Home Base: Local Real Estate
02 Jul, 2014
By Megan McCarthy
Ten Real Estate Myths coming up. But first, a market Snapshot of Single Family Homes in 10538.
25 homes went on the market this month. Topping the charts is One Cedar Island (which sold in July, 2012 for $4,925,000, suffered damaged from Hurricane Sandy, and was resuscitated). Now, this 6 bedroom, 8 bath house is offered at $7,499,500. The most affordable 10538 house is 2 Poplar Road, with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, at $699,000.
22 houses went under contract in June – and 4 of these went quickly, in less than 2 weeks, from listing date to signed contracts.
37 houses sold in June. 7 Elkan Road — 2 bedrooms and 1 bath — was listed for $455,000 and sold for $450,000. On the other end of the scale, 8 Grove Avenue, with 4 bedrooms and 5 baths, sold for $4,000,000; it was originally listed at $4,150,000.
Ten Real Estate Myths:
- All the information I need is on the internet. Trulia, Zillow, etc. can be informative, but also misleading. For example, at this writing, the single family house at 341 Orienta Avenue – currently for sale at $1,268,000 — is featured on Zillow as a “townhouse.” And its “Zestimate” is $1,003,223. Imagine the homeowners’ delight!
- We’ll list our home with the real estate agent who priced it the highest; clearly he knows his stuff and recognizes how great our house is! The real estate agent who prices it highest may just be trying to win the competition for your business. If your home then sits unclaimed for two months, or must go through price reductions, you’ll know why.
- I’ll get a better deal going directly to the listing agent. This is a common misperception. The listing agent has fiduciary responsibility to her client – the seller – and not to you. Therefore, she must reveal everything you say to the seller. So, if you tell this agent that you’re offering $900,000 but your very top dollar could stretch painfully to $1 million, where do you think this sale will end up?
- A trained monkey could be a real estate agent. All they have to do is unlock front doors. If this has been your experience, change agents fast. Your agent should have expertise in the marketplace, know the community inside-out, and be on top of shifting market trends.
- An agent with lots of listings will do the best job for me. Not necessarily. They may hand the work to an assistant. You may not receive the one-on-one attention which a skilled newer agent will devote to you. Inquire. It’s important to hire the agent, not his impressive stack of listings.
- I don’t need a real estate agent; we can sell/buy this home by ourselves. With 92% of home buyers searching online, For Sale by Owner listings can’t compete with those backed by a real estate agency’s search engine optimization, advertising and marketing power. Add to that the expertise offered by a real estate agent in attracting an offer and bringing it to contract. Finally, most FSBO buyers have already deducted the commission from your asking price by the time they ring your doorbell.
- Real estate agents collect commissions for doing little work. My cellphone is an extension of my hand, which sometimes annoys my family. But a competent agent is always available to her clients. Countless hours are involved in listing a home in the real estate marketplace. Countless hours are also involved in acquainting home buyers with neighborhood characteristics and inventory. Ditto for bringing each transaction from negotiations to a successful closing.
- The real estate agency in town with the most deals must be the best agency. Au contraire. They just have more agents than the others. If many deals are turned in-house, ask questions. Are your interests being compromised by agents rewarded for keeping business ‘all in the family’? (More about dual agency in a future column.) Make sure you’re protected.
- “How do you know a real estate agent is lying? His lips are moving!” This “joke” came from my brother John in Atlanta, teasing me after I announced my licensure as an agent. But we agents are bound by a code of ethics. And since 1993 in NY State, Real Property Law 443 (amended in 2010) — requiring disclosure of dual agency (aka, potential conflict of interest) – should further protect real estate consumers.
- Real estate is a sales profession. My belief is that real estate is a service profession. We are home marketers for sellers, home detectives for buyers, and no matter the transaction, our tool kit should include being: local market experts, transactional experts, analytical, excellent listeners, detail-minded, skilled negotiators, good copy writers, etc. And, finally, it should include being a resource to clients long after we all shake hands at the closing table.
Megan McCarthy is a licensed real estate professional with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Larchmont.
email: Meganmccarthyhomes@gmail.com ; cellphone: 914-309-4648.