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Monthly Archives: April 2014

It’s not every day …

This has been a beautiful Easter Sunday in Southwest Georgia, as we natives call our part of the state. I hope that wherever you happened to be today, you found peace and hope.

This blog entry is about a house. It’s one that I listed for sale earlier this year located in Ellaville, Georgia. Ellaville is the county seat of Schley County, Georgia, one of Georgia’s 159 counties, and one of its smaller ones. It’s where I’m from originally, and it’s near and dear to my heart.

The house is at the corner of College and Broad streets in Ellaville. Students of local history believe it was built in 1860. That being so, it is an antebellum house, that is, built before the U.S. Civil War. It has that look about it with its wrap-around porch, its high-pitched roof, and its five chimneys.

The most distinguishing thing about the house, however, is not physical but historical. It was the home of Charles Frederick Crisp (January 29, 1845-October 23, 1896). Crisp represented Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District and was the 37th speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

He served as speaker during the 52nd and 53rd Congresses beginning December 8, 1891 and concluding March 4, 1895. He died the following year, and is buried in Americus, Georgia.

Crisp was one of three Georgians who have served as speaker, the other two being Howell Cobb, who preceded Crisp, and Newt Gingrich, a living speaker and former presidential candidate.

Photos of the house can be found on several websites including http://americusgarealestate.net and http://clientrealty.net.

“Worth” vs. “value”

On this chilly, rainy day in southwestern Georgia, a blogger may welcome time to stay in and write something. I’m currently representing a seller who is negotiating with a possible buyer on the purchase and sale of a nice property. The situation does not look promising, however, because the two parties are so far apart on the price.

One party may think in terms of the property’s “worth” while the other thinks in terms of its “value.” In many cases, this difference is based on emotion more than on facts. “Worth,” it seems to me, is more subjective, “value,” more objective. Let’s say, for example, that I want to sell my house. I may be motivated by its perceived worth to me as I reflect about my financial investment in the house, my “sweat equity,” improvements I’ve made to it, and my fond memories of it as my home.

But its worth to me is not the same as its value on the market. We Realtors estimate a property’s market value based on the selling prices of comparable properties. We research the sale prices of properties with basic similarities to the subject property in recent months in our area. After factoring in pluses and minuses for features of the properties that will make them more comparable in value, we arrive at a figure that we regard as a fair market value for the subject property. 

As you can imagine, this market value is often less than the worth of the property to the owner. In many cases the owner will choose an asking price between the worth attached to the property and the value suggested by the sales of comparable properties. This is about the best we can hope for as a starting point.

Bear in mind when putting your property on the market: Your real estate agent is on your side and, like you, wants to get the best sales price possible. But the agent’s primary duty is to help you get your property sold, and he or she knows that the market, more than our personal perceptions of worth, will determine the outcome of our joint efforts. We must let the market speak to us, and heed what it says.                

Suits me to just stay in today.

Did you enjoy our recent spring? Just when it seemed we could start wearing our shorts and summer shirts, it’s cold again. A cold front is pushing the rain clouds out of the way. It’s windy, and we’re headed for a clear and cold night. It may get down to 38 degrees. This is in the southern part of Georgia, mind you, in mid-April.

One of my cousins turned me on to a nifty weather website. Wunderground.com. Have you checked it out? You can localize the page for Americus, Plains. Ellaville or wherever. The site includes local residents who report temperatures and other conditions from their locations. You can see daily or hourly changes and forecasts for your town.

You may know, I’m a real estate broker. Currently I’m the listing agent for a certain house, and another broker is working with a buyer for the property. The buyer made a particularly low offer. The seller countered back at a much higher figure. Now we’re waiting to hear back from the buyer. At this point the two parties are so far apart that I have no hopes that they will get together, but miracles happen.

The Farm Credit mortgage financing people invited a large number of their friends to a seafood dinner the other day. It was their way of thanking us for sending them business. The dinner was held at Bison Valley Lodge on Tallent Store Road. What a great place that is for dinners, wedding receptions, reunions, conferences, and various gatherings.

Thanks to Farm Credit for a very good dinner, and to Bison Valley Lodge for a great place to have one.

Remember, you can use this blog to tell people about real estate you’re looking for or would like to sell. See the “About” page.

Real Estate Questions and Answers

Q: Your sign said Home Warranty, so why didn’t you give me one when I bought the house?

A: You were not my customer. You didn’t use me as your agent; you used another agent to buy the house. I give a home warranty or a Lowe’s card valued at $400 to buyers of my listings who use me as their agent.

If you prefer to use another agent to submit your offer to buy one of my listings, that’s fine, but you miss out on the home warranty or the Lowe’s card.

When you’re my customer as a buyer you also help the seller because I then reduce the commission to 4% of the selling price. So you get a home warranty or a Lowe’s card, and the seller gets a reduced fee for my services. We all win.

When you’re my customer I don’t have to split the commission 50-50 with another company. Therefore, I can work for less and still give both buyer and seller full service.

How can I afford to do this? It’s because of my low operating costs. I don’t maintain an office, which is a big expense for a real estate company. By working from my home I have no additional costs for utilities, maintenance, insurance, property taxes, extra furniture or employees.

Real estate transactions today are done electronically to a large extent. These transactions do not require a separate office. I have the electronic equipment needed to conduct a real estate brokerage business from my home.

An office with nice furniture may be impressive, but someone has to pay for everything. Guess who. The seller pays a sales commission – a fee for services – that covers the broker’s operating costs.

At the same time, think about this: Where does the seller get the money to pay the broker? He gets it from the buyer. As the buyer, wouldn’t you rather help the seller pay a lower fee while you receive a home warranty or Lowe’s card?

Michael Dixon Realty voluntarily offers to give sellers a break on their commission and buyers a home warranty or a Lowe’s card when they are my customers. It’s my way of saying “Thank you” for your business.