Ask the Expert!
Recently, our team ran a poll of our social media followers and current/past clients to ask what questions they had regarding real estate and buying or selling property. We wanted to get a feel for what most people don’t know about the industry, whether or not they have sold or bought property themselves. We have answered the most common ones below.
Q: At the last several open houses we’ve attended, the Realtor© has asked for our contact information. Why do they do this?
First off, in addition to asking for your name and phone or email, the most important question they should be asking is whether or not you are already working with another Realtor©! Because if you are, ethical guidelines are in place to prevent them from soliciting your business. Agents who use open houses as an opportunity to pilfer other agents’ clients quickly gain a reputation in the professional community. If you are not working with someone, they are asking so they can follow up with you after the open house to gauge your interest or see if they can help you find a similar property. Agents with integrity will NOT sell or give your contact info to outside parties.
Q: A Realtor© we were referred to when we wanted to purchase wouldn’t work with us without a pre-approval for a mortgage. We weren’t comfortable getting one yet, so who was in the right?
Well, neither of you was in the wrong, let’s put it that way. Many professional Realtors© have spent quite a bit of time writing offers that were either rejected because they had no pre-approval, or the offers were accepted and the deals fell through because the buyers weren’t qualified for a mortgage. Because of this, some will not sign contracts or show homes to people without a pre-approval letter. Also, in busy markets some homes can have multiple offers, and those who are pre-approved will have better consideration because sellers know there is less of a chance the deals will fall through. Getting a pre-approval is also a “soft” hit on your credit report, meaning you will not suffer by obtaining one or shopping around.
Q: We have been shopping for a home for 11 months now, and have had 8 offers in a row rejected. What are we doing wrong?
It’s tough to say without knowing your specific market and what you have been offering, but generally speaking it is one of three things: your price isn’t competitive, you’re asking for too much in your terms, or you simply have terrible timing. Since there isn’t much we can do about timing- focus on what you can change. Research the area and neighborhood, perhaps request a market analysis from your agent. This will help guide you on appropriate pricing and offers. Be fair and reasonable when asking for seller concessions, appliances, and fixtures to come along with your sale. Keeping the kitchen appliances and washer/dryer is reasonable, asking for the antique furniture may not be. Asking the seller to contribute toward your closing costs is reasonable, asking them to pay your entire down payment may not be. Selling a home is a situation in which both parties need to feel like they’re benefitting from the negotiation, keep that in mind no matter which side you find yourself on.
Q: What’s the harm in buying a For Sale By Owner?
There is no harm inherent in doing so, however there are precautions to take when buying a home this way. Make sure you are reading the details and restrictions of every contract you sign relating to the purchase. People who are real estate investors or have purchased several properties in the past will have fewer issues with a FSBO, it is highly recommended that first time buyers use a professional agent. After all, the advantage to a FSBO is to the seller, in that they don’t have to pay commission on the sale. Many buyers also do not realize that in most cases, an experienced agent can negotiate with the sellers of the property to represent the buying party in the sale even if there is no listing agent.