The Truth About How Sellers Choose Their Buyers

The Truth About How Sellers Choose Their Buyers

How you negotiate when buying a home isn’t just about the price. It’s about being nice.

Touring prospective houses can feel like wandering through an infinite, imaginary desert: You’re tired, you’re cranky, and you’re not sure if the experience is EVER. GOING. TO. END.

So when you’ve finally found “The One,” it’s an amazing feeling. You can already see your family celebrating holidays by your dream home’s stately fireplace and savoring countless brunches in its adorable breakfast nook.

But wait. Before you summon the moving truck, your dream home’s seller has to pick you, too. Luckily, the key to locking down your ideal abode doesn’t always mean offering the most cash. Here are five ways to tip the odds in your favor.

1.  Negotiate with a Smile

Unlike most commercial real estate transactions, the buying and selling of a home is complicated by all kinds of emotions, explains Sara Benson of Benson Stanley Realty in Chicago. Often, how the seller feels about you can be more important than your money.

“People tend to do business with those they like and trust,” she says.

One of Benson’s favorite examples of this phenomenon occurred when one of her clients was second in line for a home. While the first-place bidders were negotiating their contract, they whipped out a long list of unreasonable demands for the seller.

“This infuriated the homeowner, who finally told them, ‘My property isn’t for sale to you at any price!'” Benson recalls. The seller ended up offering Benson’s clients the house, even though their bid was $10,000 below that of the first buyers.

Lesson learned? “Don’t nitpick over items that are insubstantial, like a torn window screen or a $50 valve on a hot water heater,” says Benson. “This will anger a seller more than anything.” And that, she says, could be a deal breaker.

2.  Get Personal

Bruce Ailion, an agent with RE/MAX in Woodstock, Ga., agrees that profit isn’t always the seller’s primary motivation. He recalls a recent deal in which he was representing an older couple selling their long-time family home.

“We had two offers: one from an investor paying cash, the second from financed first-time buyers.”

Despite Ailion’s recommendations, the sellers chose the first-time buyers, even though the cash offer was higher and would have been a much simpler transaction. Ultimately, what mattered most for Ailion’s clients was to pass their beloved home on to a deserving young family.

3.  Figure Out the Seller’s Unique Motivation

Understanding why the sellers have put their home on the market is yet another powerful tool a buyer can bring to the negotiating table, says Ailion.

“Some sellers want a quick sale; others need time to find a home. Some are focused on price, others on certainty,” he says. “There are so many intangibles. It takes a deep understanding to make a good deal for everyone.”

See what information you can glean about the seller — from your agent or even from the seller’s neighbors — to arm yourself with as much information as possible.

“The more flexible a buyer can be on closing and possession, the more likely they’ll be able to negotiate a lower price,” agrees Benson. “They’re giving the seller peace of mind and the comfort of not having to rush out.”

4.  Write a Love Letter

Sometimes, a heartfelt note from a potential buyer can make all the difference, even when the chances seem pretty slim.

Darcey Regan, a Chicago-based HR executive, had already bid on another home when she and her husband stumbled upon a gorgeous old Victorian. Instantly, they were smitten. “I grew up in an old house, and the sellers had done a really great job of maintaining and renovating this one,” she says.

Unfortunately, multiple people had already placed offers on the house, including several developers who were planning to demolish the property. Regan felt her only hope was to write the sellers a letter. In it, she talked about growing up in a similar house, and how much she respected the owners’ efforts to preserve their home.

Within 24 hours, the sellers told her the house was hers. “It turns out they really wanted someone who would keep the house rather than tear it down,” she says.

Though it felt like a long shot, Regan believes her note was successful because it was genuine. Her advice? “Write a letter only if you’re really in love with the house, not because someone told you to.”

5.  Work With a Pro

It also helps to have a knowledgeable, well-respected pro on your side — someone who understands market realities and who will work well with the seller’s agent.

How do you find that seasoned pro with the sterling reputation? “Ask for referrals from your personal and professional network, and interview at least three different [agents] before you choose the one you feel most comfortable working with,” advises Benson.

Residential real estate is a game of both head and heart. Smart buyers who employ both are the ones most likely to win the home of their dreams.





Kicking Off National Homeownership Month!

Kicking Off National Homeownership Month!

Kicking Off National Homeownership Month! | Keeping Current Matters

National Homeownership Month actually started as a week-long celebration of homeownership during the Clinton administration in 1995. In 2002, President George W. Bush proclaimed June as the National Homeownership Month. Here is an excerpt from his proclamation:

“Homeownership is an important part of the American Dream…A home provides shelter and a safe place where families can prosper and children can thrive. For many Americans, their home is an important financial investment, and it can be a source of great personal pride and an important part of community stability.”

“Homeownership encourages personal responsibility and the values necessary for strong families. Where homeownership flourishes, neighborhoods are more stable, residents are more civic-minded, schools are better, and crime rates decline.”

“During National Homeownership Month, I encourage all Americans to learn more about financial management and to explore homeownership opportunities in their communities. By taking this important step, individuals and families help safeguard their financial futures and contribute to the strength of our Nation.”

If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to make the transition from renter to homeowner, contact a local real estate professional who can help evaluate your ability to do so.
Marcos Fullana, local real estate professional 305-385-8342 / Choice One Real Estate Miami, Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, Coral Gables
Choice One Key Title and Escrow is presented award

Choice One Key Title and Escrow is presented award

Representing Key Title and Escrow, Kim Chavez, president of the firm was presented with the Foundation of Excellence Award. This award is awarded to top title agents in the industry for Outstanding Performance in Claims Prevention. In addition to the Excellence Award Key Title and Escrow was also presented with the Heritage Award for over 10 years of outstanding professional service. These awards were presented by industry leading title underwriter Stewart Title.

Choice One Key Title and Escrow is located at 18400 SW 97 Ave. Cutler Bay, FL. 33157. Providing real estate title and escrow closing service fast, accurate and statewide. You may contact Key Title and Escrow at 305-235-4571 or email


Can Your Facebook Friends Really Influence Your Credit Score?

Can Your Facebook Friends Really Influence Your Credit Score?

Published: October 24, 2013

Recent news reports suggesting your Facebook and other social media friendships could someday influence your credit score left out a few details — like why that’s not going to happen in the U.S.

After reading news headlines from CNN to suggesting that it’s just a matter of time before credit reporting bureaus begin using my social media footprint and friendships to rate my credit, I felt sad that I was going to have to drop all the old friends I reconnected with on Facebook after my high school’s 30th reunion.

After all, I did meet them in my school’s smoking lounge in the late 1970s. Who knows what kind of credit they have now. What if they grew up to become financial lollygaggers?

I put in a call to Experian Director of Public Education Rod Griffin to find out the best way to figure out my friends’ credit scores so I’d know who to unfriend, lest they tarnish my stellar score and prevent me from getting a mortgage

Griffin told me to take my finger off the unfriend button. Turns out, those companies trying to use social media to determine creditworthiness are in other countries.

Here in the U.S., social media isn’t used for consumer credit scoring. Why not? Because there are some pesky consumer laws in this country that require credit reporting companies to use data that actually predicts whether you’re likely to pay a debt. The data has to be about your behavior, not your friends’ behavior, and it has to be related to repayment, not what you think of Obamacare.

Even if someone could show that posts about hating pink houses corresponded to hating to pay your bills on time, Experian wouldn’t use your hatred of pink houses to calculate your credit score because it’s not related to actual bill-paying behavior.

The data most relevant to credit scoring isn’t who you’re interacting with on social media, it’s your financial track record. A late payment on a car loan is a strong indicator that you’re not going to pay another debt, like your mortgage.

We Americans have other consumer rights that would make using social media in credit reporting tough — like the right to fix mistakes in our credit reports.

If social media information was used in credit scoring, can you imagine the letter you’d have to write to get errors fixed? And how would the credit bureau try to correct errors? Maybe we would write a letter like this:

Dear Social Media Credit Reporting Firm:

I don’t know where you got the idea I’m good friends with Joe Johnson. I’m not. He contacted me after my 30th reunion and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by refusing his friend request. Please make the correction in your files as required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

It Doesn’t Work for Loans, Either

A second federal law would make it really tricky to use your social media postings to decide whether to give you a loan. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act says you can’t discriminate against me because of my gender, ethnicity, marital status, or age.

All of those characteristics appear on the average mom’s Facebook feed. If you stripped out pictures of me (I’m pretty obviously white), my husband (yes, I’m married), and my girls’ nights out with friends (I’m pretty obviously female), there’d be nothing left but pictures of my daughter playing field hockey. And a headshot of me that’s so digitally altered you might not realize you should be discriminating due to my age.

So for now, I’ll remain friends with my fellow Wilde Lake High School Wildecats because finding out what happened to old classmates is what social media was meant to do. But credit scoring? Not so much.


6 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Stats on Credit Report Disputes




What do I mean when I say MLS?

What do I mean when I say MLS?

Odds are you’ve spent a little time online searching for homes. After all, most home searches begin online. You may have even used a broker’s website or a site like Trulia or Zillow to help you browse listings.

But where does listing information come from?

Way back in the day, prior to the Information Age revolution, brokers used to gather and exchange information about their properties. The idea was fairly straightforward: I’ll help you sell your properties if you help me sell mine. It’s a “private offer of cooperation and compensation.” Cooperation meant the real estate industry could thrive and buyers and sellers could enjoy smoother transactions.

This spirit of cooperation gave rise to Multiple Listing Service(s) (MLS). By consolidating information about housing inventory in an MLS, listing brokers and buyers’ brokers can easily share up-to-date information about homes on the market. Though an MLS is typically a private database available to brokers, much of the information is syndicated to outside sites in the interest of casting wider net for buyers and sellers.

As an MLS is the primary source of information about a property, it tends to be the most accurate. It may also contain private information for use by brokers only, such as times the home is available for showings and seller contact information.

There are upwards of 850 MLS databases in the U.S. alone, and to a certain extent, there is market pressure to centralize these into a national MLS database. We’re sure to see changes in how Multiple Listing Services are used in the future, but the core benefits to home sellers and buyers is sure to remain.

Ready to put the power of an MLS to work for you? Search with me today for homes on the market right now. I’d be happy to help you find your next home:

Marcos Fullana 786-385-8342 or email: Fullana 786-385-8342