Search No More
(Why I’m Contemplating Removing Search from My Site)
Here’s the thing. The times they are a-changin’ in the real estate world. The Multiple Listing Search (MLS) was once the historic bastion of a realtors information curation. A realtor would input what the buyer was looking for, like the neighborhood, garage, bathrooms, price range, etc. and then send that specifically curated list of recently listed properties to them.
Why even near the end of the 1990s all this detailed information was in books that the agent would dig through to find just what the buyer wanted. The computer information age has changed all of that. Though it is quicker to curate, it is not without its issues. For example, the Boulder and Denver MLS are no longer sharing data. An agent either uses one or the other or has to input data from one into the other. Some realtors have both engines on their site, others choose one over the other. There is not a set standard.
The change with the biggest impact is the Information Data Exchange (IDX) which has enabled Zillow, Realtor.com or Redfin to have and share the very data the realtors have been curating for every buyer. Their websites and apps are just a laptop or phone away. The Boulder ReMax app (Check it out here), I have to say, is one of the strongest out there.
Searching for a property is now easier than ever, and the buyers are used to scrolling through sites and finding what they want. Often times I’ll find that the very information I’ve put together for them in an email, they haven’t even looked at, and then they send me a list of the very same properties that they searched for and found themselves.
I’ve realized that this curated list is redundant and irrelevant. People want and like to search on their own. They enjoy that “hunt” and can see pictures and specifics right there in front of them. My time is much better spent in working with these buyers after the search, to get them into the neighborhood, the price point and the home that they want.
Sure, there are still folks who want me to do the curating for them and I will happily put that list together. On my site though, I’m seriously thinking of removing the property search bar, which has become so standard that every realtor’s site has one. I’d rather have curated content, like blog posts explaining the Boulder/Denver area market fluctuations . Or share a link to a story I found informative on how to build the equity in your home for resale.
I’d like to hear what you, the home buyers and seller, think of this move. Are there enough real estate search engines and apps out there, that you would rather get more in-depth market and property information from me? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
With inventory hovering around historic lows in our market, buyers are still finding themselves in bidding wars for properties. However, simply being the highest bidder is NOT the only factor that makes one offer better than another. In fact, offers that are too high can lead to appraisal issues leaving both the buyers and sellers frustrated and potentially even become a deal killer.
In order to avoid potential pitfalls and ensure that my buyers’ offers are accepted, I recommend implementing the following 5 strategies when in competing situations. These are designed to increase both the seller’s net, as well as the chances the offer is accepted.
Strategy 1: Insurance contingency
Every contract has a property insurance deadline. The recommendation is to contact an insurance agent before the offer is submitted to get approval for the coverage desired. Once obtained this contingency date can be eliminated as a concern for both buyers and the sellers.
Strategy 2: Loan Pre-Approval
A simple pre-qualified letter is the norm in a balanced market. However in today’s ultra-competitive, low inventory market being pre-approved is not only wise but imperative. Find a lender who is able and ready to provide pre-approval quickly. Most pre-approvals can be completed within 24 hours and I have several great partners who I can recommend.
Strategy 3: Title insurance
It’s customary in our market for the sellers to pay both the main title fee as well as the OEC coverage. Offering to pay these fees is the perfect example of a technique that will add to the seller’s bottom line without increasing the offer price.
Strategy 4: Buyer and Seller homeowners warranty
Purchase a home warranty for you AND the seller and reference it in the offer. Not only does this provide future protection for the buyer, but the extra few hundred dollars provides a level of security to the seller knowing that many issues discovered through an inspection may now be covered. Money well spent!
Strategy 5: Sales Commission
Another fee that is customarily paid by the seller is the broker commission. By paying some or all of the commission the buyer is again increasing the seller’s bottom line without creating the potential for an appraisal issue by pushing the offer price too high.
There are certainly no guarantees that an offer will be accepted, but strategies like the ones above create a much stronger offer. To ensure the sellers and their agents understand why the offer is stronger and should be accepted over the competing bids, I present it with explanation letters to both the broker and the seller explaining the additional benefits of the strategies implemented.