Learn About the REALTORS®’ Code of Ethics

The REALTORS®’ Code of Ethics was established in 1913 by the National Association of REALTORS®. It’s a set of rules that were established to raise the standards of professionalism and service in the real estate industry. The rules are divided into three areas: 1) a broker’s duties to his clients, 2) a broker’s duties to his fellow brokers and 3) a broker’s duties to the public. The current Code of Ethics contains seventeen articles.

Over its one hundred year history, the Code of Ethics has been amended and revised to keep up with the changing times. Local REALTOR® Associations are charged with enforcing the Code of Ethics and handing down punishment to those found to be in violation of one or more of the articles.

To keep REALTORS® up to date on the Code of Ethics, the National Association of REALTORS® requires all REALTORS® to take a training course on the subject every four years.

In recognition and appreciation of their obligations to clients, customers, the public, and each other, REALTORS® continuously strive to become and remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience and study with others.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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Should I Sell My Own House?

Selling a home For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is not an easy task, that’s why most FSBO’s end up hiring a REALTOR®. Nationally the success rate of FSBO’s is very low. Over 80% of all FSBO’s end up hiring a REALTOR® to get their home sold in the end.

Why is it so hard to sell without a REALTOR®?

1. Determining the right listing price – Pricing a property correctly is probably the most important step when placing your home up for sale. If your home is not priced right, then you stand a slim chance of selling in a competitive market. A REALTOR® will have access to the sales data, plus their experience to best advise you on a proper listing price.

2. Buyer’s want your commission savings – One of the things most sellers don’t understand when deciding to go the FSBO route, is that many buyers know you are marketing you own home in order to save the commission, and they want a part of that savings. Many of the buyers will take 5% right off the top regardless of whether the home is priced well or not.

3. Availability for showings – It’s hard for many homeowners to be available to show their home at the time buyers want to look. Buyers can come at all hours of the day and night. Most serious buyers are looking at a number of homes within a given time period and are not willing to rearrange their schedule to accommodate an unworkable seller. One advantage of having a REALTOR® is they can take care of all showings, thus freeing you up to keep your life as normal as possible during the selling process.

4. Showing to unqualified buyers – It’s a waste of your time and the buyers if they are unable to obtain the financing needed to complete the purchase. If a REALTOR® is involved, in most cases only pre-qualified buyers will be looking at your home.

5. Negotiations & inspections – This is an area where an inexperienced seller can put their self at great risk. When your dealing directly with the buyer you can be put of the spot with answering questions and making decisions without thinking them over carefully. You might unknowingly commit to something without understanding all of the cost and time considerations. Negotiating buyer inspections on your home can be tricky as well. These are areas were a REALTOR® will look out for your best interest.

While it’s not impossible to sell your home on your own, you can see there are many pitfalls along the way if your not experienced. By hiring a REALTOR® studies have shown that you will usually sell your home for a higher price, and you will have someone on your side to make the process much easier.

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10 Tips For Real Estate Buyers

1. Find the right real estate agent
2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage
3. Create a “must have” list for the type of home and location
4. Be open to adjusting your “must have” list
5. Learn about the neighborhood once you identify a property
6. Always have a home inspected
7. Understand the process and the paperwork
8. Submit a reasonable offer
9. Don’t expect the seller to make too many improvements
10. Stick to your pre-determined budget

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Wonder How Most Home Buyers Find an Agent?

Most buyers find their real estate agent in one of the following ways (listed from most common to least common):

1. Referred by a friend, relative or neighbor

2. Website

3. Used agent previously

4. Saw contact info on a For Sale or Open House sign

5. Meet agent at an open house

6. Referred by another agent

7. Personal contact by agent

8. Employer or relocation company referral

9. Office walk-in

10. Internet search engine

Source: National Association of Realtors®

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Consider Joining Us at Ferguson Realtors

We offer our agents:
•No franchise fees
•Signs and copies at no charge
•Choice of commission plans
•Listings promoted on over 50 high traffic internet domains
•State-of-the-art visual marketing
•High quality on-line training at no charge
•Company generated business
•Managing broker with over 50 years of experience
•Member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World

Go to www.TopofKnox.com to find out more.

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How Buyers Can Turn-off Sellers

Here are a few of the ways that buyers can annoy sellers:

Disrespectful house visitors: This could include going in with muddy shoes and tracking up the carpeting, allowing children to run loose and play with the seller’s stuff, changing the heat and air settings, leaving lights on; and worst of all, leaving a door unlocked.

Submitting a long list of defects: Doing this will leave the seller questioning; does the buyer really want this place? If your wanting to buy a particular house, the better approach might be to give the seller a hand written note accompanying your offer introducing yourself and explaining why you would like to buy their house.

Too many visits: After committing to purchase a house, some buyers will want to get access to the property for a number of reasons prior to closing. These could include measuring for window treatments, planning furniture placement and obtaining repair estimates to name a few. Many sellers find the constant visits disruptive because they are in the middle of packing and making their own plans during this period.

Renegotiation: Once a contract is signed and the price and terms are agreed upon, many buyers will come back before closing and want more concessions from the seller. Most often this is being driven by the results of a home inspection. A realistic buyer should know that everything is not going to be in perfect condition, so common sense needs to come into play at some point when dealing with repair or replacement demands.

Sources: Bankrate.com & REALTOR® Magazine

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Mortgage Credit Availabilty Reaches 3-Year High

Access to mortgage credit is at its highest level in three years, and credit standards are expected to loosen even more this year, according to a newly released index by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Mortgage Bankers Association index rose to a 114 reading in March of this year, which is the highest reading in the gauge’s three year history.

Mortgage underwriting standards have gotten easier over the last two to three years, but nowhere near the loose standards of the 2005 and 2006 era.

Nearly 17 percent of the large banks recently eased their credit standards for prime purchase mortgages, while 5.6 percent have tightened their standards. The remaining banks have left their standards the same. This information comes from the Federal Reserve’s recent senior loan officer survey.

Source: Realty Biz News (4/14/2014)

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Houses Get Older

The aging of the baby boomer generation may be mirrored by the aging of America’s housing stock. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s American Housing Survey finds that the median age of an owner-occupied home in the United States was 35 years old in 2011. This was up from the median home age of 23 years in 1985.

More than 40 percent of the owner-occupies homes in the United States were built before 1969. Homes built from 2000 through 2009 account for only 15 percent of the owner-occupied housing stock.

Aging homes could prove to be a boon for home remodeling businesses. Older homes tend to be less energy-efficient than new homes and generally require more repairs.

Source: The Residential Specialist (March/April 2014)

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Be Careful – Don’t Overprice Your Home

Sellers who overprice their home are usually making one of the biggest mistakes that many sellers make when listing their home. Here are some of the dangers of overpricing:

1. You don’t get a second chance to make a good impression – After many months on the market, and several price reductions your property starts to get market worn in the eyes of both buyers and agents. When looking at a property or deciding on an offer, the buyer will often ask their agent how long has this property been on the market? If its been for an extend period of time, then buyers will start to question what’s wrong with the property. Additionally; many agents will not even show homes that have been on the market for a long time. They will assume that there are condition, location or pricing issues involved, and it will be a waste of their time and their buyer’s time to even show the property.

2. You are setting yourself up for failure – You will most often get your best offers within the first thirty days of being on the market, so don’t waste this opportunity. Time and time again, many sellers find this out the hard way and end up regretting their prior decisions.

3. You will often help sell someone else’s property – Most buyers will look at several homes before making a decision to buy, so they get a pretty good idea of what you get for the dollar. If your home is priced above the other comparable homes, then the buyer is almost always going to choose the one that’s a better value.

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