Marianne Cusato—author, designer, and creator of the critically-acclaimed “Katrina Cottages”—is out with a new book aimed at house hunters. On first glance, Just the Right Home: Buying, Renting, Moving—Or Just Dreaming—Find Your Perfect Match!, to be published April 2013, is aimed directly at your clients. However, there are some things real estate professionals might find useful, especially in the getting-to-know-you part of an agent-client relationship.
Throughout, Cusato engages in a frank discussion with her readers about what they really want in a house and why. You may be thinking, “Easy for her to do; she’s not talking to real people looking for real houses in a real market.” On the other hand, you may wish to adapt some of her probing questions and prioritizing checklists into your routine with buyers. And this book may be especially helpful for newer real estate professionals, to help them get inside the mind of the house hunter.
Perhaps the most enlightening part of the book is where Cusato talks about working with a real estate professional. She coaches buyers on how to be savvy in their choice of real estate professionals. She also notes how REALTORS® are different, mentioning the code of ethics and noting that they’re likely to be well connected, have a deep local knowledge, and be up on the latest industry news. But she also prepares readers with a dose of skepticism and a list of questions to ask agents who are looking to secure their business. Can you answer these questions? Continue reading »
In the classic cult comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Sir Arthur and his knights must answer three questions each in order to pass over a bridge. It’s a study in inanity, something those Pythons do wonderfully.
Bridgekeeper: Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.
Sir Lancelot: Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I am not afraid.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your name?
Sir Lancelot: My name is Sir Lancelot of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your quest?
Sir Lancelot: To seek the Holy Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your favourite colour?
Sir Lancelot: Blue.
Bridgekeeper: Go on. Off you go.
Sir Lancelot: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.
Bridgekeeper: Stop. What… is your name?
Galahad: Sir Galahad of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your quest?
Galahad: I seek the Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What… is your favourite colour?
Galahad: Blue. No, yel…
[Galahad is thrown over the edge]
Bridgekeeper: Hee hee heh.
Does that sound familiar? How about this:
What… is your name?
What… is your price range?
What… is your favorite reason to pass on a house?
Jeff Shore wants you to move from what to why. In his new book, The 4:2 Formula: Getting Buyers Off the Fence and Into a Home, Shore pleads with readers to stop trying to get to know prospects by asking them how many bedrooms they want. Continue reading »
Clients say the darndest things! If you haven’t had your fill of comical questions from customers, you’ll get it by paging through this light-hearted book by syndicated real estate columnist Edith Lank. The book is a compilation of hundreds of letters from inquisitive readers. Questions come from consumers who are hungry for more information on all sorts of buying and selling issues, from the particulars of burying a St. Joseph statue in the yard to resolving family dramas. Even Lank is sometimes left speechless.
FROM THE BOOK: 7 QUESTIONS THAT MAKE YOU WONDER
These are some of the actual questions Lank has received from her readers and are included in her book I’ve Heard It All and So Should You (Dearborn Financial Publishing, 2007):
1. I would appreciate any information on Fanny Mae about buying homes and property. Also if she has any books out.
2. Stamped return envelope enclosed. Please send us all information on how to sell our home without using a realator. I think you call it being a FSOB.
3. I went to a free seminar on real estate and it seems like it would be the best thing for me to do. I don’t have the money for the rest of the course but they said they could arrange a loan for me to borrow it. Do you think this would be a good investment?
4. Upon selling a co-op or condo, would it be mandatory to divulge the fact that, at times, there
By Katie Hinderer, REALTOR® Magazine
Relating to customers is a large part of your job, but it’s easy to forget how it feels to be a first-time homebuyer. Mark B. Weiss’s The Everything Homebuying Book, (Adams Media Corp. $14.95) is not only a great reference for first-time homeowners, but it can help you understand their perspective better as well. This-easy-to- read book covers every aspect of the home buying experience, from evaluating properties to obtaining financing.
Weiss includes several worksheets to make the process easier for buyers; first-timers can make copies and fill them in along the way. For instance, the book includes worksheets on picking a lender, evaluating locations, and determining which features they want (and don’t want) in a house. You can take initiative and distribute worksheets such as the “Dream Home Worksheet,” which helps readers to pinpoint their desired features, to buyers. Additionally, you can study these sheets to refamilarize yourself with topics of interest to them.
If customers aren’t sure what type of residence they want, the book provides several chapters to remedy this uncertainty. “Chapter 6: Which House Is Right for You?” covers the initial questions and considerations a first timer should mull over when contemplating a move. It covers topics such as gated communities and whether a buyers would prefer a home in the city, suburbs, or country from all angles. (When showing properties, however, be careful not to make any statements violating Fair Housing rules). Once a client has narrowed down their choices, or at least figured out what they don’t want, they can turn to chapters covering various housing options. “Chapter 7: The Resale House,” “ Chapter 8: Condos and Co-ops,” and “Chapter 9: Special Home Choices” discuss each option’s positives and negatives, to help buyers make an informed decision.
The book also covers several topics that a first-time homebuyer could easily overlook. It reminds them to examine transportation methods from home to work before a move to budget potential commuting expenses. In addition, it offers reminders for buyers to look into local services such as sewers, police protection, and library facilities. These little details, which can go a long way towards determining clients’ future happiness, could be easily overlooked by even a second or third time home buyer. The book helps remind you of their importance.
Other chapters are more logistical. The more tedious and confusing parts of the home buying process are covered in such chapters as “Chapter 3: Choosing the Right Mortgage,” and “Chapter 12: Negotiating the Best Contract.” For a first time home buyer these elements of the process can be both overwhelming and puzzling, however, these chapters make the process more manageable. The chapters can also assist you in explaining buyers’ financing options in understandable terms.
As with other “Everything” series entries, the book contains boxes within the chapters that pull out important information, and divide it into four topics: “E Facts,” “E Essentials,” “E Alerts,” and “E Questions.” The boxes isolate the most useful information and serve as a way to assist readers pressed for time and in need of the facts–fast. In addition to these handy factoids, the book is packed with informative tables on an assortment of topics, such as the percentage of people purchasing homes in specific regions and the percentage of people in different salary brackets that own a summer house.
Putting yourself in buyers shoes can help you make the sale. The Everything Homebuying Book can help ensure that the next time a first-time homebuyer steps into your office you’ll have a little bit better understanding of what they’re going through and the concerns they might have.