Online Mortgage Companies

Online Mortgage Companies

  So, you’re in the market for a new home and you need a mortgage. It is a great idea to shop around. While rates are mostly based on you as an individual and likely won’t change with vendors, there are other factors that can cost you more from company to company. My first recommendation is to ask your Realtor. If you don’t have a Realtor, ask a friend for a referral if they were happy with their lender. You will likely check out online mortgage companies as well. I will give you some pros and cons and things to watch out for. A personal referral is almost always a great way to go. Here’s why: Someone you know and trust has used them or recommends them. Depending on the referrers relationship, you may get some discounts on fees or they may rush the process if needed. This lender will likely check lots of options for you and suggest the one or two loan programs that suit your needs best. You have a personal advocate to work things out on your behalf and you aren’t going through a call center. If they are local, you can go to their office to go through paperwork so you understand the process and what you are signing. Online mortgage companies can be great, but they can also be a nightmare. Here’s why: Unless you have been referred to an actual person at an online company, you are just getting whomever happens to be next on the list at the time you contact them. They may or may not have a good amount of experience. Some online mortgage companies tout low rates but you need to make sure to get a list of all the fees they will charge. Unfortunately, even if you ask for all fees up front, you may have a surprise fee show up in the process or even at the closing. Since you don’t have a personal relationship, some online mortgage company employees can be a bit more callus and not be as concerned with your referrals or reviews, therefore, not advocate for you if things go wrong. Some online mortgage companies may not have the ability to do all types of loans, therefore, they may push you into a loan that isn’t really the best for you. If/when delays happen or issues arise, it is much harder to get to a person in a superior position to help. The most delays and disappointment I have seen my clients deal with is when they have used an online mortgage company. This is not to say that some have not had great experiences, but the majority have not. Rule of...

Read More

READ THE CONTRACT!

READ THE CONTRACT!

  I get so many calls from clients and agents asking me questions. Sure, I can just give them the answer, and ultimately, I do, but I also ask, “have you read the contract?” When was the last time you signed something you didn’t read? Think about it. I bet it was more recent than you remember. Did you click, “I agree” to something online without reading it so you could move on to the next step? Did you sign a car rental contract or a form at the doctor’s office without reading it? We are all guilty of it. I wonder what sort of issues we could get into from some of the legal documents we sign that we don’t read. We don’t know! Well, the legal ramifications of us not reading the 20 items before we click “I agree” to buy a song on iTunes is probably much less than they are on a purchase and sale agreement in real estate. When everything goes as planned and both parties do their part and the sale closes without incident, no problem. However, what happens when it doesn’t? Do you know how you can lose your earnest money? Are you sure? Do you know how you can keep a Buyer’s earnest money? Are you sure? Do you know how you can get out of a contract? Do you know how many days you have to apply for your loan? Did you know a Buyer needs to provide notice to the Seller that the appraisal has been ordered – and paid for? Do you know how long the parties have for inspections? What is a resolution period? When does it start? And how long is it? If you write multiple Counter Offers, do all the points on all the forms go into effect? Can I take the custom drapes that I had made for my Dining Room? What is a fixture? I can take the rose bush that was my mother’s that is planted in the backyard, right? I said I was getting a Conventional loan but changed my mind, does this matter? What are the things I have to pay for at closing? Wait a minute! I got to closing and there is a charge for Transfer Fee that I am having to pay for. What is that and why do I have to pay for it? What’s a performance deadline? Most of these items are answered in the Purchase and Sale Agreement. If you read it, you will know the answer to it. A few are more detailed and are things that only good agents may know the answer to (rose bush). These are just some reasons to...

Read More

What is a Buyer’s Representation Agreement Anyway?

What is a Buyer’s Representation Agreement Anyway?

  You are in the market for a house. You find a Realtor. They are a family friend, or a referral from a friend, or you found them on the internet. You meet with them and they ask you to sign a contract to represent you. Wait, you haven’t even found a house. What is a Buyer’s Representation Agreement anyway? What does it mean, and should you sign it? First let’s look at the different types of Buyer representation agreements. (Disclaimer: This is for the State of Tennessee. You will want to check with your state to find out what types they use.) There are two main types with two sub-types. There are Exclusive and Non-Exclusive as well as Buyer Agency and Designated Agency. Exclusive Buyer’s Representation Agreement: This is an agreement that says the agent or company is the only agent or company that has the right to represent the buyer in a residential real estate transaction. Non-exclusive Buyer’s Representation Agreement: This agreement allows a Buyer to hire more than one agent or company to represent them in a residential real estate transaction. Buyer Agency: Under this type of Buyer’s Representation Agreement, the entire real estate company technically represent the Buyer. Designated Agency: This type of Buyer’s Representation Agreement will designate one agent in a company to represent the Buyer. Why would you sign them? Exclusive Buyer’s Representation Agreement – Buyer Agency/Designated Agency: A Buyer has one agent or one company working for them. Some buyers may think they will get more results if they hire more than one agent. In my experience, agents/companies tend to work harder for the buyers that are working with them exclusively. This type of agreement obligates both parties to each other which typically forms a loyalty from day one and will cause an agent/company to put every effort into finding the perfect property for the buyer, knowing that if/when they do, they will get paid. Non-exclusive Buyer’s Representation Agreement – Buyer Agency/Designated Agency: Some investors decide that this is the best agreement to sign because agents/companies may have access to different off-market properties. This may be true for some, however, my opinion is that a buyer will typically get the best service if the agent/company knows they have their client’s loyalty. Should you sign it? In the state of Tennessee, in order for an agent/company to work for you, there must be a written agreement, so, yes, you should sign it. However, the fact that you sign it, doesn’t mean you are stuck if the agent/company does not perform their duties. Either party may terminate the agreement. If you don’t feel you are receiving the best service, speak to the agent/company. If...

Read More

Fairytales and Real Estate

Fairytales and Real Estate

  It’s about that time where the costumes come out and people are dressed up as all sorts of creatures and other beings. Halloween is fun but sometimes you encounter real life characters. If you are in a business where you have customers or clients, you will probably relate to some, if not all, of these comparisons. I had a client who compared herself to Goldilocks so when I started thinking about it, I realized that there are a lot of correlations between real estate and fairy tales – other than the obvious. Goldilocks – This is the home buyer that looks at everything on the market. This one is too small, the lot on this one is too big. My job is to find the one that is “just right” and help them get it! Chicken Little – This is the home seller that worries about everything – they think the sky is falling when it was only an acorn that hit their head. Is the description good enough on the photos? If we don’t have an offer the first day, what’s wrong? What if buyers don’t like the neutral paint you told us to use? My job is to try to calm their fears on the front end by educating. Selling can be very stressful and if they already have a worrisome personality, it’s all the harder. I tell people what they need to know from my years of experience working with buyers. No two houses are alike so there definitely are some variables I take into consideration. It’s not generally a one-size-fits-all marketing plan. Cinderella – This is the client that just goes with the flow without complaining. They respect my opinions and suggestions based on my experience. They know I am going the extra mile to do everything to either sell their house or find them the perfect house. In the end, it’s a perfect fit and they get an outcome that was even better than expected. And they are usually the ones that give ME a gift at closing. Pinocchio – This buyer doesn’t want me to know that their previous house was foreclosed on a few years ago, that they had a bankruptcy, or want to impress me with how much money they make so they lie to me. I don’t need to know any of this information. Frankly, it’s not my business as a Realtor. What I AM concerned with, however, is that they can qualify for the house so when they talk to the lender, they need to tell them because, guess what? They are going to find out anyway, and it will save some embarrassment later. The Pinocchio seller is the one that...

Read More

Should I Have an Open House?

Should I Have an Open House?

When people sell their house, a lot of Sellers think they have to do an open house for it to sell. Others pause and ask, “should I have an open house?” Well, it depends on who you ask. There is the real estate agent perspective and the Seller perspective. Both say, “yes” and both say, “no.” Here’s why. Real estate agents who say, “YES”: Know the property is in a high-traffic location and could produce a Buyer. However, not necessarily a Buyer for this property. Some real estate agents use open houses to pick up new Buyer leads for their business. When marketed well, a real estate agent can produce many leads from one open house. Want to make sure they are doing everything their client feels is necessary to sell the house even if they know it’s unlikely they will get attendees or find the Buyer from an open house. May just want to catch up on their reading or paperwork for a couple of hours while they wait for visitors. Sellers who say, “YES”: Just assume you must do an open house as part of the marketing plan. Feel that their property has the potential to get a lot of traffic and think they may get an interested prospect walk through. Want their real estate agent to do as much as possible to sell their house and feel that an open house is a good way to do that. Real estate agents that say, “No”: Feel that the property is not in a high traffic area and they won’t get many, if any, prospects, except for, perhaps, “nosey neighbors.” Are concerned to hold an open house due to liability of the Seller’s personal belongings or due to personal safety. Sellers who say, “No”: Don’t want random strangers walking through their home without ample supervision. Feel their agent does outstanding marketing outside of open houses and feel that their house would not be a good candidate for selling during an open house. Some Sellers of unique or high-end properties feel that their property is best marketed via word of mouth, print, and online and then having the prospective Buyer set up a private showing. So, should you have an open house? As you can see, there are good reasons to do open houses and then there are good reasons not to do open houses. It really depends on the Seller and the Real Estate Agent and making sure they are on the same page in their ideas and opinions of...

Read More

When to Call it Quits

When to Call it Quits

  Being in the real estate business since 2004 and being the Managing Broker of firm, I have seen, heard, and experienced quite a bit. I never say, “I’ve seen it all,” because just when I think I have, something new happens. But I digress. I would say the main thing I have learned is that not all real estate agents or clients are created equal and sometimes you need to know when to call it quits. One of my agents had a listing that a non-resident buyer had under contract. The Buyer’s agent had a full-time job and couldn’t answer the phone, email, or text about real estate until after 5:00. The lender for the Buyer was not communicating and the agent couldn’t, and the buyer didn’t speak English. The Buyer was jumping through all sorts of hoops to get the loan, doing everything necessary and yet the closing date kept being pushed back – 5 times to be exact. To complicate matters more, the Seller was buying a house whose owner had to sell before they could buy the house they had under contract and that family had to sell to them before they could close on the house they were buying. 4 families were being effected, all sleeping on the floor because they thought they were going to close weeks ago. My agent communicated everything she knew but was not sure she was ever getting the whole story, nonetheless, the truth. She went to the Buyer’s lender’s office (which happened to be his house) and banged on the door, demanding answers, only to be faced with more half-truths and more delays. While she fought for the Buyer that wasn’t even her client, the Buyer’s agent was nonchalant and did very little to help, nor did he feel any responsibility toward the 4 families whose lives were in limbo for weeks. When he was asked to help so his client could close and the others could move forward as well, he refused. My agent stepped in, yet again, and got the deal done for everyone. Most agents would have given up well before it got to that point. This is why it is so important to find a real estate agent that you trust and one that will not only fight for you but fight to get the deal done if that is what everyone wants. If she hadn’t taken the reigns and exhausted herself, 4 families would have had to move back into their homes or continue sleeping on their floors while they put their homes back on the market. On the other side, agents, you need to understand that not all clients are created equal....

Read More