Dallas TX Area Real Estate and Community News

April 12, 2019

Would an Economic Slowdown Impact Home Values?

Would an Economic Slowdown Impact Home Values?

Don't let fear of an economic slowdown prevent you from buying or selling a home! Let's get together to talk about the changes in the market so you can make the best decision for you and your family.


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March 29, 2019

Take the Stress Out of Home Buying

Buying a home should be fun, not stressful. As you look for your dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.

 

1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with.

 

Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the REALTOR® you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality.

 

 

2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell.

 

If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.

 

 

3. Don’t ask for too many opinions.

 

It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family — the people who will be living in the home.

 

 

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect.

 

If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.

 

 

5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator.

 

Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.

 

 

6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

 

Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself — room size, kitchen, etc. — that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.

 

 

7. Plan ahead.

 

Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

 

 

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget.

 

Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

 

 

9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass.

 

Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.

 

 

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation.

 

While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.

Posted in Buying a Home
March 15, 2019

8 Lesser-Known Fees That Factor Into the True Cost of Home Buying

 

8 Lesser-Known Fees That Factor Into the True Cost of Home Buying

Application fees, appraisal, inspection ... a lot of little costs start to add

up. Here’s how to be prepared.

This article was contributed by financial expert and blogger Mary Beth Storjohann, CFP, author, speaker, and founder of Workable Wealth. She provides financial coaching for individuals and couples in their 20s to 40s across the country, helping them make smart, educated choices with their money.

With your focus on building your down payment fund and figuring out what your mortgage payment will be, it’s easy to overlook some of the smaller fees that come along with a home purchase. Here are eight and what they could cost you.

#1 Home Inspection

A home inspection helps protect you from purchasing a home that could be a lemon. So you don’t want to forgo it. Inspectors will look for signs of structural issues, mold, and leaks; assess the condition of the roof, gutters, water heater, heating and cooling system; and more. Inspections cost between $300 and $500, and whether or not you end

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How Much Do Home Appraisals Cost? 12/18/18, 5(05 PM

up purchasing the property, you still need to pay this fee.

Related: 7 Pros Who May Need to Inspect Your Home and Why #2 Appraisal Fee

This appraisal report goes to your lender to assure it that the property is worth what you’re paying for it. This report worked in our favor a couple of years ago when our home came back appraised for $10,000 less than our bid; the sellers had to reduce their asking price in order to move forward. An appraisal can take about 2 hours and costs between $200 and $425.

#3 Application Fees

Before ever approving you for a loan, the lender is going to run your credit report and charge you an application fee, often lumping the credit report fee in with the application fee. This can run $75 to $300. Be sure to ask for a breakdown of the application fees to understand all costs.

#4 Title Services

These fees cover a title search of the public records for the property you’re buying, notary fees for the person witnessing your signature on documents, government filing fees, and more. These can cost between $150 and $400, and it’s important to get a line item for each cost.

#5 Lender’s Origination Fees

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Your lender will charge you this upfront free for making the mortgage loan. This includes processing the loan application, underwriting the loan (researching whether to approve you), and funding the loan. These fees are quoted as a percentage of the total loan you’re taking out and generally range between 0.5 to 1.5%.

#6 Survey Costs

This report ($150 to $400) confirms the property’s boundaries, outlining its major features and dimensions.

#7 Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

When you put down less than 20% on your new home, the lender requires that you purchase PMI, which is a policy that protects the lender from losing money if you end up in foreclosure. So PMI is a policy that you have to buy to protect the lender from you. PMI rates can vary from 0.3% to 1.5% of your original loan amount annually.

#8 Tax Service Fee

This is the cost (about $50) to ensure that all property tax payments are up to date and that the payments you make are appropriately credited to the right home.

Always ask questions when it comes to understanding the fees you’re paying. If possible, print out documents and go through them with a highlighter to indicate any areas you have concerns about. Discuss them with your lender or real estate agent and determine if you can negotiate any of them down.

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Don’t be afraid to price shop to ensure you’re getting the best value. Just because you’re spending hundreds of thousands on a home doesn’t mean you should be comfortable throwing thousands of dollars at fees.

Related:

How Much Home Can Your Lifestyle Afford?
5 Ways You Didn’t Know You Could Save for a Down Payment

TOPIC Buy & Sell, Buy, First-Time Home Buyer, Expert Home Tips

MARY BETH STORJOHANN

founder of financial planning company Workable Wealth, makes frequent appearances on NBC as a financial expert and is a contributor to major media outlets such as “Forbes” and “U.S. News & World Report.”

Looking to buy or sell a home? Realtor.com

© Copyright 2018
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
®

Posted in Buying a Home
March 1, 2019

Does Moving Up Make Sense?

Does Moving Up Make Sense? 

These questions will help you decide whether you’re ready for a home that’s larger or in a more desirable location. If you answer yes to most of the questions, it’s a sign that you may be ready to move.

 

1. Have you built substantial equity in your current home? Look at your annual mortgage statement or call your lender to find out. Usually, you don’t build up much equity in the first few years of your mortgage, as monthly payments are mostly interest, but if you’ve owned your home for five or more years, you may have significant, unrealized gains.

 

2. Has your income or financial situation improved? If you’re making more money, you may be able to afford higher mortgage payments and cover the costs of moving. 

 

3. Have you outgrown your neighborhood? The neighborhood you pick for your first home might not be the same neighborhood you want to settle down in for good. For example, you may have realized that you’d like to be closer to your job or live in a better school district. 

 

4. Are there reasons why you can’t remodel or add on? Sometimes you can create a bigger home by adding a new room or building up. But if your property isn’t large enough, your municipality doesn’t allow it, or you’re simply not interested in remodeling, then moving to a bigger home may be your best option.

 

5. Are you comfortable moving in the current housing market? If your market is hot, your home may sell quickly and for top dollar, but the home you buy also will be more expensive. If your market is slow, finding a buyer may take longer, but you’ll have more selection and better pricing as you seek your new home.

 

6. Are interest rates attractive? A low rate not only helps you buy a larger home, but also makes it easier to find a buyer.

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
Feb. 22, 2019

What to do if You're Facing a Short Sale

If you're thinking of selling your home, and you expect that the total amount you owe on your mortgage will be greater than the selling price of your home, you may be facing a short sale. A short sale is one where the net proceeds from the sale won't cover your total mortgage obligation and closing costs, and you don't have other sources of money to cover the deficiency. A short sale is different from a foreclosure, which is when your lender takes title of your home through a lengthy legal process and then sells it.

 

1. Consider loan modification first. If you are thinking of selling your home because of financial difficulties and you anticipate a short sale, first contact your lender to see if it has any programs to help you stay in your home. Your lender may agree to a modification such as: Refinancing your loan at a lower interest rate; providing a different payment plan to help you get caught up; or providing a forbearance period if your situation is temporary. When a loan modification still isn’t enough to relieve your financial problems, a short sale could be your best option if:

           Your property is worth less than the total mortgage you owe on it.

           You have a financial hardship, such as a job loss or major medical bills.

           You have contacted your lender and it is willing to entertain a short sale.

 

2. Hire a qualified team. The first step to a short sale is to hire a qualified real estate professional and a real estate attorney who specialize in short sales. Interview at least three candidates for each and look for prior short-sale experience. Short sales have proliferated only in the last few years, so it may be hard to find practitioners who have closed a lot of short sales. You want to work with those who demonstrate a thorough working knowledge of the short-sale process and who won't try to take advantage of your situation or pressure you to do something that isn't in your best interest. A qualified real estate professional can:

           Provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) or broker price opinion (BPO).

           Help you set an appropriate listing price for your home, market the home, and get it sold.

           Put special language in the MLS that indicates your home is a short sale and that lender approval is needed (all MLSs permit, and some now require, that the short-sale status be disclosed to potential buyers).

           Ease the process of working with your lender or lenders.

           Negotiate the contract with the buyers.

           Help you put together the short-sale package to send to your lender (or lenders, if you have more than one mortgage) for approval. You can’t sell your home without your lender and any other lien holders agreeing to the sale and releasing the lien so that the buyers can get clear title.

 

3. Begin gathering documentation before any offers come in. Your lender will give you a list of documents it requires to consider a short sale. The short-sale “package” that accompanies any offer typically must include: 

           A hardship letter detailing your financial situation and why you need the short sale

           A copy of the purchase contract and listing agreement

           Proof of your income and assets

           Copies of your federal income tax returns for the past two years

 

4. Prepare buyers for a lengthy waiting period. Even if you're well organized and have all the documents in place, be prepared for a long process. Waiting for your lender’s review of the short-sale package can take several weeks to months. Some experts say:

           If you have only one mortgage, the review can take about two months.

           With a first and second mortgage with the same lender, the review can take about three months.

           With two or more mortgages with different lenders, it can take four months or longer.

When the bank does respond, it can approve the short sale, make a counteroffer, or deny the short sale. The last two actions can lengthen the process or put you back at square one. (Your real estate attorney and real estate professional, with your authorization, can work your lender’s loss mitigation department on your behalf to prepare the proper documentation and speed the process along.)

 

5. Don't expect a short sale to solve your financial problems. Even if your lender does approve the short sale, it may not be the end of all your financial woes. Here are some things to keep in mind:

           You may be asked by your lender to sign a promissory note agreeing to pay back the amount of your loan not paid off by the short sale. If your financial hardship is permanent and you can’t pay back the balance, talk with your real estate attorney about your options.

           Any amount of your mortgage that is forgiven by your lender is typically considered income, and you may have to pay taxes on that amount. Under a temporary measure passed in 2007, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation Act, homeowners can exclude debt forgiveness on their federal tax returns from income for loans discharged in calendar years 2007 through 2012. Be sure to consult your real estate attorney and your accountant to see whether you qualify.

           Having a portion of your debt forgiven may have an adverse effect on your credit score. However, a short sale will impact your credit score less than foreclosure and bankruptcy.

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
Feb. 15, 2019

Tax Benefits of Home Ownership

The tax deductions you’re eligible to take for mortgage interest and property taxes greatly increase the financial benefits of home ownership. Here’s how it works.

Assume:

$9,877 = Mortgage interest paid (a loan of $150,000 for 30 years, at 7 percent, using year-five interest)

$2,700 = Property taxes (at 1.5 percent on $180,000 assessed value)

______

 

$12,577 = Total deduction

 

Then, multiply your total deduction by your tax rate.

For example, at a 28 percent tax rate: 12,577 x 0.28 = $3,521.56

$3,521.56 = Amount you have lowered your federal income tax (at 28 percent tax rate)

 

Note: Mortgage interest may not be deductible on loans over $1.1 million. In addition, deductions are decreased when total income reaches a certain level.

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 12, 2019

To Rent or Sell Your Vacant Home

To Rent or Sell Your Vacant Home

Have you ever thought whether it would be better to rent or sell a vacant home that you own? Maybe you already have someone renting this house, or you have been considering renting it to tenants, but would that really be the better choice? 

Deciding whether or not to sell or rent your vacant home is an incredibly big decision that requires a lot of thought. Therefore, you should always look at the pros and cons of selling or renting your home. 

The Main Reason to Sell Your Home

Before you can look at the pros and cons of selling your home instead of renting it, it's important to look at the main reason why you should sell your vacant home. 

If the following reason applies to you, then it is best to sell your vacant home as soon as possible. 

The Value of the Neighborhood Has Gone Downstream

If your vacant home is in a neighborhood where the value is sinking, it's best to sell this house and move on as fast as possible. By doing so as quickly as you can, you will get more money than you normally would unless you plan on waiting to see if the value will go back up, which is an extremely bad idea. 

Once the plummet in value has begun, it's hard to know when it will stop, or if it will stop at all. Speaking to a real estate agent who has experience and knowledge about dropping neighborhood value will help you in figuring out what to do. 

If the agent believes that the value is not going to go up anytime soon, or at all, it's best to sell your vacant home as soon as you can. By using a real estate agent to sell your vacant home, the process will go a lot more smoothly when compared to doing it by yourself, especially if you need to sell it within a short period of time. 

An agent will help you and tell you what to do when it comes to preparing the home, like referring you to a plumber or an electrician to have them come in and do a walk-through to ensure everything is in order. They will also give you advice whether or not you should stage the home, or just leave it empty of furniture, if you currently do not have any in there. Your real estate agent will also guide you through the selling price, meeting with potential buyers, going through the negotiation process, and finalizing the sale. 

However, if you would like them to handle the meeting with buyers, negotiations, and closing the deal, you can sit out of these parts completely. 

Although, if you are still unsure whether or not you want to sell or rent your vacant home, or you're willing to take the chance in a neighborhood that is losing some of its value, then the pros and cons below will help you to decide on your final decision. 

The Pros and Cons of Renting Your Vacant Home

As previously stated, if you are still looking to rent your vacant home out to tenants, then the following pros and cons will aid you in your decision.

The Pros of Renting Out

The biggest pro when it comes to renting out your vacant home is that you'll have a second source of income. 

This extra money each month will help you pay for the property taxes, mortgage, and utilities unless you are going to have the tenants paying for utilities each month, which is completely your choice. 

You can increase the value in your vacant home by having some renovations done for your future tenants, which could end up becoming a future investment if you play your cards right. 

For example, finishing the basement and adding a kitchen and a bathroom, if there is not a bathroom in there already. This will turn it into a basement apartment, and increase the home's value for resale. 

By renting out your vacant home, you will successfully avoid squatters, vandals, and thieves. For example, if you own a vacant home and you are barely there, squatters and vandals are going to take notice. Don't be surprised if one day you show up to the house, especially if you are not there for weeks or months at a time, and find a squatter. Therefore, it's best to rent it out, so there is someone living there if you are not planning on selling it. 

You may get lucky and even have a tenant, or tenants, who can help you with maintaining your property when you are unable to. This could be anything from lawn care to plumbing issues.

If you get lucky, a tenant could even become a future buyer for your property. However, this does not tend to happen very much, because people who are renting are generally not going to buy. Although, even if people have the money to do it, they may choose to rent for longer than they need to, to ensure that they have their ideal savings built up. 

The Cons of Renting Out

Unfortunately, there are a lot more cons when it comes to renting out your vacant home than there are pros. For example, you could end up with horrible tenants who do not show their true colors until a rental agreement or contract has already been signed. 

The process of evicting a tenant is a long one, and you must bring sufficient grounds to do so to the right place. In short, it can take months.

Bad tenants are considered tenants who cause damage to your property, are always late on rent payments, or don't pay rent period. This will cause you additional expenses for any repairs that need to be done, and will eliminate all of the benefits of renting out your property to begin with. 

You could always have background checks conducted on each potential tenant, but sometimes this will not show you all you need to know until it's already too late. Another con would be tenants making the home difficult to sell. For example, say you have let your tenant know that you are planning to sell, and that they have to relocate within two months’ time. If they do not have options, they will try to make it as difficult as possible to sell the home.

Whereas if your home were empty, you could easily clean up, get the property ready for the potential buyers, and make any necessary repairs without having to work around your tenant's schedule. 

The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Vacant Home

Deciding whether or not to sell your vacant home definitely takes a lot more thought than renting, the process is longer, but do you feel it will be worth it? After going over the following pros and cons of selling your vacant home, the decision will be much easier to make.

The Pros of Selling

One of the biggest benefits of selling instead of renting is, you guessed it, the money. Even though you would be getting income each month from your tenants, whether it's for rent solely or both rent and utilities, you will also have to spend on repairs, new appliances if anything breaks and anything else that goes wrong. 

This can get incredibly costly, and there's no real way to plan your budget when you do not know what could happen. 

Another large pro is freeing up equity and rolling over so you can apply such funds to your next home, or put all of that money away into your savings. Should your neighborhood drop in value, selling quickly will ensure that you get a fair chunk of cash before the value falls. 

If your home qualifies, you can even get a capital gain that is tax-free, where you would not if you decided to rent the home out. Utilities can be quite expensive, especially if you are not charging your tenants for them, and they receive sky-high utility bills. 

Tenants can be difficult to deal with, especially if you come around saying that they need to use less water and stop keeping all of the lights on. 

It could also start an issue if you, for whatever reason, have to add utilities to their rent, and they make a scene about it. By selling your vacant home, you won't have to deal with tenants or utilities, period!

You will no longer have to worry about squatters, or tenants completely wrecking the place and making the value of the home plummet to the point where you're spending thousands of dollars trying to fix it and make it a home again. Plus, you will save hundreds of dollars per year when it comes to maintenance that you will no longer have to do anymore, which will also help to give you a peace of mind.

If you have already bought another home, you will no longer have to worry about keeping up with two mortgages, which will save you time, money, and a ton of stress. Why yank your hair out over both homes, when you can just sell your vacant one? The answer is simple; just sell it and move on. 

The Cons of Selling

The only major con when it comes to selling your vacant home is that it could be difficult for you emotionally, if you have memories ties to the home. Perhaps you bought a new home and are keeping your old one for whatever personal reasons you may have. 

Another con is the process of selling, but that can be easily be dealt with by taking on an experienced, reputable real estate agent who knows how to sell homes quickly, especially in a declining value neighborhood. 

Though the process may take some extra time, and it can be very stressful, the real estate agent can help you get your home appraised for a selling price, do all of the showings with potential buyers, work with buyers during the negotiation process, and even finalize and close the deal for you once all of the proper documents have been signed. 

Making the Best Decision

Based on the pros and cons listed for you, the decision to either rent your house out to tenants or sell it should be an easy one. By selling, you won't have to worry about risky tenants, keeping up with constant maintenance, squatters invading, vandals destroying the place, and you will not have to pay utilities or a second mortgage anymore, if applicable. 

If you choose to sell the house, you will surely have a great deal of weight lifted off your shoulders. Sure, the process of finding a buyer and closing the deal will be long and somewhat stressful, but things will be much easier once you do.

However, if you do decide to rent out your vacant home to tenants, just be sure that you know what you're doing, you are careful with who you choose to rent the home out to, and always stay on top of maintenance and repairs. 

You will probably have to spend more money than you will receive for rent and utilities, if you choose to not to charge for them, but it may work out for you in the end. Once you make a final decision, it's best to get on it immediately. Whether that decision is renting your home, or contacting a real estate agent to help sell the house as quickly as possible. 

Posted in Selling Your Home
Feb. 8, 2019

7 Reasons to Own Your Home

1. Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home.

 

 

2. Appreciation. Real estate has long-term, stable growth in value. While year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing-home sale prices have increased on average 6.5 percent each year from 1972 through 2005, and increased 88.5 percent over the last 10 years, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.

 

 

3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.

 

 

4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.

 

 

5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will increase.

 

 

6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.

 

 

7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.

 

Online resources: To calculate whether buying is the best financial option for you, use the “Buy vs. Rent” calculator at www.GinnieMae.gov.

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 1, 2019

Questions to Ask When Choosing a REALTOR®

Make sure you choose a REALTOR® who will provide top-notch service and meet your unique needs. 

 

1. How long have you been in residential real estate sales? Is it your full-time job? While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate — like many other professions — is mostly learned on the job.

 

2. What designations do you hold? Designations such as GRI and CRS® — which require that agents take additional, specialized real estate training — are held by only about one-quarter of real estate practitioners.

 

3. How many homes did you and your real estate brokerage sell last year? By asking this question, you’ll get a good idea of how much experience the practitioner has.

 

4. How many days did it take you to sell the average home? How did that compare to the overall market?

The REALTOR® you interview should have these facts on hand, and be able to present market statistics from the local MLS to provide a comparison.

 

5. How close to the initial asking prices of the homes you sold were the final sale prices? This is one indication of how skilled the REALTOR® is at pricing homes and marketing to suitable buyers. Of course, other factors also may be at play, including an exceptionally hot or cool real estate market.

 

6. What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home? You don’t want someone who’s going to put a For Sale sign in the yard and hope for the best. Look for someone who has aggressive and innovative approaches, and knows how to market your property competitively on the Internet. Buyers today want information fast, so it’s important that your REALTOR® is responsive.

 

7. Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction? While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where the practitioner’s obligations lie. Your REALTOR® should explain his or her agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party. 

 

8. Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and help with other things I need done? Because REALTORS® are immersed in the industry, they’re wonderful resources as you seek lenders, home improvement companies, and other home service providers. Practitioners should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive compensation from any of the providers.

 

9. What type of support and supervision does your brokerage office provide to you? Having resources such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, and assistance with technology can help an agent sell your home.

 

10. What’s your business philosophy? While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.

 

11. How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently? Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but it reflects your desires. Do you want updates twice a week or do you not want to be bothered unless there’s a hot prospect? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit? 

 

12. Could you please give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent clients?

Ask recent clients if they would work with this REALTOR® again. Find out whether they were pleased with the communication style, follow-up, and work ethic of the REALTOR®.

 

Jan. 18, 2019

Why You Should Work With a REALTOR®

Not all real estate practitioners are REALTORS®. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Here are five reasons why it pays to work with a REALTOR®. 

 

1. You’ll have an expert to guide you through the process. Buying or selling a home usually requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multi-page settlement statements. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.

 

2. Get objective information and opinions. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They’ll also be able to provide objective information about each property. A professional will be able to help you answer these two important questions: Will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?

 

3. Find the best property out there. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your REALTOR® to find all available properties.

 

4. Benefit from their negotiating experience. There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, and inclusion or exclusion of repairs, furnishings, or equipment. In addition, the purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

 

5.  Property marketing power. Real estate doesn’t sell due to advertising alone. In fact, a large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner’s contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, and family. When a property is marketed with the help of a REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

 

6. Real estate has its own language. If you don’t know a CMA from a PUD, you can understand why it’s important to work with a professional who is immersed in the industry and knows the real estate language.

 

7. REALTORS® have done it before. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. And even if you’ve done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS®, on the other hand, handle hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career. Having an expert on your side is critical.

 

8. Buying and selling is emotional. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security — it’s not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, home buying and selling can be an emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.

 

9. Ethical treatment. Every member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® makes a commitment to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. As a customer of a REALTOR®, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters. It is mandatory for REALTORS® to take the Code of Ethics orientation and they are also required to complete a refresher course every four years.

 

 

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