Today’s real estate market is extremely competitive. Markets in past years were competitive too. That much hasn’t changed. We’re now seeing significant changes in the financing options available to buyers, appraisal guidelines, and big increases in certain types of sales, such as foreclosures or short sales. These changes will be with us for years to come. Susan Mekenney, NVAR Board Chairman and a Realtor of 15 years, commented that, “Now, I find myself in a market dominated by foreclosures and short sales coupled with brand-new lending and appraisal guidelines that seem to change daily. There are days when I feel like I am starting all over again as an agent.”
This once-in-a-lifetime upheaval in the real estate market is taking place at the same time that technology is changing how people gather and exchange information. The Internet is playing a growing role in our busy lives. It delivers a wealth of information to prospective property buyers. The problem is how to find the right information when you need it to make a smart property purchase.
People are using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to better communicate. For a property seller, that presents new challenges: how to reach buyers and not let your property get overlooked in all that information..
While the growth of the Internet has been eye-popping, technology is just a tool. A successful real estate agent must use all of the tools available to effectively bring buyers and sellers together. What’s different today is that the Internet and other communication technologies like email and mobile phone messaging are tools you simply can’t afford not to use. I like to think of this as my “back-to-basics” approach: using all of the tools at my disposal to bring buyers and sellers together. I execute on the basics – using time-tested tools like the Multiple Listing Service and producing attention-grabbing brochures. But I know that the days of using those tools and those tools alone – simply placing a “for sale” sign and waiting for a buyer to show up – are over. That’s why I use internet marketing, social networking sites, and other technologies to help connect buyers and sellers.
You can also read a little more about me to learn how over the past decade I acquired a solid understanding of local property values and hold a Virginia Class A contractor’s license – background that provides invaluable experience in real estate transactions.
I deliver solid value to both buyers and sellers by:
- Helping you price your property from the start if you’re looking to list your property. The single most important issue for sellers is setting the correct price to enter the market. Mis-pricing can cost potentially hundreds of thousands and untold extra months languishing on the market. Choosing the wrong price will only help sell a stranger’s property – not yours. But finding the right price to start takes a lot of analysis. As of October 2009, a search I did to evaluate a condominium in Arlington returned about 200 properties. Do you have the time to evaluate all of those competitors and effectively price against them? I have the experience to help you set an asking price that will maximize your ultimate sales price.
- Distilling information so you can focus on the important facts to reach better decisions. For buyers, that means previewing properties so you can devote your energy to those that merit consideration. If you try to sift through the hundreds of purchase candidates yourself, you’ll likely end up missing what you really want to buy, maybe because another more efficient buyer snapped it up. For sellers, that means taking the time to analyze unique considerations that apply to your property, as the quick Excel analysis I prepared demonstrates.
- Applying marketing fundamentals for today’s real estate market. That means I execute on the basics, such as designing and distributing easy-to-read brochures, quickly following up with all prospects, and communicating feedback to sellers. I take the time to understand the unique features of your property and to personally communicate them to prospective buyers – they’re not always apparent from a printed listing sheet. But I also use today’s technology to reach every prospective buyer. I create both a listing page and a dedicated web site specific to your property. I optimize this web content using meta tags and keywords for better placement on Google and other internet search engines. I immediately feed these pages to all the popular real estate listing sites, including Trulia, Zillow, and Google Base. Many sellers are more likely to find a buyer from across the country or across the globe from effective internet marketing rather than a buyer who merely drove past a “for sale” sign. I’m an internet-savvy marketer that knows how to do it.
- Helping you navigate the ever-shifting minefield of forms and rules that are typical of today’s complex real estate transactions. There are hundreds of forms, disclosure obligations to buyers, and deadline after deadline to be tracked. A mis-step could result in waiving rights or worse still, incurring a big liability. Unless you understand the significance of each element in a lengthy real estate contract, you may find an unpleasant surprise lurking in that apparently simple addendum! I know the requirements and I’m careful enough to double-check what I know. I use that knowledge to get your transaction smoothly through to settlement without a costly blow up along the way.
- Helping you successfully negotiate offers. That’s not as straightforward as it seems at first glance. For example, there are subtle elements of a contract offer that provide indicators on the likelihood of closing taking place. Missing these signals may mean you ignore an offer from a competing buyer only to accept an offer from a buyer that will never settle – producing nothing for you but opportunity costs and wasted time. For buyers, I help you present and negotiate an offer that fulfills your goals and is more likely to be accepted by the seller.
While my years of real estate experience have taught me a lot, and I continue to learn something new each day, I don’t always have the answer at my fingertips. I don’t pretend to. I think being straightforward makes me a better marketer and more effective communicator. The real estate process is complex, and pretending doesn’t benefit either one of us. I’ve found that in most situations, a direct “hands on” approach is the best way to get the job done.
I’ll do my best to get you the information you need to make your next real estate transaction a smooth and successful one.