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Archive for February, 2012

Curb Appeal

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

What is curb appeal and why does it matter to a homeowner trying to sell their property?

Curb appeal in its most basic sense is the beauty of your home from a front elevation view. Basically, how does your home look while standing in the street facing the home? Curb appeal when trying to sell your home is very important. As a homeowner, pay attention to the details. Try to have your lawn cut, your flowers looking lively and colorful, your sidewalks clean of debris, etc… The house itself should be appealing as well. This includes ensuring the paint is fresh, the brick is clean, the awnings are functional, the shutters are in pristine condition, and so forth… Why does all of this matter? It is the first thing the buyer sees when they get out of the car. You are giving the buyer the impression that the interior and foundation of the property itself have been kept with the same great care as the landscape, front elevation, etc… Never miss a chance to impress a potential buyer. This includes making sure the sign in the yard is clean and upright. If you are having an open house, try to make sure your balloons are fully inflated and not “dead” looking. Pay attention to the details and you will distinguish your property amongst the competition.


Brokerages Syndicating Listings – Why such a hot topic?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

To the average consumer, the ongoing issue concerning syndication of listings may not make a whole lot of sense… but as a homeowner, you need to understand what it all means and how it affects you. First, when a listing brokerage takes a listing, in the eyes of the Association of Realtors(R), they own that listing. What this means is they control where they market the property. The first place this brokerage will market the property is through the local MLS.  That much is obvious, however, from there it gets a bit more complicated. Various competing brokerages can pay a fee to display listings from the MLS on their own personal websites. What this means is that if listing brokerage A acquires a listing and places it for sale in the MLS…. brokerage B can pay a fee to advertise this property on their own website. The  debate here is simple… Brokerage A owns the listing and may not want Brokerage B to be marketing the property. On the flip side, Brokerage B will argue that they are assisting Brokerage A and the seller by simply giving them more exposure.

So why wouldn’t Brokerage A want Brokerage B to market the listing in question? Simple, Money. Brokerage A wants to try and acquire potential buyers for the property. Not only do they want to try and sell the listing, but they want to use this listing to acquire buyer leads for other properties that are for sale. If the property is in demand… brokerage A could  generate a large # of new potential clients on the buyer side. On the opposite end of the spectrum… Brokerage B is not trying to help the seller or Brokerage A… instead, they want these same buyer leads that Brokerage A wants. It’s simply a battle b/w brokerages concerning who owns the right to internet advertising.

Let’s take this a step further:

This matter has gotten more complicated recently with the increased popularity of Zillow, Trulia, etc… These sites rely upon  brokerages syndicating listings to their websites. W/out these listings… Zillow and Trulia become basically worthless to the consumer. So why would a brokerage not want to syndicate listings to these websites? I mean… after all… it’s just more exposure for their listing, right? Let’s use Realtor.com for example…Realtor.com literally sells leads back to agents. That’s how they make money. They charge agents for the ability to receive their own leads on their own properties. Thus, in essence, Realtor.com is selling brokerages leads for properties generated by the listings already owned by the brokerage. As you can imagine, this infuriates many Real Estate Brokerages. Zillow and Trulia do not operate in the exact same manner as Realtor.com, however, they are still profiting off of the listings owned by the Real Estate Brokerage.  So while profiting off of these listings… you might think Zillow and Trulia would compensate the brokerage for the ability to advertise their listings? No, instead they cold call these same Real Estate Brokerages asking them to pay for ad space on the Zillow/Trulia Website. (Trust me, they call often)

So what does all of this mean and how does it concern Congress Realty? Seller’s should be aware that we syndicate our listings everywhere unless a homeowner specifically asks to be omitted from a certain website. Thus, homeowners are getting the absolute maximum exposure possible through our Flat fee listing program. In some cases, this exposure exceeds what a homeowner might get from a traditional 6% brokerages who refuses to syndicate listings to other competing brokerages. W/ Congress Realty… your listing will show up darn near everywhere. Plain and Simple.



Hidden Fees to Watch Out For From the Competition

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, February 17th, 2012

I get this question often…. Does Congress Realty have any hidden fees that I need to be aware of? The short answer is no, we don’t. Plain and Simple. We do not charge our sellers a penny on the back end of the transaction. How does this differ from our competition? I can name at least 3 competitors who try and lure sellers in with a low upfront listing fee…only to tell them after they list that they charge for changes, CMA’s, state approved forms…. and the list goes on and on… With our firm…everything is included. A seller can make over a 100 changes during their listing period and we will not charge that seller a dime. A seller can request Contracts, Addendums, Counter Offers, LBP Disclosures, Real Property Disclosures, etc…and we will still not charge that seller a dime.

When considering your options when choosing a Flat Fee Company, consider the entire service and package being offered before making a decision. Most importantly, talk to the broker who will be listing your property. Ask questions, Ask for Feedback, and so forth….Never list your property with a firm who will not allow you to speak with the broker directly. After all… if he/she can’t take the time to speak with you now…how will you reach him/her on a Sat afternoon…even more important, how will you reach him/her with a question regarding an offer you have in your hand with a pressing response deadline looming?