Boise Home Sales: Avoiding Identity Theft

Just about everyone is paranoid about identity theft these days, including Boise home sellers.

I’m routinely asked, by escrow officers, to provide my seller’s loan number and social security number to facilitate ordering the seller’s mortgage loan payoff prior to closing.

My business policy, out of an abundance of caution, is to never possess that information.

Instead, I instruct the escrow officer to contact my seller and obtain the information directly from them.


Because I never want to be in possession of that information.

It’s personal, confidential, and I have no need to know it.

This practice runs counter to typical escrow processing, but I think it’s the right way to do it.

Is this any way to run a real estate business?

My thousands of delighted past clients appreciate the fact that I do not disclose their confidential personal information.


6 Mistakes Boise Home Sellers Make

About half of my real estate activity involves working with Boise home sellers.

Those who do everything right usually achieve a reasonably quick sale and a smooth closing.

Those who don’t do everything right often experience longer marketing times, challenging negotiations, and delayed closings.

Here are 6 common mistakes made by Boise home sellers.

1) Overpricing

Homes rarely sell for more than they’re worth.

That’s especially true in the Boise real estate market.

That means pricing your home to sell using accurate, current data for comparable SOLD properties.

You can’t price your home based upon what you “need”, what your neighbors think you should get, or what your neighbors are asking for their home.

If you want to sell, price your home correctly and get it sold in the first 30 days on the market.

If you don’t care if you sell, don’t waste everyone’s time by “testing the market”.

2) Awkward Price Point

Buyers search the internet for homes in price “ranges”.

If they’re looking for a home up to $300,000, they’ll search for homes in the $250,000 to $300,000 price range.

If you price your home at $307,500, those buyers won’t see your home in their search results.

If you want to sell for $300,000, list it at $299,900 and get it sold.

3) Not Preparing Your Home For Sale

When buyers look at your home, they’re looking for reasons to reject it.

Most buyers idealistically look for the perfect home.

If your home needs painting, cleaning, and repairs, you’re providing the objections buyers need to eliminate your home from consideration.

Most sellers need to prepare their home by de-cluttering, cleaning (carpets, windows, floors, blinds, etc.) touch-up painting, and removing extra furniture.

Difficult as it may be, your home needs to look like you don’t live there if you want to achieve a quick, top-dollar sale.

4)  Your Home Is Difficult To Show

Buyers, and their agents, tend to view homes that are easy to see.

Vacant homes are the easiest to see because they require no coordination with the seller.

It’s common practice, in the Boise real estate market, to install a MLS lockbox on your home so it’s easy to show.

MLS showing instructions stating “Call For Appointment” create a barrier for showings, requiring additional coordination between seller, buyer, and the buyer’s agent.

MLS showing instructions stating “Call Listing Agent” to arrange a showing are the worst because they require unnecessary coordination with the seller and the listing agent.

Countless showings are lost when a seller/listing agent requires buyer’s agents to call the listing agent to arrange a showing.

Busy buyer’s agents simply won’t bother to show homes that are difficult to show.

Just install a lockbox if you want to sell your home.

5) Listing With The Wrong Agent

Finding a good listing agent requires some diligence.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t want an agent who promises to “close the deal”.

You want an experienced, successful agent who will tell you the truth about your home, regardless of how painful it may be.

You want a competent, skilled advisor to guide you through the complex home selling process.

Look for an listing agent who knows your neighborhood, has a proven track record of selling homes similar to yours, and ask for proof of past results.

Ask for a detailed marketing plan that’s appropriate for your home.

6) Poor Marketing

Print media ads are so yesterday.

Who do you know who looks for a home in the Idaho Statesman or a real estate magazine?

90% (or more) of all buyers start their home search on the internet.

It’s critically important to list your home with an agent who has a prominent internet presence.

How can you tell?

Simply Google their name and see what comes up.

They should have their own domain; not just a business card web page buried deep in their broker’s website.

Their site shouldn’t force visitors to “register” to look at listings (this is classic “gotcha marketing” that turns off buyers).

Their site should be easy to navigate and have the agent’s contact info prominently displayed.

Yet another clue is no agent’s photo on their website.

If they can’t figure out how to upload their own photo, how will they ever figure out how to properly display your listing?

Do NOT not list your home with an agent who has little or no internet presence.

These are just a few considerations for Boise area home sellers.

If you’d like to know more, please give me a call at (208)938-5533 or e-mail me.


Boise Homes: Contingent Offers

Contingent offers are usually a losing proposition for all concerned.

Contingent offers make sellers feel warm and fuzzy for about a week ~ until they realize they didn’t really sell their home.

Contingent offers do, however, make contingent buyers feel good for considerably longer because they know they tied up a seller’s home without  making a firm commitment.

Instead, they “kind of” made an offer that gives them a way out if everything doesn’t go perfectly.

If You’re The Seller

  • When you accept a contingent offer, you’ve  effectively taken your home off the market.
  • You may have negotiated the right to continue to market your home, but most agents won’t show a home with a contingent sale because it’s not 100% available.
  • When you accept a contingent offer, you become dependent upon the sale of your buyer’s home and you have zero control over that process.

Seller Questions For Contingent Offers

  • What if your buyer’s home never sells?
  • What if your buyer sells their home to yet another contingent buyer?
  • What if your buyer’s home is overpriced?
  • What if your buyers don’t care if their home sells? (aka “we don’t have to sell and we’re not gonna give it away!”)
  • What if your buyers decide to sell their home FSBO?
  • What if your buyers list with an inexperienced or part-time agent?

The bottom line?

A real buyer is a buyer who doesn’t have to sell their present home before buying, has totally-underwritten pre-approved financing, and needs or wants to buy a home now!

Buyers who must buy contingent upon selling their present home are not real buyers.


Boise Homes: Why I Decline Some Listings

I approach listings differently than many (most?) agents.

For as long as I can remember, the real estate profession has always favored taking every possible listing and worrying about how to sell it later.

I know agents who think they must maintain a personal listing inventory of at least 24 homes at all times.

The underlying logic in real estate has long been that it’s good to have a lot of listings because some of them will sell.

That amounts to a listing agent having to “get lucky” to get paid.

Given the amount of time, energy, and money I invest in each of my listings, that has never made sense to me.

Most would agree that getting lucky isn’t a sound business model.

That’s why I only accept listings that I’m sure I can sell.

I rarely have more than a few listings at any one time and focus my full attention to getting those listings sold vs. hoping some of them will sell.

When I take a listing, I spend considerable time with my seller to ensure that I clearly understand what they wish to accomplish (it’s often more than just selling their home).

I also analyze the true market value, comparable listings and sales, and the pros and cons of the property so I can view it as prospective buyers will view it.

After that, I work with my sellers to make changes that will enhance the salability of their home.

In other words, I don’t rush into “getting the listing”, as many agents do.

Then comes professional photography, post-processing of the images, creating a full-color flyer, building a virtual tour, social media promotion, and numerous other tasks.

Given that thorough approach, I simply can’t afford to invest all of my precious resources into a listing that doesn’t sell.

Is this any way to run a real estate practice?

Apparently so, as it has been years since I’ve had an unsold listing.

Looking for results when you’re ready to sell?

Give me a call at (208)938-5533 or e-mail me and let’s discuss how I will get your home SOLD!


Boise Homes: 10 Things That Turn Off Buyers

Sellers of Boise homes should be aware of these 10 things that turn off buyers.

1. Converted Garages

Homes have garages for a reason.

Their purpose is for buyers to have a place to park their cars.

Buyers who like converted garages probably don’t own cars.

There aren’t a lot of buyers who don’t own cars.

2. Pets

Some buyers like pets.

Most buyers  who like pets like their own pets more than yours.

When your pet stinks up the house, or makes buyers uncomfortable, they will buy another house.

Buyers especially do not want a kiss from Brutus or a leg massage from Fluffy.

Fragrant cat boxes are not high on most buyers’ want lists.

3. Worn Carpets

Buyers like carpets that are in good condition.

Buyers don’t view it as their responsibility or a fantastic opportunity to replace your worn carpets.

You should consider replacing your worn carpets because you’ll end up compensating the buyer for them if you don’t.

4. Walls That Look Like Photo Galleries

Some buyers like photos, but they usually like photos of their own choosing.

It’s nice to be proud of your extended family with 214 members, but it’s not a selling point to display photos of them throughout your home when it’s for sale.

5. Dated Kitchens

Buyers are a fickle bunch of buyers these days.

They used to like Harvest Gold, Avocado Green, and Burnt Orange, but their tastes have changed.

Now, they want stainless steel appliances and slab granite counters with under-mount stainless steel sinks.

They also like the monochrome look with appliances that are all the same brand.

Laminate counters, 4” tile counters with thick grout, mixed brands/colors of appliances, and chipped white porcelain sinks are no longer found on most buyers’ want lists.

6. Above-Ground Swimming Pools

There might be a few buyers in the Treasure Valley who get really excited about having their own above-ground swimming pool, but I haven’t met any of them yet.

If you have an above-tround pool, you might want to consider removing it before listing your home.

7. Different Colors In Every Room

It was really, really fun when Amber, Bobbie, Missy, and little Justin picked out lemon yellow, tangerine, lime green, and sky blue colors for their rooms.

But, today’s buyers prefer boring neutral colors so they can decorate with accents instead of feeling like they’re living in a kaleidoscope with a roof on it.

8. Cigarette Smoke

Most buyers and their agents will turn around at the front door if they smell cigarette smoke.

Despite all of those 3:00 a.m. cable tv ads promising to rid your home of odors for only $19.95 + $20 shipping and handling, cigarette smoke lasts forever.

If your home reeks of cigarette smoke, plan on owning it until you find one of the other three smokers in the Treasure Valley who must own your home.

9. Shared Driveways

I have yet to meet those buyers who get goose bumps when I tell them they will be sharing their driveway with the next door neighbor.

It’s great to bond with your BFF neighbor, but backing into each others’ cars when you’re half asleep and leaving for work? Not so good.

Buyers prefer to have their own driveway.

10. Homes That Are Difficult To See

Those pesky buyers can sometimes be unreasonable; wanting to see homes when it’s convenient for them.

While it’s normal for a buyer’s agent to coordinate a showing with a seller, buyers and their agents often avoid looking at homes that have no lockbox and require an appointment to see.

The worst situation is a listing requiring an appointment arranged through the listing agent who doesn’t return a call for two days.

If you’re a seller, make your home easy for buyers to see if you want to sell it.