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Feature or Flaw?

by Pastore Team

I recently listed a property that had been on the market with several agents before me. When I asked the seller what he liked about the property, he said,"The long driveway". He said he bought the home from the builder nine years earlier. He had the driveway extended and the house pushed back on the lot. Someday, he wanted to get a motor home.

Is the long driveway a feature or a flaw?

To the seller, it was a feature, since it would accommodate his dream of owning a motor home. To a buyer, it was a flaw since it pushed the house back, and created a tiny rear yard. To the homeowners association, it was irrelevant since the CC&R's forbid recreational vehicles being parked in the subdivision for protracted periods of time.

How does an agent tell a seller that their 'dream catcher' driveway, that costs thousands to build, may be a liability to a buyer? Very tactfully.

Some sellers may appreciate that direct approach. Other sellers may need to hear this from potential buyers, or showing agents. A Realtor caravan is another way to garner feedback that may help a seller realize that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'.

Does the seller have a sense of humor? "Wow, you could land a small plane on that driveway", might get the point across. As usual humor is a two edge sword that could be used against the truthful warrior.

This same home backs up to a vacant lot. To the seller it yields privacy. To a buyer, it represents a fear of the unknown. What's going on the lot and when, are questions most buyers will ask. Buyers have a tendency to 'horriblize' things. An ugly two story home, a nuclear power plant, are options some buyers may envision. 

Max Dupree said," The first job of a leader is to define reality". The listing agents job is to discuss what amenities are features, and what may be flaws.

 

The Scorpion and the Frog

by Pastore Team

Once upon a time there was a scorpion on the side of a river that wanted to get to the opposite bank. He knew the trip could take weeks since he was unable to swim. He needed to find a log or branch that spanned the water.

He saw a frog, and asked if he could get a ride to the other side. The frog said he was afraid since the scorpion could sting and kill him. But, the scorpion assured him that by giving him a ride, he would be grateful and never sting the frog. 

The frog reluctantly agreed, and the scorpion hopped on his back. Half way across the river, the scorpion stung the frog. As he felt the poison, the frog asked the scorpion why he stung him, because now they would both die. The scorpion replied,"But I'm a scorpion; that's my nature". 

What's the moral of the story? Some people are toxic and should be avoided. Other folks are people-pleasers and reluctant to create proper boundaries. Be on the lookout for scorpions, and stay away from them. When people show you who they are, believe them. 

I recently put a home on the market that had been listed by four agents before me. One of the prior agents told me the home was overpriced, and the seller was belligerent. I took the listing, and hoped the 'student was ready', and I could succeed in showing him how to get the property sold. Three weeks later the seller had a temper tantrum and canceled the listing. 

I was told he would sting me, and he did. Even with proper boundaries and realistic expectations, all scorpions should be avoided. 

A wise man once said,"Of in doubt don't". Stay away from poisonous critters and toxic people.

Superlative Customer Service in Chandler, Arizona

by Pastore Team

There seems to be more talk than action when it comes to exceeding a customer's expectations. Super service seems to be as uncommon as the recent blood moon. But, there is a shining star in the customer service galaxy, and it belongs to the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.

I joined online one week ago. The same day I received a call to welcome me to the chamber. Barbara Caravella asked when she could come to my office and represent the benefits of being a member of the chamber. A few days later she promptly arrived and asked me what I hoped to gain by joining. She then reviewed their programs, and left a glossy folder with activities, some of which she suggested I attend. The next day, I received a thank you email.

In my opinion, this is what superlative customer service looks like. First, promptly recognize a new or potential customer. Second, set up a meeting and ask how you can be of service. Then, follow that meeting up with a thank you note.

What does poor service look like? Two weeks ago I received a card from a local Buick dealer offering several service specials. I called and made an appointment for an alignment. I showed up on time and was told it would take about 90 minutes. They said the car would be road tested first & given a safety check. A courtesy van dropped me off at my office.

Three hours later I called the dealer and left a voicemail for my service rep. Thirty minutes after that I left a voicemail for the service manager. I called the van driver to give me a ride back to the dealer. Nothing was done to my car.

What does poor service look like? It hides behind voicemails. It fails to follow through on promises. It's not proactive, but reactive. Guess where I'll never take my car again? Guess where I won't buy a car, ever!

Fifty showings in two months and no offers!

by Pastore Team

I recently listed a home for sale that was with another agent for two months. The seller said he had fifty showings but no offers. I thought he said fifteen, but he corrected me and repeated fifty showings in two months.

The home was in a great area and in good repair. It was priced slightly below 600k. The seller was serious about selling. The feedback was that the house needed some updating. The seller felt frustrated that no buyers made him an offer. He wanted to know why. What's your guess?

If you said the problem was overpricing , you would be correct. I told the seller that. In addition, I told the seller that a home properly priced is half-sold. My expectations are that any home should sell in a few months if properly priced. I also shared that for every 5 ready, willing and able to buyer showings; there should be one offer.

I listed the property for sale, dropped the price 15k, and ordered an appraisal. One week later the appraisal came in 42k below the original list price. The seller reduced the price slightly below the appraisal. Within two weeks we had a full price cash offer. Imagine that!

What's the moral of this story? First, miracles happen when a seller is 'serious about selling'. Second, proper pricing is crucial for a timely sale. A fee appraisal takes a lot of the emotion out of the pricing for a seller. it also helps an agent avoid the 'highball mentality' that seduces a seller into a listing.

A home, boat, car, or bicycle is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay. Make sure a seller is 'serious about selling'. Price the property properly. If that doesn't work due to a variable such as a questionable location, or functional obsolescence, reduce the price 1% every two weeks until it sells.

Simple advice that is sometimes difficult to communicate.

Anatomy of a Serious Seller

by Pastore Team

Last year a friend approached me after a Toastmaster meeting and asked if he could speak with me. He was frustrated that his home had been on the market with another agent for 6 months. They had received foot traffic, but no offers. He and his wife had divorced. They were cordial to each other, but wanted the house sold so they could move on with their separate lives.

After viewing the property, I listed it for sale and ordered an appraisal. The home was priced $100 below appraisal. For the first 30 days we received showings, but no offers. Our next strategy was to lower the price 1% every two weeks. After a few price adjustments, an offer was accepted, and the property was closed in 30 days.

What did this seller do wrong during the first listing and what was corrected with my listing? The original listing agent priced the property too high. A home properly priced is half-sold. The market value of a home may be 10% below appraisal regardless what Zillow says, or what a seller paid. This seller bought the property at the top of the market for $73,000 more than he sold it for six years later.

Summarily, there is a successful system for serious sellers:

1) Price the home properly.

2) Order an appraisal & price the home 'below appraisal'.

3) Used staged adjustments until a buyer appears.

Arizona Integrity Outrage

by Pastore Team

Is it possible that a small cat can jeopardize your real estate license, impugn your veracity, undermine your integrity? You be the judge (pun intended)

A Realtor friend of mine wrote an offer for his client on a condo in a retirement community in Mesa, Arizona. They then learned that the CC&R's did not allow any pets. The client was crestfallen. She said, "I love the condo & my cat is small and never goes outside". The Realtor responded, "I'm sure nobody will ever find out". Do you see any issues so far?

The Realtor then called the listing agent who said, "I'm sure other owners have pets!" A wise man once said, "Two wrongs don't make a right".

The buyer decided to call the HOA and ask for an exemption. She said she didn't feel right hiding the cat & hoping it remained a little secret. She told her agent she would rather find another condo than be dishonest.

Imagine if the buyer relied on the selling agent's assurance that the cat would never be found. But, according to Murphy's Law, a nosey neighbor reported the furry feline friend to the fine folks at the HOA board.

Imagine if the buyer were asked to relinquish the cat, or move. Imagine if the buyer filed a complaint with the Board of Realtor ethics committee, or the state Real Estate department. Imagine the retainer for a real estate attorney. Imagine any investigator not having a sense of humor.

I believe it was Socrates or Pluto who said, "Poop flows downhill". Forrest Gump said, "Stupid is as stupid does".

Integrity means doing the right thing when nobody is listening. Integrity means doing the right thing regardless of the amount of the commission. Integrity means doing the right thing even if you don't get caught.

Integrity is always the right thing to do. Just do it.

Honesty is The Best Policy

by Pastore Team

Standard of Practice 1-3 in the Realtor code of Ethics States: Realtors, in attempting to secure a listing, shall not deliberately mislead the owner as to market value. The Golden Rule suggests that honesty is always the best policy. Then, why do agents tell sellers what they want to hear, and inflate the market value of a property in order to obtain a listing?

A seller may be afflicted with the ' Lake Wobegon' effect. They feel their children are all above average and their home is their castle. They have the super-duty moat opener, and their neighbors don't. Of course, their home should be priced thousands above the plebeian comps. IN some cases, agents acquiesce, to a seller's unrealistic expectations.

But, a seller is not bound by the code of ethics. There are no exceptions for needing a listing, having a great place to sit open houses, wanting a sign in an area, or beating the seller down at a later date. Honesty is always the best policy.

Recently, I walked into a by owner open house, that in my opinion is worth 375K. It was listed for a few months by another agent who promised the seller that it would be sold in 30 days at 550K! The seller wasted 2 months before firing this agent ( you can't make stuff up). This seller is now upset with all agents, and questions their credibility. He sheepishly admitted he never thought it would sell at that price. But, this agent violated his Code of Ethics.

The goal of a listing presentation is not to get a listing. It is to prequalify a seller. To see if they are serious about selling and will price the property properly. Inflating the price to secure this listing is both unwise and unethical.

Clueless in Chandler

by Pastore Team


“My listing has been on the market for 4 months. We have had over 40 showings, but no offers. I don’t know why. Can you give me some feedback? The house is vacant. I asked the seller to repaint and re-carpet. I want them to put in granite counters, but they are hesitant. What do you think?” I heard this comment from a listing agent on an MLS tour last week.
When I mentioned that my belief is that there is only one reason a home in MLS won’t sell, and that is overpricing; she seemed surprised. We drove in the same car to visit the houses on tour. Before we came to her listing, I wrote a few comments on the feedback form about pricing. She seemed amazed that I could comment on the price before I saw the property. She commented: “But, I just reduced the property from 315k to 310k. The seller is ready to reduce it to 305k if we need to.”
I suggested the price needed to be below 300k & that the proper price range was 275k to 300k. She looked into my eyes and seemed amazed. I suggested an immediate drop to put her in the correct range and a 1% biweekly drop until the house received an acceptable offer.
Do you ever ready the letters written to Dear Abbey? After reading them, you wonder how in the world could this person be so ‘out in left field’, so clueless.  But, for one reason or another, the hapless, confused author, is emotionally invested in a confusing drama. Abbey, as usual, replies in a logical, pithy manner.
A home properly priced is half-sold. They receive a steady stream of showing. They are usually under contract in 30 days. The seller must be serious about selling. And the agent can’t be ‘clueless in Chandler’.
 

Beware of Vampire Sellers

by Pastore Team

" I vant to suck your blood", said the vampire to his victim. Vampire sellers say, " I vant to suck your time". Beware of both.

Recently , I was contacted by a seller in a local ' active adult' ( Retirement) area. She wanted me to see her home and discuss selling. She said her last ' several agents' did not get her home sold.

After I previewed the home she told me:

- Her price was not negotiable

- She didn't need to sell

- She wanted a discounted commission

- she wanted me to discount the co-broke in MLS

She said the reason for selling was she wanted to go into an assisted living facility ( you cant make this stuff up), but she was not in a rush.

A phrase I heard from David Knox rang in my head. " It's better to have an empty kennel than a dead dog". I decided to refuse the listing on the grounds that  I didn't need any more experience in teaching people that money is only important when you don't want something enough.

Oh, by the  way, did I mention she said one agent stole some of her tools, and another had the gall to present an offer that was lower than the listed price. She canceled  both listings.

\An agent wiser than me might have asked some qualifying question prior to arriving at her house, and determined the listing appointment itself was a waste of time.

If a seller is not ' serious about selling' don't waste your time going on the appointment. If money is more important than moving =, the seller may be insufficiently impassioned to weather the rigors of a listing campaign.\The net time you see a vampire movie, remember there are some seller to avoid. Don't let them suck your time, peace of mind, and positive attitude.

Phoenix Housing Market Update - April 2014

by Pastore Team

The Phoenix Housing Market is constantly changing and the media outlets provide contradicting stories over whether we are in a buyers market vs sellers market so it's hard to keep track.  Realistically, the Phoenix Housing Market is in a very unique place.  Demand is getting stronger but due to a weak March this year we are still far from a strong market. 

Here is a quick update on what the Phoenix Housing Market stats are:

- as of April 1, 2014, there are 26,442 homes available for sale.  As of March 1, 2014, the number was 26,589.  This means there was a very slight decrease in homes available over the last month.  On April 1, 2013, there were only 16,415 homes available.  Compared to last year there has been a significant increase in homes available.

- as of April 1, 2014, the median sales price was $187,000  compared to $180,000 one month ago.  One year ago the median sales price was $169,000.

- March sales were 6,705 vs 8,048 in March 2013 which is down 16.7% but is up 22.3% over the previous month this year.  

For Greater Phoenix in March of this year there were 109 sales of homes priced over $1,000,000.  This is the highest March in million dollar homes since 2008.  On the other hand for homes under $1,000,000 this past March only had 6,503 sales, which is the lowest March since 2008.  It is quite intriguing to see that the luxury housing market is striving still!  

Overall, our market is still improving and heading towards a better place.  If you are ready to buy or sell, let me know. 

Paul Pastore
www.paulpastore.com

 

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 435

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Paul Pastore
RE/MAX Infinity
2450 S. Arizona Ave ste#1
Chandler AZ 85286
480-695-6748
Toll Free: 877-829-0252
Fax: 480-367-0775