Local real estate Q&A | PostIndependent.com

Local real estate Q&A

Doug Van Etten
Free Press Real Estate Columnist

Q: My girlfriend and I plan to buy a house soon. When we drive around and see a “For Sale” sign, we often put the address in Zillow or Trulia for more information. I have two questions about Realtor behavior: 1. Why do they often not put the price and some other key information on the flyer in front of the house; and, 2. Why is it that so many times I do contact the Realtor by phone, text or email they say: “Oh, sorry that house is sold.”?

A: That is exciting to hear that you two plan to become homeowners this year. It sounds like you are looking on your own. Often, prospective homebuyers do like to search on their own, for a while. What we find in our local home sales market, and according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), this is also true nationwide: That the majority of buyers do end up making their purchase with the assistance of a Realtor. Interestingly enough, three “For Sale by Owners” I’ve spoken with, who have sold their homes in the past few weeks, all sold to buyers who were represented by a Realtor.

Two more home-search facts from NAR are that more than 90% of future buyers do some or all of their home searching online and those internet shoppers most often take six to nine months from the first online home search to the time they have an accepted purchase offer on a house. You seem to be part of that first 90% since you are using online websites to aid or guide your search at this point. If you are early in that typical 6-9-month search period, I can understand that you may not yet be ready to use a Realtor to help you in your search process.

In order for Realtors to connect with possible buyers, or from a Realtor’s point of view, future customers or clients, we often need you to connect with us by calling, texting or emailing from in front of the house like you described or by clicking on our listings on the various internet search portals.

If the Realtor puts too much information on a flyer: 3 bedrooms, 1,852 square feet, 2 bathrooms, for example, and you think you need 4 bedrooms, at least 2,100 square feet and 2.5 to 3 bathrooms, you may just drive away and never contact the Realtor. Thus, less information can be more (contacts) from some Realtor’s points of view.

As far as not posting a “Sale Pending,” “Under Contract” or “Sold” sign in front of the house, the seller may have said, “Please keep soliciting back-up interest in the house until we know the sale is closed.” Or, the Realtor themselves may have opted to not post the signs above for the same reason the seller requested and/or to use the sign to continue to get contacts from possible buyers, who the Realtor may then be able to sell another house. I had a sale close last week that I did not post a sold sign on in the early weeks after getting the purchase contract. That property continued to generate interest and I received about 15 back-up calls who all then said they wanted to be contacted if for any reason the sale fell through and the house came back on the market. And, so far, I have been able to show three of those people other homes.

If you do decide to use a Realtor, be sure to ask them about setting up an automated search for you. That will send you an email about homes immediately when they come up for sale or have a price change. While an automated notification system may take a little bit of the early search period fun out of the process for you, it will assure you of never missing announcements about a house that may be just the right one for you.

Doug Van Etten is a local Realtor with Keller Williams Colorado West Realty. He is also founder and organizer of the Real Estate Investors Network of Western Colorado (www.REIN-WesCO.org). For information about buying or selling a home, investing in real estate or joining REIN, contact Doug at 970-433-4312 or DougVE@kw.com.

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