered to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Through UCDP, lenders can upload appraisal data and view edits and submission details.

But what does the UCDP really mean to you?

Advantages of UCDP:

  1. Prevents Home Values from surging -The portal was created to prevent another housing bubble which occurred in 2005-2006 by identifying appraisers whose home evaluation is inconsistent with the norm. In the last year or two, home values have remain steady.
  2. Simplify process – The portal is able to identify any red flags in the appraiser’s evaluation (square footage, number of rooms, lot size and so on) for the underwriter to review.

Disadvantage of UCDP:

  1. Over cautious Appraisal evaluation – the portal has the ability to blacklist any appraiser whose evaluation report may be viewed as uncostumary. As a result, Appraisers are over cautious and strongly conservative in their valuation of home features for fear of losing their license. Homes that may have appraised for more are faced with appraisal issues due to the possible consequence that UCDP can impose on appraisers
  2. Low appraisal – UCDP controls home appreciation. More homes are faced with appraisal issue and Realtors and Sellers are more likely to keep their listing low to a fair market value to “list to appraise”. Some homes can appraise for more but are appraised for less for fear that the appraiser could eventually lose his/her license.

There are two opposing views on the creation of UCDP. One view is, UCDP prevents a housing bubble and in contrast, UCDP drives home values down. If the market is fairly strong UCDP takes less of presence in determining home values. But if the market slows down, it will have a significant effect in keeping home values low.

August 4, 2016 at 3:16 am Leave a comment

Lennar Homes at Layton Lakes Review

by: Maria Hass – I had the opportunity to place three clients with Lennar Homes at Layton Lakes in Gilbert, AZ, and I’m delighted to say that all three experiences my
clients and I had with Lennar Homes were extremely positive. Here are some reasons why:

1. Communication: The Builder’s representatives Kristi Rae and Jessica work well together. Their communication
with the field supervisor, clients, myself, mortgage and title companies were streamlined from start
to finish. And everyone involved in the correspondence was copied so that everyone was on the same page and
aware of what was taking place every step of the way. They kept me involved in the whole process from contract signing, inspection, walkthrough and closing. This is different from my experience as a Realtor with other builders. Many Builders only keep me involved in contract signing but cease to update me moving forward. I would like to act as counsel to my clients and guide them every step of the way. It is difficult to do this, when the Builder’s employees don’t include you in their correspondence with your client.
2. Efficient: The builder’s representatives were on top of things. They sent notices and reminders ahead of schedule
and prepared my clients to know when to expect important events to happen.
3. Construction Supervisor: Kyle Wolf went out of his way to accommodate my client’s request to move the fence in front of their living room window instead of behind the window for privacy. In order to do this, the outside faucet had to be replumbed and the wall had to be retextured. Lennar Homes redesigned their plan to ensure my client was happy. Most builders would not make any changes to their original plan because it requires more work, time and communication. Instead, Lennar Homes listened and accommodated my client’s request without hesitation
and for that my client is grateful.
4. Title company and Mortgage Company: Nicolette of Universal American Mortgage Company and Michelle Musgrove of North American Title were efficient and closed escrow on time in all of my transactions.
Lastly, the turnover of staff seemed low. I’ve been working with the same people for more than two years. If a company is able to keep great workers, they are doing something right. So the next time you search for a new home, consider checking out Lennar Homes at Layton Lakes in Gilbert. Not only do they have excellent
customer service but they also have a big inventory of move-in ready homes than any other builder in the East Valley at any price range for any size family. Select from over 18 floor plans in four different communities – Horizon, Signature, Destiny and Vision. If a family oriented community with lots of greenbelt, walking paths, basketball court, splash pads, tennis court and a community elementary school interest you, stop by the Lennar Homes Model Center by Lindsay and Queen Creek.
Plus, they give the Buyer 4% towards payment of their closing cost on spec homes.
And remember to bring a qualified buyer’s agent like myself to ensure your best interests are represented.
http://www.lennar.com/new-homes/arizona/phoenix/gilbert/layton-lakes

May 20, 2016 at 8:57 am Leave a comment

Real Estate Story No. 3 – Document Everything

by: Maria Hass –
A couple of years ago, a buyer who is also an experienced builder was interested in buying a one-acre lot backing out to State land. He asked his Realtor if anything would be built behind the lot that he was interested in.
According to the buyer, his Realtor responded, “Nothing will be built because it is State land.” But the buyer’s Realtor indicated that he told his client, “I don’t know; you will have to check with the city and other resources to find out.”
The buyer bought the acre lot. Two years later, the family’s dream home was built and the family moved into their new mansion worth $2 million. A few months after moving in, construction trucks rolled in behind the buyer’s custom home. The trucks were preparing to construct a sewage treatment facility.
The buyer was horrified. The value of their home was suddenly $1 million lower. The buyer filed a $1 million dollar lawsuit against the seller and the seller’s Realtor for non-disclosure. The buyer also sued his own Realtor for not complying with his fiduciary duties of care and honesty.
The court ruled against the buyer after more facts surfaced during the trial. The buyer bought the land in 2005 when the market was at a peak — and as soon as the house was constructed, the market tanked. The buyer owed more than what the house was worth. The buyer had to short-sell the house. His lender forgave his debt due to the debt forgiveness act and he owed nothing towards the house. The jury found the buyer’s intention to claim $1 million as a way to profit from his loss and his intention was quickly declined by the jury.
Realtor Tips:
Always document your conversations regarding important subjects via email or in writing. In the case above, for example, it would have helped if the buyer’s Realtor had documented his conversation with the buyer about the possibility of future construction in the area.
For land purchases, be certain to have the buyer sign documents acknowledging receipt of a copy of the public report.

August 21, 2015 at 10:59 am Leave a comment

Real Estate Story 3 – Why Didn’t You Tell Me the House was Haunted?

By: Maria Hass-

Haunted houseI tuned my car radio to 104.7 FM one recent morning when the “Machaca” segment of the Johnjay and Rich radio show came on. This is the portion of the show where the show hosts help a caller solve a puzzling question by tricking another person to confess his or her darkest secrets on the show.

A caller wanted to find out if there was a homicide that happened in the house she currently rents. The caller said she had seen ghostly images appear in the bathroom and felt a presence lying in bed next to her. She hadn’t slept for three months because she was wondering about the story behind this house.

Johnjay and Rich called the woman’s landlord pretending to be from a movie production crew and scouting for a haunted house to film a scary movie for $10,000.

During the course of the conversation, the landlord, owner and Realtor admitted that there was a double homicide and suicide that occurred when the mistress of the husband came to the wife’s bedroom and shot the wife while asleep. The husband came up to the room and saw the wife dead and shot the mistress and later shot himself.

The caller wanted to know if she could break the lease and if the landlord was wrong in not disclosing to her as the tenant that the house was “haunted,” or a site of homicide.

Is Landlord obligated to disclose that house is haunted or a site of a homicide?

The answer is found in lines 25 to 29 of the Arizona Real Estate Agency form provided by the Arizona Association of Realtors.

Pursuant to A.R.S. §32-2156, Sellers, Lessors and Brokers are not obligated to disclose that a property is or has been: (1) the site of a natural death, suicide, homicide, or any crime classified as a felony; (2) owned or occupied by a person exposed to HIV, or diagnosed as having AIDS or any other disease not known to be transmitted through common occupancy of real estate; or (3) located in the vicinity of a sex offender. Sellers or Sellers’ representatives may not treat the existence, terms, or conditions of offers as confidential unless there is a confidentiality agreement between the parties.

Although the action of the landlord may be construed by the tenant as morally wrong, it was legally fine. The tenant can break the lease anytime with penalty, or as described in the lease agreement. If tenant wishes to break the lease without penalty, she could hire a lawyer to stand in her behalf. There are volunteer lawyers that advocate for tenants’ rights, or check with the Arizona Department of Real Estate for resources pertaining to this complaints.

*Maria Hass is a full time Realtor with HomeSmart, the no. 1 Real Estate company in Arizona. She has 5 star reviews from past clients and operates majority of his business by referral only. Contact her at (480) 650-0075.

June 5, 2015 at 10:52 am Leave a comment

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