“We believe that an educated consumer makes the best customer.”
Costly mistakes that you should know about…we are spilling the beans!
It is easier to get a listing when you tell the seller what he/she wants to hear. Many agents tell prospective sellers a sales price that is not that realistic so that the property owner is more willing to list with them than with another real estate agent interviewing for the same listing. As nice as it sounds to hear that you can get a higher price for your home, not listening to the agents that are being more honest & giving you a more realistic selling price based on the price of actual sold properties, will probably not do you any good. Your property will sit for months on the market without selling, while you help other comparable properties sell. Buyers in this market are very knowledgeable and computer savvy. With all the information out there, they will know which properties are a better value, and those will be the ones that sell. Many overpriced homes will never sell, they become expireds. It has been proven, that if you price your property right from the beginning, you will sell it faster, and in many cases, even for more money than you would have gotten if you overprice your home. A property that has been on the market for so long makes buyers think that there is something wrong with it, or they will think that the owner is just not realistic, so they will pass and not even bother. As a seller, you might know that you will be flexible & negotiable once you get an offer, but all those buyers and agents out there do not know that. So, do you want to list with an honest agent that told you the truth from the beginning, or the one that did not?
Zillow Zestimates Are Usually Not Accurate. For years we had people tell us that Zillow estimates, made their home be worth this or that. The problem with the estimates that Zillow gives, is that they do not take into consideration many things that a Realtor would know to take into consideration when giving an estimate of value.
- Is the home a foreclosure?
- What is the condition of the home?
- What are the upgrades of the property?
- Does the home back to a main road?
- Does the home have a huge lot?
- Is that floor plan typically more desirable than another in the same community?
- What kind of views does the property have? Does it have a lake or a garden view? By the beach area, a condo on the 15th floor will not sell or rent for the same price as one on the 2nd floor. Does the property have an ocean view or an Intracoastal view, or both? They are stacks of a building that have better views than others.
- Is the property rental price for an annual rental or a seasonal rental? The same property can rent annually for just $6,000 per month, but when it comes to a short term rental during season, the same property can go for $12,000 per month.
So, next time you want an accurate estimate of value, please, contact us! We will tell you what your home is worth based on accurate data and your property specific characteristics.
Real estate commissions are completely negotiable between the listing broker and the seller. These two parties can agree on any amount whatsoever.
The real estate commission is not always split 50% – 50% among the real estate agents involved in the transaction, as many people believe, this too can be negotiated. If two different real estate companies are offering to sell your property for the same commission, it does not necessarily mean that the terms will be the same. A listing agent might split the commission in half (2.5% to the listing agent, and 2.5% to the selling agent that brings the buyer). The other listing agent (like Stern Realty Co. does) might keep only 2%, and give 3% to the selling agent. Why should you care? And why do we keep less money and offer more to the selling agents? The answer is simple. We want to motivate all other agents in the MLS (10,000+) to bring a buyer and sell our listing. If the commission offered to them is much less than what other listings for similar properties are paying, we might not have as many motivated agents trying hard to show and sell our listings. Therefore, your listing might never sell, or might sell for a lot less than it should, costing you thousands of dollars. If there are 25 listings for sale in your community, and most of the listings are offering the agents that bring the buyer 3% commission, and your agent is only offering to pay them 2.5%, there might be a good chance that some real estate agents might not show your listing at all with so many others to show that are offering to pay them more in commission. True, some agents will do the right thing, and show all the listings that fit their customer’s criteria, but many might not do the right thing. This mistake, can cost you thousands and valuable time on the market! 11 condos sold in Toscana: 10 of the condos that sold were paying 3% in commission to the selling agent, and only 1 condo that was paying 2.5% to the selling agent sold in 2016. That condo took 355 days to sell. We want to give our customers a fair commission rate that will save them some money (compared to a 6% commission), but at the same time, we don’t want to sacrifice on the exposure that our customers will get. We are a full service real estate company with low commission rates. We pass on the savings to our customers! What if the listing agent brings the buyer? Most agents get paid the whole commission. If we sell your condo to our own buyer, we will charge you ONLY 4% commission! With Toscana listings, that can mean thousands of dollars for the sellers.
When you hire an agent, you might not get what you expect. Many owners list with an agent thinking that they will only have that one “very qualified” agent to handle their transaction, but some agents might have their assistant, or other less qualified, new, real estate agent doing some of their work. We were all new in the business once, but, just make sure that you know who will be working for you, and know what you are getting for the money. Ben has been doing real estate since 1990, and Mayra got her license in 1996. Combined, we have over 40 years experience in the real estate business. When you hire Ben& Mayra, we are the only ones working for you. Having someone in the team that is not that qualified or experienced, might cost you thousands. And you might be even paying more in commissions but getting less customer service& experience.
About franchise, company, and processing fees. Before the internet took off, paying more in commission to a “global” real estate company with thousands of offices worldwide made sense. It was not that easy to get international buyers without that. These days, with so many internet real estate sites such as Realtor.com and Zillow.com, the need to be part of a big company is less. Because we own our real estate company, we do not have to pay franchise fees, company fees, etc. we can pass the savings on to our customers. We never charge our sellers a processing fee either. Many companies out there also charge their clients between $299 – $500 in addition to the real estate commission when selling. Why pay more to get the same or even more service?
More showings means a faster sale, and maybe even more offers and a higher price when selling! The easier a property it is to show, the more showings you will have, the faster it sells, and the more money you might get. We accompany the showings of all of our listings in Toscana. Since we live here, it is very easy for us to accommodate the showings that other real estate agents request, even on moment’s notice. Requests that you can only show between this time and that time on specific days of the week, or the need to give 24+ hours notice to show a property, is a turn off for other agents trying to show listings to a customer during a specific time of the day. Most agents will not go back to show those hard to show listings another day when it is convenient for the owner or the agent to show it. Even if an agent tells you that they will accompany every showing, chances are that if the agent does not live in the community, the showings will not be as easy as someone that lives in the community. With the two of us living in Toscana, chances are, we can accommodate every single showing request.
Who represents you? We represent YOU as “Single Agents”, unless we bring our own buyer – then we become “Transaction Brokers” to be fair to both parties involved in the transaction. Please, keep in mind that we reduce our commission if we procure the buyer of the property. Most other real estate agents are “Transaction Brokers” from the beginning, even if the buyer comes with a different agent that represents them. “Single Agency” duties includes: loyalty, confidentiality, obedience, and full disclosure, which are not included as “Transaction Broker” duties. A Transaction Broker provides you with a limited form of representation. Would you pay an attorney a high fee to NOT fully represent you?
How about double dipping? Some real estate agents want to double dip (they want to find the buyer of the property they listed on their own, that way they keep the whole commission for themselves) as much as possible and to do so, they might make some of their listings hard to show to other agents. Only towards the end of the listing agreement (when they are about to lose the listing), they start making more of an effort to show their listings to other agents. We will charge the sellers less total commission if we procure the buyer of the property, but many other agents don’t. The more showings a seller has, the more chances they will receive multiple offers. We make it easier for other agents to show our listings, even on moment’s notice. We also try to show it to as many of our own buyers as possible. We want to get the most exposure for our listings so the sellers can choose the best offer for them based on their particular situation.
Being a good real estate agent comes with experience and years in the business. Many people might not be aware that getting a real estate license in Florida is not that hard to do. After you take the “63-hour Sales Associate Pre-License Course” and take the state exam, you can go sell a home. This course, as informative as it is, does not cover many of the important day to day issues a real estate agent can expect to encounter in a transaction…most of what we have learned in our combined 40+ years in real estate came from experience. Even if a new agent is with a well known national real estate company, he/she is still new, and the inexperience & mistakes can cost you thousands of dollars. Choosing a real estate agent because he/she is a friend or a family member’s friend, does not make them the most qualified agent to sell your home. Your property is probably one of your biggest assets, and you should only trust your property to someone with enough experience.
Listing length matters. Some real estate agents try to lock a seller into a long term 1 year listing. We have flexible terms and our listing contracts are for less time. If we need more time and you are happy with our service, we can extend the listing agreement as needed. If you sign a 1 year listing agreement right away, you are now locked into a long term contract with an agent. If you are not satisfied with the service or results for any reason, you might not be able to get out and you are stuck with an agent that you might not be happy with.
Beware of kickbacks! Don’t be stuck with bad service! We get so many calls of people that are stuck with a real estate agent that gives them bad service, and they can not wait to get out of the contract. We tell this people, that unfortunately, until that contract is either cancelled or expired, there is nothing that we can do to help them sell or rent their property. Please, before choosing a service provider, do your homework.
Did you know that for a real estate agent to give back a kickback to someone unlicensed as a real estate agent for referring her/him a customer, is not legal in the state of Florida? See Florida Statutes 475.25.
Florida Statutes 475.25 Discipline.— (1) The commission may deny an application for licensure, registration, or permit, or renewal thereof; may place a licensee, registrant, or permittee on probation; may suspend a license, registration, or permit for a period not exceeding 10 years; may revoke a license, registration, or permit; may impose an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000 for each count or separate offense; and may issue a reprimand, and any or all of the foregoing, if it finds that the licensee, registrant, permittee, or applicant: h. Has shared a commission with, or paid a fee or other compensation to, a person not properly licensed as a broker, broker associate, or sales associate under the laws of this state, for the referral of real estate business, clients, prospects, or customers, or for any one or more of the services set forth in s. 475.01(1)(a).
When someone refers you to a service provider, please make sure that the referral comes from the heart, because that person gives exceptional service, not because they are getting a kickback for the referral. The best referrals come from past customers or people you truly know and trust. To read our customer reviews, please visit our website: www.BenAndMayraStern.com . Go to the “About Us” tab, and then to the “Testimonials” tab.
Magazine & newspaper ads most of the time don’t help you sell your home! While most people read magazines and newspapers, statistics show that 92% of the buyers go online to search for properties (2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers), and real estate agents were viewed as a useful information source by 98 percent of buyers who used an agent while searching for a home. By the time ads on a magazine come out, chances are the property is already sold, or the price changed. Most of those ads don’t mention if the community is pet friendly, how much the monthly maintenance is, or if the home is in a membership required community, among other important information that the buyers will need to know to proceed. The online description of the properties includes that information. Many real estate companies use these ads to show sellers why they are a better choice. In reality, most serious buyers are either looking online, and/or using a real estate agent to help them find a home. Chances of a buyer buying a property from an ad in a magazine or the newspaper are slim. Many real estate companies justify charging a seller more in commissions to compensate paying for the ads that, in reality, just promote their business and not a property. Most listings sell through the MLS in collaboration with other real estate agents; that is why we place over 100 pictures of a property in the MLS, and compensate the selling agent as much as possible to make sure your property sells as fast as possible, for the best possible price. Because we do not spend thousands of dollars on magazine ads that don’t really help sellers sell their property, we can pass those savings on to our sellers and give them a big break in the commission. So, ask yourself, do you want to pay more in commissions just to promote someone’s business?
Make sure your Realtor gives you a signed copy of the totally executed Listing Agreement right away. Some real estate agents do not give a copy of the listing contract to their sellers. We immediately email a signed copy to our sellers. In the State of Florida, you are required to provide your client with a copy of the Listing Agreement signed by all parties. We would be very concerned if an agent did not take the time to go over the listing contract with you, and give you a copy of the Listing Agreement. Make sure you write the expiration date of the contract on your calendar. This will help you keep track of the listing period. If you are happy with the service this agent is giving you, then you could sign a listing extension, if not, you have the right to find an agent that will give you better service and results.
If you are thinking of selling, please make sure you do not make any of these costly mistakes!
Please contact us at 561-715-0314, and we will save you money and give you honest, excellent service!
Do not list with anyone else until you watch our Toscana Listing Presentation!