Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testified before Congress last week, expressing concern that although corporations have raked in significant profits during the economic recovery, the average American’s paycheck has remained stagnant. Flat paychecks, climbing home prices, and recent multibillion-dollar bank settlements over bad mortgage loans have renewed a sense of caution among lenders and concern among advocates.
Great realtors help buyers overcome the obstacles to homeownership by identifying hidden gems and leveraging relationships with local lenders inclined to look beyond the numbers to see the families on the other side. A strong realtor can be the difference between buying a comfortable house and renting a cozy apartment.
8 Signs Your Realtor is a Keeper
1. Friends or family sing this realtor’s praises.
Trust the experiences of your friends. If the process of selling or buying a home with this realtor was so successful they recommended him or her at the end of it, definitely follow suit.
2. Your realtor can connect clients to local lenders.
Let your realtor introduce you to community bankers she trusts. Lenders willing to manually underwrite loans and consider each family’s circumstances make all the difference to buyers who might have been turned down under the big banks’ computerized underwriting processes. Local lenders are more apt to push to fund mortgages for people they perceive as good citizens who are actively involved in their communities.
Great realtors have spent enough time around closing tables to gain insights into which lenders value buyers and which treat them coldly.
3. Your realtor stresses the importance of accurate Seller’s Disclosure forms.
“Here’s a little history. In real estate law, we used to say, ‘Caveat emptor,’ which means, ‘Let the buyer beware.’ Things have changed,” says Charlie Davis, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, PLLC, a LegalShield Provider. “The laws have shifted toward, ‘Let the seller beware.’ If you lie or omit significant matters (on the Seller’s Disclosure forms now required in many states) you open yourself up to a lawsuit later. Disclosure is the name of the game,” says Mr. Davis, who estimates his firm has recovered millions of dollars for clients over the years by sending demands for compensation to people who don’t do things the right way.
4. Marketing efforts are solid with no cut corners.
An exceptional realtor consults with the photographer on the shoot day, rearranging furniture and asking to see the shots to ensure the most beautiful representation of the house. There is no delay in writing the property description and getting it listed with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Consider the “coming soon” sign a flag.
5. Communication is frequent and informative.
Your realtor teaches you terms like “unique” for hideous houses and “sugar puff” for perfect ones.
Last spring one house hunting client ran into her realtor in town. The realtor gasped upon seeing her and apologized for not having checked the listing service for three hours. That afternoon the realtor found the ideal house within ten minutes of its debut on the MLS. She called her clients but they didn’t answer. She texted “sugar puff” to urge them to act quickly if they liked the listing. Since she had schooled them on the rarity of sugar puffs, they rushed to see it, made their offer immediately, and had it accepted just ahead of an avalanche of other offers.
6. Your realtor may occasionally disagree with you but never pressures you.
It is important to choose a realtor confident enough to stand firm in the face of conflict. A self-assured realtor will capably represent your best interests in negotiations and quickly speak up if there is a conflict of interest. Great realtors do not pressure clients to make purchase decisions or guilt-trip them for not making their minds up quickly enough.
7. Your realtor wants to run the contract by a lawyer.
Attorneys can act as the fresh eyes that detect and correct contract discrepancies before closing day arrives. Many realtors handle writing these contracts themselves and may inadvertently create legal issues an attorney could easily correct. Mr. Davis, who regularly advises LegalShield members, warns buyers and sellers in real estate deals to read contracts carefully and ask their agent (or better yet, their lawyer) for explanations they can understand. Contracts that seem designed to discourage scrutiny should garner more.
8. Your realtor follows up after closing, even though the job is technically done.
Great realtors continue to care after the check has cleared. They call after closing to ensure clients have happily settled in and they typically send along a Homestead Exemption form to file with your taxes (if applicable in your state).
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