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Tuesday, June 14, 2011




The average home listed by a real estate agent sold for $211,000 in 2008, compared with just $153,000 for a “for sale by owner” listing. SOURCE: 2008 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Use a professional

AN EXPERT KNOWS WHAT IT TAKES TO SELL YOUR HOUSE In today’s economy, people are trying to save money wherever they can. Whether bringing a sack lunch to work, cutting back on your daily latte, or shopping at discount stores, it makes sense to be frugal. When it comes to selling your home, though, trying to cut corners could potentially turn into a huge mistake. For some people, it may be tempting to try to avoid paying a real estate agent’s commission by listing your home yourself. How hard could it be to put a sign in the yard or an ad in the newspaper, after all? If only it were that simple. In reality, selling a home requires a lot more experience and sophistication than most home owners are able to provide on their own. Many people who try to sell their own home end up getting a lower price and taking a longer time to close because they don’t have the help of a good agent. There’s a reason homes listed by real estate agents fetch higher prices than their

“for sale by owner” counterparts. It has nothing to do with the sign in the yard, and everything to do with a sales professional’s connections and experience. When you list your home with an agent, you’re not just getting someone to advertise your home. You’re also getting an expert on the local real estate market, someone who can give you straight advice about how to price your home and present it in a way that gets top

dollar at the closing table. Even more, you’re getting someone with a whole network of co-workers in the real estate industry. When you hire an agent, you’re in essence hiring all the people they interact with — other real estate professionals, service providers and advertising outlets — and you can get good, honest advice about other companies that you might need to hire to get your house sold.

It’s the connections an agent has that often get the deal done, not just them personally. That’s why it’s important to pick the right agent to list your home, someone with more insider knowledge and a good rapport with other agents who can find the perfect buyer. Doing otherwise could mean you settle for a lower price or keep your home on the market far longer than necessary.




For sale by owner” houses only accounted for 13 percent of home sales in 2008. The vast majority of homes are sold successfully by real estate agents. SOURCE: 2008 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Don’t risk a nightmare


yourself a headache, try reading -- and fully understanding -all the paperwork involved with selling a home.

reason to find a good real estate agent to sell your home. If you assume you can do all the work on your own, you might be putting yourself at risk by not using the right forms, using the wrong wording in the sales contract, or not filling out the paperwork correctly. Professional real estate agents are in the perfect position to help you navigate

For many people, the sale of their house is the most complex legal procedure they will face in their lifetime. There are disclosures required by the state and federal government, papers that must be properly filled out to protect yourself, and a complete contract that must be written to stand up to any potential problems down the road. It’s not easy. That’s another

the process. Since they deal with real estate transactions all the time — that’s their profession, after all — an experienced agent has seen all kinds of problems that you need to watch out for, and they can steer you toward the safest, most updo-date methods for selling a home in your state. For example, some states — Turn to Page 4

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Don’t risk a nightmare

— Continued from Page 3

frequently change the types of forms required in real estate transactions. Even if it’s a minor change, using the wrong form — or filling it out in the wrong way — can lead to big problems down the road. There are also requirements for what information must be disclosed to the buyers before they purchase the house. If you don’t give the buyers the correct disclosures, such as information about mold, lead paint or flooding, you could be setting yourself up for a lawsuit years in the future. You need to consider all the other aspects of selling a home, too, such as getting

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title insurance and having the deed recorded properly at the courthouse. Unless you work in real estate, you probably haven’t had to do those things before, and an agent can help the process run problem-free so that your only concern is what size the check will be when you get to the closing table. Selling your home doesn’t have to be a risky process. If you want to rest easy during the sales process, and also for years afterward, consider using an agent to make sure you get all the details right for selling your specific house in your specific location.

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In 2008, professional REALTORS® spent around $1,200 on technology for real estate purposes, and 84 percent of REALTORS® used social media. SOURCE: 2009 REALTOR® Technology Survey and Sellers

Taking on tech

AGENTS USE SPECIALIZED SYSTEMS TO SELL HOMES QUICKLY They’re just three letters, but when it comes to selling your home, they can make all the difference: MLS. The MLS, or Multiple Listing Service, is based around a very simple idea. Real estate agents compare notes on the properties they have for sale and help one another sell other agents’ homes, working together as a team to sell houses rather than strictly competing on an individual level. The result is a system that helps agents and other real estate professionals sell homes more

efficiently. When agents are looking for a good property for potential homebuyers, they usually don’t scour real estate listings in the newspaper and ask all their agent friends. They consult the MLS first. And most importantly, it’s generally only available for professional real estate agents. Most MLS systems are run by private organizations, often the local REALTORS® association, and as such they only allow listings from registered members. If you want to post a “for sale by owner” — Turn to page 5

Taking on tech




home on the MLS — which is where it will get the most exposure — then you should talk to a real estate agent about it. Chances are you won’t be able to take advantage of this powerful system unless you list with a local agent. Your local or regional MLS system has some hightech advantages that make your home easier for potential buyers to find on their own, too. Some parts of the MLS, such as basic listing information, is often available to the general public online. Home buyers can search the MLS for exactly what they’re looking for, then contact the listing agent to get more details. If you try to sell your home “by owner,” you could be

which is especially important because most home buyers start their search online these days. In 2008, the most recent year for which data was available, 84 percent of REALTORS® used social media such as Facebook and Twitter to sell homes. Also, only REALTORS® have access to post listings on

missing out. Thinking they can get help from professional real estate agents without paying a full commission, some sellers try “for sale by owner” listings that offer the selling agent a percentage of the purchase price. But be warned: Agents aren’t nearly as likely to find out about your offer if it’s not listed in the MLS, which is the tool they use most often. Another advantage of the MLS is that some information from it is automatically distributed to other Web sites, too, expanding the scope of your listing without having to do any extra work or pay any extra money. In addition to the MLS, agents have other high-tech tools to help sell your home,

America’s most popular real estate Web site,, which is run by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. If you want your online ad to get the very most exposure possible, a professional is the person best equipped to make that happen.


— Continued from Page 4

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The sheer size of the echo-boom generation — the children of the baby boomers — indicates strong household growth in the years ahead, which is going to create more demand for housing.

They know the market Source: State of the Nation’s Housing 2009 (Harvard University)

REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS CAN SHOW YOUR HOME TO ALL TYPES OF BUYERS One of the most important aspects of selling a home is setting the price. Unfortunately for most home owners, that’s not an easy thing to do. Many people assume their home is worth more than it actually is. They want to get the very best price — which is totally understandable — so they tend to set the initial price too high with the hope that they can get a strong offer. After all, they can always come down on the price if it doesn’t generate much interest, right? Actually, that’s one of the biggest mistakes home sellers can make. Most of the interest in your home will occur within the first few weeks — usually just 21 days — and pricing your home a little too high means you’ll miss out on the big rush of buyers that would come for an appropriately priced home. Price it right, and lots of buyers will be interested. Price it too high, and buyers won’t even notice. The problem with home owners deciding the sales price on their own, without any objective input, is that they are already emotionally involved with the home.

They have memories and deep feelings about the home that make them see the sale as something more than a business transaction. That’s why it’s important to have objective, third-party pricing advice from a real estate agent. A skilled agent will not only be able to recommend a good, solid, realistic asking price — something more than a pie-in-the-sky wish — but also the data to back up their rationale. They can look at the latest sales statistics for similar homes in your area to do a “comparative market analysis” that explains why they set the price where they did. Even better, that same indepth market knowledge that lets an agent know the price for a house also helps them sell your home to potential buyers. If they know all the details about what your neighborhood offers, such as big backyards, good schools or specific amenities, then they’ll be able to relay that information to other real estate agents and their clients. They may even have connections to a market you hadn’t considered: real estate investors. Most home owners think

of selling to individuals like themselves, but there is actually a sizable market for homes that are sold to investors. If you’re wanting to sell your home quickly and it could serve as a good rental property, your agent may have connections with people who invest in real

estate. No matter who ends up buying your home, it’s important that you set the right price and put the sales information into all the right circles. And the person best capable of doing that is a qualified, experienced professional.




Nearly half of all “for sale by owner” properties — 45 percent — were not placed on the open market. They were known as “closely held” transactions between people who knew each other in advance, such as friends or relatives.

Save yourself the hassle SOURCE: 2008 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

‘FOR SALE BY OWNER’ COULD MEAN MORE WORK FOR WORSE RESULTS There’s no question that selling your home is a lot of work. Aside from staging your home to leave the best impression with buyers, there’s the complex matter of tying up all the legal and financial loose ends to make sure the deal is completed without a problem. In fact, once you’ve found a buyer to sign the sales contract, that’s just the beginning. Buyers, especially those

who aren’t very experienced in real estate transactions, will likely have a lot of questions about the process. For example, they may find

there’s a minor problem with the title or that the home will require repairs in order to obtain financing. They may ask you to fill out paperwork that you’re not sure about. They might even come to you with awkward questions about the sale, something made more stressful and emotional when there’s not

an objective, third-party buffer to help make the sale go through successfully. That’s when a real estate agent can be especially valuable. Because an agent has experience keeping buyers satisfied and the knowledge to answer their questions, they’re more likely to make — Turn to Page 8

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— Continued from Page 7 the sale get to closing without as much stress. And because they’re not as emotionally wrapped up in your house, they’re better equipped to solve problems with a level head. When buyers tour your home, for example, they’re going to feel a lot more

comfortable if the current owner is not home. They wouldn’t be able to talk freely in your presence about what they like and what they want to change, so using an agent who has experience giving buyers a stress-free tour is important. It’s important for an agent to eliminate stress in your life, too. Home sellers who try “for sale by owner” report they



home listed by a real estate agent sold for $211,000 in 2008, compared with just $153,000 for a “for sale by owner” listing — it’s clear that choosing a qualified, experienced agent makes sense. Get a good professional, and not only will you save yourself a lot of work, but you’ll also be more likely to fetch a higher price and sell your home faster.


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have special challenges that make the process more difficult — such as selling the home within the right time frame, getting the right price and filling out all the right paperwork — so having a professional agent who knows how to navigate these matters can make a big difference. Finally, when you look at the raw numbers — including how the average


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Don't Risk It  
Don't Risk It  

Why using a sales pro can bring you a higher price and a quicker sale.