In 2016 Tina Plett made the top ten list in the office at Sutton Group and made the top 10% list of the Wpg Realtors.
In 2016 Tina Plett made the top ten list in the office at Sutton Group and made the top 10% list of the Wpg Realtors.
In southeastern Manitoba, home sales have slowed. And sellers are getting frustrated.
For the last decade, our area has enjoyed a boom – a fast-paced market where buyers were tripping over themselves to secure the house they desperately wanted to buy. Prices swelled, there were competing offers, and it was a thrilling ride.
In the last year or so, something changed. We suddenly have an abundance of homes to choose from in today’s market. Buyers are now able to take their time (and they surely do), and browse the wide selection. They are no longer desperate to get whatever they can.
This is why to sell a home takes much longer than it did only a year or two ago.
Homes listed on MLS can take twice as long to sell than they would have in the past. It can take six months (or more) to sell your house in the R16 region.
If you’re a seller, this is disappointing news.
If you’re a seller in a hurry to sell, this is downright scary.
There is a way around it, but new markets call for new ways of thinking. Are you ready to adapt to the new market? If you are willing to change with the times, you’ll have an easier time. Stubborn adherence to past prices, old marketing, or even just your own perceptions though, can cause you a world of unnecessary hurt.
If you’re eager to sell, and willing to accept that the tides have changed, here’s how to change with them.
If your home is listed at 100% of market value, expect the sale to take six months or more.
Pricing at 95% of market value would bring you back up around 2-4 months.
Listing at 85% of market value may take closer to 3-8 weeks.
If your home is listed at 70% of market value though, which is what investors typically pay, you can expect a sale very quickly – in 1-3 weeks!
Then there are those who insist on listing above that value. Theirs can be a dark road.
That road often ends in the listing becoming stale, receiving low-ball offers, and then either selling for way, way, way below even market value, or being repossessed because the owners could not finance the long haul that kind of greed demands.
The bottom line is that you can control your bottom line.
You can’t force people to buy, but you can certainly sweeten the deal for them. And in a buyers’ market, that’s an essential element to selling your home.
Like much of life, it seems the home seller must choose between time or money.
Which are you willing to pay?
Years ago when my daughter was little, we would use a vaporizer to help relieve coughs and congestion. The first time I set up the vaporizer to make the bedroom steamy she raised a finger to touch the steam flowing out of the machine.
“Don’t touch the steam – it’s hot!”
She quickly took back her little hand, “Okay mum.” I left the room. Twenty seconds later, her scream shot through the house. I ran to her side.
She had taken my advice, and not touched the steam… with her hand anyway. Instead, she had sat on the vaporizer, the poor thing. And she had a great big blister for her efforts.
(Don’t worry, she survived and is all grown up and just fine.)
Being a REALTOR® is a lot like being a mom, I’ve noticed. As a caring guide, I want the best for my child (or client), and work to protect her and help her avoid consequences of poor decisions. In the end though, it’s still her call. And it’s not as though the caring stops after a poor choice either –it often requires more work, like emergency response and damage control.
I’ve seen real estate deals – mine and others’ – fall apart for lots of reasons. Some were unfortunate happenstance, like unexpected job loss, but others – most, actually – were the direct result of dumb decisions. I can warn, advise, guide, and equip clients so they can make the most informed decision possible… but the decision is ultimately theirs. Like a mom, I can advise and then watch them do what they do.
One client listed with me, asking me to please give him feedback and guidance so he can adjust course for a great result. This guy’s smart, and wants to base his decision on professional fact-based intel.
These are the ones you dream of.
Many others are like the eighty some year old man I once house shopped with. He had been a real estate investor decades before. When he saw a house priced under $100K – less than half of the average price for its size – he couldn’t believe it. “Who on earth will pay such a high price!?”
“Actually, this is a low price for its size. You can’t get houses for less around here.”
“Aw, sure you can!”
What was he basing that on? Opinion. And a severely outdated one at that. Back in the 1970’s sure, $100K would have been a high price for that house. He may have known the market well at one time, but is now out of touch. And here’s the kicker – he doesn’t know it, and doesn’t care. I keep my finger to the pulse of the market, current up to the week – not month or season, the week. Still, he guffawed current, professional, factual intel. He knows what he knows. The end.
Remind you of anyone? A stubborn child with hands over his ears perhaps?
Luckily, motherhood has trained me well.
The toughest thing about it is watching. Buyers and sellers have the right to make their decisions. I completely respect that, and wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s just hard to watch them suffer, especially when it’s so avoidable.
I can wave warning signs, jump up and down crying, “NOOO! Not that way!! You’ll go bankrupt!!” But that’s all I can do. The rest is up to them. Bankruptcy, family splits, and loads of heartache can be the fallout. I’ve seen it.
I approach my job the way I approach parenting. I care. The advice I give is for their benefit, not mine. I’ll give them guidance, equip them with everything they need (including feedback from buyers and other agents), to make an informed decision. REALTORS® care – that’s why we coach. It’s why I’ll sit with a client for an hour and half and talk before we go shopping. As with parenting, the advice given is for the client’s benefit.
I respect that clients (and children) are ultimately the ones who make their own decisions, and it’s not on me. I’m not the one who will suffer the consequence, I can only tell them what the consequence will be. I really, really don’t want people to suffer loss and damage. That’s why I work so hard to be Attentive From Sign Up to Sign Down®. It’s why I coach people through the process. It’s why I started doing this job in the first place!
They say word of mouth is the best source of new clients. I’ve said it too. And it’s true… to a point. But here’s the thing. Everyone gets referrals. Even the most unreliable, unprofessional business person will occasionally satisfy a client. Those satisfied clients will gladly recommend them, because their experience was pleasant. Try this – put out a call on Facebook or Twitter for a professional they’d recommend. (It will be more interesting if you experiment with a trade or industry where you know some of the professionals and their reputations.) You’ll get all kinds of names. The funny thing is, you won’t know any more about those businesses than before you asked. You’ll still need to look them up, do your research, and make a decision. As a business person, how will referrals set you apart then?
Let me share a story. I recently hosted an open house in Niverville, when this young couple came in. We had never met, but as soon as they slapped eyes on me, they said, “You’re Tina!”
It’s a weird feeling when people do that by the way. For a half second I feel like I might be in trouble. I said something clever like, “Yeah…?” and tried not to look too confused.
She smiled and continued, “You sold the house adjacent to our back yard. We see your name and face everywhere – and you blog too!” They were complete and total strangers, and are not on my list of Facebook friends. I wondered how they’d seen my blog posts. She said a friend of hers had shared a post on her Facebook page. “Do you remember the subject?” I asked.
“Yup – For Those Who Smoke After” she smirked.
At this point her husband piped up, “What?”
“I’ll tell you after…” she leaned over to him, and winked at me before continuing, “In one of the last posts you talked about working with crazy people”
The husband joined in, “I’ve seen your ads in the Property Guide. It seems like your advertising is more… upper class.” I thought about a recent ad I’d put out that had this picture of a shrub mooning a neighbor. The caption read, “Time to Move?” I wondered if he had seen it.
“Ah, thanks. It looks professional because I hire professionals to help me with my marketing.”
This couple was considering hiring me before we ever met, and it was not because someone referred them. It was because of what they’d seen in my marketing, and on my site. And this happens all the time. People come over from China and choose me. When I ask other clients – complete strangers who hired me out of the blue, “How did you get my name?”, they often answer, “I did a Google search.”
Here’s the deal – whether or not people are given recommendations, 68% research real estate agents online. When your potential client arrives at your site – and they will come – what will they find? What they hope to find is who you are. They don’t care about salesy photos and impersonal how-to tips. Tips, tricks and hacks can be found anywhere. They want to know about YOU. Are you trustworthy. Are you successful. Are you professional. Are you real. Will you treat them with respect. And they want to find this out online.
The most overlooked source of referrals is a real estate agent’s website. Most don’t have one, and of those who do, few blog. Nearly three quarters of potential clients research agents online. You need to be as personable and friendly and professional there as you would be in person.
Whether they’re coming to your site because of word-of-mouth, or because of Google rankings, potential clients are looking for you. …Are you there?
I live on an acreage in a thirty year old two bedroom bi-level, and it’s perfect. Our old pine cabinetry, pine board walls and wood looking vinyl floors are just my kind of rustic. Adirondack chairs are the only seating in our livingroom for now, because we’re still looking for that perfect-for-us couch. Until then, wooden deck chairs it is. (Don’t worry, we have a couch in the basement.)
I sell modern homes, and love to show them off, but would probably never choose to live in one. I wear a suit to work, but when I get home, I trade it for comfy home clothes – mostly because we have pets. Lots of them. Two dogs, and eight cats. (Only two in the house) No partridge in a pear tree though, so I think we’re still okay. But, with all these furry pals roaming around, pet hair is part of our life …and wardrobe. I don’t mind, our fuzzy buddies are worth all the lint rolling they necessitate.
My house may not be perfect with its excessive cat hair and lack of sofas, but my yard – now THAT is perfect! I LOVE my yard. (Remember those awesome “ gardening before and after” photos?) The challenge is getting outside. After spending winter indoors, I get used to being inside, you know? Suddenly it’s this big feat to even make it outside. You know what I’m talking about. If we don’t intentionally get our butts outside, we can get stuck on our computers.
I am really looking forward to summer though – not because I’ll do more of something, or less, but because I feel more… me somehow. Personally and professionally, I feel like this is going to be the best year. I feel more comfortable in my own skin than ever before. Personally, I’ve worked through some frustrations and bad habits that have held me back. Professionally, I’ve reached some kind of balance between work and home – which is dang near impossible for a Real Estate agent! And the continuous work I’ve put in to build my business is yielding more and more reward. Between getting okay about who I am and seeing some big progress in my business, I’m excited for the opportunities this year will bring.
Well, that, and I’ll get to garden.
What are you excited about for this year?
People lie. Duh. Fine. But when did we start believing it’s the polite thing to do?
It’s bizzare to me – sometimes I’ll show a property, and it won’t be the perfect-for-them house. No problem. What’s weird is that they bring their most dramatic game faces to the event. They scowl at this room, and crinkle their nose in another room. Where there’s a cat litter box, they pretend to gag. I start to wonder if they’ve come just to make fun of someone else’s home. (Surely there are better things to do or think about?)
But all that is not the worst part. The worst part is when we all put our shoes back on and prepare to leave. Suddenly the looks of horror and disgust are masked behind a smile. “We’ll think about it.” They shake my hands, still smiling, “It’s nice – we’ll get back to you.”
Maybe they think my brain fell out of my head, or that their body language is a secret one only they can understand. Whatever assumption leads them to hand me this happy fake voice, I can hardly stand it.
On the other hand, maybe I’m no better, because I smile too. And then, after exchanging smiles and nothing more, I go home and write blog posts about liars… Funny how irritations and pet peeves can reveal our own imperfections. Sometimes I really don’t like that.
How do you handle fake people in your business, while still maintaining your own honesty?
I could not just leave these Redneck goodies wallowing in the past. They need to be brought forward once more.
In fact, they demanded it.
Oh yes, these stories seriously required being retold.
So here, in all their glory, the best Rural Redneck Realty highlights of this year.
What’s Awesome About Rural Living: A Photo Tour
I hope you enjoyed the tour. Y’all come back now, ya hear?
It’s coming. You know it is. Go ahead and nestle a little deeper into your cozy sweater. That’s sure what I’m going to do. I’ll wrap my hands around a warm mug of coffee too, and share a few stories of Rural Realtor-ing in the snow.
First, you have to know, that for much of the time I wear pumps. I love pumps. Pumps love me. But snow and pumps… well, it’s an awkward love-hate triangle that we’re working through. For the purpose of these stories though keep in mind that in each one I’m wearing some kind of fabulous pumps.
So, last year a client arranged to see a beautiful house in the country. That day, a blizzard blew into town. It didn’t deter either of us though. Nor wind, nor sleet, nor crazy whiteout snow shall keep us from our course. Except when her car became stuck in a drift on the driveway… that was a long cold evening…
Another time I had met with my sellers in their home. It was another cold Canadian winter night, though blizzard-less this time. As I returned to my vehicle, I noticed a tire was flat. I tromped around to the trunk (in my heels), hoping to find tools, or a spare tire or something. I secretly hoped opening the trunk would somehow reset reality – that I would close it again and the tire would magically be full. Yeah, that didn’t happen. There was a spare tire though, so that was something.
My toes and everything else began to feel pretty icy out there in my thin business attire. But, the show goes on. So I lugged the spare tire out of the trunk, and leaned it against the car. I stared at it for a minute, wishing I had worn a snowsuit. I have this habit though, of not wearing snow suits to meetings.
The house door suddenly squeaked open, and my seller came out with a jack in his hand. “Having some trouble?” he smiled from under his scarf. He looked pretty warm and toasty in his big snow suit. He pointed me inside to warm up my icy toes and fingers while he changed my tire.
And, in case you were wondering, yes. It does feel a little weird to have your client rescue you.
There are more fun winter stories to share – like the time a client expected me to shovel a path for them (in my heels) – but I’ll save it for another time.
Does your job afford you some awkward fun in winter too?
If you live in the country, or have wondered what it’s like, join me. Let’s take a walk together through falling autumn leaves and check out the awesomeness that is rural living.
If you follow me on Facebook, you have probably noticed my outdoor-themed posts recently. I just adore living in the country, and I’m drinking in as much of the outdoors as I can before it ends and, well… you know …the white stuff appears (whose name I dare not speak in early October).
I may wear city clothes, and a city do, and drive into the small city I work in, but I’m a country girl through and through. At times, I’m even a bit of a redneck. Maybe that’s why I love working with rednecks when I get the chance.
Is loving country life something that one is born into? Can one grow to love it? I don’t know. I only know it’s an awesome place and way to live.
*The peaceful meditation times spent in my garden
*Our pets. Sure, you can have pets in the city, but these guys run wild and free on our acreage.
*Space – to work, rest, or play.
*Wildlife – check out the cackling Canadian Geese that collected in our tree before jetting off to places without… the white stuff whose name I dare not speak.
*Wood piles – the evidence of hard work, the promise of heat in a fireplace.
*Firesides – you know they’re better in the country right?
*Enormous gardens! I have this large flower bed in the center of my yard. Sometimes it’s a job to keep up with, but mostly it’s a little haven. I love watching it change shape and color through the year.
*Quiet. The bigger the acreage, the quieter your space is. When the neighbors have their screaming grandkids over, I think about buying more acres. But most of the time, it’s peaceful and quiet. Aaah
Do you see why I enjoy selling RURAL Properties?
How about you? Are you country or city?
Working in a rural setting, I’ve noticed that agriculture seems to impact every single transaction. It’s more than whether someone is buying an actual ranch or hobby farm – it’s the agricultural principles that permeate. We really do reap what we sow, and I love that it’s true no matter where you live or what kind of person you are. Like gravity, it applies to everyone.
I get a lot of comfort from it because, as intentionally as I sow seeds of kindness and integrity, the rewards are sometimes slow in the coming. A clear conscience is my immediate payoff, but often the cost is immediate and reward is slow. But it does come – that’s the promise of that principle – and when it does, it’s a sweet, sweet reward.
I savored such a reward recently. To tell you about it though, I have to back up to 1 ½ years before, when the seeds were being sown. A young couple was in the process of searching for their first house. I showed them one of properties I had listed, and then they called another agent. It’s common for some reason. The other agent they called ended up being one of those aggressive bullying types. Unfortunately this is also common. Fast-forward a year and a half, when the couple is now ready to buy (sometimes it takes awhile),and they called me. After all that time, they had remembered me – how I had treated them made an impact and they wanted to buy with me.
It meant a lot to me that they remembered me after all that time. It also strengthened my belief that it is crucial to treat others with dignity and respect, no matter who they are or what they can do for me. Had I treated them poorly -as though they were a waste of my time for example – I doubt they would have called me back. But I didn’t. I treated them with respect and set out to serve them well, results aside.
Maybe it’s that harvest season is approaching, but it made me think of that reliable agricultural principle. We will reap what we sow. Maybe not every seed will germinate and produce, but the kinds of seeds we sow will return a similar fruit. Disrespect will reap disdain, integrity will grow respect and trust.
What kind of harvest are you sowing for?