Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Dangers Of Selling Real Estate

selling real estate is a dangerous job

When you think of dangerous jobs, a police officer, firefighter or roofer may come to mind.  But real estate agent?

For those of you who don’t sell real estate, you probably wouldn’t think our job is dangerous, so I wanted to share some things we do on a daily basis that may change how you think about our profession.

OPEN HOUSES, AN INVITATION FOR TROUBLE

Open houses can flat out be dangerous. When an agent decides to have an open house, they are basically inviting the public to come by.  And while most attendees are harmless, there are bad people out there looking to prey on innocent victims.  Every year, there are stories of attacks on agents, and this can happen in any neighborhood not just in the rough parts of town.

This type of thing does happen, and most veteran agents can relay numerous odd and sometimes dangerous encounters they’ve had with strangers.  In fact, an agent in my office had this near miss a few years ago.

She was at a very large home situated on 5 acres and somewhat isolated from the neighbors.  A man came in, walked around, and left.  He later came back with another man and they asked the agent if she would show them around the basement.  Being alert and feeling threatened, she refused and politely excused herself outside to  make a call ( she called for help ), and the men luckily left without incident.

THE INTERNET CREATES CHAOS

Back in the day, if a buyer wanted to see homes, they had to visit their local real estate office and personally meet with an agent to see their “book” of listings.  The Internet didn’t exist.

Now that information is so readily available on line, many potential home buyers ( those that don’t have an agent )  simply find a home they like and call the listing agent to show it to them.  Sadly enough,  most agents gladly oblige.  Basically, these agents are meeting total strangers at homes, some which are vacant or isolated.  Can you see the potential dangers here?  Can you imagine a doctor,  lawyer or other business professional meeting a total stranger at a vacant home?

Unfortunately, since real estate agents are on commission, many turn a blind eye to the dangers of the situation and decide to meet people at a home with the hopes of making a sale.

OTHER DANGERS OF OUR JOB

Besides meeting with strangers,  we are out and about at different homes and neighborhoods,  encountering all sorts of things, like:

Vicious dogs or other animals – I came face to face with a raccoon once that somehow got inside a vacant home, not pleasant.

Disgruntled Owners – Nothing worse than trying to help someone sell their home only to have the owner’s son, fresh out of prison, decide to pull a knife on you because he didn’t want mom to sell. ( This happened to a friend of mine ).

Nosy Neighbors – I know many agents who have had the police called on them by next door neighbors who thought they were breaking in to the home.

Rough Neighborhoods – Depending on where an agent works, some do encounter gangs when showing homes in certain parts of town.

There is always risk involved when dealing with the public, and this holds especially true for real estate agents.  To combat this problem, some agents work in teams, some carry concealed weapons, and others avoid working open houses and meeting strangers at homes.

So if you know any real estate agents,  hopefully you will now  have a little compassion for what we do because  it is a lot more dangerous than most people think.

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About The Authors

The above information pertaining to Cleveland Real Estate News was provided by The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna. They are Solon residents and can be reached at 216-346-3235 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

We service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

The Dangers Of Selling Real Estate is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©February, 2011

Attending An Open House – What You Need To Know


Attending An Open House - What You Need To Know

Although the Internet is helpful, nothing compares to seeing a home in person, and an open house is an easy way to do this.  If you are planning to attend an open house and already have an agent, here are some things you need to know.  If you are undecided whether or not to hire a buyer’s agent, this article may be helpful to you.

THE AGENT HOSTING THE OPEN HOUSE REPRESENTS THE SELLER

When buyers attend an open house, most don’t understand the rules.  Typically, they see a great house on line, go see it during an open house, and if they like it, they call their agent.  This is a bad move and can cost you your representation, not to mention a lot of money.

The listing agent represents the best interests of the seller.  Therefore, we believe you should never go to a property without your own agent.

As a real estate agent, there is nothing worse than having one of our buyer clients going to an open house without us.  There are too many things that can go wrong.  So, here are a few things to remember when it comes to attending open houses.

DON’T GO ALONE

We highly recommend having an agent with you when viewing homes.  First, they will point things out in the home that the listing agent, who does not represent you,  will not.  Also, it ensures that you get to have your own representation.

Buyers often feel like they are “bothering” their agent on a Sunday afternoon, and just go look on their own, but this can end up hurting you.  Your agent is there to service you and should make themselves available to you whenever possible.

If for some reason your agent cannot be there with you, be very careful.  Ideally, your real estate agent will call the other agent ahead of time and let them know to expect you.  However, if this doesn’t happen, you can still protect yourself.

Before entering the home, tell the agent hosting the open house  that you are being represented by another agent, and let them know who it is.  It is also a good idea to make sure that agent will honor your relationship with your agent.

Protocol in a real estate transaction can be really tricky, and is not always cut and dry, so you need to establish this up front.  Most agents will honor the relationship with your agent as long as they know about it up front. However, if you fail to mention that you have your own agent, you could be out of luck.

HAVE A BUYERS AGENCY AGREEMENT SIGNED

In order to avoid any problems, it is a good idea to consider signing a buyer’s agreement with your agent.  This agreement will solidify your relationship with your agent and should protect you from an overzealous listing agent.

If you know that you want your own representation,  talk to your agent up front before going to open houses to make sure you are all on the same page.

Disclaimer: The Schuman Team practices real estate in Ohio.  Since many states have different laws and protocol regarding a real estate transaction, we recommend consulting a qualified local legal professional prior to entering into any written agreement. This blog contains observations and opinions related to our first hand experience working with buyers and sellers in Ohio, but should not be construed as legal advice.

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About The Authors

The above information pertaining to Cleveland Real Estate News was provided by The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna. They are Solon residents and can be reached at 216-346-3235 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

We service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

Attending An Open House – What You Need To Know is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©February, 2011

North Park Solon Ohio Luxury Homes

North Park is  one of Solon Ohio’s premiere luxury home developments. The following will describe this wonderful neighborhood and even include a video tour of homes in North Park at the bottom.

LOCATION OF NORTH PARK

North Park is located in the upscale city of Solon, Ohio, one of Cleveland area’s most popular East side suburbs.  This development is especially popular because of it’s easy highway access.

While Solon in general is a manageable drive to both downtown and the airport, North Park is especially sought out because it is closer to the highway than any other comparable Solon luxury home development.

The following map will give you an good idea of specifically where North Park is situated:


View North Park of Solon in a larger map

HOUSING IN NORTH PARK

The North Park development  consists of approximately 45 homes.  All homes were built within the last 10 years by local area builders, Dinallo and Wittrup homes, known throughout the area for their quality of construction and attention to detail.

One feature of North Park that stands out is that homes are situated on 1 acre lots.  This is a rarity for Solon as many luxury homes here don’t offer as much land.

Homes here have open floor plans and are colonial in style. Some homes have master bedrooms on the first level, while others have all bedrooms on the second floor.  All have at least a 3 car garage.

Most homes here are about 4500 square feet, have at least 4 bedrooms and typically 5 baths.  The homes have luxury amenities  throughout such as high-ceilings,  upgraded flooring and top of the line appliances.

The landscaping in North Park is spectacular, which gives the neighborhood a very elegant and impressive feeling as you drive through.

The price range for homes in North Park is $500,000-$1,000,000.

WHY PEOPLE ENJOY LIVING IN NORTH PARK

We have clients who live in North Park and really enjoy their homes and the neighborhood.  Obviously, the location is a major bonus to them.  But they have mentioned that they have met many of their neighbors and feel like they are part of a nice close-knit community here.

There are also sidewalks throughout the development, which always seems to bring people together, especially during warm weather months.

Children who live in North Park attend the following Solon Schools:

Lewis Elementary

Orchard Middle School

Solon Middle School

Solon High School

Solon is consistently rated among the most popular suburbs in Cleveland and has been featured in many national and local publications. It was recently ranked by Money Magazine as one of the best places to live.

Below is a video tour of North Park that highlights the homes and the neighborhood:

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About The Authors

The above information pertaining to Cleveland Real Estate News was provided by The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna. They are Solon residents and can be reached at 216-346-3235 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

We service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

North Park Solon Ohio Luxury Homes is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©February,2011

Great Big Home And Garden Expo – A Brief Video Tour

The Great Big Home and Garden Expo 2011

Idea Home at Great Big Home And Garden Show Cleveland

We  had a great time this past Monday scoping out the latest and greatest home and garden products and services. We wanted to share some of our favorites that we found relevant to our clients.

Green Friendly Companies and Products

American Green Energy – Want to “get off the grid” some day. Think solar panels and wind turbines not only for a business but for your personal home as well.  This local company based in Westlake, Ohio provides some great options for those committed to really “go green”.  We talked with Sr. Sales Executive Ankish Shah and were impressed with the company’s commitment to personalized green solutions.

Solatube – Featured on HGTV, this is a company that installs a tube that leads from your roof to your ceilings and acts as a light fixture by capturing, accentuating, and distributing natural light into your home.  This is a product you simply have to see in person to really appreciate. The local dealer, Richard Ruscin,  was a great guy with offices both the East and West sides of town.

INEXPENSIVE PRODUCTS TO IMPROVE YOUR HOME’S VALUE

Since we are constantly helping home sellers prepare their homes to get top dollar, we are always on the lookout for products and services to help make a house show it’s best. Here are some ideas we like:

Coat of Armor Grout Solutions – Want your floors and bathroom to look like new?  This local company (  Chagrin Falls, Ohio ) offers a very inexpensive product that will clean and renew grout.  It is mold, mildew and stain resistant and is easy to apply over existing grout. Better yet, for a very reasonable price, Vince Menozzi and staff  will do the work for you.  More info  call Vince at 216-410-4775.

Rainbow Porcelain Refinishers – This local company can refinish your tub and tile to look like new. Their special process can cover ugly tile, worn tubs, as well as old counter tops. You have got to see the before and afters to believe it. We have referred them to clients in the past and for a fraction of the price, your bathroom looks like it has been completely remodeled.

More links to both the fun and important exhibitors :

Heathmate Sauna

Radon Specialists of Ohio

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About The Authors

The above information pertaining to Cleveland Real Estate News was provided by The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna.  They are Solon residents and can be reached at 216-346-3235 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

We service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

Great Big Home And Garden Expo – A Brief Video Tour is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©February,2011

How To Take A Picture Of Your Computer Screen

We love sharing great technology tools with our readers and today, we wanted to show you an easy way to take a picture of what you see on your computer screen and even turn it into a video.

The tool is call Jing® and can easily be uploaded to your computer.   It is free, with an upgraded version that costs only $15 ( well worth it ).  There is even a tutorial to show you how to use it.

IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION

Here are a few examples of how you can use this tool to increase your levels of communication:

1.     Add a visual to a blog post.

2.     Communicate information to a client:

Jing - great communication tool

3.    Share information on Twitter or Facebook

TURN SCREEN SHOTS INTO VIDEO

Another great use of the Jing®  program is turning a picture into a video.  Here is a picture of a market report that I turned into a video, and it took me less than 5 minutes from start to finish.  It even allowed me to automatically upload it to YouTube.

So, if you want an easy way to share information with people, give this tool a try.  It is simple to use and will add a little spice to your daily communication with others. Plus, people will think you’re cool for knowing all the latest hip technology, at least that’s why I use it:)

Please Share With Your Sphere

If you enjoyed this article, I would greatly appreciate if you could share  it with your sphere by using the buttons below or at the side.  Sharing helpful information is a great way to build credibility and relationships with your friends and contacts, so share and re-tweet away!

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About The Authors

The above information pertaining to Cleveland Real Estate News was provided by The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna. They are Solon residents and can be reached at 216-346-3235 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

We service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

How To Take A Picture Of Your Computer Screen is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©February,2011

Open Houses – Do They Really Work?

There is a common misconception among many home owners regarding the effectiveness of open houses.  While many people have their opinions, we are going to give you statistics, tell you who attends and why,  and offer our analysis.

THE STATISTICS

Here is a chart we show our sellers when discussing open houses ( source – National Association of Realtors® ):

Do open houses really work

Where Buyer Found Out About The Home They Purchased

We share this to let them know the likelihood of a buyer actually purchasing their home at an open house.  Obviously, the odds aren’t good.  The popularity of the Internet along with cooperation from other area agents have become more integral over the last 10 years.  Even though agents today put more focus on  “being where the buyers are”, open houses are still a form of marketing used in most markets with varying degrees of success.

WHO ATTENDS AN OPEN HOUSE?

Typically, the people who go to open houses can be categorized one of four ways:  buyers who are just starting the process, neighbors,  people who simply like to see houses, and people who are looking for an agent.

Most buyers who are beginning the process go to open houses just to “check things out”.  It is an easy way for them to learn the market without having to commit to making an official appointment with an agent.  Many of these buyers have yet to be approved for financing and some also need to sell their current home before they can buy.  For the most part,  they are not ready, willing, and able buyers.  The serious buyers will likely hire an agent, who will show them homes through the formalized showing procedure.

Neighbors also love checking out homes in their neighborhood.  Some often do so because they also may be selling soon and like to check out the competition.  Others are simply nosy and like to see how the home is decorated.  There is something to be said though about having the neighbors see your home as they may know someone who would love to move into the neighborhood.  They can be an effective silent sales force.

There are also people who enjoy driving around on a nice Sunday afternoon looking at houses.  These folks are less likely to be buying or even know anyone who would be interested in buying your home.

And finally, although you wouldn’t realize it, some people actually go to open houses to meet real estate agents.  They don’t always identify themselves,  but they do ask a lot of questions and “interview” us to see how we conduct ourselves.

WHY HAVE AN OPEN HOUSE?

open houses

There are a lot of reasons to have an open house, many of them however benefit the agent or agency.  This may come as a shocker to some, but open houses  can be better for the agent and/or their company than for the actual seller.

While an open house typically won’t bring in a buyer for that particular home, the people who do attend may be buying or selling a home some day.  Therefore, open houses can be a great way for an agent to get business.  Think of it like a fisherman putting bait on a hook.  The agent uses the house as the bait to reel in new clients.  They company benefits as well.

Some real estate firms love open houses because they bring added exposure to their company. Many brokerages still love running big open house ads in the Sunday paper, not necessarily for the benefit of their agents or sellers,  but for the branding of their company.  Having a lot of directional open house signs throughout an area also gives a company good exposure.  Many agents are actually pressured by their company to have open houses every Sunday for this very reason.

ARE OPEN HOUSES WORTH HAVING?

This is the million dollar question.  I suppose it depends on a lot of variables.  Some areas of the country like Florida,  that are popular for second homes, see more success with open houses.  In these areas,  open houses can be a major part of an agents’ marketing plan.  In other areas though, it is not the best way to reach potential buyers.

As a seller, you need to decide if you want an open house.  While they can offer some value they also come with inconvenience and risk.  You will likely spend quite a bit of time cleaning and preparing your home.  Also, you will be expected to leave your home for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, not always an easy task for some people.

In addition, since open houses are public, there will be strangers walking through your home.  Potential thieves and drug addicts, who lately have been known to steal prescription drugs out of medicine cabinets, are known to attend open houses.  They can also be dangerous for an agent, especially if the home is vacant or isolated from other homes.  There are many documented cases of agents being attacked while working an open house.

Personally, we have never sold a home at an open house.  However, we met some of our best clients through open houses and recently got a listing because the seller “interviewed” me while I was holding her neighbors home open.

When all is said and done,  a seller and their agent need to have an honest discussion about the real value of open houses in their particular market and determine if they are worth having.

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About The Authors

The above information pertaining to Cleveland Real Estate News was provided by The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna. They are Solon residents and can be reached at 216-346-3235 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

We service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

Open Houses – Do They Really Work? is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©February,2011