Archive Monthly Archives: September 2016

Use an Experienced San Antonio REALTOR® When Buying a Home

Garden Gnome with a House For Sale sign

A question I am often asked:  Why do I need to use an experienced REALTOR® if I am buying a house in San Antonio?  Aren’t you all of the same?  What’s the difference?  And, why do I have to use an agent anyway?

If I have a good relationship with them, I answer:  Yep, we are all the same just like basketball players…. After all, isn’t Michael Jordan the same as a 7th grade basketball player?

Then the light-bulb lights up over their head.  However, it is not their fault.  The general public doesn’t know how to evaluate agents.  Below are some pointers.

~

Real estate purchases tend to be the most expensive purchase that majority of Americans will make in their lifetime.  It is done so infrequently by most buyers, that they are at a loss to know why the experience level of their REALTOR® is important.

Real estate is a serious transaction with significant financial and emotional ramifications for the parties involved, and having proper representation is critical.  Today’s buyers agree.  According to realtor.org, in 2015, 87% of buyers used a real estate agent or broker.

For real estate transactions, Realtor® representation is important.  Here are five important and primary reasons to use an experienced San Antonio realtor:

Fiduciary responsibility. When you work with a REALTOR®, they have a fiduciary duty to you.  A REALTOR® (who is seasoned and experienced) is an an expert looking out for your best financial interests.  They are also contractually bound to do everything in their power to protect you.   This is huge….  the strict Code of Ethis and Professional Standards (COE) by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) needs to be emphasized as the general public is not aware of that the COE even exists.  Since May, 1908 (108 years), real estate agents and brokers across the country have recognized the need for standards and regulations in the real estate industry.  The real estate agents who are a member of NAR are referred to as a REALTOR®.  Thus, the designation puts a higher fiduciary duty on the agent.  Experience = longevity.

 

Garden Gnome with a House For Sale sign

Did you know that not all real estate agents are REALTOR®S?

 

Real estate regulations are complex and change, frequentlyBuying a home is not a simplistic transaction, such as purchasing a car.  Everything about purchasing a home is unique… all homes are different, all buyer’s needs are different, all neighborhoods are different, etc.  Throw in the mix of regulations, which are constantly being put into place to protect the consumer, and you have a recipe for complexity.  Most home owners purchase a new home approximately every 7 to 10 years.  This means that the regulations have changed since their last transaction; notwithstanding that the average homeowner doesn’t keep up with those changes.  Experienced REALTOR®s work with these transactions daily.  Continuing education in Texas is mandatory in order to keep a license.  Therefore, REALTOR®s tend to be current on the day-to-day practices, contracts, law and regulations.  Once you have identified, interviewed and retained a REALTOR®, all of their knowledge comes into play and they put that to work for you.  Experience = a ton of knowledge.

Assistance in identifying the RIGHT home, not just giving you a tour of the houses you have selected to view.  Over 90% of homes today are found by buyers browsing online.  It is a terrific help to the whole process of not only finding homes you like, but in also ruling out homes which you don’t care for.  It is of great value to have assistance of a professional who can view the home realistically after you think you have found THE one house which you have fallen in love with.  However, can you see that the house has had a foundation repair?  There are clues, such as a elevated garage apron, which will hint that the home’s foundations has had additional piers installed.  A realistic set of eyes on the property can assist you make the right decision.  REALTOR®s live and breathe real estate, and most love to share their knowledge about certain conditions about a home that you wouldn’t otherwise know.  Another example is the knowledge of the property.  Is the house a flip?  If it was a flip, was it done with quality?  The experienced Realtor® can point out important details about the homes you’re considering.  However, REALTOR®s knowledge does not take the place of an independent inspection.  In my opinion, all buyers should hire a professional inspector to inspect the home.  Experience = awareness of what to look for in the neighborhood you are focused on.

 

6 pane window set in ivy covered wall

Why will this ivy concern an experienced REALTOR?

The value of the home your want to buy.  There are a lot of websites which will provide an estimate of the homes value which are listed for sale.  Beware….. in Texas, as it is a non-disclosure state, those values listed have absolutely no truth or substance to them.  However, the website owners in California/Mars/The Moon are not regulated and they can give estimates all day long, even if it confuses and complicates the buying/selling process.  REALTOR®s know the market, and they know the inventory.   They also have access to all of the latest sales data, which is helpful.  They will make sure that you don’t pay too much for a house by using all of the tools at their disposal.  Experience = knowledge of the neighborhood pricing and it’s current economic cycle.

Contracts and negotiations.  YIKES!  You get through the fun part of finding the perfect home.  Now the real work begins. REALTOR® will be there to provide you with an upper hand in negotiations…. again because they do this every day.  The complexity of contracts, addendum and numerous other documents will be explained to you by your REALTOR®.  Experience = smoother transactions.

As a consumer, it is in your best interest to educate yourself on the process.  Know that a REALTOR®  who has had years of experience can offer you an entirely different experience than one who has only done one or two transactions.  Do your homework and you will find an advocate who can skillfully handle the 100+ tasks involved in buying a home.

Feel free to call me and ask questions.  I earned my license in 1995 and I work with both buyers and sellers.  I am an experienced San Antonio REALTOR® … yet, everyday I encounter something new.

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The 5 P’s of Selling your Terrell Hills Home

The 5 P's of Selling Your Terrell Hills Home on blue back ground

A neighbor of mine in Terrell Hills called me asking my advice about what they should be doing now to prepare their home for sale next spring.  As both a buyer’s agent and a listing agent, I know what Buyers are looking for as well as what most Sellers really need to be focusing on.

The sooner you start the process, the more control you will have, which leads to less stress.

Forbes names Terrell Hills as one of the most expensive suburbs in the US.  As the San Antonio market continues to boom, so does Terrell Hills.

So, if you (like my neighbor), are thinking about putting your home on the market next year, here are some tiny bites to think about and tackle now.

  1. Pack.  Face it.  We all have too much stuff.  This stuff clutters up the minds of Buyers when they are viewing your home.  Current Buyers expect homes to look like something on the reality shows of HGTV.  Less is more as it is less distracting to the Buyers.  Therefore, go through your home, room by room, and pack away the clutter and the personal items.  Pack the treasures you want to take with you, like that photo of your great grandfather riding a horse, and store it in a safe place until you move into your new home.  The clutter which no longer has purpose in your life can be donated or gifted to someone who may have room for it in their life.  No Clutter image for experienced realtor Diana L Faulkner
  2. Paint.  Fresh, neutral paint is the least expensive improvement you can do.  If you don’t have a “inner designer” in your household, consider hiring a designer or stager to come and assist you with this task.  Most Buyers want a home which is “ready to go”.  They are not inclined to have to go to the expense of having a home repainted before they move in.  The added bonus is that the home looks fresh, smells fresh, and put the best face forward for your home.  If your daughter’s room is purple, you might be interested to know that according to a University of Texas study, purple and orange enduced feelings of sadness and depression in men.  Every single time I have encountered a room painted purple, every single male Buyer has said to me:  “I am not buying a purple house”.  The house wasn’t purple, the room was… but the male Buyer extrapolated that to the entire house.  Who knew that the science tells us that purple is gloomy to a male?
  3. Presentation.  The house is best presented as if it will be visited by the President of the United States.  I am not kidding.  The real estate shows on television know this well.  You have to start “wowing” the Buyers from the moment they pull up the photos on the internet, to when they pull up to the curb and walk up the steps to the front door.  First impressions count and the better the impression, the better the price garnered.  Have your neighbor, if they are the friendly, helpful sort, do a mock run.  Let them tell you what they notice when they tour and view your property.  Ask them to be cruel.  By being cruel, they are helping you tremendously.  If they tell you to lose the purple plaid couch with lumpy cushions which Oma gave you… lose it to the storage unit.
  4. Photos.  Professional photos are a must.  Currently over 95% of homes are first identified by the Buyers through the internet.  I use an expensive real estate professional photographer for my listings.  If your agent isn’t paying over $350 for the photos in the Terrell Hills market, they are doing you and your home a disservice.  The more expensive the home, the better the photography needs to be.  The more unique the home, the better the photography needs to be.  There are some statistics which indicate that a Buyer must be engaged in the first twenty seconds by the photographs of your home, or they move to the next internet house listing.  Those of us who market luxury homes understand strongly that the most professional photographs do you an advantage in the market.  When you are interviewing potential listing agents, ask pointed and informed questions about how they intend to market your home online.  If they tell you the have special software on their iPhone to take the photographs…. please call a different agent.
  5. Price.  Pricing is both an art and a science.  A great agent will do more than just agree with what your think your house might be worth.  They have data available to them which you don’t know exists.  Generally the type of home valuations provided by online services do a great disservice to the industry.  Especially in non-disclosure states such as Texas.  A great agent won’t just spit out a price until they have visited the home and viewed it in detail.  They will then go back to their office and do hours worth of work to determine the value.  With home value price per square feet in Terrell Hills ranging from $100/sf to well over $1,000/sf, the agent can zero down to the most realistic number based upon facts.  Be leery of the agent who gives you a verbal price without providing you with the documentation to back it up.

These five points are just the tip of the iceberg and present a mile high view so that you can get started now on preparing your home (and your head) to put the property on the market.

For a time line estimate…. a well executed plan to put your home on the market needs a minimum of 10 to 12 days after you have completely prepared your home for sale.  It takes time to get the best photographer for your home.  Do we need drone shots, do we need sunset shots, is it the rainy season, what day is trash day so we don’t get any garbage cans in the shots, etc.?  The best listings are well planned and executed, like a Broadway play.

Selling your house doesn’t have to be crazy…. owners make it that way by choosing not to plan or not knowing the truth about how long the process takes.  Sometimes life happens and we aren’t able to plan.  Most home owners will need a good 6 to 9 months of prep time to prepare their home to sell.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call me.  I do this every day and am happy to assist you through the entire home selling process.  I can also assist you with the purchase of your new home.

Or, I will celebrate with you if you are chucking it all in and moving to the ranch for good.

Longhorn cattle near ranch in Alamo heights

Have a Happy Day!

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save