F.A.Q.'s (Frequently Asked Questions about the Real Estate Process)
Why should I use a real estate agent?
A real estate agent is more than just a "sales person." They act on your behalf as your agent, providing you with advice and guidance and doing a job - helping you buy or sell a home. Due to the fast changing market, the data on available listings is not 100accurate. There are times when you need the most current information about what has sold or is for sale, and the only way to get that is with an agent.
There are multiple types of common agents, "Buyer's Agents", "Seller's Agents" and "Disclosed Dual agents". It used to be common for all parties involved to work for the seller, hence the term "Seller's Agent". Nowadays, you will most often find a different type of agent, the "Buyer's Agent". If you are in the market to buy, it would be advisable to use a Buyer's Agent. They can make recommendations on what terms and prices to offer as well as negotiating a deal with your best interest in mind. If you happen to be working with a Seller's Agent, never disclose to them the top dollar you are willing to pay for any property. Keep it narrowed down only to things that you would tell the seller directly. "Dual agents" represent both parties in a transaction.
What is a REALTOR(r)?
A REALTOR(r) is an agent or agency that belongs to the local or state board of REALTORS(r) and is affiliated with the "National Association of REALTORS(r) (NAR). They follow a strict code of ethics beyond state license laws and also sponsor the Multiple Listing System (MLS), which is used to list houses for sale.
How are real estate agents paid?
Real estate agents work on commission, not salary, and get paid only after your home search is over, the contract negotiated and the transaction complete. Under the typical arrangement, the seller pays the commission to the real estate agent, and the agent's services are free to the buyer. Listing brokers list a property and the sellers pay a percentage of the sales price.
Because most real estate transactions involve two brokers -- one that produces the buyer and one that helps the seller -- the commission is divided, usually 50-50, between the two brokerage offices. Then, within each office, the salesperson who handled the transaction gets a share.
What does 'dual agency' mean?
It is called a Dual Agency when an agent, brokerage or company is representing both the buyer and seller. Although legal, dual agency nevertheless comes with a positive and a deterrent. The positive is that the agent and his/her office can procure buyers for your property, thus leading to a sale. The deterrent is that this agent will represent both parties and therefore cannot negotiate on behalf of the parties.
Is it possible to sell a house without a real estate broker or agent?
Usually, yes. This is called a FSBO (pronounced "fizzbo") -- For Sale By Owner. You must, however, be aware of the legal rules that govern real estate transfers, such as who must sign the papers, who can conduct the actual transaction and what to do if and when "encumbrances" arise which slow down the transfer of ownership. You also need to be aware of any mandated disclosures as to the physical condition of your house.
If you want to do it by yourself, be sure you have the time, energy and ability to handle all the details -- from setting a realistic price to negotiating offers and closing the deal. Also, be aware that 'do-it-yourself' sales are very often not successful (no sale at all) or not satisfactory (much lower sales prices than comparable homes sold). FSBO's can not post advertisements on the MLS and a majority of buyer's agents are reluctant or not willing at all to show FSBO's to their clients. If you are interested in trying to sell on your own, contact "Super Mike" Minervini of RE/AMAX Champions. Mike will lend you a copy of his "Selling By Owner" DVD. This DVD, produced by David Knox, will give you step by step instructions on how to sell on your own.
Can I have more than one real estate sales representative working for me?
No, unless you and the real estate agents involved have reached a formal agreement to do so.
Can I request more than one real estate sales representative to send me home listings?
Yes you can, but it is not very fair to the agents involved and could hurt your interests. Setting up a good home search requires a lot of work and if you have no intention to buy your home with a particular agent, you should not ask him of her to invest valuable time. You might say that you will do business with the agent who provides you with the listing of the home you want to buy, but nine out of ten times two or more different agents will send you exactly the same listings. Advice for "Super Mike": do your home work and select one Realtor to work for you. Provide him or her with detailed instructions what you are looking for. You will notice that he or she will go that extra mile for you when you show are committed. Last but not least: by dealing with several agents, you may risk the fact that you run into a home you would like to buy but that is offered for sale by one of the agents you provided with your personal information as a prospective buyer. Guess what happens with you at the negotiation table....
I went to an Open House and the real estate agent representing the seller promised me a special deal if I would use his or her services to present an Offer to Purchase.
Instead of giving 50% commission to the co-operative broker, the listing agent would collect 100% of the commission in such a deal. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand that by promising you one or two thousand dollars, that agent will still be much better off. However, ask yourself two questions. Is that agent really representing the best interests of his or her clients? I don't think so. To me it seems like he or she is much more looking at the commission instead of getting the best deal for the seller. Question number two. Is that agent really representing YOUR best interests? I don't think so. Very likely you are paying your own "discount", to say the least. Doing business with an agent representing the seller is not very smart to begin with. Doing business with an agent representing the seller, who is putting his own interests above those of his or her client, should tell you something about how that agent will care about your interests....
I do understand that a real estate transaction requires legal documents, but is anyone going to explain the mumbo jumbo to me?
Before you put your signature on the dotted line, "Super Mike" discusses each and every item in the documents you are signing. He even presents you with copies of important forms that you will be signing. Understanding what you are signing is essential to having a successful transaction.
I would like to receive listings, but I prefer not to provide contact information.
The contact information you provide "Super Mike" with will only be used to contact you in a way as indicated by yourself. We do not send Spam messages and we do not engage in tele-marketing or 'cold calling'. Your e-mail address and other contact information will never be never be sold, traded, bartered, or transferred to anyone, in any way. If you still do not trust us with your contact information, please do not request us to send you listings. If you provide us with fake or not complete information, we will not respond and delete your request immediately.
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