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Why You Need a Real Estate Agent to Buy a Home

(Published on - 12/7/2017 10:09:52 PM)

judyIf you’re thinking about buying a home, you may wonder whether you need a real estate agent. There are plenty of resources for a buyer these days, from online search sites to how-to guides. But an agent has something no buyer – particularly a first-time buyer – does: a wealth of experience. An agent will work as an advocate on your behalf and, in most cases, will get you a better deal than you could get yourself.

Local Expertise

Real estate agents have first-hand knowledge of the real estate market.You likely don’t know exactly what the market is like right now in your area. Are homes generally selling for 97 percent of asking price? Can you expect to compete against multiple offers? Do you know what it takes to win against other bidders? If you want a three-bedroom detached home, what should you expect to pay? What’s the inventory like? Your agent will be able to counsel you on these topics. The best way to get an offer accepted at a price that’s in your favor is to know the market intimately – and a local real estate agent does.

Access to Homes

Without an agent, getting into a home will be difficult. Sellers are happy to let a buyer’s agent have the code to their lockbox to show their home. However, they’re not willing to allow an unlicensed stranger total access to their home. This means that you’ll have to visit the property when either the seller or the seller’s agent is available, making scheduling showings both time-consuming and difficult.

Because of this, most individuals who choose to go it alone tour the majority of their homes during open houses, when the home is open for anyone to tour, without an appointment. This puts you against strong competition since you likely won’t be the first person to see a home (a problem in a tight market). On top of that, the agent hosting the open house represents the seller. Any questions you have for them about the house will produce answers that have the seller’s best interest at heart, not yours.

When you tour a home with your agent, you not only have access and privacy, but you also have an advocate whose fiduciary duty is to look after your best interests.

Advocacy

With an agent, you’ll have an experienced advocate and negotiator. Buying a home is an emotional process. For many people, it’s the largest transaction of their life and it’s often done during other major life changes, like an expanding family or a job relocation. Stress and strong emotions can cloud judgment – which can cause you to make a decision you’ll later regret.

As agents, we look at a transaction with a more experienced, rational eye. We can help you understand your options, and serve as a balance against making a rash decision.

We also advocate on your behalf, especially at the negotiating table. We’ll get you the best deal possible, without letting strong feelings get in the way. At House To Home Team, this is particularly true. Our agents are paid a salary and receive bonuses based on client satisfaction – we want you to be 100 percent satisfied with the home you purchase.

Networking Power

You’ll have access to a rolodex of real estate service professionals. In the course of your transaction, you’ll likely need a lender, an inspector and a real estate lawyer. Clients often ask me for a personal recommendation, for someone whose personality and style matches theirs. As an agent who’s worked with many real estate service professionals over the course of my career, it’s easy for me to find a good fit. But without that knowledge, finding the right provider can be challenging.

Similarly, clients often have questions about home improvement. An experienced agent will have recommendations for handymen, plumbers, painters, general contractors, floorers – basically, any type of service you’d need to spruce up your new home.

No Additional Cost

Having an agent on the buy-side is free. People have an idea that they’ll save money by not using an agent to buy a home. This isn’t accurate. The entire commission on a home purchase is paid by the seller to the seller’s broker, who in turn gives part of the commission (usually half) to the buyer’s broker.

It’s tempting to think that if you don’t use a buyer’s agent, their part of the commission can go in your pocket, but this is generally not the case. The commission rate is agreed upon via a contract before the listing even goes on the market. If you choose not to have legal representation from a buyer’s agent, the entire commission is then paid to the listing agent. The listing agent would have to agree to modify their contract to cut you in on part of their compensation, and this is unlikely.

In fact, if you work with House To Home Team, you actually save money by having an agent. Because of our streamlined business model, we give our clients a portion of the commission we receive. So, with House To Home Team, you’ll be able to look forward to a commission refund check after you close on your new home!

Document Wizardry

Agents will do the paperwork for you. Have you ever done a comparative market analysis (CMA) or drafted a purchase agreement? These are not skills that are easily learned. Creating and interpreting a CMA report, and crafting a successful offer, is an art that takes a certain level of expertise to perfect.

If you are not confident in your abilities, you could hire an agent to complete a CMA for a flat fee (often around $75), but my clients generally need CMAs for multiple homes before getting an offer accepted. It is not uncommon for me to complete five to 10 CMAs in the course of working with one client. The costs of paying for these a la carte can really add up.

Drafting an offer can be even more complicated. I tell my clients that everything in the contract is negotiable. That means that every line of the contract is important. Failing to know the importance of certain line items could cost you a lot of money down the road. Buyer’s agents know how to write an offer, with the best possible terms, to ensure your interests are protected and that your offer is accepted.

Find the Right Fit

Finding a good agent is important. Ultimately, you will want an agent who’s knowledgeable, dedicated and who has no conflict of interest. At House To Home Team, we’re committed to you: House To Home Team agents are paid a salary and receive bonuses based on customer satisfaction. Moreover, because our agents specialize on either the buy or sell side of the business, you’ll never have one House To Home Team agent representing both the buyer and seller in a transaction, which can be a major conflict of interest.


Top Areas & Neighborhoods

(Published on - 11/22/2017 5:15:10 PM)

Find Your Dream Home with Home To Home Team!

 

House To Home Team is featuring our most popular neighborhoods. Why search when you can just click on your favorite neighborhood? We did the work for you our this easy to navigate neighborhood search. Simply click on the link for your favorite neighborhood and your search is over.

We are happy to help you with any of your buying or selling needs. House To Home Team has a staff of Realtors ready to help you on your journey to buying or selling a home. Call us at:  262-618-2565.

You can also schedule showings of properties you want to see at any time.Take your time and enjoy searching HouseToHomeTeam.com!

 

 

 

Top Areas & Neighborhoods

>> Brookfield Wisconsin
>> Cedarburg Wisconsin
>> Downtown Area Condos
>> East Side
>> Eastside Condos
>> Franklin
>> Elm Grove
>> Fox Point
>> Germantown
>> Glendale
>> Grafton
>> Germantown
>> Glendale
>> Grafton
>> Germantown
>> Glendale
>> Grafton
>> Hartford
>> Hartland
>> Homes in 53202
>> Jackson
>> Lac La Belie
>> Lake Country
>> Lower Nashotah Lake
>> Lower Nemahbin Lake
>> Menomonee Falls
>> Mequon
>> Nagawicka Lake
>> New Berlin
>> North Lake
>> North Shore
>> Oak Creek
>> Oconomowoc Lake
>> Oconomowoc
>> Okauchee Lake
>> Pewaukee Lake
>> Pewaukee
>> Pine Lake
>> Pretty Lake
>> River Hills
>> Shorewood
>> SILVER LAKE
>> SUSSEX
>> THIENSVILLE
>> UPPER NASHOTAH LAKE
>> UPPER NEMAHBIN LAKE
>> WATERFRONT
>> Waukesha
>> Wauwatosa
>> WEST BEND
>> WHITEFISH BAY
 

About Homeowner’s Insurance

(Published on - 8/30/2016 4:36:44 PM)

Homeowners insurance exists because a home is a huge investment, often one of the largest purchases many people make in their lifetimes. Naturally, people want to protect the value of their precious property. Homeowners insurance is a contract between a homeowner and an insurance company. As long as the owner pays the required premiums and meets the other policy requirements, the insurance company guarantees to reimburse the owner for any losses incurred due to natural disasters or human-caused damage.

What Does It Cover?

A basic homeowner’s insurance policy protects the owner against any property damage that results from things like fire, lightning, wind or hail storms. It will also provide for motel and food costs if you are forced to leave your home while such damages are repaired.

A typical policy, however, does not cover flood or earthquake damage. Because these issues are usually specific to certain regions of the country and can cause extreme damage, these can be purchased as separate policies. If you live in a flood zone or near an earthquake fault line you may be required by your mortgage company to carry these protections.

A basic policy will also cover homeowners against loss from theft or vandalism as well as reimbursement for personal property destroyed in natural disasters. It will also provide for something that many people may not normally associate with home protection – liability coverage for lawsuits brought against the owner by people who were injured on the property. This includes the cost of legal defense up to the allowed policy limit. Additionally, most policies will have a provision that will cover the basic medical expenses for the parties.

Is It Required?

Homeowners insurance is almost universally required by mortgage companies with the purchase of a home. This is because the investment is almost as big for them as it is for you. They want to make sure the property is protected from major damages so that if you are ever unable to keep up with your payments, the lender can then reclaim ownership and be able to sell it fairly easily. And even if you own your home outright, a good insurance policy is still the best way to protect the value of your home in the face of the unexpected.


Homebuyer Incentives Yes or No?

(Published on - 8/30/2016 4:28:22 PM)

Homebuyer incentives can be smart marketing or a waste of money. Find out when and how to use them.

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Incentives such as a new grill out on the patio can set your home apart from the competition. Be sure you’re sending the right message to buyers when you throw in a homebuyer incentive to encourage them to purchase your home.When you’re selling your home, the idea of adding a sweetener to the transaction — whether it’s a decorating allowance, a home warranty, or a big-screen TV — can be a smart use of marketing funds. To ensure it’s not a big waste, follow these do’s and don’ts:Do use homebuyer incentives to set your home apart from close competition. If all the sale properties in your neighborhood have the same patio, furnishing yours with a luxury patio set and stainless steel BBQ that stay with the buyers will make your home stand out.

 

 

Do compensate for flaws with a homebuyer incentive. If your kitchen sports outdated floral wallpaper, a $3,000 decorating allowance may help buyers cope. If your furnace is aging, a home warranty may remove the buyers’ concern that they’ll have to pay thousands of dollars to replace it right after the closing.

Don’t assume homebuyer incentives are legal. Your state may ban homebuyer incentives, or its laws may be maddeningly confusing about when the practice is legal and not. Check with your real estate agent and attorney before you offer a homebuyer incentive.

Don’t think buyers won’t see the motivation behind a homebuyer incentive. Offering a homebuyer incentive may make you seem desperate. That may lead suspicious buyers to wonder what hidden flaws exist in your home that would force you to throw a freebie at them to get it sold. It could also lead buyers to factor in your apparent anxiety and make a lowball offer.

Don’t use a homebuyer incentive to mask a too-high price. A buyer may think your expensive homebuyer incentive — like a high-end TV or a luxury car — is a gimmick to avoid lowering your sale price. Many top real estate agents will tell you to list your home at a more competitive price instead of offering a homebuyer incentive. A property that’s priced a hair below its true value will attract not only buyers but also buyers’ agents, who’ll  be giddy to show their clients a home that’s a good value and will sell quickly.

If you’re convinced a homebuyer incentive will do the trick, choose one that adds value or neutralizes a flaw in your home. Addressing buyers’ concerns about your home will always be more effective than offering buyers an expensive toy.


Before You Buy A Home – What You Need To Know

(Published on - 8/30/2016 4:26:20 PM)
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Before You Buy

Deciding to buy a house is an important decision.  After all, this purchase will be one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime.  Whether you are a first time homebuyer, looking to downsize or increase your living space, there are a few important things to consider and do before taking the plunge.

Consider How Long You Are Going to Be There

If you can’t commit to remaining in the same place for at least a few years then owning a home isn’t for you, at least not yet.  The transaction costs it takes to buy and sell can be significant, and those costs are typically not recouped immediately.  If you sell too early you may end up losing money.

Get Your Credit in Shape

Order free credit reports that everyone is entitled to request annually, thanks to federal law.  While there are many sites on the Web offering “free” credit reports, many of those offers require you to sign up for a free trial of credit-monitoring service that will cost money.  The official site where you can get free, no-strings attached, credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit bureaus is:www.annualcreditreport.com.  You can receive one free credit report from each of these three agencies every year.  After reviewing your credit reports, if any errors are found report them to that specific creditor and request that they be corrected.

Don’t Make Any Major Purchases Before Applying for a Mortgage

When applying for a mortgage, lenders look for what is called your “debt-to-income” ratio.  A debt-to-income ratio is the percentage of your gross monthly income (before taxes) that you spend towards your debt.  This includes monthly housing costs containing: principal, interest, and taxes.  It also includes your monthly consumer debt containing: credit cards, student loans, installment debt, and car payments.

  • Aim For Buying A Home You Can Really Afford.
  • Homebuyers frequently get caught up in the process and fall in love with the house of their dreams- even if it is beyond their original budget.  Even if the mortgage is approved, this could lead to trouble.  The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs two-and-one half times your annual salary.  However, each circumstance is different.  Use one of the calculators online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford.
  • Don’t Worry If You Can’t Put Down the Usual 20 Percent.
  • There are a variety of public and private lenders who, if you qualify, offer low-interest mortgages mortgages  for up to 102% of the purchase price.
  • Consider Schools and School Districts When Shopping.
  • Even if you don’t have school age children, buyers who will one day buy from you, look for homes in the best school districts.  Living in the prime school district will help boost your property value.
  • Don’t Move Money Around or Change Banks.

When a lender reviews your loan package for approval, one of the things they are concerned about is the source of funds for your down payment and closing costs.  Most likely, you will be asked to provide statements for the last two or three months on any of your liquid assets (checking accounts, savings accounts, money market funds, certificates of deposit, stock statements, mutual funds and even your company 401 K and retirement accounts).  If you have been moving money between accounts, your statements may show large deposits and withdrawals.  The underwriter (the person who approves the loan) will ask for a paper trail of all the withdrawals and deposits from your account. This may require you to produce cancelled checks, deposit receipts and other data which could get rather time consuming and tedious.  Leave your money where it is until you’ve talked to a loan officer.

Get Pre-Approved for Your Mortgage.

Getting pre-approved will save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford, and will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.


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