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How To Make Your Move Easier on Your Family

People generally have two kinds of needs during a home purchase. First are the transaction needs, such as searching for a home, obtaining financing, negotiating the terms of purchase, completing paperwork and legal documents, and arranging the move. The second are emotional needs that are involved in a home purchase, which can be where the most stress occurs in a home purchase. The following are just a handful of tips to help you and your family ease the stress of moving.


Prepare your children
Although you may have lived in your current residence for just a few years, the same few years can be half the lifetime of a seven- or eight-year-old, and can include all the years he or she can remember. Your current residence may be the only home your children have ever known, where they feel safe and comfortable. It may be the center of your childrens’ world.

Be sure to announce the move in a completely positive way. You might talk about how beautiful the neighborhood is and how good the schools are. Bring your children to the new house, if you live close enough that it is possible to do so. Otherwise, positively describe the new house. Find out what your children’s favorite things are in your current home, and then try to re-create them in the new home. Keep your children actively involved in the process. For instance, don’t just promise that they can decorate their new rooms, but take them shopping for paint, bedspreads, carpets, and other items that will make the experience more fun and comforting.

Your children are bound to have worries, fears, and sorrows during the move. They may be moving away from friends and family they have known their whole lives. Find ways to make parting pleasant. You can plan a going-away party and let your children invite their own guests. Take pictures of everyone and create a photo album. If your children are old enough, allow them to take pictures of the neighborhood that they will want to remember.

Gain knowledge
You may feel a sense of being out of control, as though other parties to the purchase transaction are running the show and you’re merely getting in their way. Your mortgage company, the appraiser, the inspector, and the seller all have certain powers to approve or disapprove of your overall plan to purchase this home and move successfully. This is certainly not easy!

Although this can feel stressful, one of the best things you can do for your own peace of mind is to understand as much of the purchase process as possible. Your Realtor® will be able to prepare you for unknowns ahead of time and tie down loose ends as soon as possible.

Trust the process
There can be so much to do that it’s easy to panic. It may feel like you’re taking a big risk, but the truth is that you’re initiating a big opportunity for you and your family. Even though you can’t predict what will happen every step of the way, your Realtor® helps people buy and sell homes as a profession! Your Realtor® has been there before and understands that this is a major upheaval in your life. Trust that your Realtor® is looking out for you on your way to a successful closing and move.

Be flexible
Knowing that your Realtor® will do everything possible to prepare you for the various processes involved in your home purchase, and will tie up those loose ends quickly and efficiently, it’s important for you to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect world. The property inspection may reveal areas of concern, or closing may be delayed for some reason. Try to take a deep breath and be flexible in your thinking. You will have a much greater chance of making your decisions based on logic and not high emotion.

Seek entertainment
Whenever you feel that things are spinning out of control, find a diversion! Take a walk around your new neighborhood, go on a day trip out of town with your family, or take your family to a movie. Whatever diversion or outlet works best for you, this is a good time to engage in it! Remember to take one “move” at a time.

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Should I Work With A Buyer’s Agent? A Seller’s Agent? A Dual Agent?

You should understand from the beginning of your relationship with your real estate agent what type of relationship exists. In most states, real estate agents (both brokers and sales associates alike) are required by law to let consumers know whether they represent the buyer or the seller.

In the past, real estate agents represented the seller exclusively, whether the agent helped a seller to market and sell the home or helped a buyer find and purchase the home. In other words, agents were at one time legally bound to represent the seller in a residential real estate transaction. In that same scenario, the seller paid both the listing agent and the agent who brought the buyer.

However, in today’s real estate market, you may find that you can choose between a wide variety of options for representation. If you want to sell a home, you can work with a “seller’s agent”. If you are purchasing a home, you can work with a subagent of the seller’s agent and, in many areas, you can engage an exclusive “buyer’s agent”.

An additional situation in some states is dual agency. This type of agency exists when the buyer decides to have the seller’s agent prepare the offer on the buyer’s behalf. A buyer who elects this situation, and all additional parties to a transaction, should receive full disclosure of representation. In some states, dual agency also affects the real estate professional’s fiduciary responsibilities to the seller.

Keep in mind that real estate laws differ from state to state and even from locale to locale. And within this framework of variety, laws can change. For more in-depth answers for your specific situation, talk with a knowledgeable real estate professional and ask about local practices. Be sure that you understand and are comfortable with the options involved when you engage the services of a real estate agent.

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Top Ten Signs That It’s Time To Own Your Own Home

  1. When you say you are “going home”, you want to really mean it!
  2. You are tired of saving all your quarters for the laundromat.
  3. You want your home to be your castle, your domain, your own property, which you can improve in any way you please.
  4. The number of members of your household more than double the number of bedrooms in your current residence.
  5. You want to provide your family with a sense of stability and plant roots.
  6. You are working at a job where you aren’t required to relocate out of the country every three years.
  7. You can no longer tolerate waiting a week, in the middle of summer, for your landlord to send a repair person to fix your air conditioning unit.
  8. You want to have a vested interest in your community.
  9. You really need the tax deductions associated with property taxes and mortgage interest.
  10. You’re ready to stop paying your landlord’s mortgage payment, and essentially financing his retirement.
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10 Questions To Ask Your Realtor®

1. Are you a full-time professional Realtor®? How long have you worked full time in real estate? How long have you been representing buyers? What professional designations do you have?

Knowing whether or not your Realtor® practices real estate on a full-time basis can give you a piece of the puzzle in foreseeing scheduling conflicts and, overall, his or her commitment to your transaction. As with any profession, the number of years a person has been in the business does not necessarily reflect the level of service you can expect, but it is a good starting point for your discussion. The same issue can apply to professional designations.


2. Do you have a personal assistant, team, or staff to handle different parts of the purchase transaction? What are their names and how will each of them help me in my transaction? How do I communicate with them?

It is not uncommon for high real estate sales producers to hire people to work for them or with them. They typically work on a referral basis, and, as their businesses grow, they must be able to deliver the same or higher quality service to more clients.

You may want to be clear about who on the team will take part in your transaction, and what role each person will play. You may even want to meet the other team members before you decide to work with the team overall. If you needed help with a certain part of your home purchase, who should you talk to and how would you communicate? If you have a question about fees on your closing statement, who would handle that? Who will show up to your closing? These are just a few of the many important considerations in working with a team.


3. Do you and/or your company each have a website that will provide me with useful information for research, services, and how you work with buyers? Can I have those Web addresses now? And who does the emails? Can I have the email address now?

Many homebuyers prefer to search online for homes and home buying information. There are certain privacy and comfort levels that you might appreciate in starting a preliminary search this way, and often it is just a matter of convenience, having 24-hour access to information. By searching the Realtor®’s and the company’s Web sites, you will get a clear picture of how much work you would be able to accomplish online, and whether or not that suits your preferences. When I have a question, how quickly do you respond to emails?


4. Will you show me properties from other companies’ listings?

Some real estate companies do offer their buyers’ agents a higher commission if they are able to sell “in-house” listings. In such circumstances, there can be added incentive to show you a more limited range of homes than you might consider. If this is the case with your Realtor®, you should be very clear on how this will impact your home search, if at all. You also should determine it this affects how much your buyer agents fee will be.


5. Will you represent me or will you represent the seller? May I have that in writing? How will you represent me, and what is the direct benefit of having you represent me?

The goal here is to ascertain to whom the Realtor® has legal fiduciary obligation, which may vary from state to state or even locale to locale. In the past, Realtors® always worked for sellers. Then the listing broker was responsible for paying the agent or sub-agent that brought a suitable buyer for the home. And even though the buyer worked ‘with’ an agent, the agent still represented and owed their fiduciary duty to the seller.

An additional situation in some states is dual agency. This is where the buyer decides to have the listing agent prepare the offer for him. A knowledgeable buyer may elect this situation which should be fully disclosed to all parties. In some states it also affects the broker’s/agent’s fiduciary responsibilities to the seller.

Although Realtors® today almost always have a sense of moral obligation to buyers, this original type of seller agency still exists in certain areas. In other areas, a formal method of buyer representation called Buyer Agency exists to protect buyers. Find out what is available in your area and make yourself comfortable with the extent to which you will be represented.


6. How will you get paid? How are your fees structured? May I have that in writing?

This is an issue that can also be related to agency. In many areas, the seller still customarily pays all Realtor® commissions through the listing broker. Sometimes, Realtors® will have other small fees, such as administrative or special service fees, that are charged to clients, regardless of whether they are buying or selling. Be aware of the big picture before you sign any agreements. Ask for an estimate of buyer costs from any agent you contemplate employing.


7. What distinguishes you from other Realtors®? What is your negotiating style and how does it differ from those of other Realtors®? What geographic areas to you specialize in?

It should be important to know that your Realtor® has unique methods of overcoming obstacles and is an effective negotiator on your behalf, but most importantly that your Realtor® can advocate for you in the most effective ways.


8. Will you give me names of past clients who will give references for you?

Interviewing a Realtor® to help you buy a home can be very similar to interviewing someone to work in your office. Contacting a Realtor®’s references can be a reliable way for you to understand how he or she works, and whether or not this style is compatible with your own.

9. Do you have a performance guarantee? If I am not satisfied with your performance, can I terminate our Buyer Agency Agreement?

Understand that, especially in the heavily regulated world of real estate, it can be increasingly difficult for a Realtor® to offer a performance guarantee. Sometimes you may find a Realtor® who is willing to guarantee that if you are dissatisfied in any way with their service they will terminate your Buyer Agency Agreement. If your Realtor® does not have a performance guarantee available in writing, it is not an indication that he or she is not committed to perform, but rather that he or she is willing to verbally promise some kind of performance standard. In fact, Realtors® at Keller Williams Realty understand the importance of win-win business relationships, and that the Realtor® does not benefit if the client does not also benefit.


10. How will you keep in contact with me during the buying process, and how often?

It’s a good idea for you to set your expectations reasonably in accordance with how your Realtor® conducts business. You may be looking for an agent to call, fax, or email you every evening to tell you about properties that meet your criteria which are new on the market. On the other hand, your Realtor® may have access to systems that will notify clients of new properties as they come on the market (which could happen several times a day or several times a week). Asking this extra question can help you to reconcile your needs with your Realtor®’s systems, which makes for a far more satisfying relationship.