Questions To Ask a REALTOR®

Questions to Ask When Choosing/Hiring a REALTOR®

Make sure you choose a REALTOR® who will provide top-notch service and meet your unique needs. It is one of the LARGEST transactions of your life, an error could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

1. How long have you been in residential real estate sales? Is it your full-time job?

While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate — like many other professions — is mostly learned on the job.

2. What designations do you hold?

Designations such as SRES®, GRI®, and CRS® — which require that agents take additional, specialized real estate training — are held by only about one-quarter of real estate practitioners.

3. How many homes did you and your real estate brokerage sell last year?

By asking this question, you’ll get a good idea of how much experience the practitioner has.

4. How many days did it take you to sell the average home? How did that compare to the overall market?

The REALTOR® you interview should have these facts on hand, and be able to present market statistics from the local MLS to provide a comparison.

5. How close to the initial asking prices of the homes you sold were the final sale prices?

This is one indication of how skilled the REALTOR® is at pricing homes and marketing to suitable buyers. Of course, other factors also may be at play, including an exceptionally hot or cool real estate market.

6. What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home?

You don’t want someone who’s going to put a For Sale sign in the yard and hope for the best. Look for someone who has aggressive and innovative approaches, and knows how to market your property competitively on the Internet. Buyers today want information fast, so it’s important that your REALTOR® is responsive.

7. Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction?

While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where the practitioner’s obligations lie. Your REALTOR® should explain his or her agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party.

8. Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and help with other things I need to be done?

Because REALTORS® are immersed in the industry, they’re wonderful resources as you seek lenders, home improvement companies, and other home service providers. Practitioners should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive compensation from any of the providers.

9. What type of support and supervision does your brokerage office provide to you?

Having resources such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, and assistance with technology can help an agent sell your home.

10. What’s your business philosophy?

While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.

11. How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently?

Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but it reflects your desires. Do you want updates twice a week or do you not want to be bothered unless there’s a hot prospect? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit?

12. Could you please give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent clients?  

Ask recent clients if they would work with this REALTOR® again. Find out whether they were pleased with the communication style, follow-up, and work ethic of the REALTOR®.

If you need help preparing your home for sale call our sponsor: Green Home Solutions

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You can call Dan Anderson at Green Home Solutions 401-871-3335

Is There A “Bust” Coming After This “Boom”?

For the past several months I have been hearing from my colleagues, consumers, and “talking heads” on the business channels on cable, that there is a coming “correction”, “downturn”, and even the dreaded “R” word; Recession.  Bollocks! I say.  Has there been a relenting of the continued pressure to increase prices? Yes, there has.  However, that does not mean that prices are in decline, or will be any time soon.

Recall the basic laws of economics; Supply and Demand.  We still have a tight supply and demand is very strong.  In many parts of the country, and especially in most of New England, there is much less than six months of supply.  (Six months of supply is considered to be “Balanced.”)

The reason that the pressure to push prices higher has relented a bit is that inventory has increased slightly.  So if the level of inventory went from 3.5 months to 4.4 months, there are more houses for buyers.  However, we are still far from a “Balanced Market”.

Balance scales

How do we know that this Demand will continue if the Fed raises interest rates? The reason that higher interest rates will not be detrimental to the real estate market is that Success: red graph over coinsREAL wages are increasing and new job creation is outpacing forecasts.

There were 230,000 new jobs created in September versus a Wall Street forecast of 180,000.  Additionally, demographics support continued strength in the housing market.  The number of millennials in the “Purchasing Pocket” ( most people buy their first home between 30-34 years of age) has been and will continue to increase.

This sustained demand and the continued increase in wages bodes well for the housing market. If the housing market is healthy that will create a thriving economy at-large because many more people will see increases in their income.  Every time a new house is sold $60,000-$75,000 of income is injected into the local economy.  That will help legions of small businesses.

Coming real estate “Bust”?…I think not.  The data doesn’t support that claim.

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RI Living shares tips for moving

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Source: https://w3.cdn.anvato.net/player/prod/v3/anvload.html?key=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%3D%3D“>RI Living shares tips for moving

Tips to get ready to move

The Fall home selling season will soon be upon us. If you’ve been thinking about moving – perhaps you want to move to a larger home, downsize, or even sell a vacation home – now is a great time to start getting ready. Joe Luca, President of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors, will provide some tips to help you get your home, and yourself, ready to move this fall.

-Enhance curb appeal
Do some end of season clean-up of your yard
Make sure entry ways are clean, uncluttered and appealing.
Fresh paint goes a long way, (inside or out) so if your front door is peeling or faded, etc., give it a coat of paint
-Staging
Declutter
Clean out closets
Find a secure or hidden place to put valuables and prescriptions
Clear off counters of all but a few things.
Get rid of pet smells – wash slipcovers, washable floor coverings, etc. (and never leave your pet home during showings.)
-Prepare for the buyer home inspection – It’s a good idea to get your own home inspection prior to selling to determine what issues could cause problems. The more you can take care of ahead of the game, the better of you will be.
On the buying side – The supply of homes for sale is beginning to grow so you will have more options to choose from.
-Double check your credit history. Make sure there are no issues that need to be addressed.
-Narrow down the area you’re interested in and register on RILiving.com. You can input what you’re looking for and get emails when a new home comes on the market or the status of an existing listing changes.

John Dolbec will get you Pre-approved for a mortgage.  401-266-4413

Gentry Moving will move your belongings. 401-785-1600

Source: RI Living shares tips for moving

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Pawtucket Red Sox Moving To Worcester!?!?

I see the relocation of the Paw Sox differently than many Rhode Islanders; in fact, I see this “business relocation” as an opportunity for Rhode Island business and political Leaders to identify and pursue a superior alternative for Pawtucket.  As a Full Time REALTOR® with years of experience in commercial real estate, I believe that McCoy Stadium could be a venue for multiple sports and not remain simply a baseball field.

My opinion is based on the following observations:

  • Public funding of sports venues, aka corporate welfare, is a scam. I believe it is acceptable for businesses to be lured by government entities with tax stabilization plans and/or other incentives.  However, if their business model or  plan, cannot convince private sector lenders to finance their proposed business venture/expansion, perhaps it is flawed, or management/ownership is not  up to the task.
  • The Paw Sox owners demonstrated that they don’t have confidence in their business model without $38 million in government assistance.  As a result, they made a business decision in which the State of Massachusetts will provide $32.5 million and the city has agreed to guarantee the construction debt, meaning it will assure bondholders it can cover any shortfalls if necessary.  The team will pay the Landlord, the City of Worcester, “rent” which comes from revenues.  The State of Rhode Island had a similar arrangement with 38 Studios which didn’t work out well for the tax payers.  This arrangement will increase the bonded indebtedness of the City of Worcester.
  • R.I. has a lot to offer, without giving money away so let’s approach this with some self-confidence and swagger.  R.I. political and business leaders should have no problem getting a replacement, perhaps one who can do it with private-sector funding like Bob Kraft did in Foxboro.  It may take time, but we CAN do it – and we’ll be better off for years to come.

In addition, I would like to share that the Rhode Island Association of REALTORS® (RIAR) has for the past two years participated in MIPIM (www.MIPIM.com), the largest real estate conference in the world.  RIAR has chosen to invest in sending representatives, including yours truly, to explore MIPIM as a viable platform to bring exposure to real estate opportunities for our members, and to broadcast the opportunities Rhode Island has to offer international investors, developers, and businesses.  This conference is attended by over 25,000 real estate professionals from around the world.  Only 248 of them are from the United States so there is significant upside opportunity. There are over 5,000 investors looking for investment opportunities, whether as partners or lenders.  In fact, our colleagues in San Diego established a relationship with an individual lender that yielded development in excess of $100 million in the greater San Diego area.  It took a couple years from start to finish but funding was identified and the deal consummated when there were no stateside lenders who would “step-to-the-plate”.

Rhode Island could benefit greatly from such exposure and relationship-building.  Our cost of living is 20 to30 percent lower than neighboring states, the fiscal health of Rhode Island is superior to Connecticut, we are an hour from Boston and a few hours to New York City.  We also have the internationally recognized City by the Sea. Newport as a gem that is too often overlooked.  Businesses can choose from marine, air, rail or surface transportation for their materials.  Our extensive highway network puts businesses located here within a short drive to the best universities in the world- universities which churn out graduates by the tens of thousands every year, providing a tremendous resource for well-educated employees.  Rhode Island offers a great quality of life that is valued by the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit us.

Rhode Island has all of this to offer and most of our inhabitants are completely oblivious to these assets, so how can we expect non-Rhode Islanders to know about us and the opportunities our state provides.  That is why we need to trumpet our assets to the rest of the world.  If you look at a map of the United States, it is hard to find Little Rhody even if you know where to look. So, if you are not from here, don’t know where to look, and don’t even know about us, we will be overlooked by our larger neighbors, Boston and NYC.

RIAR has taken the initiative and non-REALTORS® will benefit from our leadership on this issue.  Though I’ve only  attended MIPIM two times, I have established relationships that could be productive for RIAR members and the State of Rhode Island.  We are just one organization and while we will continue our outreach, the State of Rhode Island could use others to trumpet our assets.

The relocation of the Paw Sox IS an opportunity for Rhode Island.  We need to approach it like professionals.  This is NOT a debilitating blow and we should not act like it is.  We need to think back to when the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl over the Atlanta Falcons.  The Patriots were down 21-3 at the half, and then 28-3 at the start of the second half. They did NOT let that overwhelm them. Players and coaches mentally and physically battled back to win. They “did their job” because they are professionals.  Perhaps Rhode Island business and political leaders should look at this as an opportunity to show that we are professionals and we can get  the job done.  So, let this be a “call to arms” to business and political Leaders in the great State of Rhode Island to band together and do our job to market our great state.

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What Do Sellers Need To Do Before Listing Their House?

So you think you want to sell your house; “NOW is the Time To Sell” the headlines claim.  Where do you start? What do you do first?  The FIRST thing ALL prospective sellers should do is to find an experienced, credible, Full Time, REALTOR®.  Why Full Time? The sale/purchase of a house is usually the largest financial transaction of a person’s life.  There is a significant amount of money involved, and even more potential liability if something is over-looked, forgotten, or omitted during the transaction.  This is true for EVERY transaction.  If the REALTOR® is “part time”, working only on weekends, or summers, is the amount of potential liability reduced?  Does the part-timer only need to know some of the regulations, only use some of the most current forms, and only comply with some of the laws? No, No, and No.  None of these factors are static, and in fact, changes occur on a regular basis as our culture, the economy, methodologies, and technologies evolve and advance.  Will the part-timer take time away from the “real-job” to keep up on the aforementioned items? Hmm   As a Full Time REALTOR®, it is a big commitment for me to keep up on everything while still providing my Clients with top notch service.

Additionally, Market Knowledge is important.  Market Knowledge is not just what houses are selling for in a given geographic area, but it is also what buyers are looking for, what they want in a home. This is not something that can be researched on MLS.  If I am not aware of what the market is doing, what buyers want in a home, I may have to invest more time before my client can consummate a transaction. Which may have the unintended consequence of a missed opportunity.  The Seller may not find the best buyer, the Buyer may miss “the perfect house.”

The first reason it is important to consult a Full Time, experienced REALTOR® as soon as you are thinking about selling your house is that he/she will advise you what you need to do to prepare your house for sale.  Whether it is de-cluttering, or updating the interior, minor yard work, or major landscaping on the exterior.

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If a MAJOR de-cluttering is necessary you may want to put some of your belongings in storage and Gentry Moving & Storage is highly recommended.  Accept the guidance of the Full Timer.

The second reason is that appropriate pricing is also necessary.  Houses that are priced to the market sell the quickest and sometimes sell for over asking price.  Would you feel more comfortable accepting the suggested listing price from someone who supports themselves and their family by selling houses, or from someone who does it in their “spare time”?  Does this mean that Part-Timers shouldn’t be in the business? NO.  However, if they are, they should probably have a mentor, or team-leader, who could review, or provide guidance for the benefit of the Consumer. Rely on the market knowledge of the Full Timer.

The third reason is marketing your home.  There are many ways to market houses and houses at different price points, in different neighborhoods, with different demographics, may need to be marketed a little differently.  Dos it make sense to use aerial photography so show a property from 200′ above if there is a cemetery nearby? No. It may if it has a large nicely landscaped yard,  that would add value to the house because it highlights something that adds value

The fourth reason is an experienced REALTOR® will be able to explain how the transaction will proceed. What the Seller should expect from Listing, to Offer negotiation, to Inspection, to Walk-through, and finally Closing.  At which time it is highly recommended that the Seller use the services of an experienced real estate lawyer like Resnick and Caffrey.

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Millennials First Generation Worse Off Than Parents? What Gives?

Many things have been said about the millennial generation (Born 1981-1996) over the years.  The negative generalizations that are frequently applied to this generation in the media are “entitled,” “narcissistic” and “lazy.” (Incidentally, they are tired of being blamed for just about everything.)  However, there are some facts worth considering

 

In 1992                                                            In 2018

Average Home Cost:

$80,626                                                            >$265,000

Average Student Debt:

$5,200                                                               >$35,000

Average Family Income (after taxes)

$59,000                                                              $86,419

Fixed Mortgage Rate:

9.71%                                                                  4.65%

 

Today the average home costs 300% more, student debt averages almost 700% more but family income is only 46% greater than in 1992.  The good news is that the average fixed rate mortgage is about half what it was in 1992.  Unfortunately, the average millennial, due to high student debt, has a credit score of 625  (per NerdWallet) so they may not qualify for the lowest mortgage rates available. A Millennial today is worth 21% less than his 1983 counterpart while the net worth of a 60 year old is twice what it was in 1983.  So young folks are getting poorer while older folks are getting richer.  Is it any wonder that New Home Creation by this generation after graduating from post-secondary educational institutions has been delayed 2-3 years? The Quick Answer is “No”.   These are the contributing factors that support the statistics that show millennials are worse off than their parents.

GOOD NEWS: This generation is not willing to engage in profligate spending like some preceding generations.  They are more likely to move back home to save money to pay down student debt.  Contrary to messages on late-night comedy shows, they do not want  to move back home into their parents’ basement to play video games.  In fact, my personal experience with Millennials is that they are not likely to purchase a home for a price as high as their mortgage pre-approval will allow.  Other generations frequently spend every dollar that their pre-approval will permit.  It is not uncommon for millennial buyers to have a mortgage pre-approval for an amount that is 10-20% greater than what they actually want to spend.  Why? these buyers witnessed first hand when friends, neighbors, or family members were unemployed, and/or under-employed, and had to Short Sale their homes, or worse, experience a foreclosure.  That experience is still very fresh in their memory, so they are willing to take the steps necessary to lessen the chance that they will have such a traumatic experience.

Can anything be done to mitigate this situation? Possibly.  The National Association of REALTORS®  has a Federal Policy Position that would provide tax relief to student debt holders and employers who assist their employees’ student loan debt burdens.  In addition, the National Association of REALTORS® supports policies that provide tax relief to those borrowers with forgiven student debt.  We need to convey to our political representatives in Washington DC that there are things that can be done to address the student debt issue…if we work together.

Not all is “gloom and doom”.  This is the most educated generation, and the most tech-savy generation, in history.  As the economy rebounds real wages will increase, and due to their fiscal discipline, these consumers will be well-positioned to save money at a rate that has not been seen “in generations” 😉

The millennial generation is fantastic for the housing industry because their shear  numbers indicate that demand for homes will not abate for years.  So all of my REALTOR® colleagues across the country can rest assured that the demographics favor a sustained positive environment for home sales.  For everyone else this is also good news because when the housing market is strong the economy is not likely to falter.

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