All Work and Some Play

We interrupt the saga of my personal home sale to share my latest Pet Gazette article!

As a real estate agent, I have long been able to enjoy my dog’s company as a regular part of my day. In fact, I have often had clients request that my dogs join us when we are viewing land. Nothing makes a hike on a large tract more enjoyable than watching Fido happily bound through the woods.  I remember one 25 acre tract that I had listed for sale. It had a nice level area for a home site at the top then there were two trails that wound down through the property, across some rocky ledges and ending on a sandy beach on the French Broad River. I would often join the buyer’s agent in showing this property to their clients since I had a good idea of where the trails were located. A listing agent’s number one concern is ensuring that a buyer gets the full picture of a property so showing it to them myself only made sense. On the first weekend that this property was on the market, we had six showings scheduled. Five were on Saturday. I took my Golden Retriever, Tucker with me and together we showed this property each time. Luckily not everyone wanted to hike to the river but we did make that loop at least three times. When we arrived home from our work day we both crashed on the living room floor for a nap and were soon interrupted by my husband’s request to help clean up a debris pile that he had created. I agreed as long as he joined me the next day. I wanted him to know why I was so tired!

The next morning we drove back to the property, this time our puppy, Truly joined us. My clients and I, my husband and both dogs hiked down to the river and back up again. We all had a good time viewing the land. When we arrived back at the vehicles I was distracted with my clients and hadn’t noticed that puppy Truly had ventured over to say hello to a neighbor’s dog who was out on a chain. The dog tried to attack Truly who squealed and thankfully got away. I quickly grabbed her; made sure she was ok and put her in her crate. Stupid me! I wasn’t paying attention!  I also wasn’t paying attention to Tucker who was now circling the chained dog, peeing every three feet just outside the dogs reach. Tucker wasn’t a fighter but he wasn’t a pushover either!

Another time I was viewing a home that was under construction way up on a mountain in the little community of Trust. It was remote. On my way down the mountain, I stopped the truck to ask a question of a man that was out hunting with his dogs. He was using a radio collar for tracking and I was curious about how he was able to track them. The gentleman stood next to the open window while we had a nice conversation. Then I looked at Tucker. He obviously wanted us to leave, so I did. Sorry for the anti-climax with that little story but real estate agents often put themselves in harm’s way by meeting total strangers in remote areas or in empty houses. Tucker was doing his part to keep me safe.

Recently I sold a home in Leicester belonging to a little old lady who was half blind. She was in agreement that it was time for the house to be sold but it was still a sad time which made it stressful. Her daughter requested that I bring one of my Golden Retrievers to visit with her mom. This time I took Tag, our very gentle and soft-hearted Golden. He sat by her side through all of the paperwork, allowing himself to take all of the petting and ear rubbing that she doled out. She gave him a hug when we were done and thanked me for bringing him. She said he made the day easier for her.

Our dogs enrich our lives in so many ways and I am happy that they often bring joy to others as well. I train my dogs and work hard to ensure that they are good citizens who will be invited to join me wherever I want to go. I strive for them to be ambassadors for all canines that work and travel at their owner’s sides.  Hopefully you, too get to enjoy your dog during your workday.  Cheers!

Tucker in the snow

I just hired a Realtor…….

Yes, you read that title correctly. Me, a real estate broker, has just hired a real estate broker to sell my home.  When we tell homeowners that it is wise to hire a real estate broker to represent them in their home sale, we are not kidding. We are not saying this because we want the business. We are not saying this to make real estate brokers seem relevant. We say this because it is the truth.

Years ago I sold two homes by owner. We set our own price and we negotiated the contracts and yes, things went smoothly. So smoothly that this is what tempted me to get my real estate license. As I sat through the long hours of classroom time, I was horrified to realize all of the ways that I had I just opened myself up to get sued. Your real estate broker is your buffer in these transactions. They know the law, the paperwork involved, and the pitfalls that can occur. If anything ends in a lawsuit, they are your first line of defense.

Then there is the marketing angle. Sure, you can put your home on many of these websites for the public to see but there are many more out there. Also, do you really know how best to describe your home? The best photos? I once dealt with homeowners that insisted I post a photo of the back of their house as the first photo. I agree it was impressive. It made the home look like a three-story McMansion with lots of stairs instead of the one story with finished basement that it really was. The buyer for this home most likely was going to be a retired couple with bad knees. They want one level and the back photo of this home was not at all appealing to that kind of buyer. Would the seller listen to me? No, not for many, many months. Once they agreed to let me swap out the first photo we started having showings and then a contract. Trust your broker. They do this every day and talk to hundreds of buyers. They know what appeals to people. If they give you advise, listen to it.

Don’t forget about pricing. Sure, many websites offer home valuations but it’s based on algorithms and not real facts. I put my own home through three of these sites and had a $700,000 spread in price. Yeah, that’s accurate. Real Estate Agents know the market. I recently met with a home seller whose home has been on the market for several months with little action. I explained that his home was overpriced by about $30,000. In his current price range, a buyer can find a newer home that needs little cosmetic work. This particular home was well built and had some essential upgrades like a new roof, windows, and HVAC but it needed a complete cosmetic makeover. The price needed to reflect this. The seller was emotionally attached to this home and didn’t see the work that needed to be done.

So why do I need a real estate broker for my own home?  For all of the same reasons. Don and I designed this home. We built it with the help of one laborer and a few tradespeople. Every ounce of this home is us. We are too emotionally involved in this home to see it objectively. This hurts me when pricing it. It hurts me when staging it. It hurts me when describing it in advertising. For all of these reasons, I will make a bad listing agent for my own home. Further, the state of North Carolina does not allow a real estate broker to represent a buyer in the sale of their own property. This is a fairly new rule and I think it’s a good one.

My plan is to co-broker my property. I have hired one of the bright, new, rising stars in our real estate office to team up with me on my home. I will hire the professional photographer, possibly a drone, set up the website, and handle all advertising just as I do with all of my listings.  She will have complete control to edit anything that I do. I always trust in my marketing plan for my clients but for me, my co-broker will tweak as she sees fit. She will answer all calls and talk to potential buyers. This gives me breathing space to think rationally instead of having knee-jerk reactions to any offers or questions that come in.

Honestly, listing and selling my own home is not much different than selling by owner. If I am advising you to hire a professional to assist you in this transaction (a very expensive transaction I might add), shouldn’t I do the same?