Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Owners.com is up for an award!

Our new 30-second spot shows homeowners how to erase broker's fees from the home selling process.


Is it any coincidence that we are nominated for an award!?
Click here to check out Owners.com 30 second spot.


The votes are in and the Owners.com TV commercial won the Google contest. We're guessing even the guys at Google and YouTube want to erase broker commissions!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is Realtor.com the same as the MLS?

What is the difference between the MLS and  Realtor.com?   This is one of our most frequently asked questions.


The MLS and Realtor.com are related services but each one serves a different market and both can be used by FSBO sellers to advertise their home.   It is important to remember that all homes listed in their local MLS across the country are also listed on Realtor.com.  If you only want to list on Realtor.com and not your local MLS, that can be done, but we're often asked what the difference is.

Realtor.com primarily reaches individuals searching for home, as the largest real estate website it reaches a very broad group of buyers and people just considering to move.  Most brokers don't search Realtor.com, instead they rely on their local MLS network to find homes for their clients.

What does this mean for you?  First as a seller you must decide what type of buyers you are willing to consider offers from:

   1.  Independent buyers with no agents (no commissions owed)
   2.  Independent buyers (no commissions) and buyers with agents ( 50% of the normal commission owed)

It's really that simple.  If you want to primarily reach independent buyers then you should only list on Realtor.com. If you want to consider all possible buyers, then list on the MLS which includes a listing on Realtor.com.

Ok so at this point most people tell us - Of course I don't want to pay any commission period, even 3% or half the normal rate.  But the problem is that most buyers are working with agents, up to 80%, so you have to make a choice - do you want to exclude this pool of possible buyers?

The goal for most sellers is to get the best net offer, if that's one with a commission or one without it shouldn't matter, only how much money ultimately ends up in your pocket.  If you're willing to offer up to 3% commission to attract buyers with brokers and expand your possible number of offers, then the MLS is the right choice.

To learn more about the MLS, check these resources from around the web:

US Justice Department: Consumers Can Save Thousands of Dollars in Commissions
Wikipedia article about the MLS

Is the MLS the same as Realtor.com?

What is the difference between the MLS and  Realtor.com? This is one of our most frequently asked questions. 


The MLS and Realtor.com are related services but each one serves a different market and both can be used by FSBO sellers to market their homes.   It is important to remember that all homes listed on the local MLS boards across the country are also listed on Realtor.com.  If you only want to list on Realtor.com and not your local MLS we can do that, but we often are asked what is the difference?

Realtor.com primarily reaches individuals searching for home, as the largest real estate website it reaches a very broad group of buyers, searchers and people just considering moving.  Most brokers do not search Realtor.com, instead they rely on their local MLS services to find homes for their clients.

What does this mean for you?  First as a seller you must decide what type or buyers they are willing to consider offers from:
  1.  Independent buyers with no agents (no commissions owed)
  2.  Independent buyers (no commissions) and buyers with agents(50% of the normal commission owed)
It's really that simple.   If you want to primarily reach independent buyers then you should list only on Realtor.com, if you want to consider all possible buyers list on the MLS which includes a listing realtor.com

Ok so at this point most people tell us - Of course I don't want to pay any commission period, even 3% or half the normal rate.  But the problem is most buyers are working with agents, up to 80%  so you have to make a choice - do you want to exclude this pool of possible buyers?

The goal for most sellers is to get the best net offer, if that is one with a commission or one without it should not matter, only how much money ultimately ends up in your pocket.  If you're will to offer up to 3% commission to attract buyers with brokers and expand you possible number of offers then the MLS is the path.

To learn more about the MLS check these resources from around the web:

US Justice Department: Consumers Can Save Thousands of Dollars in Commissions
Wikipedia article about the MLS

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

All About Closing (Video)

Closing and settlement can be confusing. But this fun 3 minute video does a great job of de-mystifying the basic process.

For many sellers escrow, real estate closing, settlement and title searches are the least understood part of selling a home.  Whether you plan to manage them yourself, hire a real estate attorney or rely on a broker - it is important to understand what is happening during escrow and what your responsibilities are.  After all no matter how you manage closing it is your transaction and your money!



Thanks to Federal Title of Washington DC for this simple fun video.   For more information about the closing process check out these articles in the Owners.com article library:

What Happens at Closing
What is Escrow/Closing/Settlement?
Choosing a Title Company, Escrow Officer or Real Estate Attorney
Who Pays Transaction Costs?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Are Home Sales Up in Your Market?

Home sales and prices increased in the latest reports although markets still vary widely.  So how do you decide if now is the time to sell your home?


First the data:

Pending home sales rose 6.4% in August, it's highest level since March 2008 based on date from NAR (read the full article here..)  and the market has been rising for seven month in a row (according to MarketWatch)

One factor in this rise seems to be the $8,000 tax credit for new buyers, due to expire in November 30th.  This approaching deadline could be driving buyers to act.  There has been a heavy push by the real estate lobby to extend the tax credit, but with no bill yet settled buyers may have been rushing to get the credit while it lasts.

The other fundamental factor is low cost, due to lower overall home prices and historically low mortgage rates.   While rates are fairly consistent nationwide, prices have continued to vary based on local market conditions, housing supply and economic activity.  To check on your local market trends download the full report here...

Opinions about what will happen to prices are all over the board, but opinions don't sell a home.  Knowing your market does.  Here are 5 concrete steps you can take to use data and research to help you sell your home.
  1. Read up about your local market.  Case-Shiller and Zillow  both put out reports about housing market trends.  You can assume buyers will have been looking at the data,  know what they say and have a response as to why your home fits with these trends or stands out.  But don't be caught by surprise.
  2. Determine if your neighborhood is in line with metro and state trends.  Often news stories and data cover wide areas, but real estate is local, know how your neighborhood varies and be able to explain it's features.
  3. Take the time to ask buyer about their future plans. If you find someone happy to live in your neighborhood for 10 years because of good schools that will put short term price changes in a very different context
  4. Estimate what rental income for your house would be and how that compares to the cost of buying it as an investment.  Not every area is open to investment income, but for some buyers even the thought that they are not trapped by a mortgage and can recoup a substantial portion by renting the property will lower their fears and help your home sale.
  5. Remember a house is a home to be lived in.  Despite everything, people still want to live in the home of their dreams and most will find a way to pay for that.  Your number one job as a home seller is to help buyers see what their lives would feel like in your house.  This is easier than it sounds, simply ask them what they want and hope for then take the time to step back and listen.  Don't tell them about your kids growing up, or your additions or remodeling, instead listen to their dreams and ideas for what your house could be.  Dreams always trump data.