Specialist or General Practitioner?

19437377_1440448489379498_3950650927319035020_nDo you need to hire a “specialist” or do you need a “general practitioner” when assessing the best real estate agent when you are looking to jump into the real estate market as a buyer or seller?

If you come across a real estate agent that is touting themselves as a “specialist” here’s what you need to ask:

“I see you are a ‘Listing Specialist’ do you ever take buyers out to look at homes?”

“I see you are a ‘Buyer Specialist’ do you ever list homes and meet sellers?”

If the answer is no, then proceed with caution. The only way you can “specialize” in today’s real estate market is to understand the market from the buyer’s and seller’s unique perspectives, rarely do these overlap.

As a “general practitioner” I work with both buyers and sellers. The combination of meeting with sellers for listings and taking buyers on home buying tours invites a unique perspective on the whole marketplace, not just a segment.

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P: msrealtors.org

If you don’t take buyers to see houses, how do you know how houses compare to each other in your local market? Likewise, if you don’t counsel sellers on pre-marketing strategies, how do you know the best way to position their house in the market compared to other houses you have taken buyers to see? The short answer is – you don’t! You don’t know how houses compare in your local market place unless you are “all over” the market in terms of buyers and sellers.

Instead of a “specialist” you need a general real estate practitioner. Much like a family doctor who sees a wide range of maladies, your general real estate practitioner deals with the whole market, buyers and sellers. At the core of a general real estate practitioner, one who deals with buyers and sellers, is a true “specialist.”

 

What is the Best Website or App for Finding a House?

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P: Realtor.com

Over the past several years the internet has opened up the “wide world of real estate” to buyers and sellers. Realtor.com and Zillow have been advertising heavily to promote the use of their websites and mobile apps for your home search. If you have been searching for a house for a while, you are probably asking, “Isn’t there anything else?” While each of these consumer sites has its pros and cons, the best source for up-to-date local real estate information continues to be your favorite real estate agent.

It’s happened to most all home buyers. After months of sitting on a couch perusing houses, photos, and prices you will have to email or call a real estate agent to see a house that you think may work. You finally take that next, bold step only to hear, “oh, sorry, that house is no longer available.” Or, “yes, that is a good price, all of the pipes have been stripped out and it needs to be a ‘cash only’ transaction.” Sigh, this is harder than you thought.

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P: Zillow

After several weeks of clicking on the “preferred” agent for an online property and fielding many call backs, you are frustrated. It’s not as easy as it looks on the Realtor.com or Zillow television commercial. First, some of the houses are no longer available for sale. Second, some houses have incorrect information. Third, some houses are ‘for sale by owners’ and what if you want to use a real estate agent? What is missing here? Do you feel like you are chasing the Holy Grail?

At this point in your search it is best to cut your losses, bite the bullet and make a call to find a professional, experienced real estate professional to help with your search. But why, oh why? Can’t you just continue to look on your own unhampered by another human? Yes, you can go it alone but you will continue to be frustrated. Best thing to do is ask your friends, relatives, and/or colleagues for a referral to a local, trusted real estate agent.

dscn2729The benefit to you, the consumer, is that once you have decided to reach out to a professional, you are in good hands. In the real estate world at KW Vermont, Keller Williams Realty, our culture of sharing and helping one another succeed results in a cooperative environment that may result in a quicker, smoother process. Some houses are not yet out in the “wide world of real estate” for various buyer or seller reasons. We work with buyers and sellers every day and network to find houses, sell houses and get our clients “out in front” of the market.

So, stop chasing houses. Get in “front” of the market. Ditch your app for a human.

Why It Does Not Make Sense To Buy Direct From The Homeowner

P: terencetait.ca

P: terencetait.ca

When searching for a home you are going to come across For Sale By Owner properties, either while looking online or driving through a neighborhood you’d like to live in. You may think that buying direct from a seller should be much simpler than involving real estate agents, but FSBOs offer their own set of challenges.

Before you take the plunge into purchasing direct from the Homeowner there are a few factors to consider:

  1. The Homeowner is not required to disclose any information that is not in their best interest. They may have immediate answers to all of your questions but they do not need to be held accountable for any misinformation or “fluffing” of the facts.
  1. Homeowners who are selling on their own have lots of time on their hands. They are in no rush to sell and will hold out for the highest price possible, even if it means waiting two or three years.
  1. The Homeowners typically overprice their property. They are not saving you any money. They are saving themselves a fee for service that Realtors charge for selling the house and adding it to their side of the transaction. Many buyers fall in love with the “by owner” and are willing to overpay for the property.
  1. You will feel pressured not to give the Homeowner accurate feedback about the property. Homeowners will try to convince you that their house is the best ever. They will take you through every nook and cranny to show the value of their house. It just isn’t human nature to give a truthful opinion to a Homeowner.
  1. You never know if the Homeowner is really interested in accepting your offer. Many will tell you they have “another interested party” or an “out-of-state buyer” that is chomping at the bit to buy their property.
  1. The best properties are listed with a Realtor who has taken the time to make sure all of the proper Seller Property Disclosures and inspections are in order.

With so many drawbacks to buying direct from a homeowner, it makes sense for buyers to focus on homes sold by agents. As a buyer it only benefits you to have a Buyer’s Agent (read our previous post on Why Do I Need A Buyer’s Agent) who will walk you through the entire purchase process from putting in an offer to closing – and make sure that you are getting the best value for your money.

Rebate Agent Vs. Traditional Realtor

Rebate real estate brokerages have been gaining in popularity in the past few years with offers of money back at closing or charging a lesser flat fee rather than traditional brokerage commission rates.

So why would you want to pay more for the services of a traditional Realtor when there’s a company offering to do the same amount of work at a discount? Simply put – you get what you pay for! When you hire someone to do a job for half the cost or a straight fee instead of what they would traditionally make, you receive a different level of experience.

What can this different experience level mean for you?

  • Your home priced incorrectly – too high or too low
  • Low-level marketing skills and budget
  • Weak negotiating skills with offers or the purchase contract
  • Not available around the clock

These things can end up costing you money … more money than you thought you were saving by choosing a rebate agent.

Another disadvantage – rebate real estate brokerages rely on a high volume to stay in business, and have a high rate of expired listings that eventually end up with a Realtor at a traditional brokerage.

P: Shutterstock

P: Shutterstock

In the end, the decision is yours – what type of real estate selling experience do you want? With The Weaver Team you can expect a high level of personalized service backed by years of experience marketing properties, accurately pricing homes, and negotiating contracts.

Why Do I Need A Buyer’s Agent?

P: Chicago Agent Magazine

P: Chicago Agent Magazine

You’ve been searching for homes online for months, browsing through hundreds of photos, reading about features and amenities, and narrowing down your favorites. So why do you need a buyer’s agent? An agent is no longer the keeper of the listings, but rather your guide through the home buying process, master negotiator, and voice of reason. While you may be able Google anything you’d like to know about buying a home, there is no substitute for the experience and knowledge that a licensed agent offers.

Here’s a shocker – not all of the info you find on the Internet is true or accurate! Especially when it comes to home estimates, the most popular being real estate site Zillow’s Zestimates. A recent LA Times article stated that “nationwide Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8%.” An experienced agent will know the local real estate market and will be able to determine the market value of a home for you.

Just as you can’t believe everything you read, don’t believe everything you see. Online listing photos are taken in a way to paint the property in the best light, which is why it’s beneficial to go and look at homes with a buyer’s agent who has your best interest in mind. When you tour a home with your agent, he/she can point out features that are upgrades or are not common in the price range. Your agent can also compare the house you are viewing to homes that he/she has personally toured or sold in the area. You will gain insight into how one house compares to other houses in the same price range and neighborhood or county.

Do you know how much paperwork is involved in the purchase of a property? A lot. Luckily your buyer’s agent will handle it all for you – he/she will write up an offer to include all the necessary contingencies and will deal with the seller’s agent directly so you don’t have to.

P: iStock

P: iStock

Once an offer is accepted, your agent will keep you on track to make sure you hit all necessary deadlines. If there are any issues found in the inspection, your agent will advise you on what requests are reasonable and will negotiate the problems with the seller. In addition, if any problems arise with the appraisal or financing, your agent will be able to give objective, professional advice to resolve issues and move the transaction to closing.

Buying a home is a major life event and is most likely the biggest financial transaction you will ever have to navigate. Having a buyer’s agent to guide you through the process will not only save you time, but will give you much needed piece of mind. And with the seller paying the agents’ commissions, what’s there to lose on your end?