Helpful Real Estate Information

Real Estate Brokerage:When it comes to real estate, working with the right brokerage can result in the type of experience you will have. The brokerage is the actual real estate company you have chosen to go with. In every company there is a Designated Broker who must satisfy more stringent educational and experience standards than their agents. That broker is the supervisor of all that happens within that brokerage. In a crisis, your transaction’s success may depend on back-up support from your agent’s broker.

Real Estate Agents: A real estate agent’s responsibility depends on the job description they were hired for. There are two types of agents as there are two sides to a sale: a listing agent and a selling (buyer’s) agent.  All “Realtors” are now designated as “Broker”.  Those who have further education that were previously titled “Associate Broker”, now have the title “Managing Broker”, whether or not they are actally managing a brokerage office.

Listing Agent: The listing agent’s main responsibility after the home is listed is to get it marketed. A listing agent has the job of preparing a comparative market analysis (CMA) to factually base the figure he/she feels the home should sell for. This number is derived from a couple variables. By taking your home and comparing it to other similar homes, that realtor can take the current market trends and adjust the numbers to appropriately tag the listing price. Once that price has been decided between the agent and the seller, the agent then has the job of getting that home visible to the public. Most agents will be active in advertising; often times their own company will also provide exposure.

Selling Agent: The selling agent is the agent who is representing the buyer(s). They are not involved in the listing side of the home (unless the buyer’s agent is also representing the listing side and then becomes a dual agent – be careful! More on that to come…). The main responsibility of this agent is to help the buyer find the home/land that the buyer is looking for. The agent must understand exactly what parameters the buyer has and what price range they are qualified for. He/she must be the negotiator and be for the best interest of their client, the buyer, at all times.

Dual Agents: This is when you have a listing agent that brings in a buyer he/she is also representing, thus creating a dual representation for both sides. Often times, this becomes very difficult for the agent to stay neutral to one side or the other and jeopardizes the best interest of one or the other side. An example of how this happens is when buyers drive around looking at homes in an area that are for sale and they call the agent on the listing sign to ask for more information. One thing leads to another and they want to write an offer on that home with the listing agent. This agent has now become a dual agent. He/she must disclose this information to the sellers, as they are the agents’ first priority. It is best to have a separate buyer’s agent representing you as you search for that perfect home. It can work to have dual agency representation, but it gets tricky.

Lender: The very best advice to pass onto people looking at buying a home is to get Pre- Approved BEFORE you start your search. A Pre-Approval pulls your credit report, reviews your current debt-to-income levels, your job status, current living situations, and bases the estimated number around what the bank will safely loan you. This Pre-Approval will be subject to conditions that must be met in order to obtain the loan. It allows a buyer to know the price range they are safe shopping around. The lender will then write a Pre-Approval Letter that will be required for most transactions in a purchase and sale. The best thing you can do as a buyer is be prepared. Have this letter with you when you write up an offer on a home/land.

A lot of people ask if they should use a Mortgage Broker or their own bank. A bank will give you competitive rates/loans that only they offer. Whereas a Mortgage Broker will “shop”around all different banks and find the best rate/loan possible for your particular situation. We strongly suggest going this route, as they can often be more creative and flexible in finding loans.

Another really important key is to not purchase anything major before buying a home or property. This includes furniture, automobiles, appliances, flooring, electronic equipment, jewelry, vacations, expensive items? When a lender reviews your loan package for approval, one thing they are concerned with is the source of your funds. They most likely will ask for your bank statements for the last two or three months. This includes checking & saving accounts, money market funds, CD’s, stock statements, mutual funds, and even your retirement accounts. If you have bought anything major through one of these accounts, the lender will require a paper trail, which could get very tedious. This is to ensure quality control and eliminate potential fraud. Leave your money where it is; don’t change banks either, until you have the home!

*Highly Recommended Mortgage Broker:

Appraisal: An appraisal will be ordered by the lender and will be paid by the buyer. The cost ranges from $600-800. The appraiser goes into the home and measures, visually inspects, and walks the property to then put together a cost analysis different but similar to the original CMA that the listing agent preformed. Most of the time, the appraiser has no problems coming up with the price the seller and buyer had agreed upon, however, there are occasions when the appraised value comes in lower than the agreed contract price. In this situation, the listing realtor does their best to reconfirm to the appraiser the CMA price that was originally prepared by the factual data. If the appraisal cannot come in with the amount needed, renegotiation begins and the transaction may alter.

Inspections:An important key to buying a home is to ask for a home inspection to be done. If you don’t have an inspection, you run the risk of unfound damage that could result in serious money down the road. Even if you know the individual you are buying it from, a friend or family member, have an inspection! This is ordered and paid for by the buyers. A typical inspection runs between $400-750, which is paid upfront at time of inspection. Once the inspection has been done, a written report is given to the buyers. The buyer’s agent then needs to discuss the options with the buyer regarding the findings in the inspection report. This becomes another negotiation break between the seller and buyer.

*Highly Recommended Inspectors:

  • Kevin Johnson, North Sound Home Inspectors,
    PH: (425) 870-0818
  • Larry Howe and Mike Benson, The Inspector Guys,
    PH: (425) 239-0252  or (360) 941-6040

Title & Escrow:The buyer generally decides who the title and escrow will go through, however depending on where the home/property is there may be limited options. On Camano Island for example, title must be pulled from Oak Harbor. Many people use the same title & escrow companies, as it simplifies the paperwork, but doesn’t always make the most sense. There are title & escrow fees that are not negotiable. Typically, the escrow will be split in half for each side to pay. The title will be different, as the buyer will pay more for their title to the lender than the seller will pay title for the buyer. These fees can be estimated once an offer is signed around and escrow has a chance to get all the figures. The title will be different, as the buyer will pay more for their title to the lender than the seller will pay title for the buyer. These fees can be estimated once an offer is signed around and escrow has a chance to get all the figures.

*Highly Recommended Title & Escrow:

  • Land Title & Escrow, Stanwood, WA, Brandi K Jensen,
    PH: (360) 629-9737