13 Things your Real Estate Agent SHOULD tell you

DSC02956_1

 

I recently read an article in the Readers Digest April 2012 issue that was titled “13 things your Real Estate Agent won’t tell you”  and was shocked by some of the information in it.  The comments came from Real Estate agents in different parts of the country and was for home buyers and sellers.  Here is a summary of what they say agents will not tell you:

 

1. At open houses – most of the people that attend are nosy neighbors and won’t help sell your home

MY COMMENT:  While this is very true in most cases (in fact I actually send invitations to the neighbors!), you never know when one of those neighbors has a relative that would like to live near them and this could be the perfect home.  I always tell my sellers that they probably will not get that many serious buyers at an open house but it never hurts to try.

2.  Air Fresheners are a turn off to a lot of people

MY COMMENT:  This is pretty much common sense and it is something I tell all my sellers when we discuss staging their home.  Many people are very sensitive to air fresheners, perfume, carpet sprays and even candles and incense.  The best thing is to have some fresh baked cookies in the oven!  Who can resist those?

3.  Let buyers in that call at the last minute – they are often the impulse buyers.

MY COMMENT:  Why would you NOT tell your sellers this.  Although I have many sellers that will require a 24 hour notice or even a 1-2 hour notice, I always tell them that buyers may call at the last minute.  They may be in the neighborhood looking at other homes and spot your home and want to see it or they be a buyer that is in town for just the day and does not have 24 hours to  schedule and may need an exception to the rule. It is true that these buyers may be the one that ultimately buy your home and you need to be as flexible as you can when your home is on the market.

4. Don’t be offended by low ball offers.

MY COMMENT: I coach my sellers upfront that they can expect low ball offers almost every time and for them not to take it personally.  This market is almost a guarantee that buyers will shoot for the best deal they can get and they are not afraid to throw out a low ball offer and even an insulting offer to the seller.  The more prepared your seller is, the less impact when it happens.

5. A top producing agent may pass you off to a junior agent after you sign a contract.

MY COMMENT:  I am a one person show so you know exactly who you are going to get every time.  I think I would be a little upset with my agent if I was not told upfront that I would be passed off to someone else but with the formation of Real Estate “Teams”, it is a good question to ask.  If you want to work solely with the agent you hired, make sure you are clear before you sign an agreement.

6.  There may be an “admin fee” to cover brokerage administrative costs hidden in the listing or buyers agreement.

MY COMMENT:  I sit down with each and every client and I go through the agreement line for line so that they understand exactly what is contained in the agreement before they sign.  I also give a copy of the listing agreement or buyers agency agreement to them in advance of our “sit down” so that they have time to read it themselves and have an opportunity to have questions for me on things they need clarified.  Don’t ever just sit down and sign a contract blindly.  You never know what is in the small print.  BTW:  We have no Admin Fees at Exit Home Team Realty!

7.  Don’t skip the final walk-thru

MY COMMENT:  I cannot imagine an agent NOT telling their clients to make sure they attend the final walk through.   Especially in today’s climate.  Many homes are being vandalized and stripped of the HVAC units while vacant or the previous sellers may have left you a big mess that you will have to clean up, or maybe they were supposed to leave the refrigerator and now it is missing.  Once you sign that contract at closing and the deed is recorded – it is very hard to go back and fix things.  ALWAYS do your final walk through with your agent – I provide a great list to my buyers that help them keep track of what they should be watching for.

8. Watch out for sellers agents that will tell you your home is worth more than it actually is just to get the listing.

MY COMMENT:  This is part of the listing agents job to educate the sellers when they go to the listing appointment.  Of course the sellers want to hear that their home will sell for more but my job is to prove to them what the actual numbers are for their market and then show them the damage of sitting on the market for an extended time because the house is overpriced.  I guess the agent doing the overpricing is not going to tell you – BUT I WILL!

9. Houses with no furniture in them do not look larger.

MY COMMENT:  I always tell my sellers that a home will show better if it is staged.  Sellers need to remove everything they are not using at the moment (after all, you have to pack it up eventually) and make the home look as spacious and organized as they can.  I understand that you have to still live in the home but a cluttered home hides the features and an empty one does not show off the best use of space.  Work with your agent to make your home look the bEmma Mae Drive 035est it can before you put it on the market.

10. Clear off countertops in baths and kitchens

MY COMMENT:  Now why would you not tell your sellers this?  The kitchen is one of the biggest selling points in a home and it needs to be pristine. Buyers need  to see the amount of counter space available and they do not need to see your toothbrush!

11.  Check zillow.com for and estimate of values in your area but don’t lock on that number.

MY COMMENT:  The Zestimate is just an average of sales and does not consider the individual home or the features available.  The computer does not have eyes.  Use an appraiser or have your agent do a current Market Analysis of your local market to determine the correct value.  I make sure to tell all potential sellers this information, why hide that?  I would think a seller or buyer would want accurate information.

12. New agents may have relatives or friends as their references.

MY COMMENT:  This one is true and it is probably not likely that a new agent will tell you that they have no references.  We have all been a “newbie” at one time or another and sometimes, that agent may work harder for you than a veteran agent.  Do your homework and if you like the person, give them a shot.  Just make sure they have a mentor or Broker in Charge to help them and make sure everything is correct.

13. I can’t share the economic standing or ethnic background of people in the area or the local crime rate.

MY COMMENT:   You better tell them this if they ask the question!  You are violating Fair Housing laws if you discuss these things with clients but most don’t understand that unless you explain WHY you cannot talk about these things.  Let them know that you can direct them to the resources to find that information on schools, crime stats and ethnic makeup of the area.

 

When I work with buyers or sellers, I am an open book and I am more than happy to pass along all the information I have learned over the years.  Why hide things that could benefit you in the end.  Most of those omissions will come back to bite you in the butt later and I prefer to keep my butt in one piece!  In the end, most professional Real Estate agents WILL tell you what you need to know to buy or sell a home.  So if you are in the market for a home in Statesville NC, look me up…..I have nothing to hide!

First time home buyer in Statesville NC? Here’s a quick summary of the process.

IMG_0281

 

Spring is just around the corner and the weather is warming up in the Statesville NC area!   What a great time to print out a list of homes you like and take a drive by them to see what they really look like and if you like the area surroundings.

I have had lots of calls recently from first time homebuyers that are unfamiliar with the process of buying a home so I thought I would post some helpful tips to get you started.

1. The first step is to talk with a lending institution to review your financial situation and determine what you are able to qualify for.  If you do not have a contact, please email me and I will be happy to send you a list of some very good loan professionals.

2.  Next you want to find a good Real Estate Agent to represent you as your Buyer’s Agent (I am raising my hand).  NEVER, I repeat, NEVER drive around and call off the signs and here is why.  The agent listed on that sign is the Listing agent and they represent the Seller and the sellers interest.  They do not represent you.  They can become a “Dual Agent” and represent both sides but you are still not getting full representation.  Get a buyer’s agent to represent you and only you. That person will help you find homes and can get you into EVERY home listed for sale in the MLS, they will get you all the information you need and work to get you the best deal.

3. Start searching for homes!  Your agent will sit down with you and help determine what type of home will fit your needs based on what you tell them in your initial consultation.  They will set up a personalized search for you and will look everywhere to find the home of your dreams.  When can also search the internet on your own to find homes that you may like.  I would suggest printing out several homes and get a list from you agent and then take a day and drive by those listings to see if you like the neighborhood or location.  You will find you will throw out lots of homes you thought “looked good”.   Your objective is to find 3-5 homes that fit your needs and then take a good look at all they have to offer, preview the homes one or two times and narrow it down to the perfect one.

4.  Make an offer.  Your realtor will help you determine a fair offer price based on recent sales in the area.  You will draw up an offer to purchase and present it to the Listing agent for consideration by the seller.  Please note that you will need money for Down payment (depending on the type of loan you have), appraisal, credit report, earnest money and/or due diligence fee, inspections and closing costs.

5.  Once your offer is accepted, you will need to have inspections done on the home to make sure it is in good condition and there are no hidden surprises.  You will need a good Home Inspection, Pest Inspection and possibly Radon, mold and water tests.  You may also need a survey done.  Hire experienced contractors and ask your agent for recommendations.  Here is a list of professionals I use.

6.  If everything checks out with the home, you are headed into the home stretch – The closing. Your realtor will work with your lender to make sure all the paperwork get to the closing attorney you selected.  Your attorney will run a title report to be sure the property is free of liens and judgments and will prepare a settlement statement of final closing costs.  This form will tell you how much, if any, funds you will need to close on the home.  You will meet at the attorney’s office (or other agreed upon place) and close on your new home.  Once the deed is recorded, you get your keys!

This is just a quick summary of the entire home buying process but beware that there are lots of other things involved in purchasing a home and you need an experience professional by your side.  Do not go it alone, it will only cost you in the end.  The biggest piece of advice I can give you in this market is to have lots of PATIENCE, especially if you choose to purchase a distressed home.  There are lots of things that can go wrong and you need to be prepared for that.  Talk to your agent and have a back up option if things don’t work out on your first choice.

 

Here is a link to a webinar for First Time Homebuyers presented by Tami Bonnell, the president of Exit’s North American Operations.

Happy House Hunting!

Sonya 🙂

 

Other Helpful Links to home listings:

Bank of America Foreclosure Listings:  Equator  Sign up as a buyer and enter the cities you want to be notified of new listings.

HUD Listings: HUD HOME STORE