Mooers Realty Maine Real Estate Blog
12 Real Estate Myths
12 real estate myths.
Real estate myths, the kind agents, brokers, REALTORS fight and slay like dragons one by one. How they happen and why they keep circulating. A dozen real estate myths that can impact a sale negatively. How they start, why buyers and sellers of homes and even agents keep them going strong.
This blog post is a short read, will list the real estate myths I experience and why in my local property sale market.
Real estate myths. For starters, you, I, everyone likes a good story right?
Not the kind to put someone to sleep like you use on the kids.
But yarn spinning ones sprinkled with not too much fact, the truth stretched a tad for lots of reasons. All seasoned with a little humor. And please and thank you, make it short, sweet, highly entertaining. To go down easy and sound reasonable. Craft it like a good joke worth repeating.
(Rustling crushed ball of paper being unfolded slowly sound)
On the scribbled blog post list outline, the number one for real estate myths. "Put the price high to end up selling for more" thinking.
Just the opposite happens with that kind of flawed approach to how to price your home for sale. Over priced homes develop ten foot pole marks on their exteriors. Get avoided and lonely because buyers and eventually agents too neglect them. The longer the houses are on the market, the more buyersavoid them and consider them dogs. That's no real estate myth, we hear the reaction from clients practically daily.
Over priced properties help sell other reasonably stickered real estate listings. Makes them look like even better deals in comparison to listings with the sky high price treatment. Double, triple the value or let's build in $50,000 worth of wiggle room properties just don't ever get to closings. They clog the MLS like parked dead in their track cars in the middle of a very fast super highway. The reason overpriced properties don't sell is often off handedly blamed on "must be a poor real estate market". It's not the economy, it the wrong pricing pure and simple. Ignore fair market value and plan to stay in the home for years to come. That's no real estate myth.
Other reasons real estate listings do not sell. (PSSSSsst. Making a low ball offer works the same way.. very poorly. The seller does not take you serious or is insulted or figures you are a piker. Can't afford a home priced in his bracket on the MLS merry go round of available listings.)
There must be something wrong the home buyer thinks because why is this place still on the market?
Looks okay from the photos, out on the street driving by. Often the only thing "wrong" is the price. All by itself the one factor keeping the home for sale parked way too high up in another MLS property price bracket. It's the price.
The folks searching for where it should be priced don't see it showing up on their devices. The people in the higher price brackets expect more features that it does not have. It's like the Sesame Street song about one of these things does not belong here, is not like the rest.
I blame real estate agents not just the seller myth that they alone are to blame for bloated pricing.
Can you say hanging around too long and developing shelf life with too many DOM (days on market) ? I knew you could. Real estate agents need to tell the truth on home values even if the red faced upset seller hollers "I'm not going to give it away". It does not matter how much the owner has poured into the sticks and bricks. Only so much is coming out according to current real estate home market values.
The number two persistent myth in the real estate list and sell exercise? Buyers and sellers can both take credit for this one. They together share one common trait.
When this much money is involved, both camps want to come out a hero. To buy low or sell high. To brag about how talented or lucky they were and often at someone else's expense. Single handily the buyer or seller pulled off the real estate sale of the century because they are so smart and made all the right moves. Both the seller will let everyone think the home actually ended up selling for the listed price. Buyers too will continue to tell folks they stole the place and bought it for less than the registry transfer documentation for recording the deed indicates.
I have first hand witnessed buyers and seller not being truthful about what they really bought or sold a home for even though the real sale price is publicly recorded. At the local town office for all to see what each property closed for and when.
What every real estate listing fetched on the open market is on the the sold category of Maine listings too.
We run into what the last buyer or seller next door is spreading for neighborhood rumors.
When listing a house down the street and the owner swears that if Joe's home sold for blank, mine is worth twice blank.
The believing the overpriced figure is real sometimes is the only reason this neighbor is listing their crypt. When something is too good to be true, if often is just that. But the truth will set you free.
So the number two real estate myth is buyers and sellers claim they bought and sold for figures that just don't jive with the real numbers.
Leaving out or just not knowing exactly why their sale was so successful helps perpetuate the myth that real estate sells all by itself too. Or through only the genius efforts of the smarter than the average bear buyer and sellers. For more or less money than it really did.
The real estate agent, broker, REALTOR in the background knows why the sale was a success. Can outline the steps taken and why to assure it sold.
Push and pull adjusting each indivdual listing sale in all the right places to keep it on the right track. To get it to the closing on time. That's the job and what keeps us awake nights. When the public sees an initially high listing price, they assume that is what the home actually sold for when it does. When actually the pendulum of way too high eventually swings through the musical brokers change up over the years.
The "you gotta drop the price Mr. & Mrs Seller" little talk with the listing agent gets traction in a nose dive maneuver as buyers continue to make rejected offers. The too high in time becomes a too low knee jerk reaction of desperation.
Time has a way of changing what you want to do and the reality of what you have to see happen. To get on with their life. To pay off that hefty mortgage, the third year of house property taxes.
The number three real estate myth is homes don't sell over the winter holidays.
Think about this real estate myth for a minute. If you were transferred with your family to a new location and wanted housing. It does not matter what month the calendar says it is. You need a home. If you have sold your old home, are ready to buy, why would you try to find a rent, then move again in the spring? You would not if a place for sale is available in your price range and with the right "gotta have, don't want" check list of feature match. It's a match, you have a sale.
Real estate myth busted, homes listed in the winter, over the holidays do sell.
An estate family with an empty house just sucking up lots of money to heat and insure and that needs roofs shoveled, driveways cleatred. Those are ripe for selling. Get it on the market. Real estate agents who chant the myth homes don't sell in the winter only hurt themselves, buyers, sellers. Maybe they want the holidays off and it is self serving.
Also, it's no myth, folks over the holidays talk about we ought to buy a place up in Maine for vacations.
Let's go warm our hands up around a glowing monitor and see what real estate listings in Maine are available today. If you are not listed, you don't get the calls or emails Mr and Mrs Seller. Myths about why the home did not sell circulate too. Missing or just not discussed information is filled in by buyers and seller's imaginations to save embarrassment. Take the house sale that made it through the buyer approval, the appraisal valuation and even the legal title work examination stage quick like a bunny. When the house sale failed to close, the reason given is the seller is to blame.
Some buyers will bold face lie and tell anyone who listens that the seller backed out of the home sale. Or bark curtly the place is haunted, something was not disclosed. Grumbling it cost them a lot of money up until they found out something disturbing. The buyer may have found something better the real reason the sale pending rider is removed from the top of the sign. It happens. Or the home owner develops seller's remorse. Not just buyers get cold feet.
Often what really happened was the buyer went out, bought lots of new furniture for the home under contract.
The buyer was indeed approved for the home mortgage loan starting out but not anymore. The green approval check mark replaced with a red circle and slash with the word "rejected". The loan denied, financing for the home turned down. The buyer's debt ratios went sky high like blood pressure or released helium balloons.
What are debt ratios you ask? Don't make major league credit card purchases while waiting to close. Don't buy a car even if you old ride dies. Keep the same job, same line of work, don't get divorced, keep it easy does it on adding to the installment spending. Develop ninja like, become stellar at your impulse control buying habits home buyers if you want to buy a house.
The fifth real estate myth, you can save all that commission money selling the property yourself.
Who needs an agent or broker happens because the homework into what they do was skipped. All it takes is a Mopar colored sign in your yard. Waiting for it to happen and then just call the movers right? It is so easy, even an agent down at Caveman Realty could get the listing to close.
Marketing far and wide costs money that only comes back to the real estate brokerage agency if and when the home sells. That money and marketing attention creates the larger pool of buyers to draw from so it's not only your neighbors knowing your place is for sale to happen. A seller can waste a lot of money in all the wrong places just not knowing from lack of experience And even if phone rings or a car pulls up to the curb spoiling your Sunday afternoon, what do I do now.
The buyer and seller need help. Because unlike the agent, this is not what they do day after day, year after year to flatten the real estate learning curve.
A real estate professional can help screen out the lookie loos. The buyers who have no business tramping through your beautiful home Sunday afternoon with diesel fuel and grease on their unremoved work boots.
Do you enjoy cleaning rugs and waves of kids running like animals through your home round the clock?
The real estate agent markets to hundreds of prospects at the same time. Keeps slow drip email and direct mail marketing campaigns going round full throttle until your home sells.
He or she has fresh prospects all approved for financing. Are you ready to show and sell? Don't you have a real job doing something completely different that takes up most of your time?
Even newly licsenced real estate agents have the stamped paperwork in the 8' x 10' glass frame on the wall. They carry the printed wallet card licensing credentials too. But zip for experience to draw from to guide the home sale is like wearing a blindfold practicing real estate list and sell.
Would you hire someone with no experience and be tied up for a year with no showings, no sale? Your life on hold. Expecting a sale for top dollar and no time delays won't be what happens. Training means education. Experience means sale after listing home sale to see the pattern. To learn the moves, to do the right real estate dance. To have all the judges cheer, stand up and hold high the 9.9 and 10 number cards.
The real estate agent or broker qualifies buyers. Knows what questions to ask and which direction to guide the home buyer. Advising the seller on pricing, staging, how to handle offers, any contingencies. The agent or broker makes nothing until the sale happens. You the seller are spending money weekly in the hit or miss wrong places. Or doing nothing to help the sale to save the commission. Still thinking that sign out front will draw them in like a bear to honey?
For sale by owners means your life is on hold, the days on market are racking up trying to do your own operation. Representing yourself is foolhardy because you don't do this for a living.
You can waste a lot of money trying to sell the property yourself. Or you can find the best proven local real estate professional to list and market your home. To give you time tailor made life tested advice. Only being paid if and when the real estate home listing actually sells. Kicking into gear beautiful effective marketing and reaching out to ready, willing and able buyers.
It all starts today if you are ready to make the call.
Don't you want a partner like that? To advise but only be paid with successful completion of their duties? Knowing if after the sale a problem comes up with the buyer, or seller, that same real estate agent or broker partner is onboard to handle the issues.
The more difficult sales where buyers and sellers get bloodied and put through the ringer do happen. It's no real estate myth, the longer a sale takes, the more the emotional turbulence shakes everyone's confidence. Issues, personality conflicts, tight possession dates, missing personal property the brother in law helped himself to last night. All the property repairs needing completion to meet bank underwriting mortgage standards. Delicate back and forth and multiple offer negotiations require constant attention.
It's not ABC easy but buyers and sellers often believe a home sale is.
The real estate myths don't help and just stir the pot. The home did or did not sell is all the buyer and seller care about in most cases. Because what happens behind the scenes is not the most interesting cocktail party conversation starter topic. Taking something complicated and reducing it for a comic book or couple line explantation presentation just won't work. There are lots of moving parts to the recap in the recount what happened good or bad in each unique real estate sale.
You did not hire the real estate agent or broker to just try to sell your property.
You hired him or her to only be paid for all their services if the real estate is sold under your price, terms and conditions. Interview several agents. Study their performance result numbers. Pick the hardest working real estate professional with a long standing sales success track record in your market place.
Myth number six in real estate... the agent or broker from a big city is better armed to list and sell my home.
This myth is like the further you go away for an important medical operation the better the quality of care. Far away from your home town means the real estate agent is going to be MIA. If they have to drive hours to show a property, how Johnny on the spot do you think you would be living far away from the listing? In the town where the agent is not a local expert, does not live here. The property gets shown less. The real estate agent is busy in their own far away local market and is a fish out of water in the one where your house address needs the undivided attention.
No real estate myth, property sales need a local expert.
The local real estate agent that knows local banking that works best, is well versed in the traditions and lives of everyone in the small Maine town. He or she works, plays, is invested in their location. That professional is the one to pick for this buying and selling excersize and for beyond real estate missions. You are forming a relationship for life, and this hopefully is not your only real estate purchase or sale mission.
Buyers don't know what they are doing either so the schemes you think up together can really mess up a perfectly good real estate sale. Ending up in court litigation while the house remains off the market and tied up le gally. Bring in the lawyers with billable hours and court house steps to dig deep into your wallet or purse to untangle the mess you made. We get those real estate "HELP" calls and can you fix this this from buyers and sellers. This is what we are trained to do and here to help lend a hand if needed.
Myth number seven buying and selling real estate in Maine. "Whatever the national news reporters says the real estate market is it always perfectly applies to my home town".
(Buzzer sounds loud and long). No, there are markets withing markets that behave differently here than out in Toledo or Houston. Maine itself is tall and wide. A house for $70,000 in Aroostook County for the same home in Portland will set you back over $210,000. yes, really.
The local real estate market value, what for sale today is known best by those working the list and sell in the community where the property is parked.
Applying what is happening on the West coast or now displaying on HGTV Hollywood slick production is the wrong approachhere in keep it simple Maine. Like depending on the weather forecast many states away is a big mistake for you local outdoor plans in Maine. Misinformation is even more destructive and costly than blindly stumbling and fumbling through a real estate sale not knowing what you are doing. Again, real estate is controlled but what happens in the local market not in other zip code.
Myth number eight in real estate sales. "You know more than the buyer what improvements to do to help increase the sale price and keep the days on the market figure as low as she can go."
Money wasted that you don't really have to spend on what you think would help is not relying on the local real estate professional. That agent, broker, REALTOR knows how the local real estate market behaves today.
He or she can tell you why, what it was like six months back and where it will be with surprising clarity a half year or longer from now.
When you spend most of your day in the water, you become a very skilled swimmer to do more than just tread or do the dead man's float.
You know what it is going to take to get this place to sell. What moves to do along the way when new factors happen that interfere with the home sale process. Hockey players call it seeing the ice... swiveling the head and adjusting their skating and puck passing. Real estate sales need nurturing, water, feeding, weeding to harvest good results. Top dollar, shortest period on the market and seeing the red flags to adjust the sails.
It's like playing only song tunes on a radio station that you like and wondering why the audience is so small too.
As the home owner, the seller you know what you like. But you don't have a clue what is rewarded today in your market place for this kind of home in this particular price range with the current supply and demand inventory. Experience coupled with study of the listing sale numbers is a terrible thing to waste. The real estate professional is a teacher who explains the process and outlines the needed steps. Find one that you can trust or keep looking until you do.
Myth number nine for real estate. "You have to have lots of open houses to sell your home".
The seller is busy, the buyers are out straight. NASA picks a critical re-entry time and date tied to the weather for the return to Earth for whatever they rocket blast up into space orbit. Open houses don't work that way. The two to four hours on a weekend you the seller think will create the buyer you need for the home sale is not the best ROI. Hear the crickets?
In small rural markets like I operate in especially, a huge percentage of our real estate sales are to outside property buyers.
Who is going to saddle up and drive eight hours or more one way every time a new listing shows up on the local market?
Who wants to drop everything to attend the time tight open house window of opportunity the seller demands? Dictated tiny time slots for the come and get it look around and please sample the hard donut holes, dried out brownies and to slurp stale coffee. No one can afford mulitiple tickets. Buying expensive tickets used to trot up the steps or down the ramp to board a silver bird for trips to Maine to view property.
Real estate videos for on demand open houses get viewed over and over on the buyer's schedule. Those do the best job.
To relay information using two senses, the eyes and the ears in tandem. To make the connection, to meet the buyer at the always open front door. One after another house or community videos doing the show and tell of the local area, the what's for sale in it.
Late at night, out of state, in stormy weather. None of that matters or restricts the look at it right now. Then rewind, take the watch and listen again open house tour on your schedule buyers.
You know what happens when you rewatch your favorite movie. You pick up details missed the first pass. Video is the best return on investment of time and money. Why only less than three percent of agents and brokers offer real estate video? Here are the excuses for not using real estate video marketing.
There was a time when open houses worked and all the buyers were local and took Sunday's off. Not anymore. Like the Sear's and Roebuck catalog and the hoola hoop, the slinky, things change and you the seller of a home listing better adapt to what the buyer wants. Be ready to show the home quickly to qualified buyers. The World moves fast and you better too.
Myth number ten for real estate. "It's best to wait to get pre-approved for a bank loan after you find the house of your dreams".
Wrong. If you don't qualify for the home, the heartache of getting it out of your system will make anything else looked at after that home one big disappointment. Timing is everything. You waste the sellers and real estate agent's time too looking at property you may or may not be able to afford.
What's hidden holding you back on your credit report? What can you afford for a home, how much house should you be shopping for? Which loan program to go with what this or that particular home? All that razzle dazzle goes smoother if the step by steps are taken before they are needed. Get preapproval for a home loan first. Save putting on all those miles in and out of what's for sale that you can not afford today.
The pre-approval letter is pretty important for any offer you make to a seller. You want to to be taken very seriously. You can buy this home for sale if they accept your offer. The seller's take away with a pre-approval letter from the lender is they can be sure you can get the money. In the mind of the seller, they know you mean business. They have a chance to sell their home if they are serious too. Just sign here or pitch back a counter offer.
Myth eleven for real estate you heard roll off the tongue of some. That "real estate agents only sell their own listings". Or myth twelve, that "real estate agents only want to sell you their most expensive listings".
A sale is a sale. Whether it is a co-brokered sale with another agency's listing. No matter how low priced the property from your housing inventory.
Matchmaking means finding the best fit out there in the wild blue yonder for the real estate buyer.
Today the real estate professional is less of a high pressure salesperson. More of a very good listener taking highly detailed notes. To select the most comfortable fit for this home buyer. The best bang for the house buying buck.
Quickly helping the real estate buyer who steps into the lobby or snale mails, emails, calls on the land line or wireless cell phone.
That is what selling a home in Maine today takes.
Clear head, no distractions and experience, creative thinking. Quick on your feet and knowing how to shuffle them to keep from tripping up a needed house sale for both the buyer and seller.
There you have it giving you twelve real estate myth busters to consider.
Let's face it people talk. They share everything but sometimes it's the old Maine expression. The one about it's hard telling without knowing Chummy. The series of folks all of us share information with lose some of the all important details. Filling in what they left out when they spread the word about Joe's house sale.
Just wanting to contribute something, anything to the conversation. The Talking Head's song where David Byrne sings "You're talking a lot, but you're not saying anything. When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed. Say something once, why say it again? But people do talk for the sake of hearing their own voice and just wanted their turn in the spotlight holding the mic and being on camera. To be taken serious and for knowing something worthwhile and having a purpose.
Passed on what is gleaned in the real estate buzz around them. The bits and pieces over heard down at the club after a few beers relaxing. During a break waiting for a lane to open up at the weekly couple's bowling exercise wearing multi colored shoes.
Applying what they thought they heard sometime ago from a real estate sale chit chat down at the hardware store check out. Or while waiting for their slow poke kid to come out of the locker room after a local sporting event for a ride home.
No two real estate sales are the exact same.
You and I are different in so many ways which is a good thing. Or it would be one very boring place. Highly predictable too. There are home inspectors, valuation appraisers, code enforcement officers, insurance agents, lawyers, title companies and mortgage underwriters all part of the personality chemistry that is sweet or sour. Pleasing the spouse, the kids, your boss, even considering your animals all comes into the process.
When you tell someone you need an operation. What kind? Selling a home is not always the same approach or operation. What is needed is learned along the way to apply when adjustments are needed. To think on your feet and make some quick tehnical changes. To renegotiation if necessary. To keep the house sale alive without relying on real estate myths that threaten it.
People are too busy to stay current and it's been ten years since they bought or sold their last house.
Nothing remains the same and it's daily reinventing the industry a real estate agent or broker picked as a career choice. No doubt you are an expert in your employment field and I would have a few opinions looking in from the outside. That would seem logical based on limited knowledge or experience in your chosen profession.
Real estate, like anything these days requires constant education. Add lots of past sales experience to draw from to stay razor sharp. When you are heavily involved in property sales, you quickly realize how demanding they really are.
Mediating and finding common ground with the conflicting needs of the buyer and seller requires a real Dr Phil skill set of its own. You enjoy it or head for the hills.
I love my job as a Maine real estate broker in a small town and all it entails. Helping people solve real estate problems is rewarding well beyond the commission checks.
Real estate is not once and done and not you are suddenly an expert from a sale or two.
I've practiced being a real estate broker in Maine for forty years. But still learn something new everyday despite thousands of listing sales under the belt.
So the number one reason real estate myths and misinformation circulate?
It takes more than just playing Monopoly as a kid. Not enough just reciting the three "L" chant of what's the most important axiom to never forget.
Banking, secondary mortgage market financing is no walk in the park. Neither are easements, life estates, 1031 exchanges and owner financing installment sales, landlord tenant law, etc. Someone has to set expectations for buyers and sellers and to guide the process. To navigate from listing to closing. To coordinate all the layers of players it takes to complete a successful real estate sale.
Buyers and sellers repeating, over simplification of what they've heard causes much lost in the translation.
Everyone around you from the hairdresser to your car mechanic and your moither in law is an expert of real estate. They may own a home or rent an apartment. So everything they say is gospel. They know what they are pretty much experts on for just what you need to do. Yes Wink, I'll take "real estate" for one four hundred please. Hit me, I'm an expert. No, I don't need no license or stinking badges. It's a gift Wink. (Wink wink, nudge nudge) FACT: Real estate is unpredictable and every property sale has many moving parts, lots of people involved who influence the direction it is headed.)
Let's face it. Most buyers and sellers are not involved in multiple real estate transactions in their lifetime.
Even though real estate is usually the biggest investment people ever buy and sell, they are directly exposed to only so many sales. Lots of professionals coordinated by the real estate agent or broker to pull off the time sensitive delicate process.
The explanation of "why why why" that starts as a kid means short answers to lots of questions as an adult. From the outside looking in, buying and selling real estate looks easy. Most things do but behind the scenes those putting the sale together know differently. Keeping a real estate sale going requires constant communication.
The devil is in the details and one small slip to forget do this or do it too slowly. Lack of communicate can cost the house sale. Buyers move on if a sale stalls. Sellers can not wait when foreclosure is looming. Or the next house they want to buy is held down from the previous home sale.
There are many twists, turns, setbacks from the point of getting the listing, sitting down for the final real estate closing.
The biggest reason for complications is people are involved. Not just empty homes to shuffle and deal out from the deck. Deadlines, divorces, layoffs and high emotion, past experiences play a role. Many folks are tired, angry, impatient and frustrated from delays. Kept out of the loop of what is going on is the agent or broker's fault if communication is missing. Being in the dark and just not knowing why is fixed with emails, personal calls. Lots of both while being patient is a virtue. Just sometimes it is a luxury to wait for a home you really need to buy. Or to sell the one you own but wished you did not.
Hope this blog post on a dozen real estate myths helps give you a glimpse of why an agent, broker, REALTOR is needed to navigate every home sale.