Five Questions We Get Asked All the Time
I arrived at the office last Friday morning after two days of meetings in Saskatoon and was greeted with a large 15 Year Plaque sitting on my desk courtesy of our western Canadian regional office.
Man, time flies! I still remember how nervous I was walking into the building the first time with only my Alberta license in hand, only to find out there was no formal training program waiting for me.
You see, the RE/MAX brokerage model was designed specifically for experienced Realtors; men and women who already knew the business but wanted the freedom to build their own practice.
I may have had thirty years’ experience in other fields, but I only had text book learning about real estate.
Thank goodness for the patience of my colleagues, who let me shadow them on a few client visits, though I suspected later they just wanted someone to hold the other end of the tape when we measured houses in snow up to our knees!
This has been a great career choice; but certainly not the easiest.
In fact, there have been many days when it has been downright frustrating, but I don’t know of any job that doesn’t have its share of ups and downs.
My success is directly attributable to the clients who took a chance on this country boy, and close to twenty-five hundred listings later, I am still learning something new every day.
Thank you, one and all!
So, it’s a time for a little reflection on what are some of the main questions we get on a regular basis.
Question One – If I want to sell my property, where do I start?
In my opinion, you need to understand what the current market value is and how your property
is positioned in respect to the competition.
As has been clearly demonstrated in the last four years, real estate can go down as well as up. Like any commodity, it all comes back to supply and demand.
Looking at a property for the first time and analyzing its present worth, is one of the most interesting aspects of my work.
Question Two – How long will it take to sell my home?
The answer is “it depends”. Each community has a different buyer pool; there are some with a three-year supply of housing at the current rate of sales!
Whenever I go through a property for the first time, I am not only looking at its specific attributes (size, condition, location, etc.) but also start to form an opinion about the demographic profile of the potential buyer it would appeal to.
For example, families with young children prefer three bedrooms on one level, while those with tweens and teens like the separation of living space provided by a bi-level.
So, length of time on market is in direct relationship to how many buyers are actively looking for what your house has to offer.
Question Three – How much should we allow between our asking price and where we would like to land?
One of my mentors used to say, “price it right, and price it tight!” Personally, I prefer to allow three to five percent for negotiation, although that won’t stop someone coming in with an offer two thirds of asking price.
Question Four – We have been given a “low ball” offer; should we ignore it or attempt to negotiate?
Offers unsubstantiated with comparable sales make sellers angry, especially with “hit and run” buyers who are just fishing to see if there is enough distress in a household to take whatever they can get.
I recommend responding with a counter closer to asking price and see if the buyer will act in kind.
If they don’t, thank them for their interest and move on. If they do, methodically exhaust the negotiation and then decide if you want to sell at the final price point.
Question Five – I’m leasing my property out until it sells, and the new tenant wants me to enter into a “rent to own” agreement. Is this a good idea?
I will probably anger some readers but most of the time I believe this to be a very poor business practice for owners.
The tenant knows you want to sell and if they can convince you to keep the property off the market then they don’t have to move as often.
Almost all the pitches I hear the landlord is asked to put aside a portion of the rent until it accumulates into a suitable down payment.
So, the owner must save a portion of his/her income to benefit the tenant who apparently can’t? Why would anyone give up their right to sell a property to a person who can’t afford to buy it?
Only way this arrangement makes sense to me is when the tenant provides a monthly payment over and above the market rent based on a schedule with a clear end date and sale price.
Even then, I always counsel sellers to seek legal counsel first. It’s a risky proposition, even with family and friends.
Vern McClelland is an associate broker with RE/MAX of Lloydminster. He can be reached at (780) 808-2700, through www.vernmcclelland.com or by following the Midwest Group Lloydminster on Facebook.