What To Know When Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent

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From beginning to end, it is a real estate agent helping you select, negotiate, and legally purchase your new home. Choosing the right real estate agent to help guide you through the whole process isn’t easy. Here’s an overview of what you need to know.

THE AGENCY RELATIONSHIP

Real estate agents are licensed by the State of Connecticut to represent a person in the purchase, sale, exchange or lease of real property. The Agency Relationship is based on one person representing the interests of another person.
The responsibility of the real estate agent is defined by the state law relating to agents, the REALTORS®’ Code of Ethics, and general principles of agency law.
The type of relationship formed between the agent and the client is called a fiduciary relationship. A fiduciary relationship is one based on trust because the agent owes the following duties to the client: Loyalty, Obedience, Diligence, Disclosure, Confidentiality, Accountability and Reasonable Skill & Care.

THE FOUR TYPES OF AGENCY RELATIONSHIPS

BUYER AGENCY
A Buyer’s Agent represents the interests exclusively of the buyer in a real estate transaction.
A Buyer’s Agent:
o        Arranges property showings that meet the buyer’s needs.
o        Provides information about the home or property, community, schools, taxes, utilities, and zoning.
o        Discloses any information about the property that can be obtained from public sources.
o        Prepares a competitive market analysis on the property.
o        Counsels the buyer on what price to offer the seller.
o        Shows what other buyers are paying for property in the area.
o        Assists in writing an offer with the buyer’s interests in mind.
o        Negotiates the best price and terms for the buyer.
o        Keeps the price capabilities and objectives of the buyer confidential    and maintains anonymity, if desired.
o        Assists with the loan application process.
o        Monitors all dates, events, and requirements.
o        Attends the closing with the buyer.

SELLER AGENCY

A Seller’s Agent represents the interests exclusively of the seller in a real estate transaction.
A Seller’s Agent:
o        Prepares a competitive market analysis of the seller’s home or property.
o        Develops and implements effective marketing strategies for the seller, including asking price, staging, and positioning.
o        Informs the seller how much other homes and properties have sold for in the area.
o        Presents all offers and counsels seller on what price to accept.
o        Negotiates exclusively on the seller’s behalf.
o        Updates the seller on market conditions.
o        Prepares an estimate of closing costs.
o        Works closely with seller to assure a smooth closing.
o        Monitors all dates, events, and requirements for the seller.
o        Represents the seller’s interest at the buyer’s walkthrough inspection.
o        Attends the closing with the seller.

DUAL AGENCY

Legal in all 50 states, Dual Agency occurs when a buyer’s agent shows a property to a buyer that is also represented by that REALTOR®’s firm, or when the Listing agency shows real estate to a buyer that is also represented by the same firm. In dual agency situations, both the buyer and seller will be asked to sign a consent agreement.
A Dual Agent owes both the buyer and seller equal representation and must:
o        Treat both parties fairly.
o        Not knowingly represent one party to the detriment of the other.
o        Disclose facts each party needs to make an informed decision.
o        To assist, as the buyer and seller are empowered to negotiate on their own behalf.
o        Assure confidentiality on each party’s price, terms, and personal information.

DESIGNATED AGENCY

Buyers and sellers have an option when the real estate brokerage firm is a dual agent. That option is called Designated Agency. In designated agency, the real estate brokerage firm will designate a salesperson to represent the buyer and another salesperson to represent the seller. The designated buyer’s agent will act as an agent for the buyer as described in “buyer agency” above. The designated seller’s agent will act as an agent for the seller as described in “seller agency” above. This is the case even though each of the salespeople is from the same real estate brokerage firm.

The seller and the buyer must each agree to having a salesperson designated for them, and the real estate broker in charge of the brokerage firm must make the designation.

UNREPRESENTED PERSONS
A person is Unrepresented by a real estate agent unless he or she has signed a representation agreement with that agent.
The real estate agent cannot provide advice or counsel to an Unrepresented Person on matters pertaining to real estate, including real estate financing. An Unrepresented Person has the responsibility to protect his or her own interests.

All real estate agents are obligated by law to treat all parties to a real estate transaction honestly irrespective of whom they represent in the transaction.

This information is reprinted courtesy of:

CONNECTICUT ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, INC.

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First Home Buyer Tips They Don’t Teach You in School

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You don’t learn about how to buy a house in school. They don’t teach you  what you need to apply for a mortgage, what kind of loan you’ll need, or what PMI is (it’s called private mortgage insurance)

And let’s not mention that you need to shop around for the best deal — or you can hire somebody to do that for you.

So here are some First Home Buyer Tips to help guide you through the home buying experience. 

BEFORE YOU START LOOKING
♦  Have a conversation with your significant other about what you’re millenial 2looking for, what you need and what you can do without. Standing in the living room during an open house with your real estate agent isn’t the time to argue about wanting three bedrooms instead of four.
♦  Know your financial records. What’s your credit score? How much Low Monthly Paymentsoutstanding debt do you have? What monthly payment can you afford?
How much money did you make last year? You’re going to need to know all of this information. Have all of your paperwork ready to go.
♦  Know your limit — if you can’t afford a $450,000 house, don’t go look at $450,000 houses.
♦  Shop around. There are dozens of real estate agents, attorneys, and mortgage officers so don’t settle. These people are going to work for you, their job is to make you happy. You’re going to be on the phone and meeting with them frequently, so make sure you like who you’re working with.
♦  Do your research. When you do decide on a real estate agent, he or she isGet Pre-Approved going to want to know what your price range is, what neighborhoods you’re interested in, if you want to be close to schools, expressways, public transportation, etc. Know what you want and Get Pre-Approved! 

WHILE YOU’RE LOOKING
♦ This is the big one you’ll be glad someone told you about.
Don’t get too attached to a house, because if it the deal doesn’t work out, for whatever reason, you’re going to be devastated.
♦  Be willing to negotiate, it’s a big part of the game.
♦  This goes hand-in-hand with negotiating: put your foot down and don’t let anyone take advantage of you. If the seller is asking for way more than you’re told the house is worth, or if they’re not willing to fix something that is broken or at least negotiate the cost, you have to be ready to walk open houseaway. There will be more houses, trust me.
♦  Don’t just purchase a house by its listing. Go look at EVERYTHING. A lot of houses look different in person than they do on-line, good and bad.

First Home BuyerI have the belief that anyone that deserves to own a home should be able to do so. The American Dream is still attainable for those buyers who do their homework, establish a game plan and work hard to achieve that goal. I’m here to help.

Source: http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/06/buying_your_first_house_things.html

Four Reasons Why Buying a Condo is Different Than Buying a House

Buying a new home is a delicate dance. From the initial search to the final price negotiations, everything needs to be condotailored to the type of home you are looking for. However, because of their main differences, this process can look very different when buying a condo versus buying a house.

Reason #1: The Homeowners Association or HOA
As all condo owners will know very well, almost all condos come with some type of homeowners association or HOA.

The HOA generally handles common areas like swimming pools, the exterior of the building, and landscaping. Sometimes, the HOA may also beresponsible for holding social events throughout the year.

However, all of this comes at a few costs. The first is money; a HOA cannot operate or pay necessary expenses without charging residents a monthly fee. The second is freedom; most HOAs have rules that need to be followed.

When buying a condo, potential buyers will balance the costs of each HOA with the benefits.

Reason #2: Real Estate Investors
When buying a condo, it’s reasonable to expect a larger number of investors will be considering the property than when buying a home. After all, renting out condos is a big business. As a result, buying a condo places greater emphasis on being Pre-Approved for a mortgage, competing with cash offers, or even competing bids if the condo is on prime property.

Reason #3: The Type of Buyer
Different types of buyers look at a condo versus a home. For starters, condos are generally smaller, don’t have yards, have all landscaping handled professionally, and frequently come with amenities like a swimming pool or fitness center.

While a good majority of potential buyers with children would love a swimming pool with zero maintenance, they aren’t willing to make the trade for a smaller space. This means that when buying a condo, potential buyers will generally be single adults, newly married couples, or retired professionals looking to downgrade to an easier property.

Reason #4: Location, Location, Location
Every real estate agent knows that one factor, above all others, is most important when selling a property: location. Being close to town versus far away from traffic, near downtown excitement versus in a quiet neighborhood, or near shopping centers versus on the edge of nowhere all come into play for a property’s value and desirability.

Generally speaking, condos tend to be closer to urban areas, shopping, and entertainment. This also means that their price per square foot is frequently higher. As a result, owners looking to buy a condo should carefully consult with their real estate agent about the best way to make an offer at a fair price.

Call Me at 860.945.9284 to discuss the right mortgage option for your family and to take advantage of my  FREE Mortgage Pre-Approval service.

What Not To Do When Buying Your First Home

referralDeciding to buy your First Home is not an everyday activity. There’s a steep learning curve, which explains why mortgage professionals see the same blunders over and over again. Here are six common — and costly — mistakes many First Home Buyers make.

1.  Believing the Listing Agent is Your BFF –  Unless you hire your own buyer’s agent, the agent selling that house works for the seller

2.  Setting an Unreasonable Time Table – Assuming you’ve been Pre-Approved for a mortgage and it’s a fairly simple deal, you may be able to close in 30 days, but 45 to 60 is more common,. Foreclosures may take 75 to 90 days and short sales have been known to take 6 to 9 months.

3.  Financing – One and Done – There should be a chemistry that develops between you and your loan officer. Educate yourself on the complicated mortgage process and the whole home buying experience

4.  Trash Talking as a Bargaining Technique – If you’re making an offer, you want to stress what you like about the place, Don’t forget: You’re a guest in someone’s home. Forgetting to be polite is a common home buying mistake.

5.  Believing You Can’t Afford Professional Advice – Sometimes the right professional advice from an attorney, home inspector, insurance agent saves far more than it costs. Do not hesitate to ask for it.

6.  No Reserve Fund – Many home buyers are tempted to stretch as far as possible – and drain all available savings just to buy their dream home. There are going to be some unforeseen circumstances that arise, either personally or with the house. Plan to keep an emergency fund available after closing to address those unforeseen situations that might arise, either personally or with the house.

Read more: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/real-estate/mistakes-homebuyers-make-1.aspx#ixzz3a7khAOUj

3 Tips for Nervous First Home Buyers

ConfusedFirst Home Buyers are rightfully nervous about buying a new home. It’s a big decision, a big change and a big investment. But with rising rents, low mortgage rates, new loan programs targeted to First Home Buyers and an increase in the supply of quality homes, many wanna-be home buyers feel they can’t pass up the opportunity to take the big step in 2015.

Here are 3 Tips for Nervous First Home Buyers to quell your nightmares and help make your dream a reality.Get Pre-Approved
1.  Get Mortgage Pre-Approval – Talk to a professional mortgage officer. The time you spend documenting your financial fitness to buy a home is well spent if the lender gives you a “Pre-Approval” letter, an important tool as you negotiate for a property.

2.  Be Objective – Instead of thinking with your heart, think with your head when mulling over the decision to buy, Don’t be afraid to ask thoseyourself tough, practical questions that will help you make the best choice about buying your first home.

3. Take a Cautious Approach to Home Selection – Hire your own Real Estate Agent. Inventories are expected to rise this spring as snow-bound home sellers begin to put their homes on the market. Choose a Realtor who is working for you, not the seller. Get one that’s honest; one who understands your concerns and has the patience to guide you through the whole home buying process.

If your dream is to own your own home … you might kick yourself later if you let your fears get the better of you. Now is The Time to Buy!

Get Mortgage Pre-Qualification in 2015

If you are thinking about purchasing a new home in 2015, it is important to be properly prepared. A homebuyer must lay down the necessary groundwork before they are able to purchase the home of their dreams. This is why Home Sellers and Realtors© require First Home Buyers to get Mortgage Pre-Qualification before they go too far into the home buying process.

In order to help you better understand what a Mortgage Pre-Qualification is all about, here is more information about the Mortgage Pre-Qualification process.

What is a Mortgage Pre-Qualification? Getting pre-qualified is the first stepFHA MI in the mortgage process, and it’s generally very simple. You supply a bank or lender with your overall financial information, such as your income, paystubs, W-2’s, and credit. After evaluating this information, a lender can give you an idea of the mortgage amount for which you qualify.

When Should You get Pre-Qualified? The best time to get pre-qualified is before you start looking for a home, as soon as you decide you are interested in buying.
Getting pre-qualified will give you a general idea of your home buying budget, how much of a monthly payment you can comfortably afford, and it will allow you to estimate the loan type that is right for you. Also, when you’re searching for a home, getting pre-qualified will help you and your Realtor to know which homes are in your price range.

How Do You Get Pre-Qualified? In order to get Pre-Qualified, you check out different lenders to find out which one is the best “fit” for you. Chose a Loan officer you are comfortable with and one you can trust to guide you through the lengthy home purchase process. There is usually no cost involved, and does not include an in-depth evaluation of your ability to purchase a home.

What’s the Next Step After a Pre-Qualification? After you have been Pre-Get Pre-ApprovedQualified, the next step is to be Pre-Approved. The Mortgage Pre-Approval process tends to be much more involved and much more thorough. In the Mortgage Pre-Approval process, your application will be reviewed by an underwriter and your Loan Officer will have more detailed information to advise you on the best mortgage options available to you.

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Call Me at 860.945.9284 to take advantage of my FREE Mortgage Pre-Approval service and discuss the right mortgage options for your family

Why Every First Home Buyer in CT Should Get Mortgage Pre-Approval In 2015

What is the benefit of having Mortgage Pre-Approval when looking for your First Home?

There is a difference between Mortgage Pre-Qualification and Mortgage Pre-Approval.
♦ Mortgage Pre-qualification is based solely on the you verbally share with your Mortgage Officer to qualify for a mortgage loan. The Mortgage Pre-Qualification Letter basically says that the lender will give your a mortgage when they see that the information you told us about is correct and meets certain qualifying standards.Get Pre-Approved
♦ With a Mortgage Pre-Approval, the buyer supplies all the written documentation of the information they claim to be true. This formal application is reviewed by and underwriter to be sure the credit, income and assets are sufficient to obtain the loan you are applying for. Loan Officers can not issue a Mortgage Pre-Approval. Only a Mortgage Underwriter can issue a valid Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter.

If you are looking to buy your First Home is 2015, a Mortgage Pre-Approval is the smartest to get into your dream home. Here’s Why …

1.  Knowledge is Key:   A Mortgage Pre-Approval gives you a firm idea as to how big a house you can buy and how much of a mortgage you can afford. Lenders base this amount using a formula (your Debt-to-income ratio) that compares your income to your total outstanding debts, including your proposed new housing expenses. This will keep you focused on the big picture and help to prevent being disappointed if you fall in love with a home that is too expensive for your means.

2.  Improve Your Negotiating Position: When a seller is comparing two offers and one of the buyers has Mortgage Pre-Approval, they have a high confidence level that their sale will go through and close sooner. This may help you to win in a competitive bidding situation.

3.  Confidence in Your Offer: Knowing the the paperwork supporting the key information needed to obtain a mortgage has been reviewed by and underwriter will give you, and the seller, confidence that your offer is bona fide.

4.   Keep Your Spending on Track: Having detailed information on your interest rate, down payment requirement, closing costs estimate and mortgage terms will help you stay with in your budget and be prepared for the closing of your loan.

5.   Time is Valuable: Knowing what you and cannot afford can save you time and frustration in the house hunting process. This will also help your Realtor find the perfect house in your price range.

6.  Move in Quicker: Having Mortgage Pre-Approval will save you time when your application is submitted for final approval. Most of the paperwork has been done, so all you should need to do is have the property inspected and appraised. The faster you can close, the quicker you can move into your dream home.

The Mortgage Pre-Approval process is not quick and not necessarily easy. But most REALTORS® will tell you that getting Mortgage Pre-Approval is the key to getting the new home you want.