Archive for the 'Listing Your Property' Category

Wasilla Real Estate News—Listing Your House For Free June 12th, 2007

Categories: Commission Rates, For Sellers, Listing Your Property

In a previous post in the Wasilla Real Estate News I discussed what we do for FREE! But I was only half finished. That post only covered the work we do up until the time you get an offer. 

After the offer I will help you negotiate the tricky path toward closing.  We will need to respond to inspectors, engineers, appraisers, underwriters, loan officers, title officers, the buyer and their realtor between the date of the initial offer and recording.

  •  After an offer comes in we will usually put together a counter-offer.  In fact, even if the offer is pretty crummy, I recommend countering back with something that would work.  This means that occasionally we counter back with full price and terms…but still counter
  • Sometimes it takes several counters to finally arrive at an agreement.  I think my record is six counters over a three week period.  But hopefully we do finally go into contract.
  • The inspection is the usually the first hurdle.  The buyer normally hires a qualified inspector to look at the house for them.  The inspector ALWAYS finds some issues that he thinks should be addressed.  I help you determine what really needs to be done and what is often just a desire of the buyers.  For example, if the house doesn’t have gutters, the inspector almost always suggests that they be installed.  Gutters are a great idea and often help prevent damage to a home, but are not a code item and won’t be required by an appraiser or underwriter.
  • An engineer will inspect the septic and perhaps the house.  Occasionally an inspector asks that an engineer inspect the structure of a home.  A structural engineer might inspect the foundation or another part of the house.  The septic system will almost always need to be inspected and approved by an engineering firm.  If an engineer discovers an issue you have a real problem.  I will help you determine the best way out.
  • The appraiser will determine value.  The appraiser works for the lender,  but their fee is paid by the buyer…or seller.  The appraiser is NOT an inspector and cannot be depended upon to find hidden defects in a house.  But if the appraiser does call out a safety problem the issue will almost always have to be addressed to keep the transaction from falling apart. And if the appraisal comes in below the sales price, you have a big issue, however, we can usually find a way to work through it.
  • The loan is in process.  While the inspection, appraisal, engineer reports, and title work is progressing the loan is being processed.  This work is done by a loan processor that takes the file from the loan officer.  The loan officer is usually the person who takes your loan application.  The processor verifies your employment, checks the credit, and generally makes sure that everything you need for your loan is gathered together.  It generally takes some time to get the whole loan package together.  Part of our job is to check with the loan officer and loan processor during the transaction to see if we can help get anything done. 
  • The title company makes sure the title is clean. There are often issues that need to be cleaned up on the title before we can close.  Sometimes there are liens that need to be released.  Occasionally there are mineral leases, easements or other items that need to be disclosed to the buyers.  We have a title search done right after we list your property to head these issues off at the pass. 
  • By this time I have made ….ZILCH. 
  • Almost every day we talk to the buyer’s realtor about the transaction.  Often we talk several times a day.  And there are many emails and faxes back and forth.  Communication is very important during this time and it is also important to be able to handle stressful situations without losing your cool.  We always have to remember the our purpose is to help you toward your goal of a successful transaction, not winning our personal argument.
  • Schedule closing at a time and place convenient to you.  Often we will pick up documents in Anchorage to expedite a closing for you in a place that works best for your needs.  The next business day after closing the title company will normally record the transaction. 
  • YOU GET YOUR PROCEEDS CHECK !  And we finally get paid. 

I actually enjoy working by commission because I feel good about being paid for accomplishing a goal.  But in one way, it is the commission system that increases the cost of selling a home.  If Realtors were paid for the work they did whether or not the house sold they could afford to charge lower fees. 

I have toyed with the concept of working on a consulting basis for years.  In fact, I have done it a few times.  Recently I discovered the Accredited Consultant in Real Estate .  I am seriously considering this training with a goal to lower Realtor fees for house sellers and buyers. 

Stay tuned. 

Until then, I still charge 5–7% commission rates depending on the level of service and marketing you feel that you need.

Written by Marty Van Diest

Wasilla Real Estate news—Listing Your Property For Sale June 9th, 2007

Categories: Commission Rates, Listing Your Property

In a previous posting on the Wasilla Real Estate News I introduced a discussion of commission rates. I just barely talked about the fact that I offer commission rates between 5%-7%. I am willing to also discuss rates and fixed fee contracts at lower and higher rates?but not in this post.

First, let me tell you what I do FREE OF CHARGE !

  • Make an initial visit to your home. I visit your home for a quick tour so that I know what I?m going to research.
  • Complete one to four hours of research. The amount of time depends on the uniqueness of your home. After determining the price I call 2?3 other experienced realtors to get their perspective about the market value.
  • Meet with you again about the price. This can be done over the phone or by email. If you are ready to list at this point we will meet in person to complete the listing documents.
  • Review listing documents with you. I need to have the listing contract, Alaska Real Estate Consumer form, and property disclosure forms completed and signed in order to have a complete listing. Once they are complete we begin working on the active listing. So far I am still working for nothing.
  • Take photos of your property. I need your help here to make your house shine. Photos are extremely important and interior photos need to show a clutter free house with furniture tastefully arranged.
  • Enter the listing on the MLS, (multiple listing system). I belong to two MLS systems, the Valley MLS and the Alaska MLS. The majority of properties in the Mat-Su Valley are sold by Valley Realtors, but a growing amount of Anchorage licensees are selling Valley property so it is important to belong to both MLS systems.
  • Order title search. At this point Jay Van Diest becomes involved. He is also working for you for free since he is also paid on commission. The title search will determine if we need to clean up any title issues before closing.
  • Check at DEC, (department of conservation), for well, septic, and asbuilt survey. Now Rochelle Peterson is also working for you. Except she doesn?t work for free, I pay her by the hour ? but you don?t! She physically looks through the DEC files to see what is filed on your property. Hopefully she finds something there, if not it will complicate things on the sale of your home and cause us more work. It is surprising to note that between 1/3?1/2 the homes are missing files at DEC.
  • Post your property on my website. I try to put some additional info on my website about your property. This can include your disclosure forms, asbuilt survey, well log, and covenants. It depends what we have gathered so far. I will often post your property soon after it is listed and the add these documents later after we get them from you, the title company and DEC. I urge you to read this post and help me with the accuracy as well as elucidating the features of your property for potential buyers. I?m not proud, I?m happy for the help.
  • Put up a sign on your property. This is usually done by Rochelle but Jay or I may do it as well. Other than the internet, this is the most important marketing tool.
  • Install a lockbox. This is a Realtor lock box with your key in it so that other Realtors can access your home to show it when you are not home. This is an electronic lock box that I can read to see who has accessed the key and when.
  • Review the online sites. By this time your house is in front of at least 97% of the potential buyers. It is on the Valley MLS and AKMLS which are internet based sites for Realtors only. It is also on and as well as,, and a myriad of other sites across the internet that pick up listings from these sites. In addition, links to these sites from hundreds and hundreds of other realtor based websites drive traffic to your property.
  • Put it in the Homes and Lands Magazine. This is where the 5% listing starts to differentiate from the 6?7% listings. It will go into at least one Homes and Land magazine at 5% but will usually run continuously at the higher rates. I may also use other print media for the higher commissions. Honestly though, it is the rare buyer who only finds their home through print media these days. Regardless of where it runs, I?m still working for free. Although, by now, I have spent a lot of time and money.
  • Arrange showings. Depending on how your property is shown, I will be talking to potential buyers and other realtors about your property, giving them information and arranging showings on your property.
  • Follow up on showings. I follow up with other realtors on the showing of your property. This is extremely important in a constantly changing market. We set your initial asking price based on what we could see in the market. But the market is talking to us during the marketing period and we need to listen. Sometimes it isn?t just talking to us, sometimes it is SCREAMING at us. We need to listen and respond.
  • Review offers with you. This is where the rubber meets the road and experience helps. I will advise you on the merits of the offer and help you put together a response. I will talk with the Realtor who made the offer, talk with their loan officer if possible, and guide you on the best way to make the transaction work.
  • I?m still working for free ? but this post is getting too long so I will continue it later. The next post about working for free will be at least this long.

Written by Marty Van Diest

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