Thursday, May 20, 2010

Asking for Referrals the Right Way!

I just got an email from another agent here in town.  At the end of her signature, in quotation marks no less, it says Oh, by the way....  and asks her nearest and dearest to refer anyone who is thinking of buying or selling their home.  This made me cringe.
It wasn't the quotation marks.  It wasn't the folksy, off-hand style (Oh! By the way!  I just thought of something!!).  It wasn't the fact that everyone from her best friends to her clients, to her business partners will get this request.
It is all of those things together.
Amazingly, I got an Article by Dirk Zeller today about just this very thing.  It is about asking for referrals from people you know.
The whole article is worth reading, but one of the standout quotes was:
Don’t merely use a throw away line like “Oh, by the way” before you ask for the referral. This tactic cheapens the referral process rather than raising it to the high level of honor and respect it deserves.  The client can see right through this cheap technique.
Wow.  He read my mind!  In a nutshell, if you respect your business and your clients, take the time to do things right.  You are asking them to let you into their circle, and what's more, you are asking them to vouch for your professionalism and trustworthiness.  This is a 2 way street, so show them the consideration you are asking them to show you, and you will see your referral business boom.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

How Many Showings Does it Take?

When selling your home, one of the "moving targets" is the number of showings to expect.  Not surprisingly, the number of showings goes down during the holidays and during cold winter months when the weather is unpredictable.  But different price points will also experience different levels of activity.
Following is a breakdown by price level of home many showings per month we experienced in the Denver Metro market for the first quarter of 2010:

  • Overall, the number of showings per month for all price categories was 8.7 per home.
  • Homes under $250,000 saw an average of 10.5 showings per month, with the $50k-100k range seeing the highest number of showings per month at 15.
  • Homes from $250k-300k saw an average of 7.4 showings per month.  Homes from $350k-400k were at 3.7 showings per month.
  • Homes in the higher price ranges, from $400,000 up, saw an average of 4.8 showings per month.
The good news for those selling homes in the $250k-400k price range is that the number of showings increased year over year: from 4.7 in 2009 to 6.1 for 2010.  Homes above that range increased from 3.4 to 4.8.  Homes priced in the lower ranges held steady at 10.5 showings per month.
Buyers are getting back out there, which is good news for all homeowners.  With renewed interest and activity in residential real estate, we will see a ripple effect throughout the economy.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hey- I Thought You Said that House was Under Contract?

What Does “Under Contract” Mean?  What Comes Next?
Recently, I was driving through our neighborhood with a buyer.  He was very interested in a property a few months ago, and had been considering making an offer.  When I called the listing agent to let her know of our intent, she told me it had just gone “under contract” and was no longer available.  When we drove past this property last week, the sign was still in the front yard.  “I thought you said that home wasn’t available?” he asked.  And it’s not.  It is still “under contract”.
  How properties go Under Contract, and what happens next. 
When a buyer finds the right home, he or she makes an offer.  This is presented on the Colorado Contract to Buy and Sell.  It is a detailed contract with a schedule of dates, room for contingencies, attachments, concessions, offer price, financing arrangements and appraisal requirements, among other things.  It is 12 pages long, and is designed to protect both buyer and seller during what is often the largest sales transaction private parties ever make.
When buyers purchase a home, they want the assurance that they have thoroughly researched their purchase before the sale is final, and that no other buyer can purchase the property out from under them during this time.  If the buyer and seller can agree on the initial terms, both parties will sign a binding contract that allows the buyer to do this research.  The property is then “under contract”.  This period usually lasts from 30-60 days.  A short sale listing can take longer- sometimes several months.
The buyer is then responsible for doing this research, and there is a time limit and an Earnest Money deposit submitted so that the seller is protected.  
These steps include applying for a loan, having a certified inspection of the property, obtaining title and title insurance, obtaining property insurance, reviewing any HOA documents, reviewing Improvement Location Certificates or surveys of property boundaries and making sure the property appraises.
The For Sale sign remains in place during this process because the sale is not yet completed.  Often times, the Realtor will place an “under contract” banner on the sign.  The idea is that it “ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” so the sign remains in place until funds have been transferred and keys are passed to the buyers.