Frankly My Dear, WE do give a Damn !

Oh Rhett, you said we would always have Tara

                    I don’t suppose being a real estate agent carries the same frustrations shared by Rhett Butler in “Gone with the wind”.  It does have it’s moments.  Buying and selling real estate often includes challenges that threaten the serenity we all seek in our professional lives.  It happens.  There are agents that do leave you with the thought that maybe, just maybe, they “didn’t give a damn”. Some of you reading this have felt that way and you know exactly what I am talking about. To be fair, most agents care. The problem often is the result of inexperience.  Paralysis by analysis gives way to a deafening silence when clients expect answers.  The real or potential liability of “messing up” seems to cause agents that haven’t done many transactions to crawl into a “hypothetical cave” and wait for the storm to pass.  Clients are left wondering if letting their nephew, whom is just starting a career, handle their transaction was the wisest course to take.  Some are left to ponder if choosing their agent just because the agent works for a “name brand” company didn’t leave them with a well manicured, practiced script spouting novice. It may be hard to care about clients when you are struggling to understand the intricacies of your new profession or when you have not “done the dance” in a real ballroom.

         Frankly, my dear, we do give a damn.  It matters to us that every potential buyer is counseled at the beginning of their adventure and that they keep receiving advice and counsel throughout the process. Knowing exactly what to do and when to do it is important. Knowing why is comforting.  Our strength was not developed by attending more classes to generate fancy alphabetical designations on our business cards.  Our ability to take processes and language inherent in real estate and translate and explain them in layman’s terms is the cumulative result of handling hundreds of transactions as an agent and as a manager.  Experience is the birth place of understanding, actual skill development and knowledge.  I am not the first to share, knowledge is power.  Moving a transaction smoothly from start to finish takes power.

Experience has taught us valuable lessons.  It has also led us to make a significant change in our business model.  You see, there are practices that occur in real estate that have never settled well with us.  We have spent our entire career under the umbrella of the largest brokerages in the DC market.  There was a time when we actually bought into the theory that the branding offered by those firms was necessary to gain credibility with potential clients.  Experience has taught us otherwise.  The public is inundated with glitzy commercials that are long on statistic bending but short on reality.  We have spent time behind the curtain and would prefer to continue our practice in the light of day.

Our new home

c21nm

         We have moved our practice.  You see, the big firms have chosen what they advertise as a “consumer friendly, one stop shopping environment”.  They have developed a model that offers agents, lending and settlement services under one roof.  The move caused the government to step in and require them to disclose their relationship to consumers.  Another part of the model uses “preferred partners”  in areas like home warranties, home inspections and insurance.  “Preferred partners” have been vetted and give the consumer one more choice when seeking assistance.

          Century 21 New Millennium is not a one stop shop.  We are free to offer recommendations for lenders, title companies, home warranties, home inspections and insurance.  In addition to the firms that have been vetted and established a relationship with Century 21, we can actually give our clients choices (if they ask) based on our experience with firms.  We receive no kick backs or other considerations for our recommendations.  The companies we recommend have performed in the past and have proven to be worthy or our trust.  Our clients are not charged a “transaction fee”.  We are  quite comfortable operating on the commission earned on sales and prefer to pay any additional fees out of our commission.  Working with us, you will get what you pay for… experience that makes a difference.  Give us a call or text us at 301-509-5111.


MacArthur receives J.D. Power Award!

John MacArthur receives J.D. Power Award for customer satisfaction

         RE/MAX Chairman and Co-Founder Dave Liniger offered congratulations saying “It truly reflects your professional excellence, your enthusiasm for education, your commitment to distressed sellers, your individual drive, and many other qualities that serve the interests of your clients. Your efforts change lives, and those people have spoken.”

         Home buyers and home sellers used a 1,000-point scale.  Consumers used the following categories:

  • Overall satisfaction
  • Agent/Salesperson professionalism
  • Variety of additional services
  • Real estate office
  • Real estate company marketing (seller survey only)
         MacArthur is licensed in the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland. His broker is Century 21 New Millennium located in Washington, DC.  Dave Stevens, the former Assistant Secretary – FHA Commissioner shared ” *“John is a true real estate professional who combines passion, integrity, and a deep knowledge of real estate to produce outstanding results”.
         If you are interested in having a JD Powers award winning agent represent you in your real estate transaction, you can contact John at 301-509-5111 or click CONTACT JOHN.

You want results … we deliver !

Buying, Selling 

You want results … we deliver !

          Unless you have actually been involved in the sale or purchase of a home this year, you may not understand what in the world is going on in real estate.  Interest rates remain low, apparently home prices have dropped significantly and yet, the news media keeps sharing dismal results.  You want results, we deliver.

         “The reality is that the well-documented contraction of mortgage credit, including larger down payment requirements, has actually put homeownership beyond the reach of many otherwise qualified homebuyers. Unfortunately, a steady drumbeat of headlines regarding this credit tightening has persuaded millions of potential homebuyers to abandon their dreams of home ownership.”  source http://www.workforce-resource.com

          If home prices dropped another 50%, the vast majority of buyers could not purchase them without a mortgage loan. If interest rates dropped to zero, it would not change the market if lenders do not make loans.  The access to mortgage money is the current roadblock to revival of the real estate market.

 You want results, we deliver.

          If you are considering selling your home, we will offer a full service listing for a rate between 5% and 6% (this does not apply to sellers that are in a “short sale status”).  If the home is priced right (based on local market, condition and location) it will sell!  Our fee is lower than most and you keep the difference. Money in your pocket, results, we deliver.

          If you are considering making a purchase, we will do everything possible to make sure you are aware of down payment assistance that is available to you (Everyone’s situation is different…don’t assume their is no help for you). Should you be successful in finding and purchasing a home, we will make sure you receive a rebate on the purchase price (this offer is not available if you were referred to us by a Broker that has to be paid a referral fee).

          A successful real estate transaction is possible today. You just have to exercise your right and choose an agent that will deliver.  You want results … we deliver !

Contact us now

John MacArthur

Lourdes Tudela

Century 21 New Millennium

301-509-5111

4.5% Listing Feedback…Still think you need to pay 5 or 6%?

Sure, there will always be naysayers.  There will always be those that refuse to accept that you could possibly receive a full service listing of your home for only 4.5%.

This is an unedited note from one of our recent clients. (Oh, the house sold in about two weeks!)

Hi John and Lourdes,

Sorry not to have written sooner.  It is just today that we’ve gotten our internet service in our house in Cambridge.

We are writing to thank you again and to express our appreciation for your help with the recent sale of our house in Derwood.  We’re very happy with the results.

You helped us work out the right price and get a solid contract in less than 3 weeks.  From start to finish, the whole process was uncomplicated and your advice helped us make good choices.  It seems to us that one special way you made our sale happen is by how well you leveraged the internet.

Recently, when searching for our new home in Cambridge, Barbara and I learned how important it is to have good internet presence.  We looked long and hard on-line and had a pretty good idea of what we were interested in before we ever contacted an agent for help.  That’s a big reason why, when it came time to get an agency’s help with listing and selling our Derwood house, we felt you were the right team to help us.   We think your detailed on-line listings – with great photos – and the articles and blogs you wrote got us sold quickly.  And, that this had a lot to do with our receiving two offers – with one being from out of state.

We’re very fortunate to have had such good guidance.

Many, many thanks,

Scott and Barbara Yann

If you are preparing to sell your home, you just might want to contact us.  

Washington Post…”average commission climbing”..We say 5% is enough!

You may get it … obviously, they don’t get it

          The “REAL ESTATE” section of the June,11, 2011 Washington Post features an article by Dina ElBoghdady titled “… And the broker takes a slice.  The story is sub-titled ” As market has soured, the average commission has been climbing.”  You can feast your eyes on the on-line version by clicking Post Article.

          If you visit the Post website to read the article, be sure to note the paid ad in the upper right hand corner.  Ms. ElBoghdaddy seems to have a certain slant to the article (through words, inferences and people she has chosen to quote).

If you have read this far, let me state… WE THINK LISTING RATES ARE TOO HIGH IN THE DC MARKET AND WE LIST HOMES FOR NO MORE THAN 5%.  You can now return to the gibberish shared in the article.

          The article does offer some insight into the mindset of sellers that wish to go it on their own.  The commission paid to the agents involved does come out of the sellers proceeds at closing.  Of course, the sellers proceeds come from the buyer at closing.  Who is actually paying the agents may be literally the seller but in reality it is the buyer providing the funds. If you focus on who is actually paying,  the seller is overlooking the more important question…”How much will I net from the sale of my home?”  Most sellers want and should receive full service from their agent. The price they pay should not be based on yesterday’s marketing, nor should it be based on the unwritten, but widely practiced 5.5%.

          The article indicates that the average commission being charged in the DC area has increased from a low of 5.02 percent in 2005 to 5.40 percent in 2010.  Those figures indicate that a lot of sellers are savoring the sizzle and never tasting the steak.  Those figures indicate that sellers are willing to pay more for less. In plain words, it may smell good on the grill but it tastes like shoe leather on your plate.

         Well, not so fast grasshopper.  Ms. ElBoghdady has reached out to some experts (?) to explain and justify this increase in commission rate.  The illustrious Steve Murray, president of Real Trends shared that “During the boom, competition among agents drove commission rates down. Now, agents are putting more time and money into marketing these homes, and they’re not as willing to compete with each other by lowering commissions.”  Hmmm..I guess it should be pointed out that Real Trends is a firm that makes its living off Real Estate agents.  They charge a fee to brokers so agents will have access to trade information and tips on how to make more money.  It would seem that Real Trends and Mr. Murray have a vested interest in agents earning more money.  I should point out that some agents that pay for his service, include the cost of his service in their annual budgeting  which then becomes a factor in the commission rate they will charge.

         The next expert (?) Ms. ElBoghdady quoted is none other than the president and chief operating officer of Long&Foster, the Washington area’s largest real estate brokerage. Jeff Detwiler ( formerly a big mortgage company executive…oops…does that resume say Countrywide????  Now their history in the industry just screams …expletives deleted).  Well, Mr. Detwiler shared “The lowest commission rates were in a marketplace where buyers and sellers were coming together on their own and agent’s job was to line up orders and show products.”

          ARE YOU KIDDING ME????  Note to Detwiler…. While you were rolling along in the Mozilo-mobile, Long and Foster agents were doing a damn site more than taking orders.  Of course, you may have missed that while you were dodging the bullets fired at Countrywide...see this story    I am not just sharing hearsay, I worked at Long & Foster and I am familiar with hundreds of agents and managers there.  Comments like this further erode your relationship with agents on the street.  Just shut up. Oh, and please check the history, Long and Foster was the firm that began charging 7% for listings until market pressure forced them to drop the policy. This occurred after the company claimed the higher fees were a success.

          The article progresses with Ms. Boghdady’s assertion that “many firms offer deeply discounted but limited services to such sellers.  She points to the Redfin model of rebating a portion of the commission back to customers and the Save6 model which offers a flat fee service.  Discount is an interesting adjective. It implies that there is a set rate which is discounted.  Whatever a broker is paid is negotiable. There are no discounts.

          The next area covered in the article covers the perils of “for sale by owner”.  Without attributing the statement to anyone, Ms. Boghdady states “sellers who go it alone…end up leaning heavily on the buyer’s agent.”  The buyer’s agent represents the buyer and can not give the seller any advice. It is against Maryland law. The buyer’s agent can not represent the seller. For sale by owner folks are on their own.  At this point she quotes Joan Caton Cromwell from McEnearney Associates “You end up doing the work that the seller should be paying their agent to do. Also, the sellers are emotionally involved with the property and they all think their house is the best house on the block.”  Smoke and mirrors folks. Of course many of the sellers are attached to their homes. The buyers agent can not advise them about the sales price. The buyers agent can only present an offer. It seems that some agents need to brush up on “whom the agent represents.”

         The next dance involves the amount of commission offered to the buyers agent.  Larry Lesson shares that “There’s no motivation for a Realtor to show a house if the seller is only offering 1 or 1.5 percent commission”.  I admire Mr. Lesson for professing what happens behind the curtain. I can also share that any agent that eliminates homes based on the commission being offered is operating outside the lines.  Jonathon Hill had the courage to share that agents “shouldn’t pick and choose based on what the agent wants.”  Buyers are supposed to have the option of choosing a home from homes that meet THEIR criteria.  Agents that eliminate homes because of the amount of commission offered are not interested in their buyer clients best interest. They are only interested in making as much money as possible. If you look at the bottom of the shoe labeled integrity, you can scrape these agents off.

         One other point was covered. What happens when a non-represented buyer shows up. Should the listing agent keep all the commission?  Some agents make a living “double siding” transactions.  At this point in my career, I don’t think it is a good way to do business. It is never an issue with our 5% listing service. If someone shows up without an agent, we will recommend an agent for them. We want no part of the buyer’s side of the commission. We want the 2.5% we share to be paid to an agent that represents the buyer. We firmly believe that both sides in the transaction should have their own representation.

        It is a very interesting article. It is not completely accurate, but one must consider the sources referenced.  We do offer a complete, full service listing service for 5%. If you wonder how, read this post.  If you are interested and wish to contact us, call us at Century 21 New Millennium (301)509-5111 or (202)656-5710  or use this form and we will be in touch

.

Selling your home? Why pay more ?

Here’s the deal. Brokers used to justify their 6% or 7% listing fee because there was a “cost” to marketing your home. They had pretty color glossary hand outs created that showed you the enormous cost of letting buyers know about your home.

Sure, they would list things like the Washington Post, Homes Magazine, the local Gazette, New Homes Guide and other real estate publications. They would have the cost of a virtual tour, color brochures and a sign out front listed as well.

They might have included the costs of broker’s open houses and general public open houses.

I have no doubt that back in the day; those were the only methods available to promote your home.

 THAT WAS THEN AND THIS IS NOW!

This is a new day.  The only thing that the Washington Post, Home Magazine, the local Gazette, New Homes Guide and other real estate publications promote is the agent listing your home.  They are asking you to pay for promoting their interests.

What about the virtual tour, the color brochures and that sign in the front yard?  Can I say “You tube”?  Can I share that creating a virtual tour is NOT brain surgery?  Those brochures are eye candy.  The people that pick them up are in the house. All of the pictures should be on line. Oh, and that sign out front with the listing agent’s picture and phone number; it shows the home is for sale but it promotes the listing agent.  They are asking you to foot the bill for things that either cost nothing or promote the agent.

Think about it. Should you pay for the cold cuts and soda served to agents that attend broker’s opens?  They are asking you to subsidize lunch for friends.

Almost all buyers find new homes on the internet.  Any agent worth his or her salt has a website and adding your listing does not cost a penny.  The majority of listings are found via the Multiple Listing Service.  Buyer’s agents review them daily. The use of the internet in marketing your home has slashed the cost agents used to pay.

WE GET IT.  LISTING A HOUSE SHOULD COST LESS.

INTERESTED IN A FULL SERVICE, COMPLETE INTERNET LISTING

We  only charge  4.5%

(You can take the rest to the bank!)

CONTACT  ME NOW