Ibuyers offer “Convenience”, but at what cost?

We’ve all seen or heard the ads, because they’re everywhere. 
 
Opendoor, Offerpad. Zillow — all “iBuyer” companies that want potential home sellers to bypass the traditional sales process and accept their cash offer in the name of “convenience.”
 
My first thought about all these ads is that a lot of money is being spent to get all that attention. Think about some of the other categories of goods and services that blanket the airwaves with advertising: Automobile manufacturers and insurance companies come to mind — two products that are very expensive for consumers at least partly because of these corporations’ big marketing costs. 
 
These iBuyer services purport to be the quickest, most convenient way for a person to sell a home. According to a representative from one of these companies who spoke at a recent local real estate continuing education session, a prospective seller can contact the company, send them some photos, and they will respond promptly with a cash offer based on what they say is a proprietary formula — which includes a look at what similar houses have sold for recently.
 
If you, as a seller, want to accept that offer, the company sends a member of its staff (not an appraiser, not an independent inspector) to assess the value of the home first-hand.
 
Any repairs or other issues that need mitigation will be reported back to you, along with a choice: Let the companies’ contractors come in and, for example, fix a leak in the roof or the toilet — at a deduction to your offer price — or have contractors of your choosing make the repairs and show proof of satisfactory completion.
 
As for convenience, this particular company charges all home sellers a 1 percent “convenience charge.” Yes, that’s exactly what they call it. 
 
That’s on top of a buying agent commission ranging from 2.5 to 3 percent; 0.1 to 0.2 percent “listing costs,” and a range from 2 to 6 percent for “holding cost and risk.” The company’s “cap” on the total fees charged to a seller, it was noted, is 14 percent.
 
Fourteen percent. Compare that to the typical and negotiable 6 percent commission a Maricopa County home seller will pay to have his or her property actively marketed and listed by a Realtor. So, for example, on a home sold for $280,000 — the current median home price in the Metro Phoenix market — the 6 percent commission would be $16,800. If a homeowner’s fees to sell to one of the iBuyers reached 14 percent, the cost would be $39,200. That’s a $22,400 premium for a “quick” sale in a market that has rarely seen quicker turnaround than exists today.
 
The reason the market is currently seeing quick sales transactions in general is that the Phoenix real estate market has a very low supply of homes available, as well as heavy demand — Arizona’s population growth is the fastest in the nation, up 2.21 percent to climb to over 7.1 million residents last year. 
 
That high demand means homes are sold more quickly — current average days on the market, according to the Cromford Report, is 56.48 days — the fastest since August 2013 (58.73 days on average). More proof: On Oct. 1, 2019, there were 17,535 active listings on the MLS. On the same date a year ago: 20,292 listings. In 2017: 21,804 active listings.
 
What does this mean to prospective home sellers who are trying to decide between contacting an “iBuyer” program or reaching out to a Realtor with a fiduciary responsibility to work diligently on clients’ behalf to market and promptly sell their home at the best possible price? 
 
It means looking up a local Realtor before contacting one of the “iBuyer” companies would be a very wise move.

October 5, 2019 at 6:52 am Leave a comment

2019 Arizona Real Estate Market Update and predictions

I attended a class on real estate recently and listened to Bill Grey, ASU professor on real estate and very well informed on past and current issues.  He mentioned many interesting views about varied subjects that affects the future of Arizona which I will share with you.  Many of which we take for granted.

  • Arizona private land ownership is rare: 43% of AZ land is owned by the Federal Government, 26% is owned by Indian reservation, 12% is owned by State of AZ Trust to build schools. So, only 19% is owned by private citizens like us.
  • Arizona home ownership: Sixty five percent can afford to own a home. This is a drop from 75 percent from years ago because mortgage loans are tougher to get.
  • Arizona home sales: Looking bright. Many people are moving to AZ from California, Utah, Colorado, Washington because of low cost of living, jobs, weather and quality of life.
  • Rental Market in Arizona: Booming and rent is increasing. A legislation to cap rental increase would help.
  • Arizona median Age: 35.5 years old
  • Arizona unemployment rate: 4.3 percent
  • Arizona median income: $56,000
  • US median home income: $60,000
  • US median home prices – $250,000
  • AZ population: 1.7 million , growth rate is 1 million  per 10 years
  • AZ largest employer: Banner Health Care
  • Retail market prediction: Malls without experience will close and convert to medical offices, restaurants. Dollar store, 99 cent store, Goodwill are gaining demand. Middle American stores like Macy’s, Penny’s are struggling. Luxury stores are doing well.
  • Industrial Market: Many distribution hubs are staying or moving to AZ because it is cheaper – Dicks, Ace etc…
  • Entertainment centers are gaining success. Customers are looking for fun experience such as top golf.  Golf courses are on a decline.
  • Challenges facing Arizona: Lack of water, huge national debt, available land, education.

 

*Information and figures provided were based on March 18, 2019 and are subject to change.

March 23, 2019 at 12:56 pm Leave a comment

What would you do if the house you made an offer on was used to shoot porno films?

A couple rescinded their offer on a Paradise Valley home after they found out that the house was used for pornographic films.

What are the porn laws in Arizona? When selling real estate, the Seller is not obligated to disclose the type of business the house was used for. Other items that are not required to be disclosed in Arizona when selling a home are as follows:

The home being the site of a natural death, suicide or homicide or any other crime classified as a felony.
The home being owned or occupied by a person exposed to HIV or AIDS.
The home being located in the vicinity of a sex offender.

The Buyer has the right to cancel within allowable time frame due to their inspection or morale standard but Arizona law doesn’t prohibit the sale of the house regardless of its past. It will just have to wait for the right Buyer.

 

March 10, 2019 at 1:58 pm Leave a comment

Is Selling a home through Offerpad or Opendoor better than hiring a Realtor?

For many months in the Phoenix metro area, alternative services to real estate agencies and Realtors  like OfferPad and Opendoor have been aggressively advertising and promoting their alleged advantages to selling a home “a different way.”

I recently visited  one of these websites to find out how much they would offer to purchase my own house.  As a Realtor, I have a strong sense of where my house should be priced at to sell. The resulting offer was a price about $10,000 lower than what I would sell my house for in today’s market.

However, that wasn’t the end of the story. On top of the $10,000-below-market-value offer, the service deducted 9 percent from its offer price to be applied towards their holding costs (utilities, HOA fees, and maintenance) until they sold the house to another buyer, and also covering their sales commission to sell the house, plus other miscellaneous administrative costs.

Finally, in addition to the holding costs, the service noted that it would deduct repairs or replacement costs after an inspection. These items included, but were not limited to, the air conditioning unit, roof, water heater, appliances or structural flaws.

Will customers receive more money for the sale of their house if they go with one of these services instead of selling the home the traditional way by hiring a Realtor? Below is an example that shows the comparisons:

                                                         Alternative Home Buying Service            Realtor

Sale Price                                             $360 ,000                                                              $370,000

 

Commission/holding cost/           -$32,400 (9%)                                                     -$25,900 (7%)*

Closing cost deductions

Repair/Replacement cost             -$2,000 (estimate)                                           -$1,000 (estimate)

Net Profit                                            $325,600                                                              $343,100

Difference in Gain                           – $17,500                                                              +$17,500

In summary, hiring a Realtor to sell a home in my area would result with the homeowner pocketing well over $15,000 more than using the alternative service.

However, for some sellers, the convenience of selling their house “as-is,” not having to show the house to buyers or waiting for a buyer to make an offer, plus the sometimes lengthy closing process may be enough reasons to justify the a more than $15,000 reduction in profit.

Like any investor, OfferPad or Opendoor will give you less money in exchange for convenience.  The choice is yours.

 

May 5, 2018 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

What you need to know about buying a new home with Taylor Morrison

My client recently went under contract with one of Taylor Morrison’s homes at Adora Trails in Gilbert. My client wanted to schedule a third-party inspection prior to drywall. This is within the buyer’s rights with new construction homes, but is often not mentioned by builder’s representative.

I quickly contacted Taylor Morrison’s sales representative to get the inspection scheduled as soon as possible. But, unlike with most other builders, it was not that easy. Taylor Morrison requires 30 days’ advance notice of the buyer’s intent to schedule an independent home inspection to the seller’s customer care representative. Taylor Morrison also requires that the independent inspector provide proof of liability insurance coverage of at least $1 million.

The sales representative mentioned that it would take a few days for Taylor Morrison to get an approval and discouraged me from continuing to pursue the independent inspection because of the lack of time before drywall installation. He also mentioned that Taylor Morrison takes pride in quality work. Also, I was told there is NO assurance that they will fix any items listed in the independent inspection.

I shared this information with my client and he decided to waive the third-party inspection. I’m disappointed that Taylor Morrison didn’t do more to accommodate my client’s request.

This incident reduced my level of trust in “America’s Most Trusted Home Builder.” How can you trust a builder who doesn’t help a buyer complete their own independent inspection? It makes you wonder what they are hiding.

I understand that Taylor Morrison doesn’t want to delay closing a sale, but in this case, even though construction seemed ahead of schedule and they had time to allow a third-party inspection, it felt like they didn’t want to accommodate or bother with it. My client closed on the home ahead of schedule. Other than this request, he was happy that all other aspects of the sale went smoothly.

On the other hand, Lennar Homes at Layton Lakes allowed two of my other clients to complete an independent inspection with short notice. Lennar Homes fixed the items identified by the independent inspector, including an accidental leak that occurred at time of inspection, and my client was happy.

The next time you shop for a new home, have your Realtor ask the builder about their independent inspection procedures. You’ll find that one builder may be more flexible than another. And the peace of mind of having an independent inspection is priceless.

April 21, 2018 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

Why is the Listing Agreement Important When Selling Your Home?

by: Maria Hass, Chandler and Gilbert Realtor

listing-agreement

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

cartoon-housequestion-mark-black-symbol_318-34248

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

Older Posts


Categories

Feeds