Here are excepts from a National Association of REALTOR® statement on President Obama’s recent housing policy speech.
“NAR believes the principles of comprehensive housing finance reform outlined by President Obama will contribute to the long-term stability of our nation’s housing market and provide consumers with access to affordable mortgage credit, even during economic downturns.
“Realtors® remain steadfast in our efforts to preserve the government guarantee in any restructured secondary mortgage market to ensure the continued availability of safe, reliable mortgages.”
“Realtors® urge continued support for the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage insurance programs. Many First Home Buyers rely on FHA-insured loans to purchase a home. It is important that we preserve access to FHA for all qualified middle class families.
“NAR is ready and willing to work with President Obama and Congress to develop policies that ensure mortgage credit is always available at reasonable costs so that everyone who is willing and able to afford a home can do so.”
Choosing the right real estate agent to help in your home purchase isn’t as easy as opening the phone book or dialing a number advertised on a park bench. Here’s a quick overview of what you need to know.
In addition to your mortgage professional, your Real Estate Agent is the backbone of your home-buying team. From beginning to end, it is a real estate agent helping you to select, negotiate, legally purchase, and finance your new home. When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, however, things get can get overwhelming quickly.
Who do you choose? The person whose name is on the sign outside your dream home? The smiling woman wearing a suit jacket whose picture seems to be on every park bench in town? What about that business card in your wallet from a co-worker who sold his house last year? Are all of these people equally capable of getting you into the best home for you and your family? Will their personality “fit” with yours? Michigan State University Extension highlights a few quick tips to get you in the right frame of mind when you’re looking for an agent:
• First, the basics. Remember that a real estate agent is a state-licensed professional who has been trained and certified to sell houses, other buildings, and land. Furthermore, an agent who advertises as a Realtor® is a member of the National Association of Realtorsand subscribes to its code of ethics. This means that both your state real estate commission and your local Association of Realtorschapter can be valuable resources in both obtaining quality referrals in your area and checking on the professional record of referrals you get elsewhere.
• Second, make sure you know who your agent is working for. While a real estate agent’s job is to match buyers and sellers, and all agents can represent both parties, some choose to specialize. ◊ A listing agent, or the seller’s agent has a contract with the seller of a house to advertise the property for sale and represent the seller when offers are made (this would usually be the person’s name you see on a lawn sign). They get paid by the seller out of the proceeds of the sale. ◊ Abuyer’s agent, meanwhile, works exclusively for the buyer and gets paid by splitting the commission with the listing agent, or sometimes directly by the buyer. ◊ Finally, a dual agent legally represents the interests of the seller and the buyer in the same transaction, usually requiring both parties’ written consent. Regardless of whom they are representing, the agent has a legal obligation to deal fairly and honestly with both parties, and must disclose everything they know about the home they are selling. Still, it’s important to be aware of which parties in the transaction the agent has a contractual obligation to represent, since it has an effect on the negotiating process.
• Third, don’t be afraid to shop around. While it’s important to not take up too much of an agent’s time if you are not serious about buying, you should not hesitate to interview and look into the credentials of more than one real estate agent when making your decision. Despite what agents may tell you, any agent can sell you any home in your area. Therefore, it’s important to find someone you feel comfortable working with as you navigate the many steps of the home-buying process. Your agent should respect and understand your individual needs as a buyer, and be able to provide you with a level of attention and care that gives you confidence in your home buying experience.