Laura Houle Real Estate Services


Using a Sales Agent Has Advantages 0

Posted on September 13, 1998 by laura
Laura Houle
Realtor’s Corner (The Daily Californian newspaper)
So, you’ve decided to sell the house yourself — because you know it’ll save you lots of money. Trouble is, that’s what your prospective buyers will be thinking, too!

Some will figure that since you’re not paying a commission, they should be able to get your price down a bit more. Others will be like you, choosing not to avail themselves of professional help that can make their biggest (and most important) shopping experience easier by providing priceless advice.

Would you represent yourself in court? They say only a fool acts as his own lawyer.

There also are some costs you may not have considered. Besides having to advertise, which is not inexpensive, you must make yourself available at all times. How else can you show the house? You’ll have to answer all kinds of telephone calls, including some from real estate licensees who want to convince you that you’re making a big mistake.

You’ll also not get the advantages of the Multiple Listing Service. This valuable tool — which isn’t available to private parties — tells 9,000 agents who already represent people looking to make a purchase that you have a property for sale.

And when an agent lists a property, agreements negotiated by Sandicor (the real estate MLS service) also assure that the listing goes on the Internet — with only the agent’s name and telephone number. That means you get fantastic coverage without the hassle of dealing with all the people who just want to know a little more about your home before deciding whether they’re interested.

Agents also bring you the benefits of daily networking, and they regularly attend meetings where they discuss specific properties with other licenses they know, from past experience, may have clients who’d be interested.

Then there is the matter of detachment. How will you react when a prospective buyer walks through your beloved home making belittling comments? It will happen, because some people believe that’s a way to drive down the price and a few are just mean-spirited. Will you be able to keep your cool? To remain aloof, detached and impartial? To avoid rash comments or decisions based on your emotional attachment to the home?

Are you educated as to the paperwork that sellers are obligated by law to furnish? The rule today is disclosure, disclosure, disclosure — transfer disclosure, lead paint disclosure, etc. Since June, there’s been a requirement for Natural Hazards Disclosure.

Do you know what retrofits your town or city requires as a condition of sale? Do you know what is required by the State of California? Will you know how to answer all your buyer’s questions?

Some people believe, erroneously, that an escrow company can solve problems that may arise during a transaction. They do not understand that an escrow agent, in reality, is a neutral third party who takes direction from those involved in the sale; he or she is not supposed to give advice.

Real estate is one of the few professions in which people invest large amounts of time, effort and even money with no assurance they’ll ever be paid for their service. If they do not deliver, you pay no commission. One really has to love this business to put up with all the uncertainties.

The purchase and/or sale of a home is the largest and most complicated transaction most people make in their lifetimes. It is difficult under the best of circumstances and can be absolutely hellish when poorly handled.

That’s why it makes sense to spend your time and effort finding a good professional to handle your transaction — then sitting back and letting the agent do what he or she has been trained to do.

Choosing the Best Agent to Sell Your Home 0

Posted on August 30, 1998 by laura
Laura Houle
Realtor’s Corner (The Daily Californian newspaper)
Now that you have decided to sell your home, how should you select a real estate agent?

Begin by searching for an agent experienced in the residential market, as opposed to one who specializes in leasing commercial property or selling businesses.


Right after “location, location, location” comes “service, service, service”


You want to establish rapport with the agent, to feel that you can trust him or her. It is absolutely essential that you feel comfortable in this relationship.

Ask for references. Do others feel this agent is capable? How do those in related businesses (escrow, title, etc.) feel about the agent? When you are given references, take the time to call those people and ask questions.

Look at the agent’s background. What kind of education has he or she had? any special designations, awards or other recognition?

Do not make the mistake of selecting an agent just because he or she will accept a reduced commission to obtain the listing. You get what you pay for, and no one gets a dime until the property is sold.

Real estate agents work out of all types and sizes of offices: Small, medium, large and even one-person offices. Bells and whistles are great, but remember that you are putting yourself and your property into the hands of just one person — the listing agent. This is the person who controls your listing, deals directly with you, and represents you under all circumstances. You want to be sure the agent is hard-working and dedicated.

Does this person know how to solve problems? Many times things come up during an escrow that could interfere with the successful closing of the transaction. An experienced agent can usually overcome these obstacles.

When you do list your property, listen to the advice of your agent when pricing the property. An agent has comparable sales that can be analyzed to determine the best price for your property. Do not deliberately overprice. You will lose many potential buyers. They may be long gone when you finally reduce the price.

You may want to know the difference between a Realtor and a real estate licensee. All Realtors are real estate licensees but not all real estate licensees are Realtors. A Realtor is a member of a trade organization that adheres to a special code of ethics and strives for professionalism in the industry. Some issues that develop between real estate agents and customers may involve practices that are unethical, though not illegal. The Realtor has a venue in which these issues can be settled.

The Realtor is pretty up to date on legislation that affects the industry through his or her affiliation with both national and state associations. Realtors also have access to a “legal hotline” that enables them to quickly obtain opinions about questions of law that may develop about a transaction that is being or has been negotiated. Belonging to a trade organization that fosters professional growth and provides the tools, services and products to achieve this goal shows a willingness and a seriousness to be the best that one can be.

In most businesses the recipe for success is service, price and quality. A real estate licensee is successful if the recipe is service, service, service! Service in dealing with the consumer, service in marketing the product, and service in successfully closing the transaction. In many cases, that service will continue long after the transaction and the agent will be called on the next time a real estate professional is needed.

  • Laura Houle is a Realtor since 1970 (DRE #00363325), a Mortgage Broker since 1987 (NMLS #337875), and a Certified Paralegal.

    A graduate of USD, Laura was the East San Diego County Association Of Realtors Realtor of the Year in 1997, and Association President in 1996 & 1998.

    laura@laurahoule.com
    619-447-3502
    619-489-3657 (fax)

    Laura Houle Real Estate Services
    555 Front St. #602
    San Diego, CA 92101

     

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