November 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Zillow has made itself to be a solid tool for people on the hunt for a new home. It first debuted (2006) at a time when home prices were getting sky high. At the time, it strictly served as a system to  indicate dollar value for homes based on various data sources.

Fast forward to today, it’s clear that it’s a center for real estate professionals to do-it-yourselfers to perform activities such as find home value to marketing homes on MLS. Zillow has taken advantage of its name to become a marketing and advertising machine.


Selecting a great Flat Fee Service

September 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Flat Fee Listing services exist all across the 50 states. In the state you are looking to sell  in, you can be sure that many companies are looking to compete for your business. With so many out there, what are some things to look for?

Below are considerations to think about before listing.

The more states a company serves, proceed with caution.

In the state my brokerage serves in, Massachusetts is the only state we serve. While it is impressive to see brokerages those that serve multiple states, that fact is unlikely to help you.

What to really look out for are companies that pipe listing opportunities to other brokerages for a price (like http://www.brokerdirectmls.com/) . It is in your best interest to find a service that serves the state directly without a middle man. All funds paid go to that broker, which should be dedicated to paying for your service.

Look to see how many listings the company has

With many competitors, only a few have more than 10 listings at any given time. The more listings suggests that there is reputation that has been earned and kept. You can easily find the current listings on the website. Possibly, they have a record of their history handy.

Cheaper in dollars comes at a cost in other ways.

As I’m writing this post, paying a few hundred dollars ($200-$400) is a sweet spot for getting both competitive price and responsive service. That being said, do not expect phone based communication to be perfectly responsive. To get more handholding and greater phone service, naturally expect to pay more ($500-$1000).  There are services out there claiming price under $200, which is very competitive price-wise, but very low on service or very limited in listing lifespan (less than 3 months).

Being computer savvy (even slightly) is to your advantage.

Email and digital photos are flat-fee listing friendly. Email is a great way to get what you want done effectively. Phone service is generally slower and could possibly be ignored at times. While it doesn’t mean the phone is off limits, but if phone service is very important to you and would consistently use it, look to more expensive flat fee options.

Searching for a listing service that meets what you see above is readily done with some googling effort or by the ever reliable word of mouth. There are lots of them around, so taking the time to see what is more reputable with the suggestions above is in your best interest.

Categories: Coaching, For Homesellers

Considerations when purchasing real estate

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

In the hundreds of pieces of news that I receive everyday, this piece of news is a pretty good one when it comes to purchasing real estate. While this article appears to take an emphasis of “investing”, it too can be applied to just purchasing for your own benefit.


Categories: Uncategorized

From the Mailbag: MLS

September 7, 2012 4 comments

A reader, named “Ed”, wrote in with the “tidbit”.

“The per cent sold by realtors ( around 92 % ) might help convince homeowners to sell through a realty”

Ed, we appreciate the submission, in addition to the successful business that we have conducted together.

What is being referred to is the percentage of homes sold by agents. I can’t confirm if 92% is an accurate number or not.  Even if the actual percentage is lower, I still believe the vast majority of homes are sold by agents. What I do know is that listing a property in MLS is your best chance to getting your property sold.

MLS will

  1. Market your place most effectively.
  2. The best place to elicit a positive emotional response to your place.
  3. Will find you the fairest price for your property.

The 3 facts above are a result of the numbers game. Most people, when they start their home search will run into homes that are found on MLS, one way or another. More people seeing your property mean more chances for a sale.

Successful “Do-it-yourself” home buying

September 7, 2012 Leave a comment

“Do-it-yourself” buying comes in many shapes and forms, with inconsistent results. The goal of this post is to introduce to you the concept of “do-it-yourself” buyers agent, the agent that will bring you consistent results, meaning that a transaction is predictable to your expectations from start to finish.

On the buying side of real estate, “do-it-yourself”  buyers agents (DIYBA) are agents that comes into action when purchasing a property. When employed properly, you can receive a handsome reward at the end of the purchase process.

While the initial engagement of a DIYBA may (and should) come well before submitting an offer, these agents come into real action when you are wanting to submit an offer on a property. Great DIYBA  are out there willing to provide you with their expertise. It’s up to you to find them!

Do-it-yourself buyers agents are especially helpful when

  1. Creating and strategizing an offer
  2. Know how to walk away from a deal.
  3. Navigating and negotiating a deal so that your comfort is in the front seat.

This does not mean that having them out for a home searching session isn’t out of the question. Perhaps having them out with you to consult with is well worth the value.

At first being approached with this idea may seem strange and create some hesitation. Receive this idea with the intent of getting help and get rewarded for the effort put in on your own. With this mindset, you’ll be able to find an outstanding DIYBA.

Why Do-It-Yourself?

August 24, 2012 Leave a comment

It struck me recently that writing about Thread Real Estate continued existence.  In this case, it is important to convey why we do what we do, over what we do and how we do it. This post briefly describes philosophy to help you understand us, but isn’t intended to be a lecture in philosophy.

Go the extra mile

Do-It-Yourself is a bit of a misnomer. At the end of the day, an agent’s professional help is instrumental to getting a sale smoothly completed. In our experience, DIYers that we serve tend to go the extra mile in different ways,  an ingredient for success. When our help is employed, we make sure we go the extra mile. True DIYers that have gone the extra mile know when to employ help that will go the extra mile.

Good work deserves reward.

I do want to qualify what “good work” means. I’ve heard the saying “hard work brings rewards”, but to my experiences, this isn’t always true. Good work means goals were inline and met. Good work can be hard work. Hard work can’t always be good work.

Getting a reward is a result, but is typically secondary why good work is performed. Work with results is complete and purposeful. This could be a reason why DIY experiences ends up being more fulfilling, because the purpose and intent must be greater in focus. While getting or saving cold hard cash helps the cause, it never replaces the true why.

When looking for real estate advice it’s easy to see the more superficial “what’s-in-it-for-you” and “how-do-you-get-it” aspects of do-it-yourself. Looking into the “why”, the advice given comes from something greater.

Successful Do-it-yourself home selling

August 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Veteran do-it-yourselfers understand that there are few ground rules for successful do-it-yourself projects but know they are challenging to act upon. They also truly understand that when completed fully, reward is uniquely other. DIY home selling goes beyond just placing it MLS.

Below are the foundation points in the context of selling real estate.

At this point in time, you have decided to use a flat fee service to place your house on MLS. To be sure you are ready for this, make sure you have a clear vision of what is going to be expected that is explained below. By having this vision, the sale of your home can go so much more smoothly.

1) Be willing and realistic.

This is the first step. Are you even willing to sell your home? Do you have what it takes to sell a home?

Along the way on this journey it is necessary to provide expectations that can be met. At the same time be prepared to reevaluate and change expectations as needed. How quickly expectations are changed will improve your chances to reaching your goal.

Are you willing to drop price, spend time and money home staging, and be ready to show your property even in times you are less willing to do so are all challenges that can be faced.

2) Do the work

This is the most important part. Willingness is just a concept without work. If you truly want the real benefits, the work must be completed. If you are a homeowner looking to sell property, be prepared to spend weekend time hosting open houses, commit time and money preparing your home to be staged, take numerous calls to schedule appointments with agents and would-be buyers, and all the additional leg work involved an agent typically performs.

So, do the work.

3) Ask for guidance

One tendency that do-it-yourselfers fall short on is when to recognize and reach out for help, mostly because they are used to this kind of behavior. Be mindful to send an email or a call to your agent to keep them updated with what is going on. While this may involve a consulting session or two, they could be the difference between creating success and saving sanity versus losing both. As consulting experts, we are also here to relief that stress and unpredictability. Consistent communication with your agent will reduce both and improve your motivation.

Selling a house takes work, even more so if you decide to take the DIY route. Be willing and realistic about how you want to sell your house. We encourage you to ask for expertise. When the work is complete, which will be in line with your willingness and expectations, reap the rewards.

Categories: Coaching, For Homesellers

What kind of programs are available for “Do-It-Yourself” real estate?

August 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Briefly introduced in my last post, there are programs for both sellers and buyers that will allow them to sell their property to a wider audience. In this post, we will look further into detail what each program provides.

The programs are follows

  1. Listing on MLS
  2. Rebate back on purchase
  3. Session based consulting

Listing on MLS

Listing on MLS is a program geared for sellers. Typically the audience is gear for For Sale by Owner (FSBO). In this program,  sellers will place their property on the appropriate MLS network so that they reach a wider audience.  The seller assumes all the legwork and scheduling of showings of their property.

Without dispute, Multiple Listing Service (MLS), is the best place to market your property. Feel free to advertise on other sites, newspaper, etc, as they are all distant seconds and thirds.

Prices range between free to a few hundred dollars. While free appears to be nice, expect overall service to be lacking and to be sold something else in addition down the line. Paying a few hundred dollars to get responsive service to make listing adjustments over the course of selling your home is well worth the value. Communications is best done over email and is favorable to the computer savvy.

Rebate back on purchase

There are lots of names for this kind of program, but the word “rebate” is a term used often to describe it and is typically for buyers. This program allows a buyer to enter an agreement with an agent where a rebate is returned is provided if a purchase of a home is completed.

This rebate is fully earned if the buyer spends the time to view properties without the assistance of an agent, predominantly through open houses. Agreements and adjustments can be made if assistance is needed, but the bulk of the work of an agent comes in when an offer and a sale needs to be managed.

Depending on the sale price and how much the buyer has participated in the search process, the rebate that comes back can be generous, but is dependent on what commission percentage is offered to the buyer’s agent.

Session based consulting

This is a harder service to come by and is an indicator of experience. If this kind of offering is provided by an agent, it’s likely the agent has experienced much. This kind of service is initiated if a question or situation can not be answered in a reasonable amount of time and some kind of appointment is needed. Expect to pay for the services up front.

An experienced and good agent will charge $150-175/hr for services rendered. Time and money spent on sessions usually turn out well worth the value, especially if it prevents large losses of money and time.

What is “Do-it-yourself” real estate?

August 8, 2012 1 comment

During and after the real estate craze in the mid 2000s, value of the traditional real estate sales model has been questioned. This questioning introduced a new type of real estate sales model where homeowners or homebuyers can get more closely involved in the transaction process and in turn, be rewarded mostly by earning or saving significant funds.

If you are reading this, quite possibly you are interested in this way.

“Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) sales has been around for a while but hasn’t been well publicized, reasons that go beyond the purpose of this blog. This blog contributes to leading the reversal of this trend.

DIY real estate services provide programs to both buyers and sellers of real estate in the form of these concepts

  1. Listing on MLS for a Flat Fee (For sellers)
  2. Rebate back when purchasing a home. (For buyers)
  3. Session based consulting work (For sellers and buyers)

These programs provide monetary incentive for sellers or buyers if there a commitment to spend the time and leg work to perform property showings and viewings. Only when a sales transaction needs to be initiated and guided, will an agent be of assistance.