Really ON EDGE? Lender is in place, movers are ready, your closing on your home far away and need to move NOW! Virtual viewing is becoming increasingly common!

  • When we had a sense of urgency back in 2004 thru 2008, buyers from across the pond would call me, ask me to view the home and send photos of what I found as RED FLAGS! These buyers had full confidence in my professional observations and comments. We secured a Purchase Agreement and my buyers would fly across the pond for the inspection and sometimes fly back the same day. Happy buyers.  

iBuyers are becoming increasingly more common, however sellers may end up with a low-ball offer, high transaction fees, “HIDDEN FEES” Using a IBuyer could cost you! You want to sell quickly? A realtor can sell a property under market value in a fairly short period of time – and we don’t bill you for repairs, charge outrageous closing fees, or there to hold your hand until you home closes.

  • Here are 10 ways to help you as a buyer, or as a seller understanding the buyers challenges.

You’re a BUYER and should be specific, realistic and do not set your expectations too high!

A real estate agent really tries to establish upfront what buyers want and need from their next property before they begin their home search. This is even more crucial if they are only seeing properties online. As your Realtor I rely try to relay all visual cues when viewing properties with our becoming extremely aware of your understanding of what our buyers hope to find and provide a visual so your on the same page moving forward.

Without my buyers beside me, discovering that information is going to take in-depth conversation, and a lot of it. Even then, we can only see the things that jump out at us. Smelling the scents and why, listing to the sounds that annoy me and may annoy my buyers.  We have no guarantee our buyers will mirror our thoughts and our reactions!

2. Measure furniture before it is packed

Instead of buying furniture to fit your new home, and my experience tells me my clients try to buy homes that fit their furniture. So, as a buyer, you need to provide measurements for pieces that you cannot leave behind. We must understand if it fits, will it fit through the doors! Most often I can tell whether my buyers’ items will fit through the door and into their prospective new home.

Please keep those measurements handy, packing them away is always a disappointment when upon arrival you cannot find them.

Many buyers purchasing for an investment or their new home, may be purchasing a furnished home, an easier transaction, however “WHAT’S THE CONDITION” of the furnishings. Be extremely cautious that’s what I’m here for!

3. As a buyer need to master online search tools, this can be a challenge.

Whichever listing site you may use, I encourage you to look beyond what you see and ask me questions. My staff or I can take additional photos that meet your interest, we really try to look beyond the property photos.

On, for example, the map feature offers various views of the property along with overlays providing additional information on schools, crime rates, distance to services and so on. Google Earth enables you to view the neighborhood from varied levels. I really prefer that you explore the neighborhood on your own. I cannot by law disclose features in the area that may or may not suit your interest.

4. Use phones tablet applications for interactive visual tours

We are all getting a bit more accustomed to this new way of “showing” property, but it’s crucial to USE VIRTUAL TOURS, because buyers zero in on properties they are serious about.

I encourage your to take several tours before making that offer. Have a conversations is by far more productive and will give insight to the way the homes rooms conform and flow to each other.

We are ready to begin focusing on details, where lighting may or may not be available. It is important as a buyer to try to sketch out a rough floor plan, in many Counties in Northeast Florida you can find the floor plans. This can be extremely helpful. It is important for me as a buyer’s agent to point out cracks in the ceilings, walls, outside and inside. Much of this may not show in the photographs. As a seller, you need to know, understand, be aware that inspections may disclose what maybe irrelevant to you is necessary to a buyer, and in most cases, wanting to sell quickly, it maybe wise to hire a home inspector and any red flags, resolve asap!

5. Get a family member or friends — with tape measures

Ideally, having friends or family members view the properties on your behalf and take the measurements you will need most. I can bend over backwards however my experience may hinder your views. A single door or window measurement maybe extremely important and not so much to me. I am an OCD individual and I demand the most honest and forthcoming elements for both my buyers and my sellers.

6. Caution…writing a contingent is rarely considered by sellers.

Sellers are naturally wary of accepting offers from people who have never seen their home. So, you may not want to make an offer contingent upon a buyer viewing the home. But the standard inspection contingency (and loan approval) periods provide opportunity for an on-site visit by the you as a buyer or surrogate.

Even buyers who have toured properties in person need to revisit them during the inspection period. I urge you to visit if anyway possible, personally or through surrogate to be there during the inspection!

7. Talk to the inspectors

Home pest, and other inspectors make great surrogates. You may not be prone to using them that way way, despite this every inspector welcomes questions. It’s the utmost importance to discuss the report you paid for and ask questions even if they may seem irrelevant. You need to read and understand thoroughly. As I have said from the beginning, weather your halfway across the world, or across the country. PLEASE attend and be witness to the inspection.

8. You are the buyer prepare to walk into a smaller, not so perfect reality!

Not seeing a property firsthand before closing just about guarantees reality will not compare with the mental image you have created and have a mindset for. The property may look smaller and emptier. It may look like nothing you pictured. As virtually well presented the per-owned home presents itself, it will always depict the previous owners home.

The neighbor’s home maybe disturbing, in color, condition, most likely will not be what you see on Google Maps.  You may feel like you paid too much. As a buyer you may have disturbing feelings, however in most of these transactions you are perfectly normal. As your representative, I can do everything to prepare you however an “ON SIGHT ATTENDANCE in the inspection process is worth an overnight airplane flight, its not too expensive, and well worth the investment.

9. I attended a webinar recently and grid paper rules! Do this!

As a buyer you may still feel let down when the final walk through is completed in an empty property. Please be prepared, perhaps bringing a tape measure, and paper, maybe even a pad of grid paper you used during the process. It’s extremely important to double check by measuring the rooms and create a drawing that shows where your furniture is placed and begin arranging furniture on paper before you have a moving truck pull up.

I have a great deal of resources that I will share with you. I will do my best to provide you with all the resources, and the means for you to be prepared, and love the home you just purchased.   

10. A great agent is the key to a pleasant & successful experience.

I have found representing buyers can be the most difficult challenge and at other times the most rewarding. So many factors can challenge the purchase and sale of any property.  

Please understand it’s critical that you know what you’re looking for. Let us check all the boxes, and without doubt I will communicate with the utmost understanding. I want you pleasantly satisfied. I’m not going to spend 5 days and view 20 plus homes to help satisfy your means.

When representing you as a buyer, by law I maybe restricted with what I can provide in services and what I am able to share. However I will provide you resources that will assist you with delicate questions I’m unable to disclose.

At the end of the day, I assure you the effort will take will not surprise the outcome. I’ve done this so many times in the past, just not under these restrictions and conditions.

The private sector and government leaders must be on guard as trillions of public dollars wash through the economic system and a broken economy can become a feasting ground for unsavory opportunists

Could “iBuyers cause the next S&L style crisis, how can realtors help! The public only believes what they want to believe hence why people will take out their life savings and give to scammers over the phone

I will try not to bore you with too many facts, I’ve provided enough for you to drill down and investigate on your own.

While working Broker Price Opinions for asset managers from 2009 thru 2014 Germany’s Deutsche Bank seemed to populate the industry. Then a bold well-written, “Non-fiction” business book about a white-collar criminal scheme can be a book you will not put down! By David Enrich’s book Dark Tower. Another “The Spider Network!”

The worst part of these stories is how many banks and their lavishly paid executives enriched themselves at the expense of others.

One political issue that has enjoyed “BI_PARTISAN” support over the last 40 years is allowing Wall Street to have its way with laws and regulations. President Regan deregulated the banks, President Clinton erased the 60 year old Glass Steagall Act. Both President Bush and Obama followed the same hands-off policies, but they also acted quickly to bail out big financial institutions that were guilty of fueling the subprime loan crisis.

The private sector and government leaders must be on guard as trillions of public dollars wash through the economic system and a broken economy can become a feasting ground for unsavory opportunists.

The good news is that everyone will receive a report card on their behavior during the COVID-19 lockdown and its aftermath. Today, transparency is a powerful watchdog. Consider the rapid backlash against companies that tried to unfairly enrich themselves from the Payroll Protection Program loans. Thanks to the sunshine, companies were busted with shame and bad public relations and in a few cases, arrests.

Real estate is again ripe for bad deeds

In our industry, chances are that mortgage forbearance will turn into foreclosure, and that always brings out some shady characters.

Low-level, white collar crime is common when it comes to housing shenanigans. But the big players can wreak the most damage by taking advantage of vulnerable homeowners, while never breaking the law.

iBuyers are back, for example, which is leading the way with billions of dollars from private equity. But the context has changed in the last couple of months, as we begin to see more desperate owners and anxious sellers. When iBuyers launched several years ago, vulnerable homeowners were not the backdrop because the market was healthy and the economy strong. That could change quickly, as the housing market becomes more precarious.

Historically, private equity funds are eager to buy up foreclosed homes or houses from troubled sellers with little concern for the consequences. This time, they can move more quickly with vehicles like Zillow, Offerpad, Opendoor et al. While partnering with Wall Street has rewards like ready access to capital, these tech companies must also be faithful guardians of the public trust. If private equity becomes predatory, the alarms should go off.

Realtors are one line of defense

Realtors must interject themselves in the iBuying equation to ensure sellers are protected from what could be an unseemly partnership. The commission dollars may be smaller, but never has the agent’s role been more important.

During the foreclosure mess 10 years ago, real estate agents played a vital role helping all parties. Many helped local banks unload properties, or they protected buyers on the other side. In other cases, agents worked with sellers who faced foreclosure with solutions such as short sales to free them from bad credit down the road. Realtors did not cause nor could it stop the misery, but they could help people navigate the mishmash.

Sticking companies with big debt payments, private equity has also had a hand in destroying businesses, when it swoops in and buys companies. And the government has provided generous tax breaks to enable such sales, many of which are questionable deals that hurt otherwise healthy companies.

Too much debt suffocates innovation

When the housing market collapsed in 2010, its debt forced Realogy to make widespread layoffs and hampered its brands from innovating. As an example, companies like Coldwell Banker and Century 21 were once powerful online consumer destinations, but they lost out to Zillow and Trulia when Realogy stopped innovating. It had no other choice but to partner with the two big portals.

Many managers inside these brands often rant about Compass. But ironically, it took its playbook from the original Realogy roll-up. And the franchisor’s hobbled position made it easier for Compass to steal share quickly. 

Regardless, the carnage and missteps like we saw during the last recession will happen this time around. It is too early to know what mistakes are being made and by whom. When you are in the middle of the fireball, it is difficult to see clearly.

In the end, we should not hamper a free market or even consider putting an end to capitalism. That would be stupid. But we should curtail Wall Street’s heavy-handed political influence and its generous tax breaks that serve no public purpose. And we need better protections and policing to prevent fraud, to slow down real estate predators and to crack down on corruption. Then, let the free market run its course so entrepreneurs can thrive, and so new businesses can be created from an abundant source of capital to fund these enterprises.

Credits go to Brad Inman, and my experiences in the Real Estate Market Place.

Today, a lot of buyers are making decisions from afar, and sellers need to step up their game when it comes to prepping their homes for sale. How can we help virtually?

Here is a brief synopsis of the protocol I will manage with my sellers! We will cover more detail in a call!

Despite many states and localities lifting stay-at-home restrictions on various levels, the days of in-person visits to a seller’s home may still be sidelined for now. With the real estate buying process largely going virtual, you’ll have to step up your game when it comes to prepping your home for sale.

It’s critically important that how a home shows online translates to the way it looks in person (or better). So, in our “NEW NORMAL” of social distancing, how can we as agents better prepare our sellers from afar? Here are eight ways to virtually prep a home for sale.

1. Send pictures

I ask you as the seller to take pictures and videos of your home and send them to me. This should include shots of the exterior as well as the interior of all rooms in the house.

2. Schedule a video walk-through

If you or someone in your household — have the technology to communicate by video, let’s schedule a “Virtual Walk Through! where you can take me through the home “LIVE.” This way I can walk with you through the various areas of your home, we’ll have a conversation from my notes I’ve developed from the pictures you sent and perhaps offer suggestions.

3. Follow up with a list of action items

Preparing a home for sale is not an easy thing to do in person under the best of circumstances, let alone Virtually. There’s a lot of information flowing back and forth.

To recap what we’ll discus, I’ll send you in an email, a list of recommendations, room by room. Essentially creating a “prep for sale” checklist that you a seller can refer to so we don’t forget anything.

4. Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words

Whether in fashion or home decor, having visuals always helps. The same goes for getting your home ready for sale. I’ll send examples of competitive, well-presented properties that are active, under contract or recently sold within the last six months in the vicinity of your home. This will give you an idea of the look we’re trying to help achieve.

5. Send post-prep-work photos

After the prep work has been done, send me your photos and videos showing the changes you’ve made or propose. We’ll make notes of any items that may need adjustments, and brain storm ideas!

6. Schedule an in-person visit before going live

Prior to me scheduling a photographer taking photos. Let’s schedule a walk-through to review everything in person and go over”showing protocol!” We’ll have a conversation on how I will manage showings and who will be responsible for protective gear. Will it be myself or a person on my staff entertaining the showing for the buyers and or their agent. I may provide the wipes, and hand cleaner or if you feel more comfortable you may use your own and cleansing whips.

7. Take my own photos, and do a video walk-through on my phone

I’m finding that it’s best to schedule taking the photos and videos until we can arrange an appropriate time for everyone to meet the photographers and obtain pictures and video, it may be helpful to have a quick repository of photos and video content that I can send to potential prospects.

8. Besides photos, consider video, aerial and 3D

In today’s market, many buyers are making decisions from afar. The more options we use to showcase your property virtually from all angles, the better chance your property has to sell faster and for top dollar. This is why the way you prep your home “Matters” now more than ever.

This is a brief synopsis of some of the preparation we’ll begin with. Once we have a conversation I will share more explicit avenues, and detailed matters with you. I want your home to sell for the highest and best offer in the shortest amount of time. This is what I do best.