Your home: A more level playing field for buyers is here!

Basball Field

As with most shifts in the market, buyers and sellers are not aware of the shift until it is too late to do anything about it. For example, most of NEJC has shifted from a strong seller’s market to a more balanced market. And this shift has taken place over the last 45-60 days. Pretty quick shift, right?

So what does this mean for the market moving forward this year? A more balanced market has several implications. Before we go there, let’s first discuss what has caused the market to shift.

This shift, which is partially seasonal, has occurred due to the growing amount of inventory (active homes for sale) versus the number of homes that are going under contract currently. This is what I have referred to before as the absorption rate. Perhaps you have seen the evidence yourself. A perfect example is driving on Roe Avenue from 63rd Street to 75th Street. I think there is a real estate pointer sign on every street.

I was at a function earlier this week when I ran into a good Realtor friend of mine. She asked me how business was which sparked a conversation about the shift. Her observation was that she felt like we went from a crazy busy market to an “eerily quiet one.” And she has observed that buyers have all of a sudden gotten really picky about almost everything.

When I analyzed the numbers this week, the reason was clear. I looked closely at NEJC and found a dramatic difference in the absorption rate comparing the last week in March to the first week in June. The last week in March, there were 411 homes for sale and 79 under contract, therefore, the homes under contract were approximately 20 percent of the actives. The first week in June, there were 576 homes for sale and 29 under contract, or approximately 5 percent of the actives. And since the last week in March, the number of homes under contract has been on a slow and steady decline. Eerily quiet.

For those buyers out there who have had to participate in the frenzied early Spring market and have yet to find a home, your time is coming. The balance of power is shifting. So how does this shift affect the buying process for you?

  • 1. You can breathe. Not to say that there are still not some locations and some price ranges that are flying off of the shelves, but in most cases the pace of the market is slowing which should allow buyers to make more calculated decisions.
  • 2. You can be a little pickier. No too picky mind you. We are by no means in a buyer’s market. And yet when you have more options, you can be choosy. Maybe that is a better way to put it.
  • 3. Values should stabilize. Based on current trending, the median sales prices in most areas are stabilizing. And historically values have dropped slowly from this time of the year through the remaining months. The Feds position on increasing interest rates will also have a big impact on values as well.

And what about the selling process? Just look at the statements above and consider the opposite side of the coin for sellers.

  • 1. Hold your breath. The sale of your home may not take place as quickly as some in the early Spring market. Patience may be required in some cases.
  • 2. More options for buyers means higher expectations when it comes to condition and that the competition is on! Don’t offer allowances or keep bids in your back pocket for condition concerns that you anticipate a buyer might have. Just do the work. You want the choosy buyer to choose you, right?
  • 3. Values should stabilize. This means don’t get over confident with your pricing. We are seeing more and more price adjustments every day in our market which is indicative of overly confident pricing. During a shift, it is extremely important to price a fair market value and, in my opinion, to price slightly below market value. The best value will almost always get the most attention.

Photo Credit:
Dru Bloomfield on

Your home: I’ve got water in my basement!

water on windshieldWhether it is your first experience with water in your basement or not, the discovery is never fun. No one wants water in their basement. It is a royal pain.

That being said, I am confident that over half of the homes that I have encountered in our area have had water in the basement at some point. I used to know an inspector who would say, “There are two types of basements in Kansas City: those that have had water in them and those that will.” I don’t necessarily believe that to be true, yet the point is not lost on me.

Homes are a moving, shifting, and settling organism. They are constantly keeping you guessing. This is why homes that have never had a problem with water intrusion can all of a sudden have a water issue. Not only is your home in a constant state of change, more importantly the soil around it is as well. Here in lies our biggest regional challenge: expansive soil.

Expansive soil does just what it sounds like it would: it expands when water is added and it contracts when water is removed. The soil around your home can create opportunities for water intrusion, cause your foundation to shift and crack, and yet is completely manageable.

By manageable, I am speaking of the grading of the soil around your foundation. Proper grading should slope the soil around your home away from the home to carry ground water away from your foundation walls. This simple process is a must to maintain a dry basement. You should also monitor the soil right up against your foundation. During extremely dry seasons, the expansive soil in our region will contract and pull away from the foundation walls. You might have seen this around your home a couple of years ago. Essentially this contraction leaves a gap around your foundation. This gap then becomes a funnel during the first big Spring rain. And because water will always seek the path of least resistance, water will fill this gap (or funnel) and then find any little crack in your foundation to gain entrance to your home.

In most cases, homes that have water issues usually have a grading issue, a gutter and downspout issue, or a combination of the two.

Proper gutter cleaning and maintenance is just a way of life here in KC and is probably one of the most neglected projects that I see. Almost every home inspection that I have attended has mentioned either a buildup of leaves and debris in the gutters or that the downspouts dispense water right next to the foundation walls. Either way you are asking for trouble.

When gutters fill up with debris, you can experience the “water fall effect” when your gutters spill over with water creating a lovely waterfall look all around your home. This waterfall is allowing water to fall right next to your foundation walls instead of being carried away from the home as it is intended. Thus facilitating an opportunity for water intrusion.

When it comes to downspouts, most inspectors and drainage companies recommend that your downspouts be extended eight to ten feet away from your home before they dispense. You can also look at burying your downspouts as well and running them underground and away from your home. Usually the solution depends on the slope of your yard.

If you have suffered from a wet basement over the last couple of weeks, I would certainly start with evaluating your grading, gutters and downspouts. There are companies that specialize in drainage who could be good source of information as well.

One last thought: Please be careful when getting bids to water proof your basement. I say this because I have encountered numerous clients who have been sold a dry basement product (which cost thousands of dollars) and yet the cause of the water problem outside of the home was never addressed. I am not a foundation specialist. I have never claimed to be one. However, in my experience, a water problem solution is usually more simple than it appears and the solution should address the cause, not the symptom.

If you would like a referral for a drainage specialist or a foundation company, please feel free to email us. We are here to help.

Photo credit:
Andrew Basterfield on

Your home: A Shifting Market = Better Condition and Lower Prices

That’s right folks. The market shift is here. You have probably seen the signs already, no pun intended. Have you noticed more homes for sale recently? That is the first sign.

The second sign that it is not as easy to see is that the absorption rate, the number of homes selling per month, is slowing down. With inventory increasing, and the demand decreasing, the outcome is a shifting market. Currently we are following a pretty normal seasonal cycle. One in which the number of homes for sale increases for the majority of the rest of the year and median sales prices begin to drop slightly.

More competition equals more competitive pricing. Think of it this way. To be competitive a home should offer “more (features, space, upgrades) for the same price (as the competition), or the same for less.” This is what buyers expect in a more balanced market. More for the same, or the same for less. It makes perfect sense.


As we look at condition in a more balanced market, a buyer’s forgiving nature tends to disappear when they have more options. The best time to sell a small home, an outdated home, or a home that suffers from functional obsolescence is when you have very little competition. As we shift into a more balanced market, buyers out there will pay close attention to their options and what they have to offer. Things about a home that would have been forgiven or overlooked earlier in the year, may now need to be addressed.

The market expectation of condition shifts very quickly. Remember that a new buyer is entering the market almost daily and they only have the homes that are currently available to compare. This is why on occasion I meet with a seller who says, “But my neighbor down the street sold just a couple of months ago and his house was nowhere near as updated as mine. And he had multiple offers.”

That could be absolutely true. Keep in mind, two months ago (in March) there were no homes for sale at all. The neighbor down the street capitalized on the fact that he had no competition. However, today’s buyer will only see what is actively for sale. Thus, a sold comparable from 60 days ago, when 60 days ago was the hot early Spring market, is not a fair comparison.

Please don’t read this column today and take from it that the market is not good anymore. Far from it. The market is still great. Just different. There in lies the magic and mystery of real estate. The market is constantly shifting, and it works well for everyone, as long as you play by its rules.

If you are planning to sell this year, here are some things to consider:

  • 1. More for the same, or the same for less. This simple sentence will prevent you from over pricing in any market.
  • 2. As the market continues to shift, we are in a price war and a beauty contest. A little more time and money spent on conditioning your home for sale could go a long way.
  • 3. To sell quickly, price your home at or slightly below fair market value. If you price your home too high, you may end up chasing the market by making price adjustment after price adjustment.
  • 4. You are only new once, and for a very short period of time. Make sure that all condition challenges have been met and you are priced right on day one. Don’t let one buyer see your home until it is perfectly positioned for the market.

Your Home: Are homes selling ‘off the market’?

Recently, we’ve heard a lot of clients asking if homes are selling “off market,” meaning they never hit the open market for the general public to see. In a seller’s market, off-market sales tend to spike. So the short answer to the question is yes.

Pretty frustrating, right? You can bet it is frustrating. Especially if you are a buyer trying to find a home and they keep selling out from under you. “But how is that fair?” you might ask. Well, it doesn’t feel fair, and at the same time it is perfectly within the seller’s rights to do so.

When a property is listed with a Realtor, the Heartland Multiple Listing Service requires that it be entered in its system within three days unless an MLS waiver has been signed. This waiver can either be temporary or permanent. If a seller signs a permanent waiver, this allows the listing agent to promote the sale of the home without putting it into MLS. In some circles, you might hear these referred to as a “pocket listing.”

You know the old saying, “Its all about who you know.” This can be very true in a low inventory market. Your Realtor must have his or her ear to the street at all times and be networking with other agents on your behalf to help find you a home. The Realtor community is a tight knit group and with 10 percent of the Realtors out there doing 90 percent of the business, we work with the same agents all of the time. Even more so after the recession. When I started in real estate 11 years ago, there were over 12,000 Realtors in Kansas City. Coming out of the recession, there were less than 7,000. So that 10 percent group has gotten much smaller which makes it easier to network for upcoming inventory.

Please don’t get me wrong. The vast majority of real estate sales happen the traditional way. A property is listed with a Realtor, and the Realtor then advertises it in MLS for all the world to see. In my experience, this is the best way to achieve top market value for your home if that is the goal. Now, in some instances it may be more valuable to the seller to sell their home off market and avoid all of the stresses that come with having their home on the open market. For example, we have had clients with lots of young kids at home choose this option. Or perhaps a seller with a really demanding work schedule that requires day sleeping.

Ultimately, I want you all to know that there is no secret society of Realtors out there selling tons of homes secretly behind closed doors. We are not all standing in a candle lit room, wearing long robes, sharing top secret information about the best real estate that Kansas city has to offer, which you will never know about. And at the same time, when you are looking to hire a Realtor (especially in a low inventory market), make sure that you find one who is very active in the market. You want your advocate to be in communication with the Realtor community daily.

Our team is in the office every day of the business week, just like most other businesses out there. Being in the office daily allows us to network with other agents in our company about upcoming listings and buyer needs. These simple conversations help us to be one of the first agents through the door when a listing goes live. Please note: Being first does not always guarantee that you will get the house. Especially when there are multiple offers. But at least you get the chance before it just shows up in MLS under contract. In those cases, “it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”

Your home: Things that won’t affect the value of your home

Price it Right - MLMS

I have recently had the pleasure to meet with several potential sellers. And I am noticing a trend. The word is finally getting out that now is the time to sell. This is very true. The market is HOT!

However, even in a hot market a home is only worth what a seller is willing to sell it for and what a buyer is willing to pay for it. Pretty simple equation, right? Not always. In a hot market, we find that sellers want to push for the highest value possible. And we are right there with them — to a certain point, that is. You see, sellers hire me to sell their home, not just to advertise it. There comes a point where even a hot market will not accept a home that is overpriced.

I thought it would be healthy to discuss a few things that don’t affect the fair market value of your home.

1. Functionally required updates: Although replacing an existing roof with a new one certainly makes a home more marketable, it does not have much of an affect, if any, on the market value of a home. Similarly, replacing the furnace and air conditioning, hot water heater, dishwasher, or even stabilizing a shifting foundation, although important, do not change the perceived value of a home. Buyers expect these things to be in good working order. They see these improvements as just part of owning a home. In their eyes, you have done your job by replacing these items, not gone above and beyond. Unfortunately, the aforementioned improvements/repairs can be some of the most expensive to address.

2. Historical appraised value: If at one point you refinanced your mortgage to capitalize on better interest rates or to access some of your equity, and your home appraised for X, that is a snapshot in time and has very little bearing on today’s market value. Even if the appraisal was just done six months ago, please keep in mind that the lender offering you the home equity line of credit (HELOC) wants to keep your business. Although I have been told by appraisers that a refinance appraisal and a purchase appraisal are exactly the same, I don’t believe it. I have met with so many sellers who are upside down on their mortgage simply because a lender over-appraised their home and allowed them access to more equity than currently existed in their home. If you perhaps ordered an independent appraisal of your home, please keep in mind that the appraiser was being paid by you, the homeowner, and in my experience these appraisals can be inflated.

3. What your neighbor’s home sold for: In our market, especially when it comes to resale, each and every home is different and has its own nuances. Although you might think that the neighbor’s house down the street was just like yours, I would bet that there are some differences. And even if they were very similar, when did your neighbor sell his home? What was their situation? What was their buyer’s situation? And most importantly, how did you come to find out what the home sold for? Often what a neighbor said they sold for and what they actually sold for are different. Neighbors leave out closing costs paid for the buyer, major repairs, and sometimes they just leave out the real sales price. It’s a pride thing.

4. What you paid for the house, what you owe on the house, what you need to sell it for: These are all pretty self explanatory. And I will use the stock market example again. Just like a stock on Wall Street, none of these factors have any bearing on a stock’s value. Can you imagine if an investor went to Wall Street and demanded a price based on what they paid for the stock, or what they need from the stock? They would be laughed off of Wall Street. The same applies to the real estate market. Once you decide to sell your home, it is no longer about what you need or desire from the sale, it is about what the market will support.

5. How much you have put into it: Please keep in mind that there is no single home improvement project that will return 100 percent of the investment cost. According to the 2015 Cost vs. Value report, the highest return on investment from a home improvement project was 70.9 percent and it was for fiber cement siding replacement. They estimated the cost of that project at almost $15,000. It is an unfair expectation to recapture all of your investment in home improvement. It placed unrealistic pressure on a homeowner and can take the fun out of selling. Don’t do that to yourself.

If there is one thing I would ask you to take from this column, it is this: no more than 30 percent of the buyers out there are willing to pay even 3-5 percent over fair market value for a home. Even in a hot market. Therefore, by overpricing your home you have eliminated 70 percent of the buyer pool. Yet in a hot market, when a home is priced fairly and is in good condition, it can often receive multiple offers bidding the price up 3-5 percent. You see, it is all about perceived value. Starting at a fair price is the key.

Selfie with a Sign Location List

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If you’re here from our Facebook page, scroll down for a list of current sign locations. If you happened upon this post without visiting our Facebook page first, please “Like” us on Facebook and check out our “Selfie with a Sign” contest!

Announcing our Selfie with a Sign contest! We are pretty proud of our brand-new signs and hope you like them too! We have 16 of these beauties in front of homes around town and we want to see your best/funniest/craziest poses with them. Post a “selfie with a sign” photo to our Facebook page by Wednesday Friday at 5 PM. We will then randomly choose a winner, who will get a $100 Visa gift card (heck, maybe we’ll even throw in a selfie stick)! See below for a list of our current sign locations. We can’t wait to see your selfies! (And don’ t worry – we’ve let our sellers know about the contest, so you don’t need to feel self-conscious about hanging out in someone else’s yard for a few minutes.)

Sign Locations
5206 W. 71st St., Prairie Village, KS
7062 Granada Rd., Prairie Village, KS
5615 W. 81st Terr., Prairie Village, KS
7416 Springfield St., Prairie Village, KS
7740 Howe Dr., Prairie Village, KS
2817 W. 74th St., Prairie Village, KS
3724 W. 77th St., Prairie Village, KS
5642 Horton St., Mission, KS
8116 Lowell Ave., Overland Park, KS
11100 & 11102 W. 113th St., Overland Park, KS
13206 W. 66th Terr., Overland Park, KS
5721 Metcalf Ct., Overland Park, KS
818 W. 77th St., Kansas City, MO

Your home: Projects for the warm weekend

Water hose

Here it is the first week of February and the temps are going to be almost in the 70s. Unbelievable! That means no more cabin fever. At least for the weekend, that is.

It is hard to believe that spring is quickly approaching. So how can you take advantage of the warm weather and get a head start on your spring home maintenance?

Here are a few ideas:

  • 1. Clean your gutters and downspouts. Although most of the leaves have fallen at this point, you would be surprised at how packed your gutters may be. Cleaning them now will avoid that nasty “spill-over” surprise when we get the first spring rain and your gutters look more like a waterfall than a gutter.
  • 2. Change your furnace filter. We have had some pretty cold temperatures recently and your furnace has been working hard. Give it a little treat by changing the furnace filter. It will run more efficiently and you will improve the air quality in your home at the same time.
  • 3. Check your sump pump (if you have one). Double check your sump pump to ensure that it is operational before the spring rains come. More often than not, your sump pump does not get used much during the winter and sometimes the lack of use can cause it to fail. If you google “how to test your sump pump” you will find numerous articles and videos on how to test it properly.
  • 4. Inspect your roof. Snow and ice can wreak havoc on a roof. Once all of the snow melts this weekend, it would be a good idea to walk your roof and check for any cracked or damaged shingles. Damaged shingles can allow for water penetration if they are not repaired. While your are up on the roof, you might as well check out your chimney crown. That is the concrete cap on top of your chimney. Over time this can crack and allow water in as well.
  • 5. Inspect the caulking around your windows and doors. This one speaks for itself. This is a tedious project and a necessary one. And not just for older homes. Depending upon how extreme the exposure is, your windows and doors and take a beating both from wind, rain and snow, and sun. Caulking and glazing on windows can prevent a much bigger problem like water finding its way into your walls.
  • 6. Clean out your garage. I am not really talking about organizing your garage. I am talking about sweeping and mopping or spraying out your garage to get rid of all of the salt and sand that had been brought in by your vehicles. The products used to melt ice on our roads and walkways can be pretty hard on your floors and carpets when tracked in from the garage.
  • 7. Disconnect your hoses. I have been guilty of this one before. I admit that I have left a hose hooked up outside all winter long before. In my youth, of course, when I did not know any better. If you have a hose still hooked up outside, disconnect it this weekend. Trust me. Not only might you save the hose from splitting, you might prevent your exterior hose bib from freezing and cracking and causing a leak.
  • 8. Check smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. These items don’t typically get paid attention to until it is too late. Take this weekend to change the batteries and test your smoke detectors. Also double check the pressure in your fire extinguishers. It is far better to be safe than sorry when it comes to house fires.

Photo Credit: Nick Harris on

Charleston Charter

Your home: How to choose a home inspector

House - Checkmarks
Home inspections aren’t just for buyers these days. As a matter of fact, 99 percent of our selling clients last year performed a pre-inspection on their home before putting it on the market. By pre-inspecting a home, the seller not only identifies any serious issues that should be addressed, but they also help to bulletproof the sale of their home by eliminating the chance of any big surprises once they go under contract and go through inspections. The benefits of a pre-inspection could be a column topic all by itself, so let’s stick to the first question.

How do you choose a home inspector?

I truly feel home inspectors get a bad rap. I am not saying that there aren’t some less than favorable home inspectors out there. As with my own industry, it is not hard to become a home inspector. Easy entrance into a job field means that you have do do your due diligence to ensure that you find a competent and professional inspector.

The home inspection is one of the most crucial steps in a home purchase or in home preparation for the market. Therefore, you have to do your best to find an inspector with experience who is also learning-based. You don’t just want someone who does the minimum.

Here are some helpful questions to ask inspectors as you are interviewing them:

  • 1. Are you a member of a professional inspector’s organization? In my opinion, any inspector worth his salt is a member of one of these national organizations: the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (IACHI). These organizations have minimum standard education requirements and also maintain a code of ethics of some sort. Being a member does not guarantee that your inspector is a rock star, it is just a good place to start.
  • 2. How much experience do you have? Everyone has to be new once, I just don’t know if you want to roll the dice with a brand new inspector when it comes to the sale of your home or the purchase of your new home. I have found that the best inspectors tend to have a background in some sort of industry that would support them being a good inspector. Builders, general contractors, electricians, and engineers can all become good inspectors.
  • 3. What will you inspect? Make sure that the things that concern you will be covered in the inspection. Any good inspector should be very clear on what they inspect and what they don’t.
  • 4. How long do your inspections generally take? This is a good question if for nothing else to help budget your time. I have been the victim (and, yes, I mean victim) of a few four-hour inspections before. Unless you are inspecting a mansion, a home inspection should never take four hours. There is a difference between detailed and slow. The average home inspection takes about two to three hours. That is unless you use a bigger company who brings out more than one inspector on the same home. In that case, it can take one to two hours. More than one inspector is actually my preference. Two sets of eyes is better than one and it is a more efficient use of my client’s time.
  • 5. What kind of report do you provide? Okay, so here is where my personal preference will come in to play. I believe that every inspector should be able to provide you with an electronic copy of your inspection (PDF or Word Doc) including photos within 24 hours of the inspection. Time is of the essence when you are working within a ten-day inspection period. You don’t want to spend any of that time waiting for your inspection report. There are some old school inspectors out there who still hand write their inspection reports. Just like there are still Realtors out there who refuse to use online contracts and digital signatures with their clients. But is that choice about the client needs and providing efficient service, or is it about the Realtor’s preference? I would say it is the former. The same applies to inspectors. Today’s buyers expect their information ASAP and in a clean digital format with color photos. And I for one believe they deserve it.

If you are looking to purchase a home or to perform a pre-inspection on your current home and would like a recommendation for a great home inspection company, please email us and we would be happy to refer to one.​

Photo Credit: Chris Potter

My New Web Site

Your home: Was buying my home a good investment?

Scrabble - Return on InvestmentJust this week I have had the privilege to meet with three couples, all of whom purchased their current homes in 2007.  When it came to the current market value of their homes, all three were in a similar position.  Their homes were worth pretty close to what they paid for them in 2007.  One of the couples was pleasantly surprised by this, while the other two seemed a little deflated.

“I thought that owning a home was a good investment?”, one couple said.  And the answer is …. IT IS.

I meet with sellers every day and I take their equity very seriously.  Certainly, I would like to see every seller sell his or her home for way more than they paid for it.  Unfortunately, that is just not reality.  Home values suffered some major dips during the recession.  In 2008, national home values dropped 9.8 percent and then dropped again by 12.5 percent in 2009.  For those who purchased in 2007, you endured about a five-year “equity vacuum” before values began to recover in 2012.

I realize that this does not take the sting out of little or no equity growth after eight years of owning a home.  Perhaps it easier for me to see the bright side because throughout the recession we worked with seller after seller who had to write a check at closing to sell their home.  That’s right – they paid to sell their home.  I saw families write checks for more than $20,000 to close the deal.  That was really tough to see.  When your business is built on the fact that home ownership is a good investment and yet your clients are suffering a loss because of it, it is hard not to feel disillusioned.

I often say that I am thankful for the recession because it taught me so many valuable lessons when it comes to pricing, watching the markets for trending, and communicating with clients (even when the news is bad).  Really, I could go on and on about what the recession taught me.

One lesson that it reaffirmed is that real estate is a smart way to build wealth over time.  That last part is the most important:  Over time.  Although the recession lasted for just about 5 1/2 years, it felt like an eternity.  But in the scheme of things, it was a relatively short period.  And the great news is that its over and the markets are healthier than ever.  Yet we must keep in mind, as with most investments, real estate has proven to be a sound investment over a spectrum of time.  And we are not even taking into consideration the tax benefits, the potential capital gains savings, and the fact that in the long term buying a home is cheaper than renting.  

The really great news is that if these same families that I met with this week had called me two years ago to sell their homes, they would have discovered that they were upside down on their mortgages.  However, due to the strong recovery, just two short years later they are back in the black.  

There are also two sides to every story.  The market may seem a little deflating to those who purchased in 2007 while at the same time the market is awesome for those who purchased a little later.  Homeowners who purchased in 2010 and 2011 are currently selling with substantial gains because they bought when values were at the bottom.  For them, real estate is clearly an awesome investment.

I must offer one proviso.  Every home, especially older ones, are different.  Please know that we consider every home’s fair market value on a case-by-case basis.  For example, if a homeowner purchased in 2007 and has made substantial improvements to their home, they will most likely sell for more than they paid. 

If you would like to know where your equity stands as of today, please call or email us today.  We are here to help.

Photo Credit: Simon Cunningham

Your home: Why a real estate ‘team’?

team photo

TEAM: Together Everybody Achieves More

Well, that pretty much sums up the answer to the question, “Why a real estate team?” And before I get into the specifics, I must acknowledge a few people. My team, that is.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Leah Taylor (my beautiful wife and Lead Buyer Specialist), Rebecca Holcombe (our incredible Director of Operations), Julie Davidson (our ever-delightful Transaction Coordinator), Christina Lee (our hard-working Showing Specialist), and David Taylor (my dad and the hardest working Runner in the business). Our team had the privilege of working with 89 families last year, which was a record for us. And we could not have done it without the aforementioned incredible team of people. I am so thankful to be in business with them all. Thank you guys! From the bottom of my heart.

I want to first say that there are some incredible “single agents” out there. By that, I mean agents who work on their own without a team. Although, even a single agent has a team of lending professionals, title representatives, and probably some supporting staff at their real estate office. Everyone needs leverage.

We have chosen to grow a team because it allows us to provide the best possible service and in a timely manner. As listed above, each member of our team has a specific role in which they specialize. My role of Listing Specialist, for example, allows me to focus solely on selling the houses that we have listed in MLS. So my job is to identify trends in our market that affect pricing and inventory levels. In addition to that, I actively prospect every day for buyers for our listings. This is why when you call my voicemail it says that I will return calls at 11:30 a.m. I am on the phone prospecting for buyers and sellers from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. every day. My specialized role allows me to protect my time to ensure that I deliver results for our sellers. My clients don’t want me out showing homes. They want me selling their home so they can purchase a new one.

Now let’s look at our buyer team: As I mentioned, Leah is our Lead Buyers Specialist and she works in tandem with our Showing Specialist, Christina. First, the two of them conduct a buyer’s consultation to get a clear understanding of what a buyer is searching for in a home. Then Christina refines their search and starts the showing process. Their goal is to show our client the best homes out there, not every home that is available. The consultation allows them to weed out homes that would be a waste of the client’s time to see based on their criteria. Once our client identifies the home that they would like to make an offer on, Leah then helps our client to create a strong offer, presents the offer, and shrewdly negotiates on their behalf.

The buyer team partnership allows our clients to have two agents instead of one. Two agents can allow for more availability and flexibility when it comes to showing homes. By Leah handling all of the offer writing and negotiations, Christina is freed up to show more homes. Therefore, our clients don’t have to wait as often as one might with a single agent.

The best example that I have heard given is the doctor’s office example. What if you went to your doctor’s office and when you walked in your doctor was answering the phones and taking information at the counter? And then when your name was called, your doctor weighed you and took your blood pressure. Your were then led to a room where your doctor performed your check-up. As you were leaving, your doctor then handled your insurance requirements and payment.

Would that shock you to see your doctor in all of those roles? Of course it would. Would your doctor be very proficient in his business or in his level of medical care if he were wearing all of the hats? I don’t think so. You want your doctor to be focused on you when you are in his office, not accounts payable, right? Wouldn’t you want your Realtor, the person who is assisting with the purchase or sale of your home, to have that same focus on your specific needs? That is why we have a team.

Photo Credit: Dawn (Willis) Manser