Home Solutions Real Estate Team
The Big Picture
What is a real estate agent? Strictly speaking, it’s “a person who acts as an agent for the sale and purchase of buildings and land.” More precisely, “someone who acts on behalf of another person or group; one that provides a particular service, typically one that involves organizing transactions between two other parties.” But they so much more!
Being a real estate agent is magical. It’s like being a mind reader, counselor, advisor, teacher, taxi, and acrobat all at the same time. However, most importantly, your real estate agent is obliged to act on your behalf with your best interests at heart regardless of the financial implications to the agent.
A professional real estate agent is expected to know and understand areas of job growth or decline, areas of commerce growth or decline, market trends, market statistics, interpretation of sales data, pricing trends, future road construction, real estate tax standards and a host of other data. A real estate agent should also know and understand lender regulations, title policies, and different situations that impact buying and selling a home.
You go to a doctor if you’re sick, to a lawyer if you need legal advice and to an accredited real estate agent when you’re in the market to buy or sell real estate. Why? The answer should be obvious: You need expert help from someone who has a grasp on all procedures that will impact your sale or purchase. Buying or selling a property is likely the largest single investment you’ll make in your lifetime.
A home may seem perfect when you see it on ZILLOW® or some other common real estate search site. But what do these sites really tell you? Of course, they tell you the generics about the home, such as size, bedrooms, etc. You may even be able to find out what the home last sold for, or if it has been on the market before, had price reductions, etc. But what about the neighborhood, schools, proposed road changes, business growth, percentage of rental vs. homeowner in the neighborhood, the solidity of the Homeowner’s Association, the status of the CDD Bond, and so on?
Buying a home is too big a step to neglect critical information that will impact your ownership. Likewise, selling a home cannot be based simply on a “ZESTIMATE,” but on all the other factors that affect the home’s desirability. A professional real estate agent can separate the emotional connection associated with buying and selling a home and commit to analytical thinking regarding the purchase or sale – an invaluable asset to the buyer or seller.
Knowing The True Cost of Home Ownership
The ability to qualify for a home mortgage is based mostly on credit score and debt to income ratios. Your housing expenses can be a certain percentage of your income. But there are other financial factors to take into consideration as part of your housing expenses. They include lawn care, lawn treatments, pest control, HVAC maintenance, pool maintenance, tree trimming, and more.
Lenders are held to high standards, and Loan Underwriters can even be held accountable for granting a loan that didn’t meet certain standards. These ‘checks and balances’ are also designed to protect the consumer. A skilled real estate agent can help further sort through various potential expenses, identifying items that will save or cost clients’ money. It is crucial to have someone representing you that understands such items as energy efficiency and its impact on your utility bills, location, age of the home, and the style of home – things you may never have considered.
Here is an example. You think you’ve found the perfect home that is ideally located near the Gulf and is within your budget. You discuss it with your agent, and this is what they are thinking:
“If it’s near the Gulf, it is likely an older home (because those areas have been built out for some time), which means it probably will require a higher insurance rate and flood insurance, and it is likely the flood insurance will be astronomical. Given its age, the home may have had termite damage. If so, hopefully, it has been treated, and the lender will require the damage to be fixed. Also, the home likely has older or original windows, which will impact utility costs, and there is the possibility that the wiring is not up to code.”
The Result? The perfect house may not be just that – perfect. The agent doesn’t want to be negative, but they are responsible for making sure their client’s money is well spent.
Furthermore, a dedicated agent who can explain what in the world a CDD is and how it is different from an HOA is priceless. Have you ever noticed that a home in a high-cost CDD community will have a lesser price tag than a similar home that is not in a CDD community? That’s because the CDD costs impact the home’s value. Have you noticed that if a home is in a high-cost CDD community, it likely has a very low HOA fee? Conversely, if a home is not in a CDD Community or the CDD is affordable, there is probably a high HOA. Additionally, keep in mind that online payment calculators have no way of considering the CDD, HOA, true taxes, and potential insurance – not to mention utility costs. These are just a few ways your agent’s knowledge can protect you during real estate transactions.
Big Money and Dream Homes
Your agent’s goal is to fulfill all your housing dreams and desires. An agent wants to sell their client’s home for the most money possible, and they want their buyer clients to find the home of their dreams (agents love happy smiles at closing). If you are fortunate enough to find a dedicated and well-respected agent that tells you your home isn’t worth that much or that home, you love is not a good fit – please listen. They have your best interests at heart!
In the end, your home buying or home selling experience should be a pleasurable experience; one that is delightful and stress-free. Choosing the right real estate agent can make that a reality. Reach out to friends and family for recommendations. Research an agent’s name to see what type of online presence they have. [NOTE: if you can’t find them online, move on to the next one.] Be aware of their social media presence, their website, the way they market their listings, their client testimonials and their team set up. You can’t be too thorough. Once you have narrowed your search down to three or four potential agents, invite them for an interview and choose the one that you feel most meets your needs.
Home Solutions Real Estate Team