Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Real Estate Intervention

Many of today's sellers need a reality check on pricing we all know this, and there has been this sort of eye rolling here-we-go-again attitude among selling agents when they go on listings. However it is a very difficult thing to tell a home owner his biggest investment is not worth what he thinks it is.

Mike Aubrey--who I had the opportunity to speak to--he gave me a very nice referral, yet another perk of being with a global company like Re/Max-- provides a reality check to one "lucky" homeowner each week on HGTV's "Real Estate Intervention."

The popular TV show follows sellers who are either thinking of listing their property or have had their homes on the market without a successful sale. Aubrey, a Hall of Fame and Chairman's Club member with RE/MAX Metropolitan Realty in North Potomac, Md., takes sellers through two comparables – a home that recently sold and one that's still on the market – to show them how their property stacks up to the competition. Then he sits them down for "the talk," which entails a rundown of the numbers and his suggestion for pricing.

Most of the time, the truth hurts.

"Sellers can get extremely upset or offended when I tell them my opinion on what their house is worth given the market conditions," says Aubrey, who remains remarkably patient with difficult sellers in several of the episodes (much more than I would). "Part of this business is telling people things they don't want to hear, but you can't get emotional about it. You have to control the situation and trust your work and the numbers. Having their best interest at heart means being honest."

Aubrey's straight-talking and frank manner has made the show a fan favorite; he gets thousands of letters and e-mails from agents and Broker/Owners who say they watch the show religiously. Some even make it required viewing during sales meetings. After speaking with him, and seeing a few episodes, I took a deep breath, and made a few uncomfortable phone calls. The one thing that he said to me that stuck, is "trust your numbers." Now here in rural Sullivan County, finding valid solid comps can be more challenging. But it is doable.

While it's not much different from what he does with his clients everyday, Aubrey says that the opportunity to show sellers a recently sold comp offers a unique angle to the discussion – something he wouldn't normally get to show his actual clients.

Aubrey got the gig after appearing in a few episodes of HGTV's "Get It Sold" and "House Hunters." But he doesn't consider himself a TV star by any stretch.

"I'm a guy who sells real estate that happens to be on TV – and not the other way around," says Aubrey, who works full-time with his team serving buyers and sellers in the Washington D.C. metro area. "I originally declined the offer to do this show because the filming would've interfered with my business, but they came back to me and offered me a shooting schedule I could live with.

"It's a lot of fun, but it's hard work; I put in 95-hour workweeks between selling homes and taping."

Having his own real estate show has opened up countless avenues for Aubrey to promote his business. He has appeared on the Today show, which invited him back on July 11 (7 a.m.-9 a.m. ET) to discuss online real estate resources for buyers.

Aubrey's real estate anecdotes have been included in The Washington Post and The New York Times, and he has appeared on news commentary programming and talk shows such as "Fox & Friends," and "Rachel Ray."

"One of the great things about doing 'Real Estate Intervention' is that I get to showcase the great work real estate agents are doing across country – especially right now," Aubrey says. "It's a big responsibility to be in a venue where I'm essentially representing all Realtors. So I make sure to do my homework and do the profession proud."

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