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Archive for the ‘Real Estate – General’ Category

Cancelled Escrows

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

Recently, we have seen a very strong uptick in the # of properties going under contract. This is true of both our firm and other listings on the Multiple Listing Service. However, we are also seeing a rise throughout the MLS in escrows that are falling apart. The # 1 and #2 reasons escrows are falling apart right now relates to appraisals and loans being declined. While interest rates are incredibly low, more and more lenders are declining loans for buyers for one reason or another. While it is still very feasible to obtain a loan and close, lenders are tightening up. As a seller, be prepared to protect yourself in markets that allow you to protect yourself. For example, in TX, take advantage of the 3rd party financing addendum by limiting the # of days the offer is contingent upon financing. The same is true in CA. Utilize the hot market and purchase agreement language to best protect yourself.

A step by step guide to how I sold a rental property through our Flat Fee program

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

Recently, I sold one of my own properties through Congress Realty. The property was located in NM and sold during the month of June 2020. I used the exact same systems that we offer our sellers through our Flat Fee MLS program. Below is an exact chronological list of how I did so.

  1. Served 30 day notice to my tenant to vacate. My tenant was on a month to month lease at that time.
  2. Acquired all keys, remotes, etc.. from my property manager.
  3. Installed a mechanical lockbox on the property so that I could get laborers into the property
  4. Received 3 bids on re-painting the interior. Chose a company, made payment and had them use the lockbox to complete the work
  5. Received 3 bids from carpet installers. Chose a company, made payment and had them use the lockbox to complete the work.
  6. Hired a handyman to run through the property to repair any small items, such as blinds, etc..
  7. Hired a photographer to take 20 photos of the property. (Note, I didn’t have 100 photos taken. I am a big believer in not over photographing the property)
  8. Listed the property on the local MLS through Congress Realty. At the time the listing went active, all of the interior work was complete, the photos were ready. I listed the property on a Thursday night. I offered the buyer’s agent 3% in the MLS listing.
  9. By Saturday, I had 4 offers and countless showings.
  10. Sunday, I chose a cash offer at list price with the quickest close. I provided the seller disclosures to the buyer’s agent with my acceptance of their offer.
  11. During the inspection period, I offered a small credit to the buyer in lieu of making any repairs.
  12. I made sure I was in contact with the escrow officer at all times. I ensured the buyer earnest deposit was deposited on time.
  13. I signed my docs remotely via a mobile notary. I chose to have my funds wired to me.
  14. Upon recording, I made arrangements with the buyer’s agent to pick up all of the keys, remotes, etc..
  15. The total time from the date my tenants vacated my property to the time I received my final wire from the title company was 30 days.

All 4 offers I received came from buyer’s agents who found the listing on the MLS. Had I chosen to wait an extra day or 2, I may have received multiple more offers. However, the quick closing cash offer at list price was appealing to me. A few things to note: In my opinion, offering 3% to the buyer’s agent helped bring in multiple offers. Making the property easy to show via a lockbox was helpful in bringing multiple offers.

As you can see, if you do things correctly and keep things simple, rarely is there a need for a full priced Listing Agent. You can save thousands of dollars using our Flat Fee Listing program. Upon request, I can provide the full property address that I am referencing in this blog post. This will allow you to verify it was owned by myself and sold through Congress Realty in less than 30 days.

Things I did not do: I did not use a Real Estate Sign. I did not post the listing on any FSBO related websites. I did not use Flyers/Handouts. I did not send out an email blast to Realtors.

Congress Realty – June 2020

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, June 26th, 2020

The summer of 2020 has brought on a bombardment of offers on our listings. Markets like Phoenix, Flagstaff, Las Cruces, ABQ, amongst a few others have seen an astronomical rise in activity. To put this in perspective, in Flagstaff as of this writing, I have only 1 active listing. Every other listing I have in Flagstaff is under contract. In Phx, nearly half of our listings are under contract. In Las Cruces, I listed one of my own personal properties through our firm and it had 4 offers the very first weekend.  Without a doubt, buyers are taking advantage of insanely low interest rates. In the coming weeks, I will write a more detailed blog outlining exactly how I prepped my Las Cruces property and what techniques I used to gather 4 offers on the very first weekend of publishing to the MLS. I will map out an outline that will help our sellers mirror some of my personal techniques in their own listings.

Should I take my home off the market? Is anything selling during COVID-19?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

First and foremost, whether you want to allow people into your home is a decision that you should make along with your medical professional. In the event you are willing to allow showings, homes are still selling in many states. One state that we have seen multiple properties go under contract in during the last 10 days is Arizona. Since March 20th, we have had multiple AZ properties go under contract. Including 5 in the last 3 days.  Outside of AZ, we had a CA listing that went under contract within 48 hours of listing. We have also seen multiple properties that we have listed go under contract in NV in the last few days. In DFW, TX, a new listing yesterday already has an offer today.

This is not to suggest that now is the most ideal time to list your home. However, you have to weigh the pros and cons. Right now, many seller’s are pulling their homes off the market. When they will return these homes to the market remains to be seen. However, if you pull your home off the market or you wait to list your home, you have to consider the possibility that the market may see a flood of inventory when this pandemic passes.


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.