FSBO’s Versus Hiring a Real Estate Agent: Pros And Cons

When someone decides, it’s an appropriate time, to sell their home, they face many relevant decisions. One of the principal ones, is, whether to try to sell it, themselves, in a process, referred to, as For Sale, By Owner, or FSBO, or to hire a licensed, professional, real estate agent, to represent them. Obviously, having been a Real Estate Licensed Salesperson, for over a decade, I have a somewhat, biased, perspective, but, this article, will attempt to briefly examine, and consider, both the advantages and disadvantages, of proceeding, in either direction. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly examine, consider, and discuss, the pros and cons of both possibilities.

1. For sale, by owner (FSBO): When one decides, to try to sell his home, by himself, he often, does so, because he believes, he will net more money, because he won’t have to pay a commission. However, it’s important to understand, realize, and recognize, when one, takes this option, he must do all the work, including the marketing, advertising, showing the house, keeping appointments, overseeing and coordination Open Houses, and coordinating all of the many necessities, and functions, of the real estate transaction, process. Because, most homeowners, are somewhat inexperienced, because selling and marketing real estate, is not their personal field of expertise, and they lack the network, etc, of potential buyers, etc, there are often fewer showings, and far fewer qualified, potential buyers. In addition, this do – it – yourself, way of marketing a home, means, a homeowner must be available to dedicate the time and energy, to accompany and show the home. Especially when one works, the opportunities become somewhat more limited, under these circumstances.

2. Hiring the right, real estate agent: When a homeowner hires the right, real estate professional, for his needs, etc, the agent takes care of many of the details, associated with selling and marketing the property! It’s important, however, to recognize, what one pays in commission, often matters, much less than, what he nets, from the sale of the home. Statistically, most studies indicate, homes sold through agents, net a higher selling price (even, after paying commission), than when one sells it, himself. A qualified agent should make certain objective observations and suggestions, in order to create better curb appeal, and show the house, to its best advantage. In addition, when a house, is easier, to show, the numbers, alone, often, create a situation, where it sells, more quickly, and at a better price. However, one of the other, relevant reasons, people hire agents, is the right one, will make the process, less stressful, and considerably more, hassle – free! They will be familiar with the legal, and transaction – related aspects of getting the house, sold!

When one selects the right real estate agent, the individual is there for his client, from the onset, all the way, through, to the end of the transaction process. He will introduce ways, to make this often – stressful period, far less so!

Everything A Real Estate Agent Doesn’t Want You To Know-Part 1

MONEY MATTERS

Are you planning on buying or selling a home? Maybe refinancing? Perhaps you’d just like to pick up a few tips on home buying, selling and mortgage borrowing-if so you may want keep track of Money Matters in the months ahead as I will be giving out all kinds of tips and insights as we approach the home buying-selling season. I will be discussing a wide variety of real estate and mortgage financing issues you should know (Things real estate agents don’t want you to know). Well, good agents won’t have a problem with you knowing this information but the part-timers and less ethical operators would certainly prefer you not know what I am going to share with you!

You see, buying or selling a home is the largest investment of a lifetime for most people and it is a BIG business deal…a transaction composed people, emotions, contracts and cash…all the ingredients for legal and financial pain if you don’t know what you are doing. Real estate agents earn a commission when a home is sold whether they are the listing agent, the selling agent or both. Real estate agents typically (and legally) represent sellers in a real estate transaction and not buyers. Yet, every day, homebuyers refer to the real estate agent as “my real estate agent”…they are not your real estate agent…they are the home seller’s agent and agents have a legal duty to get the best selling price for the seller. Further, anything you tell them can and probably will be used against you to extract a higher selling price out of the deal. Sellers on the other hand are often manipulated into signing long term listing contracts for up to a year by an agent who will simply throw the listing into the multiple listing service (MLS) and hope another agent sells the property for them.

For agents, the name of the game is to get listing contracts…a common slogan amongst real estate agents is: “if you don’t list, you don’t last”. Once an agent gets a listing contract from a home seller, they will get the bulk of the commission when the house is sold whether they sell it or another agent sells the home. Not many sellers know this fact and many are swooned into long term listing agreements with hopeful promise of selling their homes at the highest possible price only to find out they don’t. Agents will say and do most anything to get a listing contract shy of breaking the law. And the big question for home sellers is are you working with a part time or full time agent? What is their background in marketing and sales? Do you really want to sign a long term listing agreement with a part timer that has one toe in the tub and no business background? Were talking about a business deal right?

Whether you are buying a home or selling a home you should be clearly aware that you will enter into legally binding contracts and relying on mortgage lenders to provide financing for the project. The question then becomes; how much do you know about contract law and mortgage financing? What are the most important elements of a contract and how does that impact you as a buyer or seller? This series of articles is generally drawn from my E-Report (101 Real Estate Tips for homebuyers, sellers and money borrowers). The report is designed as a crash course to provide you the information you need to know to protect your legal and financial interests whether you are a homebuyer or seller. This series of articles will touch upon the information you should know to keep from making blatantly stupid mistakes that could hurt you legally and financially and we’ll try to have some fun in the process…

Which reminds me! If you would like to receive a FREE copy of my E-Report: 101 Tips For Homebuyers, Sellers And Money Borrowers, go to smart Books website, send us an email and requesting a copy and we’ll send it to your email address within 24 hours-absolutely free-Another Ezine Articles Exclusive! Don’t forget to say you saw it at Ezine! Stay tuned!

Copyright © 2006

James W. Hart, IV

All Rights reserved

Letters to Potential Clients From a Real Estate Agent – Tips for Writing Marketing Letters

Introducing yourself in person is pretty easy. You make eye contact, smile, and shake hands. You tell the other person your name, and he tells you his name. Pretty easy, right? But what if you need to introduce yourself and you can’t see the other person? One way you can tackle this problem is by writing a marketing letter.

Whether you are new to real estate or just new to the area, you’ll want to send out some letters and let everyone know you are in the area and ready to sell. You can also use marketing letters to entice people who had listings expire to relist with you.

You can trick people into opening your letter and not just tossing it straight into the recycling bin by using a key word. “Free”. As a late-night ad used to say, “Free is a very good price.” So let everyone know you have something free inside. It might be a fridge magnet, or a set of free energy-saving tips, or a pocket calendar.

Now that you have their attention, you need to give your reader an introduction to you. Tell her who you are, and why you are the home expert she should trust. Give some tips or useful information in your letter that will be of use to your reader. Perhaps this might be a fall-cleanup checklist or winter weatherization tips. If you are targeting an up and coming area, you might want to give a list of local merchants for people to get started frequenting.

If you get completely stuck and have the worst case of writer’s block, you can download free templates from the internet. They can be introduction letters, prospecting letters, expired listings letters, or new agent letters, just to name a few. These are useful to help you get started and trigger a thought trail. They’re also good if writing is not your strong suit, but you are great at the verbal deal. (Some of these sites offer templates to help you with your listings, too.)

Keep the letter simple. Overcomplicated or technical newsletters will just confuse your readers and make them toss it. That also means your name is not the one they will tuck in their dream home folder for when the time comes to buy.

It might seem obvious, but be sure you use a good spell checking program and a grammar checker if you are not strong in either. It only damages your reputation if you have errors that can be easily fixed by these programs.

Last, close with a call to action. It could be asking the reader to visit your website for more information or to subscribe to your newsletter or podcast. It might be a link to your Facebook page on which you have a coupon to a local merchant. Or you may have some DIY tips on your YouTube channel. Whatever it is, you want it to be a good reason to follow up, something that will be worth your reader’s time. And time these days is more valuable than ever.

Choosing a Realtor – Tips to Help You Choose a Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

Having a Hard Time Choosing a Realtor?

Choosing a Realtor when selling a house can get confusing and difficult especially taking into account the fact that there seems to be as many real estate agents trying to get your business as there are houses. Okay that may not be at all true but you get the picture.

There will be so many real estate agents promising you the stars whilst charging fees that vary wildly. One has to learn to pick the best one that not only will find you the buyer who is willing to purchase your house at the best price but also the one whom you can trust and work well with.

Follow These Tips to Choose a Realtor That Is Right For You

Always Ask For References – Don’t be so confident about your ability to judge a person’s character. If the agent is really good then ask him or her for references on recent sales. Contact those references and let them narrate to you their experience with the agent. Chances are if there are negative reviews, comments, or complaints about the Realtor then you would know about it soon enough. 

Cheaper Is Not Always Better – Do not always go for the real estate agent who charges the lowest commission. Realtors and real estate companies often shoulder the cost of listing and marketing your house to potential buyers. A huge pay-cut in commission may mean at the very least a listing in the open market but very little assistance and effort from the agent beyond that. Also, a relatively higher incentive will motivate your agent to drop everything and hurdle any challenges that may come his or her way. Simply put, you will get what you pay for.

Benefits Of Choosing Wisely – Another thing to consider is that in a selling transaction two real estate agents are often involved in every sale. Often times, it is a practice by the real estate agents to cede fees to the buyer’s agent. If commissions for your agent is tight then he or she might not be willing to cede fees to buyers’ agent thereby decreasing the chances of a completed sale.

Real Estate Agent Tips

Few felt the financially tragic effects of our economic collapse in a way similar to commission-based real estate agents. Many aim to endure the economic storm with hopes of brighter days to come; however, if agents ignore the market shifts, the sun may never shine again. Changes are many and all of different origin, some direct and others indirect; regardless, time to assess what has happened, forecasting what is to come. In doing so, agents will understand the new dynamics, increasing the ability to flourish in the new real estate climate.

Let’s begin with legislative changes and progress to shifts in consumer mentality. After reviewing both, we will analyze what adjustments in your approach to business are necessary to survival, and moreover, how to take profitable advantage of the situation. The financial overhaul bill (that passed through the senate on July 15th) carries with it a regulation preventing banks from acquiring Credit Default Swaps for mortgages. CDS’s are used to protect banks from default on loans. The protection once allowed banks to provide mortgages to more people with less risk. Next, the new Consumer Protection Financial Bureau will oversee mortgage bonds and examine banks. Our mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who are responsible for 90% of American mortgages, will undergo restructuring, including increased regulation. The government threatens to break apart companies of great size who influence bank lending in some fashion. Do not be misled by the apparent simplicity of these regulations, as the results carry deep influence, penetrating the entire economy.

Since 2007, the state of our economy has crippled and struck fear into the hearts of many Americans, stimulating action from our elected officials. Individuals superficially recognize the steps leading up to our economic misfortune, though a general lack of profound understanding blinds most from recognizing and predicting what such drastic changes will do to consumption spending in our real estate market. Also, there is a heightened fear of home purchase, as many of the players on the way to acquiring a mortgage have been exposed as untrustworthy. All things considered, mortgages will now be much harder to acquire, while Americans are hesitant to buy. The buyers market will be a mere fraction of its previous self.

The turmoil has left real estate sales people caught in limbo, expecting the market to pick up at any minute. However, these new regulations will prevent a quick pickup, regardless of low prices and interest rates. Furthermore, the liquidity in real estate will dissipate. Why? Limiting the actions of Fannie and Freddie constrain the secondary market of mortgages, diminishing a large portion of mortgage activity. Next, removing Credit Default Swaps will force banks to decline individuals who seek mortgage funding – the same individuals who, in the past, would not be concerned with potential rejection. Combined, the effects will reduce the number of loans available to the public AND eliminate the majority of house shoppers, leaving few people with the means, capacity, and willingness to purchase real estate. Regardless, many houses are for sale, and they will eventually be sold. Also, everyone needs a place to live, regardless of mortgage availability. Now that we, in general, see the current and future changes, it is time for my friends, the real estate agents, to capitalize.

Lets rationalize. Loans, for those who can get them, are very inexpensive thanks to the extremely low interest rates. Property is priced very low (thanks to lack of demand), though few can access enough cash to buy. I warn you, DO NOT just blindly expect the market to pick up naturally. Furthermore, when it does pick up, nothing will be the same.

Who are the future buyers?

Cash-rich individuals or companies with strong financial histories will dominate property purchase. The new regulations are designed with a common goal – eliminating risky mortgages to risky borrowers. Expect property purchase primarily from investors. More specifically, investors will dominate the market, as they have the cash to take advantage of low interest rates. Furthermore income property will dominate investment purchase. Investing to “flip” property will no longer be a profitable endeavor, as it will be difficult to find buyers to flip the house to, considering the reduction of the buyers market. Also, houses will trade hands less frequently, so the opportunity to consistently earn commission on sale may fade. Lastly, those unable to qualify for loan will likely become part of the renting population – income property will take over the market! Remember, it’s income property investors who will buy, and renting will increase. Use these forecasts to your advantage.

How to appeal to future buyers

The houses for sale now will eventually sell, though not often, as the loss of real estate liquidity will pit agents against one another in the battle for the dwindling number of listings. In addition, finding buyers will take more time, meaning greater delay between paychecks. Regardless, the easiest sale will be to income property investors.

I suggest situating yourself in an area with a strong renters market – housing statistics are available online for every U.S. city. Find cities close by with many renters. Personally, I suggest areas surrounding colleges and universities, as rental demand rarely declines. Highlight your property listings with the most desirable cash flows. You will serve yourself well to learn to value cash flows with varying rent and occupancy levels. Next, you should learn of the best options to acquire appropriate financing for buyers. The financing terms are critical to ensuring a profitable investment, and if you provide investors with all the info necessary to succeed, chances of sale will skyrocket.

Market your units/houses with detail regarding the cash flows: probable rent, average rent in the area, property taxes, HOA dues, capitalization rate (if done properly) etc. Also, investors are not always located in your area, so advertise online by making your own website and blog, cross promoting with other real estate blogs or investment websites.

Add new activity to your business

It is time to begin managing properties for your investors, for multiple reasons. Firstly, houses simply will not turn over at the rate they once did, leaving you with fewer commission opportunities. Secondly, if your primary clients are investors, the opportunity to manage the purchased property will likely present itself… frequently. Take advantage! With the added income from managed properties, no longer will you claw for sales, desperate for commission checks. Naturally, you will face added competition from real estate agents with the same idea, but provide a competitive advantage by streamlining your management business – use online software. Property management seemingly missed the technological revolution, stubbornly maintaining archaic methods of collecting payment and handling tenant relations. Lower your service fees with increased efficiency. Handle all tenant relations online, and manage your rentals from any locale. Live a good life!

This message is not intended as a means to relish in bad news; the intent is to provide a heads up to those agents still waiting for the old way of operation to suddenly click once again. New laws will not allow your business to operate as it once did, so stay ahead of the game, and take advantage of the recent and upcoming shifts in Planet Real Estate. Rentals, rentals, rentals! That’s what it’s all about now, so make sure to adjust your sales techniques and your daily activity, or be a casualty of this economic battle. This is not a guess or a wild attempt to predict the future – it’s the law. Heed my advice, and, again, live a good life.

Tips For Choosing a Real Estate Agent

If you are buying a home, choosing a real estate agent may be the most important decision you make. A good real estate agent can help ensure that you are notified of homes that meet all your criteria. A good agent will also answer your questions and will walk you through the buying process, which is an invaluable service for first-time homebuyers. Despite all this, most buyers choose their agent in a completely haphazard way, simply falling into a relationship with the first real estate agent they encounter. A much better strategy is to do some sleuthing to uncover the agent who will truly help you find that perfect property. You can find the right professional by:

1) Interviewing candidates. It may seem like a lot of work, but comparing different real estate agents from different agencies can quickly show you which agents you respond best to and which ones seem to offer the best service. Interviews also allow you to assess experience, education, and other factors important in a good real estate agent.

2) Checking qualifications and sales. Look for a real estate agent who has some experience and has been on the job long enough to have expertise in the area. Ideally, you want someone who has worked as an agent for years in the same area and has an impressive sales record. In every community, you will generally find a few agents who perform very well because they know what they are doing and are good at what they do. Look for these agents and check to make sure that no complaints have been filed about them with the State Board of Realtors.

3) Lining up personalities. Buying real estate is highly emotional, so it is important to find someone you are compatible with. Look for a real estate agent you can really communicate with. If your personalities do not match, you may feel that your real estate agent is not doing enough for you and your real estate agent may get frustrated that you are not placing any bids. Find someone that registers a high comfort level with you and you can avoid these problems.

4) Making sure that your real estate agent is creative. Your agent will use the Multiple Listing Service (M.L.S.) to find homes, but he or she should also use their knowledge, contacts and experience to find homes that match your needs. You don’t want someone who can simply run simplistic searches you can run yourself from home.

5) Ensuring that your agent knows the area. A real estate agent who knows the area where you hope to buy can help you understand what is available and at what prices.

6) Checking customer service before you enter into a relationship. Real estate agents are busy people, but they should still be able to offer you good care. Your phone calls should be returned, your concerns should be addressed and you should be able to contact your real estate agent when you need to. If your agent uses an assistant, you need to ensure that it is the real estate agent themselves who will handle all work with contracts as well as the closing. That is what you are paying your real estate agent for. Stay away from agents who seem distracted, disorganized, and are not able to interact with you personally. You may find that your home buying experience suffers with these sort of agents.

The good news is that there are plenty of terrific, highly qualified real estate agents out there. Now that you know what to look for, you can hunt them up and have superlative help when it is time for you to buy property.

Are You A New Real Estate Agent? Tips to Keep You Growing

Beginning a new career as a real estate agent can be stressful, overwhelming and sometimes even intimidating. There are so many things that happen all at once; brokerage classes, preparing marketing materials, drawing up a business plan, selecting vendors and more. Here a few real estate agent tips to help guide new agents like yourself through the beginning steps of becoming a successful agent.

1. It’s OK to Start Small.

When you’re new to any project, it’s tempting to daydream about what your future successful business will look like. Then you’ll want to spend thousands of dollars to get a high end website and blog, all the glossy advertising you can manage and any other costly gimmick you think will benefit your business. The trouble is hard work and advertising alone won’t make you successful. Just like any other business, cash flow is the most critical component to success in the start up years. 

Plan for success to take longer than you expect and give yourself a margin of error. Consider the less expensive options for your start up needs and gradually work your way up to the premium items you would like further down the road. Resist the urge to overextend your finances or you may find that all the great real estate tips on the web are no help as your brand new business sinks in red ink. 

2. Hire a Coach or Find a Knowledgeable Mentor.

Nothing can replace the value of actual hands on experience gained from sitting in on a listing presentation with a successful veteran. Watching and learning from an experienced agent is one of the most valuable real estate agent tips you can get if you re just starting out. Consider working as an assistant to someone you respect and admire. And learn how to model your own practice on theirs. This will save you countless hours of missteps and years of bad decisions made in ignorance.

It would be foolish for your first experience with a listing presentation to be one in which you are the presenter. Those opportunities are too scarce and far too competitive to waste on your inexperience. Find a reputable and longstanding professional and follow their lead.

3. Be Doing From Day One.

This is the most practical of today’s real estate agent tips. It’s so easy in the early phase to plan and dream of success rather than actually doing anything. But if you jump in and get hands on experience as soon as possible you will fair much better. Call your friends and family members and let them know you’re in the real estate business. They’ll want to work with you because of the relationship that already exists, and they can be a wealth of referrals. 

The fact is that calling is hard–even to people you know. The sooner you start making calls, the faster you’ll become comfortable with them.

Hopefully these top three real estate agent tips for new agents are helpful. There is much more in depth information out there, but keeping these three at the top of your priorities will certainly help guide you along the way.

Tips to Hire a Commercial Real Estate Agent

If you don’t want to handle your relocation project or commercial lease renewal yourself, you can go to a commercial real estate agent. All you have to do is choose the right professional for your needs. Given below are 6 things you may want to consider during your evaluation. Read on.

Likability

A relocation or lease renewal is similar to a construction project. The difference is that it takes a bit longer than expected. So, it’s a good idea to go with someone who you like. This way you will enjoy throughout your journey and the process of negotiation may also go well.

Trust

Make sure the professional agent that you are going to hire can be trusted. It may be difficult to find out who can be trusted but it can be done during the interview. By asking a few relevant questions during the interview, you can get a pretty good idea as if they are trustworthy or not.

Conflicts of Interest

What does a conflict occurs? Actually, the conflict may occur when you go with an agent who already is a representative of many property owners in the same area. Now, the agent wants to serve you despite that the fact that they have given their word to the property owners that they will find a way to earn them the highest rate of rent possible. So, you may want to get a clear idea of the conflict severity and its importance for you.

Experience

Experience of the agent is of utmost importance as far as choosing the best professional is concerned. Ideally, it’s a good idea to go with a commercial real estate agent who has over 10 years of experience in the field. Their grey hair may be a sign that they have been in this business for years. You can ask about their experience during the interview.

Age

Age of the professional should not be taken as an evidence of their experience in the field. The million dollar question is how long have they been actively involved in the business. You need to keep in mind that commercial real estate is on the list of those businesses that people do part time. So, make sure you choose a professional who has been working full time as an agent. What matters is experience not the age of the agent. After all, age is just a number.

Specialization

Typically agents specialize in two ways. They can do it by industry vertical or location. As far as importance is concerned, location specialization carries more weight. An agent with location specialization has a pretty good idea of what is happening in the market. They know about the best deals and best property owners. Aside from this, their negotiation style is pretty impressive.

Long story short, if you have been thinking of hiring the services of the best commercial real estate agent, we suggest that you take these factors into consideration. This will help you choose the best service provider.

Real Estate Training Guide – How to Become a Successful Real Estate Agent

Real estate training is essential for the people who want to become a successful real estate broker. It helps them to learn all about real estate business. Real estate business requires some time, some basic knowledge of the business and skill to perform all transactions. Real estate business will be one of the good carriers for a hard working person. Real estate training suggests them all the ways to achieve their goals.

License is the basic requirement to become a real estate agent. Even it is an essential thing to conduct real estate business. Real estate Internet is the best option to join real estate business. Some states provide online training courses that will help you to complete pre-license requirements. Before joining real estate business people should satisfy some pre-license requirements. They should; be of at least 19 years, be managed a proctored exam, have high school diploma or some equivalent to it, pass a state exam, have completed a least approved course.

Generally real estate training gives some guidelines to understand some real estate basics. They can easily learn about ownership transfer, real estate law and math with the help of real estate training. They are taught how to deal to with real estate transactions during their course. Real estate training enables them to understand the tips and tricks of the real estate contracts. People who want to join some state approved courses should have initial license.

Anyone can be a successful real estate agent after completing real estate training. They can run a successful business only if they have great professional habits, good salesmanship and the enthusiasm to learn more about real estate. Real estate business requires great working skill.

People can learn about real estate business with some related books. They can also join some online courses that provide information via Internet. Nowadays several people are making money in real estate business. Real estate brokers should be kind, knowledgeable, efficient as well as trustworthy. They should know the skill how to attract more customers. They can also take some suggestion from the experienced real estate agents.

Real estate business may be wonderful business but only thing that it requires -real estate training.

How to Find a Los Angeles Low Commission Real Estate Agent

Have you recently decided to sell your home? If you have sold a home before, you are likely to know the expenses associated with doing so. If you have never sold a home before then you are about to find out. That is unless you make the decision to obtain the services of a low commission real estate agent. Los Angeles residents have reported success with using their services and you could to.

If you are unfamiliar with real estate agents, you may be wondering exactly what a low commission real estate agent is. In the Los Angeles area, a large number of real estate agents retain their fees from a percentage of a home’s sale. This percentage is often referred to as commission. The commission obtained by local real estate agents is likely to vary.

If you were to contact a number of local real estate agents you would find that some charge a commission as high as five or six percent. Does this sound like a large percentage to you? If it does, you are right. Those individuals cannot be classified as low commission real estate agents. An agent charging one or even two perfect can be classified as a low commission real estate agent. Los Angeles residents, to save money on the sale of their home, are encouraged to find these agents.

Searching for a low commission real estate agent is similar to searching for a traditional real estate agent. You can use a local Los Angeles phone book to find a number of local real estate agents. It is important to note that phone books are limited on the amount of information they provide. If you are interested in determining whether or not a real estate agent can be considered a low commission agent, you will have to contact that agent directly.

In addition to using a local Los Angeles phone book, you can also use the internet to find a low commission real estate agent. Los Angeles residents, including yourself, can use online business directories or online real estate resources. Each of these resources are likely to point you in the direction of a low commission real estate agent. Los Angeles residents can also perform a standard internet search. That search is also likely to produce the same type of results.

Many low commission realtors offer services that are similar to full priced real estate agents. To determine the difference in services, you are encouraged to speak directly with a low commission real estate agent. Los Angeles homeowners have been profiting from the sale of their home with discounted agents and so can you.