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What's Up Magazine

What’s Up? Leading Real Estate Professionals 2017 Q & A

Aug 31, 2017 01:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds

Q & A

Special Advertising Section

Q. How should I best prepare to meet with an agent to list my home?

A. Have a discussion with any other decision maker in the home about your goals, budget, and timelines. Make sure you are ready to sell, know what date you need to sell your home by, and what your budget is for any necessary home improvements or repairs. Make a list of any home improvements you have made to the home. Get an extra key made for the lockbox. Be prepared to take the agent on a tour of your home and share your favorite features about the home andthe community.

DAVID ORSO, CENTURY 21 New Millennium

Q. What can someone buying waterfront property in Annapolis expect to find?

A. Annapolis is a diverse community rich in history and culture and offers a huge selection of waterfront homes. Currently, there are homes ranging from condos in the $400s to a historic estate set on 26 acres for over $14M. With our direct access to the Chesapeake Bay and some of the best boating, fishing, and crabbing in the world, it’s not surprising to see waterfront home sales and values on the rise. Welcome to the Annapolis lifestyle.

TRAVIS GRAY, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Q. What advice would you give to a homeowner who is considering remodeling before a sale?

A. I often advise a seller not to remodel unless they plan to stay in their home for a while before selling. It’s easy to spend a lot of money to redesign a space, but it’s not always easy to know what will attract potential homebuyers. It’s best to let your agent and a professional home stager advise you before entering into an expensive remodeling project that may not give you the return on your investment. Cleaning, decluttering, and staging may be all that is needed.

CREIG NORTHROP, The Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster

Q. What are the marketing trends for 2017 homes?

A. Today’s buying audience is shopping online, scrutinizing home photos, virtual tours, and property details on user-friendly real estate websites. It is crucial that as agents we provide quality pre-market home staging, photography, and rapid access information to best present your home with its special features and Bay living amenities. Through direct mail and vast internet presence, we not only must display your home to its greatest advantage, but paint an entire picture of the enviable lifestyle it offers to potential buyers!


Q. How should I choose an agent to sell my waterfront home?

A. When selecting an agent, you are actually choosing a marketing specialist. You will be selling one of your most valuable assets, and should hire the person who specializes in that type of asset. A waterfront expert can help you identify the salient property features and communicate them to potential buyers. One of the most critical elements of the marketing plan is the Internet presence. Make sure your marketing specialist offers a full range of services, especially in terms of web site development. Ask if your waterfront (i.e. Picasso) property will be grouped with other waterfront homes on the agent’s web site? After all, you wouldn’t want to sell your Picasso at a yard sale!

CHARLIE BUCKLEY, Associate Broker, Mr. Waterfront® Team of Long & Foster Real Estate

Q. What advice would you give to a client when choosing a real estate agent to represent them?

A. Most people are surprised when they hear me say this, but I think it’s the old fashioned second opinion. Real estate transactions can be complicated and emotional, not only because homes are often the largest purchase many of us will make, but because the process impacts so many other areas of our lives. A client wants experience, knowledge, and commitment in their agent, but clients shouldn’t overlook the value of a personality fit. The home buying or selling process can be stressful, but finding a personality fit will help build trust and rapport that will make the transaction a more positive and enjoyable process for all involved. Additionally, interviewing more than one agent affords the client an opportunity to hear multiple approaches to marketing strategy, commission rates, closing fees, process management and technologies employed by the agent and brokerage.

RICK FOSTER, Grace Ryan Real Estate, LLC

Q. Does it really make a difference if we renovate our kitchen before it goes on the market or can we just sell our house for less, as it is now?

A. Yes! It does make a huge difference. Today’s buyers, especially in the $400–700,000 price range, expect everything to be updated when it hits the market, especially kitchens and baths. These are the homes that get the most views online and the most traffic in the initial 2–4 weeks, which is the optimal time to sell. The majority of buyers either can’t afford to renovate or don’t want to for a variety of reasons.

Mike and Melissa Murray, The Murray Home Team of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Q. What should I look for when choosing a mortgage lender?

A. Lenders are a dime a dozen, so it is hard to differentiate a service if you aren’t well-versed in the field. Most buyers call and want to know what rate I have to offer, but there is so much more that goes into a mortgage than the interest rate. A buyer needs an advisor, a lender that will not only give them the best rate, but someone that can structure financing that best meets their short- and long-term financial goals.

MATT NADER, The Matt Nader Group of Bay Capital Mortgage Corporation

Q. Why is there so much emphasis on Internet marketing?

A. In today’s high-tech world, every buyer starts his/her search on the Internet. It is crucial to have the best web presence because your first “showing” now happens online. In addition to professional photographs, most savvy buyers expect a live walk-through video so they can get a sense of a home before making an appointment to see it. When interviewing agents, be sure to ask about their web presence, search engine optimization, and video options – the homes with the “biggest bang” have the greater chance of selling in the crowded marketplace.

Reid BUCKLEY, Mr. Waterfront® Team of Long & Foster Real Estate 

Q. What should a home buyer consider before they start their search?

A. Any homebuyer’s first step should be to get pre-approved for a loan. It will help establish what they can afford, and it will also ease the process. Homebuyers should also think about what fits their lifestyle so they can focus their search and make it easier to choose the right location and the right property for their needs.

CREIG NORTHROP, The Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster

Q. What is your advice to both buyers and sellers to ensure the swiftest and smoothest settlement day?

A. To ensure the swiftest and smoothest settlement day, it is important for the seller to make sure everything in the house is in working order. If there are repairs to be made, hire a quality professional to do the repairs. That way the work is completed on time and the buyer has a professional they can contact if there are future issues/questions. Be sure to be completely moved out and all personal items and trash removed prior to closing. We see many closing delayed because the sellers are not completely moved out of the home. It is important that the buyers are able to have a final walk-through of the home prior to closing, to ensure everything is as stated in the contract.

For buyers, my advice is to be sure all of your documents are provided to your lender, real estate professional, and title company as soon as possible. Providing documents in a timely manner helps to ensure a smooth transaction and on-time settlement. Don’t make any major purchases (e.g. furniture) or change your credit situation in any way. A late payment or new credit card can affect your loan and possibly your ability to purchase your new home.

Janice Hariadi, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty

Q. With the ability to search for homes online myself, why should I hire a buyer’s agent?

A. The Internet has made it easier for buyers to tour homes online and narrow down their list. The seller of the home pays the commission of the buyer’s agent, so it doesn’t end up costing you anything as the buyer, but it can end up saving you time and money by having the guidance of an agent. The closing process for a buyer is quite involved from the home inspection and the loan to all the paperwork and coordination—all the steps to get you to a stress-free settlement. Buying a home is an exciting time, so you should enjoy it and leave the less fun parts to the agent!

DAVID ORSO, CENTURY 21 New Millennium

Q. What are some of the trends of today’s buyers?

A. Lifestyle is the first thing that comes to mind when working with today’s buyers. Inviting community atmosphere, with amenities that encourage personal interaction are at the top of the list. Good quality smaller homes with updated kitchens and baths, and great outdoor space are priorities as well. These features, along with energy efficiency and close proximity to D.C. and Baltimore, create the ideal home purchase for today’s buyers.

Katherine A. Davis, Associate Broker, Branch Vice President
Annapolis Fine Homes office, Long & Foster Christies International

Q. Six Questions You Should Ask When Hiring an Agent to Sell Your Home and Why ?

A. 1.) What is your experience? It may sound like an obvious question to ask, but many sellers don’t.
2.) How do you plan to market the property? If you don’t market, it won’t sell. You are not doing your due diligence, if you don’t ask this question.
3.) How will you communicate with me? Will they call or email?
4.) Do you represent both sides of the transaction? It’s normal for some to work on either sell side or buy side, but not often both. Some do however.
5.) Do you work with buyers in this price range? It is a good idea if your agent can see your property through the buyer’s eyes.
6.) What do you know about home loans? It’s valuable to find an agent who has a solid grasp of home financing because loan issues can break a deal.

DIANA L. KLEIN, Lawyer’s Realty

Q. What are the qualities I should look for in selecting a Realtor to work with?

A. Things that should matter...An agent’s dedication to their business as a full time Realtor and their dedication to making your real estate goals a reality. Request the agent’s track record for the last 12 months, don’t be afraid to ask for references and what their reputation in the industry is. (Networking among our peers is crucial to a Realtor’s success). Ask for a 90 day business plan in writing for your sale or purchase. Keep in mind this is a business transaction and make sure you handle it exactly that way (you can become friends after the transaction). Ask for a realistic “days on the market” strategy and a marketing game plan when listing your home. When buying a home, make sure you meet and interview to decide if all the personalities mesh. Most of all make sure you select an adequate and knowledgeable guide and advisor to one of your largest purchases or sales.

CHRISTINA PALMER, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Q. My home has been on the market for some time and we have not received any offers; could staging the house help?

A. Staging your home may help. Getting a professional’s perspective on which personal items need to be removed and what room layouts work best can help peak buyer interest. You want to create an environment where the buyer can easily imagine themselves living in the space. At Grace Ryan, we engage staging consultants in order to make the most of homebuyer tours both online and in person.

PARKER JONES, Grace Ryan Real Estate, LLC