Leora Hartman, Realtor

Hi. I’m Leora Hartman. If you would like to meet over coffee, please click here to contact me.

As a seller you want to know you are good hands. I’ve been a Real Estate Agent for 37 years. I’ve never gotten out when the going got tough. Homelight.com, a website that tracks Real Estate Agent sales performance just said this about me: “Leora sells for top dollar, ranking in the top 28% of agents in Denver.”

I’ve seen all kinds of markets, the good and the bad. There’s never a bad time to buy a home. I’m reachable on social media, as well as through email and of course, the phone.

So I’ve put together some information, basically it’s designed to answer the questions most home sellers have about the home selling process and how I can help you. Please feel free to read through it, or give me a call with specific questions.

 

THE DEFINITION OF SALES SUCCESS:

As a client, there really are only three ways to measure success when it comes to selling a home.  You want the top price, you want the timing to be right and you want to sell your home with the least possible inconvenience.  At the beginning of this process, we'll discuss pricing, timing, and convenience.  

 

BUYERS ARE CREATED, NOT WAITED FOR:

 

Buyers are created, not waited for.  What this means is that you need to take every advantage you can when it comes to listing your home for sale.  According to the National Association of Realtors, 90% of real estate transactions start on the Internet.  As a seller, what this means, is that image is everything.  How your home is presented online will make all the difference in the world.  In fact, it could make a difference whether you get full price or a lower offer.

I will create sales material for the sale of your home that will maximize your ability to be seen by potential buyers.  This includes marketing to other Realtors I know, presenting your home in the best possible light on the MLS, and putting out the word on social media. I will place my sign in your front yard letting people drive by know your home is on the market and generating interest.

 

THE MARKETING PLAN:

 

Every home is different, so your marketing plan may differ slightly from what is outlined below.  However, the basics will be the same.  

Before we start marketing your home, I will do a walk through with you, to point out what I see, and what the buyer's may see when then come through your home.  Buyers and sellers see things differently.  I state this up front, because I don't want you to take anything I point out personally. I will just be advising you on how to make your home appeal to as many buyers as possible. I will be giving you ideas based on my experience in working with past buyers and sellers.

I highly recommend staging your home and ensuring we get the best pictures possible.   My experience is simply this - great pictures attract buyers, showings, and offers. I have experience in taking great photographs to highlight the best features of your home. And I know how to stage a home to present the best look for your home.  When it makes sense, I will bring in professional photographers to capture aerial views, 360 videos, and more!

Every property I list goes into the MLS.  This may seem obvious, but let's talk about the differences.  When I meet with you about listing your home for sale, not only am I going to ask you a bunch of questions (you'll be tired of me when you are done) about your home, but also I'll be asking you a bunch of questions about your home.  In order to write an appealing description of your home, I need to get inside your head and learn about your home from you.  I can then take that and transform it into a beautifully attractive description of your house.  This will compliment your home's pictures to attract the perfect buyer.  It's also important that as much information as possible is included in your listing.  The more information you provide, the better the listing, the more likely it is to sell.

I'll advertise your home on 60 other major real estate listing sites.  This helps because the more exposure your home gets, the more likely it is to sell.  These sites include:  Zillow, ReColorado, Trulia, Realtor.com, Homefinder.com, Gazette.com, HouseFinder.com, Homes.com, Realestate book.com, Craigs List, and more!!

I'll place a yard sign to attract people in the neighborhood.  I've actually sold several houses because potential buyers saw the yard signs and called to inquire and then eventually bought the home.  Never underestimate the power of a yard sign well placed.

I'll notify my networks of Realtors about your home for sale.  I have three different networks of Realtors.  I will notify builders of homes as well – sometimes they get clients that decide they want an existing home. I will be highlighting your home to all of my contacts in my network and why they should consider bringing buyers.

I'll announce your listing across social media platforms, including Facebook and LinkedIn.

I may produce and distribute a video of your home, utilizing YouTube.

I believe in over communicating, so I will communicate with you frequently, in the style you prefer, either text, email, or phone calls, regarding the status of showings, and the process of selling your home.

I will provide you with feedback from showings as soon as I receive it from the buying agent so you can see exactly what potential buyers and agents think about your home.

When offers come in, I will immediately share them with you so that we can evaluate all offers. I will negotiate on your behalf and negotiate a final agreement to protect your best interests.

I will coordinate the entire closing process for you, to minimize your stress. I will be there from the beginning to the end, answering all questions and advising you on the process.

I will personally attend closing and review all closing documents prior to close to advise you, should it be necessary.

 

MY 100% GUARANTEE:

 

As a Realtor, I take great pride in my work.  I do meticulous research, I study properties and sales charts and I analyze all the market data (past and present) to figure out how much I think your home can sell for and I make a plan accordingly.  

As a result I guarantee my work 100%.  If you don't like what I'm doing or you think it's not working for you, we can terminate our agreement.  I never want to force a client to work with me because a piece of paper says they have to.   If we don't work well together, then I will release you from the contract. 

 

  

MY JOB AS A LISTING AGENT:  WHAT I DO FOR YOU.

 

As your Listing Agent, it's my job to market your home, so you get the best possible price for your home.  If there is ever a question, ask.  I will input a complete listing into MLS.  This includes not only writing your listing, but also including pictures, as well as the most up to date information available.  Ideally we want at least 25 pictures.  The more pictures and the higher quality, the more likely we are to attract buyers.  

I'll install a For Sale sign.  This is so we can attract drive-by buyers and other people in the neighborhood, whom might be interested in either purchasing your home or telling someone they know about your home.  As discussed previously, I'll implement a marketing plan based on your needs and wants.  

Perhaps one of the most important responsibilities I have is discussing pricing strategy with you.  I take a very in-depth analysis to this process.  With my background, I love looking at the data and finding the information that best fits your home.  As a result, I will spend a good deal of time studying your home, also your neighborhood and the sales in your neighborhood, to help determine the correct price of your home.  Often times, I can usually predict the price of the home within a couple thousand dollars of the actual selling price.

I will prepare all the advertising for your home, including flyers when needed, and electronic marketing as necessary.  When people come through your home for showings, you will receive their feedback directly as they state it.  I will help you take this feedback and use it to your advantage, if it should become necessary to change anything in your listing, depending on the feedback.

Finally I'll provide guidance on staging of your home and reviewing and negotiating contracts on your behalf.  

 

 

YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS A SELLER ARE:

 

As someone who is selling their home, you obviously have a very vested interest in the process.  As your Realtor, I will market your home to as many people as possible. My job is to get as many potential buyers as possible in the door.  However, there are a couple of responsibilities that you as the owner need to help with.  When we meet we'll need to talk about showing your home.  "Showing" is the process where other Realtors and Real Estate Agents bring their clients through your home, so they can consider buying.  

Through this process, you will want to make any and all repairs you can to your home.  Remember, what you see as character, your potential buyer will see as something to be fixed.  

Keeping the home as clean as possible should be your top priority.  Homes that are super clean sell faster and for more money.  This also includes 'staging' your home so it looks like a place someone would want to live.  Remember, they are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on average and you may only get one shot to make the right impression.   I will help you with ideas on how to stage your home.

This is a going to sound bad, but you need to lock up your valuable, any fire arms and your prescriptions.  Remember you have people you don't know coming through your home to look at your home.  Though most people are honest, there have been incidents of sellers missing jewelry and/or drug prescriptions.  You are better off locking those things up, rather than take the risk that someone might take them.  

Finally, keep any marketing materials visible and available, so that potential buyers and agents can pick them up.  If you know anyone, friends, family, acquaintances that might want to purchase your home, give me their information and I'll reach out to them for you.  If you have questions, please call me.   Above all, when a call for a showing comes in, make sure you are not at home.   

Remember, as the seller of a home, you control only so much.  You control the property condition, the availability for someone to show your home, the price you are asking for your home, and whether you want to offer a home warranty.  On the other hand, as the seller, you don't control the competition, whether it's a buyer's or seller's market, what the interest rates will do, and when the perfect buyer will walk through your door.  So better be ready for a showing at all times.  You never know, the next buyer to walk through your door, might just be 'the one’!

 

HOME WARRANTY OPTION:

Imagine you are considering buying one of two different properties.  They are similar in every way, except one comes with a home warranty.  As a seller, you may see a home warranty as an expense, but consider your buyers for a second.  A home warranty is basically a low cost insurance plan that protects against some of the risks a new homebuyer may face.  It could be the tipping point of why a buyer chooses one home over another.  Case in point, one of my clients last year purchased a home that came with a 14 month home warranty.  Six months after purchase, the water heater went out.  

Instead of costing the buyer a great deal of money, the water heater was covered by the home warranty.  For the price of the deductible, $50, the new homeowner got a brand new hot water heater.  That's the power of a home warranty.  Home warranties vary in what they cover; some will cover heating, plumbing, electrical, water heater or appliance breakdowns.  There are others that will cover you while your home is listed for sale.  Simply put, offering a home warranty can be an effective marketing tool. If interested, I have information on a number of companies that do Home Warranties so you can compare offerings

  

SETTING THE PRICE:

 Perhaps one of the hardest and most misunderstood concepts in Real Estate is pricing.  Now I may sound like one of those talking head economists here, but it's the truth.  The market determines the price of your home.  Your home is worth what the market will pay for it. No one goes out to buy a home and pay more than it's worth.  Think about it, you may pay a little different price for a little bit of convenience, but no one is willing to pay astronomical prices for things they can readily get at a lower price.  That is why when you go to fill up your car, gas prices are all relatively the same, within a few cents.  It is because the market regulates prices.  People who are priced too high won't sell anything and people who are priced too low, won't have anything to sell.  It's just basic economics.

So, how do we set the price of your home?  We arrive at this conclusion, by doing the research.  As a Realtor, I love research.  As a result, I spend a lot of time researching my client's properties.  I'll want to take a tour of your home and see what your home looks like.  It's likely that I'll tour other homes for sale in your neighborhood, to see how they stack up to yours.  I'll drive the neighborhood to see what it's like during the day and at night. I'll dig into the research and see what homes have sold in your neighborhood in the last three to six months.  

Your home is worth what the market will pay for it.

What homes have sold for in the past three to six months is generally a good indication of what your home will sell for.  I'll take into account the condition of your home against the condition of ones that sold.  From there, combined with my research, I will advise you on a price range your home will sell for.  

Keep in mind, what you paid, what you need, what you want, what your neighbor says, and what another real estate agent says have no determination on market value.  Arriving at a market value is an analytical process and anyone who tells you differently doesn't understand how economics and supply and demand work.  Just like the price of anything, people aren't going to be willing to overpay. And of course, you don’t want to leave money on the table and sell your home for less than it is worth.  The closer you get to fair market value, the faster you home is likely to sell.  

If you want to know what your home will sell for, look around at the recently sold homes.  They will give you a good indication.  Understand that homes currently under contract are not as good as sold homes because you don’t know the final sales price until it closes.  Homes that are up for sale are good to see what the neighborhood is doing, but realize you can ask anything you want for a home, it doesn't mean it will sell for that.  

So leave it to me and I'll do the research and I will share with you how and why I suggest a selling price for your home.

 

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SELL MY HOME?

When it comes to selling a home, the first ten days are the most important.  The first ten days are when you home is new to the market and people haven't seen it yet.  You might hear Realtors talking about how they have clients who have been looking for a long time and they have seen everything on the market and they don't like anything.  There are more of these clients than you think.  

WorriedAlso, with the new technology that is available to both clients and Real Estate Agents, both can be notified as soon as a new property comes on the market.  As a result, as soon as your property is listed for sale, you need to be ready to have Real Estate Agents showing your home.

A common misconception among sellers is that a lot of showings will equal a lot of offers.  That's not always the case.  In fact, your best chance to sell your home is in the first ten days of your home being listed for sale.  So, since we properly researched your home and came up with an appropriate price, the fact that you might get a quick offer around the price we set for your home doesn't mean you should wait for a higher offer.  It means we priced your home right and as a result, a buyer agrees and is making an offer.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because an offer came in fast, means you should reject it.  Sometimes the best offers come in the fastest.  That's why you have me.  I'll read over and examine all offers you get and ensure you have all the information to make an educated decision.  Ultimately the decision is yours, but if we did our homework correctly, a quick sale is not a sign that the price was too low.  It's a sign the home was staged well, you were ready for the showing, and the price was just right.

 

WHEN YOU GET AN OFFER:

Usually, this is when people have one of two emotions.  They are either very happy or they are very offended.  There are agents out there who will bid obscenely low on every property that goes on the market.  My first advice about offers: don't take them personally.  

Excited

Just because someone bids on a home, doesn't mean that the home will actually sell for that price.  That's why as your Realtor, I'm going to advise you on possible responses depending on the situation.  

As a seller you have several options.  If someone has toured your home and is willing to make an offer, consider the offer.  If you don't like it, or there are issues with it, you can always counter-offer.  In other words, we can negotiate.  Negotiation is like playing poker.  Just because their first offer doesn't have everything you want, (delete comma) doesn't mean that you should reject it out of hand.  My suggestion, let's talk and consider the situation and if possible offer a counter proposal.  

Of course if you like the offer, you can accept it, and provided the terms are followed, your home is under contract and well on the way to getting sold.  What I almost never suggest is taking no action at all.  Always allow me to respond to a potential buyer, even if it is to say no thank you. 

Remember, the highest offer isn't always the best, just as the lowest offer isn't always the worst.  There are things to consider like concessions and time frames.  But perhaps the biggest enemy is the overpriced bid.  When an offer comes in significantly above asking price, it's not always that the home is underpriced or that I didn't do my homework.  It's a tactic used by buyers to freeze out other buyers from the process.  Let's say your home is worth $300,000.  Then, let's say you have multiple bids between $290,000 and $315,000.  Then, someone comes in and offers you $375,000.  

Most people's reaction would be to cancel any contact and accept the $375,000 offer.  But what happens if the house appraises lower than $375,000.  What's going to happen is the buyers will come back and say something about how the house only came in at the lower number, and because of that the bank won't finance their higher offer, so they want you to agree to the lower number for the house.  But they are under contract on the house, and you told other buyers to go away because of it. And you don’t want to go back to the drawing board and put your home back on the market and do showings, so you feel like you have to agree to the lower price. Don't get caught in that trap.  That's just one of the reasons you've hired me to protect you from this.

 

AFTER THE CONTRACT IS ACCEPTED:

shutterstock_193957655 copyOnce you have accepted a contract, now a lot of work will begin, that you may or may not be aware of.  Usually the next step, after we disclose some paperwork, is the buyer's will want to have your home inspected quickly.  The inspection usually runs between $200 and $500.  Keep in mind, the inspection is there to find problems with your home and a good inspector is going to find something.  Otherwise he can't justify his job.  

Remember this:  the inspector's job is to find problems. This will be part of the negotiation process.  The buyer will request you to fix certain items based on the inspection. You can agree to fix everything or we can negotiate with the buyer on the items you are willing to fix. I will help you through this step.  Once your home passes inspection, the buyers lender will be working to finalize their loan to purchase your home.  There's really nothing you can do, other than prepare to move out.  The buyers will be going through the mortgage process, which includes processing, underwriting and approval.  Most likely the mortgage company will ask to have the home appraised.  This is standard and you should expect an appraiser will be by within weeks of the inspection.

After the appraisal is done, the final process is to transfer title of your home at the closing.  The closing is when you officially turn over ownership of your home in exchange for money.  I'll be there and I'll be monitoring the process to make sure everything goes as planned. 

With the final closing your home transaction on the selling side is complete.  As always, if you have questions, please click here to contact me.