C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog

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Searching For A Home (Buyer's Brokerage)

Searching for a home can be the cause of a lot of stress for buyers who are unprepared for the realities of the process. I spend a lot of time on-line researching housing trends, building records and permits, certificates of occupancy, market value history, liens, taxes, school districts, crime rates and recreational activities based upon targeted areas my clients express an interest in. I own and maintain multiple websites to make the selection process interesting and help the public start their buying and selling research. I also spend a lot of time jogging and blogging, hanging out in social media and being pretty transparent about a lot of issues.

I do this because I am a Buyer's Agent. My business model is 70% Buyer Agency, 15% Listing Agent, 15% Rental Agent. A buyer’s agent is an agent who is engaged by a buyer to represent the buyer’s best interest. I am going to quote the department of state on what I do: "...negotiating the purchase of a home at a price and on terms acceptable to the buyer. A buyer’s agent has, without limitation, the following fiduciary duties to the buyer: reasonable care, undivided loyalty, confidentiality, full disclosure, obedience and duty to account. A buyer’s agent does not represent the interest of the seller. The obligations of a buyer’s agent are also subject to any specific provisions set forth in an agreement between the agent and the buyer. In dealings with the seller, a buyer’s agent should (a) exercise reasonable skill and care in performance of the agent’s duties; (b) deal honestly, fairly and in good faith; and (c) disclose all facts known to the agent materially affecting the buyer’s ability and/or willingness to perform a contract to acquire seller’s property that are not inconsistent with the agent’s fiduciary duties to the buyer."

You may think because you don't know anyone who has ever used one before that you don't need me, however I beg to differ on that matter because the seller was smart enough to engage a listing agent for their home. That listing agent is going to get as much money for the seller as possible because that is their job. My job, as a Buyer's Broker, is to negotiate to save you money and/or come to an equitable agreement on the matter after researching the property and providing you with enough information to make an informed decision.

Some buyers are very good at conducting this type of research on their own while others have no idea how to download their e-mail, set up a RSS feed, bookmark research pages, manipulate search engines, etc... Some people have no idea where the buildings department is. Some people have never been to the county clerk or finance department. Most people have never laid eyes on a certificate of occupancy and do not understand the significance of one. Point is, as a Buyer's Broker I get all types of personalities and persuasions who leave me very interesting questions via voice messages and e-mails to follow up with a response because they honestly don't know where to start, what they need or what to look for. They only know they want to see the property with the for sale sign and wonder how much they are asking for it...

Here's a fun fact: Most listing agreements with the seller have a commission split set aside for the buyer's agent because the smart seller is assuming you have already engaged a professional to negotiate on your behalf and they have factored in the payment because they expect someone to bring a buyer and negotiate for their home.

Think you can't afford me? Think again, my friend. The seller expects to see someone like me. They know if I show up your paperwork is done and you are a qualified purchaser. If you are a buyer you are doing yourself a disservice by not engaging the broker of your choice to represent your best interests. Here's something else you also need to take notice of:

"Now is the time to buy," is a manta you are all familiar with, but what if it isn't a mantra, what if it is true? Interest rates are currently  5, 5.5, 5.75, 6 and 6.25%. In January, some of my clients were lucky to lock in at 4.5%. Every week the rates fluctuate so if you are sitting around thinking you have to wait for an announcement of some miracle lowering, you are doing yourself a disservice right now. Negotiate your rates from where you are in reality and stop speculating. Credit scores and debt ratios will always sway the final numbers, so if you are serious about buying a home, go to the lender or mortgage broker of your choice and get pre-approved.

If you are not pre-approved for a mortgage you are not a buyer, you are a looky-lou thinking about the possibility of investing in a home. There is nothing wrong with being a looky-lou who may turn into a prospect, then a customer, then a client. That is the normal progression, however, you need to understand that without a mortgage in place (or all Cash) you are not a buyer. You have no idea what your spending cap is, or even if you can purchase a home because your credit has not been run, your debt ratio analyzed,  your W2s, pay-stubs and other documentation including proof of funds required to complete your pending transaction has not been collected and assembled into your power package.

Buyers have power. They move the market. Having your paperwork in place means you get to make powerful decisions. Committing to spend six figures (or more) is not a game, it is serious business affecting a lot of people because it takes a team of people to make your dreams come true. All dreams of home-ownership start with you. Are you shopping with representation, a checkbook and a blank binder, ready to make an offer or are you day dreaming about one day while the reasonable homes on the market are being snapped up left and right because of the downturn and glut of inventory?

In case you didn't notice, homes are still selling across the country and everyone is not a distressed property owner waving a mythological bargain-basement-burning-flag of .50 cents on the dollar advertisement. May I introduce you to the NYS Home Equity Thef Prevention Act?

82% of a home's equity as a first offer is a decent point to start negotiating from. If you do not want to start there, do not bother to call me. I am not the broker you want.

There are lovely properties for sale where the sellers are not upside down in their mortgages with equity to be had. You do not need a short sale or foreclosure to make an excellent buy, you just need to be educated on what it is you are actually purchasing. Each property is unique and no two houses will ever be exactly alike the moment two families move in and make it their own.

What are you willing to do to make your dreams come true?

 

 

 

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Comment balloon 8 commentsC Tann-Starr • February 14 2009 08:27AM

Comments

Great tips and advice here.  Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Melody Botting, You Deserve The Best (Broker Associate PenFed Realty) almost 12 years ago

Carolyn, Don't you just tell it like it is! And the end result will be only ready, willing, and able buyers at your doorstep.Very well written, as usual. Happy Valentine's Day.

Posted by Barb Szabo, CRS, E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes (RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio) almost 12 years ago

Thank you, Melodious. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Hi Barb! Happy Valentine's Day to you as well! Thank you for the kind words, they are very much appreciated. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Carolyn, buyer's agents are like gold, for buyers who get it. You have very much laid out their value here. Happy Valentine's Day C.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) almost 12 years ago

Thank you, Gary. Happy Valentine's Day to you too, sweetie. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Hey C, Very well written, I would hire you in a minute! Looks like you have been up pretty early getting some blogging done. I hope this is a sign that you are going to be taking some time to enjoy the day.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Posted by Teresa Harris, Denver . Lake Norman . Charlotte (Lake Real Estate, LLC) almost 12 years ago

Happy Valentines Day to you too, sweetie. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

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