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Information, Tools and Downloads for Sellers

What is a Multiple Listing Service or MLS?

A Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a suite of services that (1) enables brokers to establish contractual offers of compensation (among brokers); (2) facilitates cooperation with other broker participants; (3) accumulates and disseminates information to enable appraisals; (4) is a facility for the orderly correlation and dissemination of listing information to better serve broker's clients, customers and the public. A multiple listing service's database and software is used by real estate brokers representing sellers under a listing contract to widely share information about properties with real estate brokers who may represent potential buyers or wish to cooperate with a seller's broker in finding a buyer for the property. The listing data stored in a multiple listing service's database is the proprietary information of the broker who has obtained a listing agreement with a property's seller.

The additional benefit of the MLS system is that an MLS subscriber may search the MLS system and retrieve information about all homes for sale by all participating brokers. MLS systems contain hundreds of fields of information about the features of a property. These fields are determined by real estate professionals who are knowledgeable and experienced in that local marketplace. Whereas public real estate websites contain only a small subset of property data.

In Washington State, a licensed real estate salesperson can list and sell properties anywhere in Washington State. There are, however, many different MLS's throughout Washington State, so at this time, most brokers or salespersons only have access to the MLS or MLS's that they have joined. It is hoped by some that one day there will be one MLS to cover the whole state. It is believed this would best suit the clients needs while searching multiple areas. In belief of this, Katz Realty, Inc. has joined the largest MLS in Washington State, The Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service is in almost every county in Washington State and has approx. 30,000 agent members.

Excerpt taken from wikipedia.com

How do Brokers Get Paid?

Although most people think we make an hourly wage or monthly salary, that is definitely not the case. At Katz Realty, Inc. (and "most" other companies) the earnings are commission based only. When we list your home or property, the broker and you (Seller) sign an agreement that basically states when the property sells, then a commission based on a percentage of the sales price is paid. If the property does not sell, then we do not get paid. The commission percentage depends on certain variables and is to cover the costs of the services provided. To go further, the total commission is paid to the broker (office), then the broker(s) involved gets a percentage of that total amount. The percentage the broker gets is whatever is agreed upon by the broker and that broker. If there are two separate offices involved in a sale, one listing office and one selling office, then the commission is split between the two offices. As you can see, this reduces (usually by 50% or more) the amount of funds the actual broker(s) receives. A broker may spend countless hours of their time and hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars of their own money before they will receive any funds. Most brokers have to pay for licensing, insurance, MLS fees, Realty dues, specialty designations, desk fees, advertising, signage, auto fees, higher auto insurance and a host of other items. Often a broker may work for months before receiving a check and possibly most of the year before they will see any profit.

Patrick Katz - Owner/Broker of Katz Realty, Inc.

Katz Realty, Inc. - How we market your property

"We may not be the ones to sell your property, but we will be the reason that it sells"

At Katz Realty, Inc. we have many avenues that we use to market your property for sale. Some properties require conventional marketing techniques and others need a more "custom" marketing program. Since marketing really depends on the individual listing, we will go over most of the basic avenues we utilize below.

World Wide Web
This category is our "top producer" and truly is the largest source of exposure to clients, contacts, and referrals. It is estimated that approx. 95% of all sales and listings are because of the "www". It includes marketing on hundreds of different web sites.

By listing your property with Katz Realty, Inc., your property will be placed in the largest Multiple Listing Service in Washington State, The Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The "NWMLS" covers almost every county in Washington State and currently has over 30,000 members in roughly 2,349 offices. The NWMLS has its own public web site, www.nwrealestate.com that displays all of its listings. The NWMLS also feeds its listings to approx. 600 other web sites. Some of these sites are "MLS Search" sites and some are other realty companies sites such as Windermere, RE-MAX, Coldwell Banker, Tomlinson, Century 21 and more. This means that when you're listed with Katz Realty, Inc, your property is also displayed on many other companies web sites.

Our own web site currently receives on average about 250,000 hits per month and that number is climbing! If you haven't already looked, we provide full information about the properties, printable flyers, mapping capabilities, image galleries, full 360 degree virtual tours and more! We feed listings to even more web sites such as realtor.com, Home and Garden Televisions web site - FrontDoor.com, and Trulia.com. We also display listings on Craig's List and other 'specialty sites' as needed per property.

When you list with us we will place a "For Sale" sign on the property. Our signs have been designed to "stand out" at almost any location so they will definitely be seen. Depending on the property type or the location, we may decide to use non standard size signage. Some properties may require more information or may need to be larger to be seen. We use standard 24"X18" signs, 4'X4' signs and 8'X4' signs. This will insure people looking will be able to find your property and people who may not be looking, will definitely know your property is "on the market". Also, if decided by you and your broker a flyer box may be installed so potential purchasers can "pick up" information about your property.

Print Advertising
We also do a significant amount of advertising in many different publications. Some of these publications advertise the "company" and direct potential clients to our web site and office while others advertise individual listings and direct potential clients to our web site and office. We also publish a Katz Realty, Inc. Real Estate Guide. For the moment, the guide is printed quarterly and distributed at our office, through mailings, and through multiple business locations around Eastern Washington. For special properties, we may advertise in specialty magazines to target customers suited for the property being sold.

Below is a list of just some of the publications we advertise in:
The Huckleberry Press / The Lincoln Advertiser / The Davenport Times / The Exchange /
The Ritzville Adams County Journal / The Columbiu Basin Herald / The Star / The Spokesman Review /
The Nickel Saver / Columbia Basin Homes and Real Estate Guide / Grand Coulee Dam Area Visitors Guide

Company Tour
A company tour is when we bring all of our agents to your home so they may view it. At Katz Realty, Inc. our agents work like a team, so when you are signing on with one, in essence, you are receiving the benefit of all of us trying to sell your property.

Broker Opens
Broker Opens are open houses that only brokers come to. This is an open invite to all brokers in the area to view your home. At Katz Realty, Inc. we are full cooperating brokers. That means we share our commission 50/50 with another company if they are the procuring cause of the sale. This is an incentive to other companies to sell what we have listed.

Open Houses
If agreed upon between your broker and you to have an open house, then ads will be placed in the publications we feel will direct potential Buyers to your home and signage will be placed in key positions to direct traffic to the event. A list of all visitors will be kept and called afterwards for feedback and/or potential offers.

Patrick Katz - Owner/Broker of Katz Realty, Inc.

Are there loans available for my property?

YES Bankers are calling us every week asking for Buyers despite what the news has been stating, banks are loaning. It has, however, gotten back to the way it should have always been... banks are once again concerned with "can you pay for this"... No more "stated income" or "liars" loans as they used to call them. But for those Buyers with decent credit, work history and the income to qualify, there are many loan programs are available!

Patrick Katz - Owner/Broker of Katz Realty, Inc.

How To Prepare Your House For Sale

By Elizabeth Weintraub, About.com

Prepping and staging a house. Every seller wants her home to sell fast and bring top dollar. Does that sound good to you? Well, it's not luck that makes that happen. It's careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home that will send home buyers scurrying for their checkbooks. Here is how to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home.

Here's How

1. Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.
  • Say to yourself, "This is not my home; it is a house -- a product to be sold much like a box of cereal on the grocery store shelf.
  • Make the mental decision to "let go" of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours.
  • Picture yourself handing over the keys and envelopes containing appliance warranties to the new owners!
  • Say goodbye to every room.
  • Don't look backwards -- look toward the future.

2. De-Personalize
Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can't see past personal artifacts, and you don't want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can't do that if yours are there! You don't want to make any buyer ask, "I wonder what kind of people live in this home?" You want buyers to say, "I can see myself living here."

3. De-Clutter
People collect an amazing quantity of junk. Consider this: if you haven't used it in over a year, you probably don't need it.
  • If you don't need it, why not donate it or throw it away?
  • Remove all books from bookcases.
  • Pack up those knickknacks.
  • Clean off everything on kitchen counters.
  • Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.
  • Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.

4. Rearrange Bedroom Closets and Kitchen Cabinets.
Buyers love to snoop and will open closet and cabinet doors. Think of the message it sends if items fall out! Now imagine what a buyer believes about you if she sees everything organized. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well. This means:
  • Alphabetize spice jars.
  • Neatly stack dishes.
  • Turn coffee cup handles facing the same way.
  • Hang shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction.
  • Line up shoes.

5. Rent a Storage Unit.
Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Since your bookcases are now empty, store them. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room's purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don't want buyers scratching their heads and saying, "What is this room used for?"

6. Remove/Replace Favorite Items.
If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, she won't want it. Once you tell a buyer she can't have an item, she will covet it, and it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.

7. Make Minor Repairs.
  • Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
  • Patch holes in walls.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
  • Fix doors that don't close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
  • Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls. (Don't give buyers any reason to remember your home as "the house with the orange bathroom.")
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs.
  • If you've considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now!

8. Make the House Sparkle!
  • Wash windows inside and out.
  • Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.
  • Clean out cobwebs.
  • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
  • Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
  • Clean out the refrigerator.
  • Vacuum daily.
  • Wax floors.
  • Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
  • Bleach dingy grout.
  • Replace worn rugs.
  • Hang up fresh towels.
  • Bathroom towels look great fastened with ribbon and bows.
  • Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no.

9. Scrutinize.
  • Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you?
  • Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer.
  • Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense.
  • Make sure window coverings hang level.
  • Tune in to the room's statement and its emotional pull. Does it have impact and pizzazz?
  • Does it look like nobody lives in this house? You're almost finished.

10. Check Curb Appeal.
  • Keep the sidewalks cleared.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Paint faded window trim.
  • Plant yellow flowers or group flower pots together. Yellow evokes a buying emotion. Marigolds are inexpensive.
  • Trim your bushes.
  • Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.

Courtesy of about.com
© 2009 About.com, a part of The New York Times Company All rights reserved.

Why should I get a preliminary title?

If you provide us with a preliminary title, it is like providing an insurance policy on the potential sales contract. The preliminary report will show: (#1) who exactly owns the property and who has the authority to legally sign the listing and the closing documents: (#2) the exact legal description of the property: (#3) if there are any liens or unforeseen (or forgotten) debts on the property: (#4) if there are any easements or encroachments: (#5) any other undisclosed, forgotten or unrecorded issues.

When an issue with the title report arises after a Purchase and Sale agreement has been mutually accepted, it could lead to many harmful scenarios including the loss of the sale or even a lawsuit. We have seen many instances that the legal description was incorrect, Seller's didn't actually have the right to sign, an easement was out of place or even a paid off debt was not recorded. By you providing the preliminary title report, we can find any errors (if they are there) and fix the problems before a Buyer even sees your property.

Patrick Katz - Owner/Broker of Katz Realty, Inc.

How would a home inspection benefit me?

Most Sellers think it's crazy to get a home inspection for the home they are selling. Many brokers would agree too, stating that typically the Buyer is going to get one anyway, so why bother? But by not getting a home inspection done first, a Seller may be taking the chance of putting the Buyer in a position to negotiate the price down or walk away from the accepted deal after the Buyer's inspection. Odds are good that the Buyer will try to negotiate a lower price at the time of offer, and if any problems are found in the inspection and there was an inspection contingency in the contract, they will then try to negotiate the price down even farther by asking inflated amounts to fix the problem or cancel the deal altogether. This could be a significant loss to the Seller in many ways. The price of repairs to be done in a quick manner; the lowering of the price of home for Buyer to complete repairs (usually escalated price); the stigma of the home going "back on the market"; or even missing out on an offer the Seller made that was contingent on their own home selling. When the Seller gets a home inspection done first, the Seller will be alerted to anything that the Buyer's inspector may find. This will give the Seller the opportunity to fix whatever problems are there, or, disclose the problems and state that the asking price is a reflection of value minus the cost of repairs for Buyer. Thus, eliminating the Buyers chance to "renegotiate" after an accepted offer was made.

Also, in today's highly competitive market, advertising that a home inspection has been performed on your home and passed with a "clean bill of health" could potentially draw more prospective Buyers to your home. Even brokers searching for their clients would be more likely to show a home with a "clean" home inspection, knowing that there would probably be no surprises if an offer was made. Some Buyers may even choose to accept your inspection and waive the inspection contingency altogether.

Patrick Katz - Owner/Broker of Katz Realty, Inc.

Why should I request a pre-approval before showing my Home?

Requesting a pre-approval before letting your home be shown is a fairly new trend that has proven great success and works for many different reasons. If a Buyer has to supply a pre-approval before they look at your home, then you and your broker can be more assured that the Buyer is looking in a price range that the Buyer can actually afford. It also shows that Buyer is serious enough about purchasing a home that they have taken the initiative of talking to a bank and getting pre-approved. Requesting a pre-approval will also keep the "looker" out of your home, saving you and your broker time that can be spent with serious Buyers. We are surprised at how many people ask us to show them a home only because they are curious what is looks like and have no intention of buying a home. It will also keep out certain "undesirables". Unfortunately, we have been made aware of a trend where potential "Buyers" want to see a home in an attempt to either steal something (valuables, medicine, etc.) at that time, or set the home up for a future break-in. As you can imagine, requesting a pre-approval will most likely stop this from happening.

Patrick Katz - Owner/Broker of Katz Realty, Inc.

Real Estate Information Downloads

The Law of Real Estate Agency (PDF)
The EPA Lead Based Paint Pamplet (PDF)
The EPA Mold & Moisture Guide PDF

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