With the advent of photo-heavy online listings visible from anywhere, video tours, and slideshows, many Realtors have already ordered a tombstone for the Open House. But should we start eulogizing a long-held practice that can give sellers much-needed feedback and turn looky-loos into serious buyers?

That’s the argument Brendon Desimone poses in his blog post, saying that serious buyers are developed over time, and just browsing listings online won’t sell them on one particular home.

“Open houses give buyers a no-pressure environment in which to deepen their education about the local market, so they can make a more informed decision,” Desimone says. “A buyer may use an open house as a first showing of the property. But when buyers become serious about a home, an open house provides them another opportunity to spend time in the home, to get to know it better, without the confines of a 15-minute private appointment.”

I agree with some of what Desimone says, but there are so many websites out there that break down important market information, giving buyers an economic outlook on a property long before they’re ready to commit. Trulia does a great job of this with its graphic interface and easily accessible message boards that facilitate discussion about neighborhoods. Let’s use our Friday Four Hundred, 5802 Monticello, for example. To the right you can see agents and potential buyers talking about the neighborhood at length — a wonderful resource for buyer education.

Trulia 5802 Monticello screenshot

 

Of course, what you don’t get from all of this buyer education is a feel for neighborhood traffic. Is this home near a noisy intersection? How close are you to shopping? Are there other families and pedestrians nearby? That’s where an open house really provides an added benefit. Buyers can linger, walk around the neighborhood, get a feel for their surroundings.

Of course, one open house is a lot easier to manage than a gazillion individual showings, says Desimone. Agreed, but it also opens the home to people who aren’t interested in buying at all, including neighbors and thieves, as Rogers Healy recently mentioned on Fox Business News’ The Willis Report. But they do give agents and sellers an opportunity to get some feedback on a listing, Desimone says.

“A good listing agent will want to see as many buyers come through as possible to gauge their reactions to the home,” he offers. “Are people walking in and out quickly? Or are they hanging around? What questions are they asking? What are their biggest hang-ups or concerns? This is the kind of valuable information you can’t get online.”

Agreed. You won’t get a lot of feedback from buyers who shop mostly online, and a seller’s agent won’t likely be at showings, so besides critiques from stagers and other agents, this is likely the only direct feedback sellers can get.

What do you think? Is the Open House a relic, or is it relevant?

With the advent of photo-heavy online listings visible from anywhere, video tours, and slideshows, many Realtors have already ordered a tombstone for the Open House. But should we start eulogizing a long-held practice that can give sellers much-needed feedback and turn looky-loos into serious buyers?

That’s the argument Brendon Desimone poses in his blog post, saying that serious buyers are developed over time, and just browsing listings online won’t sell them on one particular home.

“Open houses give buyers a no-pressure environment in which to deepen their education about the local market, so they can make a more informed decision,” Desimone says. “A buyer may use an open house as a first showing of the property. But when buyers become serious about a home, an open house provides them another opportunity to spend time in the home, to get to know it better, without the confines of a 15-minute private appointment.”

I agree with some of what Desimone says, but there are so many websites out there that break down important market information, giving buyers an economic outlook on a property long before they’re ready to commit. Trulia does a great job of this with its graphic interface and easily accessible message boards that facilitate discussion about neighborhoods. Let’s use our Friday Four Hundred, 5802 Monticello, for example. To the right you can see agents and potential buyers talking about the neighborhood at length — a wonderful resource for buyer education.

Trulia 5802 Monticello screenshot

 

Of course, what you don’t get from all of this buyer education is a feel for neighborhood traffic. Is this home near a noisy intersection? How close are you to shopping? Are there other families and pedestrians nearby? That’s where an open house really provides an added benefit. Buyers can linger, walk around the neighborhood, get a feel for their surroundings.

Of course, one open house is a lot easier to manage than a gazillion individual showings, says Desimone. Agreed, but it also opens the home to people who aren’t interested in buying at all, including neighbors and thieves, as Rogers Healy recently mentioned on Fox Business News’ The Willis Report. But they do give agents and sellers an opportunity to get some feedback on a listing, Desimone says.

“A good listing agent will want to see as many buyers come through as possible to gauge their reactions to the home,” he offers. “Are people walking in and out quickly? Or are they hanging around? What questions are they asking? What are their biggest hang-ups or concerns? This is the kind of valuable information you can’t get online.”

Agreed. You won’t get a lot of feedback from buyers who shop mostly online, and a seller’s agent won’t likely be at showings, so besides critiques from stagers and other agents, this is likely the only direct feedback sellers can get.

What do you think? Is the Open House a relic, or is it relevant?

Sold Home

We’ve all heard these questions or statements at one time or another, so I decided to answer them in an easy-to-digest list you can forward to all your associates and misinformed friends.

Whether buying, selling, leasing, or looking, many clients or prospective clients have offered at least one of these statements to us, and we’ve all done our best to suppress a vigorous eye-roll.

So read on for a thorough debunking of the Top 10 Myths About Realtors:

1) You’ll get a better deal if you buy directly from the listing agent.

Not true. In the majority of contracts, the seller has agreed to pay a set commission beforehand. If the buyer has their own agent, the commission is split between the listing agent and buyer’s agent. It makes little difference to the seller either way. In fact, it will likely help you, as a buyer, to have your own representative during negotiations.

2) Agents are paid the entire commission.

Definitely not. For most agents, they are splitting the commission with their broker. It can be as low as 50/50.

3) Agents get paid to drive clients around or show property.

Not so. We only make money when a transaction is closed and funded.

7210_Winedale_Open_Floor_Plan

4) If you’re not being offered as much as you want for your home, your agent just isn’t working hard enough.

Not really. An overpriced home just doesn’t sell. Also, unless it is a cash sale, your home will have to appraise. The appraisal will be based off comparable sales of similar homes in your area that have recently sold. Your agent has no control over this. Just because your neighbor is asking $50,000 more for his home still doesn’t mean that is what it’s worth, or what he’ll actually get for it when it eventually sells. A home that doesn’t appraise will not be financable. Also, an outdated home is not worth as much as an updated one.

5) All Realtors are rich.

While real estate can be a big money maker, it’s also true that 20 percent of the agents do 80 percent of the business. It may seem like an agent makes a lot of money at once on a transaction, but real estate is a very expensive business to be in. Namely, yearly and monthly dues and fees to national and state associations, local MLS, local showing service, and your broker. Plus, the agents pay for gas, signs, advertising, key boxes, websites, professional photography, health insurance, etc. Pretty much anything real estate related comes out of the agent’s pocket. Most are lucky to walk away with 1 percent of a transaction.

LA-Hottest-Realtor

 

Not all Realtors have huge billboards and fancy cars!

6) Realtors are just trying to make a sale, and will lie or stretch the truth to do so.

Again, definitely not. Not only are there legal liabilities, a realtor’s business is based off referrals. They’d rather have you refer three friends than tell three friends about your bad experience.

7) An agent can only show his or her own listings, or those of their sponsoring broker.

Not true. A buyer’s agent can show any listing on the market. The agent makes no more money from their client buying a listing from their personal broker or someone else. That said, the agent will make “both sides” of the commission if they sell their own listing to one of their buyers. In Texas, this causes an agent to go into “Intermediary Status,” meaning they are no longer advising either client, as opposed to double agency where the agent is actually advising both sides.

8) Real Estate is an “easy” job since its just “driving around and looking at pretty houses.”

Real Estate is VERY hard. It is constant marketing, prospecting, and handling complex transactions. It can be a lot of time and effort with no guaranteed return. Agents are trying to make a living like everyone else. It can be extremely stressful. It’s very rewarding to find someone the right property, but until the transaction closes, it’s pretty high stress for the agent as well as the client.

It’s rarely part time. Agents are constantly answering calls, emails and texts. Nights, weekends and holidays included. And it’s not easy either. Agents work with people on the biggest financial transactions of their lives. It’s emotional and complicated.

Not just anyone can be an agent. An agent has to be a special person that is knowledgable, helpful, and very think skinned. We deal with emotional people, rude people and time wasters every day. We have to stay up to date with mandatory continued education classes and be great negotiators.

9) You do not need to talk to a lender until you have found a home to buy.

It is better to have financing worked out before you even start to look. If you do find a home you’d like to purchase, you’ll need a preapproval letter to place an offer. If your potential new home is in a popular area, it may get several offers on the first day. If you’re not preapproved, you could miss out. Plus, you want to know the amount you’ll qualify for, and not be looking at homes outside of your budget or possibly be able to afford more home than you originally thought.

Mortgage House Keys

10) Driving a fancy car or having a bunch of “million dollar listings” is a directly related to how good an agent is.

Not necessarily. Some agents have huge, very visible businesses. Some do not. There are plenty of great agents that provide wonderful, personalized service that do not have a billboard or magazine cover. Find an agent that you get along with, who understands your needs.

Kathryn Roan 1Kathryn Roan is an Ebby Halliday Realtor focusing on farms, ranches, and equestrian properties. Kathryn lives in Poetry with her 7 horses. Contact Kathryn at Kathryn@TexasEquestrianProperties.com

Sold Home

We’ve all heard these questions or statements at one time or another, so I decided to answer them in an easy-to-digest list you can forward to all your associates and misinformed friends.

Whether buying, selling, leasing, or looking, many clients or prospective clients have offered at least one of these statements to us, and we’ve all done our best to suppress a vigorous eye-roll.

So read on for a thorough debunking of the Top 10 Myths About Realtors:

1) You’ll get a better deal if you buy directly from the listing agent.

Not true. In the majority of contracts, the seller has agreed to pay a set commission beforehand. If the buyer has their own agent, the commission is split between the listing agent and buyer’s agent. It makes little difference to the seller either way. In fact, it will likely help you, as a buyer, to have your own representative during negotiations.

2) Agents are paid the entire commission.

Definitely not. For most agents, they are splitting the commission with their broker. It can be as low as 50/50.

3) Agents get paid to drive clients around or show property.

Not so. We only make money when a transaction is closed and funded.

7210_Winedale_Open_Floor_Plan

4) If you’re not being offered as much as you want for your home, your agent just isn’t working hard enough.

Not really. An overpriced home just doesn’t sell. Also, unless it is a cash sale, your home will have to appraise. The appraisal will be based off comparable sales of similar homes in your area that have recently sold. Your agent has no control over this. Just because your neighbor is asking $50,000 more for his home still doesn’t mean that is what it’s worth, or what he’ll actually get for it when it eventually sells. A home that doesn’t appraise will not be financable. Also, an outdated home is not worth as much as an updated one.

5) All Realtors are rich.

While real estate can be a big money maker, it’s also true that 20 percent of the agents do 80 percent of the business. It may seem like an agent makes a lot of money at once on a transaction, but real estate is a very expensive business to be in. Namely, yearly and monthly dues and fees to national and state associations, local MLS, local showing service, and your broker. Plus, the agents pay for gas, signs, advertising, key boxes, websites, professional photography, health insurance, etc. Pretty much anything real estate related comes out of the agent’s pocket. Most are lucky to walk away with 1 percent of a transaction.

LA-Hottest-Realtor

 

Not all Realtors have huge billboards and fancy cars!

6) Realtors are just trying to make a sale, and will lie or stretch the truth to do so.

Again, definitely not. Not only are there legal liabilities, a realtor’s business is based off referrals. They’d rather have you refer three friends than tell three friends about your bad experience.

7) An agent can only show his or her own listings, or those of their sponsoring broker.

Not true. A buyer’s agent can show any listing on the market. The agent makes no more money from their client buying a listing from their personal broker or someone else. That said, the agent will make “both sides” of the commission if they sell their own listing to one of their buyers. In Texas, this causes an agent to go into “Intermediary Status,” meaning they are no longer advising either client, as opposed to double agency where the agent is actually advising both sides.

8) Real Estate is an “easy” job since its just “driving around and looking at pretty houses.”

Real Estate is VERY hard. It is constant marketing, prospecting, and handling complex transactions. It can be a lot of time and effort with no guaranteed return. Agents are trying to make a living like everyone else. It can be extremely stressful. It’s very rewarding to find someone the right property, but until the transaction closes, it’s pretty high stress for the agent as well as the client.

It’s rarely part time. Agents are constantly answering calls, emails and texts. Nights, weekends and holidays included. And it’s not easy either. Agents work with people on the biggest financial transactions of their lives. It’s emotional and complicated.

Not just anyone can be an agent. An agent has to be a special person that is knowledgable, helpful, and very think skinned. We deal with emotional people, rude people and time wasters every day. We have to stay up to date with mandatory continued education classes and be great negotiators.

9) You do not need to talk to a lender until you have found a home to buy.

It is better to have financing worked out before you even start to look. If you do find a home you’d like to purchase, you’ll need a preapproval letter to place an offer. If your potential new home is in a popular area, it may get several offers on the first day. If you’re not preapproved, you could miss out. Plus, you want to know the amount you’ll qualify for, and not be looking at homes outside of your budget or possibly be able to afford more home than you originally thought.

Mortgage House Keys

10) Driving a fancy car or having a bunch of “million dollar listings” is a directly related to how good an agent is.

Not necessarily. Some agents have huge, very visible businesses. Some do not. There are plenty of great agents that provide wonderful, personalized service that do not have a billboard or magazine cover. Find an agent that you get along with, who understands your needs.

Kathryn Roan 1Kathryn Roan is an Ebby Halliday Realtor focusing on farms, ranches, and equestrian properties. Kathryn lives in Poetry with her 7 horses. Contact Kathryn at Kathryn@TexasEquestrianProperties.com

Arbys Listing Do you see what I see? At closing, the buyer’s agent — some lucky, lucky agent – will get an $8 cash bonus and an expired coupon — I’m sorry, this is so exciting it’s capitalized, forgive me – an “Expired Coupon” to Arby’s.

1225 Oak poolI don’t know about you, but I am beyond excited! So here goes, we will post it — I can smell that roast beef and $8 will get me two whole Starbucks, maybe, well regulars anyhow. Y’all run out to Keller and buy this 2636 square foot home at 1225 Oak with an indoor swimming pool that is 15 by 50 feet long. That’s huge, five feet longer than my pool and it’s saltwater. There are also two drains, in case you need them. And yes, those are clouds painted on the ceiling of the natatorium. You’ve got almost two acres out here near Highway 114 and 377 which, someday, in the year 2525 will be complete from road constriction. I mean construction.1225 Oak Trail front

I love stained concrete floors, especially if you have a pool in the house. Open floor plan but split bedrooms, three of them, three full baths, and a separate office/study with great built-ins in case you work from home. This is very good: his and her bathrooms — and a well-functioning bidet — saves many a marriage. Two large walk-in closets loaded with closet organizers. You just won’t ever run out of storage space in this house. There is also a closet behind the media center for controls & extra storage.

Located on a cul de sac, just like President Bush, in a secluded subdivision with other beautiful, large custom homes. And just think of all the money you’ll save on suncreen. Or bathing suits! PLUS you get your SWEET $8 dollar cash bonus!!1225 Oak Trail LR1225 Oak Trail kitchen1225 Oak Trail master her1225 Oak Trail pool cover Reduced to $424,500 or lease for $3000 per month, but not sure if that generous  bonus deal is available on the lease. 🙁