Fill in the blank... “I have a _________...” It doesn’t take a psychic to know what word you chose. Was it “dream”? Good chance it was. We all know this line from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech. So when we hear those first three words, it sort of naturally comes to mind. But what many people aren’t aware of is how much he affected the lives of real estate agents, buyers, and sellers. It was his death that gave Congress the last push needed to pass the Fair Housing Act, back in 1968. It’s pretty involved, but to put it simply... This was put in place to ban racial discrimination in housing. You can’t be refused the rental or purchase of a house, based upon your race. Seems simple enough to most people now. A given, if you will. But it didn’t happen overnight. And believe it or not, it still can and does come up. But guess who’s a big part of making sure this Act is followed… On the front lines, it’s real estate agents. We’re tasked with making people aware that discrimination based upon race (and many other things) are not acceptable, and they must refuse to work with anyone who wants to do so. Real estate agents are proud to be a part of this ongoing history. Today is the day where we take a moment to reflect and pay him respect. It’s also a good day to share some insight into how much more responsibility real estate agents have than meets the eye.
According to Realtor.com’s recent Housing Shortage Report, the US is experiencing the worst inventory shortage in two decades. And while this presents a definite challenge for people looking to buy a home, it creates the perfect storm of opportunity for those wanting to sell. According to Realtor.com’s research, the housing shortage can be attributed to the baby boomer generation being unwilling to sell in the current market. In fact:
Boomers are keeping approximately 33 million properties off the market — a huge contributor to the historically low inventory the US is experiencing. But this historically low inventory means that there couldn’t be a better time to sell. Low inventory means more competition, and more competition typically means higher offers and a better deal for sellers — especially if you’re selling a starter home. Thanks to millennials entering the homebuying market for the first time, starter homes are the most in demand selling point on the market. And since they experienced a 17% decrease in supply from 2016 to 2017, a great starter home will be an even hotter commodity in 2018.
Low inventory can be a problem for buyers. But if you’ve been thinking about selling your home, low inventory means there’s never been a better time to put your property on the market.
When it comes to Amazon.com, we all know the platform allows you to buy pretty much anything you can imagine. From Halloween costumes and home decor to live fruit trees and Viagra, the massive online retailer prides itself on being the go-to purveyor consumers turn to when they don't feel like leaving their homes. But now a home itself — albeit a tiny one, pre-fabricated from a new shipping container and fully finished — is another item you can add to your virtual shopping cart. That's right. For $36,000 (plus $3,754.49 shipping), you can have this 320-square foot tiny home delivered to your doorstep. You'll need to take it the rest of the way yourself as, according to manufacturer MODS International of Appleton Wisconsin: "Delivery is to location only. Exact placement will need to be provided by a third party." And at 7,500lbs gross, that's a handful. (Bummer.) So where exactly can you set up this little beauty? According to the description provided to Amazon.com, it "can be placed on either 12" concrete sonotube footings (10 total, one every 8 feet along perimeter) or a solid concrete slab."
The standard unit has side water and electric connections but requires a bottom access sewer connection. In addition to a bedroom and bathroom, this diminutive dwelling includes a kitchenette, complete with its own appliances, a living area, heat and air conditioning.
While residents of California can't purchase one due to building codes, the tiny home is ready to ship to anywhere else in the contiguous United States. Even if you think you don't necessarily need one, consider these possible ways you could enjoy owning this pint-sized pad:
Hey, thanks to heating and air-conditioning and dual bunk beds, your relatives will sleep comfortably — just not under your roof.
Wondering where you can finally binge-watch that Netflix series you keep hearing about? Here you go! Grab your popcorn, lock those patio doors, and disappear for hours (or days?).
Got a boomerang child? You know, the post-college kid who returns home and won't leave? Setting him or her up in this tiny home, where they're responsible for all the cooking and cleaning, could be a great first step toward kicking them out of the nest. (And you won't hear them coming or going at 2 a.m. either.)
This one really only counts if you actually move out of your regular home. Maybe this is your chance to take tiny living for a test drive?
Listed here are 184 typical actions, research steps, procedures, processes and review stages in a successful residential real estate transaction that are normally provided by full service real estate brokerages in return for their sales commission. Depending on the transaction, some may take minutes, hours, or even days to complete, while some may not be needed. More importantly, they reflect the level of skill, knowledge and attention to detail required in today’s real estate transaction, underscoring the importance of having help and guidance from someone who fully understands the process – a REALTOR®.
- Make appointment with seller for listing presentation
- Send seller a written or e-mail confirmation of listing appointment and call to confirm
- Review pre-appointment questions
- Research all comparable currently listed properties
- Research sales activity for past 18 months from MLS and public records databases
- Research "Average Days on Market" for this property of this type, price range and location
- Download and review property tax roll information
- Prepare "Comparable Market Analysis" (CMA) to establish fair market value
- Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex lay-out
- Research property's ownership & deed type
- Research property's public record information for lot size & dimensions
- Research and verify legal description
- Research property's land use coding and deed restrictions
- Research property's current use and zoning
- Verify legal names of owner(s) in county's public property records
- Prepare listing presentation package with above materials
- Perform exterior "Curb Appeal Assessment" of subject property
- Compile and assemble formal file on property
- Confirm current public schools and explain impact of schools on market value
- Review listing appointment checklist to ensure all steps and actions have been completed
Listing Appointment Presentation
- Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections
- Review agent's and company's credentials and accomplishments in the market
- Present company's profile and position or "niche" in the marketplace
- Present CMA Results To Seller, including Comparables, Solds, Current Listings & Expireds
- Offer pricing strategy based on professional judgment and interpretation of current market conditions
- Discuss Goals With Seller To Market Effectively
- Explain market power and benefits of Multiple Listing Service
- Explain market power of web marketing, IDX and REALTOR.com
- Explain the work the brokerage and agent do "behind the scenes" and agent's availability on weekends
- Explain agent's role in taking calls to screen for qualified buyers and protect seller from curiosity seekers
- Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan
- Explain different agency relationships and determine seller's preference
- Review and explain all clauses in Listing Contract & Addendum and obtain seller's signature Once Property is Under Listing Agreement
- Review current title information
- Measure overall and heated square footage
- Measure interior room sizes
- Confirm lot size via owner's copy of certified survey, if available
- Note any and all unrecorded property lines, agreements, easements
- Obtain house plans, if applicable and available
- Review house plans and make copy
- Order plat map for retention in property's listing file
- Prepare showing instructions for buyers' agents and agree on showing time window with seller
- Obtain current mortgage loan(s) information: companies and & loan account numbers
- Verify current loan information with lender(s)
- Check assumability of loan(s) and any special requirements
- Discuss possible buyer financing alternatives and options with seller
- Review current appraisal if available
- Identify Home Owner Association manager if applicable
- Verify Home Owner Association Fees with manager - mandatory or optional and current annual fee
- Order copy of Homeowner Association bylaws, if applicable
- Research electricity availability and supplier's name and phone number
- Calculate average utility usage from last 12 months of bills
- Research and verify city sewer/septic tank system
- Water System: Calculate average water fees or rates from last 12 months of bills )
- Well Water: Confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report
- Natural Gas: Research/verify availability and supplier's name and phone number
- Verify security system, current term of service and whether owned or leased
- Verify if seller has transferable Termite Bond
- Ascertain need for lead-based paint disclosure
- Prepare detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact
- Prepare detailed list of property's "Inclusions & Conveyances with Sale"
- Compile list of completed repairs and maintenance items
- Send "Vacancy Checklist" to seller if property is vacant
- Explain benefits of Home Owner Warranty to seller
- Assist sellers with completion and submission of Home Owner Warranty Application
- When received, place Home Owner Warranty in property file for conveyance at time of sale
- Have extra key made for lockbox
- Verify if property has rental units involved. And if so:
- * Make copies of all leases for retention in listing file
- * Verify all rents & deposits
- * Inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled
- Arrange for installation of yard sign
- Assist seller with completion of Seller's Disclosure form
- "New Listing Checklist" Completed
- Review results of Curb Appeal Assessment with seller and provide suggestions to improve salability
- Review results of Interior Décor Assessment and suggest changes to shorten time on market
- Load listing into transaction management software program
Entering Property in Multiple Listing Service Database
- Prepare MLS Profile Sheet -- Agents is responsible for "quality control" and accuracy of listing data
- Enter property data from Profile Sheet into MLS Listing Database
- Proofread MLS database listing for accuracy - including proper placement in mapping function
- Add property to company's Active Listings list
- Provide seller with signed copies of Listing Agreement and MLS Profile Sheet Data Form within 48 hours
- Take additional photos for upload into MLS and use in flyers. Discuss efficacy of panoramic photography
Marketing The Listing
- Create print and Internet ads with seller's input
- Coordinate showings with owners, tenants, and other Realtors®. Return all calls - weekends included
- Install electronic lock box if authorized by owner. Program with agreed-upon showing time windows
- Prepare mailing and contact list
- Generate mail-merge letters to contact list
- Order “Just Listed” labels & reports
- Prepare flyers & feedback faxes
- Review comparable MLS listings regularly to ensure property remains competitive in price, terms, conditions and availability
- Prepare property marketing brochure for seller's review
- Arrange for printing or copying of supply of marketing brochures or fliers
- Place marketing brochures in all company agent mail boxes
- Upload listing to company and agent Internet site, if applicable
- Mail Out "Just Listed" notice to all neighborhood residents
- Advise Network Referral Program of listing
- Provide marketing data to buyers coming through international relocation networks
- Provide marketing data to buyers coming from referral network
- Provide "Special Feature" cards for marketing, if applicable
- Submit ads to company's participating Internet real estate sites
- Price changes conveyed promptly to all Internet groups
- Reprint/supply brochures promptly as needed
- Loan information reviewed and updated in MLS as required
- Feedback e-mails/faxes sent to buyers' agents after showings
- Review weekly Market Study
- Discuss feedback from showing agents with seller to determine if changes will accelerate the sale
- Place regular weekly update calls to seller to discuss marketing & pricing
- Promptly enter price changes in MLS listing database
The Offer and Contract
- Receive and review all Offer to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyers' agents.
- Evaluate offer(s) and prepare a "net sheet" on each for the owner for comparison purposes
- Counsel seller on offers. Explain merits and weakness of each component of each offer
- Contact buyers' agents to review buyer's qualifications and discuss offer
- Fax/deliver Seller's Disclosure to buyer's agent or buyer upon request and prior to offer if possible
- Confirm buyer is pre-qualified by calling Loan Officer
- Obtain pre-qualification letter on buyer from Loan Officer
- Negotiate all offers on seller's behalf, setting time limit for loan approval and closing date
- Prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptance or amendments to buyer's agent
- Fax copies of contract and all addendums to closing attorney or title company
- When Offer to Purchase Contract is accepted and signed by seller, deliver to buyer's agent
- Record and promptly deposit buyer's earnest money in escrow account.
- Disseminate "Under-Contract Showing Restrictions" as seller requests
- Deliver copies of fully signed Offer to Purchase contract to seller
- Fax/deliver copies of Offer to Purchase contract to Selling Agent
- Fax copies of Offer to Purchase contract to lender
- Provide copies of signed Offer to Purchase contract for office file
- Advise seller in handling additional offers to purchase submitted between contract and closing
- Change status in MLS to "Sale Pending"
- Update transaction management program show "Sale Pending"
- Review buyer's credit report results -- Advise seller of worst and best case scenarios
- Provide credit report information to seller if property will be seller-financed
- Assist buyer with obtaining financing, if applicable and follow-up as necessary
- Coordinate with lender on Discount Points being locked in with dates
- Deliver unrecorded property information to buyer
- Order septic system inspection, if applicable
- Receive and review septic system report and assess any possible impact on sale
- Deliver copy of septic system inspection report lender & buyer
- Deliver Well Flow Test Report copies to lender & buyer and property listing file
- Verify termite inspection ordered
- Verify mold inspection ordered, if required
Tracking the Loan Process
- Confirm Verifications Of Deposit & Buyer's Employment Have Been Returned
- Follow Loan Processing Through To The Underwriter
- Add lender and other vendors to your management program so agents, buyer and seller can track progress of sale
- Contact lender weekly to ensure processing is on track
- Relay final approval of buyer's loan application to seller
- Coordinate buyer's professional home inspection with seller
- Review home inspector's report
- Enter completion into transaction management tracking software program
- Explain seller's responsibilities with respect to loan limits and interpret any clauses in the contract
- Ensure seller's compliance with Home Inspection Clause requirements
- Recommend or assist seller with identifying and negotiating with trustworthy contractors to perform any required repairs
- Negotiate payment and oversee completion of all required repairs on seller's behalf, if needed
- Schedule Appraisal
- Provide comparable sales used in market pricing to Appraiser
- Follow-Up On Appraisal
- Enter completion into transaction management program
- Assist seller in questioning appraisal report if it seems too low
Closing Preparations and Duties
- Contract Is Signed By All Parties
- Coordinate closing process with buyer's agent and lender
- Update closing forms & files
- Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale
- Select location where closing will be held
- Confirm closing date and time and notify all parties
- Assist in solving any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc) or in obtaining Death Certificates
- Work with buyer's agent in scheduling and conducting buyer's Final Walk-Thru prior to closing
- Research all tax, HOA, utility and other applicable prorations
- Request final closing figures from closing agent (attorney or title company)
- Receive & carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy of preparation
- Forward verified closing figures to buyer's agent
- Request copy of closing documents from closing agent
- Confirm buyer and buyer's agent have received title insurance commitment
- Provide "Home Owners Warranty" for availability at closing
- Reviews all closing documents carefully for errors
- Forward closing documents to absentee seller as requested
- Review documents with closing agent (attorney)
- Provide earnest money deposit check from escrow account to closing agent
- Coordinate this closing with seller's next purchase and resolve any timing problems
- Have a "no surprises" closing so that seller receives a net proceeds check at closing
- Refer sellers to one of the best agents at their destination, if applicable
- Change MLS status to Sold. Enter sale date, price, selling broker and agent's ID numbers, etc.
- Close out listing in your management program
Follow Up After Closing
- Answer questions about filing claims with Home Owner Warranty company if requested
- Attempt to clarify and resolve any conflicts about repairs if buyer is not satisfied
- Respond to any follow-on calls and provide any additional information required from office files.
Did you realize REALTORS® did so many things?
Surveys show that many homeowners and homebuyers are not aware of the true value a REALTOR® provides during the course of a real estate transaction. The list here is just a baseline since the services may vary within each brokerage and each market. Many REALTORS® routinely provide a wide variety of additional services that are as varied as the nature of each transaction. By the same token, some transactions may not require some of these steps to be equally successful. However, most would agree that given the unexpected complications that can arise, it’s far better to know about a step and make an intelligent, informed decision to skip it, than to not know the possibility even existed. Based on a list prepared by Belton Jennings, CEO of the Orlando Regional REALTORS® Association. The document is provided online as part of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Surround Sound Campaign.
With home prices rising in many areas of the country, many people are worried that we're headed for a housing crash like the one we suffered in 2008. But here's the thing: it's just not true. While it's understandable that people would look at the current market, consider it a "housing bubble," and assume it's going to pop, the truth of the matter is the market today couldn't be any more different than they were before the crash of 2008. Let's take a look at four reasons why we're not headed for another housing crash:
The biggest contributor to the crash of 2008 was risky lending practices. Financial institutions had extremely loose standards in terms of who they'd lend to; they were giving out mortgages to people with low incomes, bad credit, and who were unlikely to be able to pay their mortgage once their interest rates increased. Getting a mortgage was easy, regardless of your financial situation. While this made homeownership possible for people who previously would have needed to rent due to lack of income or bad credit, it also led to serious problems when millions of people began defaulting on their loans, leading to the housing crash and the ensuing economic crisis. Today, those predatory and unethical lending practices have been completely overhauled. Mortgage standards are much more strict, and lenders are much more cautious in who they grant loans to and the terms of those loans. This has led to greater stability in the market and will prevent another crash like the one we experienced in 2008.
As mentioned, a huge part of the housing crisis of 2008 was subprime mortgages. The mortgages given to the riskiest borrowers were adjustable rate mortgages. Once the introductory period was over, borrowers saw their interest rates skyrocket and their mortgage payments quickly double or triple in size, making them completely unaffordable and leading to mass defaults on loans across the country. But today, while adjustable rate mortgages still exist, they're significantly less common. Fixed rate mortgages are the norm. When people borrow, they know exactly how much their mortgage payment is going to be for the life of their loan. This allows them to assess their budget and only borrow as much as they can afford, making it much less likely they'll default on their loans in the future.
In 2008, prices rose rapidly because everyone wanted to buy property. Real estate experts called it a "mania" because so many people who weren't able to buy property suddenly had the ability to do so. Purchasing a home in the US accelerated to a frenzied pace, which drove up prices. But today, prices aren't rising because there's a flood of frenzied buyers in the market. Instead, it's a supply and demand issue. People are staying in their homes longer, which means there's less inventory available in competitive markets. When there's less inventory, there are more people vying for the limited homes available, which drives up property prices. This kind of price increase is just a normal part of a competitive market, not a reason to worry we're headed for another housing bubble.
Perhaps the biggest reason you don't need to worry about the US heading for another housing crisis, is the fact there's economic growth to support rising prices. The reason the most competitive markets in the country (like Silicon Valley or Seattle, WA) are rapidly growing and showing historic price increases is due to economic growth. The most competitive housing markets in the US are the markets with the most opportunity. People are flocking to areas where there are jobs, stable economic growth, and opportunities for the future. Potential homebuyers want to purchase property in a place they know will offer them plenty of career and economic opportunities. When there's economic growth to support growing prices like there are in today's hottest cities, it makes for a much more stable market—and a market unlikely to head towards a housing crash. If you're worried that rising housing prices are an indicator another housing crash is on the horizon, take a deep breath. The conditions in the market today are completely different from the conditions in 2008, and thanks to the changes made in lending practices after the crash and our booming economy, you can rest assured we won't see a housing crash anytime soon.
Every industry suffers from it -- overused, industry-specific jargon that everybody’s tired of hearing. You know, words and phrases that sounded cool way back when… but they’ve lost their luster. Here are the 25 most overused terms used in the real estate industry, as nominated by fellow agents.
Not to burst your bubble, but those 317 days on market are telling a different story, chachie.
No way! I thought you had snuck this listing on MLS without their knowledge!
This is just one letter away from a whole heap of embarrassment. If real estate agents insist on using this one, it should be done with extreme caution.
It’s not that this is the most horrible statement ever… it’s that it’s usually accompanied by a photo like this:
C’mon, you know it’s a hot mess. There’s a big difference between “Tender Loving Care”, and “Tile, Lumber & Concrete”. So which is it? Most people have been conditioned to equate TLC with Tons of Loose Cash.
Pottery Barn is a store, not a style. Not to mention, the sellers will be taking that with them when they move out.
Just keep it lower case, will ya? Capitalize only the words that need it. Otherwise you might just earn yourself a new nickname. Perhaps something like...
C’mon, let’s just call it what it is: an itty bitty nook. You know good ‘n well a twin size bed won't fit in that room.
Well geez, I’d certainly hope so. If it weren’t, would there be any point in trying to sell it?
Would she consider staying if I bought the house?
Sorry, but technically it’s a "water heater”. Saying “hot water heater” is redundant. If the water was hot, you wouldn’t need a heater.
Prime example: "Lot's of closest space in they're. Pet's will be out. Your gonna love it. Owner's takeing there drapes. Large dinning room. Prestegous. On off the best area's out their." Oh, my eyes!
This is cool to use if the home has been updated in, say, the last few years. But when the home was “updated” in the 80’s… um, HELLO, it’s outdated again!
Not only is this a textbook example of hyperbole, but you also run the risk of conjuring up images of driving by a used car lot: “Come on down! These cars are better than new!" Just, no.
Ahh, so THAT’S why we keep shoes in there.
Because it’s on wheels?
Really? I'm gonna show it for kicks & not try to sell my buyer a house?
C’mon. You should just come right out and say it. It has funky wall colors, doesn’t it?
Yeah, no they don't. You do. Most sellers have no idea which title company to pick.
There’s nothing quite like advertising something that it doesn’t (but could!) have. Hell, room for a goat farm, or ferris wheel too I suppose. Doesn't have it now, but hey… it totally COULD!
Ranchers have cows. It's a “ranch” style home.
No it’s not. C’mon, give it to me. I’d rather spend a few more seconds reading your listing description, than to visit the home and have it underwhelm my client.
Just say no to this word. It’s one of the most overused words in modern real estate advertising. It’s simply lost its luster.
I’m saving the best for last. And by best, I mean worst.
Using the words and phrases above, I imagine the world’s most irritating listing description would look something like this:
HONEY, STOP THE CAR! THIS ONE’S PRICED TO SELL! THIS COZY & UPDATED RANCHER BOASTS POTTERY BARN DECOR, BIG DECK IN REAR, NEW HOT WATER HEATER, AND WALKING CLOSETS. NEEDS A BIT OF TLC, BUT HEY -- MRS. CLEAN LIVES HERE! WONT LAST! SELLER SAYS SELL, SO SHOW AND SELL! BRING YOUR PICKIEST BUYER!
For those who are looking to purchase a home but have limited financial resources, the Maricopa County has a great program to offer down payment assistance. There are qualifications for a minimum credit rating, and the houses available are left to you. In other words you can purchase homes in any neighborhood and this is for all buyers including first time home buyer. For first time home buyers the biggest obstacle is coming up with the down payment, so this works great for them.
These loans are provided through a FHA loan. Because these mortgages are backed by the government, they are available with low down payments. These down payments can be as low as 3.5 percent plus an additional amount for closing costs. Although this is much lower amount than a typical mortgage, it is still an amount that many families struggle to save.
The Home in 5 program
Arizona- based Guild Mortgage offers assistance to home buyers with both the down payment and the closing costs. The Benefits of Home in 5 Program are great, and you need to take the time to consider this lender before committing to an FHA loan.
The Benefits of Home in 5 Program
These benefits include help with the down payment. In many cases you can get the entire amount of the down payment as well as the money needed for closing costs. This money adds up to five percent of the cost of the house. The money is given to you as a grant. A grant is not a loan but a one time gift of money that does not need to be paid back. This grant money can be as high as $12,000. The house itself is limited to a value of $300,000, and the down payment plus closing costs are limited to five percent of the total value of the home.
This grant is fully compatible with the regulations of the FHA regarding the down payment. In addition, the interest rates for a 30 year mortgage are low and competitive with interest rates found at other FHA approved lenders. As with other FHA loans, this house must be your primary residences.
Home in 5 Restrictions
There are a few restrictions to qualify for the Benefits of Home in 5 program that are different from a standard FHA loan. Your credit score must be 640 or better, and there is an income limit of $88,340. In addition, this program is only open to Maricopa County residents. An online buyer education will need to be completed too, but don't worry everyone passes.
For more information complete the form on this page and we will get you started.
Help is still available to assist buyers with down payment and closing costs on a new home for residents of Phoenix, AZ, and Maricopa County. This unique program is being offered locally by Arizona Housing Authority.
With the down payment assistance program you can get up to $18,000 or 5% grant to help with the down payment and closing costs.
These grants do not have to be paid back and are offered on a “first come, first served” basis.
Eligibility requirements are as follows:
•New and existing homes 1-4 units
•Single Family Residence and Detached PUD only
•Home inspection required
•Mobile homes are not allowed
•Must have at least a 640 credit score
•A buyer's debt to income ratio cannot exceed 45%
•Be a resident of Maricopa County, AZ
•Use the home as their principle resident
•Move into new home within sixty days of closing
•Must make under $92,894 annually
•Must successfully complete a home buyer education course
•The cost of the home must be not exceed $371,936
•Can receive a grant worth up to $18,038
The Meru Group ready assist buyers with questions about down payment assistance and help you find the homes that are eligible for the program.
* Home Buyer and down payment assistance qualifications subject to change.