Selling homes and making new friends for life in the process, for 37 years, has been a challenge in the ever-changing market and economy. Listening to my buyers' needs has taught me what works and what doesn't. I believe when you love real estate, it shows; when coupled with a love for people as well, it really shows!
Having a good listing inventory brings calls from buyers. With 77% of all buyers looking for their homes online, having presence on the internet is critical. It takes time and a level of expertise to stay on the first page of Google. I hire others to add fresh content and keep it up for me. Not only does my website display all my listings, but all listings in our Multiple Listing Service. I make sure my website provides excellent content about our community, schools, government, and other information buyers and sellers find helpful.
Always striving to offer the most professional service, I place my client's interests first. I answer their calls as they come in, whether early in the morning or late at night. Consumers are impressed to find me answering calls late in the evening; they are shocked to hear a real-live person. Being available wins the appreciation and confidence of the consumer and helps me build a strong referral base as those clients refer me to their friends, family, and co-workers.
Spending time with my prospective buyers and sellers, explaining the market, neighborhoods, financing, schools, and any other matter of interest tells them their best interest comes first. It is necessary to be fully informed in able to answer our client's questions. I pick up and deliver paperwork and go to my client's homes rather than asking them to come to my office. I arrange for inspections and reports, the appraiser, and any other issues which must be addressed. The referral to other service providers such as lenders, escrow companies, inspectors, insurance agents and handy people is appreciated by my clients. I only refer those people or companies that provide excellent and professional service.
I encourage my sellers to pay close attention to all of the comparable sales in their neighborhood or zip code to avoid overpricing their homes. Sellers must also be informed about keeping their homes in good condition, upgrading, designing great curb appeal, decluttering, and staging for showing, which can often raise the value of their home. Looking at my sellers' homes through the eyes of a buyer helps me to help my sellers because they may not know how to do what needs to be done. They need the help of their Realtor and I am willing to share my knowledge and expertise. Many buyers will not buy a home which requires work of any kind; our job is to help the seller place their home in the best possible condition that will cause a buyer to be interested.
In the declining market we have been in for the past two years, I stay abreast of the economy and my community, and try to answer my client's questions with intelligent and truthful answers. It is important to be truthful in every area of real estate. It is no longer about finding the Dream Home and making an offer; there are many other considerations to be considered.
Now is actually one of the best times to purchase a home. With the new law being passed, our first time home-buyer receives a $7,500 credit for buying. Savvy buyers on the trail for our excellent buys are jumping on them. Though this tax credit is given to all first time homebuyers and is reduced from their taxes, it has to be repaid in 15 years at $500 per year, interest free. Any first-time buyer purchasing after April 18, 2008 and before July 1, 2009, can take advantage of this credit. It is important for the buyer to speak with an accountant or CPA.
A strong, positive attitude, happy disposition and thoughtful consideration to our buyers and sellers are the keys to success in any real estate market. Consumers want a realtor they can trust and respect. My best tool for finding and keeping clients is to be honest and treat them with respect and dignity, exactly as I would choose to be treated.