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VOL. 44 | NO. 9 | Friday, February 28, 2020

Harnessing the alphabet to negotiate a better deal

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4016 Woodlawn Drive

While the house located at 4016 Westlawn Avenue in the Sylvan Park area is loaded with the amenities, those amenities pale in comparison to the certifications and designations of the Realtor who listed it.

Kevin Wilson of Pilkerton Realtors is the listing agent and the holder of the numerous accreditations.

While many Realtors sit for these courses simply to add the string of mystical letters to the end of their names, Wilson seems to have incorporated his knowledge into his practice.

For the record, Kevin Wilson has earned the following: ABR, AHWD, CNE, CRS, GRI, PSA and SRES. Of those, PSA and AHWD are certifications, and CNE is anyone’s guess, but ABR, CRS, GRI, and SRES are designations meaning they require more work in the classroom and certain number of closed transactions.

Using Multiple Listing Service information as a guide, it becomes obvious which designations may have influenced certain comments.

He priced the home at $819,000 and notes in the remarks that a recent appraisal set the value at $843,000 and the square footage at 3,136. He then added that he was working with the tax assessor’s office to have the tax records reflect the accurate square footage.

The tax assessor’s office often has inaccurate measurements of homes, and buyers and buyers’ agents alike tend to use the tax records for “gotcha” moments in attempts to discredit the listing agents’ and the sellers’ numbers.

Fortunately for this seller, Wilson is a PSA, and that does not mean that he is a Public Service Announcement. Rather, he is a Pricing Strategy Advisor. One unfortunate feature of the Realtor abbreviations is that some are the same as more well-known abbreviations.

When buyers rely on Metro for the accurate reflection of the square footages of homes, they are often surprised by the lack of the veracity of the data.

There are a few reasons the numbers could differ from the actual square footage. One is that the builder who originally built the home delivered a set of plans to Metro for approval and those plans included a certain number of square feet. That number is the figure used in assessing the value of the home.

Many times, during construction, the house grows either by design – adding or enlarging a room – or the contractor who poured the footing made a mistake and the foundation crew laid the foundation on the footing that was poured improperly. Next up, the framers come, and then the house is what is it. Most builders do not self-report the situations.

Often, attics, basements and garages have been converted into living area without the proper permits, so Metro is unaware of the additional footage. Their appraisals are made without entering the homes or measuring the houses.

As Wilson cited, the square footage on 4016 Westlawn was measured to be 3,136. Metro tax records showed 2,695. At $261 per square foot, those 441 feet are worth $115,101.

Wilson described the largest bathroom as an “ensuite bath,” once again incorporating a certification into his work. Perhaps his training that garnered him the AHWD or At Home With Diversity certification came into play in this case. There will be no use of the term “master bath” with Wilson’s training.

His SRES (Senior Residential Specialist) might have been utilized if any of the parties had reached the age of 55.

He listed the property for $819,000 and sold it for $820,000, practicing his Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE) degree. And being a graduate of the Realtor Institute, or GRI, he had the experience to add the closing costs and prepaids items of the buyer of totaling $12,000 to be paid by the seller.

The Certified Residential Specialist is considered the most coveted designation with only 4% of all Realtors achieving it. Armed with CRS and ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) training, Wilson was able to predict the moves of the buyer’s agent. To his credit, Brad Reynolds of Synergy Realty Network was able to hold his own.

It took an offer of more than list price to get the house under contract, and he recouped some of his buyer’s money with the $12,000 in closing costs and prepaids that Wilson was able to negotiate with his sellers.

Wilson’s expertise came into play with his descriptions of the home, especially with his “sand and finished hardwood” musings that explain the floors are not of the laminate variety. Although it is not a term that he coined, the mention of a “soaking tub” excites the excitable and relaxes the stressed.

All of those letters led to a successful transaction.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate broker with Fridrich and Clark Realty and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.

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