Watching Montclair's cheerfully costumed participants parade down Mountain Boulevard in front of our GRUBB Co. office last Friday, I was once again struck by how magical a celebration Halloween is for everyone involved. From the tiniest bumblebee to the tallest and oldest trick or treater, children of all ages seem to enjoy this gleeful opportunity to explore their more dramatic side.
When it comes to Halloween, the scarier the better!
Not true for Real Estate . . . in home sales, I prefer to avoid the truly scary! As such, I've learned to cherish the transaction that runs from the beginning to the end of the process with nary a fright. In this more competitive marketplace, that disappearing transaction may have gone the way of the invisible man.
I asked my GRUBB Co. colleagues to contribute their ideas on thisHalloween special edition I am calling: "Trick OR Treat? Here are some of my favorites with my thanks to Michael, Bebe, Karen, Tricia, Dana and Carol!
Trick: Is there anything trickier than navigating a deal where Buyers and Sellers aren't telling you the whole story? (Now that's spooky!) Realtors do our best work when we have all the facts and can truly meet your needs. When hidden agendas exist, we are truly working in the dark.
Treat: The Buyers or Sellers who comes to you with thoughtful intentions, true motivations, appropriate time limits, pre-approved financing and realistic market expectations! (Now we're talking daylight!)
Trick: Entering into a multiple-offer situation without a Buyer feeling as if he/she is overpaying for the home. (Honestly, we get that can be frightening and GOOD Realtors build in a safety net! )
Treat: Buyersr who puts their best offer forward, with the knowledge thatsomeone is going to purchase the home. Why not you? If a more motivated Buyer succeeds, so be it. You can't control that but know this - the best agents protect their Buyers by supplying market data that justifies an over-asking purchase offer and insist on inspections, due diligence and an appraisal contingency! (If yours doesn't, it may be time to work with another agent.)
Trick: Renegotiating a purchase offer on behalf of a Buyer after inspections and avoiding a defensive or confrontational response or stance from the seller (very, very tricky!).
Treat: Working with Real Estate professionals on both sides of the transaction who understand that negotiations are more and more, a part of the buying and selling process and in turn, working with Buyers and Sellers who understand the need to obtain value. Negotiations should never be personal - they are simply business!
Trick: Explaining to a Buyer that the cost to acquire a home may be more than its price per square foot." In fact, house values are more than a multiplier - there is an "intangible" that goes far beyond the basic math of many houses. Figuring out or assigning the "true market value" is, in reality, exceedingly tricky!
Treat: The Buyer who is both pragmatic and yet remains open to the information provided about the market, about a specific home and about it's likely outcome. If you are still willing to go well beyond the neighborhood sales, that is your decision (Buyers often buy emotionally) but know the facts beforehand so that you are truly educated about the price you are offering. Then move comfortably forward if you so desire!
Trick: Sellers who turn down a good offer in the hopes of a better offer (really frightening)!
Treat: Sellers who understanding that the first offer is often the best offer. (Really, it almost always is!)
Trick: Sellers who overprice a home in a more challenging marketplace.
Treat: Sellers who price a home competitively to attract the highest number of buyers and the best possible outcome.
Trick: Buyers or Sellers who work with an out-of-area Realtor, an on-line Lender (Warning Will Robinson!) or an out-of-town Appraiser and are disappointed with the results. Don't expect these "out-of-towners" to know the standard practice, the geographical customs, the other players involved or the value of the local marketplace. (They just don't and it's silly to expect them to!)
Treat: Buyers and Sellers who work with their local specialists; professionals who knowledgeably understand the neighborhood you seek - not the one you are departing!
Trick: Finding the house of your dreams and having it realized!
Treat: Finding the house of your dreams and having it realized!
Halloween should be scary fun, but buying a home shouldn't be scary at all. While buying or selling Real Estate might seem frightening at first glance, beneath the make-up and with the right representative, partnered with a well-respected brokerage firm, it isn't actually scary at all.
Trick or Treat!
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 12 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.