The Massachusetts Real Estate Center - Frequently Asked Question file
These are some actual questions received from end users. If you don't see yours here, please ask and I'll add it to the list.
Q. Who designed your website?
A. I designed the entire site myself, and maintain all domains using Microsoft Front Page 2000. In cases where Front Page is inadequate, I have written and edited the raw html code to suit the requirements of the site. The site has been in existence since late 1996. At the onset, most of my colleagues thought I was nuts for thinking people would ever actually use the Internet. They've since come around... although now they have countless other reasons why they think I'm crazy.
Q. Do you design sites for other people?
A. On a limited basis I do design, consulting, and search engine optimization work for other people as a hobby. My standard fee is payable in Legal Seafoods Gift Certificates.
Q. You sell 100+ houses a year, design websites, run a relocation company, and have three kids... Do you ever sleep?
Q. In reading over some of the material on your site, you seem awfully full of yourself. Could you be more humble?
A. I'm very humble and insecure where everything other than real estate is concerned. When it comes to Relocation and Real Estate, I am one of the Top 30 Agents in the World and I'm very proud of it. I've tried in the past to pretend I wasn't proud of my accomplishments, and it just doesn't come through as sincere. When in doubt, I'd rather be honest. But I'm a really sweet person and would do anything for my clients...which is why they keep coming back.
Q. What areas of the state do you cover?
A. I routinely handle the towns along the Mass Pike/Route 9 corridor, from Worcester as far east as Wellesley. North and South along Route 495, as far up as the Bolton area, and South to Franklin. While I thoroughly cover those areas, my main focus on a "daily basis" are the towns of Eastern Worcester County and Western Middlesex - from Hopkinton, Southboro, and Marlboro, west to Holden, Worcester, and Grafton.
Q. Do you have recommendations for agents in other areas?
A. Absolutely. Over the years I've built a large network of top agents throughout the state. If you're buying or selling in an area I don't cover, I'll happily refer you to a superstar in your area.
Q. I requested a Cost of Living report but I never received it. Why?
A. We receive many Cost of living report requests, answer each complete request. Unfortunately, a lot of people fill in the report request forms with inconsistent or incomplete information. The reports are designed to compare the cost of living in Town X versus the cost of living in Town Y. I cannot respond to requests in which under the question "Where are you moving?" the response is "Somewhere in the North East United States!" It just doesn't make any sense. I also have a tendency to put requests for information on areas I don't cover at the bottom of my "things to do" pile, planning to get to them at some point.
Q. How often is the site updated?
A. I update the site daily, although I can't possibly update every page, every day. Occasionally, people come into the site through a back door via an old outdated page. If that happens, they need to just make their way back to the home page and start there. There should be a link for that on the bottom of every page.
Q. On your "Hot Listings" page, a lot of the homes say that they sold 6 months ago. Why are they still there?
A. As the paragraph on the top of that page says, I leave the homes there so you'll have a reference point to look at what general homes and prices in our area might be. I do, however, clearly mark the Sold properties as being, in fact Sold, so that nobody can accuse me of "bait and switch" behavior. I hate when people do that.
Q. I'm selling my house By Owner. Can I advertise it on your site?
Q. I really like what you're saying and want to work with you, but I'm relocating with my company and they told me I have to use this agent at Real Estate Company X. How do I get to use you instead?
A. you may want to read through some of the Corporate Relocation articles at http://www.stevelevine.com/ercarticles.htm. It's actually a very common situation. In most cases, the "company" you're going to work for really couldn't care less. Typically, they've outsourced your relocation to a "Third Party Company" and it's the representative from the Third Party company that is trying to tell you that you "have to" use a particular company in order to "ensure you get your relocation benefits." In reality, what they're trying to do is glean a "referral fee" by sending you to a specific agent out here. We deal with this every day, and in 13 years I've never seen anyone jeopardize their relocation benefits yet. It's usually just a scare tactic. Your company just wants you to get the move over with and get to work...they don't get involved in the politics of the move. We deal with these case by case, but don't lose any sleep over it.
Q. We haven't sold our existing home yet, can we make an offer on a house up there?
A. You can try, but contingent offers are typically not accepted here. We may want to explore ways in which we can remove your contingency in order to get the offer accepted.
Q. I'm working with 3 or 4 other agents. Can I work with you too?
A. No. I only work with people who will commit to work exclusively with me. My time is too valuable to waste. The only exception is when people are looking in "My Area" as well as a different area of the state that I don't cover.
Q. Can you tell me about the new listings before they hit the market?
A. If you're really nice to me. We do not condone the "pocketing" of listings, in which a listing is not placed in MLS within 48 hours after the listing agreement is signed. On the other hand, I often know what's coming on the market a few weeks prior to their actual "list date."
Q. I want to build a new house. Everyone says that New Construction isn't "negotiable." Is that true?
A. No. Everything in life is negotiable. Some negotiations are more profitable that others. With the volume of business I do out here, there are many neighborhoods in which I've sold 50%-75% of all of the homes a particular builder has constructed. This creates a "mutually beneficial" arrangement, and while I don't always get my way, they usually will give my clients the benefit of the doubt where they can. Certainly, it would be logical to assume they want me to continue bringing them Buyers in the future.
Q. Do you do "Buyer Agency?"
A. Yes. When I work with a Buyer, I will typically represent them as a Buyers agent or a Disclosed Dual Agent. You can read more about that on the home page Buyer Agency link. In such cases, I do not require a "binding contract" with them. Additionally, my fees are paid by the "Seller" of the home, so there is typically no additional cost involved.
Q. Can you get me a better deal on a home?
A. I can sure try! I can guarantee this though..... I sell over 100 homes a year, and am ranked as one of the Top Agents in the State. I certainly couldn't get you a "worse deal" than an agent who sells 5 houses a year!
Q. What's the best way to reach you?
A. E-mail works great. I usually check it every 15 minutes or so. You can also call me day or night at (508) 845-HOME <4663> if you need a question answered quickly.
More questions to undoubtedly follow........
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