A successful transaction is about translating the needs of both side of a tranaction into the "language" that the other side speaks and can understand and accept. While we may all speak the same language, what is said gets heard differently depending on the listener's perspective.
Imagine how hard that is when English isn't even your native language!
Recently I worked with a Nigerian couple to help them buy their first home. For both, English was their second language. And as articulate in English and as well-educated as they are, it was still difficult. The Seller’s agent was a S.E. Asian Indian who spoke heavily accented English as his second language. Not surprisingly, both parties arrived to the transaction with different cultural perspectives. Most Realtors would be stressed to the breaking point.
It was right in my wheelhouse!
I spent my first career working in bilateral US-Japan trade. My second language is Japanese. I’ve lived abroad and for over 30 years I’ve specialized in cross-cultural business on both sides of the Pacific.
From experience I know that non-native speakers need to communicate on multiple levels. Spoken explanations always need to be followed up with a written summary. Documents need high level summaries (written and verbal). Standard terms need to be defined and jargon must be decoded. Cultural reference points must be acknowledged, explained, and factored into the business equation. Because all cultures approach negotiation in different ways, understanding those differences and allowing for them during the negotiation process is critical to success.
I love working with foreign-born clients. If you know of someone who could use my help, call or email me today!
It’s been a couple of decades since you bought your last home and now you’re considering shedding the old Victorian for a 2BR, 2BA condo in the heart of town. LIFE IS GOOD! Right?
Not so fast… The real estate market has changed since you bought your last home. For starters, consider these three points.
Mortgage Pre-approved is a Must
Most sellers won’t even look at your offer if you don’t have a letter from a lender stating that you’ve been pre-approved for a loan. Fortunately for you, mortgage lenders are legion. Unfortunately, the good ones are as rare as hen’s teeth. I suggest working with a mortgage broker with access to multiple lenders to find the best rate and terms. Let me help you find one.
Possession is at Closing
Back in the day it was common for sellers to negotiate staying in their home a week or two after closing to pack and move during which time they would pay the new owners what amounted to a rental fee. No more. Sellers typically move out at least a day prior to closing and the new owners move in very shortly thereafter. Beware: this requires a high degree of planning and little room for errors.
Buyer’s Agents/Seller’s Agents\
GOOD NEWS! Now you can get yourself an agent that represents only your best interest in a transaction.
Before 2000, agents for both the buyer and the seller had a fiduciary responsibility to the seller. It didn’t matter if you were the buyer, your agent still was bound to represent the seller’s interests. The License Law of 2000 changed that and now buyer’s agents represent the buyer’s best interest, seller’s agents represent the seller’s best interests. (Strange enough, Illinois agents can still be dual agents but only with written consent but you’ll never get that request from me!)
But wait… there’s more! Next month…
If you’re looking to make some changes, let me know. I can help you navigate today’s real estate market. Contact me today.
It’s the classic George Carlin oxymoron: how can something“shrimpy” be “jumbo”? Do you even need jumbo shrimp? As a shrimp lover and a Realtor, I answer with an emphatic YES!
More to the point, I say that real estate is not far from being jumbo shrimp. Hear me out…
Jumbo: Berkshire Hathaway is now the largest real estate company in America according to industry analytics from REAL TRENDS. Specifically, we’ve transacted more business than any other firm in the USA: 346,629 transactions in 2018. Considering that our closest competitor is the real estate conglomerate NRT (Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s, Corcoran and others) that’s saying a lot.
Shrimp: There is where I come into the picture. I’m the smallest link in the global real estate supply chain but arguably the most important one.
Without the shrimp you can’t have jumbo shrimp. Without a Realtor you selling real estate in today’s market is very tough, no matter how big you are.
Without a jumbo-brand, all you’ve got is a “shrimpy” Realtor. But if you’ve got at jumbo-brand and a great team of Realtors, well then you’ve got the top selling brand in the USA! Thank you Berkshire Hathaway Home Services!
Having the backing of an internationally recognized and trusted “jumbo” brand allows me to give my clients more of the services they need. Let me help you— give me a call (708) 488-9280 or email me at: KCrowell@KoenigRubloff.com and let’s talk about your real estate needs over a little shrimp cocktail!
“It’s a buyer’s market!”— Those words strike fear in the heart of all home sellers unless you understand how the laws of supply and demand affect your specific micro-market.
Your micro-market is the little slice of similar properties within the market for all homes. At a minimum, micro-markets are defined by location, price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, newly built or existing properties, and mortgage type.
Recently I evaluated two homes in two very different micro-markets.
Micro-market: Oak Park: 3BR/2BA, traditional mortgage, resale, single-family detached, $273K-$423K, 1001 to 2000 sqft
Absorption rate: 2.75 months (Seller’s Market)
Micro-market: Oak Park: 4BR/4BA, traditional mortgage, resale, single-family detached, $450K+, over 3001sqft
Absorption rate: 15.4 months (Buyer’s Market)
Six months is considered to be a balanced market— there are as many buyers as there are sellers. Less than six months it’s a seller’s market where buyer’s outnumber sellers. More than six months it’s a buyer’s market where sellers exceed buyers.
How to calculate your absorption rate: This is where I come in because you need to have access to the Multiple Listing Service to get accurate numbers.
Interested in buying or selling? Want to make home improvements and need a baseline on your home’s current market value? Or are you just curious? For any and all of those reasons I’m happy to help!
Contact me at KCrowell@KoenigRubloff.com or at (708) 488-9280.
The last three months indicate the beginning of a shift in the local real estate market. Simply put, there are more houses on the market and fewer buyers wanting to purchase them.
What does this mean for you? It’s becoming a buyer’s market. Buyer’s can take advantage of lower pricing and greater selection.
Sellers need to reset their expectations and sharpen their marketing tools. With Buyer’s riding a favorable supply/demand curve, sellers need to better understand buyer motivations, stop selling their house and start selling their home! Learn more here.
What’s Up And What’s Down?
Contact me for a full copy of the report and for more information on how to sell your home in a buyer’s market.
In my last post I spoke about the difference between a house and a home. It’s more than mere semantics: a house is a pile of lumber on a lot, a home is a place that contains all the emotions, experiences, hopes, and desires that we as humans carry with us.
In my short tenure as a real estate broker I’ve noticed that most buyers say they want to buy a house but what they really want is a home. At the same time, sellers are determined to sell their house and always have mixed feelings about selling their home.
I’ve also noticed that there are a lot of houses on the market but very few homes.
At you with me? This distinction is important because it strikes to the heart of the product that you want to sell or buy.
If you want to sell your house but potential buyers want to buy a home, you’re not meeting your target market’s primary objective.
If you’re a buyer trying to decide between competing properties, do you have all the information you need to determine if one property will be a good home for you and your family?
Marketing a product requires that sellers differentiate what they have to sell from all the other products available to purchase. Successful products stand out because they meet their target market’s needs.
In other words, if you’re selling a house and buyers want to buy a home something’s wrong.
How do you differentiate your house from all the other houses on the market? Sell your home!
Contact me if you want to learn how to buy or sell a home.
It seems obvious but it’s not: a house is not a home. Most people intending to buy or sell a home they forget that. They make the mistake of trying to sell or buy a house and ignore that what people want is a home.
The difference is simply this: a house is a pile of lumber sitting on a lot. A home is everything else inside and around the house: the secret nooks and crannies where your children played make-believe, that warm corner you like to read in, the neighbors (barking dog and all!), block parties, schools, your favorite local coffee shop, and so much more.
When selling or buying a house, focusing on the house and not home misses the point.
Buyers beware: you may find the perfect house but unless you and your agent really dig deeper it may not have the potential for being your forever-home.
Sellers, selling a house will not bring you the top dollars that selling your home will.
Watch this space for more information on buying or selling your home.
The owners of the house I recently closed on for a client hadn’t kept up with their property tax appeals which resulted in a tax bill roughly 20% higher than it should have been. To reduce the sting I was able to negotiate a 10% seller’s credit for them and encouraged my buyers to continue the appeal process.
This was a real win for my buyers but a bitter pill to swallow for the sellers.
In Cook County it’s imperative that you homeowners keep on top of their tax assessments. There are plenty of lawyers specializing in this area but you can also go to your township assessor and DIY.
In Oak Park see Ali ElSaffar (https://bit.ly/2wa2ge9).
In River Forest see Pamela Kende (https://bit.ly/2L0bnDL)
Kevin C. Crowell: #Determined!
For over 25 years I worked at the company I built, successfully selling high-tech products in Japan, the world’s most demanding market. My work there required a: close attention to detail, superior customer service, exacting quality, and continuous improvement.