Lucia Burns, Realtor Extraordinaire, CNE
Lucia Burns

Lucia Burns, Realtor Extraordinaire, CNE
Realtor in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley & Fountain Hills

Category: General

Realtor Hours vs Business Hours

If you have been in the real estate industry or know someone who is in the business, you know the hours. It’s a unique trait of real estate. The hours are “whatever it takes” to meet the goal.

There are over 42,000 active and competitive agents in the valley. If you think you can shut down for weekends or not take calls after 5Pm, you’re missing the mark for yourself or your client.
I stay on duty. Pretty much all the time. I have been relaxing late at night and seen a Zillow inquiry come in. I know you have about 5 minutes to get to that inquiry or they move on. I’m on it!

Real estate has a uniquely time sensitive quality. Properties can be “on the market” and between the time you printed the listing and scheduled the showing, it goes under contract. A good agent appreciates and responds to the flow of the market and has a reactive speed intended to be first and be fast.

Answer the phone. For the love of humanity…answer the phone. We know Time Is of the Essence and it’s a phrase I remember and repeat often. Many times I’m calling the agent, the co-list agent, texting, leaving messages and queue the sound of crickets. Sometimes it will happen that you can’t take a call, but generally agents gain a sense of arrogance that the business has to work around their mood and schedule thinking that’s the benefit of working for yourself. It’s the other way around. Your client is counting on you to not miss opportunities for them. You are the gate keeper and owe them your attentive diligence.

I don’t think I work for myself at all. I feel that I work for my clients, they’re my boss. And I want my boss to think I am extraordinary! I am a strong award winning leader and I know I was hired and trusted to deliver the results we agreed upon. Based on my knowledge of the market and expertise, I work extraordinarily hard to make it happen.

Every buyer and seller should demand the same of their agent. It’s the nature of the business. Extra hours! Extraordinary results.

There’s Open House and Then There’s 3D Open House

Take the 3D Walkthrough and out yourself in this room.

Take the 3D Walkthrough and out yourself in this room.

Open House at this rare gem of a home. Come and see it this Saturday, January 16th, 2016 from 1 to 4pm. But not to worry, if you can’t make it, just clink on the link above and you can put yourself right in the room. Walk around, look up, look down, take your time. The new technology that assists buyers in getting to know a home is nothing short of incredible.  Hope to see you Saturday!

Can Sellers Do All Repairs Themselves?


Let’s assume they know HOW, the answer is sometimes yes but sometimes no.

In the AAR contract (section 6j) it states that “If seller agrees in writing to correct items disapproved, Seller shall correct the items, complete any repairs in a workmanlike manner and deliver any paid receipts evidencing the corrections and repairs to Buyer 3 days or ____ before close of escrow.”

There are a few important additions to this information. If the Buyer has written into the contract (prior to inspections) that electrical, plumbing, etc., repairs must be completed by a licensed contractor, then the Seller has contractually agreed to hire licensed professionals and must do so.  (Additionally, the general rule is a contractor’s license is required by statute for work that exceeds $1,000 in value)

Many homeowners have some experience with minor home repair, and a handyman is a sufficient professional to manage repairs for most items; including light switches, dimmer switches, etc., wherein they would competently complete a repair in a ‘workmanlike manner’. If the homeowner is competent to make repairs, they can go for it! So after the home inspection, the Buyer can not demand that the Seller use only licensed contractors to complete work. A Buyer can still make the request on the Buyers Inspection report, but the Seller is not obligated to hire licensed contractors, unless they agree to do so.

The Buyer can elect to have repairs completed by a specific date or go with the boilerplate language of 3 days before close of escrow. The final inspection is a Buyers opportunity to confirm repairs and to be sure home is in substantially the same condition as time of purchase. If repairs are not completed for some reason, although it is unfortunate, the Buyer will be obligated to close anyway. The Seller could provide a credit at closing to the Buyer for the cost of repair.

By closing the deal, the Buyer by no means is just out of luck on repairs if Seller failed to honor their written agreement. The remedy would be to close the deal, and then pursue the Seller in small claims court for damages. Although most breaches of contract can result in a termination of agreement, if a Buyer fails to close over incomplete repairs, the tables turn and the courts usually side with the Seller in that the harm to Seller by Buyers failure to close is typically greater than the harm to Buyer for usual cost of repairs. But at some point it is made right for the Buyer!



No No’s of Negotiations

When it comes to real estate negotiations, getting to a fair price and terms for a home can make the most well adjusted individuals act against their own best interests! Depending on the combination of personalities involved, a simple straight forward offer and acceptance can devolve into a gas fire in a paper factory with no escape.

Don't let it come to this!

Don’t let it come to this!  Fresh off a week and a half negotiating bender I have had to witness some of the worst tactics I have ever seen in over 26 years.

I’m just going to list a few of the ways to lose a deal:

  1. Take everything personal.  If you take the terms of a sale as a personal affront, you are missing the point.  Stay focused on the print, the black and white. Do not assign emotional inferences to the information.
  2. Distort the facts and data to make your case.  Both parties to a transaction will be examining the same data and details.  There are not two sets of applicable statistics. There are anomalies that you do have to remove, but generally if you reject valid information because it will conflict with your position, then you are missing the point.  Misrepresentation is not the same as negotiating.
  3. Assume the worst intentions.  You can’t believe that every comment or thought expressed has a secret meaning behind it.  If the other party is using their time to reply to an offer, that’s ok, you can take your time too. It doesn’t have to mean they are shopping the deal, or intentionally causing you discomfort.
  4. Imagine you against…everybody.  You have an ally in the deal. It’s your agent. You have to trust your agent to advocate your wishes.  Stay open and honest with your agent so your real desires can be communicated in the most effective way.
  5. Play games. If you like to play games with people, save it for your next car buy. If you blow it in that scenario you can just go to the next dealership and buy the same car. In real estate, if you start changing terms as a punitive measure for an attitude you perceive (see items 1, 2, 3, and 4) you will just look childish. That is a clear demonstration of ignorance or ego, and neither one is better than the other.
  6.  Be fearful.  The worst position to negotiate from is fear. The global economy does not need to align for world peace before you can agree to terms.  It is a better position to ‘want the deal’ and to be confident about your walk away point as long as that point isn’t driven by ego.

It’s always exciting to make the deal. It’s always disappointing to lose one.  In the short term, real estate will reveal its hand and expose the truth about the final price the seller would take and the final value the buyer couldn’t see or vise versa.  Just know where you need to be before getting into negotiations then inch your way to agreement.  No games, just good business.

The Real Open House of Maricopa County

Let me begin by saying, I do believe there is value in holding open house!

To be sure, you will be converged upon by a few neighbors, and others who just enjoy the entertainment of viewing homes they may never be interested in buying.  BUT you also gain exposure and allow people to appreciate the inherent value of the home vs sitting in front of a computer looking at photos trying to interpret the scale.

Since we know that 90% of buyers begin their search on the internet, and Open Houses are posted not only in MLS but on Zillow, Trulia,, etc,  one should expect real buyers to show up to experience the home.

A major benefit as well; you get to control the showing, the timing, the mood of the home.  This is your chance to focus the market on the best features of the home.

I suggest the following to make the most out these productive opportunities.

  • PACK IT   Trust your realtor, when they suggest you pack some items, PLEASE DO!  If you are not feeling like you get what they mean (sellers often don’t) then let your agent walk through and edit the decor.  You are going to be moving so the efforts are not wasted to pre-pack a little bit. It is not a personal attack on your collection of pepper mills, or family photos. The goal is to open as many surfaces as possible so the mind remembers a home of  s p a c i o u s n e s s! I enjoy rearranging and editing for clients.
  • MOVE IT   Remove or rearrange some furniture if advised.  Yes, you may need the chair ‘right there’ to watch TV but right now you want to sell your house.  Sometimes arranging a room for visual or flow makes it so much more appealing.  You may also want to remove some furniture too. Too many sofas, oversized pieces, awkward coffee tables all infringe on the visual planes of the room and just distract your buyer from sensing there is enough room in your square footage. You just want to show it off for the best it can be!
  • CURB IT   Work on the front yard so it has some character and some color. Great curb appeal makes people more curious about the interior. Clean the entry of all webs, dust, and the like.  Put out a new doormat. People stand there before entering and start making assessments about the care and quality of the home immediately.
  • CLEAN IT   Clean the house from top to bottom.  Again, a good exercise before moving.  Begin making donations to your favorite charities and you’ll start to feel lighter already.
  • SWAP IT   If the chandelier does not sell with the house, then take it down and replace it with something inexpensive that works with the room.  No sense advertising features that your buyer can’t have.
  • PET IT   Find a place to take your pets during open house. Put all the pet gear out of sight as well.  Be sure you don’t have any lingering pet odors.  Neutralize the air with citrus scented candles and/or air fresheners.
  • HIDE IT   Take any medications out of the bathrooms and put them in a secure place.  It is not common but some addicts take advantage of accessible meds and loot homes for pain killers and whatever else.  Take the same precautions with your jewelry or other small valuables.  I have not had the experience of theft from a clients home, but I am still aware of the potential and don’t provide temptation.
  • LEAVE IT   Then take yourself to the movies or somewhere but be gone before the first looker arrives! If you do get caught heading out the door just turn to the agent and say “Thanks for the tour, I love it! I’ll be in touch!”
  • OPEN IT   Open house day, your agent should have plenty of well located signs to easily guide traffic.  Also, your agent should be well versed in the local market. Know what’s selling, what’s listed and what the closing prices are.
  • SELL IT   Good marketing materials with an organized features list, pleasant background music and a helpful, positive attitude are the tools of the trade.  Knock Knock!

Real Estate Introvert or Extrovert?

silverAre you a real estate Introvert or Extrovert? 
When interviewing buyers about their needs and desires for a new home, it is subtly important to understand personal social preferences as it relates to real estate. 
A real estate introvert will lean towards a nice neighborhood, whether the homes are close together or spaced by acreage, but they will be less enthralled with the suggestion that the neighbors all hang out together and host weekly block parties. They just like to come home and relax…quietly. Undisturbed.

The following are indications of an Introvert:

  • Your garage door going down is the last thing you want to see at the end of the day.
  • You relax in your ‘comfort’ clothes that you would rather not be known for.
  • You don’t always answer the door when there is a random knock.
  • Your door is ALWAYS locked. And dead bolted. Most blinds are closed.
  • You bought the property with an eye for placing trees to block the view of neighbors.

The real estate Extrovert on the other hand, will first express interest in the current neighbors and is usually coming from and looking forward to a neighborhood that is full of connectivity and social opportunity.

The following are indications of an Extrovert:

  • You linger at the end of the driveway, looking for motion in neighboring houses.
  • You can’t wait to meet the new neighbors. Even before move in day.
  • Your ‘Door is Always Open’ and you mean it.
  • You are the instigator for social activities. Bunko anyone? Happy Hour at my place?
  • You are thrilled to see lots of people walking in the area.

There is nothing wrong with either choice, unless you land in the wrong neighborhood.  It’s just worth the extra look-see to know that you will be comfortable in your new happy place.
So tell me what you need. I’m listening to you.