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Real Estate Tips


Here Are Five Actions Buyers Should Avoid Doing During the Closing Process:

We understand that by keeping you informed and helping you prepare for the closing day, the more likely you will have a stress-free closing experience. Our courteous and professional staff is proactive in their communication and works diligently to ensure the orderly and efficient transfer of real estate…and we do it with a level of service and friendliness that is hard to beat in this industry.

  1. DON’T CHANGE YOUR MARITAL STATUS. How you hold title is affected by your marital status. Be sure to make both your lender and the title company aware of any changes in your marital status so that documents can be prepared correctly.
  2. DON’T CHANGE JOBS. A job change may result in your loan being denied, particularly if you are taking a lower paying position or moving into a different field. Don’t think you’re safe because you’ve received approval earlier in the process, as the lender may call your employer to re-verify your employment just prior to funding the loan.
  3. DON’T SWITCH BANKS OR MOVE YOUR MONEY TO ANOTHER INSTITUTION. After the lender has verified your funds at one or more institutions, the money should remain there until needed for the purchase.
  4. DON’T PAY OFF EXISTING ACCOUNTS UNLESS YOUR LENDER REQUESTS IT. If your Loan Officer advises you to pay off certain bills in order to qualify for the loan, follow that advice. Otherwise, leave your accounts as they are until your escrow closes.
  5. DON’T ANY LARGE PURCHASES. A major purchase that requires a withdrawal from your verified funds or increases your debt can result in your not qualifying for the loan. A lender may check your credit or re-verify funds at the last minute, so avoid purchases that could impact your loan approval.

What Buyers Should Expect From Their Realtor

1. Help get you pre-approved.

A good Realtor has a sizable network of trusted agents, lenders and other professionals involved in the home buying and selling process. Your agent should be able to connect you with a trusted lender who will take you through the pre-approval process so you can get to shopping for your home.

You want to be pre-approved so you know how much you can spend, so if you aren’t already – talk to your real estate agent about getting it done.

One thing to keep in mind is the differences between being pre-approved and prequalified. These two mortgage terms are night and day in their meaning. You want to be pre-approved which means the lender has verified your income, employment and run your credit. A prequalification letter in most circumstances does none of these things. Frankly, it is not worth the paper it is written on.

An exceptional listing agent will insist upon having a solid pre-approval letter so make sure you get one!

2. Help find you a home – including counseling on location, neighborhood, schools

House hunting is a tiring process at the best of times, requiring you to make concessions so that your dreams can match up with the reality of what is available and what you can afford. One of your Realtor’s key jobs is to help you clarify what you want most, and find you options that meet your specifications as much as possible. The best real estate agents are going to counsel you on location, neighborhood, schools and other factors.

Your agent should help you determine the best locations for you to look based on what you’re looking to achieve, including the type of neighborhood you want, school systems you want to be part of, etc.Those buyers who look at a real estate agent as a glorified taxi cab driver are really missing out on all the benefits a good buyer’s agent should be providing.

If driving you from house to house is all your real estate agent is doing, you might want to look for someone else!

3. Negotiate an offer.

One of the biggest perks of having a great buyer’s agent is their ability to negotiate the best price for your home purchase. The best negotiators know the value of what they are attempting to buy or sell, which is what makes a respected Realtor so useful.

Exceptional buyer’s agents will analyze the value of the home you are looking to purchase. They should then be advising you on what your initial offer should be and how to proceed accordingly when the seller responds.

He or she should know how to effectively negotiate to get you the best possible price on the home of your dreams. Ultimately you are beholden to the market, but that doesn’t mean a good negotiator can’t tip the scales in your favor.

The agent should have in-depth knowledge of the factors that affect the value of a home. After all, this will be the basis for what you will pay for the house.

4. Attend home inspection.

Even the best home inspectors can miss things, and even the most knowledgeable inspectors can fail to accurately convey the information they find to you as a buyer. Your buyer’s agent should be at the home inspection to hear exactly what the home inspector finds.

When the home inspection is over and you are given the report from the inspector an excellent agent will counsel you on what should be brought to the sellers attention.

If your agent is not in attendance it is awfully hard to understand what the issues are and then negotiate them. Make sure you find out up-front if your agent will be at the inspection. If they say it is not their “policy” to go, insist they be there. Unfortunately, in this business, there are a lot of lazy agents that will try to get away with doing as little as possible.

5. Negotiate any home inspection repair requests.

The information you get from the home inspection can provide you with leverage in negotiations. You can request repairs based on the information from the home inspection, and you can sometimes get price, or other concessions based on the problems found in the inspection. Your Realtor is best qualified to negotiate for these things because he or she is most knowledgeable about how each issue affects the value of the home.

The agent again will be your “negotiator” to make sure any serious problems are dealt with by the seller. This could be in the form of a price reduction, a repair or a seller’s concession at closing. One of the roles of a buyer’s agent is to also let you know when you are asking for unreasonable home inspection requests. There is always a give and take when it comes to home inspections. Buyers need to remember the purpose of a home inspection is not to make a perfect home. Nearly every home has issues large and small.

Skilled buyer’s agents will direct you what to keep your focus on and what to let go.

Your Realtor can also verify that there are no permitting issues with the home. Sometimes homeowners make changes to the home without getting the proper permits, which can present major problems to you as a buyer. You want to know about any of these hurdles before you buy.

6. Communicate with seller’s agent and Escrow throughout the sale.

Everyone needs to be on the same page for a home purchase to go smoothly. Your real estate agent will be responsible for keeping everyone informed, including the seller’s agent and your attorney.

The agent is best qualified for this duty because he or she knows how to measure the importance of information, and knows who needs what and when to keep the ball rolling.

There are some real estate agents who are lousy communicators. There can be lots of reasons for this from being a part-time agent to just not realizing how important it is to people.

7. Monitor your loan commitment.

Excellent buyer’s agents are always staying on top of things including monitoring the buyer’s mortgage commitment. Smart agents also make sure buyers understand they need to maintain their current credit status. Mortgage mistakes can be quite common, especially among first-time home buyers.

The pre-approval you got for your home purchase is a fragile thing, based off of the information given to the lender at the time of the pre-approval request. Any changes to your financial situation could make it impossible to get the loan or reduce the amount of the loan available to you.

Your real estate agent should monitor the status of your loan and advise you on how to protect your approval. He or she will make sure that you understand not to make any large purchases or take out any loans, like buying a car, before you close on the home.

8. Finalize all loose ends for the closing.

You only need to make it through the closing to finally get your home. But there are a surprising number of details involved in a closing, all of which need to be wrapped up before you officially become the owner of the home. Failing to take care of everything could cause the closing to fall through.

Your agent will finalize all the loose ends so that the closing goes through without a hitch, and will be there alongside you at the closing so you have support and advice should you need it.

Final Thoughts

As a buyer, you should have high expectations from your buyer’s agent. You are making a huge purchase that could quite possibly the biggest of your life. Make sure you hire an agent you will like enough to consider a friend when all is said and done. On the other side of the coin make sure you are a buyer that a real estate agent enjoys working with. A great relationship is a give and take! Don’t make any of the mistakes that real estate agents hate about buyers and you will be on the right track!

Things Realtors Wish Buyers Wouldn’t Do

Hiring a real estate agent involves entering into a relationship. While Realtors are eager to get new clients and buyers are anxious to find the house of their dreams, there can still be serious problems in such relationships. This is especially true when one party has unreasonable expectations.

When it comes to the relationship between buyers and Realtors, the real estate agent has a pretty good idea of what he or she can offer. But for buyers, this may be the first time they have ever worked with an agent before. Because of this, sometimes these buyers can do things that frustrate real estate agents.

Fortunately, most of these can be avoided, as long as you know about them beforehand and you understand at least a little of how the buying process works.

Here is a list of things buyer’s shouldn’t do:

  • Call listing agents on your own – This is a free country and you have the option of doing a lot of stuff on your own, even if you shouldn’t. There is a reason you hired a buyers agent. This person has the skills and expertise you need to get you what you want. Why not use them? If you don’t trust your agent to do a good job you should probably hire another Realtor instead. And if you are happy with the one you have, tell him or her when you are interested in a property and let him or her do the calling for you.
  • Ask the listing agent to show you a home when you have a buyers agent – If you have a buyers agent use them! Don’t call the listing agent to show you properties because your Realtor isn’t around. Showing a home to someone who is not a client is not the listing agents job. If your buyer’s agent can never accommodate your schedule, it’s time to find another agent. If your agent is going away for the weekend and you want to see a home that just came on the market, talk to your agent about having another Realtor from their firm fill in for them.
  • Ask Realtors to show properties without being pre-approved – Real estate agents are busy people. It takes a lot of phone calls and a lot of miles to do what they do. This is why they want to know that the time they spend with you is worth spending. If you are not pre-approved for a home loan, what incentive does the real estate agent have to show you homes? It may take hours to view a single house, hours that could be spent on clients that can buy a home. A real estate agent doesn’t want to waste their time showing a bunch of homes to you at a price point that you are not qualified for. Before asking to see home make sure you get pre-approved for a loan. Understand the difference between a mortgage pre-qualification and mortgage pre-approval. These are two vastly different things!
  • Request to look at homes outside of your price point – If you are only approved for the purchase of a $400,000 home, what is the purpose of looking at a home that is listed at $500,000? No one is ever going to negotiate down on their price that far. Again, you are asking the agent to do things that serve no purpose for him or her and only serves to satisfy your curiosity. Once you have your pre-approval in hand, look at properties that make sense based on your budget, not fantasy land.
  • Not respecting our time by calling last minute – If you are working with a professional, they will want to be treated as such. Not respecting another persons time isn’t fair. Real Estate agents have schedules, lives, and family just like everyone else. Don’t expect an agent to drop everything they are doing on a whim because you want to look at a home in an hour. Treat your agent like a professional and you should get the same respect back from them. Deciding the world revolves around you will not help your cause in the long run,
  • Look at a home five times and don’t make an offer – If you are going to drag a Realtor to the same house five times, including bringing your favorite aunt Mildred, having a contractor to get a quote on re-finishing the hardwood floors, and the local Feng shui expert along to say everything is swell, you better make sure you are going to make an offer!
  • Not doing any research on where you want to live – If you are going to be looking at homes you at least should have a general understanding of where you want to live. Asking a real estate agent to show you a bunch of homes in a town that you really wouldn’t consider living in just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Do some research on the communities you would consider first before asking an agent to show you homes.
  • Making unjustified low ball offers – Before you make an offer on the home, your agent will do a considerable amount of research to determine what that offer should be. Part of this process will be looking at comparable sales – the prices of other homes sold recently that had similar characteristics. This is information he or she can show to you so you understand why the offer should be what it is. Some buyers will still insist on making low ball offers, which are both insulting and a waste of time. This is the quickest way to get a seller pissed off to the point they will want to have nothing to do with you. If you love the home, you are making an offer on you best be sure that your offer is not insulting. There is a way of testing the waters without making an offer so little you come across as a fool. There is a fine line – make sure you don’t cross it!
  • Making an offer contingent on selling your current home – Sellers are not going to accept an offer with a home sale contingency 99% of the time. This is something your agent will explain to you as soon as you mention the idea. Sellers naturally prefer to sell to someone ready to buy, not someone that will only buy if their home sells. As much as we explain this, some people just won’t listen. They have to learn the hard way because they feel they know more than we do as agents. An offer contingent on selling another home is real estate fools gold. It’s like not having a real offer. So if you are serious about buying a home and need to sell yours first, get it on the market!
  • Negotiating home inspection items that were visible pre-inspection – If the deck on the house is obviously sagging or there is a leak in the basement that you can plainly see, your agent will craft your offer around this fact. You both saw the problem, and you made an offer anyway. Some buyers will try to negotiate on those same issues after the home inspection is finished. Some will even do this if the problem was pointed out in a sellers disclosure. People do negotiate after a home inspection, obviously. If the home inspector finds a mold infestation or termite damage or anything else that neither you nor your agent was aware of when you made the offer, then negotiation is expected. But do not try to negotiate on things that were readily apparent before you made your offer. It just makes you and your agent look bad and has very little chance of succeeding.
  • Expecting the home to be perfect after the inspection – some buyers will ask the seller to fix ridiculous things after the home inspection because they want to move into a house that seems brand new. If the home was built in 1980, it’s not going to feel brand new. And the seller cannot be expected to make it that way, especially after you have already made an offer. There will be minor problems with any older home. Heck, there are even homes that are only a few years old that won’t be perfect – very few homes are. Just be aware of this. It’s important to understand what’s important to negotiate after a home inspection. Bringing a punch list of minutia to the listing agent after a home inspection is not going to be looked at favorably. Understand what is reasonable and what isn’t. Your real estate agent should be able to guide you on this.
  • Work with a buyers agent for months and then buy with someone else at an open house – real estate agents work on commission. They do not get paid a dime unless they make a sale. Do you think it’s fair to have a Realtor tote you around for months showing you property, only for you to decide one day to walk through a Real Estate open house and buy from the listing agent? This is about as despicable as it gets. Your agent probably has shown you homes at all times including nights and weekends giving up time away from family and friends. This is the way you repay them? Don’t do it! This probably tops the charts of things buyers do that real estate agents hate.
  • Work with more than one agent – As mentioned above real estate agents don’t get paid unless they make a sale. You should not be working with multiple agents at the same time in the same area. While you may think this is super convenient for you, it is not fair to either of the other parties involved. If this is something you plan on doing it should be discussed up front with both agents. Let them decide if they are comfortable with such an arrangement. The only time this is to be considered kosher is when you are looking in two different areas and have not decided on one yet.

Be a Reasonable Buyer

Buyers agents love to help people find homes. They like to help them get a good deal. But like anyone else, they prefer to work with people that have reasonable expectations. No one can honestly expect an old home to be perfect, and no established professional can be expected to work for free. This is still a business, and the best deals are made between reasonable people.

Work with your agent so you have the right expectations about your home shopping experience and do your part to buy the best house you can for the price. If you are not serious about the purchase of a home, don’t be the “lookie you” that every real estate agent hates to deal with. Treat your Realtor like you would want to be treated. When you establish a great relationship with an agent, you will be paid back in kind!