Archives for the month of: October2015


If you’ve ever sold your home or an investment property before, at some point you’ve probably asked yourself: “Why shouldn’t I just sell it myself and save the commission?” That’s a great question. And although we touched on this topic in our last article, we thought it might be a good idea to delve a little further into the details.

In fact, we’re going to champion that idea for you and help you prepare for the task! So grab your pencils and highlighters, because we’re about to give you a Crash Course in For Sale By Owner techniques.

1) Remember, anyone – including you – can sell your home. All you have to do is underprice it. That’s been proven by studies showing that “for sale by owner” properties lose between 14%-20% on the price they could have gotten by using an agent. (So saving that 3% Selling Agent commission will come in handy.)

2) Great news! You get to keep your schedule wide open! At least, that’s if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prospective buyers. Because without an agent, you need to be on-call 7 days a week to show your property. If you’re not, of course, that means fewer offers and even less possibility of receiving a full-priced offer. (Then again, you might want to put a value on your time as you’ll be losing income for taking off work.)

3) That also includes taking time to market your property – whether with flyers, or online ads, or signage, or any other non-MLS methods you can think of. You’ll be paying for the cost of all this marketing, along with putting in hours of your time to let the public know your home is available for sale. Of course, without the instant and mass exposure of an MLS listing, you won’t have as many places to market your property as a real estate professional. That will mean less showings, fewer offers, and a lower sales price.

4) Tell yourself: “I can always list it later if it doesn’t sell.” If you first attempt a “for sale by owner” without success – and later decide to list with an agent – you may have already eliminated many potential buyers who saw or knew of your home in the first place. One of the reasons is this: In real estate, the first week your home is on the market is considered its “Golden Time.” That’s typically when you will get the most interest and the most money for your home. And the longer it’s on the market, the less money people are willing to offer.

5) Put on your “negotiating” hat. Because you’ll be the one to field all the phone calls, emails, and inquiries that come in about your property – and you’ll need to know the right things to say – such as how to ask pre-qualifying questions to determine if a buyer is financially able to buy your home. (No sense taking the time to show it if they aren’t.) That’s all before you find a buyer, of course. Once an offer comes in, keep in mind all it takes is one missed call to potentially kill a deal. But if you do get a contract – then you’ll need to make sure to meet with the appraiser and home inspectors, too – so be sure to schedule your time accordingly. (Oh, and know that “More than one in three appraisals contain inconsistent property ratings.” So you need to brush up on how appraisals are done, too.)

6) Put your attorney on stand-by. Because the odds are you probably don’t understand the contract process well enough to avoid legal problems, or how to explain to a buyers’ agent how you want things drawn up. You’ll also need to have the right forms and real estate disclosures on-hand to comply with the real estate laws in your state. Without an attorney (and they’re cheap, right?) – you won’t have any protection between you and potential buyers. And by the way, with the new TRID regulations that have recently gone into effect, buyers have even more protections than ever before.

7) You may still need to pay a Buyer’s agent commission. Most serious buyers are already working with an agent, so some of those phone calls will be to see if you will “cooperate” with them. If you don’t, they won’t even bother to show your home to their client. If you do, you’ll be paying them the standard commission at closing (generally 3%). That means you’re putting in all your time and money into saving only half of the full commission (3%). You might want to make sure that pencils out.

8) Be prepared to do it all more than once. Not every real estate transaction gets through to the end, for many reasons. Some can be avoided (with the help of an experienced professional), and some can’t – but estimates of real estate sales that fall through range from 10-20%. If yours is among them, you’ll need to take the time, effort, and money to start over again (more marketing, calls, showings, inspections, paperwork, contracts, fees, etc.). Of course, you’ve lost your “Golden Time” opportunity – so it will probably take longer, and you’ll get fewer and lower offers – but you’ll never be bored!

Okay, we do have to admit to a little bit of tongue-in-cheek with the foregoing information – but the point is, all of it is true. And while some sellers may be up to the task, potential FSBO sellers should be aware of these facts:

• Only half of home sellers who try “for sale by owner” actually sell their home on their own.

• In 2013, the typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 for agent-assisted home sales. (That’s a difference of 20%.)

• FSBO sellers list the following difficulties with selling on their own:

o Understanding and performing paperwork

o Getting the price right

o Preparing/fixing up home for sale

o Helping buyer obtain financing

o Attracting potential buyers

o Selling within the planned length of time

o Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale

All of that is contrasted with these most recent statistics:

• 88% of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home.

• Recent sellers typically sold their homes for 97% of the listing price.

• The typical home sold was on the market for 5 weeks.

Perhaps the biggest mistake made by most FSBO sellers is this: Placing too little value on their own time. In truth, working with a professional real estate agent will more often than not net you better results.

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for a newly-built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to find the perfect property for you. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or at Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Moreno Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, Lance Partin and Kathy Paterniti are all here to help!

(Or: How To Lose Money By Not Hiring One to Sell Your Home)


Everyone loves “a deal.” In fact, if you’re like most people, finding a great deal on a product or service doesn’t only save money, it just plain makes you feel good. You were smart enough to know where to look, you put in the time to do the research – so you should feel good, because these days we all need to spend our money wisely.

Which means it’s only natural that for any big-ticket expenses, people are going to look around for the best price. But unlike a discount on a new appliance or a smokin’ price on an airline ticket, when it comes to real estate there’s more to take into consideration than simply the commission rate you pay an agent. Or for that matter, you may even wonder if you need to hire an agent at all.

We hear that a lot, actually. And to be truthful, we completely understand the motivation. The mere fact that you are about to sell your home means you’re dealing with big numbers. So it only makes sense to ask questions about the value you’re receiving for those fees.

If you’re like most homeowners, you’ve probably got more than a few more questions on your mind about the benefits of hiring an agent vs. doing it yourself. But whether you decide to work with a Realtor or not, it’s only smart to have all the information in order to make an informed decision. In our experience, many sellers don’t stop to consider some of the following points – and as a result, it can end up costing them money.

1. “Why should I pay an agent’s commission at all?

Naturally, this is a common question. So common, in fact, that studies have been done to see how transactions fare when handled with and without a real estate professional. The results show that when an agent is not used – transactions typically net the seller between 10-20% less cash when it’s all said and done. What does that mean? That working with an agent to list your home will generally pay for itself – and then some.


Part of why that happens is explained below. But it’s not only a matter of counting the actual net proceeds at closing. There are many other ‘intangibles’ that sellers need to consider if they’re going to forge ahead on their own.

2. “What, really, does an agent do for me – that I can’t do myself?”

Great question! Without an agent , here’s what happens:

Sellers need to determine the value of their home in the current marketplace and neighborhood. Contrary to what people think, it isn’t simply a matter of getting a “Zestimate” on Zillow. For one thing, the estimates calculated by Zillow are created by mathematical formula. That means they don’t take into account the specifics of your property – such as upgraded items, water features, cul-de-sacs, and other potentially desirable features that set your home apart from the competition. Independent research has shown that Zillow estimates can range from 8-20% off actual market pricing. For a $200,000 home, that can mean an incorrect valuation between $16,000-$40,000. (Can you see that money leaving your net profit already?)

On the other hand, not only does a real estate professional have access to Multiple Listing Service (MLS) historical data and proprietary information gathering systems – they also know the area, and in many cases, are even familiar with the specific homes that you will be competing with for a buyer. Providing a detailed analysis of what has sold and is for sale in your specific area is part of an agent’s service – and allows you to ensure your property is priced right, seen often, and gets the best results.

Sellers need to market their home themselves. Without the mainstream access of the MLS, sellers must spend time and money on advertising and getting the word out that their home is for sale at all. Whether it’s through newspapers, online ads, flyers, direct mail to Realtors – it takes a lot of effort to make your single home noticed in a busy real estate environment. Taking photos, putting up signage – it’s a lot of work; and worse, without a network it might net you only minor results. At best, sellers are able to make a small local part of the market know their home is for sale. At worst, it means that having a much smaller pool of potential buyers limits the offers and opportunities for a speedy sale at the best possible price.

Of course, this is all in addition to the time it takes you, as the seller, to maintain your property in ‘show-ready’ condition at all times. There may be repairs to be made, or even just the day-to-day maintenance of living in a home and trying to make it as welcoming as possible to potential buyers by keeping it clean and clutter-free. (Many sellers consider that a full-time job in itself!)

On the other hand, a professional agent not only has an internal network of support and services that takes care of creating both an online and print identity for your listing – but your home gets marketed to all the other agents in the area. You know – the ones who are representing real, pre-qualified buyers. The combined reach of the MLS and the broker’s own marketing programs mean that once your home is listed, the word is OUT.

Sellers need to handle the paperwork, contracts, and documentation on their own. That can be a scary proposition if you’re not familiar with the laws concerning real estate transactions. Failure to provide information or contractually cover all your bases can not only result in failing to close the deal – but can involve potential legal ramifications via lawsuits and costly settlements – both now or even years down the road. And all for an oversight you simply weren’t aware of.

On the other hand, real estate agents know the law. And a good one not only knows what is required to meet its demanding specifications, but also knows how to anticipate and head off potential problems – simply by the scale of their experience.

Sellers may still be working with a buyer’s agent, even if they’re going the “For Sale By Owner” route. If you think about it, here’s what that means: You’re going to pay the buyer’s agent to protect the buyer’s interests – but you’re not willing to pay a seller’s agent to protect yours. Ouch.

On the other hand, having an experienced agent on your side, who knows the market, often knows the other agents, knows the business, and follows-through – can give you a considerable leg up in negotiating a deal more beneficial to you.

But even if you’re not going to agree to a buyer’s agent fee, there’s another drawback. (And just so you’re aware – that’s how most FSBO listings start, by saying “No real estate commissions paid!” But due to lack of activity, it doesn’t take long for sellers to agree to pay the buyer’s agent commission just to get people to see the property).

The drawback we’re talking about? You need to screen potential buyers. Are they financially capable of completing the purchase? Are there any mortgage lender requirements they cannot overcome? You’ll have to do the footwork, make the phone calls, and ask the ‘uncomfortable’ questions about their personal situation so that you can protect your own position. Believe it or not, people will make an offer, you’ll take the property off the market, and only discover weeks or even months later that they may have to sell their own home first, or they don’t have the ability to get a mortgage loan at all. So the closing never happens. And in the meantime, you’ve lost the chance to sell to a truly qualified buyer.

On the other hand, (are you sensing a pattern here?) your agent knows the dance. They set the conditions, they follow up to make sure they’re met, they talk with the escrow and mortgage companies to keep on top of every single requirement the buyer has agreed to. That means problems are discovered and dealt with quickly – and all on your behalf, because your agent is working for you.

Buying a home is an emotional investment, not only a financial decision. And for that reason alone, it is critical that every step in the process is properly handled – the first time around.

Why is that so important? Because perception matters when it comes to real estate. The length of time a home has been on the market, whether the listing price has changed and why, if it has gone into and then fallen out of escrow – all these facts and many others will collectively play a role in the success of your sales efforts.

If it’s all done right, the property is considered “hot” and “in demand.” If not – as in the case of a failed FSBO effort that is ultimately then listed with an agent for sale – it can give potential buyers the perception that there’s something wrong with your home. And quite frankly – with all the other homes available for sale – it’s not worth the risk to them of finding out.

Much like people – a home doesn’t get a second chance to make a great first impression. If your goal is to sell at the right price in a reasonable time frame, a decision not to hire a real estate professional can be a very costly one, indeed.

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for a newly-built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to find the perfect property for you. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or at Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Moreno Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, Lance Partin and Kathy Paterniti are all here to help!

No two real estate transactions are ever going to have the exact same set of circumstances. But there are things that are rule of thumb for both buyers and sellers, and your Realtor has experience with what those things are. Without them, the odds are that getting to the finish line will be tougher for you, no matter which side of the transaction you’re on. These are some tips that can make the difference.

A List of “Do’s” for Sellers

You love your home and you just assume that everyone else will see what you do and love it, too. Maybe they will – maybe they won’t. But if you don’t make an effort to focus on the positive aspects of it, how do you expect a prospective buyer to see in the few minutes they have to view your property (and compare it to all the others they see)? Here’s a list some of the most important “Do’s” to make your property the one they want to buy:

1) Yes, staging your home by getting rid of clutter and bringing in furniture or accessories can help it sell. (And that includes the garage.) Also, buyers love to see lots of wide-open counter space – so be sure to clear off countertops in the kitchen and the bathrooms.

2) “Does it really matter if we have the carpets cleaned or take the family photos off the wall?” Yes! A buyer needs to walk in and have it look good, feel good and smell good. Put yourself in the shoes of the prospective buyers as if seeing it for the first time. Perhaps unmade beds or laundry on the floor shouldn’t make a difference – but a mess leaves an impression that’s hard for a buyer to overcome. And whether or not it actually matters to them, you should take advantage of every opportunity to make your home as appealing and showroom-ready as possible.

3) At a minimum, you should follow these steps for every prospective buyer:

a) Have your home clean and smelling good. (By the way, keep in mind that not everyone is a fan of plug-in air fresheners or scents. In fact, some people are quite physically sensitive to them, and an adverse reaction may mean they have to leave your home before they were able to fall in love with it.)

b) A comfortable temperature – whether heated or cool depending on the season.

c) Turn on the lights – it’s welcoming and inviting – and makes it clear there’s nothing about your home to hide.

d) Consider their comfort – set out some snacks or even just bottled water. If nothing else, it will cause them to remember your house out of the sea of competitors they visited that day.

4) The takeaway from all the above? The longer a house is on the market, the less likely you are to get fair value. So you really want to position yourself to be the one that sells, not the one that languishes on the MLS listings.

And a List of “Don’ts” For Buyers

You found “The House.” The one you want to live happily-ever-after in. It’s great to be excited and enthusiastic; to plan for the future and begin creating the home you’ve always dreamed of. But buyers need to remember to do first things first:

1) For many buyers, the minute they get preapproved for a mortgage – they start planning. Not for how to get to the closing date – but for how they’re going to decorate, furnish, and get all the things they’ll need once they move in. So they start running up the cards and opening new lines of credit to buy things for their home-to-be. But that preapproval letter is just one of the first stops in the home buying process — it’s not the end-point.

2) Many (especially first-time) buyers don’t realize that just before closing, a lender will re-examine a prospective buyer’s financial situation — complete with a recent copy of the credit history and other financial re-verifications. If those numbers have changed for the worse (salary decrease, higher card balances, new lines of credit), then it could mean the terms of the loan have changed. You may be charged a higher interest rate, or even lose loan approval entirely – because the changes to your credit and financial circumstances have changed your debt ratios. In fact, the number of buyers who get denied as a result of these reasons is significant. Don’t be one of them.

3) The hard lesson that you don’t want to learn by personal experience? Never get new loans or start using credit cards more heavily until after you’ve actually closed escrow on the home.

Since the first order of business is to complete either your purchase or sale transaction, these are important facts to keep in mind so you can go on to enjoy all the benefits of ‘life-after-close-of-escrow’ – whatever your plans may be.

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for a newly-built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to find the perfect property for you. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or at Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Moreno Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, Lance Partin and Kathy Paterniti are all here to help!


If you’ve bought or sold real estate before – and it all came off without a hitch – congratulations! It actually happens most of the time just that way. Everyone does their job in a timely manner and all the pieces fall into place right on schedule. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of.

But you probably know at least one person who wasn’t quite so lucky, and it’s those stories that ‘scare you straight’ – inspiring you to be more diligent about making sure you choose the right real estate professionals to work with. From your Realtor to your lender, the Title Company to the home inspector – all it takes is one misstep from anyone who is a party to a deal to throw the entire transaction into peril (or at the very least, delay its progress).

So while the list of the things that CAN go wrong can’t all be named here, there are a few ‘biggies’ that happen more often than others. And with a little due diligence, and to encourage you to do some forward-thinking (and ask the right questions at the right time), we’d like to bring some to your attention in the hopes that you can avoid these pitfalls in your next real estate endeavor.

Seller doesn’t make full disclosure on Sellers Real Property Disclosure Form (SRPD)

We recently went into greater detail on this very topic on a recent blog post, explaining how a Seller’s failure to complete this information as fully and accurately as possible can cause some very big – and very expensive – issues down the road. Sometimes, many years down the road. But if misrepresentations should come to light during the sale itself, it can cause the Buyer to simply cancel the purchase outright. Such discoveries, made either before or after the closing, place the Seller in a very untenable (and unwise) position. It’s simply not worth the fallout to fail to disclose information.

Buyer doesn’t tell the truth on loan application

While it may seem that it’s impossible for anyone but the Buyer to know if they’re being honest on their loan application (after all, who reads minds? or knows the details of someone else’s financial affairs?) – the fact is, safeguards are available. Not only to the lender, whose responsibility it is to verify and confirm these matters – but the Seller should be advised by their real estate professional to add a contingency to the transaction or to set a deadline by which full and formal loan approval must be received. If such conditions aren’t met by the buyer during the time frame allotted, it’s a red flag that can alert all parties much earlier on – rather than waiting for closing day only to discover that the Buyer can’t perform.

Unexpected “surprises” about the property

This actually can cover a wide spectrum of issues. It could arise from problems the Seller didn’t know about – but were discovered when the Buyer had an inspection performed (such as mold, termite damage, structural problems and more). Sellers can avoid such surprises by having a pre-listing home inspection performed themselves. Often the question of repairs arises – so costs and responsibilities must be clarified. Or maybe there’s a misunderstanding about items considered “fixtures” (things that stay with the home) and “personal property” (things that the Seller can take with them). If you’re not planning to leave the appliances behind with the house when you move – you need to put it in writing.

In fact, now that we think about it – there’s a huge number of situations that can affect the status of a real estate sale. That could be one of the reasons everyone has to sign (roughly) 5,000 documents during the transaction! (Okay, we’re exaggerating, a little.)

But in truth, you can rest assured that a licensed and experienced real estate professional is knowledgeable about all these things and can help you avoid problems like this – along with a few hundred others, too. It’s one of the reasons they are paid for their expertise – and why you want one to be working for you on your behalf. (Perhaps we’ll discuss that topic in a future post!) Because few things are more disappointing than a “closing day” . . . that just doesn’t happen.

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for a newly-built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to find the perfect property for you. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or at Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Moreno Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, Lance Partin and Kathy Paterniti are all here to help!