As a professional Realtor, working largely by referral and supported by a team of professionals, I'll put 20 years of experience to work for you and your family.

As an artist with considerable skill in marketing and sales promotion, I'll create compelling visuals that capture the essence of a residential property and support your efforts to buy or sell.

As your neighbor, a homeowner in this stunning region of the country, I can help you settle in, maintain and improve your home, keep up with the market, and enjoy the Hudson Valley and Westchester County to its fullest.

Beware the Snake Oil Salesman (or Woman)

A while ago I received an email from a homeowner who had, after several meetings with me, chosen another sales agent, then another and another. Her property was listed with three different agents and failed to sell. In her email she asked, “How strongly do you feel you can sell my house on ‘123 Maple Street’ and how quickly?  Would you have any current customers who might be interested? I appreciate sincere answers. Thank you. Best regards, “Ms. Disappointed Seller.”  I declined to reply to these specific questions by email but offered to sit down and talk. (She never did call me back and her house remains unsold.)

This whole thing prompted me to think about what I originally had told her she might need to do to sell her home more quickly and, within the context of her circumstances, for the highest possible price. She chose to not follow my advice and clearly the outcome was not one that she had hoped for. It led me to wonder what she had been told by her prior agents. Had someone said, “I can sell your house in three days, one month; I will get you ‘$900,000?’”

Have any of you heard a similar statement?  When it comes to selecting a real estate agent to represent a home owner wanting to make a move, it really is “Seller Beware”! For some agents your listing does really matter, they work on volume and need dozens and dozens of transactions to meet their financial and sometimes psychological needs, one more notch in the belt. For others, why it matters is different; they genuinely like to help people and find the real estate process fascinating while working hard to make a good living.

There is one fundamental rule of the marketplace that is the litmus test for the veracity of an agent’s claims. The market is always controlled by the buyers; buyers are the ones bringing the money to the table and money TALKS. (This holds true even in a seller’s market. That may seem counter-intuitive, but what really occurs in a “sellers’ market” is that buyers are competing with each other over available properties.) So, since buyers control the market, is it possible for an agent to accurately state that they will accomplish a sale in 3 days? Sell a house at a given figure? Only if they are planning on making the purchase themselves! No seller should ever rely on that kind of claim. Do you think the agent who makes a 3 day claim will agree to a 3 day listing?

It is the agent’s job to present the data and help you evaluate it honestly and fairly.  There is no point in calling in 3 or 4 agents for a price opinion and making your choice based upon the one who tells you what they think you want to hear unless that is really the truth so far as it can be determined by ordinary humans without a crystal ball. Definitive statements are not confidence, a GOOD thing. What they are is arrogance or worse yet, snake oil.

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