Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Selecting the Best Home Buyer's Representative

In a recent blog,The Slippery Slope of Dual Agency, someone asked about how to select a Home Buyer's Representative? Once you decide to buy, it is important that you pick someone that is honest, trustworthy, and has your best interest at heart to help you. Meeting the representative and discussing the process is one way to select the best person for you.  Here are some criterias and questions to keep in mind when selecting the one:

Experience and Credentials. How long has the representative been in business? Is the agent a Realtor®? What professional organizations do they belong to? What other credentials or designations (ie. Accredited Buyer's Representative) do they hold?

Knowledge.What areas and neighborhoods do they work in? What types of property sales do they specialize in (residential, commercial, land)?

References. Ask about contacting previous clients for referrals. You may want to Google the Realtor®.

Representation. Ask the Representative to explain the definition of each agency and what is meant by fiduciary duties. Do they do dual agency?

Services Provided. Ask what type of services they offer? Do they use a written buyer representation agreements, detailing the obligations of the buyer and the Representative? It is important to have a clear understanding of what you expect out of them and what they expect out of you. Do they listen? Will they refer related service-providers such as lenders and home inspectors? Will they respond to your phone calls and emails within a certain time frame or at certain blocks of time in the day? Will you be dealing with the Representative or their assistant/Transaction Coordinator after the initial contract is accepted?

Finding Properties.  How will they assist you in finding homes? Some buyers like to look at all of the inventory, while others prefer the agent screens the homes narrowing down those they actually look at.
Do they have access to the full Multiple Listing Services? Will they set you up Internet homes searches?     When are they available to show you homes?

Negotiations. Will they educate you on the strategies of what to negotiate on, as well what contingencies will need to be released and when?

Compensation.  Most buyer's representative are compensated by the seller as part of the multiple listing agreement. However, it is always good to discuss other upfront costs you will expected to pay (ie. good faith deposit, home inspections, appraisals).  
While the Representative may not have perfect answers to every question, meeting them and discussing the process helps you in selecting a Home Buyer's Representative that you will have confidence in and trust to guide you through the process with your best interest at heart. 

Written by Virginia Hall
ABR®, CRS®, e-Pro, GRI®, SFR
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Direct (619)258-8585

Friday, July 6, 2012

How attractive is My Neighborhood to Renters/Buyers?

When you are entering the rental or realty market, you’re not just relying on the viability of your house – you’re relying on the viability of the neighborhood it resides in as well. A neighborhood can make or break an investment. However, sometimes you can accommodate to the setting and make it work. You’ll first need to understand what makes a neighborhood appealing to renters/buyers and what drives them away.

Location and Knowing Your Market

While some locations may seem obvious to avoid, such as neighborhoods known for violence or drug trafficking, etc., others might not be such a clear choice. A lot of what the broad amount potential renter or homeowner is looking for, aside from a nice house to live in, is convenience.

If a neighborhood is on the outskirts of town or in the boonies, it will likely lose a lot of appeal. Being far away means it takes extra effort to get into town, to work, to school, or anywhere else the person may need to get to. There are some people who enjoy being far removed and like to live more independently, but appealing to these people may prove to be a more difficult endeavor as it really narrows your market.

Schools, Shopping, Attractions, and Transportation

Going along with the idea of convenience, easy access to essential commodities and institutions can affect the value of your investment property. Aside from poor locations deterring potential buyers and renters, a great location can bring them in.

Families in particular enjoy being close to schools, this way they do not need to worry as much about getting their kids to school. A home in a highly regarded school district is also a huge bonus. Many families will opt to spend more to live in a community with a better school district.

Local landmarks can also sway buyers and renters as well. Being in a close vicinity to shopping centers, hospitals, and other services all appeal typically to renters/buyer, knowing these resources are easily viable when they need them. Being close to a bus, transit line, or local carpool is also a great selling point for commuters.


Perhaps one of the strongest factors in the house seeking equation is how safe a person will feel living in the area. As aforementioned, if an area is clearly violent and riddled with drug dealers then they are less likely to find the house as an option. There are, however, even more practical things to consider. How safe would someone feel walking from their car to their front door at night in this area? Is there a lot of theft in the area? Would you then need to install a security system?

Buying an investment property in a generally hostile or sketchy environment can be a big financial mistake. Unless you have some sort of long term plan and see the area changing in the relatively near future, this generally should be avoided. If the area is crime ridden, you’re likely going to get more applicants with less-than-desirable backgrounds which will make the tenant seeking process even more frustrating and time consuming.

How to Compensate for “Non-Premium” Neighborhoods

For those hosting homes or apartments in less than desirable areas, there are things you can do to make it more appealing to the masses. The biggest and best thing is to adjust the price accordingly. For those living on a budget, it makes more sense to prioritize necessity of convenience.

Offering amenities such as pool and/or gym access, in unit washer and dryers, and others extra options can greatly raise the appeal. Also investing in the property itself can be a huge help. Making sure all appliances are up-to-date, putting in new carpets or hardwood floor, and a fresh coat of paint can also give renters and buyers assurance with the property.

About the Author

Dusty Henry is a writer and editor at All Property Management. As one of the most expansive directories and collections of property managers on the Internet, All Property Management as a tool to connect property owners with the right rental manager for them.