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.

What Should You Put In A Listing Presentation?

The real estate listing presentation is often the barrier between an agent getting a new listing or losing it to someone else.  So, with so much on the line, what should you put in a listing presentation?

There are countless formats, templates, and suggestions on what makes for a “winning” presentation.  And with each individual agent having his/her own style, to say that there is only one way to do it would be incorrect.

However, there are certain pieces that make for a good foundation that you probably want to consider using. Below are some of these key ingredients.

listing presentation guidelines

Know Your Ultimate Goal

The goal of any listing presentation is ultimately to have the seller agree to use you as their agent.  Sometimes, you get lucky and the seller is already planning to use you at the time you meet.  In this case, don’t sell when they’ve already bought you.  Just get them to sign right then and there.

How do you know if this is going to happen?  Ask questions before you get there and when you first walk in the door.  If they told you “my neighbor Betty told me to use you,” then probe more to see if you can skip right to the signing on the dotted line part and skip all the fluff.

Remember, never sell once the buyer has bought.  Just stop talking and have them put their commitment in writing.

Have Confidence

If you don’t believe what you’re saying, then the best listing presentation in the world isn’t going to help you.

You must have confidence and belief in what you’re saying.  If you don’t, then there’s no possible way that your seller is going to have faith in you when you don’t even have it in yourself.

What Would You Want?

A great way to start to narrow down all the possible choices of what you could incorporate into your listing presentation is simply to first think of what you’d want to hear if you were sitting on the other side of the table.

If there are 100 things you could discuss, consider what you’d want to hear as the seller.  This is an easy way to filter out things that really aren’t that important.

It’s Not About You

Remember that you’re meeting with the sellers for one thing and one thing only: to talk about THEM.

This discussion is not about you and your awards and your rankings.  What sellers really care about is that you’re going to help them.  If you happen to be number one in your market, that’s fine and good but it’s not the reason you get hired.

You get hired if and only if the seller hears enough about how you’re going to solve their problem.  You can talk until you’re blue in the face but none of it is going to matter if it’s all about you.

Sellers care about themselves.  It’s that simple.

Questions…And More Questions

Related to the point above, ask questions.  Lot’s of ’em.

You want to know about THEM and the only way to find out is to ask them.

Every detail is important:  Why are they moving?  Where are they moving to? When are they planning to move?  Are they buying a house before they sell?  How much do they plan to sell for?  Have friends/family given them any suggestions?


Selling a house comes down to two things:  price and motivation.

If you know their motivation “hot button”,  you can incorporate that into your listing presentation.

Talk about all the things that are important to them.  If your sellers are planning to move to Denver from Chicago for a job transfer, then you know that the motivation is probably pretty high because that job isn’t going to wait forever.  Talk about all the benefits of being in Denver by quickly selling their Chicago home.


Of course, sellers want to know what they are going to be able to sell for.

Provide 3-5 examples of current “active” listings, 3-5 “sold”, and possibly 3-5 “expired” if your market is pretty rough and you want to instill a little fear that the sellers won’t sell if they price too high.

Whether you do your CMA by hand or by computer, make a simple summary page as well as lots of thorough documentation.  Some people like to know just the bottom line and some like all the details.  If you provide both, you can’t go wrong.

Charts, Graphs, Etc.

Depending on how fancy you want to get, you can include a variety of market stats and data.

There are a gazillion different tools you can use here, but one solid and reliable system you can use is Realtors Property Resource.  As a Realtor, you have free access to this tool through the National Association of Realtors.  It’s got excellent in-depth information.

Marketing Plan

What are you going to do to actually sell the house?

HINT:  Don’t tell them you’re going to take professional photos and put it in the MLS.  Everyone does that.  Make your marketing plan unique.  Remember, this is essentially the answer to the common question “what are you going to do to get my house sold.”

Keep It Simple

Less is more.

If you’ve got a 75-page listing presentation, perhaps you’re drowning your client in too much information.  People want information, but they want it in manageable pieces.  Keep it simple and to the point.

Be Yourself

In the end, sellers are not hiring your listing presentation. They are hiring you.

Make your conversation with them “real.”  Be yourself and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine.  People buy from those that they know, like, and trust.

You won’t win EVERY listing because it’s just not possible to be a match for every seller out there.  But when you’re focused on being sincere and authentic, the right clients for you will identify and bond with that.

Then, you get the listing.

What else?  Is there anything that you put in your listing presentation that you think should be in this list?  Let us know in the comments below.

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?


2: How To Have Amazing Work-Life Balance In Real Estate: Albert Garibaldi (part 2)


albert garibaldi, real estate agentAlbert Garibaldi sells a ton of homes while still having a life.  Yes, it is actually possible to have balance.  However, the balance requires a ton of discipline and this is how he does it.  This is the second of two episodes with Albert.   You can find part one here.


Agent:  Albert Garibaldi

Market: Silicon Valley area

Steal His Ideas:

  • Create balance in your life to be successful in business
  • Consistency is the key to success
  • Commit to 2 hours a day to follow up with past clients
  • Commit to 1 hour a day of lead follow up
  • Be a “connector” and “facilitator” in your role as an agent
  • Make discipline in all areas of your life part of your job description


Albert’s discipline in all areas of his life contribute to his success.  He commits to having health and balance at all times.  Each day, he makes sure to take part in family activities (brining kids to school), in his health (he makes working out part of his job description), and in his business (constantly lead generating).

With each call, add value, bring passion, help people out.  Do that with each call and you’ll get “truckloads” of a return on your investment in time.

He is constantly going after it.  He says “don’t wait!”  Social media (etc.) is fine and good, but he gets business from being in the driver’s seat and making things happen by picking up the phone.

When you have a consistent schedule every day, you can be in the driver’s seat.  When you connect with people day after day, you can choose who you want to work with because you’ll have more business than you know what to do with.

Albert cringes when someone calls him a great “salesperson.”  Instead, he hopes people think of him as a great “leader.”  He feels that a leader is much more of what a successful real estate agent is.  That’s because a great leader has the courage to ask the tough questions that help his clients get the true results they’re looking for.

Be able to shift your state of mind when speaking with clients.  Understand the 4 types of personality types so you can mirror match their behaviors and thought processes.  He calls this being an “award-winning actor” and takes it extremely seriously.

The number one reason people hire him has nothing to do with his success.  It’s that he is honest and has passion.  People believe that he loves what he does and it makes them want to trust and like him.

When taking listings, don’t compete on “this is what I do for you.”  Instead, compete with your passion, enthusiasm, knowledge of the market, and being able to price so that a house can sell at the absolute maximum price without lingering on the market.

Lightning Round

What’s the worst marketing you’ve done that others should avoid:  [this is a first:  I didn’t hold Albert to answering this because he crushes it so big with phone work that he doesn’t waste time with things that don’t work as effectively as that]

What keeps you motivated:  To be a part of his clients’ journey of life.

You’ve got 30 days and $1000, what do you do:  First, go find a great broker that gives you value and teaches you.  Don’t shop the splits.  Understand their training and accountability systems so you can have long-term success.  Second, start with 100 people who you know and stay in contact with them every month.  These are your supporters who can help you get started.

How You Can Do What He’s Done

Each day, commit to doing “family work”, then “personal work”, then “work work.”  There must be balance in your life to truly be successful.  Discipline is the key to making all this work.  Schedule everything into your day.

Be a great leader, not a salesperson.

Get focused on listening and be in the right state of mind to match the behavior of the person you’re speaking with.


The Power of Charm book

Albert Garibaldi’s website