What is so taboo about asking the question “how many homes like mine have you sold in the past year?” It is a simple question, but all too few agents will give you a number. Oh, they’ll tell you they have been a triple micronium producer or on a top team, whatever that means. It all sounds g…

I have been thinking about contacting the television networks with an idea I have for a new real estate reality T.V. show called “The Price is Wrong”. It would be a remake of the long running “The Price is Right” now hosted by Drew Carey. My studio audience is filled with hundreds of frustra…

It amazes me that there are still real estate agents out there that don’t seem to get that being completely honest with a home seller may be hard, but it’s the right thing to do. Not long ago, I heard from someone who had been trying to sell their Lansing home for a long time with no success…

Lately I’ve seen a big difference between “flipped” homes and “rehabbed” homes. And while a rehabbed property might also be flipped, a flipped house doesn’t necessarily have to be rehabbed. With more and more homes being sold to investors, there are a lot of houses being flipped in today’s m…

Your emotional attachment to your house can cost you big $$$. Our homes are very personal to us. Thinking of my grandmother’s home brings warm happy feelings, as does my childhood home. And when I move the next time, I’m sure I’ll be emotionally attached to my current home…it’s my wife’s and…

Planning to sleep in your new home tonight…what’s Plan B? It’s closing day! Everything has gone like clockwork and you have nothing but the closing between you and home ownership!

The other day I received a call from a potential buyer and spent a considerable amount of time answering his questions about short sales, foreclosures and the process of buying a home in the South Suburbs. As we wrapped up our conversation I re-iterated that his next step, since he would be …

While showing homes the other day, I began to wonder why so many occupied homes are not properly prepared for showings.  Most sellers know in advance that their home is going to be shown.  When you get that call, it’s almost “show time”.  Have a plan of action to get your home in “show-ready…

In today’s real estate industry, mortgage rules and the way business is done change daily. Whether you are a buyer, a seller or a real estate agent you need to expect problems. Are you and your agent problem solvers or solution seekers?

We are hearing more and more about strategic defaults, but is this a good option? First, let’s look at the difference between a “regular default” and “strategic default”. A regular default occurs when the homeowner experiences a hardship, such as job loss, divorce, medical bills, etc. They f…

Everyone is a “newbie” at some time. We see managers training the teenager at Taco Bell or the “student driver” signs atop of cars. But when was the last time you saw a “real estate professional in training” badge on a real estate agent or loan officer? Never! A good real estate company will…

In the South Suburbs of Chicago as well as many other parts of the country the lender’s appraisal becomes the litmus test to the price negotiated between the buyer and the seller. Fair market price is normally determined when a seller and a buyer who aren’t under duress negotiate and agree o…

In every profession, there are people who stand out in their field and they are called professionals.  They are men and women who possess the education and distinctive qualities of their trade with confidence.  I have seen professional cooks, electricians, plumbers, doctors, nurses, bus driv…

Today I found 204 homes in the immediate South Suburbs of Chicago that have been on the market for more than 365 days. An entire year or more in the MLS for sale! 45 of those homes have been actively on the market for over 2 years. Can you imagine? Two years of keeping your home clean, havin…

You come home from a long day at work, and there it is…a letter in your mail box saying that someone wants to buy your home.  Of course, then you realize they’ve never even been inside your home.  So how serious can they possibly be?  Today, you will find many “Cable TV Investors”, and even …

Buying and selling real estate is often stressful. It does not have to be that way. Buyers and sellers want the same thing – “A good deal”. Oh, maybe that is the problem. Unrealistic expectations of what a property is worth and petty holdouts can scuttle many deals. Whether a seller or buyer…

I’m often asked by sellers “what are these people thinking?” when a low offer comes in. The easy answer is “they aren’t thinking”, but the real truth is far more complex. At the heart of it all is always self-interest, which is the very same reason why sellers want to get the most money for …

In 1984 Tina Turner released a number one top single titled “What’s Love Got To Do With It”. I think Tina should release a remake of her classic hit. The new version can be dedicated to stubborn sellers who refuse to lead the market with a competitive price. The new song would be entitled “W…

Are you selling your home or just helping your neighbors sell theirs? There are a couple kinds of people who help their neighbors sell their home. The first kind is the neighbor we all want to have. Their yard is perfectly landscaped, the trash cans are never left out by the curb, the cars a…

There is a big difference between a seller being on the market VS being in the market. To put a home on the market a seller hires a real estate agent to list their house for sale. If that home is in the market, agents and buyers view the property and make offers to purchase it. A fishing ana…

Sorry if I offended you…but your house stinks. Houses smell. Yep, every single one. Oh, they don’t all smell bad…but they all carry their own fragrance. A fragrance called the death of a sale if it stinks. Unfortunately, in the grand scheme of preparing a home for sale, house smells are the …

About a year ago I went on a listing appointment. The seller was referred to me by a past client of mine. I thought that would give me the edge against the other Realtor she was talking to…but it didn’t. The listing appointment itself was awesome! I instantly felt comfortable with the client…

What is DOM in real estate and what does it mean? Sooner or later prospective buyers and sellers come across the abbreviation DOM and ask what is hiding behind this real estate jargon. The short answer is: DOM stands for days on the market and indicates the number of days a property has been…

One of the first questions someone naturally asks themselves as a renter is, “why should I become a homeowner?” There are many reasons, but probably the first one is the pride in knowing that you have established a foundation for building personal wealth as well as a basis for future memories.

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING. Simple concept, but in the real estate world it can get complicated. The temptation to embellish is sometimes irresistible to a home seller. This is a formula that will for sure frustrate buyers and alienate real estate agents that show your home. Recently, I was showin…

What makes a great Realtor? Certainly not perfection. There is no such thing. My feeling on this is that if you actually try, try, try and do your best for your clients that even if you are unsuccessful, you have not failed. If you do your best and put your right foot forward, remain honest …

“If it sells to quickly it was under-priced to begin with!” This is what my seller said to me yesterday when we were discussing his price point. I said “excuse me?” and he repeated it, nodding his head up and down. I quickly thought of my most logical response to this myth and said “what do …

When it’s time to say goodbye to a house you love. I remember being very impressed with the property on my first visit. The 100 year-old farm house shone with careful restoration and charm. The acreage that surrounded it was dotted with heirloom fruit trees and organic pathways winding throu…

“Should I wait until the spring market and warmer weather before I list my home for sale?”  As a Realtor in the south suburbs of Chicago, I get asked this question all the time.  My response is quite simple…“If you can list your home now, you really should.”  And the reasons why are equally …

The biggest mistake some folks make when selling their home is not listing it. Are you going to try to defy all odds and sell it yourself, or are you going to put the odds in your favor by marketing your home with a Realtor in the multiple listing service (MLS)?

In today’s real estate market, it is very common for buyers to ask that the seller pay for the buyer’s closing costs. Some sellers are baffled by this request and others realize that this is the way many non-buyers become buyers today. Many times, especially in the case of first time home bu…

Some buyers and sellers wonder whether they can save money by not using a Realtor for their home sale and/or purchase. I will do my best to explain the variables for different types of transactions. SELLING A HOME, you will probably be best served to hire a Realtor to list it for you and to …

Doing some upgrading before selling your home?  Consult with your agent first.  Twice in the last few days I have been called by sellers who will be listing their homes and have been asked for advice on improvements they want to make.  This is a smart, pro-active move on the seller’s part as…

You may have noticed over the last 6 years that I sign off this weekly column not as Mike Buder Realtor or RE/MAX Agent, but Mike Buder “a local Christian Businessman”.  I have been lectured by some that I should not sign off in such a way because it might offend some people.  Lately it has …

Meet the new agent…same as the old agent…of course this is a play on “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”  What I am addressing here is that many people think changing real estate agents will help a listing that is not selling.  They think one agent is a good as another, so if one does…

I ask, what is your definition of giving during this Christmas season? Christmas is celebrating the life and birth of Jesus Christ who gave his life for us – for our sins…hundreds of years later we celebrate this with an abundance of gifts in a material form that society tells us we have to …

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

I ask, what is your definition of giving during this Christmas season? Christmas is celebrating the life and birth of Jesus Christ who gave his life for us – for our sins…hundreds of years later we celebrate this with an abundance of gifts in a material form that society tells us we have to …

In my first year or two in the business (early 80’s) a young couple wanting to buy their first home walked into our office looking for an agent to help them. That was my floor time day, so I was happy to talk with them. They looked and seemed young – and they were – not even twenty yet. They…

You’re reputation is only as good as the WORST thing you’ve ever done. Yes, let me repeat that…You’re reputation is only as good as the WORST thing you’ve ever done. This is true in all aspects of life. In the real estate business, your reputation is everything. It provides you a platform fo…

This week I was on a listing appointment and the client asked, “Should I wait until after the holidays to list my home?” I have also had some sellers in the past call and say “no more showings until after the holidays.” The holidays could be the best time of the year to have your home on the…

On October 3, 1789 President George Washington made a proclamation of a national day of Thanksgiving. I won’t quote his declaration in its entirety but this is what I felt was important to share as well as a little about the context for this declaration. “Whereas it is the duty of all nation…

Should kids come along to look at houses? I get asked this question a lot. My answer to this question has always been “No”. However, I do let the buyers know what the process is going to be like and how it’s so much harder with kids. First point is, kids, no matter what age, usually only las…

When your home is for sale, it becomes more than your home. It’s a commodity that has to compete with other homes in the complex real estate marketplace. How can you make your home it’s most competitive? Well, you do the obvious to make buyers want it-have it looking great, no bad kitty litt…

There have been so many myths throughout the years:  There’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, there’s a fountain of youth in Florida, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, antivirus software is 100% effective.  Today’s current myth seems to be that you can buy homes for pennies on th…

Last week, I listed a home that looked terrific, but the central air had come to the end of its functional life. Oh it powered on with its loud grinding motor, but it’s cooling days were obviously over. I called out two of the area’s HVAC experts to take a look. I received two competing bids…

You don’t know Jack and you probably don’t know Jill either Mr. Know-it-all.  I have been in this business long enough to meet my share of them, the uncle’s sister’s husband’s son who is the not-so-silent partner in my business relationship with my buyer or seller.  This person is offering a…

I recently had a conversation with an old acquaintance who is trying to sell her home in another state. I was shocked when she told me that her agent had cancelled the listing agreement via email and he wouldn’t take her calls. When I delved a little further I was no longer shocked; I found …

Buying a home is indeed a process. For some it is a longer process than for others---and the key is “motivation”. I often hear potential buyers complain that they just don’t think that their last Realtor worked hard enough for them, and they can’t understand why the Realtor stopped calling t…