Archive for February, 2017

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


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