What If There Are No Comps For My CMA?

Sometimes, you just can’t find many comparable sales for your comparative market analysis.  What do you do if you only find one or two or, worse, don’t find any at all?

Your best bet to find comps will be to start altering your search within geography and time.

comps comparable cma

Since location is a prime factor in value, you’ll first want to stay as geographically close to the subject property as possible.

So, for example, maybe you have a condo building or a specific neighborhood you’re researching.  If there’s not a good comp in that building or area within the last 3 months, stick to the same area, but start going further back in time.  Go to 6 months, 9 months, then to 12 months.

If I found a comparable unit in the same condo building as the subject that was 12 months old, my opinion is that this comp is more relevant than a 3-month old comp in a different condo building that was 7 blocks away.

For me, 12 months is about the maximum time limit that I will put into a CMA.  This time period will depend on your local market conditions, but I start expanding the geographic range if I can’t find anything newer than 12 months.

Going back to my condo building example, if it was the case that there was a choice between a 24-month old comp in that building or a 3-month comp in a different building, I’d now start using the newer unit as my comparable even though it wasn’t the same building.

Of course, I’d need to now start making adjustments for what is different about these units.  I need to compare not only location, but also bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, garage space, and other relevant attributes.

Let’s say though that you’ve got a property that’s a single-family home in a subdivision with various home designs and layouts and styles.  If I didn’t have a direct comparison that was newer than 6 months old, I’d start considering similar, but different, styles of homes that were in the direct area instead of going back further in time to find the same exact home style.

I’d do this because a subdivision typically has homes that are relatively similar in price, size, and attributes.  Because a typical buyer isn’t usually dead-set on an exact style of home, you can substitute one 4-bedroom for another on a nearby block.  Although they’re not exactly the same, they could be substitutions for each other in a buyer’s mind.  Therefore, I’d pick the more recent comp as my primary gauge as long as they have some significant similarities.

Of course, determining value is both an art and a science.  Your own individual skill and expertise plays a big role here in determining what kinds of adjustments you should make and how you should apply them.

In the end, your approach should be to gather as much information as possible.  Once you have as many relevant data points as you can find, start sorting them to see what makes most sense in your exact situation.

As a summary, stick to nearby geography first.  Go back further in time, if needed.  If that doesn’t yield results, start expanding the geographic range you’re searching in and apply necessary adjustments to make them as equal as possible.

What would you suggest in this situation?  Would you do anything differently?  Leave a comment and let us know what you do when you can’t find a great comp for a new property you’re working.

28: Why Providing Showing Feedback Is So Important

I timed myself as to how long it took to write feedback after a showing.  It took 14 seconds.

14 total seconds of my day.  That’s all.

Why is it then that only about a third of agents take the time to provide any type of feedback?  I don’t care if it’s a brief reply such as “interested” or “not interested”.  That at least gives me what I need to know.  Those simple words allow me to give my client some type of update.

Is it really that hard?  Does 10-30 seconds of time really cost that much?  Or is the effort just too great to reply to my email (or text or actually call me back after my 3rd inquiry about what the buyer thought).

real estate showing feedback
 

I think it’s reasonable that if a seller leaves their home for an hour on a Sunday morning to enable a buyer to visit, that the buyer’s agent will take 15 seconds to give an update afterwards.  Or am I totally out of line thinking this is logical?

Providing that feedback, as brief or in-depth as it may be, is so important because:

It Helps Show Our Clients That We Are Watching Out For Them – To sellers, getting feedback is common sense.  If we can’t get it, it makes us look like we’re not paying attention.  Or, worse, that we don’t know what we’re doing.

It Provides Direction – How do we know what to fix if we don’t know what’s broken?  Feedback gives an unbiased opinion of the property from an outsider.  Sellers are often way too attached to their home to see the faults.  When an outsider can point them out, it can help give credibility to needing to fix things that maybe the seller didn’t think were problems.

Pricing & Value – Although you have to expect that a serious buyer is probably going to provide feedback that the “price is too high,” other non-interested buyers will likely be giving you their honest opinion on if the price is at market value or not.  We all know that sellers think their house is more special than every other one on the block so, if 10 people are saying it’s priced too high, then maybe the seller will finally get the hint that their over-priced property needs to come down.

What Goes Around, Comes Around – As agents, we have an informal brother/sisterhood, right?  We have to watch out for each other.  I’m a believer that what goes around, comes around.  So, providing feedback to others is the best way for you to get feedback of your own when you need it.

The next time you visit a home as a buyer’s agent, make sure to provide feedback within 24 hours.  We all help each other, don’t we?

 

 

25: How Hard Should You Push In A Listing Presentation?

The ultimate goal of a listing presentation is to get a home seller to list with you, of course.  But, during the meeting with the home owner, how hard should you push him/her/them towards that goal?

In my last meeting with a home owner the other day, I left without a listing agreement.  I probably could have pushed harder.  However, the listing wasn’t my absolute goal for that particular meeting.  My goal was something else.

This particular seller was a brand new prospect to me.  She had signed up for one of my webinars from a facebook ad I was running.  She attended the webinar and spent about 46 minutes listening to me talk about how she should go about selling her home with “best practices” in mind.

listing presentation pressure
 

Since she had attended the webinar, I really didn’t need to go through a typical “listing presentation” at her home because she was already familiar with me and my approach.  This, of course, is the whole point of the webinar – to build that initial level of trust that I know what I’m talking about.

During the course of some follow up with her after the webinar, I learned via email that she had tried to sell about 6 months ago and had gone through a horrific experience with a real estate agent.  Unsurprisingly, she was very weary of agents.  I was able to arrange a phone conversation to discuss this in more detail and that turned into an invitation to meet up in person.

This brings me back to the point of what my goal was for this meeting:

To establish trust, not necessarily get a listing.

Based on the fact that I knew that she wants to sell but had no intention to try to list for another 10 weeks (based on the season) and that she had a terrible experience with another agent and that, when I met up with her she was in the midst of baking cookies for Christmas, I didn’t want to push too hard.  I just wanted to establish trust.  I don’t think she was in the right mindset to commit to me – or anyone else for that matter.   I think if I would have gone in with the clear intent to have her sign on the dotted line, it would have backfired.

But, what if she lists with someone else?

Well, although she said she had one other agent to talk with, she was not seemingly “shopping” the best price or giving other indications that she’s got a gazillion other agents to interview.  If it’s me and one other person, I’m down for a shootout between myself and them.

With all this in mind, what I did at the end of the conversation with her (which was 75 minutes long) was set up another appointment to come back and to bring a very firm selling price with me.

I did this so that I could have more facetime with this seller.  It allows me another chance to be in front of her to further show  that I can be the right choice for them.  In the meantime, I’m sure we’ll have another 2 or 3 emails and maybe another phone call.  That all adds up to about 7-10 total points of contact before I go and visit a second time.

So, how hard have I pushed so far and how hard will I push in the future?  Well, I don’t think I’m pushing very hard at all in this case.  I truly feel that the tortoise will win this race.  I just have to stay in contact and keep demonstrating a high level of expertise.  I guess a die-hard salesperson could have gone in for the one-meeting listing appointment, but I really think that would have been a tough road on this one.

I really enjoyed meeting with this home owner and I think she’ll be a good client.  When you help people that you want to work with, they often end up choosing you without any sales games.

And, usually, it’s because they didn’t feel pushed into it.

What about you?  How hard do you “push” in a listing presentation?  Leave a comment below and let us know.

9: [TOOLBOX] Win Over The Pet To Win Over The Client

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I can tell you from experience in owning a national pet services company that, if you can win over the pet, you stand a great chance to win over a new human client.

That’s because people love their pets.  And, they often trust their pet’s intuition.

how to do listing presentations with petsHow does this apply to real estate?  Well, how often do you go to make a listing presentation at a potential client’s home and are greeted at the door by a furry four-legged friend?  With roughly 66% of American households having a pet, there’s a good chance that there’s a dog or a cat waiting for you in that house.

In my pet business, we do client consultations at the client’s home and our normal practice is to make a HUGE deal out of meeting the dog or cat when we first walk in the home.  We basically pay more attention to the pet than the person for the first 30 seconds in the house.

That’s because we want to let the client know that we care greatly about their pet.  Of course, we also want the pet to feel comfortable around us so they like us.

And, when the pet likes us, then the clients normally do, too.

So, again, back to real estate, why is this important?

It’s because pet owners are usually pretty enthusiastic about their cat or dog or other pet.  They typically have an affinity to the type of animal, the breed, the size, the personality, and more.  If you can identify with this and bond to it, there’s an immediate connection between you and this potential new client.

I’ve literally had people not hire me (for the pet business) because they flat out said that their dog didn’t like me.  Now, that’s a little extreme and a home seller may not take fluffy’s opinion into too much consideration when listing their house.  But, none-the-less, people trust their pets.  If Rover is normally a well-behaved dog but is growling and barking at you incessantly, it may set off a small alarm in their heads.  On the other hand, a normally shy pet that comes to sit on your lap for no reason will probably elicit a positive response from the home owner.

I understand that a pet dog or cat isn’t your main concern when visiting a home.  But, keep it in mind that bonding with a pet is often a huge and easy step towards connecting with this new home seller or buyer.

If you get to a home and they have a dog or cat that you’re not a fan of, don’t do things to give the impression that you don’t like them.  Many pet owners will be conscious of making sure you’re not uncomfortable but, if you clearly don’t like the pet, just fake it until you leave.

Pet/Client Bonding Suggestions

When you have the opportunity to meet with someone at their home and they do have a pet, make a point to ask things such as:

  • the pet’s name
  • age
  • male or female
  • breed
  • their personality
  • if there are other pets in the house
  • any tricks they can do
  • and basically anything else that gets them to start talking about their pet

Also, try and pet the dog or cat.  Make it apparent that you like the client’s pet and that you’re not afraid of it.

And, before you leave, make sure to say “bye” to the pet as well as the pet owners.  It will make them feel more confident in the fact that they just signed with you.  Because, who doesn’t hire a pet-loving real estate agent when the clients are pet lovers themselves?