How do you choose the right agent? Today I’ll share the 10 questions you should ask yourself based on a recent study conducted by Forbes Magazine.
1. Is the agent available? In other words, are they available to come by on the weekends or anytime during a weekday to show a house or attend a listing appointment? Availability also means that they’re there with you—not on their cell phone, or anxious to leave early.
2. What is their experience? I was licensed in 1997 and started selling homes in early 1998. In my 20+ years in the business, I’ve sold more than 1,300 homes in over 500 communities. I have the experience to attend to all of your real estate needs, and your agent should have a similar level of experience.
3. Are they honest? Honesty and integrity are everything, but you won’t know that until you schedule a sit-down with your potential agent, ask them some questions, get to know them a little, and see whether they have what you’re looking for.
4. Do they have knowledge? Your agent’s knowledge should pertain not just to the market, but also to the processes and protocols associated with offering you real estate services at the highest level. Market knowledge means knowing all of the neighborhoods you’re looking to buy or sell in, which homes have sold there, where the schools are, etc.
5. Are they personable? Are they likable to the point that you feel comfortable communicating with them? You'll only know this if you take the time to meet with them early in the process.
6. Are they proactive? There is nothing more important than an agent who’s always one step ahead in providing the services you need.
7. Are they professional? This has to do with looking and acting the part. At the Pierre LaPierre Group, we dress up for you, we work for you, and you are our boss. We want to look our best so we can provide you with the best service. We also act the part, and we hold ourselves to the highest standard in the industry.
8. Are they reliable? An agent’s track record speaks for itself.
9. What’s their reputation? A great way to gauge an agent’s reputation is by checking their reviews and testimonials on sites like Facebook, Zillow, Realtor.com, and Google. Every agent has at least a couple of bad reviews; you can’t please everybody all the time. Most of your agent’s reviews should be encouraging, though.
10. Are they tech-savvy? Does your potential agent have the tools, talent, and systems in place to serve you at the highest level? Our team has a closing coordinator (who’s been with us for 10 years), a listing and marketing specialist (who’s been with us for six years), and stagers, appraisers, and photographers at the ready to help our clients.
If you’d like to talk more about how to pick the right agent or have any real estate questions at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help.
What loan options are available to buyers? Today I’m explaining them.
Today I’m explaining the different loan types available to you as a buyer:
1. FHA loan. This is a great loan because it helps those who have some credit issues, and it only requires 3.5% down. This loan often helps low- to moderate-income borrowers. This is a wonderful option, especially for first-time buyers.
2. VA loan. Many people who have been in the military consider this loan. To use it, a funding fee must be paid either at closing, along with closing costs, or by the seller. With this loan, you get 100% financing, meaning you only have to bring whatever closing costs aren’t covered by the seller to the closing table.
3. Conventional loan. This is a very popular loan; you can put down anywhere between 3% and 20%. If you put down 20%, you won’t have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). Many people like eliminating that PMI cost.
4. USDA loan. This is an excellent loan because if you’re looking in a rural area, you get 100% financing. You’ll want to talk to your real estate agent to find out what the eligible areas are for this. You’ll need a slightly higher credit score than for FHA loans.
Both bigger and smaller banks have some specific loan programs. Since they hold their own money, some of their programs are not open to mortgage brokers. Some of them are fantastic and may come with 100% financing. You just need to talk to specific banks about those products.
Finally, I want to explain the difference between 30-year and 15-year loans. Interest rates are superb right now, and many people are tempted to go with a 15-year product because it has a slightly lower interest rate. However, we encourage you to do the 30-year loan because the difference in the payments is not going to be much, and you can always pay a bit more each month against the principal to pay off the loan that much quicker.
If you have any questions about these loan types or are ready to get financed for a home purchase, call or email us. We would love to help you.
Aquí hay algunas maneras de hacer que sus ofertas sean más atractivas para los vendedores de viviendas.
Here are a few ways to make your offers more attractive to home sellers.
I have a lot of agent friends and clients who tell me that they’re frustrated because they’ve written a ton of offers on a ton of different homes and none of them have been accepted. Today I’ll talk about what the problems might be, what the solution is, and the risks associated with that.
If you can put yourself into the mind of a seller, what would you want? A high price, for starters. Unfortunately, there is so little inventory that everybody is making high offers and hoping that the home will appraise. The next best thing you can do is offer an increased due diligence sum.
You can also craft your offer to fit your seller’s timeline. If you can put all of these things together, you're more likely to win the home. What about the risks, though?
The higher you go with due diligence money, which is a non-refundable deposit, the more money you can lose. The inspection or appraisal can present problems too. With the expectation that they will fix nothing, the higher the due diligence, the less likely it is that the seller will make repairs. If the property doesn't appraise to what you’re offering to pay, you better be ready to pay the difference in cash.
If you have questions about how to compete in this kind of market or anything else related to real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you.
Los constructores priorizan sus intereses sobre los tuyos, entonces, ¿quién te respalda?
Builders prioritize their interests over yours, so who’s got your back?
A lot of my clients ask me, “Pierre, do I need an agent for new construction?” My sincere answer is always an unequivocal ‘yes.’
The new construction process requires a lot of attention to detail, and you’ll need somebody who will help you identify the right neighborhood, the right plan, and the right lot. Truthfully, most lots aren’t the best lots, and most plans aren’t the best plans, but with our guidance and experience you'll be able to make great decisions.
While it's true that all contracts are based on North Carolina law, builders design their contracts such that their interests are prioritized (sometimes blatantly so). You need an experienced agent who can read through that contract, interpret its jargon, and explain its finer points to you as effectively as possible. Throughout the process, you’ll likely be wondering whether you’re getting a great deal; as agents, we have special access to the builder’s past sales, and using that data, we’ll do our very best to negotiate strongly on behalf of your interests.
During the time of contract, you’ll be making some structural selections, and it’s my job to help you choose features that will truly be worthwhile investments. In that all-important design center meeting, you’ll be asked to make decisions regarding countertops, cabinets, floors, fixtures and more. It’s easy to shoot from the hip and choose something based on trendiness, but as an experienced real estate expert, I’ll help you carefully select things that will be great long-term investments.
After the design center meeting comes the on-site meeting where you’ll be able to walk the lot before construction begins. Then, following a few months of construction, you’ll have what’s called a pre-drywall meeting where you get to see all the rough-ins (plumbing, heating, electrical, etc.).
Some weeks later, you’ll have a home orientation, which is another long meeting where we’ll tour the whole home and discuss all of the warranties available. This is when we’ll note any problem areas for the builder to correct before closing.
Once we conduct a final walk-through to check that the builder made good on their promises, we’ll meet for closing and make sure everyone has their i’s dotted and their t’s crossed. Again, the agent’s role in the new construction buying process is to represent your best interests and preserve your investment every step of the way.
If you have further questions about what it’s like to buy new construction, or anything else relating to real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Es un momento oportuno para compradores y vendedores en nuestro mercado. Este es el por qué...
En los últimos meses hemos tenido unos momentos bien interesantes en nuestro mercado inmobiliario, sin embargo actualmente es un momento fantástico para vender. Recientemente vendimos una casa en Durham por un excelente precio en solo unas pocas horas de haberla sacado al mercado.
It’s an opportune time for buyers and sellers in our market. Here’s why.
The last few months have been an interesting time for our real estate market. Right now, however, is a fantastic time to sell. We recently sold a home in Durham for a great price within just a few hours of listing it.
When the market is trending up for sellers like this, it’s not always a great time to buy. However, we're in a unique position right now. Interest rates for mortgages remain as low as they’ve ever been, which is keeping buyer demand high. I remember back when buyers were ecstatic to get an 8% interest rate. These days, we are seeing people secure mortgages with rates under 3%.
As you can see, it’s a great time to buy and sell. If you're thinking about doing either, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email today. We’d love to help answer any questions you may have and get a plan put together to help you find success. We look forward to hearing from you soon.