Ask Jean Posts Tagged as Real Estate RI

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!

Don't Touch That Dial!

Published 04/01/2015

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.






Cover Your Assets

Published 03/17/2015

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!

How to Win a Bidding War

Published 03/11/2015

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.

Creepy, Crawly...Nasty!

Published 03/06/2015

Spring is almost here. Wood boring insects are about to reveal themselves. Termites and carpenter ants feed on dead wood.  They accomplish this invisibly.  Once termites swarm, they've already done some damage.  By swarming, they are actively trying to form another colony. If you've ever experienced a termite swarm, you know what I'm talking about. Clouds of discarded wings fill the room, as the unsuccessful explorers drop to the ground.

Most of the damage that termites cause cannot be seen until it's too late.  They quietly tunnel from the ground and eat their way through the inner sills of your house.  Left undetected for a long period of time, they can compromise the structural integrity of the house.  Pretty impressive for creatures barely 1 centimeter in length!

Check your sill for damage by poking it with a sharp nail or poker of some sort. A compromised sill will allow the poker to stick right into the wood.  Not good. A solid sill will withstand any tapping. If you notice a large area of damage, consult a licensed, professional contractor to replace it. Follow that up with a visit from a reputable pest control company.  

How do you prevent termites and carpenter ants from eating you out of house and home? If you have garden beds edged in wood, remove them.  If your deck was made from untreated lumber, replace it. Keep bushes and trees away from the house. Any damp or dead wood is a veritable banquet for these buggers. These unwanted guests need to go eat elsewhere.


Uh oh...Where's the Key?

Published 03/04/2015

Unless you are a real estate professional, you are probably not that familiar with lockboxes.  Essentially, it is a box with a combination lock that stores keys.  They are typically attached to an entryway door.  Many agents use them so that buyer's agents can have easy access to the home.  We don't like them for a number of reasons.

  • Are the other agents diligent in returning the key and locking the house up properly?
  • How do you know for certain that the key doesn't get lost or stolen?
  • We've heard horror stories of agents giving the codes to the clients.  They let themselves in.  Is this ethical? No. Does it happen? Yes.
  • A key cannot tell you how old the roof is, or explain that mystery leak in the basement.
  • If a key is not in the lockbox, you can bet the buyers will go on to the next house.  They most likely will not return. Result? A potential sale is lost.
  • If a seller is paying a commission to an agent, why is a key doing the work?

Think long and hard before deciding to allow a lockbox to sell your house. Used properly, it's convenient. Used improperly, it's a waste of time and a potential sale.