Category Archives: At Your Service

I once lost a sale to bad feng shui. ONCE.

As the seller’s agent, I had a new listing and was very excited when early on, it received several showings to the same client.  The seller further explained that each time the clients were in the house, they stayed for hours.  Imagine my surprise when I followed up with the buyer’s agent to learn the rest of the story.

The young couple had seen the house and loved it.  It was in a great part of town, was in good condition, and had a large, flat back yard, living room and den with hardwood burning fireplace, all in a small community with swim club, and was priced right.

VETO POWER

Then they brought grandma to see the house.  They were an Oriental family, and in honor, they consulted their elders.  Grandma immediately vetoed the purchase.

WE LEARN FROM CORRECTING OUR MISTAKES

You know, we say that we learn from our mistakes. Not so.  We learn from correcting our mistakes.  Here’s what I learned:

Certain physical features of a house have positive and negative energies, kind of like words that have positive and negative connotations.  Take the word hammer.  I’d say that word is neutral.  It has neither a positive nor negative connotation.  However, if a hammer becomes a weapon, it takes on a negative connotation.   Translated into floor plan, stairs can become a negative according to the practices of feng shui if they end at the front door.

Now, that’s an unchangeable feature of a house, but there’s hope!  I learned there are specific remedies to each of the problems that may be present!

WHEN A HAMMER IS JUST A HAMMER

One of the first things I do when considering accepting a listing into my inventory is to evaluate the property from many perspectives, including saleability in terms of condition, neighborhood statistics and other factors.  One of those factors is to determine if negative feng shui elements are present.  If any exist, I consult with the seller, sharing my experience and developing a staging plan to counter the negativity.  Every negative factor has a countermeasure.  Most are simple and inexpensive to apply.  Take note that there is some variation among feng shui proponents as to specific measures to take, but generally, the technique is straightforward.

AT YOUR SERVICE

And although not a subscriber of the practice, I believe the effects it can have on a sale.  I’m also savvy enough to realize in a diverse market, seller’s objectives must be to appeal to the broadest customer base. I’ve learned to identify what certain buyers will be put off by from the feng shui perspective and how to overcome that objective before it arises, adding value to your listing and sale.   At Your Service!

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Chrystal Safari has over 16 years experience in personal property management and residential real estate sales and is a licensed REALTOR® in North and South Carolina.  As a MASTERS Designation holder, she is a specialist in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, and is a multi-million dollar producer.  Chrystal is a member in good standing of the Charlotte Regional Association of REALTORS®, North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, and National Association of REALTORS®.

Contact:

Chrystal Safari
The Safari Group
PO Box 1192
Pineville, NC 28134
704.562.1030
http://www.TheSafariGroup.com

Choose Your Broker Participation Level to Service Your Rental Portfolio

In North Carolina, if you’re not interested in hiring a large property management company, but don’t have the skill, experience or desire to manage the application and leasing portion of your rental portfolio, your expert, full-service real estate broker can be an asset to you.  An excellent candidate would be a licensed, experienced real estate broker who has him or herself owned and managed rental properties.  Services offered might include any one of several levels of involvement of your choice.  As a landlady of over 12 years with zero evictions, the Leasing Agent Duties and list of services I provide include:

Level One

  1. Provide Rental Rate Estimate based on currently rented units in Mecklenburg county with respect to year built, zip code, and number of bedrooms.
  2. Advertise in-house to rental specialists and other leasing agents
  3. Train you to screen all applicants, including key statements that may lead to a desired ‘hang up’ eliminating time-wasting appointments
  4. Provide application and lease forms, and phone consultation.

Level Two

  1. Provide Rental Rate Estimate
  2. Advertise in-house to rental specialists and other leasing agents
  3. Personally phone screen all applicants (you have final approval)
  4. Arrange appointments for you to show the property
  5. Provide application and lease forms, and phone consultation

Level Three

  1.  Providing Rental Rate Estimate
  2. Advertising in-house to rental specialists and other leasing agents
  3. Agent-screening applicants according to your criteria (you have final approval)
  4. Arranging appointments and showing the property 
  5. Provide application and lease forms, and phone consultation
  6. Listing the rental property in the MLS system
  7. Providing signage
  8. Attending final negotiations and effecting lease documents
  9. Setting up monthly schedule of rental payments to be sent directly to you for deposit

Level Four includes all Level Three activities plus monthly rental management duties including deposit of rent to your trust account, tenants report problems to me, I arrange for estimates for repairs, etc., and submit to you for approval of work to be done and pay vendors from your landlord trust account, and provide itemized monthly statements. The fee is Level Three’s fee, payable at lease signing, plus 10% of monthly rent.

Call me to discuss the level of service you’d like me to provide for you, or to consult on adding to your portfolio.  I’ll teach you the good, the bad, and the ugly of selecting the right property for your investment portfolio.

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Chrystal Safari has over 15 years experience in personal property management and residential real estate sales and is a Luxury Home Specialist and licensed REALTOR® in North and South Carolina.  As a MASTERS Designation holder, she is a specialist in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, and is a multi-million dollar producer.  Chrystal is a member in good standing of the Charlotte Regional Association of REALTORS®, North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, and National Association of REALTORS®.  As EcoBroker®, she offers guidelines to assist home buyers and sellers in evaluating true green features and their benefits to real property value, home ownership, tax savings and mortgage closing table capital contributions.  Chrystal is backed by certified and insured professionals to assess and protect your investments based upon your personal needs.  She can be reached at 704.562.1030 or Chrystal.Safari@gmail.com

Tips for Getting the Highest Appraised Value for Your Property

Daily Real Estate news reports Chicago Tribune, Mary Umberger’s (08/02/2009) findings on how to assure the highest value is calculated for your home by an appraiser.

Maureen Sweeney, a Chicago-area owner of an appraisal firm, gave several tips on getting an accurate and fair appraisal of your property. This is more important than ever due to our declining market-influenced neighborhood values and since foreclosures are now included among the comparables.

No one knows your home better than you, so naturally you should be present during the appraisal. Follow the appraiser around, pointing out improvements you’ve made to the home and provide him with a written list to take with him as well. Provide a copy of the most recent tax bill, any pending assessments, an HOA declaration which shows the amenities and HOA responsibilities to your community, and a copy of the survey to the appraiser.

No one knows your market better than your REALTOR®. Make sure your REALTOR® is present during the appraisal and is asking good questions. Your REALTOR® should make sure the appraiser is aware of the correct neighborhood boundaries and that the appraiser is truly comparing the home to similar properties. Your REALTOR® should provide his or her own list of comparable homes most like yours in the same condition, neighborhood, size and type that have sold and closed in the last 6 months. Your REALTOR® is the best person to offer a professional opinion about what makes your property worth more than any other properties in the immediate area.

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Chrystal Safari’s job? she gives great advice! She is a full-time real estate broker with Peters & Associates, a boutique firm in Charlotte, North Carolina, specializing in luxury homes from $700,000 and up, and is a MASTERS Designee specializing in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, and Technology. Visit ChrystalSafari.com for more information on luxury real estate, and Mark it your new Favorite!

What Should Your Listing Agent Do For You?

 When interviewing for the right agent to list and sell your home, be sure you know what your duties are to your real estate agent, and what his or hers are to you.  Ask how he or she has personally overcome objections during similar transactions and during negotiations, saving the deal.  

As your agent educates you on market conditions in your area, how to make the property’s condition market ready, the suggested list price, request a marketing and PR activity summary for your listing. To help with that, I have compiled the following. Your REALTOR®’s Marketing Plan should include 3 very important facets:

1. Expose your property and highlight all benefits to buyers and REALTOR®s in your area interested in your price point.

2. Provide exceptional service through communication and follow-up during your entire listing period.

3. Negotiate on your behalf and bring your transaction to a smooth and successful closing.

The 2008 National Association of REALTOR®’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reports that ‘buyers used a variety of resources in searching for a home: 87 percent used the Internet, 85 percent used a real estate agent, 62 percent yard signs, 48 percent attended open houses and 47 percent looked at print or newspaper ads. Fewer buyers rely on a home book or magazine, home builders, television, billboards and relocation companies. Buyers most commonly start their search process online and then contact a real estate agent.’ (Excerpt)

Savvy home buyers are not picking up days and weeks old marketing materials (print ads have deadlines for materials from weeks to months out) to find their next home.  Your agent should be skilled with all aspects of online and social utility marketing.

Promoting Your Property

The beginning of a listing period is work-intensive with a common list of activities required to prepare your listing for launch to the public. Your REALTOR®’s Twelve Month Marketing Plan Should Include:

Week One

 • Immediate processing of required documentation and professional quality digital photos should be taken so that no time is lost in getting your home into the local MLS system and distributed to every REALTOR® in the area.

• Color brochures should be designed and delivered to your home and strategic sites throughout the community containing all the pertinent information a potential buyer will need to develop interest and make an offer.

• Instructions on showings should be submitted to a centralized showing service and a lockbox installed to facilitate showings.

• Install a For Sale sign, when allowed, which includes your REALTOR®’s contact information. This allows buyers to call him or her directly – he or she is most familiar with your home.

• “Just Listed” postcards should be mailed out to your surrounding area. This allows your neighbors to be aware that your home is for sale so they can help sell the house and choose their new neighbor.

• Your property should be exposed to relocating companies through a national RELO Division, an extensive network of top REALTORS®.

• Your property’s full description and accompanying photos should be uploaded to several hundred of the top regional, national, and internation real estate sites.

Immediately Following Showings

• Follow up feedback exposing a potentially negative ongoing problem should immediately be communicated to you for resolution.

Bi-Monthly

• Bi-Monthly contact should be made with you to discuss the market and to summarize follow up feedback on all showings keeps you abreast of your position in the market.

• Keep you informed of all marketing and advertising efforts.

Monthly

• Email monthly market updates to keep you up-to-date on the local activity of your neighborhood and like properties.

• Monthly refresh copy and photographs shown online to keep listing fresh.

• Blog with photos your listing information with invitation to make an appointment to tour.

• Arrange print advertising as appropriate.

Regularly

• Arrange regular events such as Open Houses and other similar events to targeted audiences who are your buyer or your buyer’s agent who can keep the ‘word of mouth’ buzz going. Announce the listing to local or move-up buyers such as high profile CEO’s, CFO’s, etc., website registrants, and buyer walk-in traffic from personal visits to similar home communities who may be interested in a property such as yours and regularly (every 1 – 2 weeks, as appropriate) send them updated information about the listing or related information about lifestyle, neighborhood, or schools, as appropriate.

• Email, Blog, Twitter, and Facebook all activities with teasers and invitations to strategic audiences.

FROM CONTRACT TO CLOSE:

Your REALTOR®’s goal is to pave and negotiate the road to a smooth closing through:

Monitoring closely all lender and escrow activities to ensure a successful closing.

Assuring that all inspections and repairs are completed.

Concentrating on and creating solutions, not problems.

Representing your best interests at all times and in all negotiations.

Accompanying you to the closing.

 As an informed seller, your partnership with your agent, like any personal or professional relationship, should be based on trust.  If you develop questions, don’t hesitate to ask your broker, and call immediately if a problem arises. Step back and evaluate when problems arise and always remember, WHY people do things is more important than what they do. 

If you encounter problems with your agent during the listing period, such as lack of knowledge, professionalism, or rudeness, document all your concerns and speak with the agent before contacting the agent’s broker-in-charge.  Your local real estate commission will not allow the release of an exclusive listing agreement without obvious and just cause. 

Good luck with your sale!

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Chrystal Safari’s job? she gives great advice! She is a full-time real estate broker with Peters & Associates, a boutique firm in Charlotte, North Carolina, specializing in luxury homes from $700,000 and up, and is a MASTERS Designee specializing in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, and Technology. Visit ChrystalSafari.com for more information on luxury real estate, and Mark it your new Favorite!

Real Estate 101

As MASTERS Designation holder, representing specialties in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, and Technology, I can help you navigate the home buying and selling strategies in today’s unique market and strengthen the bottom line performance of your transaction.

Many REALTORS® will not meet with you until you have signed an agency relationship contract and have a pre-approval from a lender.  I understand that each and every introduction of myself as real estate broker/REALTOR® is a mini job interview.  Before I can be hired, we both need to know if I am a good fit for your objectives.  To complete that process, I provide what I call Real Estate 101. 

I meet with you by phone or at my office to discuss your big picture, to get an idea of your time line and ultimate goals. If you are a prospective seller, I visit your home to discuss the details of the market specific to your neighborhood and inspect your property. 

If you are a prospective buyer, I meet with you at my office to begin an introductory tour of the city, including highlights of the city and Greater Charlotte Area, especially neighborhoods important to you.

If we both decide I am a good fit for your mission, the next time we meet will be over that agency relationship contract and pre-approval letter from your lender.

Contact me to discuss your big picture, including:

  • Time line to sell or purchase
  • Priorities regarding seller’s net performance and move date
  • Priorities regarding buyer’s housing type, price range or special needs
  • Guidelines you desire for communities, schools, shopping, location, lifestyle, family needs

If you’re in, or thinking of relocating to or away from, the Greater Charlotte area, contact me for Real Estate 101 at Chrystal.Safari@gmail.com

Complimentary Initial Consultation
Limited to 1 hour

 

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