Minimum Characteristic Requirements
Since the market has changed so much in such a short period of time, we cannot stress enough how experience impacts the sale of your home. This is not unique to real estate, the more successful and the more transactions someone is involved in, the more experience they have. We see this everyday when an offer comes in on one of our listings and our experience tells us to dissect not only the offer but the mortgage pre-approval letter as well. The amount someone is financing, the contingency dates, the size of the down payment all play into the quality of the offer.
Unfortunately, this business is “trial by fire” and we have already learned what works and what doesn’t. With over 1000 transactions under our belts, there is simply no situation we have not encountered and been able to successfully work through.
Here are some examples of issues that come up: home inspections, appraisals, uncooperative tenants, estate sales, building department violations, disputes over property lines, mortgages not discharged, buyers trying to pull out of deal, flood insurance, zoning discrepancies, failed septics, short sales, foreclosures, commitment dates, mold, inexperienced agents, the list goes on and on.
Selling a couple of homes a year or even a month isn’t enough experience these days to stay on top of the growing list of issues. We have found that an entire team needs to be involved in every transaction for a home to successfully close, something one single agent can no longer handle.
There was a time when simply holding an open house or placing an ad in the Boston Globe was sufficient exposure to market a home. Today, both of those mediums do nothing except appease a seller. As any top agent will tell you, marketing dollars should only be placed in one medium to provide the right exposure for your home: the Internet.
Internet marketing does not mean just placing your home on MLS. It means having contracts with all of the top real estate sites like, Realtor.com, Boston.com, Zillow.com, and even Trulia.com. Since accessing the Internet is free many sellers think advertising on it is as well when in truth, it costs thousands upon thousands of dollars to correctly list your home on these sites. For an experienced agent, this is not an option and the marketing dollars invested to sell your home will be recouped when your home sells. Unfortunately, most agents are unwilling —and many times unable—to invest the amount of money needed for this type of exposure. The truly elite brokerages have a dedicated online marketing person who spends all day, posting, re-posting, and blogging about each listing on every real estate site available.
In any industry, being as efficient as possible is going to allow for a better experience and increase the likelihood of success. Real estate is no different and requires systems and staff to ensure a successful sale. As highlighted in our About Us section, an entire team handling the transaction allows for all parties involved in the sale to be coordinated with and updated more, so that showings, inspections, dates, and any and all issues are closed out!
Efficiency also refers to how quickly calls and emails about your home get addressed. Buyers and buyer agents are more needy than ever and they want answers. If an agent is a “one person show” like 99% of agents these days, when they are showing a home or in another appointment they are away from client files and most of the time unavailable. This doesn’t happen to a true real estate team where systems are centralized to allow for phone and email coverage from 8am-9pm on weekdays and 9am-6pm on weekends. Not to mention agent access for after hours. For a buyer and buyer agents to get a live person who can answer their questions immediately is priceless in securing offers. True efficiency means multiple staff members, which costs money, which is why most agents continue to operate less efficiently.
To us, professionalism means treating clients and all parties involved in the transaction with respect and empathy at the highest level. What client doesn’t want a true professional when dealing with the largest financial decision of their entire lives? Obviously it’s a rhetorical question but with social media at an all time high, it seems professionalism is a lost art. There is a place for texting and emailing but many clients still need to talk to a real person over the phone and this is something a true professional agent always makes time for.
Professionalism is not just when dealing with clients, it is also critical when dealing with buyers and buyer’s agents. There are countless situations where things can get heated in a transaction and always keeping emotions in check and respecting the other parties is not optional. We can’t have buyers get turned off by an unprofessional comment or lackluster response. Our mission statement printed on the first page of every employee handbook says it best:
“McGeough Lamacchia Realty, Inc.’s ultimate goal is to obtain clients for life! This will be accomplished by providing unrivaled service to all of our clients whether they are buying or selling a home. Every employee in our company will always hold the client and all parties involved in a transaction in the highest regard and treat them with honesty, professionalism, respect, and integrity. These same qualities will carry over in the workplace among employees as we work to become the greatest real estate company.”
You would think telling the truth is something that everyone does, unfortunately, we all know that is not the case. In real estate, honesty starts at the first meeting with the client explaining what works in marketing and what price will get the home sold.
Some agents are just scared to tell a seller the truth, especially around pricing, because they feel they will lose the listing. We feel the opposite, since if an honest price is not acceptable than the seller is not ready to sell and not someone that we will be successful in helping. No industry is flawless, but with a challenging market and little to no start-up costs to get into the field, the real estate industry has attracted its fair share of “riff raff.” Unscrupulous behavior should never have been tolerated in this industry and that is the case more and more. Being honest and ethical should be the cornerstones of every agent and can never be compromised.
Additional Short Sale Characteristics
Experience is always important in any business, but when short sales are involved, it is the most important characteristic when hiring an agent. As outlined in our Options section, there are so many programs and options for struggling homeowners that someone with experience is required to make sense of them all. A short sale in itself is completely foreign to many agents and even the ones who have conducted some still do not know the in and outs if the transaction hits a road block.
Road blocks can include value issues, mortgage insurance, additional lien holders, government programs, or even a buyer trying to pull out of the deal, to name just a few. If your agent has already dealt with these situations before then they can be overcome, if they lack the experience then most likely the deal will not move forward and your home will not sell. Experience is the only way to ensure that the knowledge is there to handle any issue that may rear its head. When you are conducting almost 500 short sales a year, it doesn’t take long to learn what works in what situation and what doesn’t!
Did you know that in a highly successful short sale office can have more than 8 different people involved in the transaction. And that’s just on the listing side! There are licensed agents, managers, negotiators, attorneys, and even owners all involved in different aspects of the short sale. Every person has a specific role when dealing with a short sale since there are so many additional steps when compared with a traditional sale. Documents need to be gathered, the home must be marketed online to its fullest extent, offers needs to be negotiated with the bank, the list goes on and on. We honestly do not know how any single agent can conduct a short sale without the support of a team. To learn more about our team structure, visit the Short Sale Staffing Model in the About Us section.
By industry contacts we mean high level bank and government contacts that can be called upon if a deal requires it. We have flown all over the country from Washington, D.C. to Sacramento, CA and many stops in between to build a rolodex like no other company. Examples of this include contacts at the Treasury Department to help with programs like HAFA, Executive V.P. and CEO level direct phone numbers at all of the major banks when debt forgiveness is in question, and even individuals at the congressional level for foreclosure matters.
We’re not going to tell you that such contacts are needed for every deal but for those tough transactions where a bank is being uncooperative, these contacts are priceless!
Please remember, an agent you are looking to hire cannot have just one or a couple of these characteristics, every single one of these must be possessed by the agent that is going to sell your home. Otherwise, the odds are against you and you most likely will not succeed in selling your home through a short sale because you have hired the wrong agent!
For more on Hiring the Right Short Sale Agent, view our video below:
click below for full text:
We want to make it very clear to everyone out there that all agents cannot do Short Sales. They are a tremendous amount of work that require all day every day attention. There is no way a conventional agent who shows homes all day and follows up on leads can do a Short Sale properly. Its agents like these who try them and they end up taking months on end because they simply can’t give them the attention they deserve.
Think of it this way: When a Short Sale package is submitted the next step is the negotiator calls or emails the agent to tell them they got the package and they are going to set up a BPO or Appraisal. Or they may ask for another document. Since most agents work alone what happens if they don’t answer the call or can’t get to the email until the next day? It is not like normal business where they leave a message and you can just call them back later. Or email them back the next day. If that call or email is missed it could be two weeks before you can get that negotiator’s attention again.
The average negotiator handles 300 files at one time. So if you email them the next day they already forgot who you are. Agents who do Short Sales must have an extensive administrative staff to answer all calls and emails, prepare the SS packages and get negotiators what they want when they want it. Including at night, since we live in Massachusetts and a lot of the banks are in California we have a night staff that works until 9pm.
In early 2011, we sought honest answers and perhaps a remedy to the condominium ownership situation. Our lack of trust and our concerns were high but we needed help as soon as possible. My wife was referred to McGeough Lamacchia Realty. We quickly made an appointment to met with their team. Our questions were answered in a kind and respectable manner. Our short sale on our Condominum was conducted with complete professionalism in a timely manner. They handled the open houses and provided feedback immediately.
Our family highly recommends McGeough Lamacchia Realty based on their professionalism and industry expertise. There is no other Realty group who can perform better than McGeough Lamacchia Realty.The Cupid Family, Westwood, Massachusetts