The effective way to purchase a home in 2012

Diogenes

This is not the way that people seek the truth today.

This is an example of where consumers seek the truth today.

For all you marketing geniuses out there, the landscape has changed. Big firms and yesterdays marketing pro’s have always tried to stay ahead of the curve. They also did everything possible to picture their product or their style as being the best in the market. The time has come for them to get in the fast lane or risk being kicked to the information super highway curb. The consumer of 2012 and beyond is not some hapless spender hoping that the wise, well imaged owl will rescue them from their own ineptitude and deliver what they need.

The consumer today does more research and is more prepared to make a decision than any other time. Today’s consumer is not visiting open houses for kicks. Today’s consumer knows more about the houses that are available than most real estate agents. They are armed with information. Some is accurate and some is not. Today’s consumer just wants the truth…the truth at a fair price!!!

Buying a home in 2012 is like peeling an onion.

The disconnect between the desire to buy and actually doing so in a comfortable fashion is filled with layer upon layer of processes. Each time a buyer peels back one layer, there is another waiting and it seems each one is so convoluted that the buyer finds his or her eyes welling up with tears. The industry’s zeal to minimize all liability has created, in some cases, an atmosphere of tempered information and in others, responses that resemble “my lips are sealed”. Consumers want answers. They want answers to their questions. They do not want sanitized sales pitches. They do now want to hear that they must follow blindly along because the agent is “in the top 5% of real estate agents in the USA”. They want to be represented by the top agent in their transaction – period.

They want agents to STOP selling and start representing.

Basic overview

Keep it simple. Let’s start with the premise that most buyers DO NOT have cash to buy a home. Sure, some do but most don’t. They are going to have to finance the purchase. Lenders just have to accept that a lot of people don’t find them very trustworthy and they find the whole borrowing process mystifying. Lenders you did it to yourself. I have never met anyone buying a home that had the opportunity to pull in a little TARP money if they fell short on cash. You did, most of us don’t have a clue what it was or why you got it. The general feeling is that you made a lot of money off bad loans and discovered that you had no money left after lining your own pockets.

Deal with it, there is a trust issue.

Most buyers really don’t care how tough the new GFE is or how the requirements make it more difficult on you. Most buyers did not understand what the hell was going on with the old GFE, so the fact that you find this one less clear does not matter. Muddy water in a jar and muddy water in a bowl is still muddy water. Buyers want to know what information you need, how much cash they have to have and what they will be paying each month. They want to know how much house they can afford comfortably. (Here is a little secret, you can still blow smoke up their rear end and convince them they can afford more…they don’t understand….but when things get tight and they walk…you really have to stop blaming them.) Here is a fact, there are a hell of lot more people facing foreclosure than there are lenders that made the loans. I don’t have the numbers, but I sure can read the papers and I know there are not a million different lenders out there. (Remember Jonestown? One crazy preacher and hundreds dead. Seems like a fair analogy)

IMPORTANT EDITORIAL COMMENT: During the recent real estate fiasco, appraisers got paid, lenders got paid, agents got paid, ancillary service providers got paid. Apparently, by the time the Feds are done even the investors will get paid. The American Taxpayer is footing the bill. Everyone had their greedy finger in the pie. Advisors (read agents and lenders) were the ones that convinced buyers they could afford what they were purchasing.

OK. so can you simplify the process? Can you just explain how things will pan out in the real world on a month to month basis? May be you could actually do that as an added value service.

Folks pay a lot of money for this logo. It would be prudent to discover if they live up to the creed.

Realtors, most buyers don’t need you to find them a home. You can offer to send listings, but you better have a cracker jack website for them. At least tell the truth, they don’t have to use your site. There are 100’s of sites that have the local listings. You do not have a secret stash of homes for sale. (If you claim that you do and you have listings that you do not list in the MLS, you are violating the law. Why would anyone want to use an agent that can not even obey the law?).

If I could share anything that I have culled from conversations with buyers today… lose the fake smile, fake laugh and patronizing attitude. Do not load buyers in your car. Let your buyers tell you what they want to see. If you think they might have missed something, tell them and let them decide if they missed it or not. You can follow them, unlock the doors and stand back. You should be using your eyes and ears. Enough with the guided tour remarks, let your clients focus on what they see. They really don’t need you to point out that a counter is granite or that the 6 foot wide, double door in the basement is a walk out. Your endless prattle is only annoying background noise. Let them think!

The perception out there is that agents seem to have control issues.

Well, you know what, most agents do have that problem. It is no longer acceptable. Lose it or send resumes to CarMax or Best Buy. The buyers of 2012 want to tap into your knowledge and not your opinions. They want you to be the expert on determining value and negotiating and looking out for them. They want your focus to be on helping them own a home. They are really turned off if you seem to be more concerned about your paycheck than their welfare. They really do have a right to know that you have done this before. Experience is very important. 

Oh, and one last thing…lipstick on a pig? It is still a pig.

You can hide behind your fancy terms of puffery, etc. It is a damn lie, that is obvious to buyers, when you use remarks in your listing, that a home just needs some TLC and actually are  full of trash, missing appliances and smell like a public cat urinal. You are not doing the seller any favor. You are just wasting the buyers time. If the house is a dump, tell it like it is. Oh, and those pictures you post on line that were taken before the stove was removed, they need to go the way of the high school photo you still have slapped on your business card. (The younger generation really wonders if you think they will be struck blind from the time they see that out of date photo on your web page and the 10-15 years older version that is also 2o lbs heavier that walks through their door. If you can’t see the difference between the image you share on line and person you see in the mirror, how can you be expected to be aware of all the intricacies involved with represent the buyer?” They want to buy a house and your glamour shot will not enhance their chances …. use the money on education or better yet one of those self help courses that teaches folks to accept themselves.

Final Word

Pinocchio was really cute in the movie. Today’s consumers don’t want cute, they want the truth. Opps, they also want just a little respect. Little respect…no…they want total respect. Total respect means listening to them, letting them take the lead and protecting them as they move through the process.

When are you people going to get it?

If you are currently in the market for a new home, let us take you through the process…step by step. We use all of the gadgets and still find a way to get beyond the bells and whistles and offer our clients help.

We are John MacArthur and Lourdes Tudela and our phone number is 301-509-5111.

 New Years Eve 2011

Cheesy but up to day picture of us

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