This month Gary and I have had the underlying topic of How To ____?____. I decided to fill in the blank this month with “Obtain some really good advice on real estate”.
One particular Blog I find interesting is The KCM Blog. It covers a variety of real estate related topics, some directed at REALTORS® and some at the consumer. I have pulled 4 recent posts that are directed to the consumer. I think they have some good suggestions. I hope you will read on, and see if you agree…
3 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home
If you are thinking about purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in real estate. Let’s look at whether or not now is actually a good time for you to buy a home.
There are three questions you should ask before purchasing in today’s market:
1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?
This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with finances. A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money:
- A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
- A place where you and your family feel safe
- More space for you and your family
- Control of the space
What non-financial benefits will you and your family derive from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.
2. Where are home values headed?
When looking at future housing values, we like the Home Price Expectation Survey. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.
Here is what the experts projected in the latest survey:
- Home values will appreciate by 4.3% in 2014.
- The cumulative appreciation will be 28% by 2018.
- Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 16.8% by 2018.
3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?
A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by an increase in mortgage rates.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by approximately one full percentage over the next twelve months.
Only you and your family can know for certain the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.
4 Things You Need from Your Listing Agent
Are you thinking of selling your home? Are you dreading having to deal with strangers walking through the house? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct? Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of selling. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge just like a great doctor or great accountant. You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish the average agent from the great one. Let us help.
If we were hiring an agent to sell our home today, we would require that they:
1. Understand the timetable with which my family is dealing
You will be moving your family to a new home. Whether the move revolves around the start of a new school year or the start of a new job, you will be trying to put the move to a plan. This can be very emotionally draining. Demand from your agent an appreciation for the timetables you are setting. I am not suggesting that your agent can pick the exact date for your move. You just want the agent to exert any influence they can.
2. Remove as many of the challenges as possible
It is imperative that your agent know how to handle the challenges that will arise. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.
Remember: If you have an agent who was weak negotiating with you on the parts of the listing contract that were most important to them (commission, length, etc.), don’t expect them to turn into Superman when they are negotiating for you with your buyer.
3. Help with the relocation
If you haven’t yet picked your new home, make sure the agent is capable and willing to help you. The coordination of the move is crucial. You don’t want to be without a roof over your head the night of the closing. Likewise, you don’t want to end up paying two housing expenses (whether it is rent or mortgage). You should, in most cases, be able to close on your current home and immediately move into your new residence.
4. Get the house SOLD!
There is a reason you are putting yourself and your family through the process of moving. You are moving on with your life in some way. The reason is important or you wouldn’t be dealing with the headaches and challenges that come along with selling. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Constantly remind them that selling the house is why you hired them. If they discover something needs to be done to attain your goal (i.e. price correction, repair, removing clutter), insist they have the courage to inform you.
Make sure you let your agent know what you and your family expect from them.
Difference Between a ‘White Lie’ and Lying
Growing up it seemed ‘white lies’ were okay while lying was a sin. As children, we sometimes had difficulty understanding where the line was. As we matured, we realized there most definitely was a difference.
If a husband or wife asks if it is okay to invite their parents over for dinner, the spouse would probably say ‘sure’ even if it wasn’t 100% the truth. That was a ‘white lie’. If a young boy dresses up as a monster on Halloween and asks his father if he looks ‘really scary’, it was okay for his dad to say ‘YES’! That was a ‘white lie’.
In both cases, the person telling the ‘white lie’ was saying what the other person wanted to hear. In both cases, there was no harm in not telling the 100% truth. In both cases, it was a ‘white lie’. However, if we are not telling the 100% truth in order to save someone’s feelings AND IT HURTS THEM, we are lying.
What does this have to do with real estate?
We believe there are some in the real estate industry more worried about a homeowner’s feelings than they are about telling the truth about the current value of their home. These agents are not necessarily malicious. They just realize they may disappoint a seller at a listing appointment by telling the truth about what the house will sell for. They find it difficult to deliver tough news. To make sellers feel better, they lie.
Good agents can deliver good news. Great agents know how to deliver tough news.
In today’s real estate market, you need an agent that will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it. You need an agent more worried about your family than they are about your feelings. You need an agent who can get the house sold!
What this means to you
If you are interviewing potential listing agents, demand they tell you the truth. Don’t hire the agent that tells you what you want to hear. Hire the agent that tells you what you need to know. Reward their honesty.
The Two Things You Don’t Need to Hear from Your Listing Agent
You’ve decided to sell your house. You begin to interview potential real estate agents to help you through the process. You need someone you trust enough to:
Set the market value on possibly the largest asset your family owns (your home)
Set the time schedule for the successful liquidation of that asset
Set the fee for the services required to liquidate that asset
An agent must be concerned first and foremost about you and your family in order to garner that degree of trust. Make sure this is the case.
Be careful if the agent you are interviewing begins the interview by:
Bragging about their success
Bragging about their company’s success
An agent’s success and the success of their company can be important considerations when deciding on the right real estate professional to represent you in the sale of the house. However, you first need to know they care about what you need and what you expect from the sale. If the agent is not interested in first establishing your needs, how successful they may seem is much less important.
Look for someone with the ‘heart of a teacher’ who comes in prepared well enough to explain the current real estate market and patient enough to take the time to show how it may impact the sale of your home. Not someone only interested in trying to sell you on how great they are.
You have many agents from which to choose. Pick someone who truly cares.
I hope you found these interesting. The statistics quoted were from U.S. sources, but the Canadian numbers are very similar.
If you are thinking of Buying or Selling, I am confident that all of our Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate professionals will provide you with the answers and the service outlined above. We all believe that The Customer is number one, not us.
If you would like to follow the KCM Blog, the link is