Professional photos make a big difference

iPhone pictures are great for selfies, but get it done right when selling your house, or lose money & time on the market.

A homeowner (let’s call her Mary) was recently interviewing an agent from another brokerage and before signing any paperwork, Mary was speaking to Bob on my team about the process. Bob knows Mary personally (but not as well as the other agent), and was working on getting us an interview. Mary was convinced that she intended to hire this other agent and did not need to interview us, so Bob offered her a list of questions to ask. (We provide this list to anyone, anywhere who would like it – just click here to download it FREE).

One of the questions asks if the agent being interviewed intends to use a professional photographer. You can google the benefits of using a professional photographer in real estate here.

All of our research, as well as our experience (and our eyes) tells us that unless the house is in dire need of extensive rehab, professional photos will put additional money in the homeowner’s pocket. Studies vary on the amount, but from everything I have read, it can be as little as $900 and as much as $19,000 and averages around $3,400. Can you imagine the vacation you could take with all of that extra cash? Listings with professional photos also get more many views online and sell faster according to these studies. Yet, when asked by Mary if she intended to use professional photos, the agent being interviewed said “don’t waste your money”.

Wow!! And if she took that shortcut, what other shortcuts is she going to take that will cost Mary an additional $1,250, plus $2,275 plus $8,400 plus ????

Mary’s listing went active recently and the photos of the “highly upgraded” kitchen, as well as the laundry room and 2 of the bedrooms are extremely blurry. Mary is seen in 1 of the photos from behind, her dog’s butt is in one of the photos (just the butt prominently displayed). 90% of buyers begin their home search online, by looking at these photos, and I can tell you from experience, they often opt-out of visiting houses that have bad photos. If the agent you interview does not intend to hire a professional photographer, show them the door and call us right away at 702 SELL NOW. Even if you are not in the Las Vegas area. We will help you find and interview a competent agent anywhere in the country for FREE. We can’t stand it when lazy agents get hired to sell houses and cost the homeowner thousaands and of dollars, as well as time on the market.

Footnote: In a fascinating turn of events – as I was writing this post, a client of mine called me about a house we saw yesterday. When I asked her what she thought of the home, she said that the kitchen was actually nicer than the photos showed (can you guess why?)

We have come a long way baby!

This morning only about 6% of the active listings in the Las Vegas valley are foreclosures. Want to buy one? Here, click the link to take a look at what is still available!

http://goo.gl/jTSwSO

You know what aggravates me about Realtors®?

Realtors® agree to abide by a “Code of Ethics” as part of the process of becoming a Realtor. Specifically it says “Realtors® shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction”. Let’s face it, we (Realtors®) are regularly involved in what is the largest financial transaction that a person has ever been a part of, and to quote Spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” When I consult with a potential seller, I sit with them, show them how much I believe their house will sell for, and explain to them why they should hire me to sell their house, instead of the next agent they interview. Then, (sometimes) another agent makes an outrageous promise, that they either can’t keep, or don’t put in writing (or both), and that agent get’s hired, instead of me, because of that promise.

As an example, I had a seller once tell me that the reason he signed with “Jill” was because she told him she could sell it
for about 20% more than research showed it was worth, and she agreed to prove it by making the contract good for only 30 days. At first glance I was impressed with her approach; basically, she was saying “if I can’t deliver what I promise, quickly, you are free to hire someone else”. The reason I was impressed with that is because I offer my clients similar promises (actually mine can fire me any time if they are not happy because I am not delivering what I promise). However, “Jill” did not put her promise in writing. The reason I know this is that the seller invited me to call him in 31 days and if the house had not sold, he would hire me. He believed that the information I gave him about marketing and the value of the property, made a lot of sense, but he would be a fool to pass up “Jill’s” offer to get 20% more in only 30 days. 31 days later, I called the seller as I promised. As it turned out, the house was still listed with “Jill”.  I asked if he had signed an extension with “Jill”. He told me he had not heard from “Jill” since signing the paperwork (which is a horrible practice of many agents) and that he did not know why it was still listed. He sent me a copy of the agreement he had with Jill so I could tell him what it said – it said he had hired her for a year and there was nothing that allowed him to get out of it! I wished him luck and hung up the phone (because I am not allowed to continue to speak with him if he is actively under contract with another agent).

I seem to run up against this kind of agent a few times every year. Is it all of them? No way! Many of them take their code
of ethics very seriously. Unfortunately, it’s those that lie, or exaggerate that often end up getting a listing that they have no business taking. So how do you avoid those people (and what do you do if one of them already duped you)?

If you have already been duped, and you believe that person was unethical, you have the opportunity file a complaint against them with the Nevada Real Estate Division here; http://www.red.state.nv.us/compliance.htm
The RED takes these complaints very seriously.

If you just want to hire someone who will sell your house quickly, for top dollar, and not lie, deceive or mislead you along the way, you could hire me – but, let’s pretend that I am unavailable. What questions can you ask when interviewing an agent to ensure you are hiring the kind of agent that will look out for your best interests?

1. Ask the agent for references/testimonials. They should have plenty (maybe online). They should also have at least a few of those clients who wrote the testimonials that are also willing to be contacted to verify the testimonial (you probably have to ask for that separately). And yes, you should verify no less than 3 of them.

2. Ask the agent to put a provision in the contract that allows you to fire them any time you feel they are not doing their job. Most agents will not do this. They will tell you it costs a lot of money to list your house and that provision is not fair. They are correct. It is also not fair to force someone to continue to employ you when you are operating at a substandard level. Then, BEFORE you sign the contract, ask them to show you specifically where it says that.

3. Ask them how often they intend to contact you during the process. If you don’t like the answer they give, have them make a better commitment (even write it in the contract), and if they don’t stick to it, you can rely on #2 and fire them. Seriously. This is a big deal and you have the right to regular communication. If they don’t have any showings to report, they should at least be reporting what steps they are taking to get you showings and get your house sold.

4. Ask them their policy about photos and video. You probably don’t realize this, but buyer’s have become sophisticated and demanding consumers. Buyers expect to see no less than 25 photos and 83% of buyer’s last year said that they want to see video, yet less than 5% of agents are providing video.

Is that everything you should be concerned about when you put your house up for sale? No, it’s the big stuff though, and #2 will pretty much help you with the rest.

If you don’t beleive in Christmas miracles, read this

‘Twas the night before Christmas and down at the bank, Santa’s elves were dipping a negotiator in a tank (yes waterboarding) until we got what we needed. That would be short sale approval after only 14 days!  Seriously, it was delivered to me today, December 24th!  Merry Christmas to my clients, the buyer and the bank . . . and to all a good night!

Great news for those who have completed a short sale in 2014

“The Debt Forgiveness Act” has been extended to the end of 2014 by the House and Senate and is now headed to the Presidents Desk (He is expected to sign it).  This is great news for Short Sales that have closed (or will close) this year.

Do you owe more than your house is worth? We have helped dozens of families successfully short sale their house, and we can help you. Read some of the testimonials here; http://www.HowardTeam.com/Testimonials

It’s always sunny in Sun City – and there are homes for sale

There are many Sun City communities by Del Web in the Las Vegas valley designed specifically for the over 55 homeowner. I actually call them “summer camp for seniors”, as they are more than just a place to live, they are a place for seniors to thrive socially. They have community centers with a full schedule of activities from various card games to exercise programs to day trips to crafts to book clubs and on and on.

Want to see some homes in Sun City that are for sale right now? Click here for the Sun City Summerlin community;
http://goo.gl/1ZlHzp

High Rise condos on the Las Vegas Strip have made a comeback

At the height of the Las Vegas Real Estate market in 2006, high rises were sought after from people from all walks of life who wanted to own a piece of that luxury lifestyle, and when the market began to fall, our high rises may have suffered the most. The plans for a second Trump Tower were scrapped and the 3rd Panorama Tower fell into bankruptcy. That 3rd tower was later purchased and renamed “The Martin”.

Well I just attended a closeout event at “The Martin” and they only have 5 original brand new residences left to sell. That’s quite a turnaround, considering where we were. There are several brand new units available in buildings with at least 5 stories, and of course there are hundreds available in the resale market . . . ranging from under $70,000 up to $38,000,000 currently.

Take a look;
http://goo.gl/44z1nJ