The Realtor Said What?

The first thing we did when we THOUGHT we would like to try this new lifestyle was to do a budget. After much research we came up with a realistic idea of what it should cost to live on the road per year, an estimate of for how much we could sell our home, and a reasonable estimate of how much a used motor home, like the one we want to purchase, should cost. Our whole strategy is predicated on the basis of the sale of our home. If we find a buyer who will pay $$$$, and we spend $$$ on our used motor home, that leaves us $$ to live on per year. Based on the budget estimate to live per year, these funds should last  YY years. When we don’t want to be on the road any longer, the plan is to  sell the very used coach for whatever and live in a small apartment, living on Social Security and the memories of our adventure. Believe me, I’ve been over these numbers a thousand times and update the budget every time I can get a new estimate, based on new information. I am confident we can afford to do this for more than ten years if we choose to. Honest Kathryn!

Now, how to select a realtor and determine the asking price that is not a fantasy and is comparable to what is currently selling on the market, that will support our plan. Not the asking for price, but the actual selling price. Remember, Venice never stopped building. What used to be a field a few years ago is now a community. So, the competition from new builds is stiff, albeit a completely different price range. But, if you sold your home “up North” have cash to offer, and want a three bed two and a half bath with a pool, what else is your criteria? We decided to interview four different realtors and select the one that we were most comfortable with. As it turns out, each had a very different approach on how to accomplish our goals.

REALTOR ONE was a team couple a neighbor used successfully. Very successfully. Their house sold in less than a week! They were happy with this realtor so why wouldn’t we be? We’ve met them socially and liked them as well. Their approach was to market the lifestyle of our home. It’s a great house for entertaining! Talk about open concept. We’ve had as many as forty-nine for a Christmas party with no crowding. Their approach included lot’s of staging and some updating. Change the color of this, replace that, etc. More to their tastes than ours, but they do this for a living, right? All while saying what a beautiful home and what great taste you have. Yes, we do open houses, no we don’t do realtor walk thrus.

REALTOR TWO came from a recommendation from one of our garage sales. I think everyone has a friend or relative in the real estate business. I can’t count how many times we were asked, “Who is your realtor going to be?” This garage sale shopper said you really must use, Mr. XXXX. I bought my house from him. He just sold my neighbors house, etc., etc. OK, if he is willing to come and visit, what do we have to loose? I am not in the business of wasting peoples time, but you must understand. When I was selling timber frame houses, you can not believe how many hours and hours I spent across the kitchen table with couples discussing their dream home. Not to mention the hours on the road or standing in home shows. You only get paid when one delivers. Not sold mind you, delivers. But that is the exciting part of the challenge. When it happens and the couple gets to live in their dream, it is very cool! (and financially rewarding) We met with Mr. XXXX and were underwhelmed. He did a thorough presentation, numbers, websites for listings, etc. Yes, I do open houses, no we don’t do realtor walk thrus, but really people find a house online.

REALTOR THREE came from a neighbor’s recommendation. You really should talk with Mrs. YYYYY. We just think she is great! So again, if she is willing to come and visit, well you get the picture. Mrs. YYYYY did an excellent presentation as well, websites we will use, here is what you will net if we ask this and what you will net if we ask that. But the difference with Mrs. YYY was she was very enthusiastic about our home. I love this, look at that, buyers are going to love the open concept, white kitchen cabinets, quartz counter tops, resurfaced pool, remodeled master bath suite including the free standing tub. Have you watched House Hunters on HGTV lately? It seems like these are the requirements of most buyers. And when they find the “perfect” house, they are going to tear down the walls and change everything to put their stamp on it. So much for perfect. Our house  seems to match current buyer requirements?! Yes to open houses and realtor walk thrus, which I like because the more rocks you can throw in the pond, the more ripples you can make?

REALTOR FOUR came from an ad on TV. “Log into to find the right realtor for your home. One who is a top seller, can get you the most dollars and will sell your home quickly.” I filled out the form and three names came up immediately and they all followed up with phone calls. One realtor in particular was very  persistent in trying to get an appointment, so we booked the last appointment. In less than ten minutes, I knew this interview was over but was polite enough to let her finish. Did you ever read a book or watch a movie hoping it will get better before in ends? It never does. She went on and on to tell us every reason why our house will be difficult to sell. Why this will be a problem. Why that will be a problem. And worse of all, she never addressed Kathryn during the appointment, only talking to me. BIG mistake. The only good advice was to get a four point inspection. This is like a mini home inspection, which produces a written report on the condition of your plumbing, HVAC system, electrical system, and the status of the roof. This was worth the $100 it cost because it produced a written report to hand to anyone considering making an offer, to disprove all the negative reasons she raised on why our house will be so difficult to sell and are unfounded! Needless to say we didn’t choose this realtor. If she was this negative with us, what would she do with a buyer?

In the end we chose realtor three. We felt her enthusiasm and positive attitude will be the same with any prospective buyer. AND we could communicate our concerns and questions with her. Both of us!

BY THE NUMBERS When you buy a car, you want to pay the least amount possible and the dealer wants to get as much as possible. Don’t you just hate that process? It’s no different when selling your home. We want as much as reasonably possible, and the buyer will want to pay as little as possible. Especially since a buyer is going to want to change this and that and the other. Understand, during the past four months, everything in this house that needed updating, repairing, replacing, or touch up paint has been done. Have you ever watched Love It Or List It on HGTV? Since our home is as perfect as we can make it, I’m thinking we should love it. No, not really but pretty close.

The asking price spread across the four realtors varied by $40,900. The gross to net is approximately 93%. That means the sale price, minus realtor commissions, minus Florida taxes, minus doc stamps. So the difference could cost us as mush as $38,937 on this high to low listing price! We want to price it fairly but on the other hand, we have no deadline. We can wait for it to sell until we get and offer we think is fair. In fact, it’s OK to sell it quickly as long as we don’t have to close quickly. We have no where to live until April.

The painter finished painting the lanai deck, the carpet guys installed new carpet in our bedroom and we go on the MLS February 14th. Happy Valentine’s Day, honey!


UPDATE ONE:  We chose Realtor Three. She had an Open House on Friday, February 15th and no one came. Second Open House two days later on Sunday, February 17th, and more than forty people came thru. The basic comments were all positive – bright, sunny, open concept, – just as advertised.

UPDATE TWO:  We are on YouTube! Want to see our house? Just put in the address – 1227 Whitney Drive Venice, FL. Who’d of thunk it?

UPDATE THREE:  The phone just rang. The realtor said one of the ladies who came thru Sunday wants to come back for a second showing on Wednesday, February 20th, 1:00 pm, this time with her husband. (apparently they are looking at three homes today and will then decide)

UPDATE FOUR:  The phone just rang. The realtor said a second person from the Open House on Sunday wants to come back for a second showing on Thursday, February 21st,  10:00 am.

UPDATE FIVE;  The phone just rang. The realtor said, “Can we schedule a showing on Friday, February 22nd, 9:30 am? This appointment came from another realtor who wants to bring his Client. In other words, for the first time thru and not a follow up from the Open House. This is encouraging with only a week on the market!

UPDATE SIX:  Monday, February 25th – the realtor just called. We have an offer! Of course it is not for our asking price so this is only the beginning of the process. As we used to say in the car business (I worked for American Motors and on the Ford Account) “It ain’t sold ’til you see the tail lights drivin’ down the road.” To make a long story short (I know it’s too late for that) we finally came to mutually agreeable terms and have a signed offer on Saturday, March 2nd. In the end, we were on the market for eleven days before an offer and had the terms finalized in sixteen. The home inspection is scheduled for Thursday, March 7th. I requested the close be on April 17th to celebrate our Fifteenth Wedding Anniversary. Happy Anniversary Darling. I love you!

THAT’S ALL THE UPDATES ON THIS PAGE, as Paul Harvey used to say, “For the rest of the story” go to The Eye Of The Hurricane page.

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