How We Got Started…

You may already know what type of services I offer.  I buy houses and help clients sell houses that are difficult to sell (distressed, bad tenants, probate, foreclosure, etc.). Additionally, I also help clients who may not be able to sell their home the traditional way or who want to maximize their return when selling. However, if you want to understand how I got started or why I do what I do, keep reading.

In 2013, my wife and I decided to move and sell our home. So, we did what anyone else would do, we asked family and friends for realtor references. Eventually we picked a realtor, decided on a price, and listed the property for sale. After about 30 days, with no serious offers, we had a conversation with our realtor. During the conversation, the realtor suggested we lower the price to show buyers that we were willing to negotiate. There was just one problem, if we lowered the price, we would need to bring a lot of money to settlement. After living in our home for seven years, and spending nearly $40,000 in renovations and improvement, we would be required to actually pay someone to buy our home. Then, our realtor suggested that we “ask a family member for the money needed to close” or not sell. So, left with little options, we removed the listing and did not sell that year.

During that winter, I racked my brain and attempted to figure out how we could come up with approximately $10,000 so we could sell our home and move on. I must have reviewed the settlement sheet a thousand times looking for any way to reduce the expense of selling. It was then that I noticed, one, actually two, big numbers. Realtor commissions. Listen, I understand that realtors need to make a living and they need to get paid, but not at the expense of not selling my house and moving forward with my life. A seller normally pays a total of 6% commission, which is split between the listing agent (my realtor) and the buyer’s agent (representing the person buying my house). In our case, we were expected to pay approximately $18,540 in realtor fees that would be split between the two realtors. Each realtor would net in excess of $9,000 each. In the past, when I sold my first home, I never questioned the commission fees and just accepted it as the norm and sold the house. But this scenario was different, because of the realtors’ commissions, I was not able to move. I was unable to move on with my life, to a new neighborhood with different opportunities. Opportunities that I would miss due to the costs associated with selling. Although I did not expect my realtor to work for free, not once did my realtor provide me with any options or suggest that he would lower his commission.  I only had two options, pay the fee at closing and not make a profit, or unlist my house and stay put.

In a few months, May of 2014, we decided to give it another shot and listed our home with a different realtor. Same result. The listing went up, we had a bunch of showing, but zero acceptable offers came in. After about 30 days, we had a meeting with the new realtor and guess what, we were presented with the same option. Lower the price or pay money at settlement for someone to purchase our home. I wasn’t happy with either option and became extremely frustrated. Again, the realtor did not have any options. I was not able to move on with my life because I needed to pay approximately $20,000 (6% commission) to sell my house.  I wasn’t happy to say the least and I felt stuck.

My decision became clear. I was going to sell my home myself. Let me tell you, at this point, I had very little real estate experience and was totally overwhelmed with the thought of selling my house without a realtor. But what choice did I have? My thought, if I could eliminate at least one of the realtor’s commission, approximately $10,000, I could lower the sale price of my house $10,000 (the amount of my realtor’s expected commission) and, at the very least, break even. At this point, I wasn’t even concerned with making a profit on the sale of my home.  My only concern was to sell my property, break even, and move on with my life. It’s funny the things you will do, or attempt to do, when you are desperate and trying to do what’s best for your family.

So that’s what I did. I listed my house for sale on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and I did everything; took pictures of my house, filled out several forms, decided the commission that was offered to the buyers agent, chose the list price for my house based on recent sales, accepted calls from agents to schedule listing appointment, cleaned the house, negotiated with potential buyers, everything. But hey, I wanted to sell my house and move so I was willing to do whatever it took.

Once my house was uploaded to the MLS, I was able to search for homes in my area and my house appeared just like every other house that was for sale. I began to receive telephone calls from agents and/or their secretaries to schedule showings and, most of the time, no one knew I was the owner of the house. Agents were simply calling because their clients had seen my house on the MLS and wanted to take a look. So far, this process was the same as when I had a realtor. After about 30 days, I had three individuals (all represented by realtors) seriously interested in purchasing my house. I started to speak with with agents and I have to admit, I was not that good at it but I knew my bottom line and was trying to stay close to that number. I truly believe that if I was not able to personally speak with the buyer’s agent, the negotiations would not have gone so smoothly. I was able to hear the thoughts, ideas, and concerns of the buyer directly from the buyer’s agent. I was advocating for myself, my situation, and the sale of my home. I responded immediately to all inquiries and questions the buyers had and was laser focused on the sale. In the end, all these things helped with the sale of my house. But, the main reason I was able to sell my house was because I had the ability to lower the price, which attracted an end buyer quickly. I ended up selling my home! I paid the buyer’s agent a commision of approximately $8,000 and walked away with about $2,000 at settlement. I did it, it wasn’t easy, but I did it. I sold my house without bringing money to settlement and, more importantly, I was able to move on with my life.

Is this a true story? Every word. So who cares and why am I sharing? I am sharing this experience because when I was going through that journey, I was not thinking about you or anyone else. I was not thinking that there may be others out there that are going through the same situation. I was not thinking about their decisions. Did they sell? Did they stay? Did they borrow money from a family member? I was only thinking about myself and my goal. Now, almost three years removed from that sale, and much more experienced, I am thinking of others and what services I may be able to offer them. My story, my journey, and the possibility of helping others with similar real estate challenges is my motivation. How can I assist you? Tell me your real estate situation and let’s discover a solution together.