Come on. We all know that there is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in every field, but I thought I would bring a light-hearted topic in for real estate. In all honesty, this article could probably be over 10,000 words and ongoing. By the way, I'm not just taking jabs at buyers and sellers but also the Realtors themselves. I'm also not saying that I'm "holier than thou". I may be one of the examples below (but I will never admit it).
I am saying that real estate is full of drama. If there wasn't any drama in real estate, there wouldn't be TV shows made about it. We Realtors, as with anyone who works with the masses, come across all types of people and situations. It's one of the things that I like the most about selling homes and condos (besides the fact that it's how I feed my kids and chihuahuas).
So, if you're guilty of anything that I say below, don't take it personally. I'm probably talking about myself as well in some cases. Whenever Realtors are hired by a buyer or seller, our job is to get to the final goal - a closing. Some are better than others though. Let's go!
Although most buyers and sellers are tire kickers for the moment, the "Good" ones or actually the best ones would be . . .
Cash Buyers Who Know Exactly What They Want
About 30% of the buyers in LA (lower Alabama) pay cash. Yes, of course, it's so nice to have that kind of money; then all they have to worry about is HOA fees, taxes, insurance, and dealing with their neighbors. It would stink pretty bad to pay cash for a home only to find out that your new next-door neighbor puts out a 30-foot snowman every year for 2 months. But, I guess that would stink whether you're paying cash or paying a mortgage lender.
What's fantastic is to find a buyer who is paying cash and knows exactly what they want. 70% of the time, this is not realistic.
Fully Approved Buyers Who Know Exactly What They Want
Most of the time, this is what you will find. You'll get a buyer who has done their homework (or looked at the hundreds of articles that I've written) and has become pre-approved or fully approved. Chances are they will already know where they want to move, at least the general area.
My mission when working with a new client is to narrow the search down to under 10 homes (5 would make me feel better). I spend a lot of time trying to find out exactly what they want ahead of time - city, amenities, square feet, schools, etc.
Buying a home is such a huge decision, and I get it. If it took you 20 homes, I would take you on as a client. Dang, if it took you 50 homes, I would. I just think that we Realtors can spend more time on the front end vetting your needs. It saves everyone time but if you're fully approved, you made the "Good" list. No coal in your stocking!
Hmmm, Just Being Nice
I still have faith in humankind, for the most part. There are plenty of people who pay cash and can close in 4 days who I despise. Guess what, if you are not nice (I'm being nice right now by not saying a word that I want to say), I don't have to work with you.
I have actually fired a client who was so bad that I was completely comfortable losing the commission on the sale of their current home and the sale of their next. Totally comfortable.
You may not be paying cash or even be fully approved, but if you're a decent human being, you made the "Good" list. No coal in your stocking!
Many of you don't know this but I'm a tattooed-up biker Realtor. I have no problem with expression but leave the attitude at the house. No time for it. I'm working for you!
How Agents Should Act
We have a duty to give the best possible service to buyers and sellers. It's a fiduciary relationship. My good friend, Paul Sian, has written an on-point article about this topic called, How Real Estate Agents Should Be Representing Their Clients.
We have a duty of loyalty and disclosure. We have a duty of confidentiality. Realtors who follow real estate law and put their clients first . . . do not get coal in their stocking.
Others degrade themselves and everyone else, landing themselves in the Bad and the Ugly category.
Realtors Who Know What They're Doing
Don't get me wrong, most Realtors have a good heart, have spent a lot of time and money learning, and working to do the best job for their clients. Most are on the Good list.
"Time in the Saddle" also doesn't mean that you know what you're doing. You could have a brand new agent who has heart and willing to find answers to your questions in a matter of minutes.
On the other hand, you could have a Realtor who has had a license for 20 years but they don't stay up with the times. They market their homes by using real estate magazines and think they will sell your home by utilizing Open Houses! That was a jab, by the way!
Realtors who put their client first AND if they don't know the answer but will be forthright in getting an answer, do not get coal in their stocking!
Remember, we're all working towards one goal here - to close.
Buyers, sellers, and Realtors can all be liars. By the way, going back to my statement above, I'm not a liar (just wanted to make that clear). Heck, in any field you're going to find liars but since we're talking about real estate, let's move on . . .
There is a lot of time and effort that goes into listing a property and showing a property. For instance, if you are calling your Realtor to see a new home and you're not ready to buy for say, 3 years, you may want to tell someone. I have plenty of buyers who tell me that they are thinking of buying 2 years from now but I'm fine as long as they're upfront.
Liars make the Bad list, for sure. Coal.
This group of folks usually has to do with Open Houses. So, hence the word "neighbors"; they are probably not wanting to buy your house since they already live in your neighborhood. Although Open Houses do not work very well anymore, a nosy neighbor who just wants to see your home is not only wasting the time of the Realtor who is sitting in the house but also the seller. I'm sure that most homeowners would not want someone trapesing through their home if they are not a potential buyer. Enough said!
Control Your Kids
My friend, Sharon Paxson, has written an article called the 10 Rules to Follow When Shopping For a Home. One of her rules has to do with kids running wild. This makes the Bad list for sure!
Folks, this is not your home. You cannot allow your little ones to jump on the bed, rummage through the refrigerator, or go through the nightstand. Besides, if they did go through the nightstand, you may have some explaining to do which would probably bring on more therapy for all parties in the future.
Realtors Who Over-Sell
This is a big problem, and I'm probably going to get emails from agents from all over the country on this one! Our number one duty is to support the best interests of our clients - buyer or seller. There are so many Realtors in my area (and I'm sure everywhere) who will tell you anything, just to put a sign in your front yard. Many agents do not take the time to do the proper research in their own market to do a proper job for their client when listing a home.
I will not take a listing if the owner doesn't agree with my research! Keyword - Research.
This happened to me a couple of years ago. I was $50,000 under what my client wanted to sell their home for. Of course, they went with another agent and that home sat on the market for nearly 2 years.
If the owner is willing to wait 2 years, that's fine; but don't expect me to find a buyer who is willing to pay $50,000 over appraised value on day 2.
Ok, I know I'm sounding a little cranky right now and this is supposed to be light-hearted, but this particular topic is too real. If you want to sell your home, get with someone who has a track record. If it's in LA (lower Alabama), well, that would be me. :)
The smiley face emoticon is supposed to bring this back to light-hearted . . .
Sellers Who Do Not Listen to Their Seasoned Agent
I see this all the time. Sometimes sellers think they know more than the professional. If you're a dentist, I can only imagine what you would think if I were to give you advice on extracting a tooth. Although my method may work, it's probably not the best! :)
Michelle Gibson writes in her article, The Seller Who Wanted to Test the Market and Got Burned, the number one goal for a reputable Realtor is to get top dollar while, at the same time, not letting your home go stale on the market.
Don't be a Know-It-All. Don't listen to Zillow's Zestimates. Don't listen to your neighbors. As long as you have a competent Realtor like Michelle (or me in LA), your home is priced just right, and you won't have to worry about your listing going into the 4th level of Hell, never to be seen again.
Staying Too Long at the House
Again, this article could be much longer and it will probably grow as we speak, but 5 days is way too long to spend on publishing this and I'm way too impatient.
I totally get it. After looking at 10 homes, you find one that you love and you want to spend the rest of the evening there. UGH. Unless the home is vacant, please know that someone actually lives there and is waiting for you to leave. Of course, the seller wants you to buy the home but they don't know that yet. All they see is . . . the buyer and their buyer's agent are sitting around your table chatting while you're keeping your two Yorkies on a leash down the street (for 2 hours, at dinner time). Come on people!
If you're looking at a home that you love, spend 20 or 30 minutes there, but if you know that the owners are retired or it's time for supper . . . keep that in mind.
Everything and the Kitchen Sink
Real estate transactions are all about negotiations. It's been said that a successful negotiation is when everyone gets something that they want. One thing that Bill Gassett brings us with his article, Realtors hate when dealing with buyers, is to have a buyer who's insistent on getting every last penny from the seller with repairs.
Understand, that a buyer's agent will want to get every last penny but there is a "rational" point to deal with. In a lot of cases, the buyer and agent have already negotiated down the best possible price (in a buyer's market). The kicker is when the buyer wants to kick the seller when they're down.
You just got $30,000 off of the list price, and it's below what is the perceived appraised value but you want them to change out a light switch based on the home inspection.
Bad JuJu! You are definitely getting coal.
Showing Up Un-Announced
Some buyers, especially in a buyer's market, feel that it's totally appropriate to show up whenever they want. Driving onto the seller's property without an appointment is bad JuJu. Getting out of your car and walking around their property is explosive bad JuJu (you get the picture).
Treat others like you would want to be treated if you were selling.
No, of course, pets aren't bad (well that's not totally true) but Kevin Vitali has written a funny article about pets in the home during showings. It made me think of all the many moments that I came across animals in the home while showing.
If you think about it, this could be real serious because, well, you could die! One of the biggest things that I hate, after 13 years of selling real estate, is sellers who do not put up their dogs when they know I'm bringing clients over. This has a second tier as well - The listing agent didn't tell the owner that I was coming over but told me that it was okay. Very bad. Coal.
I've never been bitten but I did have a Rottweiler come at my throat one time, and if I was 1 foot closer than the length of his chain, I would have been a goner. And there are many more examples . . .
Using Your Realtor . . . for Nothing
For all of the buyers out there, please know that real estate agents are not only looking out for your best interest but they do this for a living. Please do not USE your Realtor, then not allow them to be compensated for it.
One client that comes to mind . . . I spent probably 3 weeks showing them approximately 80 homes (probably my fault). You can't imagine the time, miles, and gas spent on these showings. Oh, guess what? They bought an FSBO without my knowledge before it was done. That makes the Bad list. You get coal in your stocking! Uncool. Uncouth. Rotten.
You may say to yourself, but, Jeff, did you not have a Buyer's Agency Agreement? Well, yes I did. But, is it really worth the extra time running them through court?
Taking Advantage of the Seller's Home
Conor MacEvilly has a great article, Strangers Will Pee In Your Toilet. Come on people, this is not cool! A lot of times buyers, especially in a buyer's market, feel that they can just do whatever they want. Oh, no no, you can't.
This is not your home and not a hotel room. This is someone's property. You cannot open the drawers to their nightstand, push their clothes aside in their closet, or pee in their toilet. Bad, very bad.
You can open closet doors, cabinet drawers, and anything that is included in the sale of the home, but you need to resist the urge to pee in their toilet.
The last thing that a seller wants to worry about is if they have to disinfect their toilet seats!
When I say Ugly, I'm literally meaning Ugly.
Clean Up Your S&#! (Stuff)
Ok, let's get this straight. You want to sell your home, but you have two cars on cinder blocks in your front yard. Your gutter is falling off the front of your house. You have 30 years of collectibles, including a room full of nasty looking dolls with one eye, beanie babies, and hot wheel cars (not to mention that the walls and ceilings are painted black).
I'm not putting down anyone's propensity to hoard, but when you're trying to sell your home, I have two words of advice - Storage Unit.
Take a couple of days (or a couple of weeks, whatever it takes) to clean out, sell, or toss. I've been guilty of this, too, not with the creepy dolls but just stuff. When we decided to downsize, we had three garage sales, back to back! The things that didn't sell, we just starting giving that S&#! (stuff) away.
I'm actually cracking my own self up right now, but this stuff is true. You are trying to attract buyers, not run them off.
I know this is a taste-sensitive subject. I realize that Seafoam Green was popular in the 80's, but you will need to fast forward 30 years if you want to sell your home.
Guess what? Wallpaper generally doesn't work, especially with flamingos! Flamingos don't work even if you're in a southern coastal town.
Don't get me started on borders with lighthouses!
I'm a Realtor, not a decorator but come on! The general public does not want to sit in a living room that is the color of watermelon.
I'll get some more emails on this one too . . . Some Realtors feel the need to make their cars a rolling billboard. From the research that I've done, selling one home every couple of years is not worth you looking ridiculous and needy.
I really hope some of my closest Realtor friends around the country do not have vehicle wraps right now! Oh, the emails are coming . . .
Most clients come through online advertising, so agents need to man/woman up and do the necessary work to get their website seen. Vehicle wraps make the Ugly list. Coal.
This kind of goes along with what was mentioned above, but a bad attitude makes you Ugly. You can be a buyer, seller, or Realtor. It doesn't matter.
We love buyers but if you want to take agents on a journey of 100 home showings and then use someone else . . . you're Ugly.
We love sellers, but if you persist in getting $500,000 for your home when it's worth $300,000 and you illegally raise llamas in your backyard, you're Ugly.
We love Realtors, but if they list your home at $500,000, knowing it's worth $300,000 (with the llamas), you're Ugly.
Don't be Ugly! You're getting coal in your stocking.
Ok, here's one that I probably need to work on myself . . . How many times have you seen a picture on someone's real estate business card, then met them in person, and said, "Who are you?" Real estate agents are notorious for this one (me included).
Although my picture is only about 4 years old, I "may" be slightly heavier and I definitely have longer hair. Hey, we all get older and S&#! (stuff) happens!
What drives me crazy is when I see someone's marketing picture from 20 years ago. What? If someone will not recognize you standing in line at the Taco Bell, you need to change your picture! Enough on that . . .
For some, this may sound like a b&*#! (gripe) session, but I really wanted to make this a learning experience. Again, there is a lot of drama in real estate. We can ALL do more to make home buying and selling a more pleasurable experience.
As always, if you're a buyer or seller in Baldwin County, AKA lower Alabama, AKA LA, call me.
About the author: The above Real Estate information on Real Estate - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly was provided by Jeff Nelson of IXL Real Estate – Eastern Shore. Jeff can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 251-654-2523. Jeff has helped people move in and out of properties for nearly 13 years.
Thinking about selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and would love to share my marketing expertise!
I service Real Estate sales in Baldwin County including the cities of Spanish Fort, Daphne, Fairhope, Foley, Gulf Shores, and Orange Beach.