Home sellers, ask these questions before hiring a Realtor.

Home sellers, ask these questions before hiring a Realtor

Home sellers, ask these questions before hiring a Realtor. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a list of priority questions to ask Realtor candidates before hiring one? Absolutely. Home sellers, ask these questions before hiring a RealtorUnfortunately, a lot of homeowners don’t know what questions to ask.

For instance, if you only look at an agent’s production, does that tell you the story of the agent? Not really. An agent may have 50 listings in your community, and you may see his/her signs everywhere, and I can promise you if an agent has that many, he/she is selling homes. What that number doesn’t tell you is how many went into foreclosure, short sale or never sold. Some agents will take any, and all, listings no matter the condition of the property or the price required by the seller.

What you want to look for is quality. Does the agent really know the market? Does he get along with other agents? Can he negotiate? Does total sales really mean an agents is the best? An agent may sell 25% less, or even 50% less than the top producer’s number of sales, but his/her clients received 98% of the desired final sale price. Where as, a top producer may only deliver 88% – 92% of the desired sale price. Which one would you want working for you?

Sample questions, home sellers should be asking

  1. How long have you been in the business and how many companies have you worked for? This is important because an agent who has been in the business for 10 years and has worked for 10 companies needs to explain the company hopping. Is there something in his/her personality that makes him/her difficult to work with? Every company can’t be a terrible place to work. Every agent has to be able to work with other agents, lenders, home inspectors and closing companies to get a sale done.
  2. Do you prefer working with buyers or seller, and are you comfortable working with both? This is important because some agents do better on one side of the fence or the other. My ratio is about 60/40. I work with more buyers than sellers, but I’ve had great success with sellers too. It just happens that more buyers call than sellers. In some cases, an agent prefers working with sellers. Or, an agent only works with buyers. I recently had a house under contract with a great couple who needed to sell their home in another community. We had originally talked about Cornerstone handling both ends and I was happy and confident that would could do so successfully, but in a last-minute change of mind, my buyers decided to list with an agent in their community that boasted she only sells in their community. That was enough to convince them that she was a superstar who knew how to get things done. She didn’t. Their deal with me fell through because their listing agent didn’t get their house sold. Actually, it was hardly ever viewed, and they lost the funds they had spent on a home inspection, plus they tied up a seller’s house for 45 days. When it was all over they realized that their listing agent didn’t represent them well at all.
  3. How many homes did you sell last year? Now, this can be deceiving. An agent who works on a team may be the team leader taking credit for every sale. He/she may have sold 10, but he/she takes credit for 50. Or, an agent may have a threshold price-range that he/she will not go below. An agent doesn’t need to sell a lot of $500,000 homes to have a nice income. So, he/she may choose to only sell a dozen in a year. On the other hand, an agent may sell a lot of $75000 homes. It takes a lot of those homes to make a good living. The real number of homes isn’t really that important, but I put that question in this list because you want to make sure the agent is selling something. If the agent said 2, or zero, you may have picked the wrong agent. That isn’t always the case, but if you need to sell, and you if you want to stay as close to your list price as possible, 2 may be a sign of inexperience, and you may need a more experienced agent.
  4. Have you had any clients go into foreclosure, have a short sale or not sell while you had their home listed? If the answer is yes, and if it is more than one, you may have an agent who will take any and every listing just to get a sign in the yard. Hundreds of signs give the impression that the agent smiling on the sign is highly desirable. The signs tell the story. Not always. I see some of these listings end up in foreclosure and short sales. If an agent is willing to take any listing at any price just to plant a sign, the odds are not in your favor that he/she is going to care about your sale. This is not a negative for these agents, it’s a business technique they find useful, but is it the best technique for you?
  5. Home sellers, are you comfortable communicating with me the way I choose? With the wonderful electronic devises we have today, communication should never be a problem. The only problem is the want to. Some of my clients want communication even if nothing is happening. Some, don’t want me to contact them unless something is happening. It is different client by client. With modern technology, there is no reason for a seller to feel like he/she is in the dark. A quick text, email or call only takes a minute.
  6. What method do you use to market property? In my market, the local paper and the Homes guide only make up 1-2% of sales annually. Why would an agent waste money on something that performs that poorly? What other methods could work? The Internet is a fantastic tool for marketing real estate. Estimates show that 89% of buyers find the home they want on the Internet before contacting an agent. What works best in your market?

Home sellers, the list could go on and on, but you get the idea. Picking a solid listing agent may be more than how many homes he/she sells. There are other factors that should come to play. I had a potential client recently send me a questionnaire before deciding on who he wanted to hire. Unfortunately, many of his questions really didn’t tell him anything about the agent he would choose. He had the right idea, but his efforts followed a traditional path and not a path to an effective decision. Don’t be afraid to ask your agent candidates tough questions. After all, it is your future you’re protecting, not theirs.

Home sellers, ask these questions before hiring a Realtor


Clarke County, VA third quarter real estate report – 2016

Clarke County, VA third quarter real estate report – 2016

Clarke County, VA saw a steady climb in real estate sales in the third quarter of 2016. The county had 65 sales in the third quarter compared to 55 sales in the third quarter of 2015. That is a 15% increase year to year.

Clarke County, VA third quarter real estate report - 2016Clarke County, VA is made up of two towns, Berryville and Boyce, and 24 unincorporated communities. It’s about 178 square miles including 176 square miles of land and 2.2 square miles of water. Clarke County, VA is the third smallest county in VA. The population is about 13,000 residents.

Getting to know Clarke County, VA

It is bordered by Frederick County to the west, Warren County to the southwest, Fauquier County to the southeast, Loudoun County to the east, and Jefferson County, WV to the north. The population is about 15,000 residents. It is nestled just west of the Blue Ridge mountain range.

Clarke County, VA is a quiet rural town with quick access to many major highways. Routes, 7, 340, 50, 277 and 17 are all within minutes of Town of Berryville, which is the seat of local government. It is a predominately agricultural and horse community. Clarke County, VA was also the home of former governor and state senator Harry F Byrd, Sr., who also served as an US Senator for thirty years.

Clarke County, VA is full of history. The community was the site of a supply train raid by John Mosby against General Sheridan in 1864. It was also the scene of the Battle of Berryville on September 3, 1864.

Clarke County, VA is a great place for commuters

The place of Clarke County, VA makes it an excellent site for commuters who choose to work in the Metro DC area. With Rt 7 and Rt 50 on each perspective border, a commuter can be in Sterling, Ashburn, Fairfax, Falls Church, or even Washington, DC within an hour or less.

The Clarke County, VA real estate market is made up of all types of homes. The most recent quarter had an average sale price of $440,289 at 130 average days on the market. That’s a 14% increase in average sales price since the same period in 2015. The number of distressed sales during the third quarter has dropped from 10% in 2015 to 7% in 2016.

When you’re ready to buy or sell in Clarke County, VA, be sure to give Mike Cooper, principal broker at Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call. Mike is your local real estate sales pro in Clarke County, VA.

Townhouses in Stephens City, VA Make a Great Option for Buyers

Townhouses in Stephens City, VA Make a Great Option for Buyers

Townhouses in Stephens City, VA made up 9% of the most recent September sales Townhouses in Stephens City, VAin the Stephens City real estate market. They are a great alternative to detached single family homes. They tend to offer ample space, less maintenance and are often less expensive. For the busy home-buyer, a Stephens City townhouse might be just the option they are looking for. When you’re ready to buy or sell a Stephens City, VA townhouse, give Mike Cooper a call, Mike is your local real estate sales pro.

Click below to view the most recent list of townhouses in Stephens City, VA:

Available Townhouses

Get Ready to List Your Home in the Spring With These Ideas

Get Ready to List Your Home in the Spring

If you plan to list your home in the Spring, there are steps you can take now that will help you get top dollar when it goes to market.

Get Ready to List Your Home in the Spring by – Getting in top shape

  • Have a home inspection that will show areas where you need to make repairs.Get Ready to List Your Home in the Spring
  • Use your home inspection report to create a list of things you need to repair and start the process.
  • Pace yourself through the months leading up to your list date, and do a few repairs each month to keep expenses down.
  • Paint – paint is one of the cheapest and most valuable maintenance tools in your toolbox.
  • Floors – make sure your floors are in excellent condition. If you need to change carpet, do that after you finish painting. If your floors are hardwood and need a little sprucing up, you can use products like Bona to bring them back to life.
  • Clean up the landscaping over the Winter months. Be ready for Spring with mulch in your flower beds, some new plantings and a manicured lawn.

Get Ready to List Your Home in the Spring by – Packing away unnecessary things

  • It’s not necessary to eradicate every indicator that humans live in the house, but there are many things that can be packed away that might make it more show-worthy.
  • If your home is a museum of family adventures, you may want to pack away some of the photographs, trophies, awards, etc., while the property is listed. LessGet Ready to List Your Home in the Spring is more in the case of home that is listed for sale.
  • Pack away duplicate items that are sitting around. I have two juicers. I use each one for different types of juice. One on the counter would be plenty in a listing period.
  • Keep clothes and shoes put away during showing hours. Clients don’t need to be tripping over shoes, and they definitely don’t need to see clothes strewn all around the house. The “lived-in” look is not in today.
  • Pack the pup away. It’s always nice if you can take you pets with you when you vacate for showings. I ran into a sweet dog in a crate this past Sunday. He was terrified at our presence. His discomfort made my clients uncomfortable.
  • Make your home look like a photo out of a magazine by keeping it clean, well-lit, and staged.

These are just a few of the ways you can get your house ready for a Spring listing. There are many more things you can do, but these few can get you started. When you’re ready to list, be sure to call Mike Cooper, principal broker at Cornerstone Business Group, Inc. We are your local real estate sales pros.