Things You Should Ask When Hiring Realtor

The 5 most common questions to ask when hiring a REALTOR!

Selecting a real estate agent to assist in the largest financial transaction a person will likely ever make is a critical part of the home selling process. In a challenging economic environment where competition among real estate companies is on the rise, choosing the agent that’s right for you can be a confusing task.

Home sellers should start by interviewing several real estate agents to find someone with whom they “connect” with, However, chemistry is not the only variable to consider. The length of time an agent has been in the business, his or her home sale success rate and knowledge of the local market can also play a significant role in the decision-making process.

To jump-start, the conversation, try and ask these five essential questions home sellers should ask before selecting a REALTOR to represent them.

1. How long have you been in the real estate business and what has your success rate been in terms of home sales over the past 12 months? The length of time a real estate representative has been in the business and their home sale success rate demonstrates their knowledge and expertise in the industry. Ideally, a home seller will want to work with an agent who has a high percentage of completed transactions within your home’s price range.

2. What was the average amount of time it took to sell those listings? Comparing marketing times between the agents you are interviewing will provide you with an indication of how well that agent markets homes.

3. What was your list-price to sale-price ratio? Significant differences between original listing prices and ultimate sale prices can be an indication that the list prices quoted at the outset were unrealistic.

4. What is your online marketing plan to sell my property? In Canada, the vast majority of home buyers begin their home search on the Internet. Therefore, the one you select to help you in the sale of your home should have a strong online marketing presence as well as be visible through social media outlets in order to reach the widest possible audience. Before or after meeting with the candidate to a quick Google search for the agent’s name, company name and see what you find. PRO TIP: If you don’t find a lot of information, how do you expect buyers to find and locate your home when it is actively on the market?

5. Do you have references you can share from past clients? References allow you to gain additional insight into the day-to-day workings of the real estate agent. Gathering reputable references will help ensure that you select the best real estate representative for your needs.

PRO TIP: Selecting an agent with a strong online presence is strongly recommended, and checking online reputation and reviews of that agent is crucial. Do a quick Google Search for Online Reviews “agents name”, Do they have a Google Local listing, Facebook Business Page Reviews etc.

 

Tips To Hire Property Manager

Opting for property management for your house is a definitely good idea but remember it can be one of the most terrible things if you’re lacking the necessary information.

That being said, it is important for all to have the necessary information about management and the work of the property managers. This is an important part because it helps the property owners in deciding whether or not the manager they’re hiring is well suited to meet all their requirements.

Here is some information for you –

Property Management –

The process of operation, control, and oversight of real estate in the broadest terms are called property management. Management here indicates a need to be cared of, monitored, and answerability is given the property’s life and conditions. Including this, management of property also involves the management of personal property, equipment, tooling and other assets that are used in building, repairing, and maintain the end items deliverables.

Roles of the Property Management Agent –

  1. Setting The Property Purchase / Rental Amount – The first and foremost role that every manager or estate agency has to play is planning the cost of the property or the rental amount. This process would involve the property owner but should be done wisely after considering the important points like the condition of the property and the location where the property is located.
  2. Finding the Right Tenant / Buyer – The property managers will always be accessible to a wide number of property owners as well as property seekers which is why they are the best people to choose the buyers or tenants. Sorting out and picking the best is possible and it will always be a win-win situation for the property owners as well as the seekers.
  3. Screening Buyers / Tenants – For property owners selecting the best buyer or tenant isn’t always possible but when it comes to the property managers they can choose the one that is best. This is usually because the agents only choose the property seekers after carefully looking into their profile and getting a check of their background information.
  4. Collecting the Rent – When associated with rental property dealers the property owners can entrust them with the duty of collecting rent well at the time. This saves the landlord from wasting whatever time is wasted in chasing the tenants for rent.
  5. Handling Complaints & Emergencies – Whatever be the complaints of the tenants or buyers should be handled by the agent well within the stipulated time Further, if there are a few emergencies that need attention they again fall under the duty book of the estate agents and should be met with almost immediately or depending on the type of situation that has come up.
  6. Handling Moveouts – When a tenant vacates the premises, the manager is responsible for inspecting the unit. Their job is to check for damages and determine what portion of the security deposit will be returned to the tenant. After the tenants move out is completed, they are also responsible for cleaning up the unit and repairing any damages that may be filed to locate a new tenant and fill the vacancy.
  7. Dealing with Evictions – In case the tenant hasn’t been paying rent or has been causing disturbance you might have to get the house evicted by him. In that case, the property owner holds the complete responsibility of getting the property evicted at the earliest possible. Before the eviction, the manager needs to ensure all dues are settled and nothing is payable from both the sides.
  8. Maintenance & Repairs – Whatever is included in the maintenance work is the responsibility of the property manager and should be handled accordingly. Whether maintenance and repairs including hiring someone to take care of the leaks, performing landscapes, remove snow, eliminate thrash – it is all the work of the manager. He needs to ensure the right people are hired and in case someone is taking a day off from work there is always a replacement that is available.
  9. Maintaining Records – Maintenance of all property related documents is just another thing added to the list of the duties that the dealer is required to perform. The agents must ensure proper files are maintained for each tenant or buyer and the files include the necessary information. It should also include any dues that need to be cleared from both the parties.
  10. Responsibility for Taxes – The property manager can assist the property owner with comprehending the most beneficial way to file their taxes about the investment property. The concerned person may also be endowed with the power to file the charges regarding the property on behalf of the owner.

Even though property management might look like an easy management process remember it has a lot involved in it and everything needs to be managed in the best possible ways. Further, the varied roles assigned to the property manager depend on whether he is working on a rental property or the one that is being sold.

Secrets That Realtor Never Tell You

Buying or selling your house or any other kind of property is a big decision. All due to this, people never wish to do it alone, but in the association with an expert who has mighty experience in the process.

Real estate agents or realtors are such a people, group of people or even an organization performing this task on your behalf. They are the dedicated professionals, registered or unregistered, offering you all the assistance you need, whether to buy or sell a property.

And this is why it is necessary to consult a good, reputed and experienced real estate agent or firm only.

However, even when you consult the best one, there are a few things that the real estate agents do not tell their clients. Here is a list of these:

  1. First of all, you may not always need to hire a real estate agent to sell your house, especially if it is located at some plush location or is at a place that is yearned by many.
  2. Most of the real estate agents work on commissions. They may tell you that their commissions are fixed, but in reality, the commissions are always negotiable.
  3. And if you choose not to hire a real estate agent and sell your house yourself, you can even avoid those commissions.
  4. If you are about to sell your house, you would consider vacating it to offer a better view to your buyers. However, a furnished and tidy house is said to sell better than a vacated one, since the buyers can get an actual view of how they would keep their products.
  5. Buyers do have a view of your kitchen, but kitchens are not what people put on their priority list before buying a house.
  6. Agents may say that they do not have an idea about the neighborhood, but in reality, they actually know the kind of neighborhood you are moving in with.
  7. Do not doubt individual workers or small real estate firms, even if the big ones tell you tales about their inexperience or inefficiency. You may never know the real tales behind.
  8. Before you buy a house, you can even hire a home inspector and get the house inspected to know the hidden flaws etc. in the house. You can also get to know its real worth.
  9. Even your home inspectors may not tell you everything about the house.
  10. Most of the real estate agents do not wait for long to get you the best bid for your house. Instead, they would wish to get a fair deal and get it done within, say, a month’s time. It may get them a low commission but it needs less marketing and they can concentrate on other deals.
  11. A home you are buying should essentially be in a move-in condition. If it needs a few safety fixtures or a big investment, you are better off looking for something else.
  12. Even if you hired a good real estate agent, you need to keep a check on their activities and you can always fire them if you think that they are not acting on what they actually promised.
  13. There could always, always be a better deal. But then, there’s no guarantee.
  14. Agents may get commissions from both the buyers and the sellers. So never always consider them on your side.
  15. Holding an open house may actually find you a better client.

So while you buy or sell a property with the help of a real estate agent, do keep these elements in mind.

A bit of your vigilance may not always save your expenses but also prevent you from any sort of future regrets.

 

Real Estate On Canada

In recent years, the Canadian government took action to cool the overheating real estate market by lowering the maximum amortization timeframe from 40 to 25 years for Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) insured homes. According to financial and real estate experts, this reduction was out of concern for Canadians burdened with too much debt and a housing bubble.

This reduction in the amortization period has not really cooled the housing market (in particular cities such as Toronto and Vancouver). In fact, it is still hot, hot, hot! With the Bank of Canada maintaining a one-percent interest rate, it is still fueling the desire for home ownership for first-time buyers and allowing others to trade-up on their existing home.

Traditionally in Canada, most mortgage terms with banks are five-year closed. Remember, that the first two or three years, a homeowner is mostly paying the interest on the mortgage. Now, there are opportunities to have one, or two-year mortgage terms, but in most cases it is five year closed. As the five-year term gets close to renewal, banks give the homeowner the opportunity to ‘shop around’ for better rates. On a side note, a homeowner can ‘shop’ at anytime during the five-year term, but if the homeowner moves the mortgage to another institution, they will have to pay penalty fees to the current bank, sometimes as much as $45,000.

During the five-year term, homeowners can rest assured of how much they must set aside each month to cover their household expenses, including the mortgage. But, when it comes close to the term ending, it can become stressful, especially if interest rates rise. Most people usually budget for their home and expenses at the time of the home purchase; however, a lot can happen within the five-year timeframe; for example, unforeseen circumstances, such as a reduced income, a birth of a child, death of a partner, financial trouble, or economic changes in the world. If the budget doesn’t leave room to save for the unexpected, it causes an uncomfortable situation.

On the other side of the coin, banks at the end of the five-year term give clients the option to refinance and that opens the possibility of losing the client to another institution. This doesn’t promote brand loyalty for the bank.

In the United States, financial institutions have provided homeowners with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. To have this type of mortgage, a homeowner sometimes pay a slightly higher rate than a shorter term mortgage and it takes more time to actually own the home.

However, the homeowner is rest assured of having one consistent monthly payment, because both the principle and the interest are evenly spread throughout the 30-year term. The banks get to keep their clients around and up-sell other services.

 

There are a few benefits to the 30-year fixed mortgage that could certainly help the Canadian homeowner:

Over the amortization period of the mortgage, the homeowner knows exactly what their mortgage payment is, because the interest rate is locked in for the 30 years. There’s a sense of security knowing that and the opportunity to weather any number of unforeseen circumstances.

The 30-year fixed mortgage allows the homeowner to save. The savings can go towards paying down on the principle faster or enable the homeowner to buy other investment products – another win for the financial institution.

– Homeowners are buffered from fluctuating interest rates, caused by an unpredictable or volatile marketplace. However, if the rate is lowered from their existing rate, they have the option to refinance the loan – no different from in the U.S.

It is not clear why Canada doesn’t offer a 25 or 30-year fixed term mortgage like the US. Some speculate that it’s not profitable enough for the Canadian banks. There may be other reasons required by the government. However, the advantages of the 30-year fixed term would certainly provide a peace-of-mind experience for the homeowner, provide a stable real estate economy and make banks look more favorably in the eyes of their clients. It would be beneficial for Canadian homeowners to ask their banks for 25 or 30-year full amortized mortgages. It may not be easy to get it, but if more people ask, institutions will have to eventually make changes.

It is only fair to discuss the partial amortized (five-year term) mortgage, because it has advantages too.

It’s a great way to buy a home for lower initial payments than a fully amortized loan, which allows the homeowner’s net income to be higher.

Often, partial amortization loans require regular payments on the interest and principal, with the remaining balance to be paid at the end of the term, or refinance into another five-year term.

As always there are disadvantages and a homeowner must realistically consider their own personal circumstances. A partially amortized loan is a risk for both the homeowner and financial institution:

If interest rates move substantially higher for a partially amortized loan the home owner monthly cost will increase. In the event that circumstances change and a homeowner cannot make the monthly payment on the mortgage as planned, there’s a risk of defaulting on the loan.

There is also another solution that provides Canadian homeowners with an alternative to the traditional mortgage. It is known as 100% HELOC or Home Equity Line of Credit. The benefits of this alternative are:

The interest rate is usually prime (variable bank rate) plus or minus.5 percent

It is an interest-only loan and there are no penalty fees to pay off the loan at any time.

Because it is an interest-only loan, during tough economic times, a borrower will be required to only pay the interest on the loan.

As the equity increases in the home, credit on the loan also increases, giving the home owner access to the equity at little or no cost.

It doesn’t take much to negotiate a lower interest rate, just call your bank and ask.

There’s no need to have a saving account with 0% interest paid to you monthly, just deposit all your extra funds on the line of credit and enjoy the real savings on the mortgage rate.

Withdraw funds at anytime to purchase your second home or investment property, without your bank’s approval.

While the pros to this alternative outweigh the con, it is very important to know what the con is to avoid disaster:

– 100% HELOC is very flexible – maybe too flexible. Homeowners can get into financial trouble by borrowing more than they need to. Make sure to have sufficient equity in the home already and follow a discipline budget when spending.