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Lee Ginsburg is an award-winning Realtor with 30 years experience in Peninsula residential real estate. With the utmost attention to detail, Lee delivers expert marketing, negotiating, and management of all financial matters. With a strong commitment to honesty, fairness and hard work, Lee has successfully helped first time home buyers, move up buyers and investors.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

The Shoe is on the Other Foot Now


I am responsible for selling my mother’s home.  Great I got an easy listing.  Well not that quick.  She lives in New Jersey. And they do things differently than we here in northern California and I am not licensed in New Jersey. They use lawyers instead of Escrow and Title companies. I pondered how a deal is ever going to close with two lawyers involved. The people I spoke with assured me they do. It seems radon gas is an issue in this part of New Jersey and the seller is responsible for mediating it. My mother lived in an adult community where Open Houses and For Sale signs are not permitted. No wonder as I drove the community I did not see any other homes for sale. I thought there was no inventory and I would receive multiple offers just like here in the San Bruno and South San Francisco. After doing additional research I come to find they have a year’s worth of inventory in the area adult communities.

I was recently in New Jersey and spoke with three realtors.  Prudential is not strong in the area so I went into a GMAC Realty office at the local shopping center and I made an appointment with the floor agent. Immediately she told me she will come with her partner. Good! Two for the price of one. She and her partner came very well prepared. They presented information on themselves and their office. After speaking with them for a while I could tell they were not very experienced. It comes out they were in the business for five years. They were very friendly, easy to speak with, extremely motivated and aggressive but not pushy, understood marketing but not to knowledgeable on the contract, (do they need be since an attorney will review it?), they were the only ones that came with complete information on solds, actives and under attorney review. They had scheduled to show my wife and me three active listings. There was one under attorney review listed in their office that I mentioned interest in seeing. I was impressed that one of them immediately called their office to verify that a lock box was still on. We were discussing painting the home and once again immediately called a painter they work with and got a ball park price over the telephone.

The second agent I spoke with was recommended by a friend. My friend did not have a business relationship only a personal relationship. I called him on a Sunday about 3 PM and returned my call at 9PM and we set an appointment for 9AM the next morning to meet my schedule. I already liked his response time. I will justify him being the least prepared with the fact he had the shortest time to prepare. He did have information on the market but no marketing information. He did discuss marketing briefly. His mother in-law lives in the same complex and he lives in the complex next door, so I felt comfortable that he was familiar with the area. He offered to paint a stained area himself to save money. I appreciate saving money.
We had a very good rapport I thought. We discussed our mutual friends, the Real Estate industry and Back home.

The third and final agent I found on the internet as a “Top Producer” for a local old time one office company.  She definitely knew the complex.  She said I should hire her because she is the best and her office is the dominating listing office. She showed me all sorts of stats. Not much at all with buyers. She told me the various websites she will list the property on.  She spent most of forty five minutes we spoke, discussing pricing.  She suggested that I offer 4% to the listing agent because there was over a year of inventory available. It is a thought that was shared by another realtor as well but I’m not a big believer in that. She was not warm and friendly but she was not cold either.  She was opinionated.

Real estate is very localized so before interviewing the agents I prepared a list of questions to learn about the area: market procedures, lock boxes, inspections, time frames, the attorney situation, inventory, Open Houses, marketing, availability, full time or part- time, experience, DOM, list to sale price, their mix of buyers to sellers, office activity and more.   Stress Could I hire all of them? Sales people are easy to sell. we trust everyone.  We don’t want to say no to anyone.  Each had pluses and minus. They were all pleasant.  Now I understand what our clients go thru. Let me tell you by the third agent in two days I was burnt out. Do I go with experience, relationship, motivation? I thought I would hold off my decision until I see how their follow up is.  I ask for your help; whom do you think I should hire?