April Williams, CBSHOME Real Estate - Boyum Law
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April Williams, CBSHOME Real Estate

In this interview

 

In this interview, I am speaking with April Williams, a residential real estate agent with CBSHOME Real Estate. We are discussing how she helps home buyers and sellers in the Omaha area. April shares her most effective strategies and professional insight in this short and informative interview.

 

Listen to the interview to learn about:

  • The state of the real estate market in Omaha
  • Caveats of house shopping on Zillow
  • The value of hosting an open house
  • The most important reason to hire a real estate agent

 

To contact April Williams, call 402-301-3012 or email april.williams@cbshome.com

To contact Brad Boyum, call 402-991-5410 or click here

Listen to the full interview for more great advice from April.

Download the audio file below:

Interview highlights

 

[0:17] About April’s business

[1:39] Lack of housing inventory in Omaha

[3:32] Setting up automatic MLS (multiple listing service) notifications for clients

[5:44] Time frame between offer and closing

[6:36] Working with sellers: market analysis, marketing plan, and more

[7:35] Determining the value of the property

[9:10] What else a realtor can do for a client

[10:55] Time frame between listing and sale

[11:38] Is an open house worth hosting?

[12:54] Using Zillow vs hiring a realtor

[14:10] Zestimate is higher than the actual value of the house. Why?

[15:23] For sale by owner: worth it or not?

[16:09] Preparing legal documents: who is responsible

[17:30] How to contact April

Interview key points

 

 

Brad Boyum: April, would you please give us a little background?

 

April Williams:

I am a residential realtor helping buyers and sellers in the Omaha area; I can help them to buy or sell their primary residence or an investment property. I do have a lot of expertise with new construction, too.

 

Brad Boyum:

And working with CBSHOME, are you on a team, or are you handling everything on your own?

April Williams:

I am not part of a team, so when clients choose to work with me, they strictly get me to help them throughout the process.

 

Brad Boyum:

You sold about 10 million dollars worth of homes last year. I imagine that keeps you very busy. Talk a little bit about that.

April Williams:

You bet, you bet. Our job is a full-time job. Some days we work fifteen hours a day, and some days we work four. It just depends on who we’re working with, what the market’s doing, and just how many hours it really takes us to get through a day. I did sell just right under 50 houses last year. So in theory, about one home every week, but sometimes I would sell four in a week, and sometimes – four in a month.

 

Brad Boyum:

How would you describe the housing market in Omaha? Good, bad?

April Williams:

The market right now is excellent for sellers. The current Omaha inventory is right at 2,000 listings. That’s every house that’s for sale, from a 5,000-dollar-house up to a 5-million-dollar house. In a normal market, when it’s not swayed between buyers and sellers, we should have about 4,500 houses for sale. Because of this shortage of inventory, the buyers really have to be aggressive and have a realtor working for them, because if they really want to buy something, they have lack of inventory and lots of competition.

 

Brad Boyum:

And what do you think some of the causes are for the lack of houses?

 

April Williams:

A lot of people blame it on millennials not buying, so that’s kind of lowered the listings. However, I think it’s just because there’s so many buyers buying that they just get picked up so quickly; they sell so quickly that we just don’t replenish it enough as what we should.

 

Brad Boyum:

But there’s still builders building new homes, so it’s not like there’s a lack of new homes being built.

 

April Williams:

That’s right; last year there was 2,300 permits that were pulled in Douglas County. So it’s quite a few, but they typically like to see about 3,000. So our new construction has slowed down a little bit, and mostly from what I hear from people, it’s because we have a shortage of labor. So those builders really want to build houses, and people want to build them, but they don’t have the resources or the manpower to actually physically build as many as they’d like to build.

 

Brad Boyum:

As far as someone’s looking for a house, what’s the process? Walk me through the process on the buyer side.

 

April Williams:

Well, I always like to meet with my clients. Sometimes we meet at my office, sometimes we meet at a house that they want to see; it just depends on the situation. But my goal is to find out what exactly they’re looking for, where they want to be, price point, features, those kinds of things. That way, I can set up an automated database search for them so that when new properties do get listed, the clients are aware of it. They will get an automated email with information about the house. The moment a property that matches search criteria gets listed, we both know about it, because in this market, depending on their price point, we have to go right away, the same day, to look at it, because everyone else is looking at it as well. And once they do find something, I also do a market analysis for that specific property so they can see if the property was priced correctly or how aggressive they need to be with their offer.

 

Brad Boyum:

And as far as seeing the house, they call you and you set up an appointment to go actually look at the house?

 

April Williams:

Correct, it just depends on the person; most people text me, some people call me, and of course, some people email me. They just know to get a hold of me however works and we just make a time that works for both of us to get out there to see it as soon as possible.

 

Brad Boyum:

So they see it, they like it, put in an offer. What’s the time frame on putting in an offer to closing?

 

April Williams:

It varies depending on the situation of the house. However, if it’s a new listing, generally, we like to give a seller 24 hours to consider the offer. But depending on the listing, sometimes we give a shorter time frame, because we don’t want other competition to get in there to see it and then they have possible other offers they’re up against. So it does vary situation from situation.

 

Brad Boyum:

So speaking of sellers, walk me through the process on the sell side, please.

 

April Williams:

When I work with people who are thinking about selling, I do a market analysis for them. I pull up comparable listings in their general area that will relate to them to determine value. And then I meet with them, walk through their house with them to give them suggestions on anything that needs to be done to make it more marketable, or just point out things here and there that might just help to position it better in the market. And then we go over the market analysis for their area so they can see what comparable listings are selling for to get to a realistic listing price. Then I also do a full marketing plan for each listing. For each listing, I do different things, depending on my feelings, the price point, and how can I get it out there perfectly for the buyers to see. Ultimately, I help my clients to sell their property quickly.

 

Brad Boyum:

Do people generally have an idea of what they want to sell their house for? Or they leave that completely up to you most of the time?

 

April Williams:

The vast majority of people do their own research before they reach out to a realtor. There are some resources online that’s at their fingertips; not all of it’s correct, so you definitely need to talk to a realtor to get professional advice. Some people strictly leave it up to me; however, it’s good to have a candid conversation about it. Because my opinion on the house, of value, could be different than ten other realtors; we’ll all come in with something different. And what they feel might be different as well, so it’s a work of progress. You’ll list the house and you’ll set a price on it, and ten buyers could have ten different values of the house too, so it is a little bit subjective. However, that’s why you have to look at those comparable sales, because those will be what an appraiser uses to determine the value of the house in the end as well.

 

Brad Boyum:

If someone that you’ve never spoken to before, a potential new client, contact you, what’s your process then? Do you give them some sort of presentation on your services?

 

April Williams:

I have a full binder that I bring with to the meeting that gives all information on why CBSHOME is the best broker in town, what background they can learn about me, what their expectations are of me and my company. And then, of course, what I would do for them with their listing going forward and how I can help them get it sold.

 

Brad Boyum:

And so a huge chunk of what you do for them is the marketing side of things?

 

April Williams:

Yeah, definitely; however, most of my job is counseling people and giving them guidance as to what they can and cannot do and what they should and should not pay for when they get an offer. There’s all sorts of different things with each house that my job is to give advice as well.

 

Brad Boyum:

Do you recommend people surrounding the housing market, if your clients need help fixing the siding, for example?

 

April Williams:

Yeah, yeah, I definitely can … I know lots of people that I can refer, if they have items they need to address before listing or after we do an inspection and they have something that comes up, yeah, definitely; I’m there for them to help them through this part of the process.

Brad Boyum:

Moving forward, how fast does that process move? I realize it’s moving fairly fast in this market, but how quickly is the house listed after they say yes?

 

April Williams:

Everyone’s a little bit different on their time frame. Some people have a whole house they need to declutter and maybe a few repairs to do, some people don’t have very much stuff and can get it listed in the next couple days. So it does vary, but that’s what I’m there for, is to help them through the time frame of what they need to do to get it ready to sell. And once they list it, we work together on listing it correctly with their price that they negotiated and then put it on the market, and then I start with all my marketing. So from there, it’s just constant communication, staying in touch with them to make sure that the process goes smoothly.

 

Brad Boyum:

Are open houses still common?

 

April Williams:

I do suggest it as something to do with my listings. It’s very effective for certain price points, so it depends on what price point they want to sell their house in. It is one of those things where it never hurts to try, plus having a little “Open Sunday” rider on the sign always makes possible buyers very nervous that it’s going to sell to someone else. But in this market that we’re going into, just like we were in last year in 2016, and this is what I would tell all my buyers that are looking too is, “If it’s Thursday and the house just came on the market, we don’t care about an open house on Sunday, because it’s going to sell Thursday, Friday, or Saturday to somebody. Don’t worry about that open house traffic. Worry about those clients that are working with other buyer’s agents that are going to show it to them in the meantime.” So I do say yes, you can use an open house as a tool; however, due to our low inventory, it’s usually not the most effective tool.

 

Brad Boyum:

You had mentioned that both buyers and sellers get information from other places. A common source of such information Zillow. How accurate is that?

 

April Williams:

I think Zillow’s website is a great resource for buyers. It gives a lot of information about school ratings, just facts about the house, the neighborhood, income level in the area. There’s all sorts of information on there that are helpful; they do have their own evaluations which they call their Zestimate. They will have that for every property; however, if you read what the Zestimate means, it’s pretty much what is verifiable. Which the only thing that’s verifiable is our assessor or assessment values, so that value is strictly going off what tax assessments are. Which, as we know, are sometimes inaccurate. Zestimate doesn’t take into consideration whether the house has had improvements. Anyway, when I’m working with buyers, I do always look on there just out of curiosity to see what Zillow values it at.

So I always say, “If the Zillow value is higher than what it’s listed for, that just tells me that the general area of the neighborhood is probably higher than what you’re buying.” So that’s a good thing, but if they have it valued at 150, it definitely does not mean the house is worth 150.

Brad Boyum:

Since I’m an attorney, the contracts are always in the front of my mind, something professional realtors have access to. It doesn’t sound like a lot of work until you have to generate your own documents, but going through the process with someone like you takes care of that. Just curious, who is responsible for   producing the documents: buyer of seller?

 

April Williams:

The buyer’s agent always writes up the documents: prepare the offer and present it to the seller’s agent. If a buyer does not have an agent, they are responsible for handling a legal document. It’s likely that they don’t really know what they’re doing, so that goes back to the advantages of working with me. Also, I know what they can negotiate and ask for. I also know what lenders won’t allow. There are so many rules in place that, if you don’t do this everyday, you wouldn’t know if or if not you could do it. So being represented properly really is essential when you’re a buyer, because the seller’s paying the commission. So if it’s listed, the seller’s paying the commission, so you should make sure that you’re properly represented so that you make sure that you’re not paying too much or that you’re negotiating correctly.

 

Brad Boyum:

And I think that’s a key point. Not everything, but a lot of stuff is negotiable.

 

April Williams:

Oh, everything’s negotiable.

 

Brad Boyum:

… so to have someone there who can do it on your behalf, or to tell you how to do it, I think is beneficial.

 

April Williams:

Right, I would agree.

 

Brad Boyum:

So something you may not even realize is there to be negotiated.

 

April Williams:

Right, exactly.

 

Brad Boyum:

How do potential clients get ahold of you, whether it’s a buyer or seller?

 

April Williams:

My phone number’s (402) 301-3012. They can call me or text me at any time; otherwise, my email is april.williams@cbshome.com. They can reach out to me at any of those places, and I’m always available to help people.

 

Brad Boyum:

Sounds good. I appreciate your time, April.

 

April Williams:

Thanks, Brad.

 

Questions?

 

Thank you for reading and listening. We hope you enjoyed this interview. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us:

To contact April Williams, call 402-301-3012 or email april.williams@cbshome.com.

To find April on the Web: CBSHOME and Facebook

To contact Brad Boyum, call 402-991-5410 or click here