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Getting Real To Get The Job Done...
One home seller's view of the Dearborn marketplace in the present environment
Written by Patrick Martinez, seller and past client

There are clear and certain fundamentals about the Dearborn market and there are indeed things that a seller can do, and should do if they are serious about selling a home.

In my experience 3 of the top items that can be done to sell a home are:
  1. Pick the right Realtor®
  2. Set the right price
  3. Don't believe everything you think - Consider your cost benefit
Pick the right Realtor®
Picking the right Realtor® is so very important. Realtors everywhere will tell you things like, "it's all done on the web so it doesn't matter where we're located," or any other similar tag lines.

I've sold 3 houses in Wayne county over the past 10 months and some directional advice that I can give is that it is crucial that the sellers Realtor® be intimately aware of the area and hopefully be located or have a primary focus on YOUR neighborhood. If possible I believe that it is important to have a Realtor® that lives in your community or has their office within a stone's throw of your community. To sell a home you must be able to leverage your real estate agent. To leverage your real estate agent they must be close to the product that they're selling.

Another facet to picking the right real-estate agent is picking an agent that makes their lively hood selling homes, and has a track-record demonstrating that being the case. If they're part time, spouse of someone with a full time income, or not experienced, you're going to sit on the market as they are learning on your back or leaning on your back or playing poker with your property.

I feel that an agent with a partner or associate can also be a benefit as 2 heads are often times better than one.

Set the right price
The right price is simply, the price at which you see a proliferation of showings. Showing will in almost any market begin to yield offers and at some point, an offer will yield a sale.

So how can I get to the right price? One has to be very open. The facts are simple, the market boom of 1999 - 2006 are clearly viewed in the rear-view mirror. If you don't want to sell, stay in the home or try to rent. If you want to sell, you have to get the pricing correct.

There are comparators, dozens of homes on the market by which one can compare their home.

Things to consider:
  1. The home's position on the street and in the neighborhood - is it located away from major thoroughfares?
  2. Is my home vs. a comparator a corner vs. a middle of the block home?
  3. How is my yard configured?
  4. Am I comparing to privately owned homes or short sales or foreclosures?
  5. Am I comparing "like" styles? (Bungalow vs. Colonial, etc)
  6. Am I comparing the actual prices of homes that have sold recently or just listings?
Once you've conducted a comprehensive review like the list above - hone in on item #6, as this is key. Homes listed - are not sold. They may (and likely will) present a collection of completely un-realistic prices on a per square foot basis. It's often said, "a man's home is his castle," and this statement is often very true in the real estate arena. We want to go out and find a good deal in a new home, but we have a tough time calibrating our beliefs about our own home to the market. You have to get back to comparisons of homes that have actually sold if you want to be a seller.

Don't believe everything you think - Consider your cost benefit
I began to talk about "the castle" effect in the last paragraph. But the devil is in the details. Facts, not fiction drive the market place.

In order to get over the lumps of "real home value," we have to do some introspection.

Did the home make me happy? Am I proud of the home?

Now the market view, "sure it's a nice house, but there are a lot of nice houses."

The common complaint, I'm losing money? But are you really losing money or are you just not getting what you thought you might? This is where, "don't believe everything you think," comes into play. What you thought initially and what you discovered when setting the price might be two completely different things.

As an aid one should look back at their investment in their home during their years in the home - equity, etc. Then look at the tax benefits one received during their years in the home. Net the equity and tax benefit together and divide by the number of total months you were in the home. Then determine, if you rented, could you have actually received the space, privacy, joy, and happiness for a comparable amount. Assuming that you did not take any large draw downs of equity, there are few examples that would negate the idea that you could not have rented on a per monthly basis for equal or less.

So again, if you want to be a seller, you'll likely have to take the hits and lay down that price. The last paragraph is merely a technique to help realize the total value you've received so that you might be more at ease setting that "real" "market-driven" price.

Who is your best bet for achieving all of these goals on the road to making you a seller?
One of your best real-estate choices in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, and the nearby surrounding area are Steve Hatfield and partner Vicki.

I met Steve and Vicki almost 10 years ago while popping in and out of open houses. At a point in time some 4 years ago I had them assess my house for sale. At that time I decided I was not a seller yet.

Then about a year ago, when I decided I was ready to be a seller, I made a terrible mistake and selected a "part-time" agent who had a spouse that was the primary bread-winner in their family. Off the cuff, she (the part-time agent) over priced the house severely and I lost some 6-7 good weeks of potential showings during the peak summer selling season. When I inquired about publications in which the house was listed and pictures posted, she pointed out that she wasn't a member, wouldn't or couldn't afford the costs to be part of more premium listing sites, didn't have time to do more than a couple of pictures - and on and on and on. I can't answer why I didn't go to Steve and Vicki immediately out of the chutes - other than that I must have been delirious or the devil made me do it. I knew they were among the very best in the area.

After 6 week this "part-time" agent and I parted ways while I was at a meeting in Chicago. I called Steve and he replied within the hour. Within 24 hours I was back home a nd Steve and Vicki were back where they had sat to evaluate the home 4 years earlier. Armed with compelling data I came back on the market with a price significantly lower than were I had been listed with "other agent" - but showings began to come in on a more regular basis.

Along the way Steve and Vicki are so very through in everything that they do. Documents are always in order. Access to the best real estate sites are in place. Pictures for web-display are cropped and touched up to be a first class representation of the home for sale.

Steve and Vicki make their living selling homes. They don't have another source for revenue. They are completely serious about selling your home. They have access to the best listing sites and most premium packages that technology affords. This is critical to selling a home in the new "e-marketplace." Almost 90% of buyers shop on the web. Your agent has to make your home look excellent on-line.

You have only to be serious about deciding if you want to sell your home.

Throughout the home sale process, Steve and Vicki made themselves available to help out and an eye on deadlines so that you can live your life without having to worry about whether your Realtors are actually out marketing your property or if they are off on a family vacation.

The web site they own and manage is a first catch site for homebuyers searching in the area.

There are not enough praises to be doled out for the service that I received once I decided that wanted to be a seller and that I made the correct choice of real estate agents with Steve and Vicki.

Patrick Martinez - Seller Dearborn, May 2009

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Steve Hatfield
REALTOR® ABR, CRS, e-PRO Certified
CENTURY 21 Curran & Christie
25636 Ford Road
Dearborn Heights, MI 48127
Office: (313) 274-7200
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Licensed Realtor® Since 1987 (#6501221773)
realtor Accredited Buyer Representative Certified Residential Specialist e-PRO

Steve Hatfield, Realtor® provides professional real estate / home buying services to buyers and sellers in Dearborn Michigan, Dearborn Heights Michigan, the Wayne County MI (Southeast Michigan) communities of Livonia, Canton, Redford, Westland, Garden City, Plymouth, Northville and the Oakland County cities of Farmington / Farmington Hills and Novi Michigan.

Equal Housing OpportunityIn accordance with the law, the properties, real estate services and homes for sale featured on this web site are offered without respect to race, religion, color, creed, national origin, sex, physical limitations / disabilities or familiar status.

REALTOR® is a registered collective membership trademark that identifies a real estate agent / professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict code of ethics.

Century 21 Real Estate Corporation © and sm trademark and servicemark of Century 21 Real Estate Corporation. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each office Independently Owned and Operated.

Copyright © 1996 - Steve Hatfield
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