Posts Tagged ‘home buying’

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

Tuesday, 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.

Home Inspections give Sense of Security

Monday, June 14th, 2010

When buying a home, an inspection is a critical step when deciding if a home is right for you. A home inspection will give you a sense of security by knowing exactly what you are getting in a home, both good and bad. This is not to say that, as the buyer, you should complain about the pink fuzzy wall paper in the master bathroom or the orange shag carpet. The issues looked for in an inspection include those that are health and safety concerns, or major repairs.

Home inspections require a professional – not your best friend who once re-did their kitchen. I would recommend an ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) certified inspector to do the job. They’ve gone through training and have to adhere to specific guidelines when performing home inspections.

Here is a short list of things that are of high importance when inspecting a home –

Roof and attic – construction, structure and gutters

Furnace and Air Conditioner units – age, condition, lifespan expectancy

Structural – construction of walls, ceiling and foundation

Plumbing – drainage, waste and vent pipes and water heater

Electrical – main panel, circuit breaker and types of wiring

Appliances – dishwasher, smoke detectors and garbage disposal

Again, this is a brief list and a home inspector would know all the specifics and details of what needs to be looked over. The best idea for a buyer is to hire their own home inspector and have the inspection done within a few days of an accepted offer on a house. If safety issues arise, or major repairs are needed, the buyer can ask the seller to make the repairs, or the buyer and seller can negotiate the cost of repairs together.

It’s important to remember that no home is perfect and each buyer and seller should expect to have to repair something when purchasing a home. Buyers can also ask sellers for a home warranty to ensure that any major issues will be taken care of, at least for a short period of time.

So even for you do-it-yourselfers, a professional home inspection is highly encouraged when purchasing a home. A home shouldn’t be an impulse buy and should be handled by taking each necessary step to ensure a quality and comfortable purchase.

The Reality of Realtors’ Commissions

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Many people have been asking me lately how a Realtor is paid, and I’ve learned there are a lot of misconceptions. People think all Realtors are rolling in the dough; because after selling, $150, $200, $300 homes they should be, right?

Wrong.

Commission for Realtors varies, everything is negotiable and they take on all of their own expenses. So let’s look at a basic and rough breakdown of the commission for most Realtors.

Take a commission of 7-percent on a $200,000 home, which would be $14,000.

That $14,000 paid by the seller is then split between the Selling Brokerage and the Buyer’s Brokerage.

Each $7000 is further split down to pay franchise fees (Prudential, ReMax, etc.) – about 7-percent on average.

Then, that $6510 is further split down between the Brokerage and the real estate agent – a percentage agreed upon at the time of hire – say a 75-25 percent split with 75 percent going to the agent and 25 percent staying in house at the brokerage.

At the end of the day, this leaves the Realtor with $4883 to take home.

Like I said earlier – everything is negotiable for a Realtor. The fore-mentioned 7-percent commission is variable, the seller’s and buyer’s brokerage do not normally have a 50-50 split and the end result does not consider the cost of open houses, fliers, signs and advertising that go into the sale of a home.

It is often a misconception that a home sold by an unrepresented seller (For Sale By Owner) will be less expensive and the entire sale will make the seller more money in the end. Often, for sale by owner properties are valued above market value and will not sell at all.

A Realtor values the property at a fair market value and does not raise the price based upon the fact that they need to incur commission, so a buyer will not pay more than the home is worth. In fact, every lender requires an appraisal in order to get a loan, and if the home appraises for less than the purchase price, the buyer can go back to the seller and demand the appraised value.

Each Realtor is an independent contractor and gets paid only when they close on a property. That commission check is a gross payment, before taxes. Independent Contractors pay quarterly taxes on their own to the IRS. This, on top of office fees, MLS fees, Board of Realtor fees, continuing education classes, vehicle expenses and errors and omissions insurance can add up to a big chunk of money directly out of a Realtor’s pocket.

So sure it SOUNDS like we make a lot of money, but at the end of the day after business expenses, taxes and splits with our brokers, we work hard for our money just like everyone else.

Building Good Credit – Back to the Basics with Simple Do’s and Don’ts

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Building good credit is something that should be taught at an early age – maybe in school along side Home Ec as a basic life-skill. Credit rating has become a hot topic due to the economic downturn, since a good rating is few and far between these days and a bad one can haunt you in all life’s larger decisions – like applying for a mortgage loan.

So, let’s take credit ratings back to the basics with simple do’s and don’ts.

Do pay off your credit card balance – No lender can look past hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. Keep your credit card balances under 30 percent of your approved credit level.

Do pay all your bills on time – This seems simple, but is one of the most effective ways to insure a good credit score.

Do understand that it is never too late to improve your score – It is never too late to turn things around. Start paying your bills on time and don’t overspend.

Do establish various types of credit – This does not mean to go buy a Mercedes because you need to build credit, or to apply for Target, Younkers, Dillards, Macy’s and JCPenny credit cards. Instead, think about ways you can build your credit – like getting a small furniture loan instead of paying cash up front. Some places even offer no interest for two years. And if you pay it off in time you’ve built credit and didn’t pay any interest!

Don’t make any big purchases if you are planning to buy a house – i.e., car, furniture, etc. – until you’ve closed on the house, because credit is checked again the day before closing. You could be denied the loan.

Don’t strictly pay the minimum balance of your credit card bill every month – Making only the minimum payment each month increases the amount of time it will take to pay off your debt and the amount of interest you will pay.

Don’t cancel your credit cards – Frequent closing and opening of accounts may decrease your credit score.

Don’t completely skip a payment – Being a few days late with a payment isn’t too bad, but skipping a payment all together is detrimental to your credit score. Don’t be lazy, just pay your bill.

Don’t bounce checks – Though your overdraft may not show up on your credit report, most banks have their own system to track customers with bad finance habits.

These may be things you did or did not know before, however, it’s never bad to review the basics. For those who can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel – it is never too late to begin turning your credit rating around.

Buying a home starts with gaining good credit so you will be approved for a mortgage loan. So whether you have bad credit or no credit just follow the basic rules and you’ll be on your way to financial success!