Helping Buyers Moving to LEXington……LEXpert Style

Sold another house last weekend.  It sure isn’t like it is on HGTV, where I show them 3 houses, ask what they want to offer, then fill in the blanks on the contact.  I don’t know how other realtors do it, but this story shows how the LEXpert does it:

These folks were from out of town.  I do a lot of work for out of towners, so I became their primary source of info about Lexington.  All buyers seem to appreciate my perspective from being in Lexington for so long.

Before these peeps have even come to Lexington, we’re communicating about houses that are for sale, I’m giving them my thoughts on the neighborhoods and all the positives and negatives.  At this point, it is about narrowing down what they want in a house, schools and which part of town they’ll prefer.  Like most out of town clients, they came to Lexington for a weekend to see in person everything we have been talking about.  I drove them past the schools, through neighborhoods and the shopping/dining areas around town.   We also checked out a few houses just to show them what they can get for the money here.  (It’s always fun for me to meet my clients for the first time.  I usually have no idea what they look like, so I just wonder around a hotel lobby until somebody looks at me like they know me, then I say “Are you_______?”)

These clients, like most, had a house to sell and a job to start here.  As we got closer to this date, I have to give them almost all of my attention.  See, my goal is that when my buyers come to pick a house, I have done all my legwork and they know enough to make a good decision while here.  I can’t tell you how many sellers I have represented with stories about being rushed to pick a house while they were here for just one weekend.  I have had several sellers who didn’t know they bought in a poor performing school district……That’s why they’ve called me to sell.  I wish these sellers had found me before they bought rather than some Realtor that just opened doors for them and filled the blanks in the contract.

Something I did for these buyers and that I have done for many others is to preview the houses that interest them and make a video.  That gives them a chance to see the WHOLE house, not just the best pictures the listing agent has online.  I’ll give them my two cents during the video, describe the layout, show them how the house sits compared to the neighbors, etc.  I’ve saved buyers a lot of time by doing this since most of the time we can eliminate half the list before they even get here.  This is great for them because they can be thinking about the houses from back home.  I think that is what makes it less stressful for my folks.  The more I can make it like they are actually here in town, the better.  Can you imagine spending two days looking at something like 19 houses and trying to make a wise decision?  In this case, my people started out with 19 houses (see, not just a made up number!) and when they got here we only had to see 7 in person.  That is a lot less info to process in one weekend.

I like to try to see all the houses on Friday or Saturday, then come back before the weekend is over for a second showing of their short list.  You always see more negatives the second time you see a house.  I usually try to lay low on second showings.  This is where people are really trying to envision themselves living at the house.  Almost all buyers are very silent on second showings.  I usually take a closer look at the house in search of anything that I think could bite us in the rear during the home inspection.  The house that was these folks top choice had a lot of rotten wood around the windows.  I pointed that out, plus the fact that I thought the house was mainly a lot of lipstick and a new kitchen.  That house was going to need all new HVAC and windows before long.  It was cheaper and wiser to buy the less expensive house around the corner that was in better shape, had a better lot and just apply the same lipstick they liked from the other house!   These folks made their short list and picked the one that we all thought was the best for them…..which is good because 3 of the 7 we had seen got contracts that same weekend.  I think that means we know how to pick good ones 😉 

When we got to the point of making the offer, I’ve already checked the crime map, the sex offender registry, the PVA to see the lot size/shape.  Most importantly, I’ve spent the time to analyse the recently sold houses in the area to determine what the house is worth.  I think many realtors just look at square footage when they suggest a price.  I not only make adjustments for square footage, but also for the difference in the QUALITY of the square footage.  I also  looked to see if the recent sales had any seller paid concessions, the ages of the roof/windows/HVAC.   I think that is why I am usually so spot on with my opinion of value.  About the only time I am off is when a stupid buyer has a careless Realtor and ends up paying too much.

So, after all that, my folks are now back at home, just waiting to see how the home inspection goes here.  Assuming all is well, they’ll be in their new place in about a month.  I am so excited for them.  They made a wise decision and will be great Lexingtonians 🙂

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