Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shedding some light on the details: What you want to ask but don't!

I rarely blog this openly, but a REALLY disturbing phone call came my way today.
Perhaps it is appropriate that on a rainy, foggy day I am REALLY steamed!!
I think that home staging is still relatively new to Maine. There is a huge divide between those who "get" it and those who not not. Realtors and stagers often speak to each other several times a week. So there are few secrets.
I also think it is easier to whisper than to speak up and ask questions. Sad, but true.
So I am going to list some popular questions and answers for you. If you have more...leave them in a comment form, email, call, messenger pigeon, whatever!
Q. Do you recommend working with a Realtor?
A. Every.single. time. I have worked with For Sale By Owner on several occasions. I like them, I want to help them...but statistics don't lie. Your house probably will sit much longer on the market, costing you more in mortgage payments (and sanity)that the Realtor's commission would have been. As a buyer, they are going to look out for your best interests and it doesn't cost you any money! 

Q. Do you send all your business to the same Realtors?
A. Er, how much do you think I control the world? Really? Where did I leave my magic wand....Yes I do come across buyers every now and again, but mostly I meet sellers who need staging AFTER they have signed a listing agreement with a Realtor.
Q. Do you get paid a referral fee from Realtors?
A. NO! Never. I would like it if they shipped chocolate to my door as a thank you.
Here I am, the magical real estate fairy. Puh-lease.

Q.Are there any Realtors you won't work with?
A. ABSOLUTELY. I only work with awesome people.
Q. Will you tell me who they are?
A. ABSOLUTELY NOT! Why would you need to know that? There are so many good people to work with. Focus on that instead. If you are unsure (or new to the area), interview several people and talk to previous clients. It is OK to interview several people, just be honest and say "I am new to this and feel more comfortable talking to several people before I make my decision. I am sure you understand". Trust me, they will. Do not ask a Realtor to start doing work before you have hired them though, that's not cool.
Q. Do Realtors share our financial information with you?
A. NO! We sometimes discuss a target list price when discussing what to upgrade and what isn't worth the investment, but I am not present for personal conversations between client and Realtor. Privacy is always r

Q. What do YOU look for in a  Realtor?
A. Here is my list:

  • Experience:This is a tough market and it is changing 
  • Commitment: no part timers or people in this for something to do because they are bored living in their waterfront estate. 
  • Listening skills: Your realtor will take good care of you as a client and listen to you, even when you are stressed. 
  • Respect: (Aretha Franklin is singing in the background). You will see the top producers in Maine Real Estate speak to everyone with respect and professionalism. The client, the painter, the dog walker, the sellers' tenants, the stager. Don't settle for less, because those are signs of success and class and you want that on your side.
  • Honesty:They will tell you what you don't WANT to hear. Realtors want your business. They don't want to lose your listing and don't enjoy having to tell you about mismatched appliances, market conditions, pricing...things you don't want to hear. So don't kill 'em over it, take some time to listen. They are spending alot of $ marketing your property before it sells so they are committed to your success.
  • Avoid: Realtors who have dated former clients that are married (yes, I have seen this), or have complaints against their license, are super vocal in their political party affiliations. These demonstrates lack of ethics or common sense, so move along. 
  • STAGING: (you knew this was coming, right?). Good Realtors are out marketing your property. They will help you prep the property, but the really successful ones will connect you with a stager who either does a consult/report for the DIY homeowner, or gets more involved in the preparation process.
thanks for reading this far!

If you are wondering WHO I work with, check out the staging photos on my facebook page, here. 

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