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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

What is a Buyer Brokerage Agreement and Why Do I Need to Sign One?

Georgia law requires that all buyers sign either a Customer Acknowledgment or a Buyer Brokerage Agreement.  The difference between these two documents is critical because it establishes the type of relationship a buyer will have with his or her real estate professional.

Customer Acknowledgment 

If a buyer signs a Customer Acknowledgment, under Georgia law, he or she is considered a customer.  Georgia law permits real estate agents to perform only ministerial duties to customers.  Such duties include:
  • Providing information regarding active listings;
  • Showing properties; and
  • Providing blank forms, such as the purchase and sale agreement, to the buyer.
A real estate agent cannot advise a buyer who is a customer regarding how much to offer or draft the offer.  Moreover, a real estate agent cannot negotiate on behalf of a buyer who is a customer.

Buyer Brokerage Agreement

If a buyer signs a Buyer Brokerage Agreement, under Georgia law, he or she is considered a client.  Georgia law permits real estate agents to perform a wide range of services to buyers who are clients.  These services include:
  • Providing information regarding available listings;
  • Showing properties;
  • Providing information and advice on how much to offer;
  • Drafting the offer and other necessary documents;
  • Negotiating with the seller or the seller's representative; and
  • Assisting the buyer throughout the process until the transaction closes.
As you can see, there are significant differences between what you get as a customer and what you get as a client.  In my experience, once a buyer understands the benefits of signing a Buyer Brokerage Agreement, he or she is eager to sign.

If you have questions about buyer or selling a home, please visit my website at http://atlantarealestategenie.com and click the "Contact Me" link in the upper right hand corner or give me a call at 678-446-5925.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Real Estate Is My Profession, Not a Hobby

One of the things that many buyers don't seem to appreciate it is that for the average Realtor, real estate is their business/profession.  It is not a hobby.  My colleagues and I work hard and we strive to provide outstanding service to our clients.  One of the best ways that I have found to provide the best possible service to my clients is by working on a schedule.

So, it is very frustrating when I encounter buyers who expect me to drop everything to show them a listing or who schedule an appointment to view one or more properties, but fail to show up or arrive late.  I recently even had a prospective buyer tell me that I should be on stand by and that when she called me, I should come to her office because she was simply too business to meet me at my office.  I told her that would not work because I work on a schedule.  I then attempted to schedule an appointment with her to meet me at my office, but she refused.

Buyers, it is important for you to understand that most Realtors, especially in the busy spring and summer months, often schedule appointment days in advance.  Although it's possible, you should not expect that when you call a Realtor about a property that they will be able to show it to you that day.  If you are driving around and contact the listing agent after seeing a yard sign, don't expect that the agent will be able to pop right over to show you the property immediately.  The Realtor might be showing properties to a client or at a closing or may be on the other side of town at their child's baseball game. 

Additionally, before you enter into a Buyer Brokerage Agreement with a Realtor, be sure to ask the real estate agent about how he or she works.  Following are some questions you might want to ask:
  • Do they do same day showings? 
  • Are they willing to show you houses that are 20+ miles away from each other in one outing or do they prefer to concentrate on one area at a time?   
  • Will they drive you around in their car or do they prefer that you follow them in your own vehicle? 
  • If you are relocating from another state, will the agent expect you to rent a car so that you can get to their office and/or to the properties you'll be viewing or are they willing to provide chauffeur service?  
  • Does the agent charge a retainer fee? (This is legal in Georgia).
  • Are they willing to show properties after sunset?
  • Do they expect all decision makers to be present at all showing appointments?
  • What is the process to terminate the Buyer Brokerage Agreement early?
If you are not comfortable with the answers that the agent you are interviewing gives to any of these or the other questions that you ask, you probably should not hire that agent.  Remember, your agent wants to help you find a house and they want the process to be as stress free for you as possible.  If you don't feel good about the agent at the beginning of the process, chances are, it probably won't get any better.  Find an agent that you makes you feel comfortable and then go out and find your dream home.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Virginia Highlands Market Update, May 2014

 
Now is a great time to list your Virginia Highlands home.  If you have been thinking about selling and would like to schedule a FREE, no obligation home valuation, please give me a call at 678-446-5925.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Should You Conduct Business Via Text Message?

As a Realtor, I believe that a critical part of my business revolves around building relationships with my clients as well as with other real estate professionals, including real estate agents, inspectors, and loan officers.  Is it possible to build business relationships via text message?

It may be possible.  However, in my opinion, it is not the best way to build strong relationships.  A real estate transaction is too important to both the buyer and the seller to rely on text messaging as the primary or sole means of communicating.  Nothing frustrates me more than when I am negotiating a deal and the other agent will not return phone calls and insists on communicating via text message.

So why do I favor a phone call over text messaging?  There are several reasons.

Phone Calls Allow the Parties to Engage More Effectively

Having a quick telephone conversation allows the parties to engage in a way that is simply not possible with text messages.  When I have a phone conversation with another real estate agent, I am able to discern important information from her tone of voice and delivery.  Does this person have a spirit of cooperation or is she taking an adversarial position?  Is this person confident or unsure of herself?  Text messages convey no information about the mood, attitude or disposition of the parties.

Phone Calls Allow for the Discussion of Complex or Important Issues

When an important or complex issues arises, a phone call allows the parties to discuss it more quickly and more clearly than a text message.  Tapping out long text messages takes way too much time and the auto-correct feature can often result in miscommunication.  The give and take aspect of a phone conversation is invaluable when dealing with important issues attendant to a real estate deal.

Phone Calls Allow the Parties to Build Trust and Rapport

When I call an agent and leave a message asking for a return phone call, it's very irritating to get a text message in response.  If I believed that a text response was sufficient, I would have asked the agent to respond via text.  It makes me wonder why the agent will not pick up the phone.  How busy could she be?  Why is she avoiding having a phone conversation?  When you refuse to have a phone conversation with a fellow real estate agent, you are missing out on an opportunity to build trust and rapport.

I love leaving a closing with the feeling that I've established a good relationship with the co-op agent by discussing the deal and working together to resolve any issues that may have arisen along the way.  When I can't even get the other real estate agent on the phone, it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth and, oftentimes, a desire to never do business with that agent again.

The bottom line is that your colleagues and clients will take you more seriously when you take the time to have a phone conversation with them to discuss important business matters.  Never let your love of technology interfere with an opportunity to make a good impression and to demonstrate that you take your business seriously.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Is Selling "For Sale By Owner" Really a Mistake?

There are lots of reasons that a seller might choose the "for sale by owner" route, but in my experience, the primary reason is money.  Oftentimes, sellers believe that they will save money by not hiring a real estate professional to list and sell their home.  Many sellers simply don't appreciate the value that an experienced and dedicated real estate agent brings to the table.

I recently read an article about the CEO of BuyOwner.com, a website that helps sellers who choose the "for sale by owner" option.  He chose to list his house with a real estate agent rather than to sell it himself.  Makes you wonder why he wouldn't follow the advice that he gives his customers, right?  If the "for sale by owner" route is so advantageous, why wouldn't this guy opt to do what he has made millions advising average people like you and me to do?  There are several reasons.

Experienced Real Estate Agents Know the Market

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An experienced real estate professional has her finger on the pulse of the real estate market and understands current trends and how those trends will impact the pricing and marketing of your home.  Moreover, a good real estate agent will use creative ways to expose your property to as many Realtors and their clients as possible.

Homes Listed With Realtors Sell For More

According to a report issued by the National Association of Realtors, in 2012, homes listed by Realtors sold for 19% more than  homes listed as "for sale by owner".  Additionally, homes listed by real estate professionals sell more quickly.  The same report also revealed that homes listed by Realtors sell in 69 days while "for sale by owner" properties take 88 days to sell.

The Majority of Homes that Sell Are Listed with Real Estate Agents

Finally, the same National Association of Realtors report showed that in 2012, 91% of homes that sold were listed by a Realtor.  That means that of all the sales that took place in 2012, only 9% were "for sale by owner" transactions. 

These are three very compelling reasons to hire a Realtor.  So, if you're thinking about selling your home, be sure to hire an qualified and experienced Realtor.  You're sure to reap the benefits!

If you live in Atlanta and would like to schedule a free, no obligation home valuation and listing appointment, please feel free to contact me at 678-446-5925.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Virginia Highlands Market Update for March 2014


Now is a great time to list your Virginia Highlands home.  If you have been thinking about selling and would like to schedule a FREE, no obligation home valuation, please give me a call at 678-446-5925.