Whenever you become involved in a transaction whose subject matter you are not familiar with, it is of the utmost importance that you be dealing with individuals who are skilled in the subject matter and who realize and appreciate their obligation to you. All the homes I ever bought were purchased before I got into the real estate business. Now that I know real estate, I know that there are things I could have and should have done differently. 

If you are listing a property for sale, one of the most important aspects is getting an agent to give you realistic advice when it comes to pricing your property......even if he suspects you may not like his advice. If your property is overpriced it may languish on the market. In 1980, we bought a house in San Francisco for $155,000.00. After having lived there for two years it was determined that we were too far from family. We decided to list the house for sale. I came up with a price by adding the commission, capital improvements and all my closing costs on top of the $155,000.00, so that we could walk away with what we had invested in the property. I came up with a price of $169,900.00. The agent whom I engaged said “Mr. McEwen, you’ve done an excellent job of pricing your home.” Well, the agent was not being honest with me, the reason being that the real estate market, nationwide, had cratered....and he wanted the listing. I did list the property with the agent, but nothing came of it, so I did not renew the listing. I then invited another agent to come look at the house. When I asked her what she thought I should list it for, she turned around and started to walk away, perhaps thinking that I was going to attack her when she gave me the price. Well, she did say in the $140s, and I got angry inside, so I did not list it with her. In retrospect she was right and I was wrong. Eventually I had a real estate broker find tenants for the property. A few months into the lease, the tenant contacted me, wanting to buy the home. Guess what we sold it for....$137,000.00. Well, that was the reality of the market.  Interestingly, the home sold February of 2016 for $1,250,000.00. That’s San Francisco for you.

The moral of the story is this: Make sure that you engage an agent who is straight forward with you when it comes to pricing your home and who is not just trying to get the listing by telling you what you want to hear. He or she should be able to show you recent sales that support the price that is being recommended. Furthermore, make sure that the agent represents your best interests at all times and that he or she never devolves into just a go-between between you and a prospective purchaser. An agent’s job is to always do the best for you and not for him or herself. I have just scratched the surface on this subject. Incidentally, in my 32 years in the business, we are currently in the hottest real estate market Jacksonville has seen in decades. Homes are receiving multiple offers and selling for more than list price.

Mike McEwen is a real estate broker with 32 years in the business.

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