SELLER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We’re sometimes asked some pretty tough questions — and should be. Here are a few:
» WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY A “FULL SERVICE” REAL ESTATE BROKER?
— Direct access to the advanced training, licensing, and expertise of a real estate broker, not only the salesperson licensee.
— Full and personal attention given to you and your property in every aspect of the sale process. Our practice of real estate is relationship-based, which means our business model is centered entirely on providing personal service to our clients, not on achieving a high volume of transactions.
— Experience with your type of residential property. We work extensively with single-family homes ranging from estates to condominiums to manufactured homes, and also with multi-family investment properties.
— Full-scale marketing and networking, including active membership in 3 Multiple Listing Services marketing directly to agents throughout the South Coast and Southern California regions, and marketing worldwide to all the major Internet sites. We have the expertise to recognize the most compelling features of your property, and we’ll expend whatever time, effort, and cost may be needed to present them to prospective buyers.
— Broad experience in probate, estate, and trust sales; interacting with related attorneys and other professionals; and experience in court confirmation processes.
» WHY SHOULD I HIRE AN AGENT WHEN I CAN JUST SELL BY OWNER?
There are so many reasons to not sell your own property that we couldn’t possibly list them here. The short answer is that it comes down to really knowing how proceed as each of the many questions, challenges, and legal requirements arise. We don’t learn this from books, and we sure don’t pick it up on the Internet. It’s about knowing, in each instance, how to apply the expertise that comes from on-the-job experience. We can assure you that you stand to lose much more than you stand to gain by not hiring an experienced professional. Contact us and we’ll give you all the points to back this up!
» WHY SHOULD I HIRE YOU WHEN I CAN SAVE MONEY WITH A DISCOUNT BROKER?
The only way a discount brokerage can survive financially is to “play the numbers” as a high-volume business operating at reduced costs. But real estate agency is not a numbers game, it’s a people business – and a personal service. When you hire John Villar & Associates you have our fullest attention at all times, ready to incur whatever costs necessary to properly market your property, and personally handling all aspects of the sale process. Without that, you stand to lose far more on the sale than you could ever save in commission.
» ISN’T IT TRUE THAT ALL REAL ESTATE AGENTS PROVIDE PRETTY MUCH THE SAME SERVICE?
Absolutely not! This myth takes its toll in money, headaches, and heartaches. Agents vary widely in how they understand and approach their business, how seriously they take their responsibilities to their clients, and how skilled they are in advising, marketing and communicating, negotiating, and providing customer service. Trust your intuition on this. If something about the agent you hire seems lacking, it probably is.
» WHAT’S BETTER ABOUT A SMALL, INDEPENDENT REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE?
Complete confidentiality and greater flexibility and efficiency in adjusting to your needs and the needs of the property sale campaign. The big brokerages, of necessity, will have the bureaucratic controls and restrictive self-serving policies that come with having hundreds — or tens of thousands — of agents.
And our company does not have any of the administrative fees, transaction fees, or late-closing fees that many of the big-box companies charge in addition to commissions. Bigger is definitely not better!
» CAN YOU PROVIDE ASSISTANCE WITH MORE THAN JUST THE SALE?
Absolutely. We will advise and help you with preparing your property for sale; staging, if needed; finding vendors for household repairs, organizing, packing, and moving. And we can help you find your replacement home anywhere, either working with you ourselves, locally, or referring you to appropriate agents in other areas. You’ll find the assistance we provide meets or exceeds the services of even the biggest real estate brokers, and our company does not charge vendors a “fee” to be on the recommended list; nor do we own the companies I recommend.
» DOES IT PAY TO FIX UP MY PROPERTY FOR SELLING?
More often than not, yes. But what kind of fix-up and how much to do – and how much to spend – will vary widely depending on your property, your pool of prospective buyers, and your goals in selling. After reviewing all of these, and with years of observing buyers plus several times having done it myself, we can give you real-world input about what will likely be most effective in your case.
» HOW MANY OPEN HOUSES WILL YOU DO?
Typically, we’ll do at least a few, some just for agents and some for the public. It depends on your household circumstances and the marketing needs of your property. Some properties benefit from public open houses more than others; but the truth is, public open houses are more for the benefit of the agent than the property. This is how most agents are exposed to prospective sellers and buyers of other properties.
» WHAT ABOUT OFFICE EXCLUSIVES?
Except in a very few cases where a seller has extreme security issues and is willing to concede a reduced sale price, such as a celebrity or otherwise highly public figure, taking the “office exclusive” approach is counter-productive. Achieving the best possible outcome for the sale of your property requires marketing it to the widest possible pool of prospective buyers, but office exclusives restrict the marketing process to the broker’s own company. This tends to benefit the broker more than the seller because very often there’s no buyer’s broker to receive part of the commission.
» WHAT EXACTLY IS THE MLS?
The Multiple Listing Service is a database of properties for sale within a certain locale or region. It’s produced from within the real estate industry and is available to all real estate agents who are subscribers to that particular MLS. In that respect, it’s a private Internet-based database, not available to the public. Agents can forward information about your property to their buyers, with certain information redacted, for security.
The MLS a very powerful marketing tool in that it disseminates the most complete, accurate, and pertinent information about your property to the most valuable prospects — local agents and their buyers. Most agents subscribe only to the local MLS. We are members of three MLS services which cover pretty much all of Southern California.
» WHAT ABOUT THE SECURITY OF MY HOME WHILE IT’S ON THE MARKET?
While security problems only rarely arise, it can happen. But there’s much that can be done to manage security during the marketing process. The real estate industry has developed a number of measures such as electronic lock boxes and careful management of information that appears in the Multiple Listing Service, and you and we will evaluate your home together as regards on-site security and any hazardous conditions. In addition, we’ve developed a pamphlet that will help you manage the security of your home.
» HOW WILL YOU USE THE INTERNET TO MARKET MY PROPERTY?
Using the Internet, buyers anywhere in the world can access information about your property, but it can easily become just one needle in a very large, constantly changing haystack. Our approach is to make your property stand out by presenting concise and pertinent descriptions combined with the most compelling images possible — carefully planned photographs of your property and your community. Our listings have an enhanced presence on Realtor.com and appear on pretty much all of the best-known real estate web sites. We also use massive email campaigns to keep your property prominent among agents and prospective buyers.
» YOU’RE PUTTING MY HOME ON THE INTERNET. IS THAT SAFE?
Anything posted on the Internet public web sites is subject to viewing by anyone, anywhere. That massive exposure is both the good news, in terms of marketing, and the bad news as regards security. Our marketing plans are typically designed for maximum Internet presence with excellent photography to catch prospective buyers’ interest. But you and we will discuss what will be considered safe to post and what will not, and you can direct us to not post anything at all on the Internet.
» WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN AGENT, A BROKER, AND A REALTOR?
In California real estate, “agent” is a generic term applied to both a real estate salesperson and the broker who employs that person. A salesperson is an individual who’s passed certain minimum course requirements, some background screening, and the real estate salesperson exam. A salesperson can only do business under the supervision of a licensed broker. By far, most agents in California are licensed as salespersons.
A real estate broker is an individual who has specific advanced real estate education and experience, and has passed background screening and a rigorous state broker licensing exam. A broker can function as a salesperson and/or operate a real estate brokerage and employ salespersons.
A Realtor is a member of the California Association of Realtors. This is a trade organization which both salespersons and brokers can join, for an annual fee. Membership in the Association of Realtors is not required to practice as a real estate agent or broker in California, nor does it indicate a particular level of expertise. “Realtor” is a trademark term that, strictly speaking, should be applied only to members of the Association of Realtors, not to all real estate agents.