How I Serve Sellers
My past seller clients in the Schenectady real estate markets send us new business by referral constantly. This is because they’ve experienced my stellar seller services package and want their friends and family to experience it as well. I realize that the value I bring to the Schenectady real estate selling process is in a package of services that takes a seller from an idea to sell through a very complex and detailed process and culminates in leaving the closing table with a check.
I'm not doing our sellers a service by misleading them or letting them proceed without a thorough, honest and objective evaluation of their property prior to pricing and going to market. Let me give you this opinion, but also ideas and strategies to improve your property in the current market environment.
One service that I believe is extremely important in Schenectady, Ballston Spa, Clifton Park, Rensselaer, Troy, Waterford, Watervliet, Albany, Glenville, Scotia, Niskayuna, Glens Falls, Queensbury, South Glens Falls, Wilton, Lake George, and Saratoga Springs real estate markets is helping my listing clients to objectively evaluate their homes for marketability. Some brokerages do a once–over to get the information to put into the various information fields in the listing . However, I go much more into the detail of the features, characteristics and condition of your home.
I will want to postpone some photos until we’ve worked with you to do a thorough inspection of your home with a whole lot of details in mind. Every buyer who sees your home will be comparing it to the competition in your area and price range. How your home compares is critical to how soon you sell it and at what price. I'm going to work with you in several areas of concern:
- Interior features & characteristics – While the number of bedrooms and baths are not something you’ll be changing to compete better with other homes, you do need to objectively compare them in order to end up with a listing price that will get your property sold. Some things I can consider for improvements, others I just need to know how your home compares to other homes buyers will be seeing. Other features/characteristics:
- Floor plan
- Built date and obsolescence
- Floors & walls condition, paint, etc.
- Kitchen features
- Room sizes
- Lighting, skylights, windows
- Exterior – That “curb appeal” thing really does mean something. When a prospective buyer first drives up in front of your home, they’re going to get a first impression that is very important. I help you to look at things like landscaping, exterior paint and condition. Here is an area in which small expenditures can yield big results. It’s a fact that some buyers will ask to leave without ever stepping across the threshold if they get a bad first curb appeal impression.
- Condition – Minor repairs can also make a major difference. Many buyers assume that a need for minor repairs indicates a general lack of fundamental maintenance over time. They’ll discount their offer, if they make one, thinking they’ll have a lot of work to do to bring the home to a good condition. So, I'm honest with you about things that I see and buyers will see and consider in their evaluation. From cracked window panes to scarred walls or doors, we’ll let you know what we believe is important and make suggestions.
Proper List Pricing
Properties listed at the right price sell fastest and put the most money into their sellers’ pockets. Under–pricing, isn’t common, but can cost you money you really need to move on in life. Over–pricing is a really bad practice that can keep a property on the market longer than necessary and end up with price reductions and low–ball offers.
What would an upward or lower price adjustment look like based on the current market CMA? Well, let’s look at an example. Let’s say that the CMA of previously and recently sold similar homes shows that the listing price should be around $235,000. However, those sales were between one month and three months old. Our current market listing CMA shows that similar homes in the neighborhood are listed at $249,000 or thereabouts. Me and you may decide that the market is improving and justifies raising the listing price of your home to $245,000 so that it’s still competitive but a better deal for you. Of course, this can work the other way as well.
A proper list price that reflects current and realistic market conditions is critical to getting your Schenectady, Ballston Spa, Clifton Park, Rensselaer, Troy, Waterford, Watervliet, Albany, Glenville, Scotia, Niskayuna, Glens Falls, Queensbury, South Glens Falls, Wilton, Lake George, and Saratoga Springs real estate property sold quickly. I don’t want you to under–price, but it’s worse to over–price in any market. Buyers discount value by DOM, Days On Market. The longer a home stays on the market, the greater they’ll discount their offers. So, a realistic list price is how I make sure your property sells without languishing on the market.
How do I come up with a suggested list price that reflects your home’s competitive position? It’s a combination of services and experience, and I'm going to be very careful and detailed in my analysis and market evaluations to make sure that you don’t leave money on the table or sit around wondering why you aren’t getting offers.
My evaluation of how your property compares to the current competition is the first step. Then we may suggest some worthwhile corrections you can make to improve that position. Once I know what your home will look like when listed, I’ll go into our thorough CMA, Comparative Market Analysis, process.
CMA of Sold Properties
First I select comparable properties out of those sold recently and in the neighborhood or nearby. These “comparables” or “comps” are selected based on similarity in features, location and characteristics with your home. They must have been sold as recently as possible so the sold prices are of maximum value.
I then do a through “adjustment” process to adjust their sold prices for any differences with your property. If a home has one more bedroom than yours, I would adjust that property’s sold price downward for the value of one bedroom to make the comparison “apples to apples.” I make adjustments for garages, bathrooms and other major features to bring our comps to closely compare with your home. Then I use those sold prices to arrive at a preliminary listing price for your home.
I say “preliminary” because I have another CMA step.
CMA of Current Listings
Now I get more comps, but instead they’re properties currently listed and your competition. I go through the same adjustment process, and I come up with another, possibly higher or lower, price suggestion for your home. This second CMA gives me more up–to–date information about the market which could cause us to lower or raise our preliminary list price to adjust to the current market. Using the two CMA results and an experienced analysis of your home’s position in the marketplace, we can set a listing price that will get the job done.
Markets are like the weather, always changing. I’ll keep you updated on market conditions and how they may call for price changes or other actions to adapt.
Do you know how many comparable properties to your home came on the market this week? How about how many were sold or taken off the market? Markets are constantly changing, and it’s my job to monitor these changes and keep my listing clients informed. Changes in the competition don’t always require a price adjustment, but they may. Sometimes they just cause us to make changes in our marketing approach, putting emphasis on features that are no longer available in currently listed comps.
Whether I'm suggesting a price adjustment up or down or not, I'm always concerned with my seller clients’ peace of mind that their real estate property is properly priced and positioned in the market. Use the form on this page to tell me about your property and I’ll do a preliminary CMA for you with recently sold comps in your area. I’ll need more data to do the best job, but you can begin to see how the process works.
Good markets or slow markets, buyers are always trying to pay the lowest price or negotiate for seller concessions. I do this every day, and I’ll help you to respond to offers and counter offers unemotionally and with the very best end result.
Seller motivation research – While it’s not always legally possible to determine why someone is selling, there are things I can glean from their listing and price activity that will allow me to help you to negotiate from a position of strength.
It’s not all money – There are a lot of ways to negotiate a real estate deal, and they don’t always involve money. Perhaps the seller doesn’t have a lot of ability to work with you on price, but they can make other concessions that could result in a deal. I help you to take the best approach.
It’s not over till it’s over – Many real estate price negotiations involve multiple counter offers and a lot of back–and–forth. I'm with you with each counter offer to adjust your negotiation strategy accordingly. Because I can’t know the seller’s financial limitations in many deals, some buyers are elated when they cut a major low-priced deal on a home, but then after inspections they hit a brick wall in negotiations with the seller related to repairs. The negotiation to purchase a home isn’t over with the price on the contract, and it’s best to know that a real deal at the front end could result in less flexibility after inspections in the repairs discussion.
Inspections & Repair Negotiations
Price negotiations are only the beginning. Once a contract is in place, there are documents, disclosures and inspections to get past. Any of these items can result in further negotiations and can make or break a deal.
Contract to Closing Process
Dozens of detailed tasks, document deliveries, deadlines, inspections and mortgage details are all in store between a price agreement, contract and a closing. I'm on every one of them and will keep your transaction organized and moving.
- Title – I work closely with the title company and attorneys to make sure that all documents and deliveries are processed in a timely manner. I work with my sellers to examine all of their title and recorded documents to uncover all material defects and items of importance. Though this is normally of more concern to the buyer, sellers must respond to their objections, so it’s important to know what’s in all recorded documents. Example: while there are normally few items in a title binder that can be corrected as they’re recorded and pass with the property, sometimes there are requirements or exceptions that weren’t expected but must be addressed. With the more careful lending environment, more “quit-claim” deeds are being required as one example. Perhaps you have a previous divorce and the lender wants better protection against claims and will require a quitclaim deed from your former spouse.
- Inspections, Survey & Appraisal – My job is to coordinate access for inspectors and the appraiser, and to accept deliveries of reports as well as any objections or correction requirements from the buyers. I take this job seriously and will be with my sellers every step of the way. Every instance of delivery of an inspection and/or buyer objections requires a response in most cases, and there are deadlines. I stay on top of these deadlines, make sure reports are delivered to you on time or extensions are put into place, and that you respond within required time lines. Failure to do so could obligate you to repairs or other corrections or kill the deal.
- Repair Negotiations – If the buyer submits requirements for corrective actions to items on reports, I work with my sellers to determine the cost of those requirements and the appropriate response necessary to keep the deal going in a way beneficial to my seller clients. Should you agree to make certain repairs, there will be deadlines associated with completion, and possibly requirements for the buyer’s inspector to return and re-inspect for completion and repair quality. I keep all of this on track for you, and can recommend contractors I know do quality work at fair prices.
- Lender Document Coordination – One of the leading causes of delayed closings is some problem with funding due to lender last minute requirements or other document demands. I am monitoring all document flows to make sure this doesn’t happen for my sellers. As the seller, you aren’t getting a mortgage, but you need to be very concerned with the buyer’s ability to do so and their lender’s process and ability to meet deadlines and fund at closing. Mortgage problems kill a lot of deals, so we’re going to be involved in the buyer’s process to protect you, our seller client.