Zillow: The Realtor-Less Mega Disaster

Certain technologies in our lifetime have been game-changers. Doug remembers working in Milwaukee for Allen-Bradley/Rockwell Automation when he sent a Telex for the first time back in 1989. He hit a button and sent a message electronically to a coworker on a different floor. The message was typed on their local Telex, and presumably, an admin person ripped off the page and stuck the message in the mailbox for the intended person. Wow – How cool was that?

Not long after, which would have been in the 90s, Doug was living in Boston when we began sending emails worldwide and started using teleconferencing equipment without cohorts in France and Germany regularly. What were next, ordering shoes, furniture, and wine online? Yeah right.

From a small real estate firm’s perspective, Zillow has changed our industry’s face in many ways. Had you ever heard of a Zestimate 3 years ago? Did you know that Zillow can keep listings listed as “Active” on their site for as long as they wish? Were you aware they purchased the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) market for hundreds of millions of dollars on Google regarding real estate?

Zillow’s grand plan is to recreate the entire real estate market, just like Amazon did about retail shopping. While we will always need some stores for certain products, today’s kids could care less about going to a mall to buy something, for they have Amazon accounts to do that. They also don’t use cash – as they purchase even a stick of gum with their debit cards.

Someday, after many of us are probably pushing daisies, an entire real estate transaction might be done electronically and without human involvement. That is where Zillow is attempting to take our industry. Still, for the time being, they are finding out that while Amazon can replace the in-person shopping experience for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, real estate agents still provide too much personal knowledge that cannot be bottled up in an online app.

At Carolina Plantations, we focus on people that are considering our area for retirement. This is an incredibly significant move and includes so much more than just buying a house.

As our infamous Martini Theory states, first, you must find the AREA that meets your personal needs (such as medical services, shopping, dining, culture, beaches, etc.)—followed by finding which COMMUNITY matches your requirements (such as socio-economics of the residents, architectural styles, activities, fees, clubs, etc.). Once you have found the right AREA & COMMUNITY, finding you the right HOME is usually effortless. No app is going to help you sort through the first two steps of the Martini Theory.

Here is a laundry list of additional offerings we provide our clients and which an app simply cannot do:

  • Our website – www.carolinaplantations.com – is 100% accurate and current. Zillow and Trulia are inaccurate, as they do that to mislead you purposely.
  • We send our clients a Coastal Guide Book, a 1” binder customized to your requirements and jammed with great information on dining, medical, shopping, beaches, golf, fitness, weather, and more. (FYI: our clients go NUTS OVER OUR COASTAL GUIDE BOOKS as no real estate company in the world sends you something so comprehensive and specifically aimed at your search. Order yours NOW at https://www.carolinaplantations.com/contact#contactForm)
  • We set up conference calls with both spouses/partners before your visit so that everyone is on the same page and so that we can make the best use of your time while you are here.
  • Our team will take you on a tour of the area. That could include Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach, Oak Island/Southport, Holden Beach/Shallotte, Leland, Ocean Isle Beach, Sunset Beach, and more. We will have lunch on the ICW while we provide you with essential tips on Coastal NC.
  • With your permission, we will be your Buyer’s Agent, which means we work for you, not the builder, Developer, or Sellers. This is incredibly important as one should never attempt to purchase real estate somewhere where you are not familiar with local real estate rules, local zoning issues, lending practices, closing procedures, and more.
  • Since nearly 70% of our clients purchase land and later build their Dream Home on it, we are all extensively trained in understanding land purchases. That includes but is not limited to the slope of the land; researching available utilities; assisting with the direction of the sun rising and setting; designing custom-built homes; introduction to quality builders; positioning your home correctly on your homesite; assisting with the selections of your colors/cabinets/flooring/granite and more.
  • We are negotiating on your behalf. We usually know the other realtors involved in the transaction, which can be extremely helpful in getting you what you want at the best price.

Zillow has made its mark on real estate; however, it will be a while before they “are” real estate. Until then, the team at Carolina Plantations is still the #1 Retirement Experts in Coastal NC. We look forward to assisting you with your all vital retirement search, wherever it may lead you.

Selecting an Agent to List Your Home

Selecting An Agent To List Your Home

This is about as slippery of a slope of a topic that we can take on, for to provide accurate information and suggestions. We will invariably step on the toes of some that make a living as so called “listing agents.” So, here it goes! And, hey wish us luck as you will not see the following in print anywhere else.

One of the hardest parts of being a Realtor can be working with other Realtors. Of Course, that is not inclusive of all Realtors mind you, as there are many true professionals out there that are a delight to work with. However, there are Realtors in all markets that list homes that are not up to par with others in the area. (FYI, this could be said of any profession, right?)

There, we are going to do our best to provide you with some general tips on how to select the best Realtor in your area to list your homes. And to be fair, our Team at Carolina Plantations are best known as Buyers Agents. That means we work primarily with people researching coastal North Carolina as a destination to retire to, and/or, secure a second home. And you will see this places us in a unique market position where we must work with Listing Agents on a very frequent basis.

Here are some traits that you should consider researching before selecting someone to represent your home in the market:

Answering Their Phones

Think about it. A local agent wants to show your home tomorrow at 4:00 pm, but they cannot reach your Listing Agent. Or wait, a local agent is sitting with their clients who love your home and they have pertinent questions about your home, but your listing agent doesn’t answer.

Selecting An Agent To List Your Home

Another scenario is a local agent has an offer on your home but absolutely cannon reach you Listing Agent because he/she doesn’t like to be bothered after 6:00 pm on weeknights or on weekends. You cannot in your wildest dreams begin to know how hard it can be to connect with some Listing Agents. Good, worthy Listing Agents should answer their phone 24/7, as the caller could be requesting a showing or bringing an offer to their Seller.

Historical Knowledge of Your Community

In our area of the world, the majority of folks live in either a subdivision or a plantation. Most of these have been around for up to 30 hours, but there can often be significant good/bad information on them. A Listing Agent must have all the answers when a Buyers Agent asks important questions as it pertains to your community. If your Listing Agent has no prior knowledge of issues, how can they represent you and your interests? Please keep in mind that the historical subjects could involve the developer/s, builder/s, POA/HOA, zoning, on-site selling team, broken promises, financial reports and more.

Negotiation Skills

In North Carolina, a person wanting to become a Realtor will spend over 100 hours in a classroom learning about real estate prior to possibility securing a NC real estate license. Exactly ZERO of those hours will be spent discussing negotiating. And, what is one of the most important skills a Listing Agent should possess if you are going to consider hiring them? Negotiating Skills.

Prior to becoming a Realtor, you could have been the best advertising manager, hairdresser, photographer, salesman, waiter/waitress, teacher, etc., but if negotiating important contracts was not part of your job description, why do you think that just because you have a real estate license with no training that you are qualified to negotiate on your Sellers (or Buyers) behalf?

Seasoned real estate veterans who rank in the top tier locally and who’ve represented both Sellers and Buyers on many transactions typically make the best negotiators. And when we say seasoned, we have Brokers working for our team that are in their late 20s and 30s that are as seasoned if not more so than older people who’ve been selling real estate (part time) for 30 years, so seasoned does not necessarily equate to “old”!!

Part-Time or Full-Time Realtor

Sally is a friend of Gloria, whom she goes to church with most every Sunday. Sally sold Gloria her home 21 years ago and insists that Gloria use her to list her home as Gloria has decided to move closer to her brother in Georgia. Problem is, Sally lists about 6-8 homes a year and sells some real estate here and there so as to not be bored in her retirement years. Randy on the other hand, is a full-time Realtor who works 7 days a week, sends out tons of email blasts about his listings. He was involved in 62 sales last year and is well connected with other local Realtors. Randy has a great website to capture buyers and answers his phone 96.4% of the time. Therefore, if you hire a part-time Realtor, you should expect part-time results, right? Real estate and medicine are two examples of 24/7 professions and if you are not answering your beeper, cell phone or text messages – you may want to consider changing occupations.

Familiarity with Local Realtors

If you live in Pleasantville and hire a Listing Agent that lives in Congestedville, the next town over, what are the chances that your Listing Agent knows the majority of Buyers Agents in Pleasantville? Slim to none, right? No matter what business you are in, the more we know those in our immediate circles, the better chances we have at accomplishing our goals. When Realtors work with colleagues they have done work with in the past, this can be advantageous to both parties.

Moral of the story is to use caution on hiring a Listing Agent that might not be familiar with the Brokers that would more than likely be bringing you an offer. One action a good Listing Agent should always do is holding a Broker Open House. Invitations are sent out to all local Realtors and the Listing Agent provides a meal or treats in exchange for the visiting Brokers filling out a feedback sheet. This feedback is presented to the Seller so that they can get a better understanding of the market. The other benefit is that the Brokers who’ve visited the home are armed with this home as a viable option to sell their clients.

Selecting An Agent To List Your Home

In summary, don’t select a Listing Agent solely based upon the face that they have a nice smile, sent you a postcard or have a billboard up on a local road. You home is an important part of you and finding the Realtor to represent you deserves thorough research. We at Carolina Plantations would love to help your family find your forever home here on the coast of North Carolina.