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How to Pick a REALTOR

With all the REALTORS running around these days it’s hard for a consumer to decide which one is best….and who all these companies are. Used to be we knew who the major players were in the real estate market:

1. RE/MAX: known for top producing agents that paid a fee for their office space and got 100 percent of their commissions.

2. Coldwell Banker: Good Training for their agents and have a good reputation.

3. Century 21: Good training for their agents and have a good reputation.

4. Sotherby Realtors: every major city had at least one office and the agents in those offices tended to sell the higher priced properties.

Now we have almost 14,000 agents in the San Antonio area attached to companies we’ve never even heard of. And the latest? The new MLM agent….your Realtor might not be just selling real estate…it’s like AVON….the more agents they recruit, the more money they make. Do you want an agent that sells houses or an agent that recruits other agents?

So…how do you pick your real estate agent when their are 14,000 of them and almost as many companies?

Ask these questions:

1. Are you fulltime? Do you work nights and weekends?

I promise you….about 10,000 of these agents aren’t available 100 percent of the time to manage you or your house. When you have an offer come in….do you want to wait until Monday morning to find out about it? In today’s busy market…that buyer may get anxious and have moved on if they wrote the offer on your house on Friday night and had to wait until Monday to find out if the offer was accepted. If you’re the buyer…do you want to wait 3 days to find out if your offer was accepted? If they work at a fulltime job during the week….how can they negotiate the offer that comes in before their shift starts? I’ve met REALTORS that are also UBER drivers….do you think that REALTOR can negotiate while driving to the airport with people in the backseat? And….do you want the people in the backseat knowing about your personal business?

2. How many people are on your team?

If they are on a “team” you get them right now…and then another person takes over for inspections, and then a third person might take over for the closing process…..do you really want to work with someone you don’t know on the most important purchase of your life or the largest sale of your life? Be sure to ask about the transfer process and confirm they are still available 100 percent of the time for ALL your questions.

3. Tell me about your office…..this might be a really great question. If the office just opened up and has 2 people in it or if the office has been in business for 25 years….I can promise you that the office that has been in business for 25 years has probably done a lot of great things to stay in business that long. How does their office operate? An office that recruits for a percentage of stocks might not be the right fit for you if your house sale isn’t as important as the next recruiting session or training of their agents.

4. How long have you been in the business? With 30,000 sales a year in San Antonio and almost 14,000 agents…..the only agents that have been in the business for 10 years or more are agents that sold more than 2 houses a year. Currently 5,000 agents wash out and leave real estate within their first 3 years….and that’s been happening for over a century in San Antonio.

Make sure who you choose to represent you is one of the agents that has been around a while…in an office that has been around a while who job is to sell real estate…..lots of real estate!

The odds are in your favor for a favorable closing when you stack the odds in YOUR favor!

First Time Home Buyers

Schools

I’ve spent the last 30 days looking at houses for a first time home buyer….who is on a budget (aren’t most)?   We began by searching houses that had three bedrooms and two baths….and then quickly discovered that the elementary schools that matched up with those homes placed sometimes in the 4,000 range….out of 4,357 schools in Texas.  Should that matter?  Well….it might if you want your children to actually learn something while they attend classes….like this savvy Mom expected.

We then began searching for the best schools first….and quickly discovered that if you want to buy a house that has elementary AND middle schools that rank in the 500 or under range we had to spend more than she planned on spending…..AND be FIRST in the door with a strong prequalification letter in hand AND pray we were offering enough to get the seller to sign the offer immediately.

Of the 100 plus homes we viewed, took video’s of, FACETIMED and more…..days, weekends and nights consumed with searching for anything we might have missed…offers written on houses the seller’s assumed they didn’t need to repair to sell or homes out of state investors snapped up by taking them off the market for a week or so because they supposedly were buying with cash…we found success.

Even if the buyer hadn’t wanted good schools…..if you want a successful rental or a house that has potential to appreciate you should consider the schools.  Renters want great schools and will pay more rent for a school that ranks well….and homes tend to appreciate if they are located in areas with great schools.

One of the best sites I found for searching for school scores was SchoolDigger.  It also advertises homes on the site….but we found the homes they advertised were dated listings and not really available to buy….so use the site for school scores only.  A special note….new schools that were recently built might not show up on the site…..and a lot of new schools are being built in the San Antonio area.

If you’re considering buying a home to live in or for investment purposes, give me a call.  It’s hard work and long hours…….but I LOVE the end result…..finding the right house for YOU!

 

History on a House

When you are looking for a new home the previous MLS history may tell you a lot about the house.  Things to look for?  From the previous MLS sometimes your agent is able to pull up:

 

  1.  What the house looked like when the current owner purchased it.  This sometimes can be worth a lot….maybe it was a foreclosure and was abused for years before this owner put some “lipstick” on it…like new carpet and paint.  Maybe they haven’t done a thing to it…and bought a few months ago.  Maybe they have obviously spent a LOT of money on it and it’s worth tons more than what they paid for it…but if you can view the previous photos…you might learn a lot.
  2. How much they paid for it.   Yes, it’s fun to know this…but how much they paid for it doesn’t equal how much it’s worth now.  Sometimes this is good information as it might give you an idea of whether or not the seller might be willing to accept less than they are asking….but what they owe and what it is worth are very different and their agent probably showed them comparable sold properties to determine what they should be selling it for.  Be sure to ask your agent to include an updated CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) of what has sold in the last year and what has more importantly sold in the last 90 days.
  3. A copy of the survey.  This can help you determine if you can add that pool you want…or where you can build a deck after your purchase.  Any maybe you can reuse this survey and save yourself approximately $500 or more if the house is on acreage.
  4. What the previous seller disclosed on their seller disclosure.  I love this part…sometimes the previous owner might have disclosed information that the current owner forgot about…like foundation repairs or fires or that they paid for flood insurance…….information that might not be on the current seller’s disclosure and it may be very informative.  Some seller’s truly don’t remember what was wrong with the house when they bought it…but they accepted a credit in lieu of the previous owner making those repairs prior to their purchase…and then when they put the house on the market a new inspector discovers those same items.  It’s not that they are lying….they truly forgot about the back door sticking or the hot and cold water being reversed as they just got used to those items being broken.  Whatever you do…have a home inspector inspect the property for you…..you don’t save money by skipping this step.
  5.  A square footage discrepancy…..this is SO strange but the tax office today may disclose a house shrunk or got larger….and years ago it said something else.  You may be basing your offer on the average price per square foot….and if the house is 100  feet different that could be a difference of $15,000 if the average sale is $150 a square foot.

Be sure to ask your agent to run the history for the property you are considering buying.

If you need help and a great agent, call us at 210-273-6161.

 

San Antonio Housing Bubble?

Mention the words “housing bubble,” and what might come to mind are Dallas or Austin. But a report released from National Mortgage News indicated that home prices in the San Antonio-New Braunfels Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) were at all-time highs, while wages are remaining flat. The combination of high home prices and non-moving wages can create a housing bubble.
National Mortgage News noted that the price-wage growth gap for the region was 14%, with an affordability index of 77. Meanwhile, data from the San Antonio Board of Realtors found the median home sales price was $214,300, a record high.
Economists paint another story. Lawrence Yun with the National Association of Realtors said San Antonio home sales are 30% below than when the market crashed in 2008, meaning no bubble. And Jim Gaines with the Texas A&M Real Estate Center indicated that the metro continued to gain jobs.

Per:  February 2018 Issue Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University

San Antonio Home Sales for January

Everyone is always talking about how great the real estate market is in San Antonio…..but is it really the “hot” market they are saying it is?

This January 1760 homes sold….versus 1687 homes in January 2017.  The days on market for a home in January was 67 days….last January it was 62 days.

Some homes do “fly” off the market….so if you like a house, don’t wait for someone else to put their offer in.   67 days really isn’t very long for a house to get a SOLD sign and interest rates are starting to creep up.  If you’re thinking about a move….you should consider updating that prequalification letter and start your search before everyone else realizes that the house they could have bought last year is now out of their price range because of rising interest rates.

We’d love to help you sell your home or find your new one.

Give us a call at 210-273-6161 or email us at Lisaharder@live.com.

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