By Scott Newman
With the market picking up steam, buyers are out there scooping up homes and they’re counting on you as their agent to help them navigate the treacherous waters of their transaction. When they are buying a condo, that path can be filled with even more landmines, and you have a whole new realm of elements to account for when advising your buyer clients. I’ve outlined some best practices for agents below who are representing buyers purchasing a condo.
Understand the Financials
Nothing will make you look more foolish than advising your client to make an offer, having it accepted, and then finding out there is something wrong with the building that prohibits financing. Review condo documents and know what’s going on with the overall health of the building your client is interested in — this is not just your attorney’s job post contract execution — it’s your job before your client ever puts pen to paper! Request a 22.1 disclosure, call the management company, speak to the listing agent — do whatever you need to do to ensure that the building your client wants to buy in qualifies for the type of loan your client is applying for.
Know Your Client
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had a listing that gets put under contract, only to have the deal fall apart for ridiculous reasons that could have been brought to light long before an offer was made. Again, as the buyer’s agent, your job is to stay on top of these situations to ensure that you come across as a professional and that your client isn’t wasting their time. The only way to do this is to ask the right questions!
Do your clients have a dog or are they planning to buy one during their residency in the building? Are they planning to smoke inside their unit? Do they like to host company during very late hours? These can all be potential issues for a client as the rules in condo buildings can vary wildly, so it’s never safe to assume anything!
All of the above are examples of questions you should be asking to ensure that your client isn’t wasting their time. Get the right information ahead of time and call the HOA or listing agent personally to ensure that your client’s unique needs will be met by the building.
Do Your Homework
The time to find out whether or not the building has a pool or how nice the gym is should not be when you show up to the property with your client. Continue reading »
By Anand Patel
Now that I have your attention, let me explain!
Last month my wife and I took our three-year-old daughter to the Disney On-Ice show that came to our town (Tampa, Fla.). It wasn’t until the day of the event that my wife decided to tell me this show, which was called Disney on Ice: “Dare to Dream,” was going to feature various Disney princesses and their stories. I wasn’t too excited, but anything for your little pipsqueak, right?
As we were walking up to the arena entrance I saw a swarm of little girls seemingly attack a Disney vendor hawking all sorts of princess paraphernalia. I thought to myself – ok, this is strange. Once inside the arena as we were escorted to our seats, I again was confused and shocked as to why all these girls were dressed up from head to toe in princess clothing. Halloween wasn’t for another five months! Throughout the show, as the arena filled with screams of little kids cheering for their favorite princess, I sat there looking around in awe at the powerful business machine that is simply Disney. They had come up with a way to create a very profitable revenue stream from their old characters!
An Idea is Born
Being the business nerd that I am, when I got home I googled the Disney Princess franchise and discovered that the idea of the Disney Princess line came from a man named Andy Mooney. Disney hired Mooney in 1999 to help their consumer products division improve their dropping sales. At that time, while attending his first Disney on Ice show, he found himself surrounded by young girls dressed as princesses in generic, non-Disney costumes. That’s when the idea of capitalizing on Disney’s existing cast of princess characters hit him. The Disney Princess franchise was born. In my opinion, this was genius!
What’s the point?
What does any of this have to do with real estate? As I thought about it some more, I realized how many times I find myself (and many others fall into this trap as well) looking for an outside “shiny object” to help with our business. Continue reading »
By Trisha Ocona Francis
Being a real estate professional is more than just helping people sell, buy, or rent property, but rather assisting them in achieving their real estate goals. One of the best ways in doing so is by narrowing down your practice of real estate to an area you know extremely well, enjoy doing, and are committed to furthering your knowledge on the topic. It allows you to focus, and shows your clients your commitment and dedication as an expert towards their particular issue.
There are many areas to choose from, such as the luxury market, commercial sales, office leasing, residential, investing, foreclosures, apartment rentals, government program housing placement, senior housing, relocation specialist, or you can always develop your own area of expertise.
You may decide to gear your real estate practice towards commercial real estate because you like analyzing the potential profits of a building, the adventure of negotiating, and helping your clients produce their desired results. Or you may work with seniors because you enjoyed helping your previous senior clients transition from homeownership of forty years to senior housing, loved their history stories, and learned a lot about senior housing programs in the process.
The road to becoming this “Specialized Real Estate Expert” is similar to a college student deciding on a major and ultimate career choice. Medical doctors and attorneys concentrate on a specific field to practice for the same reasons.
To begin, here are a few questions to ask yourself: Continue reading »
By Amanda Stinton, NAR’s Green Designation Specialist
If you haven’t already heard, NAR’s Green REsource Council is hosting two days of courses November 9-10, prior to NAR’s annual REALTORS® Conference and Expo in Anaheim. The courses are only open to REALTORS® who belong to their local YPN. In addition, the courses are taught by top national instructor and green building expert Bob Hart and they’re absolutely free!
If you aren’t a YPN member yet, join! Then just visit our site and submit a registration form: www.greenresourcecouncil.org/ypn. We’ll follow the second day of class with a wine and cheese reception. All students in this class will also get a coupon allowing them to take the final course, Green 300: Greening Your Real Estate Business, online at a discount.
So, maybe you’ve noticed different labels on products in homes or maybe there are green features abound that you simply haven’t noticed because you haven’t learned what to look for. Your clients want a home that’s healthy, durable, efficient, and nearby to the places they frequent. The question is, do your clients consider a healthy, durable, efficient, well-placed home a description of a green home?
As real estate professionals and REALTORS®, it’s important that we know how to guide clients so that they can make the best homeownership decisions for their priorities and needs. What if you could show your buyer client the home that meets their requirements and saves them money each month on utilities when compared to other homes in the area? How about the home that could sell for a premium when your seller decides to move because it’s green certified? Earning NAR’s Green Designation will help you position yourself as a trusted advisor.
More than anything, it’s a fascinating niche in the industry full of energy and interesting people. Of course, I’m biased having worked with NAR’s Green Designation, but there is real value here. I encourage you all to harness it!
By David Krichmar
As I talk to newer REALTORS®, about 50 percent of them do not want to commit to a “niche” or area of expertise. “I sell anywhere so I do not want to commit to one area,” which is a valid point. But at the same time, every REALTOR® sells anywhere locally. So how do you separate yourself and get the phone to ring? Commit to an area of expertise. Here are my ideas on how to find your expertise:
1. Past Deals: You know from your past experience that you have dealt with certain types of deals. Have a majority of those deals been in a certain town? Maybe you have sold a larger number of condos? So you could market yourself as a condo expert.
2. Your Work Experience: Before you became a REALTOR® what did you do? If you worked for a new home builder, then your area of expertise is with new construction homes. Was marketing your prior career? If so, you can use that expertise when becoming a listing agent — marketing is such a huge part of being a listing agent. Most likely any past career you had, you can use that knowledge in your real estate career
3. Your Competition: This is the sneaky suggestion, but may be the best! Research your competition; is there a specific area of real estate that they are not focusing on? Eg. A specific neighborhood, folks downsizing, newly wed couples needing to buy a home, etc.
At first as a new REALTOR®, this topic can be very scary because you want to sell all Real Estate. But, in order to separate yourself, you must find an area of expertise to grow your business. Once you find your niche, get to work marketing your butt off.
Some marketing ideas are:
- Blog about the topic
- Farm to that area
- Have a catchy slogan that explains your area of expertise
Do not be afraid of your area of expertise. Love it and live it.