By Judy Boyle
This article will be published right between two of my favorite holidays…Saint Patrick’s Day and April Fool’s Day. I’m Irish and I like to joke around. What can I say? Taking full advantage of the one time of year I can expose my feisty, sarcastic side without apology, I’d like to take a humorous look at some of the most common questions posed by home buyers and sellers. After this, the filter goes back on and it’s back to business as usual.
Zillow says my house is worth much more than you do. Why can’t we list it at that? Because
Zillow didn’t have to dodge the sink holes or drag racers to get to your house. Zillow hasn’t even seen your house…have you? Mr. Seller, I’m sorry to tell you that Zillow isn’t a person; Zillow is a website that uses an algorithm to determine value; it throws every single 4 bedroom Colonial, regardless of condition or location, into a cyber mosh pit and regurgitates a number called a Zestimate.
Zillow sends me more listings than you do. Are you even doing your job as my buyer agent? I really need to meet this Zillow! Unfortunately, several of the houses listed on Zillow have perfectly happy families living in them who have no intentions of selling; the note holder just missed a couple of mortgage payments and the ambulance chasers are having a free-for-all. Go ahead and click on the link and a random agent who paid for your information will stalk you for life.
Why would I use one of your preferred lenders for a preapproval when I can get qualified in 60 seconds with this company I saw on TV?
Well, Mr. Buyer, I will certainly submit your offer with a ‘prequalification’ letter from Robot Mortgage or Quirky Loans. I need to prepare you, though, that a savvy seller’s agent will know that your true financial strength has not been verified and the seller’s pile of forty offers will be instantly reduced by one. Those buyers with ‘preapproval’ letters from local reputable lenders have the best shot at making the first-round cut.
And my new favorite: Houses are selling themselves right now so it really doesn’t matter which agent I use. In fact, why do I even need an agent?
Yes, it is true that with the right preparation and marketing plan in place, sellers can expect to have multiple offers within a few days on the market. But during this time of mass hysteria, Mr. Seller, the challenge starts when the offers come in. You really need an agent who will know how to properly analyze any offers, prod and ask the right questions to assist you in identifying the one that is most likely to get to the closing table…and no, it may not be the one with the highest price.
Out of desperation, for example, it is not unheard of for buyers to conceal the fact that they have a home to sell. That’s always a nice surprise four weeks into the transaction. Then there are the buyers that outbid everyone else only to come back after the inspection with a list as long as a CVS receipt and the threat of walking away if their demands are not met. You see, Mr. Seller, “Back On Market” is seller suicide.
And finally, we have the Mortgage Meister – Meister Burger…the most powerful individual in the home selling process. Without the expertise of an agent that will produce all the documentation to convince the appraiser that your house is worthy of the contract price, you may end up selling your home for less than your original asking price. Don’t you, Mr. Seller, want an agent that will go the extra mile, anticipate every obstacle and fight every step of the way to get you to the closing table? Now please stop grimacing at me!
In all seriousness, whether you are a home buyer or a home seller, I cannot stress enough the importance of hiring an experienced agent who can pivot as needed and has a contingency plan for every twist and turn that may come up. It’s a crazy market out there. Don’t tackle it alone!
Judy Boyle, Realtor®
Proudly serving the Borough’s and Beyond with honesty and integrity since 2003