Tag Archives: debary real estate

Every Agent Needs a Real Estate Photographer

The benefits of using a professional real estate photographer to take MLS photos far outweighs the expense. Many times buyers are reluctant to even view what could be the perfect property for them because the photos are terrible.

Real estate agents can be a cheap bunch. I know, believe me. It is the nature of our business. Marketing a property for sale is one of the most challenging aspects of our jobs and it also happens to be the most important. The first step is getting photos that do not look they were taken with a Polaroid camera in the back of a cave. My message is simple.

The real estate photographer I use charges a flat rate of $75 per hour and it is worth every penny. Spending a few dollars on the front end is something most agents in my area are not interested in doing. I can understand this, but I do not agree with it. Before I started using a professional, my listings images were acceptable, but not spectacular.

real estate photographer

Experience has taught me that hiring someone who knows how to light a room properly is one of the smartest moves a real estate agent can make. Generating buyer interest has never been easier. A picture is worth a thousand words and could be the difference between a property sitting on the market or being sold quickly.

Often we forget that we have to spend money to make money and that you get what you pay for. Never hire the least expensive anything. I adapted this rule of thumb a long time ago with regard to my business. This is the same thinking behind those who list their homes For Sale by Owner. They believe that they are going to save money by not hiring a real estate agent. How much can someone save if their home is not selling? Zero percent of zero is a big fat zero.

There are many real estate photographers out there. Some good, others not so good. When choosing a photographer, definitely look at their portfolio before you hire them.  Ask them about their equipment and how long they have been a professional. Get references and make sure you check them. Find out how quickly they can turn around the images.

I promise you will never regret the decision to choose a professional real estate photographer. When other agents make comments about how great your listing photos look and the property has a parade of buyers viewing it,  you will be convinced that what I am saying is the truth.

Firing A Buyer in Real Estate

Firing a buyer is never pleasant and is one of the most difficult decisions a real estate agent can make. The concept of caveat emptor is as old as dirt and I bet there are few out there who are not familiar with its meaning. Real estate professionals are well aware of this phrase. Buyer beware. It is a simple concept that speaks to the need for due diligence prior to any purchases.

The burden of information gathering and sound decision making rests on the shoulders of all who find themselves in the position to buy something. But what happens when the real estate agent is the one who should beware?

In real estate, the nature of the contracts we use afford buyers numerous opportunities to make certain they understand every detail of a property. Home inspections are a key example of this. Buyers who choose to forgo a home inspection are the poster children for the buyer beware club. Most buyers are very diligent in their efforts when they are purchasing a home. It is my job as their Realtor to impress upon them the importance of home inspections.

This week I “fired” my first buyer. The experience got me thinking about the concept of Caveat Realtor. Realtor beware. When a buyer contacts a real estate professional they have an expectation that we will offer our services, time and expertise to help them navigate the often stressful and unpredictable road to home ownership.

First time home buyers are my favorite buyers to work with. They rely upon me to explain the process and help them achieve their dream of owning a home for the first time. They are often terrified but full of enthusiasm. There is no greater feeling than watching first time homeowners receive the keys to their first home. This is the feel good part of selling homes.

Other buyers can be a challenge. The ability to work well with different personalities is a critical skill and is not mentioned very often in the real estate textbooks. There are many kinds of buyers. Some are more active in their home searches, others take a passive approach. I have worked with them all over the years. I never thought that I would have to decline working with a buyer. I am very good at adapting to demanding and difficult personalities. Last week that changed.

The buyer was adamant about what she estimated the value of homes to be. My comps did not matter. For three weeks I did my best to educate and present information to support why her low ball offers were not being accepted. She required that I respond immediately to her texts, emails and phone calls. I complied. We looked at many homes and submitted a few offers, all of which were rejected. I was blamed for the rejected offers. The price range of the homes she was interested in made it worth my time to suck it up and deal with the demands. The entire time I was professional, realistic and accommodating.

She let me know that she was also conducting her own search and that if she found something that I did not show her that I would not be the selling agent.  I had hoped to convince her of the benefits of committing to one agent for her search, she was not convinced. She would contact listing agents directly on the properties that I had shown if I did not respond to her immediately.

It was a bit of a nightmare. A day after the last rejected offer, she called to let me know that she had found a for-sale by owner that she would be putting a contract on. I cautioned her about the risks and she thanked me. I was not surprised by this. I was disappointed, but not surprised. Mea culpa.

Three weeks after later she contacted me again to let me know that the FSBO fell through and that she wanted me to resubmit an offer on a HUD home. I told her that I would be asking her to sign a buyer agreement before we went forward. I explained that I had numerous buyers and sellers in my pipeline and I was unable to continue working with her if she was going to continue the search on her own at the same time. She refused.

Simply, spending the amount of time and energy that she required would not be the best use of my time if she found something on her own again. I got burned once before and it made sense to cut her loose. I gave it the old college try. I never like to end a relationship with a potential buyer. There was no other option with this particular buyer.

As real estate professionals we must be able to work smarter and harder, but not be willing to run in circles without a commitment from a buyer. There are exceptions to every rule and the vast majority of buyers we deal with are not like this one. However, understanding that there are times when the situation dictates letting a buyer go is the perfect illustration of Caveat Realtor in practice.

Following Through on Appointments

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that it is getting more and more difficult to get in touch with listing agents? Over the past few months I have noticed a growing trend in real estate. There have been numerous occasions when I have wanted to set up showings of active properties and been unable to confirm appointments with the listing agent. We are all familiar with the need to follow the instructions given by listing agents in order to show buyers listings.

By following the showing instructions we assume that we will have the ability to schedule appointments for buyers who are in full on home search mode. On at least five occasions this month, I have made attempts to set appointments by following the detailed instructions provided by the listing agent or office and been unsuccessful in showing the home. Typically, these are appointment only showings and require at least 24 hours notice.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to follow through and confirm showing appointments quickly to other real estate agents. I am not complaining about a lack of immediate contact, but rather no contact at all, even after leaving messages on voice mail, text or email. Working with buyers can be challenging. Scheduling appointments and finding properties that fit their budget and criteria is often nothing short of a three ring circus. the stars cannot align if they cannot view the property that they have their heart set on.

Granted, it can often take time to reach a seller to set up an appointment. I understand that rarely do things happen quickly in our line of work. Our business is a wait and wait some more type of business. Seller’s depend on their agents bringing through as many potential buyers as possible to reach the goal of selling their home. Appointment only showings are an important part of the the life of a real estate agent.

When I have a new listing on the market, I can expect that my phone will be ringing and that there will be eager agents on the other end of the line requesting appointments. This is a good thing. Each one of them can expect to get a timely confirmation. It is how I do my part to make the real estate world run a little more smoothly.

I personally follow up with every showing request. Our ultimate goal is to get a contract as quickly as possible and close the deal. Real estate professionals are one of the few professions where we must work with our competitors on a daily basis to achieve the goal of closing transactions.

Agents should realize the immediate impact of failing to confirm appointments results in missing out on potential buyers. This is an obvious consequence. The more damaging consequence is the message that is conveyed to their peers. I admit that I am slightly obsessive about how I communicate with other agents.

I am a big fan of good communication and believe that it is key in helping to create smooth transactions and building relationships with our buyers, sellers, lenders and other real estate professionals. Our opinion of one another and success relies on how well we do our jobs, including confirming showings.