Selling Your Home FAQ’s

Draft. 04-07-2017 at 9:30 AM

Question #1: “Jessica, why aren’t you a member of the MLS?”

Answer: I am a member of the MLS. Georgia MLS (the largest Multiple Listing Service in the state).

Question #2: “Why don’t you put your homes in the MLS?”

Answer: I do put my listings in the MLS. However, I always give my Sun City Peachtree clients the option to decide if that’s what they want to do. So, the choice—about the MLS–is entirely up to you.

Question #3: “You can’t sell homes without the MLS, can you?”

Answer: My numbers—and closed transactions in the Sun City Peachtree–indicate that you can. That I do–often.

In fact, they indicate that I do it quite well. I’ve been extremely successful at it. In fact, over 95% of my personal listings have sold without the MLS. And I’ve sold over 80+ homes in the community (that’s over 1/3 of the sold resale homes in the community). Plus, I’ve saved residents right at $400,000 in real estate commissions (compared to paying 5%).

Question #4: “Jessica, don’t you charge an upfront fee?”

Answer: It all depends… Depends on what? You!

You, the homeowner, decide how to market YOUR home. I offer several different options. I believe in giving people choices—not trying to force them to fit in a box… a box that the real estate industry has designed to contain them! Now, if you really stop and think about it, that’s really not a ‘box’… it’s more like a cage or cell…

Question #5: “Will you charge a fee every time you show my home?”

Answer: I’ve heard rumblings about this around the Sun City Peachtree for years…  And the answer is, “No. It’s simply not true. I don’t charge to show homes. Ever.”

Question #6: “Will other agents be allowed to show my home?”

Answer: Again, this depends entirely on you. It’s your choice. Always.

It depends on how you want to do things. However, I will say this: there have been numerous times where I’ve shown the home, but the buyers pay for another agent—directly–out of their pockets. The buyer pays to have THEIR REAL ESTATE AGENT ‘represent’ them.

The buyers pay for it… not the seller. The buyer pays the commission to their agent. It can be done. I’ve proven it. In fact, I’ve had other agents get paid MORE by the buyer than I charge the seller! More power to them! That’s not any of my business.

Question #7: “Other agents don’t like how you do business in Sun City Peachtree, do they?”

I’m not in business to please other real estate agents. I’m not here for them. I’m here for you. I rarely think about other agents–at all (unless they try to lock horns with me!).

They do what they do.

I do what I do.

And I have a saying for agents who don’t like the way I run my business, “If you have an issue… here’s a tissue!” The sign says, “Jessica Horton & Associates.” The last time I checked, that’s me. Not them.

01.) I’m in business to market and sell my clients homes… not to win over agents and make them my best friends.

02.) I’m here to: get my clients the best available price and terms.

03.) To help them save the most money possible.

04.) To ensure they pay the least amount of fees.

05.) And to help my sellers get where they want to go—when they want to be there.

06.) To make it easier for them—every step of the way.

07.) To help put food on the table for my family. I have two teens… that’s some serious grocery shopping! 😉

Again, I’ve saved current—and former—residents of this community right at $400,000.00 in real estate commissions.

Think about that for a minute…

That’s right at $400,000.00 that other agents weren’t allowed to charge people (However, I bet they would have [charged them] if they could have!).

That’s a lot of money that I’ve saved people!

That’s a lot of money other real estate agents DID NOT get to make off people! Do you think certain agents will be happy about this fact?

Of course not! That’s almost $400,000.00 out of their pocketbooks!

It seems to me: other agents want as much of your money as they can get. And some–more than others–will do and say all sorts of things to try and get it.

Now, think about this…

If I save a homeowner money (and I’ve saved them A LOT of money!)… that’s the same amount of money that other agents can no longer make off a transaction. And some don’t care for this. I believe they want the money…

High Real Estate commissions–in SCP–remind me of a protection racket in the inner city…

Do you know how protection rackets work?

Thugs come around and say to store owners, “If you don’t pay for our ‘protection’… your place will get messed up by vandals! Guaranteed! So, we will protect you from this (but they’ll be the very people to mess the store up if the owner doesn’t pay for ‘protection’!). You’ll be ‘safe’ with us.”

It’s my belief that certain Real Estate Agents–who work in the community–often try to worry homeowners with the same type of scare tactics…

I call it a “Commission Racket.”

These agents possibly say something along the lines of: “If you don’t pay 5 or 6%–and go in the MLS–you’ll never sell your home. The buyers won’t see it! You’ll lose out. I’ll make sure the buyers go and purchase another home. Not yours! So, you better list with me! If you don’t… there will be consequences!”

And I believe if it’s not said directly… it’s most certainly implied. The message gets communicated. Loud and clear!

Agents know that many people are worried about losing something and hate controversies. So, the homeowner pays close to twice as much money to avoid this. And that’s a shame. It really is. Because it’s not necessary. I have a proven record of selling homes without the MLS and for less money in fees. A proven record of saving people money. LOTS OF MONEY. THEIR MONEY.

Question #8: “Jessica, why do some agents charge more money than you?”

Firstly, based on data that I’ve collected in the community, if an agent charges you 5% or 6% commission, there’s only about a 30% chance that they’ll sell your home themselves (my average is over 90% of my listings). So, this means there’s almost a 70% chance they’ll have to split the entire commission in half.

So…

Right off the bat… they’re losing half the [total] money. The other agent gets half of it! POOF! It’s gone 70% of the time.

Secondly, the agent has to split the money with their broker/owner of the company they work at. They’ve already lost half of the commission (to the other agent selling your home). Now, their broker/owner is going to take [approximately] anywhere from 20 – 50% of it.

Thirdly, many of these other agents have to pay out very high referral fees (sometimes as much as 35% of their portion of the commission) to get potential buyer leads. That’s another significant amount of money they pay out.

Do you see what’s going on here? Everybody wants a piece of the pie. And by “pie” I mean: YOUR MONEY! So, their fees have to be higher to help make up for it.

It costs them more money to operate. Their cost of doing business is significantly higher than mine.

Me? I don’t have these problems.

I sell the majority of my own listings in Sun City Peachtree. I am the broker–and the owner–of my own boutique brokerage. I have over 1,400 potential active adult home buyers in my database; my state of the art website continues to bring in more and more prospective home buyers each week. I don’t have to pay for leads. I generate my own. I’m self-sufficient.

I work smarter and more efficiently.

My way of doing things saves me time, resources and money.

So, I made a very wise business decision: pass this savings on to the homeowner—directly.

Competition means that prices should go down. Not up (or just stay the same!).

Paying 5 or 6% of your home’s equity is A LOT of money. In my opinion, it’s entirely too much for homeowners to pay in Sun City Peachtree.

It’s my personal belief that it borders on extortion. It’s like throwing your hard-earned money away. Flushing it down the toilet. Actually, I think it’s like getting mugged. It’s not very nice.

However, homeowners have to be willing to say, “Enough is enough! I refuse to needlessly give away my hard-earned money! Giving it to real estate agents who charge twice as much as Jessica is completely uncalled-for. I want more for less! So, I’m going with Jess!”

And that’s exactly what I offer homeowners in Sun City Peachtree: “Exceptional Service. Half The Price!”

Question #9: “Jessica, is it true you’re difficult to work with?”

Well, it all depends on who you ask. Or in many cases: who decides to run around—emoting and justifying their behavior–telling their side of the story. They’re merely trying to poison the well before any responsibility comes back on them.

Example #1:

If you ask the seller who was coming off their medication (and drinking) and decided to call me up—not once but twice!–at 2:00 AM in the morning… calling me up at 2:00 AM to share her ‘feelings’ about her home…

Yes, I was very difficult to work with. I didn’t appreciate being called at that early hour. I didn’t appreciate it all. And, yes, I made my displeasure very well known. I didn’t hide it. And you know what I did? I canceled our listing agreement. I terminated our agreement.

Of course, these people want to act like they’re in high school and tell everyone, “I broke up with, Jessica!” However, that’s not accurate. But. I understand their need to save face.

All my clients know: I have a very close—a very near and dear!–family member who is starting to demonstrate the signs of dementia… I sleep with my phone on in case something happens. In case something bad happens and my family needs me.

I don’t keep my phone on at night in case a person gets inebriated and wants to talk about their home…

Please note: I don’t have any problems having a discussion. However, there is a time and a place for doing so. Two o’clock in the morning is not the time…

Example #2:

If you ask the seller who called me up on a Saturday morning (one of my busiest days of showing homes) at 8:30 am and DEMANDS that I come over to their house at 10:00 am. Why? He wanted to speak to me about what furniture their buyer is/isn’t going to purchase…

He wasn’t asking if I could. Noe, he was DEMANDING that I come. He was adamant that I cancel my appointment (with a couple from Ohio that I’ve had scheduled for over 3 weeks!)… Yep! I bet they didn’t like working with me. Why? Because I told them, “No.”

However, let me mention something: I got these sellers almost full asking price for their home. And I saved them almost $10,000.00 in real estate commissions (compared to paying 5%)… and do you know what they remember about the transaction? Only one thing: my unwillingness to cancel an appointment with someone else. Someone else who was coming over 800 miles to see homes–and had scheduled their time with me well in advance. The sellers had decided–on a whim–to drive up from Florida (and didn’t think to call me at any point while on the road) and expected me to accommodate them at the very last minute.

Now, this is what I call “unrealistic expectations.”

Example #3

The buyers–and sellers–who got ‘busted’ by a neighbor (someone that I previously sold a home to) for trying to go behind my back and write up an offer. In other words: they were trying to lie and get out of their contract in order to sell their home without paying my brokerage.

Yeah, I was probably pretty difficult to work with. Liars and cheats don’t tend to like me very much…

Example #4

Or, maybe you’re referring to one (of the numerous couples) that I have either flat out refused to list…. Or, I’ve refunded their money and terminated our listing contract. Why? Various reasons. However, it usually boils down to: they had very poor manners and refused to treat me—and my staff—with courtesy and respect.

Example #5

The sellers who I got a full price offer on, but they refused to do a few thousand dollars in—very much needed!–repairs? They got mad and told the buyer, “Xxxxxx off!” These sellers were extremely vulgar and belligerent. They breached their contract with my brokerage. Sat on the market 6 months with another real estate company… then another 3 months with another real estate company… and ended up selling for about $30,000 less than what I had them an offer for.

Yes, sir! Yes, mam! Those sellers absolutely hate me. They can’t stand me. Why? Because I was right. They were wrong. And they’re really mad at themselves for being too arrogant to listen to good advice. And good advice is exactly what I give. I’ve been doing this for over 15 years now… I’ve sold hundreds of homes… properties from $40,000 to over 4 Million… I’ve won national awards that no other local agent–not around here!–has been honored with. I’m the only agent–in this market–that the National Association of Realtors has brought out as a guest speaker at their annual convention.

When I make a suggestion… it should be carefully considered.

Example #6

The sellers who bought this HUGE home that I begged them not to purchase. Why? Because it was too big! I pleaded with them to purchase another home in a different pod…

Do you think they listened? No! They told me, “Jessica, either write up the contract or I will find an agent who will! You don’t know what you’re talking about! This is a great home. And being able to sell it down the road doesn’t matter. We are going to live here until we both die!”

And guess what? Six months later they were constantly talking about not being happy there. A year later? They were ready to put it back on the market and sell it…

I told them to put it on the market BEFORE they went out and purchased their new home…

Did they listen? No! They didn’t listen to a word that I said.

They bought their new home and then waited months and months to sell their home. And do you know what happened? The market cooled off (not that there was ever a lot of demand for a home that size).

So, who gets blamed for their bad decisions? Me. Why? Because they can’t take ANY responsibility for their own poor choices.

This couple has been listed with two other companies since listing with me. They’re paying a much higher commission and are in the MLS. And all they have done is drop the price… drop the price… drop the price…

They blame me because they can’t blame themselves. That’s really what it boils down to.

****

Now, I could keep going… I have more situations… I’m very easy to get along with, but I refuse to be taken advantage of. I refuse to be lied to. And I refuse to be spoken to in an unkind and hostile manner.

I stand up for myself. So, you probably need to know that upfront. I won’t be walked over. I am in the service business, but I am not a servant.

Jessica Horton’s Closing Remarks…

It all depends on who you ask. For every person who has something negative to say… I can probably find you an easy ten (10) who have nothing but wonderful things to say.

It all depends on who you ask.

And there are some people who just aren’t ever happy. They can’t ever be pleased. They aren’t ever satisfied. They spend their entire lives being miserable. I am convinced that there are some people who couldn’t be happy in heaven (if it depended on them).

Chance are… you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. You’ve probably encountered one or two (hundred). 🙂

I can’t stop petty and vicious people from running their mouths. It’s like trying to stop a pig from wallowing in slop…. it’s just what they do.

However, I will say this, “I feel sorry for anyone who only listens to one side of a story and forms a firm opinion. There are always (at least!) two sides to every story. I just don’t go around trying to tell my side of the story. Why? Because most people probably aren’t interested. They have better things to do. And more importantly: people who want to know the whole story… they all do the same thing! What’s that? They ask!

They tell me what they ‘heard’. Then, they ask me for my side of the situation. That’s what normal, calm, rationale and mature people do. They don’t just jump to ‘conclusions.’ They ask for information! They try and gather all the facts.

Then they evaluate the information…

Then they reconcile it with what they’ve been previous told..

Then they form their own opinions (based off common sense, wisdom, and some intuition).

People who don’t ask?

Well, they’ve already made up their minds. Made up their minds based on limited information. It’s called having a “confirmation bias”. People seek out information that supports their narrow and closed-minded viewpoint. They go with the story that reinforces their [erroneous] presuppositions. And they disregard all the other information that doesn’t reinforce their belief. Just throw it right out the window…

And that’s fine.

Personally? I’d rather people like steer very far of me and my business—and my family. I don’t care if their home will sell quickly or not. I don’t care if it’s quick and easy money… I’d rather stay away from them. I need my peace of mind and happiness more than I need their listing and money…

Because I’ve been doing this for over 15 years. And this is what I know: they’re going to end up doing a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on me… they’re just waiting for the right moment to spring the trap. The minute that I fail to meet some unrealistic expectation they’ve set (and often subconsciously want to trip me up with… that way they can rationalize going back to their bad opinion and justify all future treatment), “I knew you were difficult to work with!”

No, I don’t need business like that. I will sit at home—on my couch—and read a good book.

Am I difficult to work with?

Well, if you’re a bit of an egomaniac…

passive-aggressive…

Rude…

Hostile..

Unreasonable…

Overly demanding…

Extremely impatient…

A Micromanager…

The kind of person who refuses to listen (you may be older than me and a lot wiser than me in 99% areas of your life… However, there is one area where you are not wiser than me… not even close. And that area is: Buying and Selling Homes. And when I make a suggestion… you’d do well to listen. You really would!).

A liar…

A cheat…

If you have an entitlement mentality…

Yes! I am very difficult to work with.

No, you WILL NOT like me.

Why? Because I won’t let you run all over me. I stand my ground. I will not be spoken to like a dog. I will not jump through hoops like one either. I won’t tolerate bad behavior. And I certainly won’t put up with someone trying to use and abuse my time and stealing from me.

Now, if you aren’t that type of person…

You and I will probably get along wonderfully!!!

We’ll have a great time.

You’ll sell your home. You’ll save a lot of money (maybe use that money to go on a cruise!). You’ll go on with your life. And if you have any type of gratitude and appreciation… thankfulness… awareness and consideration for others… you’ll take a few minutes and give me a letter of recommendation for doing a good job. That’s a reflection of your character (just like it’s a reflection of the character of those who always run around gossiping and slandering and lying).

If not? That’s fine too. My life will go on just fine. And I will still wish you nothing but the best. Nothing but happiness and joy.

*****

I hope this gives you some insight into how I prefer to work (and why). And how it greatly benefits you AND your potential buyers.

Now, if you have a legitimate question about how I work? Ask it!!

I don’t mind answering.

And I don’t mind putting my answers in writing. I stand behind them.

Well informed consumers make better decisions. And the best way to be informed is to have information–and transparency–given to you. So, that is what I do. And it’s exactly what I will keep on doing.