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Archive for the ‘Real Estate – General’ Category

Realtor.com Seller Reports Now Available

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Realtor.com Preview

Realtor.com has a new feature that allows weekly updates to automatically be emailed to a seller from the Realtor.com platform. This feature tracks activity on the Realtor.com platform for that individual listing. Any seller signing up through Congress Realty through our website directly will receive this feature at no additional cost. To add this service, email us to let us know to add it to your account and we can set it up for you that same day.

Click to the hyperlink at the top of this post to view a sample report.

How do I submit a change to my listing? Congress Realty

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, May 30th, 2019

We try to make making changes to your MLS listing as easy as possible. The fastest way to make a change to your listing is through our private client area. Once a listing goes active, we email the seller a link with your login and password to our private client area. Once you login, you will see blue hyperlinks such as change listing information, add photos, add open house, etc… From these links, you can submit any # of changes. Once we complete a change submitted to us in the private client area, you will receive an emailed confirmation that the change was made. Note: The private client area is only accessible from a desktop or laptop computer.

Can I email changes to Congress Realty? Yes, you can. However, please keep in mind we do give preference to changes submitted through the private client area. Thus, the fastest way to submit a change is through the private client area. Emailed changes will still be completed.

What about changes to sites like Zillow and Realtor.com? Typically, Zillow and Realtor.com will pull changes from the MLS. Thus, once we make a change to your MLS listing, Zillow and Realtor.com should update within a few hours. However, if Zillow or Realtor.com does not, we have a private login where we can make certain changes to the Zillow or Realtor.com website. This special service is only available to clients who sign up directly through Congress Realty through our website and is included with our standard $299 listing.

How to and How Not to Submit your Photos… and When

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Photos… The #1 question that comes into our office.

The ideal way to submit your photos is through our Pre Listing Manager. When you order online, the last step in the process is filling out your profile sheet and uploading your photos. Once you sign the listing agreement electronically, our system automatically and immediately emails you the profile sheet to fill out and the link to upload your photos.

Now, let’s say you are trying to submit your photos but it seems like the system is taking too long to upload them… Not a problem. All that is happening is that your photos are most likely very large files. Instead of using the online system, go ahead and email them to us. If you email the photos to us, please email them to english@congressrealty.com. PLEASE do not upload them to a 3rd party link like Dropbox or Google Drive and simply send us the link. Instead, please attach the jpegs to a new email and send them to us directly. The best time to send your photos is either before you send your profile sheet to us or immediately right after. It is not in your best interest to wait days before sending your photos.

Another scenario: You already have your listing on the MLS and you want to change your photos. Not a problem. DO NOT use the Pre Listing Manager to do this. Instead, email us at english@congressrealty.com as described in the above paragraph or use our private client area. You will have access to the private client area via the “Listing is Active” email we send you upon activating your listing.

What if you want your photos in a very specific order? Not a problem. Please label the files in the order you want them and email them to us. For example, 1.jpg, 2.jpg, 3.jpg, etc… This will guarantee that we can place your photos in the exact order you desire.

Lastly, if your photos are just enormous and you insist upon sending us a link to download the photos via a 3rd party site like Google Drive or Dropbox, please ensure the following. 1) Please do not set your photos to private. We will not have access to download the files if they are set to private. 2nd) Please place the photos in one folder so that we can download them all at one time.

Following these prompts will help us activate your listing quickly and accurately.


Congress Realty in the Press Recently for SOLD Listings

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, September 29th, 2017

We are pleased to announce that the Phoenix Business Journal did include myself in the list of the top 35 agents by sold Volume. The Phoenix Business Journal uses sold data from the MLS to compile these rankings. The wonderful thing about these rankings is that they are based upon factual sold data. They are not based upon what a Realtor may want you to believe. We should know where exactly we placed in the upcoming days but it looks like we will fall in the #10 to #15 range. To put this in perspective, this is out of about 25,000 Realtors in the Phx metro area. Despite this, we realize that competing Full service Realtors(R) will continue to tell our clients that the only way to sell a home is to use a traditional full priced Realtor. Once again, the facts say otherwise. This is not our first appearance in the rankings. Donald Plunkett, founder of Congress Realty, peaked in the Phoenix Business Journal at the #1 position. Yes, you read that correctly, he finished #1 a few years ago.

In the New Orleans area, I was recently interviewed by New Orleans City Business Publication. This publication/article focuses on the highest sold listing in the New Orleans Metro area over a given time frame. The article should be released in the next 2-3 weeks but it will document that Congress Realty during this time period sold the highest priced listing in the entire New Orleans Real Estate Market. On the sale, we saved the seller approximately $80,000 on listing commissions. We are looking forward to the article and will try to publish with the authors permission when available.

Don’t get tricked into cancelling by Traditional Full Service Realtors(R)

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, August 14th, 2017

One of my goals with the blog is to be able to write about topics that help real people make real decisions. In doing so, this can ruffle feathers on occasion but I’m hopeful that putting real information out there will help sellers in the future.

Today I had a phone call from a past seller in the Houston area. She had cancelled her listing with our firm in early June b/c she had been convinced by a friend of hers that she had to use a traditional full service Realtor to sell her home. At that time, our seller did not have much traffic on her property and she believed the sales pitch from her “friend”. What was that sales pitch? Her friend informed her that she wasn’t getting traffic b/c it was listed through a flat fee brokerage and that her full service firm could sell the home, etc…

So why did the seller call me today? She was kind enough to let us know that her friend couldn’t sell the home and was interested in re-listing the property with our firm. So what happened? The other Realtor secured the listing and priced the property at the same price she had it listed with our firm. 2 weeks went by and the Realtor pressured the seller to drop the price… 2 more weeks went by and… you see where this is going… The Realtor(R) took the listing that she knew was overpriced and knew that was the reason it wasn’t getting action… but did so with the intent of slowly but surely forcing the seller the to drop the price. To the seller’s credit, she figured it out and called her friend/Realtor out on it….

So how often does this happen? All of the time unfortunately. B/c of this phone call today, I went back and tracked our recent Houston cancellations over the last 5 months. What I was looking for was simple… If a seller cancelled with Congress Realty, did they re list it with a traditional Realtor? And if so, did they list it at the same price they had it listed at with Congress Realty… From there. Who sold their homes and at what price? Pretty simple stuff right? If I am to believe the traditional Realtor sales pitch, then we should be able to find some examples of cancelled Congress Realty listings that eventually sold with traditional Realtors.  Again, pretty simple stuff and easy to track b/c of the MLS data being available to all members.

We have the parameters… so let’s look at the data. How many cancelled listings in the last 5 months in the Houston area did Congress Realty have? 6 total. Of these, how many listed with traditional Realtors? 5 of the 6. How many are either under contract or sold? 1 out of these 5 that were re-listed.

So 1 out of the 5 sold with a traditional Realtor… but here’s the catch… That 1 property that sold… the seller dropped the price according to the MLS by over $65,000 in order to sell it.

Where am I going with this…. The MLS is the MLS. A traditional Realtor rarely gives a seller a better chance of selling. Price and location are what matters. The data supports this. Don’t get tricked by friends and other Realtors(R) into believing they have a magic way to sell your home. They don’t. The data proves this.

Would this hold true in other markets? Over the next few weeks I will post a similar comparison in other markets like Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Do Congress Realty Listings Sell?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, July 13th, 2017


Short Answer – Yes

Long Answer – The most common tactic used by a Realtor trying to take 6% of your equity is to make the claim that “discount listings do not sell”… “No one will show them”… etc… The problem with this statement is that the MLS tracks sold data… and very very meticulously. In the upcoming months, the Phoenix Business Journal will release a list of the top Arizona brokers by sales volume… and once again, Congress Realty will be near the very top of the list. (of 25,000 agents or so, we will crack the top 25) So where does the Phoenix Business Journal get their data?  The data is supported by the MLS sold data. What’s really amazing about the MLS in any area (not just Phoenix) is that sold data by broker is searchable. What this means is that I can log into the MLS in the DFW area (or any area for that matter) and run a report on any agent I choose. This report will show me what that agent has listed, sold, etc… over any time frame.

So how much Real Estate did Congress Realty sell in 2016? We are still gathering the final #’s but it appears we will near $200,000,000 mark.  Of this 200 million… over 150 million will be in the states of Arizona, Texas, and Nevada alone.

The next time a Realtor tries to tell you discount listings don’t sell… ask them to provide you with an MLS printout of their sold listings alongside a printout of our sold listings… As more and more data becomes available to the public… more and more people are choosing Congress Realty.

To give you an idea of what a report of sold data looks like… I uploaded the first 100 from the NTREIS MLS system to this post via a PDF file. Note: I am only uploading the first 100…. there are obviously more… This is a report that I ran on myself in the NTREIS MLS for the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. It represents what I have sold since January 1st, 2016 according to the MLS statistics. (Only in the DFW market) (again, I’m only uploading the first 100) How many other agents in the DFW area have closed 100 deals in the last 18 months….? If you take out REO brokers…. you’re looking at less than 50 out of over over 40,000 local Realtors.





J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Are flyers needed for my listing? Where do I obtain flyers?

We can send you the client view from the MLS that can be utilized as a flyer or you can use the our listings portion of our website to print a flyer in mass quantities. (at no cost) The important thing to keep in mind is that the MLS will not allow anyone to use the Agent Detailed version of the MLS as a flyer. The reason being… the MLS wants to protect private information from being leaked to the public. Examples of private information would be gate codes, alarm codes, etc…

Benefit of flyers today in 2017:

The thing to keep in mind is that 99% of home buyers are using smart phones. When I drive by a property myself and want to know additional information about the property, I simply type in the address and go to Zillow, Redfin, etc… where I can view the price, countless photos, etc… I can’t remember the last time I even looked for a flyer at a property myself. As more and more people become comfortable with technology, flyers are becoming less and less useful. A well done flyer might contain 3-4 photos…whereas, I can scroll through a 100 HD photos right on my phone while sitting outside of a property.

I think their can be a slight benefit to putting something in the hand of certain home buyers. Something they can feel and touch… but that benefit is incredibly small.


Zillow Rumors and Thoughts

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Zillow has struggled over the years with the ability to post accurate data. In addition, Zillow has also struggled with getting updated data well after sites like Realtor.com… For example, Zillow is the last to post new listings, new price updates, etc… when compared to sites like Redfin or Realtor.com.

First question… Why? Zillow doesn’t have agreements with every MLS in the United States to pull data directly from the MLS feed. Realtor.com does… This results in Realtor.com being first to post updated data. In markets where Zillow doesn’t get the information automatically, they rely upon the agents to update the Zillow site. Agents always update the MLS before they update Zillow and many simply don’t update Zillow. The reason? Real Estate still starts and finishes with the MLS for 99% of all Realtors(R).

Second Question – Why does Zillow struggle to get accurate data in markets where they DO have agreements with the MLS? The answer here is a bit more complicated. Even if your MLS syndicates data to Zillow, an agent has to authorize and “opt in” to the Zillow sharing feed. Some agents choose not to do this and other agents just simply don’t know how to go about it.

So how is Zillow going to fix this problem? They really can’t do anything that is 100% guaranteed to fix the problem but they are certainly trying. After a few weeks of rumors, Zillow finally announced they will no longer allow an agent to post a single listing directly onto the Zillow website. (as of May 1st) All listings from agents posted on Zillow must come from the MLS. The thinking behind this is that if you force agents to submit data to Zillow through the MLS, the information will be much more timely and accurate. The negative… if you force agents to opt into the Zillow syndication feed from the MLS, will this cause friction b/w agents and Zillow?

What’s next for Zillow? Zillow has a serious problem with FSBO’s and they are searching for answers on how to fix this. The rumor floating around right now is that Zillow is going to simply ban FSBO’s from posting directly to the Zillow site. The reason is that FSBO’s are much more likely to post a listing for sale and then simply forget about it.. This results in all sorts of anger directed at Zillow. Look at it this way, you just bought a FSBO home and moved in… you notice people driving by your home, looking through your windows, and possibly even knocking on your door. You discover Zillow still shows the home you just bought active for sale b/c the previous owner never updated the Zillow website, you’re going to be very upset.

Could Zillow really ban FSBO’s? I find it very unlikely but understand the reason Zillow is considering this action. Not only would it clean up the data, it would possibly build a better relationship with Realtors b/c it gives Realtors one more advantage to convince a FSBO to list with that agent…. Meaning, if you want to post your home on Zillow, you have to employ the services of an agent. Again, I’d be surprised if this really develops but the rumor is definitely floating out there.

For what it’s worth, Zillow is publicly denying that their is any truth to the rumor of no longer accepting FSBO listings as of this morning. That said, FSBO’s are finding it harder than ever to post a listing on the Zillow site. For the last week, Zillow has been giving server errors to countless homeowners’ trying to post their listing. In addition, those that do get it listed are having to wait days for Zillow to approve the listing and post it live. Zillow’s response? They review every listing for legitimacy before allowing it to go live on the Zillow website. Zillow’s claims they are simply slammed with listings to review and this is causing the delay.

Full Service – What is it and Do I need it???

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

The full service option can be a savior for some and not needed for others. It all comes down to time, experience, and peace of mind for the seller.

First – What is the Congress Realty Full Service Option:

Once a seller receives an offer, we review the offer in detail. We fwd this offer to the seller and then call the seller to review the offer. We will answer any questions the seller may have. In addition, we will provide our opinion of the offer and we will point out any pitfalls that we see. Our hope is that we can help reduce the # of escrows that fall a part by warning the seller of what we see in advance. Once the seller understands the positives and negatives of the offer, we will then formulate a response and convey that response to the buyer or their broker. This can be in the form of a counter offer, conversation, etc… it varies on a case to case basis. When an agreement is reached, we do all of the little things… For example, verify the EMD is deposited, ensure disclosures are on time, resale packages are on time, and so forth… In addition, we negotiate the buyer inspection request/response on behalf of the seller. (via the same process as the initial offer, we call the seller to review, formulate a response, etc…) We periodically check in with the lender during the escrow, etc… Prior to closing, we review the settlement statement to ensure all of the #’s are correct prior to the seller signing their final docs.


Second – Do I need it?

If you’ve sold multiple properties on your own, you probably don’t need the FSO option. We are not in the business of trying to sell someone a service they don’t need. However, if you are new to this or simply don’t have the time to deal with the process, we can do everything for you. That said, the most common reason people go with our full service option is peace of mind. They simply want myself or Donnie to review the offer and ensure everything is up to speed. In addition, Donnie and myself have been directly involved in over 10,000 transactions. Rarely, if ever do we come across something we haven’t seen before. The average Realtor(R) is involved in 3-4 transactions per year…. and they charge anywhere from 5-6% for their “expertise”…stemming from their experience…. Very few, if any have more experience than myself or Donald.

Example –

We recently just closed on the following property via our full service option. In this instance, Donald was able to negotiate a rent back for the owner so that she could remain in the property while her townhouse was being completed. Donald negotiated the rent down to a number that is well below market rent. In addition, Donald was able to negotiate/acquire $25,000 more than what the seller had told Donald she was happy with.





Cons to watch out for

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Our goal is to help property owners sell real estate w/out paying high fees. Many properties that we list, sell quickly, however, the reality is that not every property sells in the first 30 days. Over the years, we have seen a pretty clear trend with other full priced Realtors(R) soliciting our property owners. The most common example is as follows:


Homeowner list the property with Congress Realty. The property sits on the market for one reason or another. The full priced Realtor approaches the homeowner and tries to develop a relationship. The Realtor(R) begins to plant the seed with the owner that the problem is with the listing, not the property. Slowly but surely the full priced Realtor(R) convinces the seller to cancel the listing with our firm and to list with the full priced Realtor(R). The new Realtor(R) takes the listing and makes all sorts of promises to the home owner. Eventually, after a few weeks, the Realtor(R) begins to push the seller down on price…. Typically, at about this point in time, the seller realizes they’ve been conned by the Realtor(R).


If you’re asking yourself how often this happens… the answer is… all of the time. It is the # 1 feedback we receive from sellers who have previously cancelled with our firm and went to another Realtor(R). I went back and tracked in the Phx market all of our previous listings who cancelled and listed with a full service Realtor(R) for the last 12 months. Of these listings, not 1 single listing sold with the new Realtor(R) at the most recent price the seller had listed with our firm. Every single sale that occurred could be directly tied to a substantial price reduction.


Do not be conned by a Realtor(R) into thinking they have a magic solution to get your home sold. They rely upon the same MLS system and buyer agents that Congress Realty relies upon.


One more con to watch out for…  This recently happened in Austin, TX. A high end Westlake listing cancelled with our firm and listed the property with a Realtor(R) who had convinced him that all high end Real Estate had to be sold through her firm in the Westlake area. The seller was initially impressed by the amount of traffic he had from “local Realtors(R)” over the first 30-45 days of the listing. After about 45 days, the agent demanded the seller reduce the price. This agent based this recommendation upon the feedback she had received from the ‘showings”… It took about 90 days for the seller to realize what had happened. The agent simply had other agents from her office walk through the property to give the appearance of actual showings and previews. While in reality, the agent had produced little to zero legitimate buyer traffic. The agent had simply placed the property in the MLS and hoped someone else would sell the listing.