How a Buyer Decides Whether or Not to Purchase Your Condo
…and why that’s bad news for most sellers.
The Secret Some Agents Don’t Want You to Know about Upgrades Before Selling
…less is often more.
An Easy Way to Protect Your Condo Sale from Going Horribly, Horribly Wrong
There’s only a handful.
EXCLUSIVE OPPORUNITY – Your Chance to Employ the Most Time-Saving, Stress-Reducing, Profit-Increasing Service You’ve Ever Imagined When Selling Your Condo
Dear Rockville Condo Owner...
If you’ve been thinking about selling your condo but keep on procrastinating; if you’re tired of paying rising condo fees; if managing your property and finding renters is too much effort for such little return…
If you made a bad investment a long while back and are ready to move on; If your property has been sitting on the market forever – or you’re afraid it’s going to; if your time is limited due to job and family commitments; this is the service you need right now...
As the only Rockville condo specialists in the area, we can maximize your return on investment, minimize your stress, and protect your interests throughout the condo selling process – a process that is far more convoluted and complicated than most people realize.
In addition to top-notch customer service, ALL of the following is included in every listing we take…
• Your condo as a featured listing (on your building’s page) on rockvillemdcondos.com – visited by THOUSANDS every month as the only website dedicated to buying, selling, and renting condos in Rockville and North Bethesda.
• Your condo listed as a hot property in the Rockville Condo Newswire (our weekly property list sent to thousands of subscribers specifically interested in Rockville/North Bethesda condos).
• PAID and organic social media promotion via social media accounts (and our partner social media accounts).
• A blog post specifically dedicated to your property published on the rockvillemdcondos.com blog.
• Specialized, localized expertise on condo rules/regulations in the Rockville and North Bethesda area.
• Professional photos of your unit and community.
• As applicable, an open house conducted by an agent familiar with your building and able to convey your building/unit’s unique value proposition in comparison to the rest of the market.
• Access to our full network of top-notch and trusted professional service providers, including property management and rental services if needed.
• Professional tools to ensure easy viewings by potential buyers and tracking results (i.e. use of electronic lockboxes, live showing service assistance, etc.).
• Strict adherence to our core values: Good Faith, Accountability, Respect, Candor, Humility, Transparency, Excellence, and Community.
• “Service for Life” – our commitment to help on any real estate matters going forward once your transaction has closed.
Because of our hyper-localized Rockville and North Bethesda expertise, as well as our proprietary digital marketing assets, we’re able to provide you marketing opportunities that – literally - no one else can.
How A Buyer Decides to Buy Your Property
What makes the difference in getting your home sold?
Yes, price is phenomenally important, as is condition and other factors.
When people buy most anything, however – and especially real estate! - they always do one thing: COMPARE.
Your ability to stand out amongst the competition will be the key to getting your condo sold for the most amount of money.
That’s why when you sell your condo, you should know not only the great things about your unit and your condo building, but also how those things COMPAREto other condo units and condo buildings in the same area.
Those are the details that can be used to most effectively market and find the right buyers.
Here’s an example…
Suppose someone is looking to buy a condo near a metro, and he is leaning towards something near the Rockville Town Center – a garden-style building if possible.
He would like utilities included in the condo fees. And he must have an in-unit washer and dryer.
You have your garden-style unit at the Americana Centre on the market, and this buyer happens to walk into an open house being held by your agent – let’s say it’s a good friend or family member.
Unfortunately, the agent holding your open house is likely very uninformed – seasoned agents rarely hold their own open houses, especially for lower dollar amount properties.
These duties get passed off to the “new guy.”
But let’s suppose the new guy is somewhat capable.
He or she would probably mention how your unit is perfect for the buyer, because it checks all the boxes – which is true.
However, the buyer isn’t looking at your unit in isolation.
The buyer is looking at your unit IN COMPARISON to other units/buildings.
Instead of saying “this unit is perfect for you,” a much more effective thought to convey would be along the lines of…
“Based on your criteria, this is the only place that will work for you…the Rockville metro has only four condos within walking distance….The Fitz, The Victoria, The Palladian, and Americana Centre….The Fitz does not include all utilities, The Victoria is a high-rise, and The Palladian misses on all points…the Americana Centre high-rise buildings, even if you would consider them, do not have washers and dryers in-unit; they are in the hallway…in fact, the only condos in 20850 and 20852 that include all utilities are The Forum (near White Flint metro), Bethesda Park, and the Grosvenor buildings….The Forum is a high-rise, Bethesda Park is not near the metro, Grosvenor Park I-III are high-rises, and Grosvenor Park IV (the Grosvenor condo with garden-style units) does not have washers and dryers in-unit.”
The specifics are always different, but the overarching point remains the same.
Having a full command of all the condo buildings/options allows us to deeply understand its pros and cons, and properly position the unit from a marketing/sales perspective – both in-person and online.
Don't Waste Your Money Doing This Before You Sell
Other than what dollar amount they can sell for, the most common question folks have when getting ready to sell their condo is “what upgrades should I do before putting my home on the market?”
The answer, as is the answer most times in life, is “it depends.”
It depends on how quickly you want to sell; it depends on other property factors (for instance, your unit’s view or the age of the building); and, it depends on what YOUR specific situation is (re: your personal finances, amount of risk you are willing to assume, etc.).
Even though your unit may sell faster by doing a lot of upgrades, it does not necessarily mean you will receive the greatest ROI (return on investment) from your efforts.
On the contrary, you are often just better off going with a new coat of paint and new carpet.
Is it easier for an agent to sell a completely renovated condo with new kitchen, bathroom, appliances, etc.?
Of course it is – and sometimes it DOES make the most sense.
More often than not, though, it doesn’t.
That’s why you want to make sure you are dealing with a trusted advisor who understands YOUR needs and has YOUR best interests at heart, not his.
You're Playing With Fire and Probably Don't Even Know It
One of the many reasons condos are ignored by agents – and deals often go South - is because there can be enormous hurdles for buyers to overcome when obtaining financing.
That’s why it’s so incredibly risky to have just any agent try to sell your unit; you MUST know what you are talking about to protect the seller.
We’ll use an all-to-true, real-life horror story to highlight the issue…
A seller lists his condo for sale with an asking price of $300,000.
Two days later, he receives two offers.
The first offer is for $300,000 with a 5% down payment.
The second offer is for $290,000 with a 20% down payment.
All other factors are equal.
Common sense tells the seller to take the full price offer, as he believes he will walk away from the deal with more money.
So he does.
The buyer has a strong pre-approval from a local lender and everything looks good to close at the end of the month.
The seller is excited and begins to plan his own move since the condo is now under contract.
A week later the appraisal comes in from the buyer’s lender at a $300,000 value – the seller is teeming with even more confidence the deal will close as scheduled.
A week after that (about 10 days before closing) the lender calls the buyer and tells him the condo questionnaire they just received from the management company shows the condominium’s investor concentration is over the limit for a mortgage loan where the buyer is making less than a 20% down payment.
The buyer tells his lender he does not have the other 10% to put toward the down payment.
The lender tells the buyer he cannot approve the loan and must find another condo to purchase.
The buyer moves on; the seller is left to start back at square one.
Unfortunately, three to four weeks have now passed and the market is starting to shift.
Worse yet, many people wrongly assume the buyer might have walked away for some other reason.
To keep his new house, the seller must sell quickly.
Desperation is setting in and with it, the arrival of low-ball offers.
The seller is wishing he had taken that $290,000 offer with 20% down at this point.
Had he – or his agent – taken a few minutes to do some homework, he would have known to only accept offers with at least a 20% down payment.
Does this sound like the type of transaction you should entrust with an agent just because he or she is a friend or family member?
We're Not Your Friends
Ok, that’s not exactly true.
Of course, we wind up being great friends with most, if not all our clients.
But that’s not our priority.
Our priority is offering you the PROFESSIONAL EXPERTISE you need to protect one of your most, if not THE most, valuable assets.
Would you let your friend repair your new, $50,000 car because he was a part-time car enthusiast?
Would you let your primary care physician perform orthopedic surgery on you?
Of course you wouldn’t.
You’d insist on using someone who absolutely knew what he or she was talking about.
Then why on earth will so many people let a real estate agent help them buy/sell assets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars – if not more - with so little thought on the person’s qualifications/expertise, especially when the person stands to make thousands of dollars in commissions.
But we’ll tell you why….
It’s because much of the public doesn’t see a difference between agents; they’re viewed as “all the same.”
And if all agents are the same, why not use a friend or family member I can trust – or the guy/gal who sends me apple butter?
It’s not surprising so many people feel this way.
Because the real estate industry itself has PROPOGATED this belief.
For the longest time, much of the agent’s “expertise” was simply tied to the fact they he or she had access to information no one else did (re: the MLS).
And the person who had the most coffee dates/handed out the most branded key chains got the most business.
To this day, in fact, that is how a large majority of older real estate professionals “teach” younger professionals how to be successful; trust us.
But as the curtain begins to get peeled back in the digital world, it’s information overload for consumers.
More than ever, they need a true, trusted advisor to help them navigate the ins and outs of selling a home in this brave new world of technology, digital marketing, and specialization – using a “friend” who provides “good customer service” simply isn’t good enough anymore.
That’s why we’re not your friends. And for everyone’s sake, we think that’s a good thing.
Who Am I and Why Should You Listen to Me?
My name is Andy Detweiler. I’m a licensed REALTOR and the founder of rockvillemdcondos.com – I also currently live in Rockville, Maryland with my family.
I’ve been the top sales rep at every job I’ve ever worked at (in several industries) – and I studied digital marketing for two years while starting a marketing technology company.
When I entered the real estate field a few years back, I couldn’t believe how many people were reaching out with questions about condo pet policies, utility information, garage parking, and more…the same questions again and again.
I searched for a website that could give me an encompassing list of the condos in Rockville – just the names of the condos, nothing else.
I couldn’t believe it. There was nothing.
Within seconds, I could take almost any problem I was experiencing and find a YouTube video on how to fix it – but I couldn’t get a list of all the condos in a major metropolitan suburb.
I knew that was a huge problem. And I knew it was just the tip of the iceberg.
I wrote down all the common condo/apartment questions people had ever asked me – and spent the next six months building my website, tracking down the information (it was ridiculously hard), and organizing it in an easy-to-consume fashion.
At the same time I was helping renters and buyers by organizing and providing information, I started studying the market and previewing listings.
I was amazed at not only how poorly properties were being marketed, but also how little some agents knew about them – and how even the basics were being ignored (pictures were taken with iPhones; keys in lockboxes were missing; showing times were limited; calls went unreturned; understanding of building rules and regulations was limited or non-existent; properties were grossly over or underpriced; etc.) – and these agents were being paid THOUSANDS of dollars to help sell these properties.
It was crazy. I knew there had to be a better answer.
Armed with all the knowledge I had gained, I started helping Rockville condo owners.
And I winded up meeting folks likes Rich Guber….
An Investment Gone Bad
In 2005, seasoned real estate professional Rich Guber – and his two business partners – did what many others did around that time; they made an investment in a Rockville condo.
Unbeknownst to Rich and his colleagues (along with the rest of the world), the market would soon crash.
Over ten years later, the property was still worth almost $60,000 less than they paid for it.
Luckily for Rich and his partners, they had been able to find a long-time renter to occupy the unit for most of the time.
But with the renter on his way out (and unable to purchase the unit because the condo was not FHA approved), Rich and his partners knew it was time to cut bait.
He explained why….
“We felt appreciation for the unit had capped – at least for the foreseeable future. And we didn’t feel like trying to find another renter. It was simply too much effort for such so little return.
Dealing with tenant issues like air conditioning breaking down was a nuisance, as were multiple “ankle biting” problems we had to deal with over the years.
We didn’t have the time to spend on it and we were trying to work on bigger opportunities. There wasn’t enough margin to pay a property management company.
Finding a way to meet contractors at the unit was difficult; it was never a good time for any of us.
It was bad investment we made 10+ year ago; we needed to move on."
When Rich reached out to me to see if I could assist, I was able to look at the property and discern there wasn’t a whole lot of work to be done to get the unit ready for sale.
Perhaps more importantly, because I had vetted the community, we knew any buyer was going to need to be able to put 20% down – we priced the properly correctly and had it sold in just a few weeks, even though it hit the market at a non-optimal time of year.
I asked Rich why he and colleagues decided to use me to help in their sale….
“We thought Andy was the right person to sell our condo properly – someone who would spend legitimate time on it and who knew the market.
We wanted someone who was going to list the property and work it, someone who could give very clear feedback and act as a trusted advisor as opposed to just listing and have another broker do the work.”
Rich also shared what might have happened if they weren’t able to find me…
“The unit was already a terrible return on time. We would have had to dump more time into it, and perhaps more money than necessary if not given the proper advice.
Putting the property on the market, not getting rid of it, and having to rent it again would have been disastrous on multiple fronts.”
Are You Tired of Being a Landlord?
In the early 2000’s, Vince Jiordano became an owner of a Rockville condo by way of inheritance. By 2017, the frustration and stress of being a landlord had gotten to the point where he was ready to sell.
Vince’s time was extremely limited due to job and family obligations. Rising condo fees coupled with needy tenants had become too much to bear. He knew the high condo fees and stress were not going to get better.
He was irritated…
“When water from the unit above flooded the apartment, I got a call in the middle of the night. I knew I had to fix it. And due to work/family, my response time was often poor. I knew it wasn’t my tenants’ fault, but that wasn’t helping anything.”
Making matters worse…
“The tenants gave me flak about the condo’s management. And the condo’s management gave me flak about my tenants. I was constantly caught in the middle. It was awful.”
Even though Vince had decided it was time to sell, things had the potential to get much more stressful, not less.
The building had tons of units on the market, most of which had been sitting for a very long time.
He was afraid his unit would do the same, knowing each month he would be eating the money for both the $800+ condo fee AND his mortgage.
That’s when he decided to reach out to me.
He explained why…
“I knew you had subject matter expertise on condos in Rockville, which was hugely important. I did some cursory research and saw you had outstanding reviews from a wide variety of people.
When we spoke in person, what really solidified my choice was the relationship you had with the building’s receptionists and your understanding of how important relationships are in these communities."
After analyzing the data and evaluating the market/his unit, we came up with a specific plan for Vince – a plan that did not involve unnecessary renovations or wasted action. In fact, virtually no work was completed whatsoever.
The plan also had contingencies. We talked about the market, his bottom line, and what all the options were (including bringing in a partner property management company if he decided he wanted to continue to rent the property).
As expected, Vince was ultimately able to locate a buyer. But he also knew we were always working in his best interest, whatever that entailed.
With the condo officially off his plate and the money in his pocket, Vince looked back on the whole experience:
“At the end of day, Andy did exactly what was expected – and what he said he was going to do.
For multiple reasons, it was not an easy place to sell. There were a lot of things going on, with the unit itself and with me personally.
Andy was able to get it sold in the right amount of time, alleviating my stress and managing the process so my effort was very minimal. I’m glad I made the choice that I did.”
This All Sounds Great. What Should I Do Next?
Here’s how it works:
If you’re ready to sell or think you might be ready to sell....
Give us a call at 240-338-8355 and/or schedule a free, no obligation 15-minute phone consultation. We’ll answer any preliminary questions that you have and if applicable, schedule a time to come see you and your unit.
If you’re not ready to sell but want to have an idea of what your condo is worth…
Shoot us an email at email@example.com or visit our website directly.
Sign up to receive monthly market reports for your building or ask us to do it for you; we’ll get it set up asap.