For Sale By Owner–I can do it myself and save lots of money!

The house has to be immaculate inside and out,

Potential buyers are beating on your door and calling the number you posted out in the yard

The legal and financial details of the home sale process loom.

Don’t be tempted to handle this situation by yourself; instead, make your life infinitely easier and use a Realtor to help you sell
your home.

The lure of saving money is a strong one.

Most Realtors charge between 6 to 7% on commission. As the seller, this comes out of your proceeds
at closing. I know you’re thinking that there’s no way that using a Realtor is worth anywhere near this much money.

However, it truly is worth every penny; here are the top reasons why you should use a Realtor when selling your home.

1. The Security of Your Family and Home

You cannot put a value on the security of your family and home. You
want your family to be safe in your home without having to worry. But remember
when I mentioned the hoards of potential buyers for your home? If you sell your
home yourself, you have to meet with each one of these buyers by yourself. The
problem is you never know who these people really are. It’s horrific to
consider, but it has happened where people have gone to a home on the premise of
looking to purchase it and instead have committed a crime.

The realtor, with the use of an electronic lockbox, knows exactly who was in the house AND when!  Realtors also get to know their clients, so there are not strangers casing your home.

When you use a Realtor, you don’t have to meet with the potential buyers and expose yourself and your family to possible harm. Instead, each person that enters your home is accompanied by a licensed Realtor.
Because the person is in your home with a Realtor, you and your family don’t need to be there. This mitigates the risk of someone harming you while in your home.

The chance of someone committing a crime against your property, either through theft or vandalism, is drastically reduced by their Realtor being
present.

2. The Value of Your Time

Let’s consider the hassle of dealing with potential buyers. When you sell your home yourself, you’re the sole contact with potential buyers.
If someone wants information, they contact you. This means your phone can be ringing constantly.  You can’t just ignore these calls; if you do, your house will take even longer to sell.

Remember the part about keeping your house immaculate? When you sell your home yourself, this has to be true 100% of the time.

People can and will pull up outside your home and demand to look inside at any time of the day or night. If you ask them to come back at
a more convenient time, you could easily lose a sale.

By using a Realtor, your time is reaffirmed to be as valuable as I know that it is.  A Realtor handles all the phone calls, and is
specially trained in how to answer these calls professionally without compromising the sale of your home. Your Realtor coordinates the showings
with other Realtors, leaving you with specific times for the showings. This will allow you to relax and enjoy the time you have remaining in your home.

3.  The Value of Peace of Mind for the Future

Selling a home is a complicated legal and financial prospect. Sure, you can buy generic forms to fill out for the Purchase Agreement and everything else.   But what assurance do you have that they’re filled out in a way that protects you for the future? After all, you certainly don’t want to deal with a lawsuit five years from now with your buyer saying that you made an error in the paperwork on the transaction.

When you hire a Realtor, they shoulder this burden. Realtors are required to carry what’s known as Errors & Omissions insurance. This
insurance protects you from such little errors. If there’s a problem, the insurance company is who works to resolve the situation, not you.

So don’t succumb to the lure of saving the commission money.

Hiring a Realtor is the absolute best thing you can do as you prepare to sell your home

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Top 10 Agent Protocol Tips – Rules for Working With Agents

By

Here are protocols you can use while shopping for a home that will keep you out of hot water:

1. Understand Agents Work on Commission

  • Very few real estate agents work on salary.
  • Most real estate agents are paid commission. If an agent does not close a transaction, she does not get paid.
  • Agents are not public servants and do not work for free. Do not ask an agent to work for you if you intend to cut the agent out of your deal.
2. Keep Appointments & Be On Time
  • Be respectful, use common courtesy and don’t expect an agent to drop what she is doing to run out to show you a home. You are probably not that agent’s only prospect / client. And if you are, lord help you.
  • Do not make an appointment with an agent and then forget to show up.
  • If you are going to be late, call and let your agent know when you expect to arrive.

3. Choose A Real Estate Agent

  • Decide whether you want to work without representation: dealing directly with listing agents, or if you want to hire your own agent.
  • If you decide to hire your own agent, find an agent with whom you are comfortable.
  • If you are interviewing agents, let each agent know you are in the interview stage.
  • Never, never, never interview two different agents from the same company. Trust me, don’t do it.

4. Do Not Call The Listing Agent if You Are Working With a Buying Agent

  • Listing agents work for the seller, not the buyer. If you hire the listing agent to represent you, that agent will now be working under dual agency.
  • If listing agents show you the property, the listing agent will expect to represent you.
  • Listing agents do not want to do the buying agent’s job. Let your buyer’s agent do her job.

5. Practice Open House Protocol

  • Ask your agent if it’s considered proper for you to attend open houses alone. In some areas, it is frowned upon to go to open houses unescorted.
  • Hand your agent’s business card to the agent hosting the open house. Sometimes this agent will be the listing agent, but often it is an agent also looking for unrepresented buyers. Announcing you are represented protects you.
  • Do not ask the open house host questions about the seller or the seller’s motivation. Let your agent ask those questions for you.

6. Sign a Buyer’s Broker Agreement with a Buying Agent

  • Expect to sign a buyer’s broker agreement. It creates a relationship between you and the agent, and explains the agent’s duties to you and vice versa.
  • Ask about the difference between an Exclusive and Non-Exclusive Buyer’s Broker Agreement.
  • If you’re not ready to sign a buyer’s broker, do not ask that agent to show you homes. Otherwise, procuring causemay pop up.
  • Ask your agent if she will release you from the contract if you become dissatisfied. If she refuses, hire somebody else.

7. Always Ask For and Sign an Agency Agreement

  • By law, agents are required to give buyers an Agency Disclosure.
  • Signing an agency disclosure is your proof of receipt. It is solely a disclosure. It is not an agreement to agency. Read it.
  • The best and most practiced type of agency is the single agency. This mean you are represented by your own agent who owes you a fiduciary responsibility.

8. Make Your Expectations Known

  • If you expect your agent to pick you up at your front door and drive you home after showing homes, tell her. Many will provide that service. If not, they will ask you to meet at the office.
  • Let your agent know how you want her to communicate with you and how often. Do you want phone calls, e-mails, text messages, IM‘s or all of the above?
  • Set realistic goals and a time frame to find your home. Ask your agent how you can help by supplying feedback.
  • If you are displeased, say so.

 

Biggest Mistakes Buyers Make in a Hot Seller’s Market

In the current seller’s market that exists in many parts of the country, buyers need to perform near perfectly to attain the home of their dreams. Many of the best new listings that come to market are receiving multiple offers . . . and in just a few days on the market. So what can you do as a buyer to enhance your odds of getting your offer accepted?

1)      Get Serious and Work with a Real Estate Agent – while this sounds like a given, many buyers are casually looking and only get serious when they see a home on the internet and start their quest to buy that home from whatever agent they can find. By the time they get mobilized the home is gone!  Here in the Destin, and most of the Northwest Florida market, many homes that are terrific deals have multiple offers almost immediately after going on the market.

2)      Get Ready to Buy – There are great local lenders here in Destin, Niceville, Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, and Navarre markets – be sure to get prequalified or better yet preapproved for your loan. This eliminates any surprises and demonstrates to sellers that you are serious, qualified, and able to close. Have your proof of funds ready to show which is often required.  Especially if you find a foreclosure, they will want this proof of funds to come with the offer.

3)      Operate with a Sense of Urgency – Have your real estate agent set you up a new listings alert and when a hot property comes to market moving quickly is extremely important. If a listing comes to market on a Wednesday, waiting until Saturday to see it because you want to watch TV won’t work. Always assume that other interested buyers are seeing the home on day 1 and making an offer on day 1!

4)      Make Clean Offers – offers that are not clean result in delays and counter offers– delays results in more buyer offers – multiple offers drive prices up and probability of getting your dream home down. If there is something specific that the seller is looking for in your offer do everything possible to accommodate it.

Why Hire A Real Estate Agent?

The typical real estate transaction involves at least two dozen separate individuals – insurance assessors, mortgage brokers and underwriters, inspectors, appraisers, escrow officers, buyer’s agents, seller’s agents, bankers, title researchers, and a number of other individuals whose actions and decisions have to be orchestrated in order to perform in harmony and get a home sale closed. It is the responsibility of your real estate agent to expertly coordinate all the professionals involved in your home purchase and to act as the advocate for you and your interests throughout.

Seven main roles of your real estate agent
A Buyer’s Real Estate Agent:

  1. Educates you about your market.
  2. Analyzes your wants and needs.
  3. Guides you to homes that fit your criteria.
  4. Coordinates the work of other needed professionals.
  5. Negotiates on your behalf.
  6. Checks and double-checks paperwork and deadlines.
  7. Solves any problems that may arise.

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Agent

1. Education & Experience

You don’t need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a real estate professional who does. Henry Ford once said that when you hire people who are smarter than you are, it proves you are smarter than they are. The trick is to find the right person. For the most part, they all cost about the same. Why not hire a person with more education and experience than you? We’re all looking for more precious time in our lives, and hiring pros gives us that time.
2. Agents are Buffers
Agents take the spam out of your property showings and visits. If you’re a buyer of new homes, your agent will whip out her sword and keep the builder’s agents at bay, preventing them from biting or nipping at your heels. If you’re a seller, your agent will filter all those phone calls that lead to nowhere from lookie loos and try to induce serious buyers to immediately write an offer.

3. Neighborhood Knowledge

Agents either possess intimate knowledge or they know where to find the industry buzz about your neighborhood. They can identify comparable sales and hand these facts to you, in addition to pointing you in the direction where you can find more data on schools, crime or demographics. For example, you may know that a home down the street was on the market for $350,000, but an agent will know it had upgrades and sold at $285,000 after 65 days on the market and after twice falling out of escrow.

4. Price Guidance

Contrary to what some people believe, agents do not select prices for sellers or buyers. However, an agent will help to guide clients to make the right choices for themselves. If a listing is at 7%, for example, an agent has a 7% vested interest in the sale, but the client has a 93% interest. Selling agents will ask buyers to weigh all the data supplied to them and to choose a price. Then based on market supply, demand and the conditions, the agent will devise a negotiation strategy.

5. Market Conditions Information

Real estate agents can disclose market conditions, which will govern your selling or buying process. Many factors determine how you will proceed. Data such as the average per square foot cost of similar homes, median and average sales prices, average days on market and ratios of list-to-sold prices, among other criteria, will have a huge bearing on what you ultimately decide to do.

6. Professional Networking

Real estate agents network with other professionals, many of whom provide services that you will need to buy or sell. Due to legal liability, many agents will hesitate to recommend a certain individual or company over another, but they do know which vendors have a reputation for efficiency, competency and competitive pricing. Agents can, however, give you a list of references with whom they have worked and provide background information to help you make a wise selection.

7. Negotiation Skills & Confidentiality

Top producing agents negotiate well because, unlike most buyers and sellers, they can remove themselves from the emotional aspects of the transaction and because they are skilled. It’s part of their job description. Good agents are not messengers, delivering buyer’s offers to sellers and vice versa. They are professionals who are trained to present their client’s case in the best light and agree to hold client information confidential from competing interests.

8. Handling Volumes of Paperwork

One-page deposit receipts were prevalent in the early 1970s. Today’s purchase agreements run 10 pages or more. That does not include the federal- and state-mandated disclosures nor disclosures dictated by local custom. Most real estate files average thicknesses from one to three inches of paper. One tiny mistake or omission could land you in court or cost you thousands. In some states, lawyers handle the disclosures, thank goodness!

9. Answer Questions After Closing
Even the smoothest transactions that close without complications can come back to haunt. For example, taxing authorities that collect property tax assessments, doc stamps or transfer tax can fall months behind and mix up invoices, but one call to your agent can straighten out the confusion. Many questions can pop up that were overlooked in the excitement of closing. Good agents stand by ready to assist. Worthy and honest agents don’t leave you in the dust to fend for yourself.

10. Develop Relationships for Future Business

The basis for an agent’s success and continued career in real estate is referrals. Few agents would survive if their livelihood was dependent on consistently drumming up new business. This emphasis gives agents strong incentives to make certain clients are happy and satisfied. It also means that an agent who stays in the business will be there for you when you need to hire an agent again. Many will periodically mail market updates to you to keep you informed and to stay in touch.

Danger List for FSBO home sellers

Terry Murphy, author and Realtor, often assists sellers in marketing their homes after they become frustrated with a “FSBO” effort. Here are Murphy’s top five tips to sellers:

1. Your home may not be worth what you think The biggest shock most sellers face is the true value of their homes, either determined by one or more agents in comparative market analysis (CMA) reports or through actual offers from buyers. The reality is that markets change, and home values rise and fall. Many factors affect home values, and most of them are subjective and difficult to measure.

2. People won’t love your home like you do You love your home and fully expect others to appreciate the same qualities in it that you do, but buyers have their own lifestyles, preferences, tastes and attitudes. The chances of finding a buyer who will want your home “as is” are slim to none. In fact, buyers will look at your home with an eye to how they can make it their own.

3. Sooner or later you will lose your temper The buyer, in order to improve bargaining leverage, may pick your home apart. Many of the buyer’s complaints and requests for repairs will be legitimate, but some may not. In fact, some requests can be outrageous.

4. Unexpected showings Buyers aren’t going to operate on your schedule. When your home is put on the market, you won’t have just your own Realtor showing your home, you may have dozens of Realtors and their clients wanting to see the home at almost anytime of the day or evening. There is no reason for an unaccompanied buyer to be in your home for any reason. Just say no.

5. Buyer rudeness Every day, we each experience rudeness in society. People don’t RSVP in time for the party; they don’t write thank-you notes anymore; they get in the express line with at least 20 items; and they are turning road rage into a national pastime. So why be surprised when buyers visit your home and leave their sweaty McDonald’s cup on your coffee table? Be ready for some rudeness.

4 Reasons Every Buyer Needs a Pre-approved Home Loan

 

Posted Mar 1 2012 by  Peter Fletcher

A pre-approval is one of the greatest assets a home buyer can get.

Pre-approval is a written assessment of your worthiness for a loan. When you seek pre-approval for a home loan, your lender will assess your ability to pay, as well as your credit history, to decide how much they are willing to lend you.

Although you can make an offer and go through to the start of property settlement without having pre-approval, smart home buyers get pre-approval before they make an offer.

Really smart home buyers get pre-approval before they even start going to home opens.

Here’s why you should, too:

1. You get a better choice of properties. When you visit a home open and talk to a real estate agent, letting them know that you have pre-approval is a sure-fire way to get them to take you seriously as a buyer. Once a real estate agent knows you’re serious about buying, they’re likely to call you about potential properties before they’ve even hit the market, giving you a better choice of properties, and potentially cheaper deals.

2. You get a better deal. To sellers, pre-approval is almost like a guarantee that the deal they strike with you won’t fall over. Sellers want certainty, because if the buyer they choose can’t get finance, the seller will have to start marketing their property all over again. To them, this certainty is worth money – I’ve seen plenty of deals where the seller has accepted a lower offer because that buyer had pre-approval and the higher offers didn’t.

3. You won’t waste time looking at homes you can’t afford. Getting pre-approval will give you a much better idea of what homes are within your price range, so you’ll know in advance which properties are too pricey to waste your time on.

4. You won’t have your heart broken. Imagine falling in love with a property and even going so far as to make an offer on it – only to find out at that it’s out of your price range! Save yourself the disappointment of having a deal fall through by knowing in advance what you can (and can’t) afford.

If you’re planning to buy a home, get a pre-approved home loan from your chosen lender. Your seller, real estate agent, and settlement agent will thank you for it – and you’ll be glad you did.