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Realtor.com Reveals the 10 Secrets Every First-Time Home Buyer Must Know
Realtor.com empowers first-time home buyers by unveiling the most powerful, yet simple tips to ask informed questions, learn what you can afford and help seal the deal SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 13, 2019 -- Realtor.com, the Home of Home Search, today unveiled its top 10 tips and tricks for a successful first time home purchase from its recently released book, "The Essential First-Time Home Buyer's Book." This extensive guide provides home shoppers the essential tips and advice needed throughout every stage of the home-buying process and is the very first book published by realtor.com®. "Buying your first home is one of the most important, daunting and high-stakes decisions anyone can make, so it is important to be as informed as possible before getting started," said Judy Dutton, realtor.com® editor. "Our mission is to equip homebuyers with the most important information to help make their home buying journey as simple and successful as possible." When it comes to buying a home, the 10 must-know, simple secrets for first-time home buyers from realtor.com® are: 1. Identify your home buying power: Understanding how much house you can afford can give you a leg up when it comes to buying a new home. Estimating your monthly housing payments using the realtor.com® Home Affordability Calculators can help to determine how much monthly mortgage payment you can afford and calculate a feasible home price range. 2. Give up unnecessary expenses and save more: Saving cash for a down payment takes time. A good way to get started is to trim unnecessary spending. Find simple ways to save extra cash, like, skipping the extra coffee and saving that money in a dedicated account so you can watch your progress. If you struggle to save, automating the process can help. You can have your employer deposit some of your paycheck into a savings account or have your bank automatically deposit money into your savings account. 3. Work with a local agent: Purchasing a new home is a huge financial decision that can be fairly complicated. Work with a local real estate agent who has the experience, negotiating chops, a large network and local knowledge to help get you through the process to close on the right home for you. 4. Interview several real estate agents: It's wise to connect with several agents before deciding who you'll work with in your home buying journey. Ask questions like: How long have you worked in real estate? How long have you lived in the area? Do you have a team or do you work alone? What's your schedule like? Are you taking any time off in the next few months? 5. Create a must-have list and stick with it: Before you begin your search, write down the non-negotiable features your new home needs - the more specific, the better. If a home doesn't have everything on the list, skip seeing it to avoid compromising. For the listings that do have all your must-haves, document your open house or showing visits by taking notes and photos of each property so you can review them later when making a decision on which house has what you need and ultimately, is right for you. 6. Make an informed offer: Negotiating can be tricky. Make sure to discuss the following aspects of your offer with your agent to ensure you have a complete understanding of the financial implications before you sign a contract: Market price: Your agent can help you determine a fair price based on your budget, market dynamics and comparable homes in the area. Earnest money deposit: Placing a portion of the purchase price in an escrow account can demonstrate to the seller that you are serious. Just make sure to discuss the scenarios that could cause you to lose this deposit. Contingencies: Contingencies are provisions that can allow you to get out of your contract without losing your deposit under certain circumstances, such as passing a home inspection or appraisal or securing a loan. Make sure you understand how they serve to protect a buyer's interests and what impact they can have on a sale. 7. Avoid saying these things when buying a home: While the home search can be a very long process, it's imperative to keep your emotions in check, especially around the seller or listing agent. To maintain a strong negotiating position, keep your composure, as over-enthusiastic potential buyers can wind up overpaying. With that said, avoid the following statements: "This is my dream house!" "That couch is hideous!" "I can afford to spend this much." "I can't wait to get rid of that." "Why are you selling?" "You'll never get that price." 8. Appeal your appraisal if necessary: If you've applied for a mortgage, your home-to-be still has to undergo a home appraisal. Appraisers will estimate the home's exact value based on home condition, location, square footage and renovations. If the appraisal comes in lower than what you have offered, you have options, which may include: Appeal the appraisal: Appealing can extend the process by a few weeks. Get a second appraisal: This is an added cost and can extend the process. Negotiate with the seller: Sometimes a seller will lower the price or help in other ways. Walk away: You'll likely lose the money already paid for inspections and/or appraisals, and your earnest money deposit may be at risk if you don't have an appraisal or financing contingency in your contract. 9. Follow your home inspector checklist: Your inspector should be trained to check your soon-to-be home for any issues. Join your inspector during the inspection to ask questions and find out hidden details of the home. Here are some of the main items a home inspection should vet: Structural issues  Roof problems Mechanical issues Plumbing concerns Electrical troubles Overall condition and basic home functionality (ie. windows, doors, vents, lights, fans) Safety - mold, hazards, faulty smoke detectors 10. Don't break the deal! Avoid these things: Remember, a sale is not final until you sign all the paperwork and get the keys, anything you do before closing could impact the sale. Most states do not have in-person closing meetings anymore; however, if you do wind up in an in-person closing meeting, it's best to avoid voicing these potential deal-breakers: "I can't wait to get all the new furniture we bought." "I can't wait to gut the house." "Could you remove that swing set from the backyard?" About "The Essential First-Time Home Buyer's Book" Written by the seasoned editorial team at realtor.com®, "The Essential First-Time Home Buyer's Book" draws from the top articles written by the company's editorial team, sourcing information from a network of experts, which publishes more than a dozen real estate-related articles every day. It is available now in paperback for $14.99. About realtor.com® Realtor.com®, The Home of Home Search, offers the most MLS-listed for-sale listings among national real estate portals, and access to information, tools and professional expertise that help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. Through its Opcity platform, realtor.com® uses data science and machine learning to connect consumers with a real estate professional based on their specific buying and selling needs. Realtor.com®pioneered the world of digital real estate 20 years ago, and today is a trusted resource for home buyers, sellers and dreamers by making all things home simple, efficient and enjoyable. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. under a perpetual license from the National Association of REALTORS®. For more information, visit realtor.com®.
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Buying or Selling a Home in 2016? Realtor.com® Helps Consumers Navigate the Process with Top Tips
SAN JOSE, California, January 14, 2016 — On the heels of a 2016 Housing Forecast that predicts a healthy real estate market for the coming year, realtor.com®, a leading destination of online real estate services operated by News Corp subsidiary Move, Inc., today debuts Top Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers in 2016. These tips will guide everyone from house-hunting virgins to flipping fanatics through the market specifics for the next year, cutting through the clutter of real estate advice to highlight what is most important for buying or selling a home in 2016. "The 2016 housing market is forecasted to be mainly a seller's market, filled with increasing home prices, relatively low inventory and fierce competition between buyers," said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com®. "Buyers looking to close this year need to keep an open mind and be prepared to move quickly when they find a home that meets their needs. For sellers, it's about understanding the ins and outs of their local market so they can optimize the price of their home and close quickly." The top tips for 2016 home buyers include: Be the early bird. Over 85 percent of buyers who plan to purchase in the next year intend to buy in the spring or summer of 2016, according to our most recent realtor.com® survey. With roughly 50 percent more listings inventory relative to the number of potential home sales expected in January and February, buyers who start their search early face less competition with nearly the same number of homes. Comparison shop for mortgages. Mortgage rates are expected to reach 4.65 percent and prices are predicted to rise 3 percent year over year in 2016. Buyers planning to finance their purchase should put as much effort into getting the right mortgage as they do finding the right home. A lower interest rate can make the difference in qualifying for a home and save thousands over the life of the loan. Consider a new home. In 2016, the number of new homes on the market is expected to grow more rapidly resulting in a 16 percent increase in new home sales year over year. Buyers should consider the new home options in their market; they are likely to have less competition and to enjoy a broad selection of homes. While new homes are typically higher in price, they are usually larger and offer performance advantages and warranties that could reduce operating and maintenance costs. Markets where new homes will capture a higher share of sales include: Boise City, Idaho; Charleston-North Charleston, S.C.; Salt Lake City; Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn.; and Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, S.C.-N.C. Buy a home in the Midwest or South. The biggest issue expected to hold buyers back this year is an inability to find a home in their price range. Considering a home purchase in the Midwest or South may be a good option for those who really want to close in 2016. Local markets such as Dayton, Ohio; Birmingham-Hoover, Ala.; Harrisburg-Carlisle, Penn.; Augusta-Richmond County, Ga.-S.C.; and Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa offer buyers high affordability, increasing inventory and favorable lending standards. The top tips for 2016 home sellers include: List during peak season. Unlike buyers, demand benefits sellers. Prime home buying season begins in April and reaches its peak in June, according to realtor.com® analysis of home sales. Sellers who list their home during the prime spring and summer months benefit from a larger population of buyers and potential bidding wars, which often result in higher prices and faster closings. Price a home to the market. In 2016, prices are expected to increase nationally 3 percent year over year. Local prices changes are anticipated to be more dramatic with markets such as Stockton, Calif. and Las Vegas, Nev. expected to increase by 10 percent. Sellers who work with a local REALTOR® to optimize the price of their home based on its unique features and surrounding neighborhood are often able to receive the highest price for their market and sell more quickly. Offer incentives. Last year, 37 percent of all sellers offered incentives to attract buyersi. Sellers who are open to negotiating beyond price are more likely to find scenarios that result in wins for both sides resulting in a potentially faster sale and more seller profit. Sell a home in California. While many local areas are showing favor to sellers this year, California markets are accelerating past the positive national averages and showing extremely favorable conditions for sellers. Robust job growth, increasing prices and limited inventory have sellers ready for big gains in Stockton-Lodi; Bakersfield, Calif.; Fresno, Calif.; and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. Ready to test – and boost – your real estate savviness? Realtor.com®'s 2016 Housing Quiz gives buyers and sellers an edge with the top tips for 2016. It also features an interactive infographic that shows the best growth markets for 2016, the top 5 markets for each of the three age groups –millennials, young gen X-ers and retirees – expected to lead the 2016 buying spree, and a year-over-year comparison of some of the most important national housing and economic indicators. About Move, Inc. and realtor.com® Move, Inc. operates the realtor.com® website and mobile experiences, which provide buyers, sellers and renters of homes with the information, tools and professional expertise they need to discover and create their perfect home. News Corp acquired Move in November 2014, and realtor.com® quickly established itself as the fastest growing online real estate service provider as measured by comScore. As the official website of the National Association of REALTORS®, consumers know they can look to realtor.com® for the most comprehensive and accurate information anytime, anywhere. With relationships with nearly 800 multiple listing services (MLS), realtor.com® has more than 3 million for-sale listings, which account for more than 97 percent of all MLS-listed for-sale properties. More than 90 percent of the listings are updated every 15 minutes. Move's network of websites provides consumers a wealth of innovative tools, including Doorsteps®, Moving.com™, SeniorHousingNet and others. Move supports real estate professionals by providing many services to grow their businesses in an increasing digital, on-demand world, including ListHub™, the nation's leading listing syndicator and centralized intelligence platform for the real estate industry; TigerLead®; Top Producer® Systems; and FiveStreet and Reesio as well as many free services.
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Home Prices Are Low. Should You Buy Now?
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DotLoop Powers 23 New Michigan Real Estate Offices to Meet the Demand of Today’s Buyer and Seller
The move towards completely electronic real estate transactions is quickly becoming the norm throughout the industry. Recently, Michigan agents joined a growing number of real estate professionals across the country as 23 offices began using DotLoop in the month of April to complete deals electronically and increase efficiency. In response to the growing presence of mobile technology among consumers, REALTORS® use DotLoop to leverage technology, meeting a growing demand to buy and sell homes online. For years, real estate agents and brokers advertised listings online, yet failed to employ closing or transaction functions in the same online space. According to the 2010 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the share of buyers who searched "frequently" online for their home rose to 89 percent in 2010. DotLoop delivers that solution for real estate agents and the home buyers they serve. Using what's known as a "collaborative workspace," agents share and adjust documents with clients in real-time, anywhere they have Internet access. When all negotiations are complete, electronic signatures are used to finalize the contracts quickly and securely. Agents across the country using the "collaborative workspace" are completing deals quicker and easier than before. "This will set us apart from other agents in how easy it is to make offers on our listings," said Darne Ridgley, REALTOR® with Keller Williams. "The client view will be easy to explain and the co-op agents will not have any trouble viewing it either." While transactions may only be initiated by DotLoop authorized agents, it's available to the cooperative agent receiving the initiation for free. This open source engagement with other agents allows transactions to maintain transparency and simplicity with the home buyer's and seller's interests in mind. Jim Bowling of RE/MAX Preferred Group of Southern Ohio said, "Depending how you look at it, it could mean the difference of getting a signature at 1 p.m. or 5 p.m. once my client gets off work. My clients sign contracts at work, in seconds." DotLoop helps an agent overcome the inefficiencies of the traditional real estate process and meet the demands of today's home buyers and sellers. By leveraging technology, both agents and their brokers position themselves for future success. Agents across the country continue to adopt DotLoop's collaborative workspace with nearly 10,000 new users added every month. In the midst of a national expansion, DotLoop continues to simplify the home buying and selling process for agents and clients in New York, Ohio, Florida and more to come over the next year. About DotLoop Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, DotLoop is transforming the real estate industry by providing a collaborative workspace where any real estate agent can share and sign transaction documents. As the leading provider of collaborative negotiation services, DotLoop is available to service all real estate professionals throughout the United States and Canada. The innovative DotLoop platform is a collaborative, wholly web-based negotiation platform that lets users add, adjust, approve, and sign documents digitally – addressing the challenges of security, efficiency, and overhead costs in today's real estate industry. Learn more about DotLoop.  
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Where Do I Start? A Facebook Page or Blog?
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Effective Communication Practices Boosts Home Buyer Confidence
  Proper document management and electronic signatures increase efficiency in the home buying process, but effective, one-to-one communication between agent and client remains of basic importance for selling real estate. People are naturally cautious about buying real estate, because it's typically the most important investment they'll ever make. They need to feel confident, with a sense of trust in their Realtor® as they make the decision to become a homeowner. The key to gaining this special type of trust comes from good interpersonal communication. Here are some tips to communicate with potential clients to help them feel comfortable about buying real estate: Be credible: Every property is unique. It's up to the agent to do as much research about each property as possible. Clients will have serious questions about what they're buying, and a knowledgeable, thorough agent builds trust among buyers – building great references in the community as well. Be patient and listen: If the client wants to talk, actively listen to their questions and concerns. Rather than immediately responding, absorb what they've said and try to empathize with their position in the home buying process. Once you think from another's perspective, you can help them make more informed decisions as you have more of a vested interest in finding them the right home. Ask clear, well-defined questions: You can't effectively establish your clients' needs unless you ask them about their specifications. You're questions should be very easy to understand, with very clear intentions. Be patient with clients new to the home buying process and thoroughly explain what information you need from them. Turn down your phone or mobile device: Switch your phone or mobile device to its silent setting and never answer it when meeting with potential clients; unless it's an absolute emergency. Doing so sends the message that you're placing less importance on a client's time than your own; exactly what you don't want when establishing a sincere relationship built on mutual respect. While you have other potential clients, you only have one right in front of you. While these tips are applicable to real estate transactions, they also apply in everyday life. Without effective communication, life can be very frustrating. With all of the work that goes into the purchase and sale of a home, it would behoove an agent to consciously employ these practices in every transaction to increase customer satisfaction and their overall business. Read the original blog post. Learn more about DotLoop.
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Smarter Agent Acquires Toor.me
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3 Tips to Help You Deal with Your Scalability Problem
Scalability is defined as “a characteristic of a system, model or function that describes its capability to cope and perform under an increased or expanding workload.” Or in more relevant terms ... the ability to expand your coaching business and its revenue AND increase your profit margin (your labor stays constant while revenues grow ... sounds nice doesn't it?). 99.9% of coaches, trainers, consultants, counselors, authors and solopreneurs of every kind have 1 very big common problem: scalability.  It’s a problem because if you’re not in action doing whatever it is you do to make sales, sales stop.  Which means the money stops.  That’s the real problem. Wouldn’t it be great if money came in without you having to exert tremendous amounts of energy to generate every damn penny? On Wednesday, December 15th at 11am EST, Kim Andes, founder of Frame of Mind Coaching, will share the 3 keys to establishing scalability: 1.       Leverage what you know 2.       Provide an extraordinary customer experience over and over 3.       Technology Click here to register! Scalability is as much about leverage as it is about growth.  For a business to grow, evolve, and/or simply stay afloat, it must gradually move from prospecting-based to marketing-based.  A prospecting-based business means revenue is only generated when you are actively seeking sales; a marketing-based business is one with leverage – and therefore scalable – in which sales transpire without you having to exert tremendous amounts of energy. On Wednesday, December 15th at 11am EST, Kim Andes will share with you exactly how they have achieved a sustainable level of scalability in their coaching business, Frame of Mind Coaching (and in what areas theyneed to keep evolving). Scalability is also about working smarter not harder.  If you want to achieve higher sales, while exerting less energy, then don’t miss this event; the content of this call is HUGE for you – especially as we enter into a new year, with new goals! Join us Wednesday, December 15th at 11am EST and finish 2010 with a BANG!  Get serious about making more money, in less time, in 2011. Click here to register! To learn more about Frame of Mind Coaching, please click here.
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Want to Learn about Increasing Your Income AND Your Work-Life Balance?
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Prudential California Realty Selects Showing Suite, Inc.
RISMEDIA, May 21, 2010—Showing Suite, Inc., a leading provider of Internet-based tools that help real estate professionals sell homes faster, announced that Prudential California Realty, Southern California will implement Showing Suite’s technology in their 58 offices. According to the company, since 2001, Showing Suite’s HomeFeedback system has been the industry leading solution for gathering showing feedback in over 150 U.S. and Canadian markets. Agents average a 71% response rate across the United States and Canada. Agents are able to customize the feedback questions for each property as well as eBlast every Showing Agent that has viewed the property updates on any price reductions or property changes with the click of one button – making the system a true time saver! Mark Johnson, Vice President of Marketing and Technology for Prudential California Realty, states, “HomeFeedback is very valuable for our sales associates; it saves time and simplifies the buyer-feedback process. We are confident Showing Suite’s tools will help our agents enhance their service to their clients.” The system will allow every agent complete automation of sending feedback to showing agents after a property showing, allowing them to keep their clients better informed on what potential buyers think about their property.  
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Niche Marketing for Maximum Lead Generation
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Terabitz Launches Web Platform for Brokers
Terabitz has been very quiet lately. A refresher for those of you might not have heard of the company -- they launched in 2007 to much fanfare -- as a sort of "Netvibes for real estate" -- but the company made hard tack to starboard in the years since and have reinvented themselves as a platform for real estate brokerages. It's a crowded marketplace in that space, but certainly one that is always ripe for innovation. This week they've pulled up the curtain on what they've been up to with a new release of their platform. It includes a number of back-end features that build off their data-aggregation chops to allow brokers to create content-rich websites. From their press release: Neighborhood and Community pages featuring business reviews, photos and school reports (via implementation of the Yelp, Flickr, and Education.com APIs) as well as hyperlocal news content (via implementation of Yahoo Pipes). Real estate market reports featuring data and trends derived from live MLS (Multiple Listing Service) data and displayed in a way the average user can understand at a glance. Market reports are provided at the neighborhood and community level, which makes them far more useful than typical city or county-level views. Property search that better merchandizes listings through a "gallery" view that enables the user to view large photos in the search results display. Explore the Neighborhood, a map-based tool that enables users to view amenities in the area of their home search – businesses, places of worship, recreational facilities and more – in order to better understand what it is like to live in a place. Terabitz One-to-One, a prospecting tool that enables agents to create dedicated, automatically updating websites for homeowners that display recent sales, new listings and a dynamic home value estimate. The Terabitz platform is modeled on the relaunch of Chicago brokerage @properties' website. @properties is a company that's proved it's willing to invest in potentially game-changing ideas (see Real Estate Search Stores – Coming Soon?), so it seems like a natural fit. The redesign is clean, simple and well executed. But I'm not a fan of having to register in order to search for a home -- so I didn't get a chance to test out the search tool. And it was doubly annoying that every listing I clicked on I had to create an account … how about a couple freebies, guys? Nevertheless, I did like Terabitz platform's neighborhood and community pages (like this one for Lincoln Park, for example) which were a nice collection of a series of different data sources. My only suggestion would be to add more media; more photos (the Flickr stream pulls in some pretty random stuff) -- professionally produced neighborhood videos would be a fantastic addition to those pages too. In any case, it seems this release is why we hadn't heard much from Terabitz recently. It turns out they've had their heads down coding. Click here to view the original blog post from Future of Real Estate Marketing, An Inman News Company. Wise Agent is Now Integrated with DocuSign First American Title Announces AgentFirst Real Estate App For iPhone and iPad Inman's Top 100 Most Influential People
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