What is an Exclusive Buyer Agent, Buyers Agents, Buyer’s Agency

Learn About Different Types of Buyer Agents

The exact legal definition of the term “Buyer’s Agent” will vary a little bit depending on what state or country you are in, but, in general, a buyer‘s agent is defined as a principal-agent relationship in which a broker is the agent for a buyer, with fiduciary responsibilities to the buyer.

In most states a real estate broker is the highest level of license for someone in the the real estate business and a broker can contract with and be paid by a consumer. The lower level of license is typically called a real estate sales person. Someone with a real estate salesperson license can not legally contract with a consumer directly or legally be paid by a consumer directly. A licensed salesperson must work under the supervision of a broker.

The actual definition can get a little confusing because a lot of people with basic real estate licenses call themselves buyer’s agents and that really is not the correct use of the term.

The legal relationship is with the broker, not the salesperson.

If the broker and all the salespeople licensed under the broker are representing the buyer it is correct to call any of them a buyer’s agent.

However in recent years brokerages have made an intentional shift in their business models so an individual salesperson can act for a buyer. This allows the brokerages to continue to take advantage of the lucrative dual agency business, while making consumers more comfortable with the conflict of interest. This has required changes to license law and different states have different terms for these “almost buyer agents.”  They may be called designated buyer agents, delegated buyer agents or something else in your state.

Exclusive Buyer Agents are real estate professionals who work in offices that always work for buyers, never sellers. Exclusive Buyer Agency companies never list homes.

You need to understand the forms of buyer agency in your state before you start the home buying process. Contact NAEBA now to speak to a home buying expert who can review the state specific terminology with you.

via What is an Exclusive Buyer Agent, Buyers Agents, Buyer’s Agency.

What is a Real Estate Buyer Agent? Real Estate Broker, Buyer’s Agent.

Real Estate Agents, Brokers and Brokerages

*Note that each state has its own real estate laws. This summary is a general view that may not exactly reflect the laws in your state.

In the United States a real estate agent is an individual who has passed a state mandated class on real estate and who is employed by a real estate broker or brokerage.

Real estate agents work in many different areas, from apartment leasing to commercial and shopping center development to time share sales, but the majority are involved with residential homes.

Real estate agents are often members of the National Association of REALTORs. This is the national trade association for residential real estate. The vast majority of residential home transactions involve REALTORS and most Exclusive Buyer’s Agents are members of the REALTOR organization.

A real estate broker is a higher level of licensing. A broker typically must have at least three years of experience as a real estate agent, then has taken additional classes. A broker can legally be paid by a consumer for real estate services. An individual real estate agent can’t contract directly with consumers and can’t be paid directly by consumers.

A real estate brokerage is a company. Each brokerage must have an associate broker who is the responsible individual. Often brokerages might have hundreds of real estate agents.

A buyer’s brokerage is a real estate company who specializes in representing buyers. If a company never represents sellers and never has listings it is termed an exclusive buyers brokerage or exclusive buyer’s agency. The national trade association for buyer’s brokerages is The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA).

via What is a Real Estate Buyer Agent?, Real Estate Broker, Buyer’s Agent.

Exclusive Buyer Agency

National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents Standards of Practice

Principles That Buyers Can Count On

The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents is an independent alliance of real estate professionals who provide client-level services and whose real estate companies do not accept seller-property listings. We, the members of this Association, set forth the following principles as the minimum professional standards which will guide us in serving our Buyer-Clients. An Exclusive Buyer Agency relationship requires that we operate according to these fundamental commitments. The essence of Exclusive Buyer Agency practice is undivided loyalty to our Buyer-Clients. We recognize that it is our duty as real estate professionals to serve our clients with fidelity to these Standards of Practice. We also pledge to adhere to the Code of Ethics established by this Association.

A. SERVICES PROVIDED IN THE INITIAL COUNSELING INTERVIEW PHASE

Standard A(1): A Buyer Agent will disclose that he/she is a Buyer Agent and define his/her agency relationship to a prospective Buyer-Client. A Buyer Agent will explain how different agency relationships may affect the level and type of service a

Buyer-Client may receive from a real estate agent.

Standard A(2): Before entering into an agreement with a Buyer-Client, a Buyer Agent will determine if any conflict of interest may exist on his/her own part or that of a Buyer-Client. If a conflict should occur, a Buyer Agent should be precluded from representing a Buyer-Client, who should have the option of seeking representation elsewhere.

Standard A(3): A Buyer Agent will provide a copy of these professional Standards and answer any questions a Buyer-Client may have about them.

Standard A(4): A Buyer Agent will enter into a written Agency Agreement with his/her Buyer-Client. The agreement will include beginning and ending dates, the service fee structure and payment method, and the responsibilities of both parties.

Standard A(5): A Buyer Agent will make him/herself available to his/her Buyer-Client in a timely manner.

Standard A(6): A Buyer Agent will pledge absolute confidentiality to a Buyer-Client when representing him/her, thereby protecting that Buyer-Client’s ability to negotiate all aspects of the transaction.

Standard A(7): A Buyer Agent will counsel a Buyer-Client regarding his/her financial qualifications and will assist that Buyer-Client in seeking and working with mortgage lenders. A Buyer Agent will not steer his/her Buyer-Client to any one lender but instead will assist him/her in evaluating interest rates and closing costs.

 

B. SERVICES PROVIDED IN THE GENERAL PROPERTY SEARCH PHASE

Standard B(1): A Buyer Agent will discuss objectives and preferences in property styles, age, floor plans, and so forth with a Buyer-Client, then develop from this information a target property profile for him/her.

Standard B(2): Based upon the target property profile, a Buyer Agent and his/her Buyer-Client will determine the appropriate level of property preview services to be provided.

Standard B(3): With a Buyer-Client’s target property profile in mind, a Buyer Agent will search the real estate market, including properties for sale by owners and builders, to locate properties to show that Buyer-Client.

 

C. SERVICES PROVIDED IN THE PROPERTY SELECTION/CONTRACT OFFER PHASE

Standard C(1): A Buyer Agent will discuss and evaluate the properties viewed with his/her Buyer-Client, comparing each property shown with the target property profile.

Standard C(2): Before preparing an offer to purchase, a Buyer Agent will inform a Buyer-Client about any defects or problems he/she has observed or in any way discovered regarding the target property.

Standard C(3): Before preparing a contract offer on behalf of his/her Buyer-Client, a Buyer Agent will prepare a comparative market analysis, including explanations and documentation, to determine the target property’s market value. A Buyer

Agent will not prepare an offer to purchase a property he/she has not seen.

Standard C(4): Before a Buyer-Client signs an offer to purchase, a Buyer Agent will provide that Buyer-Client with an estimate of closing costs and, whenever possible, with the truth-in-lending estimate provided by the mortgage company.

Standard C(5): A Buyer Agent will counsel his/her Buyer-Client and explain the choices available in completing a real estate contract. This real estate counseling is based upon a Buyer Agent’s experience in negotiation and real estate business decisions and is not legal advice. Legal matters should be identified and a Buyer-Client advised to seek legal counsel where appropriate.

Standard C(6): Whenever possible, a Buyer Agent will prepare the contract offer on a form which has been designed to protect a Buyer-Client’s interest. A Buyer Agent will provide proper disclosures regarding agency representation and other matters as required by law.

Standard C(7): A Buyer Agent will develop contract negotiation strategies with his/her Buyer-Client, establishing pre-set limits on key points of negotiation when that Buyer-Client wishes to do so. A Buyer Agent will actively negotiate only on behalf of his/her Buyer-Client.

Standard C(8): Before submitting a contract offer to a Seller, a Buyer Agent will counsel his/her Buyer-Client regarding the time requirements specified in the contract and will encourage that Buyer-Client to have professional inspectors inspect the property if the contract is accepted.

D. SERVICES PROVIDED IN THE ESCROW-TO-CLOSING PHASE

Standard D(1): A Buyer Agent will counsel a Buyer-Client regarding the types of home inspectors, the suggested criteria for selecting home inspectors, and the comparative costs of inspection services. A Buyer-Client will select real estate inspectors. A Buyer Agent will encourage his/her Buyer-Client to be present during inspections.

Standard D(2): A Buyer Agent will notify a Seller or a Seller’s Agent in writing of inspectors’ findings and of corrections/repairs mandated by a Buyer-Client. A Buyer Agent will specify a Buyer-Client’s desire to proceed or cancel the purchase contract whenever such notification is required.

Standard D(3): A Buyer Agent will maintain contact with a Buyer-Client’s title company and mortgage company to make sure that his/her Buyer-Client’s interests are being protected.

Standard D(4): A Buyer Agent will review a settlement statement with his/her Buyer-Client at or before closing, if possible.

Standard D(5): A Buyer Agent will accompany a Buyer-Client on a property walk-through before closing.

Standard D(6): A Buyer Agent will attend a closing with a Buyer-Client. A Buyer Agent should be prepared to support his/her Buyer-Client’s position at closing.

Standard D(7): A Buyer Agent will keep records of transactions for a reasonable period of time and will provide this information to a Buyer-Client on request.

These Standards of Practice establish obligations that include all those consistent with the “Common Law of Agency” and are considered to be client-level, not customer-level, services. These obligations are, in many instances, higher than those mandated by law. If there is any case where the law requires a greater obligation than these Standards of Practice, then the requirements of the law must be followed. It is the duty of each individual Exclusive Buyer Agent to make himself or herself aware of the laws which may affect him or her.

via Exclusive Buyer Agency.

Relocation, Relocating, Moving out of State

 

The “Specification Test”

You’re going to define specifications for that new home. Why not define for the services you secure to help buy it!   It should be your first“smart move”!

So let’s see how many specs on this list are important to you, assuming they are qualities available from within the realty community:  (For the fun of it….rate each item like 1 to 3, with 3 being “most important”, grading later.)

In the selection of realty representation, how important are each of these to you?

1.    Knowledge of the profession of real estate brokerage….the practice and the players.

2.    Broad knowledge of the market, in all the good communities; good “matching” skills.

3.    Impartial access to the whole market, and more….everything that’s listed in the MLS, plus For-Sale-By-Owners, new-builds and homes otherwise not actively listed, but no ties to any that would affect objective representation.

4.    Trustworthy resources, information and 3rd party specialists….open, impartial, objective, factual information about the process and the place: schools, communities, market data, churches, recreation, financing, inspections…everything necessary.

5.    Understanding of the relocation process and its often-emotional facets, including the need for information and direction long before the first visit.  Communication with sponsors.

6.    Careful development, with you, of important buying goals….listening carefully to your needs and wants….help with focusing and analysis…then with “best matches”.

7.   Strict attention to the first and foremost buying goal….setting up critical resale for the future while not sacrificing liveability and comfort now, preserving buyers’ equities in this transaction and the next….all especially important in a “down” economy.

8.    A proactive advocacy in serving your interests, along with strict confidentiality, absolute disclosure of all pertinent information, and acceptance of responsibility, from the search through the closing and even beyond….consultation-level.

9.    A critical eye searching for problems; a devil’s advocate, making sure the negatives as well as the positives are identified….risk analysis.

10.    The reality and the perception of uncompromising loyalty in serving your interests….to the total exclusion of all other interests, including those of the realty company.  (This question is worth 10 points).

11.   “Hustle-free” service, carefully building support for wise decisions, without getting hurried.  And no spin!

12.   A competitive advantage when competing for “cherries”, the best buys.

13.   Hospitality….a home away from home until you select your own….a pleasant adventure while making wise decisions about your future.

14.   Costs justified by the benefits, and none in addition to traditional fees.

15.    Freedom….to walk away….if you’re not pleased with the relationship.  (include, or not?)

16.    Finally, partnering with your Human Resource Sponsor to coordinate it all.

Steps to Consider When Relocating

If you’ve done it, or even contemplated a move to a new home town….you’ll understand this!

Relocating a family is tough duty!

It’s a huge job, transplanting a whole family to a distant land, along with their furniture and life styles and pets.   Relocating families, no matter how smart or experienced, no matter how many homes they’ve bought and sold, are babes-in-the-woods in a new home town. As the lovely old song from “The Music Man” required, “Ya Gotta Know the Territory!”

There are strict timing requirements and huge financial considerations, complicated by selling a home at the same time. And what about the family?  “Can we make it comfortable for them? What about schools and recreation and hundreds of lesser detail?  Can we transplant our wonderful life styles and interests successfully?  Could we dare hope to make the next chapter a positive new adventure?”  Apprehensions and concerns abound!

Our typical relocating family cannot possibly know new-town values and trends, nor are they likely to know of a trusted local expert who can guide them through this maze of uncharted new-town territory, considered essential to the process (although their sponsor may.)

Indeed, they are considered a “vulnerable class” of home buyers, along with first time home buyers, in fact.  Relocations are considered among the most traumatic events in our lifetimes.  That makes them totally dependent on finding that trusted local expert.

It’s practically a given that the trusted local expert will be a local real estate practitioner…one who’s experienced in the whole process and willing and able to fill that role.  That includes access to the MLS and the entire buying process, an essential legal step.

That brings up this fact though; there may be one facet of previous relocation experience that might be really useful, and that’s in judging the quality of the local realty support experienced.  Differences show to savvy buyers. In fact, many families have had bad experiences, or heard of them, and so approach new relationships cautiously.

Until our readers here found this website, many relocating families (and many sponsors!) will still not know there’s a completely different way to become a smarter home buyer, an ultimate level of home buyer support that doesn’t cost a penny more.

So most reading this probably have never heard of exclusive buyer representation, or how the unique services of this brand of really-trusted local experts can make incredible differences in the relocation experience, curing any vulnerable class status, perhaps creating an advantaged class.

In fact, it was NAEBA and early EBAs (Exclusive Buyer Agents) that raised the first alarm.  Thanks to those pioneering efforts of NAEBA and EBAs, and other professionals nationally, the general public has been alerted to the fact that home buyers had been traditionally disadvantaged, often not knowing it or having it disclosed.  Worse, they often thought they were being represented, but were not. Given the facts and a choice, every buyer likes the idea of buyer representation.

Early EBAs were set apart because neither the agents, nor their agencies took listings or served sellers.  That’s us, and it’s still the defining difference.  In fact, many of those early pioneers in Exclusive Buyer Representation gathered to form NAEBA in 1995.

Another kind of buyer agent has evolved subsequently, however, as detailed in other parts of this website, labeled “Designated Buyers Agent”.  Recognizing the strong attraction to buyer representation generally, the profession reacted by providing some attention to it conceptually, and by giving modest training and support.  Most significantly, it suggested new supporting titles and laws. But it stops far short of serving only one side of the transaction, and working exclusively with buyers.

Through that transformation, the mainstream profession has found a way to capitalize on the strong preference for the concept of buyer representation, while still preserving the ability to transact “in-house” transactions…offering a version with an attractive name while continuing to take listings.

An “in-house” transaction is where buyers and sellers are serviced by the same agency.  That’s the conclusion on the average in 40% of all transactions nationally….with higher percentages prevailing in larger listing-strong agencies and franchises.

Technically labeled “Designated Buyers Agents” everywhere, this brand of buyer support is now practiced by the overwhelming majority of agents in America.  It’s supported by versions of the following typical state law.  Here, Illinois law “designates” the first agent that has contact with a buyer with the new name:

Quote: “Licensees shall be considered to be representing the consumer they are working with as a designated agent for the consumer unless there is a written agreement between the sponsoring broker and the consumer providing that there is a different relationship.”

(Note that ironically, the same sentence of law that defines this second kind of buyer representation also provides for our higher relationship.)

So there are now two kinds of buyers’ agents legally available throughout America…the traditional mode of “Designated Buyers’ Agents” and our original brand of “Exclusive Buyers Agents” (EBAs) where the defining difference still is that EBAs take no listings and never serve sellers.

Therefore, EBAs never do in-house transactions.  Therefore, we are completely free of seller obligations, are enabled to do hundreds of other things differently.  Please see the two most important general differences at the end of this article.  (And click here if you would like a brief review of “Legal Differences”.)

Well, there’s little doubt that exclusive buyer representation as practiced by NAEBA members is going to be a surprise, off-the-traditional-chart to many transferees and sponsors.  In the hands of skilled practitioners, it’s a simple tool that consistently gives superior results that are easy to see and enjoy….and a really-trusted local expert.

Therefore, there are these other impressions our typical relocating family might take from new experiences with “really-trusted local experts”.

Once our typical relocation family has experienced truly superior service, they know that difference, too, and search for us again….and tell their friends….and their sponsors….and the company they work for…and the next bird they see.

Those fans are fueling a new focus in the relocation world.  Once found, selection is easy, choosing the best local support services, and so becoming the very first “smart move” in the process.

While you’ll find us in most markets, we’re not in all, but in more and more as time goes by.

But don’t look for us in larger agencies or franchises….they cannot do what we do.

And don’t look for our listings on Trulia and Zillow, or Realtor.com….we’re not there.

And don’t ever look for yard signs….well, maybe once in a while a “sold” sign.

But we do have raving fans!    These quotes came from clients of NAEBA members:

“Having experienced less, we appreciate just how far your firm soars above the rest.”  (Dave and Jana Henderson, Sigma Aldrich)

“Hands down, this was the best consumer experience of our lifetime!”… USAF family.

“Wow! What a pleasure it was working with these folks!”… Company Report by Boeing transferee.

“Your company’s strategy of representing only the buyer is a great service to people moving into an unfamiliar area.  I have never been more comfortable.”  (Tim McGraw)

So, just how do these structural differences translate to actual practice?  How do they make a difference in the search for a really-trusted local expert?   We thought it might be useful to approach it with this little “test”, trying to define what is really expected of a really-trusted local expert.

We would like to suggest these several conclusions:

While there’s a host of responsibilities here that a real estate professional must accept, we believe there’s only one way to perform all of these benefits, and that’s to vacate one side of the transaction….the seller’s side of course.

Most buyers want a level “3” for every one of the above specifications.  All national surveys, some by consumer groups and some by the National Association of Realtors (the NAR) itself, prove that buyers strongly prefer “exclusive” representation once they understand it.

Worse, they often infer exclusive representation when it’s not even discussed,  alternatives not disclosed and terms like “buyer’s agent”loosely used…pretty normal in the business.

In that setting, Designated Buyers Agents cannot promise more than half of the above “specs”.  For instance, they can’t promise undivided loyalty, complete disclosure, full advocacy or absolute market objectivity for starters, and as none of them so specialize, many of the relocation-based “specs” would be very difficult for them.

Finally, laws permitting Designated Buyers Agents everywhere gave them one more very relaxed rule: While The Common Law of Agency defines Dual Agency (discouraged everywhere) as support for both sides of a transaction within the same firm or agency, modern real estate practice laws everywhere limit that definition to the agent level, not the agency, in effect legalizing it at the agency level.

Quote from Illinois law: “Dual Agency” means an agency relationship in which a licensee is representing both buyer and seller or both landlord and tenant in the same transaction.  When the agency relationship is a designated agency, this question of whether there is a dual agency shall be determined by the agency relationships of the designated agent of the parties and not of the sponsoring broker.

Fundamentally, the practice of Exclusive Buyer Representation enables two critical benefits, simply unavailable otherwise: Overall, the differences are very significant.

1.  Absolute objectivity in the market place, and

2.  Consultation-level (client-level) service.

And here’s how the differences chart out:

                    _________                         Exclusive____      Designated_              ___­­­­­­­

                   Agents may take listings          no               yes, but becomes “dual”

                   Agencies take listings              no               yes (see (*) below.)

                   Potential for confliction           none           varies, low to high (*)

                   Complexity for agents             simple         varies, low to high (*)

                   Complexity for clients             simple         tough

                   Transparency                         absolute        varies widely

                   Loyalty                                   absolute       varies widely

                   Advocacy                               unbounded    varies widely

NAEBA members work hard at maximizing the benefits of those critical differences.  Loyalty and objectivity are automatic, but developing an extraordinary body of additional insights and services is central to most of our programs, formal and informal.   And we take the role of consultant, now enabled, very seriously.

The bottom line is that it’s not our objective to sell buyers anything.  It’s our objective to help them buy what they need to buy by supporting wise buying decisions!

via Relocation, Relocating, Moving out of state

So it’s a “Mission Possible”:   We believe that supporting relocations with a score of “3” on all of the above is impossible without exclusively representing buyers.   Call

.

Buying a Vacation Home, Second Home

You’ve Earned That Vacation Home, But First Get Professional Advice Before Buying

Vacation and Second Home Properties

Whether you are considering a vacation or second home for a weekend escape or a family legacy property let your Exclusive Buyer’s Agent (EBA) guide you through the decision making process as well as the transaction assuring a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Many of these properties are located in resort areas not in the same State or region as your primary home and are subject to local restrictions, taxes and regulations. Dealing with homeowners associations, management companies, local lending, Insurance, covenants, building regulations, Title issues, well permits, weather conditions that might affect value, transportation and technology options can all be a challenge particularly if you are trying to deal with these issues from a distance. Often times your EBA can show you how you can turn these possible pitfalls into advantages with their local knowledge and expertise.

Your EBA wants you to enjoy your vacation or second home property bringing you and your family great memories for years to come. By using your EBA as a resource before, during and after the transaction with their attention to detail and guidance will allow you this opportunity.

Condominiums

Many second home owners find that condominiums are an attractive property type for a variety of reasons. They allow more time for enjoyment without a lot of worries like maintenance and daily tasks. They can also offer amenities that are not easily available to single family home owners like swimming pools, shuttle services, game rooms, etc. In many areas the possibility also exists that your unit can be rented out to tourists on a nightly or weekly basis helping offset some of your ownership costs. Naturally there is a fee for all of these services but since the costs are shared amongst all of the owners may make it more manageable for the individual owners.

All complexes should have a Home Owners Association (HOA) and in many states it is required. In most cases the HOA contracts with a management company to handle the day to day items needing attention as well as provide a reservation service to manage the rentals. In most cases the HOA meets annually to discuss items pertaining to the property and the management of those items. It is important prior to ownership to understand how the HOA functions and what their contractual relationship is with the management company. Review the HOA financials, Rules and Regulations and, at least, two years of HOA and Board of Directors meeting minutes. Often these will not be released to you until you have a unit under contract. Meet with the President of the HOA as well as the property manager to better understand if this is a complex that appeals to you. Remember also that once you are an owner you are part of the HOA and part of the decision making process.

HOA dues can cover a variety of items and it is important to understand what those items are. Dues can cover trash service, water, common amenities such as hot tubs, television, exterior building insurance, lawn and driveway maintenance, etc. HOA dues may be collected on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis.

Most management companies provide the HOA a ten or twenty year forecast of what maintenance issues might be upcoming like replacement of roofs or sidewalks and the approximate costs involved. This is how the HOA can determine the HOA fees to the individual property owners (usually allocated on a sq. ft. basis). If the property is in a short term rental location they will most likely manage your unit and take care of guest check in, cleaning and maintenance. Their fee is a percentage of the rental income. Find out what this percentage is and what they provide for this fee.

In situations where short term rental income of your unit is possible the management company may inspect and rate your unit annually. The management company’s desire is to attract as many return guests as possible so they generally rent the nicest units first meaning more income for the owner (and perhaps more wear and tear). In many instances the management company has someone on staff that can guide you through the cost benefit or upgrading your unit. Find out what your unit is rated and if there is a benefit to upgrading the unit. Also get rental income figures for like units understanding that individual units may vary due to location within the project and owner usage.

Single Family Homes

Whether your desire is to own a secluded cabin in the woods or a home on a golf course, beach or ski slope determining your needs and how you plan on using this home are essential to your selection process. Will you be using this property seasonally or just on weekends, as a gathering place for friends and relatives for holidays or simply an escape from the stresses of everyday living?  Emotions play a large part in your property selection, as it should. However don’t allow your emotions to be the overriding decider.

There are many factors that need to be considered to insure that you will be able to enjoy your escape property. Most important on this list is what will happen to the home when you are not there? What attention to the home might be needed in your absence?

The benefit of single family home ownership is that you have more flexibility on individual choices. The challenge is more daily attention may be required. There are management companies who specialize in caretaking of single family homes and many offer a menu of options. Understanding the costs and paring down what you need or desire will help you determine what the costs might be. Also understanding local zoning regulations and common interest community’s rules and regulations might determine if this home is appropriate for your desired use.

Other determining factors might be property taxes (some states charge higher property taxes on out of state owners), utility costs, transportation costs and options. Local issues such as snow load or flooding, pest control or mold are also vital pieces of information. Once under contract an inspection should be conducted and in many areas of the United States radon can be a factor. This is relatively simple and inexpensive to mitigate and often something the Seller will pay for.

Land

Perhaps instead of purchasing a pre existing condominium or single family home your desire is to build your dream home. One might think that land would be fairly straight forward to purchase. However there are many things to think about particularly as you move forward to building that special home. Again, understand the covenants of the neighborhood and what you can and cannot do on your property. Are there Square footage minimums or maximums? Perhaps there are architectural guidelines or an architectural committee that must approve your design and finish.

Be sure and negotiate the seller providing you with a survey. During your inspection period it might be a wise idea to have an engineer conduct a soils test to see how easy or difficult it will be to build on the site. Is the municipal water and sewer? If so are there tap fees to hook on. If municipal water and sewer are not available is it possible to dig for a well and at what cost? What type of water is generally found in the area? Check to see if the local regulations allow for a leach field or merely a sewer vault and determine what the cost is to pump out the vault. What is your source of heat? Check to see if natural gas is available or if you need to go with an individual propane tank. Understand the plusses and minuses of owning or leasing the tank.

Interview a local architect or two who can give you an approximation on a dollar per square foot basis on building in the area. Check with the City or County building department to see what the set-backs are and if there are any governmental regulations that you should be aware of.

As you can see there are a myriad of issues that need attention and direction to insure that your choice of product type will bring you and your family the enjoyment of ownership and usage that you are seeking in a second home or vacation property. Particularly if you are attempting to do much of this from afar the task can be daunting. Remember that you are not alone in this process. Your EBA is here to help you navigate through the issues and process until your purchase comes to fruition. In most cases your EBA will continue to be a source of information and advice long after your purchase. Isn’t it assuring to know that you have a trusted advocate in your corner and on your side?

via Buying a Vacation Home, Second Home.

Buying a Retirement Home, Second Home

Housing Considerations For Retirement Living

When the topic of Retirement Living comes up there are a number of special considerations that are usually included in the conversation. This article will discuss some of the absolutes in any search for property for a retired homeowner.

Low maintenance.

Usually one of the reasons for a move is to avoid some of the maintenance obligations that come with a larger traditional home. A good home for the retirement lifestyle will either be low maintenance or there will be a dedicated maintenance crew to take care of the maintenance. Often the best home with combine both. As an example a condominium normally will have a crew to take care of the exterior and sometimes this same arrangement would cover interior maintenance items like plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning. Ask your Exclusive Buyer Agent for their experience with maintenance management at the various communities you are considering.

Easy on the knees

Even if there are no mobility impairments now, a good home for retirement will take into account that there will likely be mobility impairments in the future. That is why the vast majority of retirement communities have all the primary living spaces on the main floor. If more space is needed for things like visitor rooms they often go on upper or lower floors. And don’t forget the entryway to the home. If is always best if there is space for a ramp from the garage or a convenient exterior door. Even if you don’t need it it is likely that some of your visitors may.

Convenient to activities

Another  important aspect is convenience to various activities. Those activities are very different for different people but they often center around golf, fishing, church, or family. Sometimes the retirement community is built around these activities, sometime they are nearby. Consider how those retirement hours will be spent before your purchase.

Additionally if you want to increase your chances of having visitors consider moving to an area close to national attractions. This is one reason there are so many retirement communities near the Disney theme parks.

Easy to travel

One aspect that sometimes gets neglected when choosing a retirement community is access to easy travel. You don’t want to be isolated so consider how you will travel and how friends and family might travel to you.

Secure

One final aspect to consider is security. Ideally you want the ability to close your door and travel without worrying about having your home burglarized. Gated communities often help owners feel more secure. Having friends in the development who can check on your home is another option to consider.

via Buying a Retirement Home, Second Home.

Changing Homes? Moving Up, Downsizing?

Learn Home-buying Tips For Moving Up or Downsizing

Changing homes locally can be a very exciting and challenging process. The average time a family owns a home is around seven years so around a lot of families who stay in an area end up selling their first home and moving to another, sometimes just a few miles away. There are many reasons people move locally: An addition to the family, a job change, divorce, children moving away from home, other life changes. If you fit into one of these categories you’ll be interested in the services of an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent. Let’s look closer at some of the dynamics of a local move:

Moving up or downsizing.

The primary reason people change homes is to have more space, but the move-up process also comes into play when a family wants to move to a better school system. Home buyers are also motivated to buy nicer homes when a job or career change makes a nicer home possible. Since you are already living in an area you often have a general idea about neighborhoods and home types, but you also benefit from having an inside line on the real estate markets in areas you consider. To choose the best home you want to have a real estate professional on your side.

The timing.

The ideal way to time a move-up purchase is to have a flexible buyer in place to buy your current home while you look for and negotiate a purchase of your new home. This way you have a good chance to be able to close on your current home and then rent the home from the new owner for a few days or weeks while you close on your new home. Unfortunately this is very difficult to coordinate.

If you are downsizing it sometimes makes sense to sell your large home and then move to an apartment or rental home briefly while you locate, negotiate, and close on your new smaller home. Even though this strategy has you moving twice it helps you clear your life of many of the belongings you might have aquired that you no longer want.

The financing.

Getting financing to make this project work is sometimes easy, however to make it work with the least total cost and the least inconvenience takes more thought and preparation. As mentioned above the best case is having a flexible buyer in place for your current home before you buy your new home. If you can arrange for the actual closing of your old home before the closing of the new home the loan process is usually easy. But, since the sale and purchase both have a lot of events which you don’t directly control it is usually a good idea to have a “plan  B” in place. This would be a way to close on the new home before the old home closes. These types of loan arrangements vary by market and by lender but as an example a lender may give you a line of equity on your current home that you can use as a down payment on the new home. Alternatively a lender may allow you to purchase the new home with a large loan and a smaller second mortgage. The large loan you would keep after the sale of the old home is completed but the small loan you pay off with your proceeds from the sale of your old home. For the best answers to these decisions talk to an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent in your area.

Finding the “perfect” home.

As a second or third time buyer you face some challenges that didn’t exist when you bought your first home. The primary one is that you now probably have some very distinct ideas of what you want and what you don’t want. The problem is that a house with everything you want and nothing you don’t want may not exist. To find a home that is the optimal compromise you really need an advocate who will help you objectively review and analyze the homes you visit. That is exactly why exclusive buyers agents are the best help available for a local buyer changing homes. Since an exclusive buyer agent does not list homes and does not represent any sellers they don’t have the huge conflict of interest that regular real estate agents have. Exclusive buyer agents don’t push you into homes. They take the time to understand your needs, explore the whole market of homes, and explain all the tactical options you should know about to make your move a success.

via Changing Homes? Moving Up, Downsizing?.

First-time Home Buyer, 1st Time Home Buyers Tips

First-time Home Buyer Advice, Including Information About Buyer Agents

If you are looking at this page, you are most likely a first time home buyer whom has done their homework on how to buy your first home. You have searched through websites and read books that say that you should find an (EBA) Exclusive Buyer Agent or Buyer Broker. It is important for you to understand why it is the right choice for you to work with an EBA that is a Member of the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA).  As a NAEBA agent, our duty is to represent you and only your best interest in the real estate transaction.  This means we work for you, as part of your exclusive team, to help you get the right home at the right price. As a professional with significant expertise and experience, we generally start out by meeting with you either in person or over the phone to discuss your wants and needs and to provide you with an overview of the mortgage process.  We ask you questions and give you answers to help you understand the process from start to closing.  The home buying process may seem complicated and overwhelming, but your EBA will be at your side each step of the way!

Buying a home in today’s market is more difficult than ever before, especially for first-time buyers whom may lack the experience of the full list of questions and concerns involved in home purchasing and home ownership. There are so many choices.  There are hundreds of websites with homes for sale that can make things very confusing.  Some websites are great and others provide information which can be inaccurate or misleading. Listen to your agent. They will help you to obtain factual information.  There are many property categories such as Short Sales, Foreclosures or REO’s or Bank Owned Properties, New Construction, Pre-Owned, For Sale By Owner (FSBO), Auctions, Single Family, Multi Family, Duplex, Townhomes, Condos,  and,  Co-ops.  In addition to the financing and construction questions, there are things to consider like seller representations, home inspections, the condition of the sewer or plumbing, the quality and accessibility of local schools, zoning restrictions that might have an impact on remodeling or adding on, neighborhood issues and organizations, the accessibility of public transportation, and much more. Your EBA will research the subject property to gather data and comps (CMA-Comparative Market Analysis) to help you make an educated decision on a negotiating strategy, initial offer price, and where to draw the line. Your EBA will provide an answer to any real estate question you have. In the case he or she doesn’t have the answer, an EBA has taken a pledge to find out who does have the answer and provide that to the home-buyer. Your NAEBA agent is specifically trained and dedicated to making the buyer’s experience fulfilling and successful, and NAEBA agents are especially attuned to the needs of first-time buyers. Our goal is to help you achieve the best deal that most completely meets all of your needs-from floor-plan to price range.

via First-time Home Buyer, 1st Time Home Buyers Tips.

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