What to Expect
- As a Buyer
- As a Seller
There are essentially two ways to find a new home: Find it yourself or Have someone help you. Let’s explore both of these.
- Finding it yourself
With the advent of the Internet, mobile computing and digital photographs we’ve been barraged in the real estate industry with new ways to present properties for sale to the public. And the public has embraced it. Every new buyer that I work with these days has already done plenty of shopping on the Internet and they almost always have a list of houses that they’ve picked out to see.
In almost every case there is an amazing amount of let down when we get together and go out and actually see their picks. It is very interesting how very different properties can look in the real world compared with the digital world!
Another way is to go out and see Open Houses and For Sale by Owner properties. Some people actually do this and end up buying a house. The lingering questions with this method include “did I pay too much” and “do I really know what I’m getting”?
There are a number of variations but these two comprise a majority of buyers who take on the task themselves. Fortunately some of these actually work out because no one wants any one to have a bad experience with such a major purchase.
However, since it generally doesn’t cost the buyer anymore to actually have a Realtor involved, then why not use one?
- Have someone help you
Most Realtors generally practice one of two philosophies when it comes to helping buyers: try to understand exactly what the client is looking for and narrow it down to only a few choices or put them into the car and drive around seeing homes until the buyer finds exactly what they’re after.
Sometimes the latter method involves days and days of looking and sometimes it happens rather quickly.
My personal method is a combination of the two; I try to interview my buyers in advance to understand what they want, what they’re dreaming about and when it needs to happen. It’s also useful to understand why they’re in this process and how they intend to make it happen.
After that, I go to work to see what possibilities exist and then we schedule our time together. We still may need to see lots of houses but we’ll at least be headed towards a goal.
- A good listener who tries to “hear” what the buyer really wants
One of the skills that I bring to the table is an ability to listen. Asking the necessary questions also helps you to clarify your goals. Couples almost always benefit from this exercise because more often than not they have different opinions and sometimes they don’t even realize it!
- Someone to deal in reality when it comes to affordability
In most cases this step is fairly simple. Most of my buyers aren’t on a severely restricted budget and are fairly sophisticated when it comes to money. Having said that, it can be very helpful to meet with one or more of the mortgage professionals that I work with to know what is possible in terms of financing.
- A knowledgeable broker who has experience in this market
My wife and I have lived in Santa Fe since 1985 and have owned a lot of houses. From a personal standpoint I’ve been through this process a number of times. But more importantly I’ve been doing real estate brokerage on this level since 2001 and have done lots of transactions. I don’t know it all but I have seen more than my share of problems and have successfully helped lots of people realize their dreams from a real estate perspective.
- An opportunity to see as many properties as necessary
I’m from the old school when it comes to work. Growing up in the farm country of NW Kansas, the work ethic of that area was hammered into me. (More so than I cared for at the time!! ) If we need to see 10 houses that’s fine, if we need to see 20 or 40 that’s fine too. I want you as a repeat customer so I want you happy the first time around.
By Dave Feldt
Listing brokers do a number of things for their clients. In fact you can get lists from some brokers that go on and on about all of things they’re going to do for you. My list is a lot shorter but it is real instead of a lot of fluff.
My first job is to help you price your property. The value of a property is very clearly “what a willing and able buyer” will pay for it. LOTS of things can affect that statement! Up market, down market, location, timing, condition, interest rates, economy not to mention style, design, floor plan and quality of construction. Even the neighbors and the neighborhood come into play here.
We’ll work together on this part of the listing very closely. I’ll do my best to make my case and I’ll try to show you as much information as possible to back it up. When all is said and done, you will be the one who picks the listing price. We’ll agree in advance about the timing of price adjustments if in fact they become necessary.
All sellers love to see their house in all the media publications! I know that but guess what? Very few of them have any real effect. I’ve spent lots of money on advertising and the most important thing advertising does is promotes me as being an active broker. I already AM an active broker. There isn’t much reason to spend money to prove it.
There are two important places to advertise: the first and the very most important is the Multiple Listing Service and the second is on the Internet.
Real estate brokers sell real estate!! That shouldn’t be such a shocking statement but it’s true. A vast majority of buyers for properties come in town from another real estate broker. It’s enormously important that your property be listed in the MLS system.
All of my listings are in the MLS system, the company website, www.santafeproperties.com and my personal website www.davefeldt.com.
Your home may occasionally be included in some form of print media but do not expect it to be there on a regular basis. However if you really want it advertised in magazines and newspapers then I’m happy to run the ads for you and as many as you want as long as you’re willing to pay for them.
Open Houses will be done from time to time if you’d like. I do have to tell you that they’re of more value to me than they are to you. It is a rare thing to sell a house because of an Open House. It’s not as rare for me to find a new buyer or a new listing client.
We have a great staff at Santa Fe Properties. They will field the showing requests for your property, arrange the showings with you personally and follow up with email requests for feedback. They’re available seven days a week. Usually I’m available also and if I’m not you’ll know who my backup business partner is.
One of the worst experiences in this business is to get to the closing table and find out there is something wrong! And I’ve been around long enough now to have seen more of those things come up than I care to admit. However I’ve also learned a lot from those experiences and hope I can help prevent them for you. This “school of hard knocks” is one of my most important contributions to the listing process.
Here are a few of things we’ll discuss in the listing process:
Its costs a little bit to have it done in advance and the buyer will likely have it done again but I believe it’s a good idea for you to have an inspection done prior to listing your house. If you need a new roof that is going to affect the pricing and the salability of your house.
- Floor plan
If there isn’t one available we need to get one. I have a great resource for this and it isn’t very expensive.
The title company will let us know early on whether we are going to need an expensive boundary survey or a less expensive Inspection Location Report at the closing. We might just as well get this done so we know precisely what we’re selling.
- Septic Tank
If your home is equipped with a septic system, the State of New Mexico Environment Department requires that it be certified as to installation, capacity and functionality within six months of closing. Again, if you need to repair or replace the system it should be done sooner than later.
- Homeowners/Condo Owners Association
There are new requirements in New Mexico about these organizations. We need to get this information and have it available for the buyers.
- Tax Levy Certificate
New Mexico law requires us to disclose to the buyer what the current and future property taxes are. That information must be obtained from the County Assessor’s Office.
- Short Term Rental Ordinance
If your property is in the City limits in may be subject to the Short Term Rental Ordinance.
- Historic Districts
The City of Santa Fe has many Historic Districts. It is very important to have an idea whether your property is in one or not. It can affect the selling of the property.
If you have a domestic water well you may want to have it inspected and have the quality of the water tested. Sometimes bacteria is found and can be cured with something as simple as a bleach treatment. Better to have it cured in advance.
- Flood Certificate
FEMA has recently changed the flood maps in Santa Fe County. Imagine my surprise when I found out I had to buy flood insurance!! Let’s make sure you or the new buyer doesn’t get the same surprise.
- Insurance Claims
If your house has had numerous insurance claims it may now be difficult to insure. A simple report from your carrier can clear this up.
- Water Rights
Do you have surface water rights? Are they properly recorded in your name? Surface water rights can be worth as much as $30,000 an acre foot. We should know what you’re selling.
- Title Binder
I’ll order one from one of the title companies. Among other things it may reveal access issues, back taxes, liens and other claims. Probably none of these things will come up but it’s good to know about them ahead of time.
- Mortgage Information
Most of the time this is as simple as getting the name and loan number of your mortgage if you have one. Given the state of the mortgage industry it would be good to know who gets paid off at closing!
Occasionally a buyer will do a Radon inspection. Sometimes those can have negative results which are costly to remedy and sometimes they’re just erroneous reports. It may be good to have it done along with the home inspection.
- Staging and Decorating
I have a couple of great resources for this. It can be as simple as having a consultant come in to de-clutter a house or as complex as having the entire house staged with a professional stagers inventory.
You don’t have to do any of these or you may choose to do all that are applicable or something in between. When all is said and done the goal is to have as few surprises as possible and the way to do that is to be prepared.
- Keeping it together
I won’t say that getting a transaction to closing is like birthing a baby because I’ve never done that. However I suspect there are similarities. It’s probably a little more like getting one of our children through college. One of my recollections of that process for my own graduation and for my girls was that there were lots of opportunities for it to get off track.
This may be the most important part of a real estate broker’s job. Keep the pathway swept so the travelers can complete the journey as simply as possible. To the extent that it is possible, my job is to get rid of the obstacles before they appear.
Above all I would value the opportunity to interview with you no matter what your real estate needs are. Thank you.
By Dave Feldt