Listen To Your Realtor

Oscar Rodriguez with Esslinger Wooten Maxwell Realty International

Dedicated. Distinguished. Down-to-earth.  These three words describe my career in real estate. I have a keen understanding of how to properly handle a real estate transaction – with tact and unwavering dedication to the needs of my customers. I strive to be a resource over the course of a lifetime rather than a participant in a single transaction, helping my customers with their evolving real estate needs as their stage in life changes. As a longtime resident of South Florida I have seen this quaint piece of paradise grow into a global destination that is drawing more and more buyers locally, nationally and abroad. My fluency in Spanish gives me the ability to negotiate effectively in South Florida’s diverse and ever-changing market.

By leveraging the power, presence and prestige of of the Esslinger Wooten Maxwell Realty International brand, I market my listings through EWM’s global network, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. This potent international alliance of more than 550 brokerages across more than 65 countries that span 6 continents exposes my listings to more than 131,000 associates globally. Equally as powerful is EWM Realty International’s parent company, HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate. HomeServices of America is the second largest real estate brokerage services firm in America with more than 41,000 associates throughout 30 states. By working with me you get more than just a realtor, you contract with a resource that is committed to getting you the highest possible results, and a network of associates that all have one goal: finding the buyer for your home. 

The Importance of Experience & Trusting the Expert’s Advice

“I told you so” – words that no realtor wants to say to his customers ever. It’s baffling to this day, after several years of hands on experience in the South Florida real estate marketplace and hundreds of closed transactions that I still see consumers making the same costly mistakes. With the amount of content available to buyers and sellers online regarding do’s and dont’s some people still prefer to learn costly lessons the hard way. I’ve always thought it best to learn from other’s mistakes if at all possible. 

Below are some instances / occurrences that could have and should have been avoided by buyers and sellers in residential real estate transactions had they listened to their real estate agents. I sincerely hope that those of you reading this article will take these comments into consideration when dealing with one of the largest and most complicated financial transactions in your lifetimes. I hope you will heed the professional advice of the real estate agent you hired and trusted to guide you through your home selling / purchasing experience. 

Get Pre-Approved by a Mortgage Lender before Touring Homes

You’ve decided it’s time to grow your roots and you’re going to purchase a home. You pick up the phone and reach out to a real estate agent (found him on Zillow or he was referred by a friend) and he makes a detailed list of your wants and needs and sets you up on an awesome MLS search in your target market with homes that check off most of the boxes. This agent asks if you’ve been pre-approved by a mortgage lender and you dismissively waive off his suggestion to address this part of the process sooner than later. You inform him you have excellent credit, little  or no debt and you know you will qualify for “x” amount of mortgage financing based on the research you’ve done online. 

You’ve spoken to your realtor once or twice over the phone and not met in person. Not wanting to lose you as his client the realtor decides to take you out to tour properties despite you only having a pre-qualification letter or nothing at all from a lender yet. Your real estate professional is pretty awesome and takes you on a tour of some very promising homes and you fall in love with one and decide you just have to have it. It just so happens that the one you favor over the others just hit the market the same day you toured it and you’re not the only prospective buyer that fell in love with the presentation on that fine Saturday afternoon.

Well as it turns out three other home shoppers decide to make an offer on that same home that very same day. They listened to their realtors. They have been pre-approved and have the pre-approval or even better yet loan commitment to substantiate their offer and their capacity to make it to the closing table. You do not have your pre-approval letter at the ready. That home’s under contract before Sunday comes around and guess who didn’t get their offer in or accepted because there’s no substantive proof that you have the ability to secure that mortgage…

Should’ve listened to your realtor.

Make those Modifications your Realtor Recommended before Listing the Home

Time on the market is money. Generally speaking the longer your home is on the market the less money you’re going to make on the sale. When your real estate agent meets you at your home to go over her listing presentation and tour your home to make recommendations of things you need to address in its presentation prior to having prospective purchasers come through your doors – you need to heed her advice and get it done. She’s talking from experience. 

Here are several common recommendations that real estate agents make to their sellers that often meet with resistance or go unheeded altogether:

  • painting dark interiors light to open up the feel of spaces and make their interpretation larger to prospective home buyers
  • fixing the minor defects even if they’re just cosmetic as buyers will often mentally overprice the cost to cure them many times higher than what it actually costs – lowering their offer price to compensate (damaged drywall, warped baseboards from prior water intrusion, sliding glass doors that need to be reset properly on their tracks, cracked roof tiles and rotted overhang fascia, leaky faucets, runny toilets, cracked refrigerator drawers or shelves, etc.)
  • having the air conditioner system(s) serviced 
  • removing clutter throughout the house to open up spaces and allow buyers to visualize how they would utilize the floor plan
  • making sure all of the light bulbs throughout the home are in working order so that the home can be shown in its best light by the buyers’ agent
  • moving furniture around at the realtor’s request to increase a home’s flow 
  • making sure that pet odors are removed prior to scheduled showings – like cleaning the cat litter or scooping up the dog poop in the yard 
  • repairing or replacing damaged / torn screen enclosures
  • having carpets professionally cleaned
  • incurring the cost of pressure washing the driveway, pavers, roof or even painting the exterior of the home if it’s needed

The above are just some of several suggestions that realtors make to their sellers on a regular basis that are often rejected because of either the time, effort or money it takes to address them. Unfortunately sellers that do not listen to their realtors on these points often end up paying for their choice to disregard these recommendations with a lower net sale in the end. If you’re not a “handy” person just hire someone to handle your realtor’s requests – it will still cost you less than choosing to not do anything about them at all and allowing the buyers to put their own price tag on these items. 

That Recommended List Price – It’s Probably Spot On

Selling your South Florida home and you contacted an experienced agent with a proven track record to provide you with an opinion of what your home’s most probable sale price will be? She tells you she’s of the opinion that you will likely command a sale price of $550,000 but your next door neighbor thinks that’s way too low and you shouldn’t list for anything less than $650,000. Your next door neighbor is an accountant with her own practice and she’s always proven to be sharp with numbers and seems to know everything at those homeowner association meetings. She’s a smart woman. Why is your real estate agent low balling your list price?

Stop. Think. Listen to your realtor if you want to sell your home. Go ahead and list at $650,000 if you like to end up at $550,000 several price reductions later if you prefer of course. 

If your real estate agent is worth her commission she will have substantiated her recommended list price with data. She has access to software and industry specific experience and understanding that your next door neighbor does not. Your real estate agent is trained in real estate data interpretation much better than your accountant neighbor and your cousin that’s a brain surgeon or a Publix cashier or store manager. Would you ask your dentist for tax advice over your accountant’s professional recommendation?

The key to this point is that you’re working with an experienced real estate agent that’s closed on multiple real estate transactions. I’m not referring to your cousin’s best friend’s aunt that just picked up her real estate license yesterday after finally passing the state licensing exam on her third try. 

That Recommended Offer Price – It’s Probably Spot On

Every seller wants to sell their home for the highest price possible, and every buyer wants to get the deal of a lifetime on their future home. It’s understandable. It’s human nature. Mr. Buyer – your real estate agent is there to assist you in making sure you do not overpay for the property, but also there to give you a reality check and let you know when you’re low balling your offer and killing your chances of actually closing on the property because you’re way short on what comparable homes are selling for in the neighborhood. 

In the South Florida marketplace the value of homes is very localized. There are distinct price and appeal differences throughout the various neighborhoods, municipalities and counties. There can be a drastic difference from one street to the next in terms of the average price per square foot of homes sold, sales cycle time, list price to sale price ratios and on and on…

Real estate agents have the tools and training to navigate you through the offer process and position you into contract. Listen to your real estate agent. If he tells you the home is priced within market value and it’s only been on the market for a few days, advising you to make your offer at or near list price…you may want to heed that advice. I’ve been on the listing side of transactions many times over with a hot new property just hitting the market, and there’s always that one offer in five of a multiple offer situation that comes in much lower than the others…

Thank you very much for the read.

For additional information about Oscar Rodriguez with Esslinger Wooten Maxwell Realty International you can check out my LinkedIn profile and visit my Facebook real estate page.