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I am a member of a very active message board in my area. This morning I have been involved in a conversation about the current state of the market. I realize this information should be broadcast far and wide. I sincerely hope that the information provided below will be educational and helpful. This post might seem a bit deconstructed or informal. I am simply posting my response to questions asked on the board. However, the information is still relevant in it's current form. If I can help you in any way, please call me today.
The media is filled with stories about how bad the housing market is. While it is true the market is slow, this is a GREAT time to buy. We are experiencing low rates and low prices. That's unusual. I have a buyer under contract right now that will have $65k in instant equity when he closes next week. Yes, he purchased a foreclosure, no it is not a money pit, in fact with a coat of paint on the walls to freshen it, some appliances and lighting and the house will be move in ready. He'll do it all for less than $5k. That's a deal if I ever heard one.
I wish everyone would turn off the TV and put down the newspaper. The Atlanta metro market was down just 10% in 2007. That's not bad, not great, but hardly the end of the world. Look at it as an opportunity to invest. With any investment you want to buy low and sell high. Think of the home purchase this way. You can definitely buy low right now. I have been able to negotiate an average of $25k off list price for my clients. That's my experience, other agents may be seeing the same or similar.
Sellers, hang in there, your day is coming. If you look at the past five years of the market, things were really good for both buyers and sellers but definitely sellers had a more advantageous position. The market was flying high and had nowhere to go but down. It's a cycle. Your time will come around again.
If you are thinking of buying or selling, my best advice is to contact an agent. Interview at least three and choose the best fit for you. Keeping in mind the best fit is comprised of several factors.
Value: How much marketing are you getting for the price? What is most valuable to you when working with an agent?
Experience: Less is sometimes more. That's right, a lot of newer agents (1-2 years in business)are often more eager than an agent with years of experience, keeping in mind all agents have the same licensing and continuing education requirements.
Personality: Do you "click" with the agent? If you are not comfortable with an agent's demeanor, no matter how well they sound on paper, I would recommend you choose the agent that feel most comfortable inviting into your home. Selling a house is not a singular event. Your relationship with your agent should take on a familial feel. If you wouldn't invite your agent over for coffee, he or she is not the one to hire.
I hope you have found this information helpful. While I pride myself on being an authority on the subject, there is a large pool of good agents in your area. I recommend if you have questions, call an agent today.
And part two of the conversation
[quote name='GC' date='Feb 22 2008, 08:46 AM' post='1842611'] You really should have an agent who is familiar with the area in which you're looking. You don't want an agent from Dallas if you're looking in Douglasville, or an agent from East Cobb if you're looking in Paulding. [/quote]
That's true to a degree. But I can assure you that even if an agent's office is located in East Cobb, I bet you dollars to doughnuts that agent knows multiple areas. Most agents are familiar with Metro Atlanta. I sell houses as far away as Lawrenceville and Stone Mountain as well as houses right down the street from my home. Of course I am Atlanta native and I do have an advantage in being so. Also, with technology being what it is, agents can familiarize themselves with areas that might be unfamiliar with a few clicks of the mouse. All you really need to know are market price statistics in a specific area. Fair housing laws would prevent an agent from stating much more.
[quote name='GC' date='Feb 22 2008, 08:46 AM' post='1842611'] There are many, many, MANY excellent agents out there. As with any industry, there are a few bad apples. Talk to at least three agents before having them help you find a house. If you can't work with them, you can't get the best representation from them.[/quote]
I can't say it better than that.
[quote name='GC' date='Feb 22 2008, 08:46 AM' post='1842611'] And above all, never call the agent who has the listing on the house you're interested in. Some agents will do handle dual agency (where they represent both the buyer and the seller) and even when they do, it really isn't in your best interest to do so. The listing agent works for the seller and you need an agent who will work FOR you and only you. [/quote]
Let's be careful. There is no harm in calling the listing agent. In fact, that's really your best option on a house you are interested in seeing, IF you are not already working with a buyer's agent. Dual Agency is a sticky situation. It is still legal in Georgia and there are agents that continue to practice dual agency. Dual agency is a bad idea in my opinion. Yes I could collect both sides of the commission if I represent the seller and the buyer; however, there is no amount of commission in the world that would make me want to do that. It is philosophically impossible to represent two parties equally in the same transaction. It is of no value to either party to have that type of representation. While it is still legal in the state, most brokers no longer allow dual agency to be practiced by their agents.
If I receive a sign call from an unrepresented buyer and they decide to write an offer on that listing, I am very careful to explain the agency options available to them. I explain the benefits of choosing an agent on their own, designated agency (referral from me to another agent), or remaining unrepresented. I do not recommend buyers purchase unrepresented. While commission is negotiable as to which side pays, in 99.9% of transactions the seller will pay the agreed upon commission. Buyers, get representation. You can do that by calling the listing agent on the sign. Do not be afraid to do that. No matter what, the ball is still in your court and you may choose the type of representation that best suits you. Often the listing agent is in a good position to advise you.
The other side of that equation is the ability of agent to convert a sign call to a buyer client. If a buyer calls off of my sign, and they are unrepresented they are a potential new client for me. I will always show them the listing they called on if they want to see it. I will always, give them a respectable pitch for that listing, after all I do want to sell that listing. However, that listing may not fit their needs completely. In that case, I am within my right to solicit that buyer to become my client. That's how we make our money. We list homes, we find buyers and we negotiate and close deals. At the end of the day it is business, and the way I feed my family. I promise you most agents are ethical, and will do the right thing.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.