Choosing An Agent, Preparing For Sale, Preparing to Sell, Selling Tips, The Listing Process, The Selling Process, Tips During the Listing

Did You Have A Failed Listing?

  • Why do you think your home didn’t sell?​
  • If you got feedback, what was it?​
  • How was your home marketed?​
  • Were any showings refused?​
  • Did you receive or refuse any offers?​
  • Was the price adjusted? If no, why not?​
  • Did you receive regular progress reports?​
  • Were there any public and/or broker opens?​
  • Did you have a professional photographer?​
  • Did you have a video walk through done?​
  • Are you still committed to selling the property?​
  • Have you made recent updates?​
  • What is the debt against the property? ​

Choosing An Agent, Preparing For Sale, Preparing to Sell, Selling Tips, The Listing Process

Top 13 Questions For Before You List

  • What drew you to this home when you bought it?​
  • What is your favorite/least favorite thing about this house?​
  • What is your favorite/least favorite thing about this neighborhood?​
  • What sets your home apart from others ?​
  • Why are you looking to sell?​
  • How soon do you need to move?​
  • Which is more important—price or timing?​
  • What challenges do you see in selling your home?​
  • Who do you think is the ideal buyer for this home?​
  • What is your plan if your home doesn’t sell in the time period you indicated?​
  • What qualities do you want in your agent?​
  • Do you have a ballpark price in mind? ​
  • Tell me about your home – how long you’ve lived here, what you like best about it and whether you’ve performed any renovations or major repairs.​

Choosing An Agent, Preparing For Sale, Preparing to Sell, Selling Tips, The Listing Process

The Role Of A Sellers Agent

The role of an agent is to guide and advise you through the process. We’re a team, working together! ​

  • Help you determine the highest possible selling price for your home ​
  • Present a list of suggested repairs or presentation tips, if necessary ​
  • Recommend reputable repair companies, if necessary​
  • Take professional pictures and video for marketing purposes ​
  • Share your home with our extensive global network ​
  • Enter your home in the local listing services​
  • Advertise your home to ensure the greatest exposure to buyers​
  • Arrange showings​
  • Gather and present feedback from showings​
  • Present and negotiate offers on your behalf​
  • Guide you through the contract and attorney review process​
  • Guide you through the home inspection & appraisal​
  • Guide you through township and state requirements​
  • Assist the attorney & title company in closing needs-iemonitor buyer’s loan and progress​
  • Assist you on the purchase of your next home, if necessary​
  • Be present at closing to ensure a successful transaction & to CELEBRATE!​

Buying Tips, Choosing An Agent, Choosing An Agent- Buyer, Researching to Buy, Tips For the Buyer

Buyer’s Agent Role

For most people, buying a home is generally the most expensive transaction they will make in their lifetime. And during this costly purchase, there are a lot of processes to go through. Hiring a real estate agent such as myself as your exclusive buyers agent to represent you in the purchase of your home will prove beneficial. ​

Buyers aren’t responsible for the commission payout for their agent. (With the exception of special, rare circumstances.) So without the cost of paying an agent out of pocket, you’ll receive the experience and guidance to help you through a process that could otherwise be emotionally exhausting if you are going it alone. You also get to have access to view more homes and have a clearer view on how the market is in your area as I have magic keys & localized data!  Buyers agents such as myself, are trained negotiators and know the process! Need help aligning your other professionals?  I can help!  ​

Unfortunately, sites like Zillow, Trulia and REALTOR.COM can contain outdated listings, properties that are not available and misrepresent property values. I will be able to send you a list of active properties for sale, help you go out to view them and obtain exclusive information from the sellers and agents.  I can help you find the perfect home BEFORE somebody else gets it under contract!  ​

I will work hard to help you find your dream home and avoid the pitfalls of buying a home by doing it on your own.  I am an agent who knows the area, the market and  love to find dream homes!   Contact me for all previews and questions so that I can guide you through the process and continue to ​
adapt to your needs. ​

Laws in NJ about agency can be found in the ​
Consumer Information Statement. ​

Choosing An Agent, The Selling Process, Tips During the Listing, Uncategorized

How to Spark a Bidding War For Your Home

The housing market is on fire! Jonathan Smoke, our chief economist, describes it as the strongest real estate market we’ve seen in a decade. Prices are at an all-time high, and still homes are flying off the proverbial shelves. But even in a fast-paced market like this, there are no guarantees for an individual home.

So how can a seller incite the kind of bidding war that pushes a home’s price well over asking? We talked to experienced real estate agents for advice on how to get buyers to turn up and bid in droves

Price your home to move

One bidding war basic is to price low to sell high.

 “Pricing the property below its true value can be scary, but it will attract a lot of attention to the property and generate multiple showings in the first few days on market,” says Morgan Franklin with United Real Estate Lexington in Kentucky. “Ideally, that will drive the multiple-offer scenario that will yield a price above listing.”

But how low should you go? Even just 5% below market value will tempt buyers with the prospect of a deal and cause a stampede to your front door. Of course, the success of this pricing strategy depends on your particular market, so talk to your agent and understand the circumstances before making a decision.

Set a deadline for offers

People don’t want to miss out, and setting a deadline can light a fire under procrastinators. But this strategy isn’t for everyone.

“You only want to do this when you know you are priced right, have a ton of showings lined up, and have heard from agents that offers will come in,” warns Liane Jamason, broker associate at Smith & Associates Real Estate, in Tampa Bay, FL.

She usually waits until she has at least two offers on the table and then adds a note in the MLS and alerts all parties she knows are showing the home. The verbiage she uses is something like, “We are in receipt of multiple offers. Seller has requested all buyers submit their highest and best offers by Friday at 5 p.m.” She says that a recent deadline received 12 offers, with the highest one at $16,000 over asking price.

Take a different view of listing photos

A picture is worth a thousand words, but listings usually showcase them in the same boring way, says Whitney Nicely, principal broker with Whitney Buys Houses in Knoxville, TN.

“Most people feature a straight-on picture of the front of the house,” she explains. But other angles could be much more eye-catching. One option is a corner picture, which allows the potential buyer to easily see two sides of the house. Or, select a picture highlighting a special feature—such as your kitchen, to allow the potential buyer to imagine cooking for the family, or your glorious backyard, to highlight outdoor living opportunities.

“A potential buyer is not always going to scroll through 36 pictures, so like my mama always told me, if you’ve got it, you’d better flaunt it,” she says.

Fuel buyers’ interest ahead of time

Jamason is a believer in advance marketing to spark interest in a property before it is listed. Use all your social media channels, and distribute a mass email to contacts, potential clients, and agents alike to spread the word that your home is coming on the market soon.

Another strategy is to put the home in the multiple listing service, but do not allow any showings until the open house that weekend, suggests Realtor® Tracey Hampson of Century 21 Troop Real Estate in Santa Clarita, CA.

“It creates a little frenzy, because everyone wants what they can’t have,” she says. “So if you show them this beautiful home and then say, ‘but you can’t see it until the open house,’ it drives people crazy and creates activity and buzz for a listing.”

Stage an over-the-top open house

To stoke a bidding war, don’t be shy about going big for the open house—which is second nature to David Parnes and James Harris of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing,” who recently threw a lavish open house for a Hollywood Hills home inspired by the Burning Man festival.

The extravagant party featured an open bar, caterers, dancers, DJs, costumes, tarot card readers, body and face painters, human lampshades, and confetti machines.

“The party was insane and ending up generating numerous bids that sold the house for over asking price,” Parnes said. “Building buzz around a property helps to generate offers.”

Of course, celeb glamour isn’t the only way to up your open house game. Jamason recommends a “mega open house,” with hundreds of signs around town, a band, an art showing or other unique feature, and noteworthy food.

“Really go above and beyond to have the house filled with people,” she says. “The more people who see it, the more interest you will generate.”

After reading this article, Melissa Christopher, Ocean County, NJ Realtor has the following insight:
Selling your NJ home fast is possible and every sellers dream!  Having a bidding war? Now that is like the ultimate dream for most NJ home sellers.  Although, it doesn’t happen in every real estate transaction, it is possible! Some homes show exceptionally well.  Homes that are clean and staged per the advice of your real estate agent an priced according to the current real estate market of Ocean County, NJ have a great shot.  But, all of that won’t make a difference unless the real estate agent you have chosen markets your home!  The agent who brings the most pre-qualified buyers to the table that they can be extensively marketing your home for sale in NJ will have the best shot at a bidding war.
Choosing An Agent, Preparing to Sell, The Selling Process, Uncategorized

What are Housing Comps?

Homes are unlike the majority of other things people buy in that the price isn’t set in stone. Sure, the listing might include an “asking price,” but as this term suggests, that’s just a request rather than a hard, unwavering demand. And that’s why comps are so important. So what exactly are comps?

Short for housing “comparables,” comps are a way to help you figure out what a home is worth based on the recent sales prices of similar properties in the area. Home sellers (and their real estate agents) use comps to help them come up with their asking price, while buyers can use comps to come up with how much to offer. As such, it’s an important concept for both buyers and sellers to master.

Here are the basics on how to find comps and wield them to your advantage.

What are comps?

With housing comps, you ideally want to compare apples to apples—not apples to kiwi (which is, let’s face it, a strikingly unappealing fruit). In other words, it’s important for comps to be as similar to your own property as possible. While what constitutes a comp for a home will depend on each particular market, here are some ballpark parameters:

  • Same location: According to John Lyons, a real estate broker with Baird & Warner in Chicago, a comp is usually considered a property located within a half-mile radius of the home in question.

  • Same size: If the house in question is 5,000 square feet, you’ll ideally want to look at other houses hovering around 5,000 square feet.

  • Number of bedrooms/bathrooms: When push comes to shove, this matters more than square footage. “While size is important, utility is a better gauge for comparability,” says Christine Lutz, director of residential brokerage for Kinzie Brokerage in Chicago. “You can have a three-bedroom, three-bath unit that’s 2,000 square feet, or you can have that same square footage in a one-bedroom/one-bath. Bedroom and bathroom counts need to be similar in order to be considered actually comparable.”

  • Recent sales price: Since housing prices change from month to month, your comps should ideally be homes that were sold within the past six months to a year tops.

  • Style, view, and other details: Units in the same high-rise may have different views—one of a lake, the other of a parking lot. So although they’re similar in terms of bedrooms and square footage, the lake view should be taken into account, too, and compared with other properties with lake views in the area. Meanwhile if you’re looking at attached dwellings such as townhouses or co-op apartments, end units typically fetch a higher price than interior units with homes on each side due to the added noise issues and/or fewer windows.

How to find comps and use them during negotiations

To find comps, you can start by looking for recent listings in your area on®. But for a full, deep dive into the numbers, you’ll want to enlist the help of your real estate agent or other professional. The reason: Listings typically feature the asking price, but not the final sales price (which could be higher or lower and is a more accurate gauge of a home’s market value).

Luckily, your real estate agent will have access to databases with more detail like the multiple listing service. Realtors will also know how to synthesize all this information into an asking price (or offer) you can justify and stand by, which is important once the negotiations on a home get rolling.

For instance, let’s say you’re selling your home for $200,000 and some buyer lowballs you with $170,000. Comps will allow you (or rather your agent) to go back to the buyer and say, “Another three-bedroom with about the same square footage a block away just sold last month for $190,000! So, we’re fairly confident we can find a buyer who’ll pay at least that much. Care to raise your offer to $185,000 at least?”

Or else, let’s say you fall in love with a home with the asking price of $400,000. You’re tempted to pay what’s asked, but then you find out that the comps are going for only $350,000—which means you’d be overpaying by $50,000! This is an instance where you and your agent could inform the home seller, “Hey, we found comps in your area going for $350,000. So that’s why we’re offering you $360,000 and think it’s a fair offer.”

Keep in mind, though, that comps are more of an art than a science, which is why different professionals may come to different conclusions. Nonetheless, comps add oomph to back up whatever you’re asking for (or offering), strengthening your negotiation position and saving you tens of thousands of dollars. In other words, it pays, literally, to have comps in your corner.

After reading this article, Melissa Christopher, Ocean County, NJ Realtor has the following insight:
NJ Real Estate Agent lingo calls these “comps” Comparable Market Analysis (CMA’s).  These are essential in pricing your NJ home for sale.  The information that real estate agents are able to pull from the MLS on home sales is essential in appropriately pricing your home and preparing these reports.  These comparable market analysis reports are free to you, the potential seller.  When online sites use the what’s your home worth calculators, they are not always accurate.  Why?  Not all houses are the same.  The data the calculator pulls is computer enabled and may have pulled a home with a dated kitchen as opposed to a kitchen that is fully modern.  Or perhaps no parking, vs garage parking.  There are many variables.  A real estate agent professional is the best way to get your estimated home values worth in NJ.  Contact me today and I’ll be glad to do a report for you!
Choosing An Agent, Preparing to Sell, Uncategorized

6 Surefire Signs It’s Time to Sell Your Home

Most people don’t plan on living in their first (or second or maybe even third) home forever, but knowing when the time is right to put that baby on the market can be tricky.

In fact, it can feel kind of like breaking up with a longtime boyfriend or girlfriend. Deep down, you knew you wouldn’t be with that person forever—but ending things can be way easier said than done.

Sometimes life changes force the issue: There’s little reason for self-doubt or trauma-level angst if you’re relocating to another state or you know your newborn twins won’t fit in your one-bedroom bungalow. But without a pressing reason staring you in the face, it can be hard to know when you’ve outgrown your home.

So how do you know when it’s the right time to let go?

1. You’re feeling cramped, and you can’t add on

Your family might not be growing, but that doesn’t mean your lifestyle still fits in your current house.

 If you’ve started working from home, for example, or you’ve adopted an extended family of indoor cats—or maybe you’ve just never gotten over your dream of having a sewing room—your house might be too small.

But before you jump to conclusions, see if paring down your possessions works to free up some space.

Another option might be to finish an attic or basement, add another room, or even add a whole story to your home. But, of course, that won’t work for everyone.

“If your property isn’t large enough or your municipality doesn’t allow it, moving to a bigger home may be your best option,” says Will Featherstone, founder of Featherstone & Co. of Keller Williams Excellence in Baltimore.

 To decide which route to take, check your local building laws and get estimates from two or three contractors. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with your Realtor®. Sometimes adding on won’t increase the value of a home, and you don’t want to make big-time improvements that will bring only a small-time return on your investment.

 2. You have too much space

On the other hand, perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed by vacant rooms and silence. (Hello, empty nesters!)

“In this case, it no longer makes sense to have, say, four bedrooms and a basement,” Featherstone says.

Saying goodbye to a family home can be difficult, but you should consider how feasible it is to stay. If yardwork and house upkeep are getting to be a little too much, or soaring utility bills are cramping your style, it might make more sense to move.

3. You’re over the neighborhood

Maybe you can no longer deal with the rigid rules of your homeowners association, or perhaps your neighbors turned their house into a rental for frat guys. Whatever the reason, neighborhood dynamics can change dramatically over time.

 And sometimes, you can change. Maybe the 40-minute commute to work didn’t seem like such a big deal the first few years, but now you’re dreading it every day. Or your kids are getting older, which can be a big problem if you’re not in the right location.

 “If you can’t afford a private school system, you are limited to one school for your children,” Featherstone says. “Moving may be a benefit to your child’s education.”

4. Remodeling won’t offer a return on your investment

Giving your kitchen or bathroom a face-lift can make your house feel like new again, which might be all you need to decide you want to stay put for years. But that doesn’t mean it’s a financially sound decision.

 “Before making significant improvements, you should really study the neighborhood and know the highest price point of your neighborhood,” Featherstone says.

 If your home is already similar in style and condition of some of the priciest homes in the neighborhood, remodeling might be a bad idea, and you should consider selling instead.

5. You can afford to sell

Sure, you’re going to make money when you actually sell your house, but as the adage goes, it takes money to make money. So seller beware: You probably won’t be sitting around and waiting for the dollars to roll in.

 “Before you consider selling, you should have the funds available to prepare your home for sale,” Featherstone says.

Most sellers need to make some minor improvements such as painting, landscaping, or updating flooring to get a good price on their home. Those costs will come out of your pocket at first, so it’s a good idea to have a cushion before you start.

6. You’re ready to compete

If you’re living in a seller’s market, you might be enticed to offload your home before things cool off. But don’t forget—once you sell, you’ll probably be a buyer, too.

 “If your market is hot, your home may sell quickly and for top dollar, but keep in mind the home you buy also will be more expensive,” Featherstone says.

 If you’re going to get out there, you should make sure you’re ready to compete.

After reading this article, Melissa Christopher, Ocean County, NJ Realtor has the following insight:

Selling your home is personal.  You have memories, good or bad, they are there.  So knowing when the right time to move is going to be a decision that won’t just be on a whim most likely.  If you need assistance in knowing the professional side of selling your NJ home, contact me, and we’ll do that.  I will be able to help you decide if it is the right time to buy financially in terms of what your home is worth in today’s market in Lacey, Manahawkin, Barnegat, Waretown, Toms River, etc.  I will be able to offer insight into the remodel that you are toying with such as, if I add a bathroom and bedroom, how much more will my home be worth when comparing it today to another similar home.  Or you are looking for a new neighborhood because your lifestyle has changed.  I will also be able to assist you in your next home purchase to upsize if you have run out of room or downsize if you have too much room (this time around you are no longer a first time buyer, so hopefully you’ll remember first time buyers tips that you went through the last time!).  I’m here to help you in your real estate search no matter what your situation is.  Contact me today and let’s get you moving!

Choosing An Agent, Preparing to Sell, The Selling Process, Tips During the Listing, Uncategorized

The Biggest Regrets of Real-Life Home Sellers

Even homeowners who’ve successfully sold their place can be plagued by the shoulda-coulda-wouldas—meaning that, looking back, they wish they’d done certain things differently. Sometimes very differently. Regret can be a beast. One with teeth.

The silver lining? We got these remorseful souls to tell us their stories so that you, future home seller, can learn from their mistakes! Read this rueful list of home sellers’ biggest regrets—and take note when the time arises for you to put your own place on the market.

Regret No. 1: Not fully preparing the place

Serious about selling your home? Spiff it up, stat! Recent seller Kim Maggio admits that she didn’t focus on making cosmetic changes before putting her Haverhill, MA, house on the market and wishes that she had.

 “I didn’t spend enough time prepping our house for sale—purging, staging, or doing small repair projects,” she says. “And I regret not planning ahead or getting real about what had to be done, because it ended up dragging out the home-selling process—in terms of finding a buyer and negotiating repairs—costing me precious time and money.”

Regret No. 2: Making the property too perfect

On the other hand don’t go overboard, either. When Jen Mason and her husband sold their Denver condo in order to buy their neighbor’s bigger apartment across the courtyard, she put extra energy into leaving the property in pristine condition.

“But why did we care about patching every nail hole, making the place look flawless, and leaving behind our beloved custom window coverings?” she gripes. “Our buyer was an older single woman who really just wanted to live in our neighborhood. All of our efforts had all been a waste.”

It’s possible to make your home look too perfect.

Regret No. 3: Staying in contact after the sale

Always do your best to keep things “just business,” Mason advises sellers. She didn’t, and is still kicking herself for it.

“Since we only moved across the street, we availed ourselves to the buyer for questions,” the Denver homeowner explains. “And she called us for at least a year on a regular basis whenever she couldn’t figure out how something worked: the house alarm, air filter, fire alarm, window screens, and on and on. It was as though my husband became her personal handyman!”

Despite their best efforts to remain friendly in the tight-knit community, she admits, “we eventually tired of her calls and stalled on our response time until she finally stopped reaching out.”

Regret No. 4: Trying to sell without an agent

“We tried to sell our home without using an agent and soon realized that in our market, and it didn’t quite work out,” says Boston-area homeowner Rebecca Addison. The approach “wasn’t really accepted by the buyer’s Realtors®, who often questioned our price point, which made things difficult.”

So she ditched the for-sale-by-owner approach and wound up enlisting a Realtor after all. “I wish we had just done it right away, because instead it set us back at least a month if not more,” she says. “And in that time people moved on and the market changed. I think we might have missed out on a better sale.”

Selling your house without a Realtor could be a risky proposition.

Regret No. 5: Caving to a buyer’s whims

Addison also learned the hard way that it doesn’t pay to bend over backward, sideways, and into intriguing pretzel shapes for a demanding buyer.

“Our buyer was really difficult and wanted us to give on so many items,” she says. “We also agreed to give the buyer money toward updating the roof so we were very frustrated on the day of closing when he wanted even more.”

Addison stood firm, and after a few hitches the sale continued thanks to an agreement between the Realtors to appease the buyer by reducing their commission.

“I found myself resentful that the buyer got away with that and got the house,” she says. “Especially when I can see for myself that he hasn’t completed any roof work in the past five years.”

Regret No. 6: Skipping the staging

“I really regret not paying the money to stage my apartment right off the bat,” confesses Chicago homeowner Rachel Bertsche. Hoping to save on expenses since she’d already bought and moved into a different home with her family, Bertsche skipped that step until it was too late.

“The money that it cost us owning the apartment longer was far more than the price it eventually cost to stage it.” That jibes with the stats on staging, in fact. Professionally staged properties spend 73% less time on the market.

Regret No. 7: Jumping at the first offer

Antsy to exit her Washington, DC, condo, Aimee Agresti and her husband acted with their hearts rather than their heads. More than a year later, she regrets it.

“We were so anxious to move, we accepted the first offer for our apartment before it even went on the market,” she confesses. “We went for it because we thought it was quick and easy, but I can’t but help think it would have been able to get much more if we’d just taken a breath.”

Regret No. 8: Picking a buyer based only on money

Valerie Blanchard dreamed of finding a buyer who’d love her bucolic Nashua, NH, property as much as she did.

“Our goal was to sell that house to a family who’d maintain it well, since it was big and in a beautiful neighborhood,” says Blanchard, who downsized to a more urban area. But she took the best deal on the table. Later, “when I drove by, I saw that their promise to care for it didn’t actually happen. It’s so disappointing and disheartening, looking back at all the work we did, the labor, the love, the hours contemplating grass seed and bushes gone to pot!”

She advises others to follow their instincts when it comes to choosing a buyer.

“It was a seller’s market when we listed the house, and we had multiple offers, so I should have held out when my gut said that these buyers won’t love the house like we do,” she says. “But I didn’t. And now when we drive by the old house, I cringe every single time.”

After reading this article, Melissa Christopher, Ocean County, NJ Realtor has the following insight:

After reading this article on Seller’s Biggest Regrets, I wish every seller would read this.  It is absolutely the best advice sellers can get on selling their homes in my personal opinion as a Realtor in NJ.  Every single point does ring true.


Choosing An Agent, Choosing An Agent- Buyer, Preparing to Sell, Uncategorized

What Is the MLS? The Multiple Listing Service, Explained

Whether you’re looking to sell or buy a home, you will no doubt encounter the multiple listing service, or MLS. This is, in many ways, the very lifeblood of the real estate business. But just what is the MLS? Sure, it’s a huge database of home listings, but there’s a lot more to it than just that. Let’s jump in!

History of the MLS

Yes, the MLS seems like an invention of the modern age. But, in fact, the term “multiple listing”—and the overarching concept behind it—was first coined in 1907. Back then it described the old-timey practice in which real estate agents would gather regularly at offices or conferences to trade info about homes they were trying to sell, hoping this network could help connect them with buyers. In 1908, the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges (the organization that later became the National Association of Realtors®) endorsed the use of this system by all agents. It quickly caught on from there, evolving, stage by stage, into the modern system in use today—online and fully searchable by price, neighborhood, and home features.

While the MLS may look like one large national database, it’s actually a suite of approximately 700 regional databases. And they’re quite territorial: Each regional MLS has its own listings, and agents pay dues to access and post homes on each one. This is why agents who want a broader reach for their clients may become a member of more than one MLS.

There is a growing trend in which regional databases “share” listings without agents needing to become members of each, but that’s still more the exception than the rule. In general, only one MLS has the keys, both figuratively and literally, to any one home.

While numerous websites aggregate home listings through highly condensed versions of MLS listings,® is by far the most comprehensive, with 99% of all MLS-listed “for sale” properties in the U.S. (And to further toot our own horn: Our listings are also the most accurate and up to date. Over 90% of “For Sale” listings are refreshed at least every 15 minutes, which can come in handy in a fast-paced housing market, where every second can count. OK, we’re done!)

How the MLS works

Home sellers can’t post their home directly to the MLS, because access to this database is limited to licensed agents and brokers who pay for membership. Once they have a client selling a home, they gather the necessary details such as the square footage, number of bedrooms, and other noteworthy attributes—as well as photos—then post a complete (and hopefully eye-catching) listing on their client’s behalf.

When agents log in, they have access to a wealth of data that they can pass along to their clients—or just help them do their business better and more strategically. And much of this goes far beyond whether a particular listing’s driveway is made up of gravel or asphalt.

“Agents are able to upload and download documents on the MLS, such as seller disclosures and HOA regulations,” notes  Florida Realtor® Cara Ameer. So even if you don’t see the info you want on, be sure to ask your agent, who may be able to deliver what you need with the click of a mouse.

Alternatives to the MLS

Home sellers who don’t want to pay a real estate agent’s commission can also list their home on a For Sale By Owner, or FSBO, site rather than the MLS. But do so with your eyes wide open: Selling a home on your own is far from easy, and FSBO homes sell for less money—on average $39,000 less. This may explain why only 8% of homes sold every year are FSBO, and the vast majority go through the MLS.

There are also a few high-profile markets—namely New York City and Seattle—where the MLS is not the only way to list a home with an agent. In these areas, large real estate brokerages such as Sotheby’s and Douglas Elliman use their own proprietary databases to list homes rather than syndicating them on the MLS. So in these markets, you may want to check directly with these brokers’ sites in addition to the usual avenues if you want to make sure that all your house hunting bases are covered.

What is a pocket listing?

Sometimes high-profile sellers working with an agent will choose not to list their home on the MLS, for privacy reasons such as to avoid publicity or looky-loos. A property that is not entered into the MLS is often called a “pocket listing,” as in, “hidden in an agent’s pocket.” That means that only those potential buyers with whom an agent works directly will be aware the home is on the market.

Typically celebrities or other high-profile people may try this route; but if you’re just a regular Joe who wants to get the word out that you’re selling, the MLS will get you the most eyeballs—and top dollar—for your home.

After reading this article, Melissa Christopher, Ocean County, NJ Realtor has the following insight:
The MLS is only accessible to agents.  Homeowners wishing to list their homes as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) will not appear in the MLS.  As a result, your home will need to be marketed to buyers and buyers agents on other platforms in different ways.
When choosing a Realtor to buy or sell your home in NJ, one should know that there are multiple MLS platforms in the state.  Find out which MLS your real estate agent is enrolled within.  For example, I am registered and utilize the Jersey Shore MLS.  Monmouth County is separate from this MLS platform.  As a result, for example, if you are selling your home in Lacey, NJ and utilize an agent that is from Monmouth County that does not hold dual powers, the listing for your home will be in the MLS for Monmouth.  What does that mean?  For agents looking in the Jersey Shore MLS which covers Ocean County the town that holds Lacey, NJ, Realtors will not find the home in a search within the parameters for Lacey, NJ Cranberry Hill neighborhood.  So choose a Realtor for the location you are looking to sell within.  Although your cousin may be a real estate agent, they may not be the best for the job to list your home.  Any questions? Contact me!
Choosing An Agent, Uncategorized

What Is a Listing Agent? Why a Home Sale Hinges on Agent’s Expertise

If you’re getting ready to sell your home, finding a listing agent should be at the top of your to-do list. But just what is a listing agent? You might have a vague mental image of someone who plants a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn and shows potential buyers around your place, but there’s plenty more to it.

Here’s a primer on what a listing agent does, how the agent makes or breaks your sale, and how to find the right agent for you.

How listing agents help you price your home

How much is your home worth? That’s a hard question to answer. You can get an estimated value by entering your address on®, but from there you’ll want to do some fine-tuning—and that’s where a good listing agent can help.

And the stakes are high: Price your home too low, and you could lose out on a lot of money. Price it too high, however, and the picture isn’t pretty either. While it may be tempting to work with an agent who says he can fetch a fortune for your home, overpricing may mean your home languishes on the market for months or even years—making buyers wonder if something’s wrong with your home and lowball you anyway.

“Listing agents have many duties and responsibilities, but at the top of the list is to properly price your home,” says Janine Acquafredda, a Realtor® with House-n-Key Realty.

To do this, a listing agent will analyze the sales prices of comparable homes, or “comps,” in your area to see where yours should fit in, and advise you accordingly.

How listing agents help you sell your home

After you determine an asking price, a listing agent should provide you with a comprehensive marketing plan detailing how she’ll get your property sold. This plan should include the following:

  • Recommendations for home improvements or home staging, if necessary. Yes, these alterations will cost you time and money, but they will improve your chances of a faster sale and higher asking price.

  • Taking photos or hiring a photographer who will be able to highlight your home’s best features.

  • Adding your home to the multiple listing service, where home buyers and their agents can view your property and decide if they’d like to come visit for a closer look.

  • Advertising and holding open houses.

  • Coordinating showings with prospective buyers.

How listings agents negotiate with buyers

Once you get an offer on your home, it’s the listing agent’s job to present it to you and advise if any haggling needs to be done. For instance, if you get an offer way below asking price, your knee-jerk reaction may be to refuse in a huff. But a listing agent might be able to negotiate with the buyers and bring that price up to a decent level—or, if the buyers truly can’t budge much, find other ways to sweeten the deal like a faster closing date or waived contingencies. These compromises can actually save you tens of thousands of dollars.

How to choose a listing agent

If you’re looking for a listing agent, you can find ones in your area at, where you’ll find such details as their years of experience, number of homes sold, clients’ reviews, and more. Don’t just move forward with the first agent you meet. Choose at least a few and ask them some questions to assess whether they’re right for you.

Here are some questions to ask a prospective listing agent:

  • How many homes have you sold in this area, and how long did it take?

  • In what price range do you sell most of your homes?

  • Do you have advice for me about the condition of my home, and what could be improved to glean a higher sales price?

  • What is your marketing plan?

  • Can you recommend contractors, photographers, moving companies, etc.?

  • Are you a member of the National Association of Realtors®? (Realtors must abide by the group’s code of ethics.)

  • Is this your full-time job? (A part-time agent is not a problem, but you will want to gauge her availability during off-hours.)

  • How often will you touch base with me?

  • Are you planning any vacations, and if so, who will back you up?

How much listing agents get paid

Listing agents don’t receive a dime unless your home gets sold. If it does, the typical agent commission is 6% of the price of your home (which is typically split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent). This price may seem substantial, but consider this: For every hour an agent spends with you, he will spend an average of nine hours behind the scenes working on your behalf. In other words, listings agents work hard to earn that commission and get your home sold.

After reading this article, Melissa Christopher, Ocean County, NJ Realtor has the following insight:

A listing agent is essential in selling your NJ home.  Can you list your home as a FSBO (For Sale By Owner)?  Yes, you can.  But you won’t have the same tools at your disposal.  Knowing what a listing agent is also is helpful for buyers.  Why?  You should understand the roles of agents in the real estate transaction in which you are involved in.