Realtor Relationships

January 25th, 2017

handshake-trustOk, so this week I had something happen to me that has happened many times to most real estate agents across the country.   Someone I knew and had a good relationship with used another Realtor to buy a house.   A Realtor they do not have a relationship with.  My first reaction is anger.  “How could they?”   They know I’m a Realtor.  They know I’m not new to the business and I’m knowledgeable about real estate.  They KNOW.   It made me mad!   To top it off,  I knew these friends had a house to sell as well, so I would have been party to both sides of that transaction had they used me.

And so I thought about it some more.  They most likely saw a house they liked either online or they drove by.  They probably called the agent who is listed on the sign or property data sheet.   That agent showed the home to them, they liked it a lot and the listing agent asked them if they’d like to write an offer (maybe enticing them to write now with the threat of other pending offers).   The listing agent could have also offered them a discounted commission fee on the sale of their current home if they wrote an offer with them now.  So many variables, but I can see how it most likely went down.

I don’t blame the other Realtor.  They were doing their job.  I don’t blame the home buyers.  I blame ignorance.  Ignorance of the way real estate works.  Most of the population only buy a few houses in their lifetime.  They don’t all know that Realtors only make their money when a property closes.  We don’t have a salary.  We depend on referrals of people we know, hang out with and do business with.  We hope for loyalty.

So on that note, I want to have a teaching moment.

First…if you use the agent listed on the sign, you are not being represented by a Buyer’s Agent.  You are being represented by the Seller’s Agent.  This means that the Seller’s Agent is looking out for the Sellers interest first, before yours.  So they may be fair and helpful to you, but in reality, they are working for the Sellers, not you.  Use a Buyer’s Agent to help you buy a house…someone other than the listing agent.

Second…Keep in mind the people in your sphere of influence who are Realtors. Understand that this (buying and selling of homes) is their livelihood.   As someone who knows you, they will make sure your interests come first, and they will do everything possible to protect you in this transaction.  Please ask them for help first before using a Realtor you don’t know.

It comes down to education.  I guess we, as Realtors, need to do the educating.

Have a great day!

Julie

 

 

2016

December 27th, 2016

This has been a good year with so many milestones for me and our family!

I married Mark Smith in February in a fun celebration with family and friends at the Atlantic Country Club. We felt truly blessed to have so many people there to celebrate our happiness! My name is now Julie Smith, not Julie May…which is taking some time to get used to!

Our Wedding 2016

Our Wedding 2016

Mark’s daughter, Bailey, got married in April to Jeremiah Macke, a great guy who we know makes Bailey truly happy. They planned to have an outdoor wedding in our backyard, but torrential rain and wind moved us indoors to the Community Center here in Atlantic instead. The wedding turned out to be beautiful and sweet despite the rain.

Mark’s incentive trip with Principal Financial this year was to Puerto Rico in April. We took an extra few days to explore Old San Juan on our own, then went on to The El Conquistador Resort for the conference. We absolutely loved this vacation and would go back to Puerto Rico in a heartbeat!

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

We found out in May that my daughter, Jill and her husband, Dexter are expecting their first baby in January! A baby boy! I am beyond excited!

My daughter, Jill!  (34 weeks pregnant)

My daughter, Jill! (34 weeks pregnant)

The summer months were spent boating and motorcycle riding. We boat on the Missouri River out of Omaha/Blair, Nebraska and enjoy our boating friendships. We spent a week in Sturgis, SD at the motorcycle rally in August, which was a lot of fun. Some say we aren’t ‘true’ riders because we trailer the bike up instead of riding all the way there. I say we are WAY more comfortable as we pass riders in the rain or wind while we are in a cozy vehicle!

2016 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

2016 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Nebraska Husker football season started out with a bang, and we were there to tailgate at every home game in Lincoln. Loved having so many friends stop by to spend a day with us, or just have a beer and say ‘hi’. Too bad the Huskers didn’t finish big, but there’s always next year!

Husker Game 2016

Husker Game 2016

My son, Thomas is working in Omaha as the General Manager of Coco Key Water Park.  He’s finding management both challenging and rewarding, but will soon have his student loans paid off and wants to buy a house.  My youngest son, Chris is in his Senior year at Wayne State College in Wayne, NE.  He’ll be graduating in May with a degree in Finance.  He’s also enjoying his last year on the Wayne State baseball team.

In September we were blessed with our first grandchild. Mark’s daughter, Morgan, and her husband, Ryan, welcomed a sweet baby girl named Sawyer James into this world and we couldn’t be happier. We were able to go to Memphis, TN where they live to meet Sawyer early on. Fun to spend time with a baby again!

Meeting Sawyer

Meeting Sawyer

This Christmas we were able to have a lot of family home with us, and we enjoyed the time together. We were also told that Mark’s daughter, Bailey is expecting a baby next year in July!  Three grandchildren within a year! How blessed are we? 🙂

With a year like this past one, how can I NOT be excited for this next year?! Bring on 2017!!

Best wishes to you all…
Julie

What Does It Really Mean To Be “Represented” by a REALTOR®?

January 27th, 2015

Loved this article!  I  hope you do too!  We, as Realtors, really DO work hard and care about your home purchase or sale.  Have a great week!  Julie

What Does It Really Mean To Be “Represented” By A REALTOR®?

Posted by Andrew Fortune on Monday, January 26th, 2015 at 8:05am.

When I started the home buying process for the first time, my wife and I found a home that we wanted to see fairly early on. We called the number listed and talked to someone who said that they would meet us at the property. This was a Realtor. I had no idea what a Realtor actually did. I just knew that they had the keys to the property and I had to contact them to see it in person. My wife was more familiar with real estate at the time, having had a career in the Title Insurance Industry. She explained to me that a Realtor would “represent” us and help us look at all the homes that we were interested in. I never fully understood what the benefit of being “represented” meant.

What does Having a realtor represent you really mean?

Years later I would decide to get my real estate license and pursue a career in real estate. I soon realized that buying and selling real estate can feel like walking through a mine field as a Realtor. There are 99 problems that can go wrong in a real estate transaction. Good Realtors predict problems ahead of time and take care of them so that they never impact their clients. It’s a part of “representing” people. It’s a unique job that requires strong work ethics and a true heart for our clients.

When a Realtor represents you, it means that they put your interests above their own. They use their knowledge and skills to help you in every way that they can. One of the ways that Realtors help consumers is by simplify the process. If a Realtor told you everything that they do behind the scenes, you would get exhausted listening to them. You would be bored half way through as well. We do a lot of researching, coordinating, communicating, and planning behind the scenes. I spend far more time working behind the scenes for my clients than I do when I when I meet with them. I don’t talk to my clients about everything that I do because it’s not about me. It’s about them, 100%. I want to listen to what they have to say and I only interject when I have useful information that may help them.

A good Realtor will make the home buying and selling process feel easy. They will shield you from the internal drama involved with negotiations, inspections, mortgage issues, title issues, and so on. For this reason, some people do not know how well they are being “represented” because it’s all being taken care of for them. That’s why I wanted to write this article. I want to put the spotlight on “representation” by covering some major benefits that are important to understand. It’s a topic that is at the heart of the client/Realtor relationship.

I understand that not all Realtors do a good job of “representing” their clients. I got into this business after having a few bad Realtor experiences myself. The truth is that there are some wonderful Realtors out there. When I had my bad Realtor experiences, it was because I didn’t do my homework and I just settled for the first Realtor that I met. It a common rookie home buyer mistake. In this article, I am going to focus on the traits and characteristics of a GOOD Realtor. There are plenty of good Realtors in your area. You can use this article as a guide to help you determine how good your Realtor is, if you’re not sure. Are you experiencing these 4 benefits mentioned below?

4 Main Benefits of being represented by a realtor


1.) Being Understood

Being Understood By Your Realtor or Real Estate AgentBeing “represented” by a Realtor means that you
have an advocate who is putting themselves in your shoes. They will listen intently to you. They want as much information about your situation as possible so that they can best help you. Good Realtors are competitious. They will do everything they can to earn your respect and win you over so that you will use them again in the future. Understanding our clients needs and wants is essential for success in this business.

We work hard to understand you and your needs. Each of my home buying and selling clients are different. Some may want to list their house for sale and need advice on staging and adding upgrades to get the best value. Others may be relocating due to military orders and need to find a house in the next 7 days. Everyones situation is different. They all require special attention to make sure that their needs are met and their expectations are exceeded. If your Realtor truly understands you and your situation, you are in good hands!

 


2.) Being Protected

Being Protected By Your RealtorBeing “represented” by a Realtor means that your interests are being protected. If you tell your Realtor that you want a house within a certain price range, they’ll make sure to keep you grounded if you start to venture off looking at higher priced homes. They will also remind you of your main home search criteria points if you start to get distracted by less practical homes. They will protect your information and only communicate details to other 3rd parties as you direct them. They will step in anytime there is a problem and resolve it as you advise, protecting you from direct conflict.

I was recently working with some home buyer clients and we were at a builders office. This builder was being pushy and trying to extract too much information from my clients. I stepped in and asked the builder to submit her questions to me in writing and we would go through and answer them as needed later on. Later, my buyers thanked me for doing that. They said they felt cornered and didn’t know how to respond. Good Realtors dedicate their time to learn about their clients. They are serious about protecting them when any threats or complications arise. This allows our clients to feel empowered and confident in the marketplace.

 


3.) Insider Knowledge

Your Realtor is a Library of Local KnowledgeA good Realtor is an experienced professional with many years of insider knowledge. If you have already bought and sold a home before, then you probably learned a lot about the real estate process. Imagine doing that over 50 times every year. Can you image the amount of knowledge you would acquire with each transaction? This is the benefit of having an experienced Realtor. They have insider knowledge from helping hundreds of home buyers and sellers. Ask as many questions as possible and utilize this resource as much as you can. It’s one of the greatest benefits to hiring a good Realtor.

Many think of “insider knowledge” as knowing which neighborhoods have the lowest crime rates, or which schools are best. This is a common misconception. Realtors are not supposed to comment on their opinions of neighborhoods or schools. It’s considered “steering” by the Federal Fair Housing Act. We can direct you to resources to find all the information that you would need to best answer those questions. Our knowledge of the transaction processes, contract preparation, and local real estate statistics are our most valuable assets to you. Understanding how to put a fair offer together to get the best deal is invaluable. Knowing how to negotiate specific details into a transaction are essential. Helping our clients understand current market statistics and what it means for their situation is much appreciated by consumers.

 


4.) Mediator Leverage

Realtor Negotiating LeverageHaving someone “represent” you means that you can sit back and direct them as you choose during negotiations. It’s much easier to make important real estate decisions when you don’t have to deal with the stress and emotion of delivering the information. This is your negotiating leverage when you have a Realtor representing you. Your Realtor will be delivering all the details as you direct them to, using their experience to gain you the best outcome. They are your personal spokesperson for your negotiations and transaction details.

Realtors will also prepare you for the different scenarios that you might expect from the other party, based on your requests. As a home buyer, it’s easy to get greedy and want the best price possible, along with other items in the property that belong to the sellers. As a seller, it’s easy to give in and accept the first offer that comes out of pure exhaustion form the home selling process. A good Realtor will keep you grounded and help you understand your true negotiating position. They will help you to predict how the other party will respond to your requests. They will also package and deliver your requests in such a way that will yield the highest likelyhood of being accepted. It’s a delicate balance that takes years to perfect. Having the leverage of a good Realtor to mediate your transaction can save you thousands of dollars and some unnecessary lost sleep.

 


Final Thoughts

Realtor “representation” was created because people both needed and wanted the service. It will always be a service that people need, whether they know it, or not. Like many consumers, I did not know that I needed these things when I first worked with a Realtor.  Real estate is a tricky business that requires constant learning, serious dedication, and a true heart for the people we work with. If you are being represented by a Realtor, take notice of the four benefits mentioned above. It will help you to know how to best respond to your Realtor throughout the process. When you know what our job is all about, you can use us to your greatest advantage.

Realtors are people just like you. We are happy beyond description when we have raving clients. We are wounded to the core when our clients do not feel like they are getting the best service. We spend a lot of time thinking about consumer needs and how we can better serve them. We are also consumers ourselves and pay attention to business details everywhere we go. Many of us are pillars of the community, serving on local boards and helping to further our areas. Real estate is the most “local” industry that I can think of. It’s all about our area and our city. Realtors who understand this usually collaborate well with each other and enjoy the challenge of this rewarding career. Hiring a good Realtor to “represent” your interests is the greatest resource you have to achieve your real estate goals.

Mother/Daughter–Parallel lives

June 12th, 2014

It’s uncanny how lives can be so similar at times.  Two people who live in two different states, going through so many of the same things.  My daughter and I both just moved to new houses and new lives in new towns.

10360244_10152160368227844_3007280055751781245_nMy daughter Jill just graduated from Wayne State College in May.  She and her husband (they just got married last June) picked up and moved to Cambridge, Nebraska.  Cambridge is a small town in western Nebraska with a population of about 1000 people.  Jill’s husband, Dexter, took an Industrial Tech teaching position there at the high school.   Jill, an Elementary Ed teacher, will be substituting this year while waiting for an anticipated opening next year in the same school system.    They just got done moving and unpacking into a cute rental house in town, and are meeting new neighbors and friends as they discover their new surroundings.   Jill is also writing a blog about her moving experiences and trials and tribulations of beginning a new life chapter (like mother, like daughter).   Here is the link to her blog: http://improvisethislife.wordpress.com/.

And of course I just moved to Atlantic last September and started blogging my journey through it.  And just a few weeks ago, Mark and I bought a new house here.  We decided that to truly begin this life together as a couple we should make a fresh start and leave the past in the past.   We are making this new house ours and I love it!   So… the past several weeks have been spent packing, moving and now unpacking just like Jill and Dex.  No wonder I haven’t written a blog post in over a month!    A big shout out to the young men who helped us actually move our stuff from one house to another.  Mark lined up about 6 college-aged guys to do the heavy lifting and they worked hard all day.  We are so grateful for their strong backs and hard work!   It’s still a transition and we will be unpacking for the next several weeks I’m sure, but when I get stressed I just look at the view from our deck and it calms me.

backyard

Jill and I also compare some of the small town-isms and new couple-isms that we both notice.  Dexter is also from a small town, like Mark.  We both notice that the men need ‘meat’ in all of their meals.  Jill and I would be completely content to eat mac and cheese for lunch and call it a meal, but both Dex and Mark would want ham, sausage or at least a hot dog with it!    And Jill was surprised that the grocery store in Cambridge said she could put items ‘on credit’ and pay them off later.  That is unheard of in the big cities we are used to!  Mark does the same thing here at the local hardware store.  Crazy to us city girls and wonderful at the same time!  🙂

It’s fun to have someone going through the adjustment of small town life at the same time so we can compare notes and giggle about it together.  It’s great to know that my daughter understands my life changes and adventures as much as I understand hers.  It’s good we have each other.

Julie

Yes, Buyers DO Need to Talk with a Lender

May 13th, 2014

imagesI have had several first-time home buyers call me lately wanting to go look at homes.  Great!  I’ll go show a home, meet the potential buyers, get to know them, discuss what they really want in a new home, and get excited with them about finding a new place to live.  Then I ask them if they’ve talked with a lender.  Most have not.

I know it’s exciting to look at homes.  I know that it’s fun to imagine your furniture in the rooms and think about moving your family to a new place.  But…you have to know what you can afford, and you have to be able to PAY for the house!  And…if you ever want to make an offer on a home, you need a pre-approval letter from a lender accompanying your offer.

I’m not sure why it’s so hard for new potential buyers to make a phone call or two and talk with a lender, but apparently it is.  Maybe they don’t know the questions to ask, or maybe they don’t want to be told that they can’t get pre-approved for a loan.  Getting pre-qualified takes about 20 minutes with a lender.  They’ll ask about your savings, your debts, your employment status and they will run a credit check.  I usually advise talking with at least 2-3 different lenders to compare rates and fees.  I suggest the Buyers call their personal bank, and I’ll recommend a couple of other reputable lenders if they don’t know who to call.  But getting them to make that call or set the appointment to go see the loan officer is like pulling teeth!  Why?

Here is an example of what seems to be happening a lot lately….I showed homes one night and the buyer found one he liked.  I asked him to talk with a lender if he’d like to make an offer as we would need the pre-approval letter if the offer was going to be seriously considered.  He said okay.  A few days later I hadn’t heard from him, so I called and he wanted to look at a few more homes.  I agreed and when we met I asked if he had spoken with a lender.  He had not.  I asked if he was serious about writing an offer on a home when he found ‘the one’.  He assured me he was.   Well, another week went by and he called about seeing a few more homes.  Again I asked if he had seen a loan officer and he had not.  This time I told him that he needed to have that talk, and get pre-qualified, or he was wasting my time and his time, and putting out the home owners who were allowing us to see their homes for showings.  I may have lost a potential buyer, but I’ve come to the conclusion that someone who is serious about buying a home will make the effort needed to get things in place to make it happen.

I can show homes until we’ve seen every house in town, but unless the Buyer can get pre-approved for a mortgage loan, or come up with the cash, we are all just wasting our time.

Get pre-approved, Buyers!!

Julie

Discovering Iowa One Town at a Time

April 11th, 2014

Real estate business is picking up this spring, and I’ve shown several homes to potential buyers. Many of the homes I’m showing are out in the smaller towns in Iowa surrounding Atlantic. I’ve been to Harlan, Irwin, Kimballton and Elk Horn recently. I’ve shown farm houses on small acreages with barns, hog pens, chicken coops and stables. I’ve learned about well water testing, septic system operations and propane heating. Rural life is new to me, and yet so normal and common place to everyone in these small towns. I think some people here get a kick out of my questions, assuming that everyone knows how a farm operates. I’m the ‘city girl’ asking silly questions these days, but I’m learning!

Harlan, Iowa downtown square

Harlan, Iowa downtown square

I DO enjoy seeing the different towns. I think Harlan is a really nice ‘bigger’ small town with a lot going on. They have a quaint town square downtown, but the outskirts are growing and developing with several beautiful housing areas and newer business parks.

Kimballton and Elk Horn are communities with a deep Danish Heritage. Kimballton has a replica of ‘The Little Mermaid’ a statue made famous in the harbor in Copenhagen, Denmark which honors the H.C. Anderson fairytale, “The Little Mermaid”. Elk Horn has a Danish Museum and a real operating Danish Windmill. I sold a house in Elk Horn to a woman moving here from Denver. She fell in love with the feel of the town and the community. I have to admit, I did a bit too!

Danish Windmill, Elk Horn, Iowa

Danish Windmill, Elk Horn, Iowa

The Little Mermaid statue in Kimballton, Iowa

The Little Mermaid statue in Kimballton, Iowa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also noticed that while going to these towns I was driving on the Iowa Western Skies Scenic Byway. I googled it when I got home and discovered that Iowa has several ‘scenic byways’ throughout the state. Here is the link to them: http://www.iowadot.gov/iowasbyways/IowaBywaysTravelGuide.pdf.  Mark and I love to get on the motorcycle and just explore for an afternoon. I’m looking forward to checking out some of these routes and new small towns.

downtown Atlantic, Iowa

downtown Atlantic, Iowa

And of course I am loving Atlantic. I love the beautiful downtown with its many trees and shops, and the recreation areas and the organizations I’ve joined. I have come to know so many wonderful people and have been welcomed into the community with open arms.  This is truly my home now.

Re-Energized!

March 26th, 2014
Early morning from the beach bed....

Early morning from the beach bed….

Everyone needs a little R and R to get the mind and soul back in balance. I did just that last week and now I feel relaxed and re-energized!

We spent the last week in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico. Stayed at an all-inclusive luxurious resort where Mark and I were able to soak up the sun, play in the ocean and truly relax our minds and bodies. We pampered ourselves with massages, wonderful dinners, and fancy cocktails. We loved that our biggest decision was whether to hang out by the beach or the pool.

We met some wonderful people from all over the world and had some amazing conversations and shared meals with them. It’s so interesting to me to realize that everyone is basically the same. Whether young or old, from the US, Canada, Europe or any other country, we still all have the same trials and tribulations with our careers, our children, our families and our emotional health. It humbles me to talk with others and share thoughts, concerns, etc., and know that you are not alone. Across the world, people everywhere are stressing about their jobs, their income, their families.

So we’re back home. Back to the ‘grind’ as they say. But today I feel happy and relaxed and so very blessed for everything I have in my life. It’s time for me to re-focus and build my career here in Iowa, and to feel okay about it if success doesn’t come as quickly as I’d like. I’ll just think about the sand and the sun and the wonderful friends we made and everything will be just fine.

pool side

pool side

Selfie from the beach bed!

Selfie from the beach bed!

View from our bed

View from our bed

The Atlantic Golf and Country Club

March 12th, 2014

atlantic_golf_small Just about two years ago I made my first trip to Atlantic for Mark’s 50th birthday party. He had his party at the Atlantic Golf and Country Club.  Mark has been a member there for about 30 years, give or take a year or two.  He went there as a kid and teenager to swim at the pool.  He took his children to the same pool while they were growing up, and he’s played many rounds of golf on the 18-hole course.  He and his family have enjoyed countless meals and social engagements at the bar and restaurant.  It’s been a place where life time friendships have been built.   And he invited me in.

I met about 100 of his closest friends that night of the party.  These were people he’d grown up with, his high school buddies, his parent’s friends, and his daughter’s friends.  The country club was the meeting place, the glue that bound them all together over the years.

Over the past two years I’ve grown to know many of these people through activities at the club.  I’ve played in a Pitch card tournament.  I’ve played Friday night 2-ball golf.  I’ve watched the golf “Tournament of Champions.”  I’ve had many meals and Friday night get togethers with others in the bar. I’ve become friends with the bartenders and wait staff.  This year I celebrated my own 50-year birthday with several new friends there and I’m going to be golfing on the women’s league on Thursday nights this spring.  They might regret that decision later!

I feel incredibly grateful for the wonderful new friendships I have developed through my association with Mark, his past friendships and the Atlantic Golf and Country Club.  I know they are running some new member specials this year.  I joined as a member with Mark and I’m looking forward to many years of new memories!  Call Sheryl for questions about joining.

The club is located at 102 West 29th Street, Atlantic, Iowa 50022.   The general manager is Sheryl Dusenberry.   Phone number is (712)-243-3656.

Website: http://www.theagcc.com/Home_Page.html

I hope I see you out there!

Julie

Atlantic_Golf_Country_Club_238425 agccinside

 

Snowstorm Reflections

February 20th, 2014

snowsnow3

 

I love the snow!  Yes, I’m really tired of the cold just like everyone else, but this snowstorm is beautiful!  I’m sitting indoors today, warm and cozy in my new home, looking outside and feeling very blessed to have the life I have.

Life is about the choices you make.  I think back on some of the choices I’ve made in my past and how those choices brought me to where I am now.

I chose to take a trip to Europe in high school instead of getting a car and that trip sparked my love of travel and acceptance of cultural differences that has stayed with me throughout my life.

I chose to follow a a man in his military career, moving 6 times in 20 years.  Each time we moved I had to start over, meet new friends, build a comfortable home, take care of my children and be independent while my husband was away with work.  This has led me to be a strong, independent woman who can handle conflict and change when it happens.

I chose to be a stay at home mom even though I am a driven career person.  I was lucky enough to be able to do it financially and  I truly felt it was the right thing to do for my family.  I believe my time spent with them when they were young molded them into the successful young adults they are with independent, driven lives of their own.

I chose to get into Real Estate once my children were all in school, a career that allowed me my independence to be successful or not depending on how hard I was willing to work.  It also allowed me the freedom to travel and set my own hours.  It allowed me to be the driven career person, as well as the parent I wanted to be.

Together, my husband and I chose to move out of the marriage that wasn’t right for either one of us anymore.  We chose to put our children first and not argue or put each other down.  We were both good parents.  We chose to respect that first and to love our children above all else.

I chose to live independently for several years, raising my teen children and enjoying their successes.  I wanted to make it on my own, both financially and emotionally.  There were a few difficult years but in the end it’s about the decision to choose how to handle those difficulties.  It’s up to us to make a change, or a connection or a move.

I chose to move to Iowa for a man.  Yes, I said it.  It sounds cliche’, but in life… love and happiness are powerful things.  Isn’t that what everyone is looking for?

The choices I made in my life shaped who I am today.  They will help me make the choices I’ll need to make in the future. I’m still the driven career woman who is going to do her best to make an impact in this market.  I’m still the mom who will always love her children.  I’m still independent and love to travel.   My choices have made me who I am, where I am… and I don’t regret any of them.

All this from staring out the window at a beautiful snowfall.  🙂

Have a great day.

Juliesnow2

I Can’t Find a Home to Rent!

February 17th, 2014

imagesCAS4ZWL8I’ve been working lately to find a family of 4, two adults, two kids and a small dog, a place to rent here in Atlantic.  I don’t normally handle rentals (A Realtor doesn’t get paid to help someone rent a house), but I know these folks want to buy a house here within the year.   So I have been making phone calls, calling on signs that I see as I drive around town and asking everyone I meet if they know someone who knows of any homes for rent.  I am truly surprised that there isn’t much available!  There are a limited number of apartment buildings in town, and although I didn’t call on the apartments, I have been told that it’s hard to find a vacant one of those as well.  Who is living in all of these rental properties and why aren’t they buying?  I’m just not sure.

So I’m thinking to myself…maybe I should buy some of these homes that have been on the market (for sale) for awhile, and become a landlord myself.  There is obviously a need here for rental homes.  I could create some cash flow to supplement my income!  But…I’m just not sure I want to be a landlord again.  My ex-husband and I took a stab at it in Omaha about 12 years ago and neither one of us cared for the late night phone calls about plumbing or heating issues.  Nor did we care for collecting rent when it wasn’t paid on time, or feeling awful about evicting a tenant with children.  Being a landlord just isn’t a fun job.   No…it’s not for me.  Maybe more people should jump on that bandwagon though.  It’s a lesson of supply and demand.  Supply is low and demand is high, at least here in Atlantic.

I got off track … so back to my clients coming into town wanting to rent a home.  How am I going to find them a home?

There are several homes to purchase in town.    You can buy a house of say $100,000 and have a payment of about $700/month, but you will need money to put down and to use for closing costs, etc.  You also need good credit scores and a solid employment history.  Long gone are the days when anyone could apply for a mortgage loan and get it.   But, you’ll get tax benefits, you’ll have ownership of the home and over time, gain equity.  You can rent that same house for about $700/month or more and never build any equity…basically throwing your money away each month.  But for those who don’t have stellar credit scores or money for a down payment, or for those people who won’t be staying in the area for very long, renting may be the best option.

I don’t have an answer for this family coming to town.   I will try to find them a rental house for the time being.  They may have to stay with friends or family for awhile until something becomes available.  They could borrow from family to put a down payment on a house and buy one of the available homes in Atlantic.  It’ll be a decision I’ll help them through and hopefully they’ll find a great family home.

I would love feedback from anyone on this topic!  Please let me know your thoughts on the rental vs. buying housing market here in Atlantic or any parts of the US!

Julie