6 Reasons You Should Never Buy or Sell a Home Without an Agent

​It’s a slow Sunday morning. You’ve just brewed your Nespresso and popped open your laptop to check out the latest home listings before you hit the road for a day of open houses.

You’re DIYing this real estate thing, and you think you’re doing pretty well—after all, any info you might need is at your fingertips online, right? That and your own sterling judgment.

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Oh, dear home buyer (or seller!)—we know you can do it on your own. But you really, really shouldn’t. This is likely the biggest financial decision of your entire life, and you need a Realtor® if you want to do it right. Here’s why.

1. They have loads of expertise

Want to check the MLS for a 4B/2B with an EIK and a W/D? Real estate has its own language, full of acronyms and semi-arcane jargon, and your Realtor is trained to speak that language fluently.

Plus, buying or selling a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. Realtors have the expertise to help you prepare a killer deal—while avoiding delays or costly mistakes that can seriously mess you up.

2. They have turbocharged searching power

The Internet is awesome. You can find almost anything—anything! And with online real estate listing sites such as yours truly, you can find up-to-date home listings on your own, any time you want. But guess what? Realtors have access to even more listings. Sometimes properties are available but not actively advertised. A Realtor can help you find those hidden gems.

3. They have bullish negotiating chops

Any time you buy or sell a home, you’re going to encounter negotiations—and as today’s housing market heats up, those negotiations are more likely than ever to get a little heated.

You can expect lots of competition, cutthroat tactics, all-cash offers, and bidding wars. Don’t you want a savvy and professional negotiator on your side to seal the best deal for you?

And it’s not just about how much money you end up spending or netting. A Realtor will help draw up a purchase agreement that allows enough time for inspections, contingencies, and anything else that’s crucial to your particular needs.

4. They’re connected to everyone

Realtors might not know everything, but they make it their mission to know just about everyone who can possibly help in the process of buying or selling a home. Mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, home inspectors, home stagers, interior designers—the list goes on—and they’re all in your Realtor’s network. Use them.

5. They adhere to a strict code of ethics

Not every real estate agent is a Realtor, who is a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of Realtors®, the largest trade group in the country.

What difference does it make? Realtors are held to a higher ethical standard than licensed agents and must adhere to a Code of Ethics.

6. They’re your sage parent/data analyst/therapist—all rolled into one

The thing about Realtors: They wear a lot of different hats. Sure, they’re salespeople, but they actually do a whole heck of a lot to earn their commission. They’re constantly driving around, checking out listings for you. They spend their own money on marketing your home (if you’re selling). They’re researching comps to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

And, of course, they’re working for you at nearly all hours of the day and night—whether you need more info on a home or just someone to talk to in order to feel at ease with the offer you just put in. This is the biggest financial (and possibly emotional) decision of your life, and guiding you through it isn’t a responsibility Realtors take lightly.

Rachel Stults, realtor.com

4 Mistakes that Can Derail Your Home Sale

Whether you’re in the process of selling your home or you’re thinking about taking that leap, it’s important to know that sellers have an important role in the process. It’s far more than just picking the right listing price and marketing the property to the widest audience. There are certain steps to the process that have to be navigated to ensure you reach the closing table.

With that said, there are some common mistakes that sellers make when embarking on this journey. Here’s the top four mistakes that can derail your home sale – and how to avoid them!

Not Disclosing Issues

When you list your home for sale, you’ll be required to fill out a home disclosure statement. The form varies from state to state, yet the premise is the same. It’s the seller’s opportunity to disclose any known issues with the home. This includes things like the age of the roof and water heater, any major repairs or additions, and more serious concerns like asbestos and lead paint.

Most buyers will perform a home inspection prior to purchasing your home, and if it turns out that there are big issues that you likely knew about, this can certainly derail the process.

Always be upfront with any known issues, and be sure to complete this disclosure form to the best of your ability.

Missed Deadlines

Whether buying or selling, missing deadlines can easily derail the home sale. There are deadlines to respond to offers. Deadlines for when home inspections and appraisals must be completed. Deadlines that keep the process on track, such as contingency deadlines, earnest money deadlines, and even deadlines for various signatures. Stay organized and stay in contact with your agent to make sure the process continues on smoothly.

Inability to Make Decisions

As a seller, it’s easy to want to play the waiting game: to see if any other buyers want to make an offer before accepting the one right in front of you. Just remember, that indecisiveness could cost you your best offer. To avoid feeling this way, make sure that you’ve asked your agent to show you comparable homes that have recently sold. This will help you understand what the current value of your home is, and can help you feel confident in accepting an offer that falls within that range. Don’t wait until you get your first offer to start investigating what your home is really worth!

Low Appraisals

If the buyers of your home are seeking financing, the mortgage lender will require an appraisal of your home to ensure it’s worth the amount that the bank is lending to the buyers. While the appraiser’s report is out of your control, you do have the ability to perform an appraisal prior to listing your home for sale, which can give you some comfort knowing that your listing price is in line with that appraisal report.

No matter how much the buyer loves your home – and even if they’re willing to pay your full asking price – if there is a low appraisal, the buyer would have to come up with the difference out of pocket. It’s better to get your pricing up to speed in advance, rather than derail the sale at the finish line.

Getting to the Finish Line

Getting to the finish line and selling your home is a process. With the help of a qualified agent, you can easily navigate the sale of your home. Just remember to keep this common mistakes in mind as you get started!

Home Office Design Trends for Productivity


Home office design trends continue to grow and develop as the work-at-home trends themselves change. Home offices are no longer the exclusive domain of traveling salespeople or working-round-the-clock executives. Personalized setups for home productivity zones can vary from a laptop on an up-cycled occasional table with a vintage overstuffed chair to an elaborately devised schematic with multi-functioning components for storage and display spaces.

What is right for your situation? Consider some of the ideas below.

Personalizing Productivity

Before adopting any of the latest buzzwords of design like "shedquarters" or "homework bars," we advise that you set the overall intention for the workspace. Will it be a dedicated industrial section of the home or will it have multiple uses?

Once the definition of the quarters takes shape, you can structure the appointments accordingly.

For digital natives, physical storage might not be a requirement thanks to scanning and cloud space. Those who deal in tangible products might want product organizers or a visible timeline of current or past offerings.

In those instances where the room works before and after the sun sets, furniture might need to perform as functional as well as welcoming.

Clearing the Decks

Renovating is the ideal excuse to make a decision on everything in the current configuration. Do you need those seven empty bookshelves? Is it time to replace the chair with only three wheels? Act with the goal of minimizing for the present in mind, as clutter is the antithesis of performance.

Space is a valuable commodity; make sure your furnishings are contributing and not simply collecting dust. Look around and see how you can increase productivity by improving functionality. A highly operational space will naturally lead to a better-flowing working environment.

Revamping With Purpose

Now that the slate is clean and the objective is clear, it’s time to begin determining the "what and where" for your home office. One trend in domestic commerce that translates regardless of personal taste is the modular component.

Contemporary furniture designers are moving away from built-ins and whittling their way toward utility-plus-versatility construction. Home office occupants can assemble shelving, desk space and cabinets that all fit together in one command center or disengage to fulfill an on-demand project.

Multitasking With Fixtures

Electronics are shrinking thanks to efficiencies in technology, but their sphere of influence is expanding. Now you can have a computer monitor double as a television, rule your empire from a laptop and cut all cords (literally going wireless) when printing out professional materials.

Arranging the decor of your new home office can follow suit in efficiency as mobility is as useful as a charging station. Give some thought to your situation.

South Florida homebuyers frustrated by shortage of listings

​A scarcity of homes for sale is rattling buyers, emboldening sellers and pushing prices higher in South Florida.

Analysts say a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers has a six-month supply of properties, meaning that’s how long it would take to sell all of the homes if no more were listed.

At the end of June, Broward’s single-family supply stood at a paltry 3.8 months, down from 4.9 months in June 2014, according to data from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors.

Palm Beach County is slightly better off but still short on for-sale signs. The county had a 4.8-month supply at the end of June, compared with 5.8 months two years ago, the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches said.

Lack of supply is one of the main reasons why values keep rising, housing observers say. The median price for existing homes in Broward hit $325,000 in June, up 7 percent from a year earlier, while Palm Beach County‘s median increased 6 percent to $320,000.

When housing prices hit bottom in 2012, sales soared as investors and traditional buyers jumped into the market, feasting on bargains.

Properties owned by lenders or facing foreclosure dominated sales during the housing recovery, but those distressed homes have largely been cleared out of the market.

In Broward, only 257 of the 1,805 single-family home closings in June involved a foreclosure or short sale, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors.

In Palm Beach County, Realtor board data show foreclosures and short sales represented only about 10 percent of the 1,822 closings in June.

During the worst of the housing bust, roughly half of all home sales involved a distressed property.

Without those foreclosures in the market to induce deals, buyers are pausing because they don’t feel like they have a lot of [good] choices," said Scott Agran, president of Lang Realty in Boca Raton.

First-time buyers Samantha Cutler and her fiance, Jason Novick, haven’t had much luck since they started their search several months ago.

The Plantation couple is looking in northwest Broward for a three- or four-bedroom home in the $300,000 to $400,000 range. Cutler and Novick hope to put down roots for the next seven to 10 years and start a family, so they want to make sure they buy in a good school district.

They’d like to be in a home before their wedding in November, but they don’t want to settle, either.

"We haven’t been blown away or seen anything that really wowed us," said Cutler, 26, a speech language pathologist. "When you walk into the right home, I think you just know."

Because of the shortage, homes priced fairly and in good condition generally sell quickly, real estate agents say. But some desperate buyers will even gravitate toward homes with obvious shortcomings.

Judy Trudel, an agent who works in Palm Beach and Broward, said she recently had a client wanting to sell or rent a home in the Pompano Highlands subdivision in Pompano Beach. The three-bedroom property has only one bathroom, and the yard needs major work, according to Trudel.

She said the owner insisted on listing the home for sale at an ambitious $179,900. At the same time, she listed it for rent at $1,550 a month.

"As soon as I hit the ‘send’ button, my phone did not stop ringing," Trudel said.

The owner eventually decided to rent the home. Still, it continues to draw competitive offers, even though potential buyers know the existing tenant has a year’s lease, Trudel said.

Homes priced at $500,000 and under are most in demand, with the selection more diverse in higher price ranges.

Terry Story, an agent for Coldwell Banker in Broward and Palm Beach counties, said the crop of current listings is littered with overpriced properties.

"There’s still a disconnect between what the buyer thinks the home is worth and what the seller thinks the home is worth," Story said. "We need more well-priced inventory — not overpriced, poor-condition homes."

Matt and Kenia Forget, Story’s clients, weren’t impressed with their selection of homes, though they finally found one they liked in Boca Raton and are set to close Aug. 9.

"You’d think the houses would be in a little better shape for the prices people are asking," said Matt Forget, a 35-year-old architect. "A lot of houses in east Boca needed $50,000 or $60,000 worth of work, and you’re still left with a 50-year-old house."

Rising prices are restoring equity lost during the housing crisis, and that will prompt more owners to test the market. But there’s no single event that will boost moderately priced listings in South Florida to match the level of demand, said Ron Shuffield, president of EWM Realty International in Miami-Dade and Broward.

Trent Swift, a 31-year-old attorney, said homes he and fiancee Jessica Fontaine have looked at in central Palm Beach County are either "gone in the blink of an eye or overpriced."

They’re looking for three- or four-bedroom homes from $350,000 to $550,000, though they’re learning to adjust their expectations and remain open-minded because quality listings are so limited.

They had their hopes up for a home in the College Park section of Lake Worth and made arrangements for a showing on Friday, only to find out minutes later that it had just gone under contract to someone else.

Swift said he’s encouraged by stories of friends who faced similar house-hunting woes. In almost all of those cases, when one deal fell through, a better one came along.

"I feel like the universe does have a plan," Swift said, "but it’s just going to take awhile."

August 1, 2016

PAUL OWERS, Copyright © 2016, Sun Sentinel

Here Comes the Housing Inventory!!

Almost every real estate conversation revolves around the continuous rise in house values over the last four years. Some have even mentioned a concern about another possible bubble forming. However, the recent increase in prices can be attributed to a very simple principle: supply and demand.

DEMAND

Demand for single-family housing has continued to increase as the economy slowly moves forward. Recent surveys have shown that over 80% of each generation still believes that homeownership is a part of the American Dream. And a recent Gallup survey showed that Americans believe that real estate is the best long-term investment.

SUPPLY

Over the last several years, many homeowners were unable to put their homes on the market for an assortment of reasons (family finances, no or limited equity in the home). There has been a pent-up supply of sellers who have wanted to move but couldn’t. Below is a graph depicting the number of years families have historically stayed in a home. We can see there is pent-up seller demand.

As the economy improves and more families reach the point of significant equity (20%), we will see these homes come to market. As supply then matches demand, the acceleration of home price increases will begin to slow.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the families that have been chained to your current home over the last 5-7 years, now may be the time to break free and find the home of your dreams.

​By: The KCM Crew