Deals in the Market

We are fairly certain that everyone has heard from a friend or a family member or more commonly, the media that you can find excellent deals in the real estate market right now. One thing is for sure, they are telling the truth! The market has declined about 20% in the last year.

In most cases this means that homes that sold for $500,000 a year ago, are now selling for $400,000. That’s a $100,000 price drop!!! In some areas, the depreciation is even worse. Obviously, seller’s aren’t too thrilled, but this is where buyers can make great deals. Anyone who buys these properties today can expect to regain the depreciation amount as equity when the market turns around again.

Where there is a misconception… buyers believe that when they see a listing price they can get a good deal by offering really low offers. In all our years of real estate, we have never seen a lowball offer get accepted. For the most part, listing agents and sellers tend to list their homes right at current, fair market value.

The “deal” comes from the current state of the market. In the example above, buyers are paying $400,000 for homes that sold for $500,000 the year before. Even if it takes ten years for these homes to reach $500,000 again, these buyers just made $10,000 a year in equity! That’s a good deal!

Sell Your Home Fast in Any Market

Accurately pricing a home continues to be the number one factor to conclude a successful sale. Most REALTORS® guide sellers in determining an accurate listing price for their home by tracking comparable properties in their neighborhood that have sold within the previous three to four months. Since the market can greatly fluctuate from one neighborhood to another, we believe that setting a price based on comps older than three to four months will not accurately reflect the current market and could result in pricing a home at odds with current market conditions.

Even in today’s market, sellers do have some control over many contingencies. Some buyers may request that their contracts include contingencies based on their ability to obtain financing. To avoid risks associated with this contingency, some REALTORS® advise their clients to request buyers to provide a pre-approval letter from a well-established lender; a financial information sheet outlining the buyer’s employment history, income, assets and liabilities; and a recent bank statement showing that the buyer has enough funding reserves for the required down payment. This ensures that the buyer is likely to be approved for a mortgage loan, and reduces the risk to the seller.

Some buyers may use a home’s inspection report as a bargaining chip to negotiate a lower price. When this occurs, some sellers offer buyers a lump sum of money so the buyer can make the repairs, rather than the seller repairing each item listed on the report. Sellers may be able to avoid paying a lump sum to the buyer by having the home pre-inspected prior to listing. This enables the seller to obtain accurate estimates for the cost of repairs ahead of time and provides the seller with the option of making the repairs before listing the home.


When a seller lists his/her property, a percentage of the sales price is paid to the agents who consummate the transaction. Commission is usually paid by the seller and rates of up to 7% are not uncommon. In a normal transaction, half of the commission is given to the listing agent for marketing, selling, and bringing a buyer to the property and the other half is given to the agent representing the buyer. Of course, like anything else involved with a real estate transaction, commissions are negotiable.

You might have heard of brokers or agents offering discounts and/or lowered commissions called “discount brokers.” We urge sellers to be aware of what services these agents have to offer. Full service agents, like ourselves, spend a considerable amount of time and money for marketing and work diligently to bring buyers to our listings. Most agents willing to list homes for a bargain commission rate will not spend that time and money. Some will not even do any marketing. Lower commissions are nearly always tied to lower levels of service. If you are a seller, make sure you know exactly what services you will be getting and what services you won’t.

When a listing is entered into the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), the property profile will contain the amount of commission being paid to the buyer’s agent. (Again, usually half of the total commission.) These agents are aware ahead of time how much money will be earned for bringing their buyers to the property and closing the transaction. It would be wise for sellers not to discount the commission to keep their property competitive against other sellers.

The Equity Report

This report will show you your estimated proceeds from the sale of your property. We usually will present you with a report filled out with a price that we feel your property will sell for. Of course, this isn’t the final listing price, but with our real estate knowledge and background, it is a good place to start.

The report will show you estimated commissions to agents, escrow fees, title insurance fees, loan fees, other charges such as HOA fees and termite work and finally your estimate net proceeds. Not only does this provide your estimates, but makes you aware of what charges you will be seeing once your property gets into escrow.

This is a small step in our listing presentation, but it really lays everything out on the table for you. After, you have seen your equity report, we will provide our Home Selling Services Commitment.

Factors that Influence Home Prices

There are many factors that influence the price you can get for you home, including:

  • The status of the current real estate market
  • The expertise and knowledge of your real estate professional
  • Basics such as lot size, square footage and condition of your home
  • Desirability factors, including location, special amenities, and property attributes
  • Selling and listing prices of comparable homes
  • A sophisticated real estate marketing campaign
  • Your level of motivation

What does not affect the price you can receive for your home:

  • Some improvements may not add value
  • What your originally paid for the home
  • What you owe on your mortgage or home equity loan
  • How much profit you wish to make from the sale
  • What friends – and even appraisers – have told you it’s worth

The Dangers of Overpricing

“Why can’t we price it high now, then adjust it later if we need to?”

…because the majority of serious potential buyers visit a property within the first two weeks of it going on the market. If your property is priced higher than comparable homes, they won’t even bother looking at it. In fact, other agents will use your home as proof that their listings are a better value, and you’ll help sell the homes you’re competing against.

Once your property has been on the market with very few showings and low-ball offers, you will finally reduce the price. When potential buyers see how long your home has been on the market and that the price has been reduced, they will think there is something wrong with the property. These potential buyers won’t want to pay market value. All too often, homes that are overpriced, then reduced, end up getting lower than market value in the end.

The Strategic Pricing Solution

Determining your home’s value – this is usually the most sensitive aspect of a home selling transaction. In a majority of cases, the home seller wants to price the property much higher than its current market value. And it’s no wonder because the seller is emotionally tied to the home and the outcome of the transaction. However, it’s important to remember that we deal with this exact issue every day. We are able to provide information that will help you decide on a fair market price, based on unbiased facts and market trends, not personal preferences.

We’ll begin with some explanation on The Dangers of Overpricing and What Factors Influence the Price of Your Home. We’ll let you know about the current status of the market, how long the homes are staying on the market lately, number of homes for sale, the difference between a “buyer’s market” and a “seller’s market” and what it means to you.

Then we’ll provide for you a CMA (Comparable Market Analysis). This report, will show you a list of properties with similar features to your property. From this report, you can get a feel for what your kind of property is doing on the market: Days on market, number of like-properties available, and more importantly, “sold” prices. Pay particular attention to the value of the latest like-properties that have sold. This will give you an idea of the value of your home.

No matter what price you establish from our strategic pricing solution, we will show you your potential profit with The Equity Report.

Marketing Your Home

Each property is different so we don’t take a “cookie cutter” approach to marketing. Trust our real estate professionalism to develop a marketing campaign that walks the line between sufficiently advertising your home to potential buyers and overexposing your property. The latter can give buyers the impression there is something wrong with the home or that the seller is desperate.

Not all will be used for your campaign, but these are some of the most popular marketing options that we have used.

Internet: 88% of buyers begin their home search online. When you list with us, your home is automatically listed on all the sites listed below for FREE!

Ventura County MLS

Southland Regional MLS

Yahoo Real Estate That’s right! All of our listings receive a fully functional and informational website designed specifically for your home. In addition to your home being advertised on, all listings listed by The M & M Team will be “Featured Listings.”

Email Database: We have an email database of over 1,500 subscribers! Just Listed, Open Houses, Price Reductions and Home Update announcements can be sent to our subscribers instantly.

For Sale Sign: With 96% name recognition, Aviara’s signs are a very powerful advertisement.

Open Houses: This is an effective way to show off your home’s amenities to several potential buyers at once, and draw interested neighbors who will help spread the word.

Our Past Clients: A large percentage of our business comes from satisfied customers. They are among the first to know about your listing.

Advertising: Listings are advertised in newspapers local to your neighborhood, and depending upon your custom marketing campaign, your property may be seen in a variety of local and national magazines, newspapers and community publications.

Direct Mail: Customized letters, postcards and brochures are sent to our target lists of people qualified to purchase your property.

Weekly Sales Meetings: We announce our listings to fellow real estate agents. All new listings are caravaned by all agents in our office.

Broker’s Lunch: Sometimes we like to invite agents and brokers to kick their feet up for a little bit and dine at your house. This will entice more agents and brokers to come take a look at your home.

Property Brochures: An attractive brochure or flier highlighting the finest features of your home is an effective marketing tool.

After filling up on all the marketing programs we have to offer, we’d like to continue on to a more serious topic: The Strategic Pricing Solution.

Smart Seller Profile

Most houses are bought on feeling rather than on size and amenities. We want to capture the emotional experience of your home and like to ask personal questions. We usually like to start by taking a tour of your home, starting from the curb and we’ll ask the questions along the way.

When you first saw the house what was your reaction? Did you love it immediately? Why? When you purchased, what kind of atmosphere did you try to achieve inside the home? What was the main attraction? What special moments have you, your friend or family shared here? What have you done to improve the home? Any special touches you are proud of? All these questions will not only help us get to know your home, but also push the key ingredients of why you purchased your home to prospective buyers.

Once we know the emotional aspects of your home, we like to continue our presentation at a place where we can conduct business. Here we will briefly explain what you should expect in the listing process and answer questions. Afterwards, we like to fill out what we call a “Smart Seller Profile”. Here we’ll get all the pertinent information about you: Numbers, emails, what is the best way to contact you, how often, reason for moving, when do you want to move, are you moving out of area, do you need to sell first, etc.

After we have all the information we need, we’ll continue onto the exciting stuff: Marketing Your Home!

Listing Presentation

The decision to move brings on a multitude of emotions. There’s the excitement of buying someplace new, the bittersweet feelings of leaving a beloved home behind, the anxiety of wondering if all the transactions will fall into place, and a flood of other conflicting feelings. You want to work with someone who knows the business and can handle all the complicated issues that arise, but is compassionate enough to understand when it’s all a bit overwhelming and will provide the assurance you need that everything is taken care of.

This listing presentation is designed to demonstrate our qualifications for being your listing agent as well as our unique ability to provide the resources you need to ensure the transaction is successful and stress-free.

We are confident we can represent you and your property in the most professional, efficient manner possible. Our track record of customer satisfaction, our personal integrity, and our responsiveness are your guarantee of success. We look forward to becoming your Realtor for this transaction and all future ones.

We have provided a list of links for you to jump to different topics in our presentation. If you would like to continue our presentation in our suggested order, please continue here.

The Smart Seller Profile: Determines your needs/concerns

Marketing Your Home: The ultimate exposure program

The Strategic Pricing Solution: Determines the value of your home

The Equity Report: Determines your cash proceeds at closing

Home Selling Services Commitment: Our Home Selling Commitment