Jean Allard, SRES is Vice President and Sales Associate with Keystone Real Estate Group. Feel free to comment on Jean's blog posts and ask any questions you may have on all facets of real estate!
The vast majority of home buyers begin their search on-line. Websites like Zillow and Trulia attract 88% of active buyers. Despite that statistic, some people still attempt to sell without the help of a professional realtor. They pay for a newspaper advertisement. MAYBE someone from the other 12% will see it. They tack a sign to a tree in their yard and hope for the best.
Seriously? Realtors have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which shares information with over 30 additional websites. Now THAT'S visibility. Which strategy makes more sense to you? I thought so.
So, here you are, bopping about the Internet looking at houses. And then...there it is! The perfect house! You pick up the phone and call the listing agent. STOP RIGHT THERE! Rewind. You may have made a very costly mistake.
Did you know that the listing agent has an obligation to work for the SELLER'S best interests? Sure, they can fill out the paperwork for you. However, who is on YOUR side? You need a buyer's agent. Here's why:
- No fee to you
- The seller pays the commission, NOT the buyer
- You need someone to navigate the process for you
- The buyer's agent will help you with the inspection process, negotiations, etc.
- They will be sure you stay within the contractual timeframes
Once you fall in love with a house, your emotions are on your sleeve. Trust a reputable buyer's agent to negotiate in your behalf. They have an objective view of the property. You don't want to end up purchasing a money pit. Let your agent lead the way.
Ever find yourself viewing homes on the Internet? Whatever you do, DO NOT CALL DIRECTLY. Here's why:
- The listing agent is representing the SELLER, and not you.
- If you call directly, you are relinquishing YOUR right to have representation.
- In most cases, hiring a buyer's agent costs you nothing.
- The seller is paying the commission fee.
- The listing agent splits that commission with the co-broke.
- If an agent "double ends" the transaction, that agent must be neutral to both parties.
If you even THINK you want to see a property, hire a reputable realtor to make that appointment. A house is a major purchase, and you need to enlist a team of professionals to guide you. Cover your assets!
The spring housing market is geared up for a busy season. There's lots of pent-up demand due to the bleak winter we've experienced here in New England. We're sure to see some bidding wars. How do you ensure your offer beats your competition's? Be sure you work with a Designated Client Representative. In this capacity, the licensee has a fiduciary obligation to act in your best interests. Once you are emotionally invested in a house, your negotiating skills go right out the window. Your agent should be well versed in this regard.
- Is the seller in a hurry to move?
- Do they have an offer on another home?
- How extensive are the repairs that may be needed?
- What else is selling in the neighborhood?
- Is the house priced appropriately, or is there room to negotiate?
These are only a few of the factors that go into the strategy of negotiation. If you have a Realtor that you trust, the lines of communication should be open, and they will fight to get you into the home of your dreams.
Spring is FINALLY showing its sunny face! Along with the tulips, home listings are starting to blossom, as well. How do you make your home stand out from the crowd?
- Power wash the exterior of your home. Rid your house of unsightly mold, especially on the north side of the house.
- Get your landscape under control. Clean out the dead leaf piles from last fall and put down some fresh mulch.
- Add some brightly colored flower pots to your front step. Plant seasonal flowers in them for a welcoming look.
- Paint your front door. This is a cheap fix for a great ROI. A cheerful coat of fresh paint beckons buyers to "come on in."
- Hang a fresh wreath of seasonal forsythia on the front door.
Once the exterior of your house looks like a breath of fresh air, the buyers will want to see the interior. Peak their interest by enticing them to want to see more.