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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A tough row to hoe...

We have been in a very tough market for over 18 months now, with home values down, too much inventory on the market and too few buyers out looking. This is a market in which even the best and most experienced Realtors are having trouble dealing with, when representing sellers. I can’t imagine how tough the row is to hoe, if a homeowner jumps into this market trying to sell his/her house them selves.

As a real estate professional, I have access to all sorts of marketing tools to assist me in marketing the house. I put it on the local Multi-list Service (MLS) and through data exchange agreements it then goes out to several other regional multi-lists or at least their agents have access to my listing. That immediately puts over 5,000 Realtors in the region on my selling team. I put my Real Estate One sign in the yard and that immediately tells potential buyers that this transaction will be handled through a real estate professional who has all of the forms and services at his/her disposal that are necessary to take a sale to a successful closing.

You would not believe how many buyers have told me that they just won’t stop or call on a For Sale By Owner sign just because they don’t feel comfortable dealing directly with the owner. Buyers prefer that there be a third party in the middle. They also worry that an unrepresented seller may make major mistakes in the real estate sales process and they’re right much of the time.

I put each listing on the Web. In fact, through the agreements that my MLS has with several Web search engines and that my company has with several site; the listing goes out to over 100 Web sites around the United States. I do a just listed mailing to the neighborhood. An unrepresented seller might do that, too. I do a virtual tour of every listing, which an unrepresented seller would likely not do. I have enhanced listings on Realtor.com (the #1 Web search site for real estate) which allows me to put multiple pictures and the virtual tours o the site, as well as providing special, attention-grabbing features. An unrepresented seller isn't even eligible for that service.

I also do open houses, which a homeowner could also do; however, I take care of all of the advertising at my expense and have multiple lead-in signs to make it easy to find. I have other tools, like automated telemarketing systems to provide information about the house or television shows that focus on just real estate or various real estate books and newspaper ads. Some of these things an unrepresented homeowner could also do, but I pay for these when I’ve listed the home, as part of my marketing expense.

Probably the most important service that a good Realtor can provide, to help sell your house faster is to price it right in the first place. Overpricing the property is the single biggest mistake that most unrepresented sellers make. It is sad that even after getting professional advice, many sellers still ignore that advice and put their homes up for too much. They are just wasting time and the buyers see that.

There have been numerous studies done over time that consistently show that homes that are sold by unrepresented home sellers stay on the market longer and end up bringing less to the seller than those that have Realtors representing them. Most unrepresented sellers don’t want to see those studies or don’t want to believe them, but they exist and they are consistent and convincing. The real estate market is a tough row to hoe right now and sellers need all the help they can get. Save yourself time and end up with more money by calling a Realtor. Better yet, just call me.

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