House For Sale

The Man Whose House No Real Estate Agent Would Sell

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This tale might be fictional, but it’s based on several real, local people and events.
On things that actually, really happen around here.
Bill had been turned away from every brokerage in town. No one was willing to sell his house for him.

No agent, whether moral or shady, would touch it.

And it wasn’t because of the property;  the home and yard were in great shape.
The problem wasn’t the location.  Actually, it was a highly desirable place.

Buyers were searching for a property like his.

Still, no one would list it.

Why? Because Bill insisted on selling it for double its value.

Double.

Seriously.

What was worth $300,000 in the local market, he decided he would get $600,000. And he was completely dead serious.

So he left office after office, unable to find the agent who would invest their marketing dollars in such. No one was willing to torpedo their own reputation by listing such an impossibility.

Bill returned to his home and promptly stuck a sign in the yard. If no one would help him, he would do it himself.

Two things can happen at this point, and neither is a good thing.

  • Bill could sell the house to an unsuspecting private buyer who doesn’t realize it’s a horrible deal. Because ‘hey, it’s a private sale, so it must be cheaper’. Umm, no. Either the buyers come up with cash for the inflated price and buy something without any promise of equity for years and years and years or, more likely, the bank looks at the deal, and refuses to fund the mortgage. Because paying double is insane.
  • Or, most likely, and what happens most of the time, the property sits. And sits. And sits.
    Because people aren’t stupid. No one will pay double. Or even 30% more than it’s worth.

 

Look, if this forewarns you about anything, let it be this.

 

  • Beware: private sales aren’t always on the up and up.
  • Buying without an agent to protect you is risky
  • And, if you’re selling, for Pete’s sake, remember people aren’t idiots – not buyers, not agents – and be reasonable. People (and banks) will only pay what things are actually, legitimately worth. Anything more is flat out greed.

 

Have you ever purchased an over-priced home? Why?

 

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

If Tom Sawyer Grew Up and Built a House, This Would Be It

If you haven’t read Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, I’ll give you a quick primer on who Tom Sawyer is. Basically, he’s imaginative, making everything fancy and “high faluting”. He touches even the simplest things with an air of magic.

And had he grown up and built a house, this would be it.

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Tom never outgrew his boyish love of playful surprises, and crafted a giant tree house for him and his family in a way never-before seen.

Only he could send vaulted ceilings soaring high over grand rooms while the space below possessed a palpable warmth. It is at once spacious and cozy, sharp yet comfortable. It’s the kind of grand home where a sophisticated adult can host parties. The kind of cozy family cottage where children climb trees, scrape knees, and collect a life time of memories. Perhaps even build a raft.

I’m sure Tom would have driven his wife crazy with his all-consuming dedication to detail.

He madly experimented with architecture, creating unexpected angles in surprising places. The bath and shower are not merely an appliance in Tom’s imaginings, no. They are an opportunity to create a sprawling spa beneath a tall window and steeply angled wall, amidst elegant slate tiles.

Standing in the kitchen, you find yourself in the very heart of the grand cabin. Rustic wood cabinets and black metal handles ground the room in the cozy, rustic feel of a tree house. Even the light fixtures slink long and low, adorned with carved leaves as though hanging like vines.

Tom left no detail unexplored.  Like a skilled artist, he crafted surprising angles in unexpected places. The heavy, rich wood doors. Even arched windows.

And finally, perhaps as his own personal cove in which to read endlessly, he added a loft in his bedroom, the perfect place to tuck away his library and office. And, as he climbed the tree house ladder rungs to his hideaway, he doubtless relived childhood memories of his adventures with Huck.

So where would he build such a grand tree house?

At the end of a wooded lane, of course, where woods lay ripe for his own children to explore and invent their own adventures.

(Tour Tom’s house here.)

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

How This Simple $130 Device Protects Realtors from Being Charged or Sued

 

Once upon a time my sellers suffered a break-in. Things were stolen.

Guess who is the first person accused in such a situation?

The realtor.

After all, they have keys and access. Maybe the agent left the door open; maybe they didn’t watch a potential buyer as they toured through the house. Maybe someone got a hold of the keys that shouldn’t have. It’s a logical conclusion, and the agent would have little luck disproving any of it.

Luckily, I had invested in a lock box. They’re not mandatory, but I wish they would be. Because I had taken this step to protect the property, I was not held responsible for the items stolen. I did everything I could to protect my client.

The story could have ended differently.

Imagine an agent showing a property without a lockbox. Even if it were someone else’s listing, if something goes wrong, the showing agent could be accused of theft, trespassing, and other avoidable things just because some agent wanted to save themselves a few bucks.

TIP: Risking your reputation, the reputation of your peers,
and the safety of your clients
is the stupidest way to save a piddly $130.

 

A lockbox is only as good as its lock, though.

It may be tempting for people to come back when the Realtor isn’t around and take another look at the house. We can’t control where buyers go after showings.

If a broker uses the same four-digit code on every single lockbox on every single one of their listings for example, how secure is that? It doesn’t take much for a buyer to peek over an agent’s shoulder and clue in. Even these four-digit coded lockboxes aren’t that secure.

That’s why I’m thrilled about the Real Estate Board’s new Bluetooth-operated lockboxes.

First, to access the lock, an agent must make an appointment to see the listing, and I confirm.

When they show up and open the lockbox, I immediately get an email saying that so-and-so from ABC Realty has entered the property.

I always know when someone is there and I always get a notification.

The best part is that it locks them out.
They can’t re-enter the property repeatedly, and no one can sneak back in later without an appointment without being noticed.  
These new lockboxes are ultra-secure and only cost $130.

 

It’s a small price to pay for protection of self and others.

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

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Why I Showed Them a House I Knew They’d Never Buy

 

 

I recognized the address right away. I had been there before. The foundation was in deplorable condition. 

I knew they would not buy it. 

But, I booked the appointments anyway. We saw five houses on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Once they saw the house with the crumbling foundation they exclaimed they would never invest in a house like this.

“I know,” I said. “I knew about the foundation, and I knew you would never ever buy it.”

They looked confused. “Why did you take the time to show it to us then?”

“Because I respect your need to make your own decision. I will not filter the choices based on my opinion, but on yours.”

They nodded and seemed to appreciate that.

It had only been our second time shopping. They did not know me well, and this was a perfect way to demonstrate that they can trust me. I knew that if I tried to prevent them from seeing a home they wanted to see, they may question whether I had my own agenda.

Eniko and I don’t choose to show only homes that offer the highest commission.

We don’t limit the buyers shopping to only listings through the brokerage we work for. (Even though we have a lot of inventory to choose from). We respect our buyers’ decision to choose and furnish them with all the options they request.

Once buyers get to know us though, something changes.

Suddenly we’ll get texts asking, “What do you know about this property? Have you shown it?”

Once we have developed a trust relationship and we get asked these questions, we can avoid unnecessary showings.

It’s at this point in the shopping experience we tell the buyer, “The house is beautifully redone and has a lot of character, however, the basement is built on blocks and is horizontally caving in. There is constant water in the basement as a result of the shifting of the east wall of the basement.

We all save time when that happens. But saving time is always secondary to integrity.

By the way, that home with the theoretical basement on blocks that’s caving in? We may not recommend it to one buyer, but we might just call the concrete worker we know who said he was looking for homes where he could raise the house and redo the foundation.

There is a buyer for every house at the right price.

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

 

ACCREDITED BUYER REPRESENTATIVE

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Put It Away, We Don’t Want to See That

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Showings can be scary.

And a little… overly personal.

Some things are better left unseen, you know?

Want to sell your house? Start hiding stuff. Well, unless you want to frighten away potential buyers. Then, by all means, leave out the diapers and sour milk.

Things Buyers (And Agents) Don’t Want To See:

Gunracks 

An old-style gun rack is a scary sign to a buyer. If it’s full of guns, you look armed and dangerous. If it’s empty, they’re wondering where you hid your artillery. Either way, the thought of negotiating with you may well scare off buyers.

Bedroom Handcuffs

The handcuffs hanging from your bedroom closet door are way too much information. Be who you are in the bedroom and enjoy it, but announcing your fetishes to the buyers walking through your house may not help your sale.

Shoes

It’s wonderful if you are blessed enough to have a pair of shoes for every day of the year. But every pair doesn’t need to be in the entrance, does it? Tripping on shoes and being unable to see the floor kind of puts a damper on a showing. (We won’t even talk about the smell.)

From the moment we enter, the buyer is annoyed and distracted.
… that’s not what you were going for, was it?

What You Eat

I’m constantly baffled by how common it is for sellers to host a showing while the dishes and food have not been cleared from the table.

Look, buyers don’t care what you had for breakfast. They do, however, connect the dots between a person who does not take care of food and a person who then probably does not take good care of a property.

Tip: It is generally a good practice to put the milk back in the fridge before you all leave for the day.

Soiled Underthings

Little Tommy is getting potty trained, is he? We can tell. We’re glad it is going well and celebrate your success. … but please don’t leave the evidence of his failures lying about, stenching up the place.

Soiled underthings tend to impact the ambiance and detract from the buyer experience, you know?

 

Basically, try to avoid anything personal, messy, stinky, or inappropriate being visible during a showing.

When it’s for sale, it’s not your home anymore. It’s a product. And your product needs to be presented attractively in order to sell.

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate