Curated from https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/what-happens-if-i-view-a-home-without-a-buying-agent/?iid=rdc_news_hp_carousel_theLatest
After searching through pages of online listings, you've compiled a master list of every open house you're interested in touring. You're ready to start attending open houses, but you don't have a buyer's agent—aka someone to represent your best interests every step of the way. Is that a problem? A buyer's agent will help you navigate the process of buying a house, but do you need to hire one to actually tour the houses you're interested in?
The short answer is that it's not absolutely essential from the very start, but it's a good idea to hook up with a buyer's agent as soon as possible. A buyer's agent's job is to assist home buyers in all matters during the journey of buying a house, including finding the right property, negotiating the offer, and even dispensing advice if problems arise during escrow.
"They should guide you through the entire process," says Ryan Hardy, a broker with Gold Coast Realty in Chicago. "A buyer's agent's job is to make sure you're getting a fair price, and nothing is being overlooked."
Do you need a buyer's agent to view an open house?While most real estate agents recommend you call and book with them ahead of time, they're used to people coming to them with a list of houses they're interested in and calling later to set up an appointment.
If you're already working with an agent, you don't have an obligation to call him or her up to tell them you have checked out a house, but it's a good idea to do so, says Hardy. "It's best to keep them informed, so they can do their job effectively."
If you have one on speed dial already, give him or her a call, to let them know you've found a place. They can start making inquiries. If you don't, ask around—friends can typically recommend someone they trust who has helped them.
What happens if you view a home without a buyer's agent?There may be a listing agent on the premises, especially if it's an open house. But experts say you should still seek out your own representation. If you attended the open house without a buyer's agent, you might feel obligated to contact the listing agent, but it's common practice for buyers to have their own agent representing them.
"You aren't required to use the real estate agent who was hosting the open house," says Deb Tomaro, a broker associate with RE/MAX Acclaimed Properties in Bloomington, IN. In fact, Tomaro recommends that buyers always find their own agent, because it's not up to a seller's agent to represent your interests.
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"The name on the sign in front of the house you like represents the seller," she says. "They have taken an oath to represent that person's best interests. They cannot lie to you, but they also aren't necessarily able to 'fight' for you, because they can't fight for the buyer and still represent the seller's best interests."
"The real estate market is based on cooperation between realtors," Hardy explains. "Buyer's agents and seller's agents work together, no matter what company or brokerage they work for."
Jeanne Sager has strung words together for the New York Times, Vice, and more. She writes and photographs people from her home in upstate New York.
Martin Foster | 847-284-6166 | Soldbyfoster@gmail.com
Curated from http://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/things-to-never-do-when-buying-home/?iid=rdc_news_hp_carousel_theLatest
Buying a home is exciting and terrifying. After all, this is the biggest financial move most people ever make. As such, there's a lot of room for error, and even tiny mistakes can translate to tens of thousands of dollars.
The lesson here: Even the most intrepid home buyer should get some guidance not only on what to do, but also what not to do. Look no further than this list, which highlights the most common mistakes buyers make so you can avoid the same fate.
1. Don't shop for homes without an agent
By all means, start out by looking online at pictures of pretty houses—the more the better. It's a vastly useful way to get the lay of the land. But when it comes time to get serious about buying a house, you should find a professional to help you out.
Think of a buyer’s agent as a fairy godparent who’s here to turn your homeownership dreams into reality. This person will guide you through every step of the home-buying process—from finding the right property and writing a winning offer to negotiating home inspection repairs and sailing through to closing.
“You want an advocate who is going to look out for your best interests in the transaction,” says Bellevue, WA, real estate agent Holly Gray.
2. Don't meet with just one mortgage lender
Once you’ve found a real estate agent, your next step should be to get pre-approved for a home loan. To do that, you’ll have to meet with a mortgage lender and provide a good amount of paperwork, including two years of W-2 forms, two years of tax returns, and proof of funds for the down payment (among other documents).
That mountain of forms is one of the things that prompts many to meet with only one lender, says Richard Redmond, mortgage broker at All California Mortgage in Larkspur and author of “Mortgages: The Insider's Guide.” That's a potentially big mistake!
Redmond recommends getting at least three quotes from different lenders so that you can survey your options and find the best loan for you. If you don’t feel like doing the legwork of shopping around yourself, you can use a mortgage broker—basically an intermediary who presents you with options from a variety of lenders. The caveat is that you'll likely have to pay a broker's fee for the person's service (usually 1% to 2% of the total of the loan).
3. Don't understate your budget
It might sound strange, but a number of home buyers make the mistake of hiding their true budget from their real estate agent.
“Some people are afraid that their agent is going to make them buy the most expensive house that they can afford, so they understate their price range,” says Daniel Gyomory, a real estate agent in Northville, MI.
However, if you're not upfront with your agent about your price range, you might miss out on a great house.
“If you tell me your budget is $300,000 maximum but you’re actually willing to pay $400,000, I may not send you listings that could actually be a good fit for you,” Gyomory explains.
4. Don't hold out for the 'perfect' house
People throw around the words “dream home” a lot. (Heck, we’re guilty of it.) However, here's the not-so-harsh truth: “There’s no such thing as a perfect house,” says Gyomory. And that's why he has clients create a list of “musts” and “wants” to identify their criteria and focus on what really matters to them.
5. Don't make ridiculously lowball offers
You obviously want to get a bargain, but you could lose out on a home that you love by making an absurdly low offer. In fact, a recent survey from Inman found that 15% of real estate agents say the third-largest mistake people make when buying a home is offering too little for a property (that’s behind not talking to a lender first and waiting too long to make an offer).
“When you overlook market data and make a lowball offer, you’re pretty much slapping the seller in the face,” says Gyomory. And if you offend the seller, the person might not even be willing to make you a counteroffer.
Bottom line: Trust your agent to help you assess the value of a house and write a winning offer, says Karen Elmir, a luxury real estate agent in Miami.
6. Don't forget to budget for closing costs
The home seller will chip in some money at settlement; however, as the home buyer, you have the (unfortunate) pleasure of shouldering the lion’s share of the closing costs. Your mortgage lender should be able to give you a rough estimate of your closing costs once a seller accepts your offer, but as a rule you can estimate that they typically total 2% to 7% of the home's purchase price. So on a $250,000 home, your closing costs would amount to anywhere from $5,000 to $17,500.
7. Don't make big purchases before you close
Once you have found the right house and get the seller to accept your offer, your loan still needs to go through underwriting in order for you to obtain the mortgage. One thing underwriters do is look at your credit score from the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—to make sure your credit hasn’t changed since you were pre-approved.
Therefore, you'll want to avoid taking on any new debt while you’re in the process of buying a house. Purchasing a car with an auto loan or maxing out your credit cards, for example, could hurt your credit score, which could potentially raise your loan’s interest rate or—in the worst case—get your mortgage application rejected. (In other words: Bye-bye, new house.)
Daniel Bortz is a Realtor in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, who has written for Money magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, CNNMoney, and more.
Martin Foster | 847-284-6166 | Soldbyfoster@gmail.com
There are many things to consider when you are selling your home. We'll go over some of my recommended topics to go over before listing your home. First, Here are some questions you should discuss with your family before signing a listing agreement.
I advise my sellers to make their home as neutral as possible. That means taking down your lovely family photos, all those magnets and To-do lists on the refrigerator, etc. It has to be done. Why, you might ask. It's simple. You will want the prospective buyers that are viewing your home to feel "At Home". It is rather difficult when they see your happy family on the wall with Fido. Home buying is a very emotional process. Let's make the new buyer feel like it is their home.
Marketing. Make sure your agent is going to take a substantial amount of beautiful photos to showcase your home. If the photos are sub par or very few, that won't generate much interest to visit your home. You know? Keep in mind, there are likely hundreds of homes in your area that you will be competing with to find that "Perfect" buyer. It's 2017, and an advanced agent like myself, uses the technology available. Let's start with High Definition Video. This has replaced the Virtual tours. There is only so much a buyer can see while looking at the (beautiful) photos. Video will give them a sense of the layout. There's also social media, we can't forget that.
Finding a qualified buyer.
This is important. We're hoping that the buyer's agent that shows your home, will be bringing a pre-approved buyer. Let's fast forward to you signing a contract with a buyer that has offered you an acceptable price and contract terms. It is important for your agent to verify that the buyer is in fact pre approved. Check with the lender if the letter is still valid, whether the buyer has a home to sell first, and if there are any items on their credit they need to correct. It is also important to not accept a price that is much higher than comparable properties, if it is too high, it might not appraise. Therefore, the buyer might not get loan approval if your home does not appraise for the contract price.
Pricing your home to sell
We all want you to get as much money as possible. Pricing your home is one of the most crucial aspects of selling a home. There's an art to balancing the pricing. We don't want to list it too low, because then you will get less money right? We also don't want to price it too high, because then you will get less money. Wait....what? Yes, pricing your home too high, above current market value, may lead to selling for even less than you could've in the beginning! It's true! Homes get the most activity in the first 30 days on the market, I even believe that the first two weeks are the most important. If you price your home too high, it will likely sit on the market for too long. When a home is on the market for an extended period of time, buyers tend to think there is something wrong with it and no one wants it. This gives them a negotiation edge. Working with your Realtor on strategic pricing will help you Win. We all like to win.
There are many things to consider when selling your home. Choosing the right agent, a marketing strategy, fixing your home, being inconvenienced, finding a new home, pricing, negotiation, etc. Don't forget, make sure any defects in your home are disclosed to the buyer before a contract. These could include foundation issues, water problems, electrical, plumbing, property easements, tax increases, fire history, and many other things. These are some of the important issues that a great agent will guide you through.
Any other questions? Please feel free to call me at 847.284.6166
Foster Group Real Estate, LLC
Martin Foster | 847-284-6166 | Soldbyfoster@gmail.com
After Christmas, many people put the empty boxes their expensive gifts came in out on the curb. What do you think that says to potential burglars? It screams, “I just got a brand-new TV! Come and rob me!”That’s just one example of some unwise habits homeowners have. If those owners are sellers opening their doors to the public for showings, habits such as these put them in even greater danger. The above example is a good warning to give to your clients now, since we’re in the holiday season. But use it as a jumping-off point to have a deeper conversation about safety — and to show that your safety knowledge is an asset to sellers.
Consider using this checklist (you can request it as a customer handout on my website) during listing appointments to better prepare prospective sellers and show your value as a real estate professional. We spend a lot of time telling sellers how we’ll market their home, and while that is obviously important, we rarely address their true concern: how to keep their home safe while it’s open to the public. Touch on these 10 anti-burglary tips so your clients will know that you have their best interest at heart.
National Snapshot of Burglaries
A burglary is committed every 20 seconds, with nearly 1.6 million such crimes nationwide annually, according to the FBI’s 2015 Crime in the United States report. That’s down 7.8 percent from 2014. Total property crime, which includes arson, larceny theft, and motor vehicle theft, reached nearly 8 million instances in 2015, down 2.6 percent from 2014.
When your clients are opening their doors to the public for showings, they need to take extra precautions. Share these suggestions to help them keep their belongings safe.
December 2016 | By Tracey Hawkins
Via: Realtor Mag
Thinking of buying a home? Consider this
Buying a home for the first time is one of the most critical decisions you will ever make. It is like gambling; you can win or lose a good deal. But here are a few facts that you can look before buying your first home that can help you in making a calculated decision.
The factors that influence the decision to buy a home vary from case to case. Some have extra money that they want to invest, while some are looking for a place to live in. Whatever your case may be, there are a few tips to select the best time of the year that will help you find a house in cheapest price.
If there are no pressing needs or pressure to buy a home urgently, the best time of the year to buy a home is during the Winter. Winters are a difficult time to maintain a home due to the harshness of the weather. Furthermore, winter is the holiday season, people want to spend time with their families and there is less probability that a potential seller will get a decent buyer at that time of the year. Your offer can get more attention when the competition is least.
Here are a few tips.
Lay special emphasis on the following points in a pre-buy inspection:
So you're ready to buy a house. Now what do you do?
There is so much involved in the home buying process. It's very important to work with an agent that understands the process and is willing and able to guide you through it. Your agent should be able to answer any questions that you may have and be able to help you get prepared for what could happen during a purchase. What could happen? Well, there are often many complications in a home purchase. These could be involving home inspection issues, contract terms, financing, legal issues, etc. Many times, these issues can be corrected. It is important for your agent to be able to help you navigate anything during a home purchase.
Now let's get started. You know what areas you want to live, you have an idea of what type of house you would like, and you know what monthly payment you would be comfortable with. Reach out to your agent and give them as many details as possible regarding what your ideal home would be. Then your agent can advise you on what homes are available matching your needs and help you with your expectations. The agent can set up a search for you directly in the MLS. This is often the most accurate search, since other real estate websites pull their data from the MLS (multiple listing service).
You might be curious about what type of mortgage you would qualify for. What price can you go up to? What type of mortgage would best fit your needs (conventional, FHA, VA, etc)? What's the interest rate? What are my costs for the mortgage? These are all questions that an exceptional mortgage professional can answer. Call a mortgage pro and start the pre approval process (the majority of it can usually be done quickly over the phone).
Great! Now you're pre approved through your mortgage professional! Now that you and your agent know what type of house you want & your pre approved, it's time to go visit some available homes for sale. While you are visiting properties, take notes and ask questions. When you find the home that you love, you will prepare an offer with your agent.
Congrats! After negotiations between your agent and the seller's agent, your offer has been accepted by the seller. Now it's time to schedule a home inspection & forward the contract to the real estate attorney that you have selected to represent you. You will also send the agreed earnest money to the listing office or attorney. In Illinois, there are usually 5 business day to schedule an inspection and for your attorney to review the contract and request any modification. Then there is an additional 5 business days to resolve any Inspection/Attorney review issues, if any.
Once the mortgage process is completed, title work is done, inspection items are corrected, any village inspections are done, transfer stamps paid, etc. Your mortgage professional will issue a "Clear to Close" and the attorneys will schedule the closing. Then you will do a final walk through with your agent right before the closing. At the closing table, you will sign about a million documents (Just Kidding). Now that everything is signed, funds have transferred to the seller, and title company approves...
You get the keys!!! ....And maybe pop champagne with your agent. :)