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Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.


people found Amy's experience helpful.

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Having worked in the mortgage and banking field since 1993 and as a real estate agent since 2006, I have handled many real estate transactions, primarily in the residential category. Throughout my work in the real estate industry, I have encountered many issues that I feel should be addressed regarding buying and selling property, as well as the state of the current and previous markets.


Real estate has definitely turned into a “seller’s market,” but an insufficiency of sellable homes means that homes are selling quicker than realtors can get them listed. This mostly applies to listings in the mid-price range, $100,000 to $400,000 properties. Part of the reason for this has been the cautiousness of buyers and sellers after the horrendous plunge in the market. Fortunately, short sales and foreclosures have leveled off, and those careful buyers and sellers are re-entering the market. However, banks are more cautious now in their lending policies, often requiring sellers to give first choice to first-time home buyers or people buying a home for a primary residence. This discourages buyers who are only interested in investment opportunities. The disruption of neighborhoods with more renters than owners was a consequence of the housing crisis that left many dilapidated properties and foreclosures in once thriving communities.

Experience Counts

Many people think they can be realtors: just pass that basic exam, get the license, and start selling. But it is extremely important to know the business and to educate yourself as much as possible. In order to be of service to the client (buyer or seller), a real estate agent needs to be aware of the customer’s needs and understand all the issues involved in the buying or selling process.

Public trust is very important when clients are investing in real estate, many for the first time. Getting burned by an unscrupulous agent or realtor is a reflection on the industry as a whole. The shameful practices of some mortgage lenders during the housing crisis was something of a black eye for the industry, though most realtors are honest and have the client’s best interests in mind.

The Importance of Listening to Your Realtor

If you know you've chosen an agent with experience, listen to them. They know their market and the properties within it. Flip-flopping between agents and pitting them against each other is counterproductive. Some buyers don't realize that calling the agent listed on a “for sale” sign when you have signed with another agent is a "no-no." You should always give the agent you have signed with a chance to show you the property and negotiate with the seller. It muddies the water to contact another agent and gives the impression you are retaining their services. However, if you are unhappy with your agent and that person is not being responsive to your needs, then by all means, reconsider whether you should retain another realtor.

Condition of Property

Whether to sell a property “as is” or invest in repairs can often be a situational issue. If the seller can afford major repairs, then they should complete them; it can only enhance the value of the home. The average buyer is not looking to sink a ton of money into a home right off the bat, unless they are purposely looking for a “fixer-upper.” But on the whole, most buyers want their property ready-to-go, so a little bit of cosmetic enhancement such as fresh paint, attractive lighting, lush landscaping, and a thorough cleaning will ensure that the property is more appealing.

Buying, Selling, and Financing

Buyers: You can always do some research on your own with regard to comparing the rates of different lenders, but if you have selected a knowledgeable realtor, he or she usually has a team behind them who can perform these tasks for you. One of the first things they will recommend is for you to be prequalified by a reliable lender. This will involve furnishing information on your income, debts, and credit score. There are also a number of government programs that you can take advantage of to obtain assistance with down payments and closing costs. Your realtor should have all this information and be able to make competent recommendations.

Sellers: If you are selling your home, there are a number of things to consider. It’s a waiting game, and you must be prepared to consider all offers individually and discuss the circumstances with your realtor. Often, the first offer/negotiation turns out to be the best one, but don’t be too hasty and weigh each scenario carefully.

Making an Informed Decision

One of the worst mistakes you can make is to take too many opinions into consideration. It seems that every time someone is buying or selling a house, they hear from a brother or cousin or sister-in-law who used to be a realtor or is best friends with a realtor, and you are invited to take that person’s opinion into account. It can be very frustrating to have all of these different parties involved when you seek the advice of too many people. There is nothing wrong with seeking the advice of a trusted confidant whose opinions you trust, but combine that opinion with your own and those of the real estate experts. You will minimize a lot of undue stress and be able to make a much clearer choice.

My best advice to those thinking of buying or selling a home is to do your homework and to know what you want and what your limit is. It’s also important to know your real estate agent and about his or her experience in the real estate market and to have a good rapport and level of trust with that person. Above all, be patient; the right house will come along, and when you walk into it, you will know.

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