Interested in occasional Tampa Bay Area real estate market updates? Check out my blog posts and feel free to post a comment if you have something to add.   

From time to time I write about things that I think are relevant.  If you have a real estate topic you want to hear about, please let me know.   

Jan. 4, 2017

Buying or Selling in St Pete in 2017? Do it right! Take a look at my latest Shorecrest blog post with key recommendations here:

Key Recommendations For Buying or Selling in St Pete in 2017

July 20, 2016

Engaging a Realtor with a “Consultative-Assistance Approach” | Do’s and Don’ts

There are agents in the real estate business that come off as having a ‘fast-talking, door-opening, let-me-try-and-sell-you-a-property’ approach to their work. Unfortunately they tarnish the industry for the other Realtors, like myself, who take a more ‘collaborative, professional and let-me-skillfully-assist-you-in-buying-the-right-house’ approach. 

While these approaches may sound similar, they are entirely different.  Don’t confuse them.  One is ‘sales’ focused and the other is ‘help and consultative assistance’ focused.  The ‘sales’ focus puts the agent’s needs ahead of the client, the ‘help and consultative’ approach puts the client’s needs first.  

Sure we all have to make a living in this business, but there are different ways of going about it. I subscribe to the philosophy that you approach your work from a ‘help and consultative’ point of view, doing right by the client first, and the rest will follow.    

If you prefer working with Realtors who use a ‘Consultative-Assistance Approach' who place the Buyer’s needs first, like myself, there are some things you may want to be aware of in terms of Do’s and Don’ts in this type of relationship, as follows:

 Do’s: 

  • Expect Collaboration: Understand that Realtors with this approach will want to create a collaborative, professional business relationship with you focused on helping you achieve your objective(s). Be receptive to this type of strategic interaction and the Realtor’s efforts to create a genuine professional relationship with you. 

  • Expect Accountability: There is mutual accountability for professional courtesy and responsiveness both ways in this type of relationship, not just one way accountability where the Realtor is accountable to the Buyer/Seller.  If you agree to get back to your Realtor with additional feedback after a showing(s), especially about properties you determine as a 'maybe' after the showing, then be prepared to do so and get back to them within 24-48 hours so the Realtor knows how to proceed on your behalf.  The Realtor is accountable to the other Realtor / listing agent for providing your showing feedback, closing the loop professionally or representing your feedback properly as needed to any other relevant parties.   

  • Communications: Once a collaborative relationship is set in motion, generally the consultative Realtor will want check in with you every few days or as needed for a check point conversation and to maintain momentum on your search toward your objective(s).  It is usually brief but important communication and is essential in the mind of the Realtor to maintain alignment with you such that they can continue investing their time available for you based on the latest direction or any adjustments in game plan.  Is is important that you are prepared to engage accordingly in regular communications for these reasons and for building mutual trust and rapport. 

  • Importance of Specific Feedback:  Whether the consultative Realtor is hand-selecting and emailing listings for you to preview or showing you properties (especially on a weekend day) they are investing their valuable time in helping you achieve your objective.  They are also looking for your thoughtful feedback and ideally more than just yes/no feedback. Being prepared to intelligently indicate ‘why’ a property was or was not a fit is essential so the Realtor can better assist you and fine tune the search for you. The Realtor also needs to pass along feedback after the showing to the listing agent.  In addition, they also want to learn more about your interests and specific criteria. They therefore need you to be ‘specific’ about what you liked or did not like about a property.

  • Expect Strategy Recommendations:  If your Realtor gives you recommendations for strategy about how you can be successful in a fast moving Seller’s market, don’t be offended if you don’t like some of the recommendations. They are doing their job as part of the consultative process.  For example, a Realtor may indicate that to be successful on purchasing a property in a low inventory market, you may need to consider adjusting your initial criteria (don’t take this personally, just consider degree to which this is an option for you).

 Don’ts:

  • Don’t Expect a Menial Door Opener:  Don’t try to use this type of Realtor simply as a ‘door opener’ who will just meet you at a property to allow you to see it with no previous relationship or specific understanding of your larger objectives.   Be ready to talk with them first about your home buying objectives and afterward in some intelligent detail about the showings and refinements to the process for working with you moving forward.   

  • Don’t 'Go Dark':  After a consultative Realtor shows you a set of properties, don’t ‘go dark’ and unresponsive to their professional attempts to connect with you and just have some basic communication with you about your feedback and experience with the showings.  They are not trying to ‘sell’ you.  They are just being professional and trying to build a stronger relationship focused on your objectives.  Even if the conversation is something like ‘Hey, thanks for your help with the showings, nothing was really a fit. None of the layouts of the houses were quite right... etc. We still want A, B C in our new house, let’s keep looking for that criteria, we appreciate your help…” that is a good way to go, it can be that brief and keeps the relationship alive. 

  • Avoid Too Much Text and Email:  There is no substitute for verbal communication in business and in real estate.  If a consultative Realtor calls you to have a quick conversation every few days while you are working together, call them back and have a conversation, even if brief.  Emails are good for sending docs and texts are great for brief exchanges, but don’t lose sight of the value of a phone call or face to face conversation that cannot be replicated by text or email.  

  • Unethical Tools Usage:  Consultative Realtors make MLS tools, websites and listing alerts available in good faith to people who they would like to be able to help Buy or Sell a property.  If you like nice real estate websites with real time inventory feeds, then select a Realtor that has good MLS/IDX tools and form a collaborative relationship with them as well. Avoid using one Realtor’s MLS tools, websites, listing alerts on false pretense only to work with another Realtor for the actual showings (that you found on a different Realtor’s website) and have them assist you in the Buying process.  That is somewhat unethical.  Realtors incur significant costs for making these nice tools available and can only recoup those costs by helping people purchase and close on their new property. Realtors are paid at closing, typically by the Seller. 

  • Don’t Under-Estimate the Value of Maintaining a Good Relationship an Experienced Realtor:  If you are a Buyer trying to get a good deal in a Seller’s market, and especially if you have a weaker hand in the offer like 100% financing or need closing costs covered by Seller, or both, don’t underestimate the importance and value of maintaining a good relationship with your experienced Realtor who will go to bat for you at offer time and skillfully negotiate the best deal possible for you on your behalf when it matters most.    
     

About the Author:  Chris Ewing is an accomplished BROKER ASSOCIATE / REALTOR® at RE/MAX METRO in St Petersburg, FL.  He specializes in a consultative approach to his work and he expertly guides his clients through the process of successfully Buying and Selling local real estate.  He has assisted many individuals, couples and families in buying and selling real estate in the Tampa Bay area.  Contact Chris today for a free consultation about your specific real estate objectives. He can be reached at (727) 871-3300. 

June 10, 2016

Summer 2016 Update | St. Pete Residential Real Estate Market and Tips For Success:

Summer 2016 Update | St. Pete Residential Real Estate Market and Tips For Success:

As we head into the Summer of 2016, the residential real estate market in St Petersburg and the Tampa Bay Area in general remains a very strong Seller's market. This means inventory of available homes is low and competition among Buyers is high.  Even so, Buyers and Sellers alike can take the right steps to be successful in this market with their respective objectives. Consider the following: 

In the market to buy?  Here are some tips and keys to success if you are a Buyer: 

#1 Put yourself in a position to MOVE FAST and make an offer quickly ahead of the rest of the pack of Buyers out there when you see the right property.  This means if you are using financing, get pre-approved BEFORE you go see properties.  Have your pre-approval ready to go for your REALTOR.  If you are a cash buyer, have your 'proof of funds' letter ready to go for your REALTOR.  Without out one or the other of these letters, you are not in a position to make an offer quickly on the 'right' property and may lose it to someone else who does have their letter from their lender or financial institution.   

#2 Be ready to offer full price (or more in some cases) and keep your contingencies to a minimum in the offer. Getting the 'killer deal' on a property may not be possible in many situations.  Just getting the property under contract is often enough of a deal in a Seller's market. Close as early as possible and make your offer as 'attractive and clean' to the Seller as possible.  

#3 Expect multiple offers on the property in certain situations and very competitive bidding including 'Best and Final' requests from the Seller and Listing Agent.  

#4 Excitement about the property is fine but don't get emotionally attached to the house during the offer process.  Getting emotionally attached after closing though is fine! When you get to that point, congratulations, you have earned the right to start getting emotionally attached to your new property! 

#5 Work with an experienced and skilled REALTOR who knows how to help you properly position yourself in the offer process and deal in a fast moving Seller's market and can expertly guide you through the entire transaction from getting it under contract to successful closing! 


Considering Selling? Here are some thoughts, tips and keys to success if you are a potential Seller: 

If you’ve been thinking about selling your property, NOW is the perfect time to capitalize! There is low inventory, strong demand and interest rates are still low as well.  There are many pre-approved and cash buyers in the market right now.  All optimal conditions for Sellers to command premiums on the sale of their property!  

#1  If you are planning a move, plan your transition strategy before you put the house on the market!  For example, are you staying in the area and simply down-sizing/right-sizing or upgrading, are you moving into a rental, buying another property, or are you moving out of the area altogether?  Have a plan in place including your next residence secured or at least identified well before you list! Once under contract, the clock starts ticking for the amount of time you will have left in the current house and usually that is 45 days or less. 

#2  Prep your house for the market by making small repairs where needed and ensuring the integrity of the major infrastructure areas in the house including (1) Roof (2) Electrical (3) Plumbing and (4) HVAC system (the 4 key areas of the Four Point Inspection which the Buyer will have inspected once under contract).  

#3 Plan to de-clutter and de-personalize your house before you list on the market. Potential buyers prefer to see the house in a way that allows them to best envision how their life would look in the house.  De-cluttering and de-personalizing greatly helps in this process and optimizes the appeal of the house!  Consider using a temporary portable storage container in the driveway (PODS, etc.) or a storage locker as a place to store things from the house that you want to keep longer term.  

#4 Select a REALTOR with sound expertise on the local market, including recent comparables, a well researched pricing recommendation and a comprehensive marketing plan for your house.  Ask to see the plan the agent will use to market your home to attract the best offers in the least amount of time.  Make sure there is a plan and that the agent has an array of marketing channels at their disposal to promote your property, not just the MLS! 

 

Whether you are a Buyer or a Seller, please call me if you need a competent real estate professional to assist you further with your specific real estate objectives! - Chris Ewing

 

Nov. 30, 2015

New CFPB Rules Update

Considering buying a home with mortgage financing in the near future?  The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rules that recently went into effect in October 2015 are now being implemented by the real estate industry and Buyers using financing are in the near term advised to allocate 45 - 60 days for closing.  In some cases Buyers using financing can close in less than 45 days, but check with your lender.  Sellers will also want to anticipate and plan for longer closing cycles for Buyers using mortgage financing.  Questions?  Please let me know.  Whether you are buying or selling here in the Tampa Bay Area, I welcome the opportunity to assist you in navigating the new CFPB rules to a successful transaction!