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Business Booming? Agent Safety Tips to Remember

As brokers it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the  busy season.

We’re as guilty as anyone of letting agent safety slip when calls start coming in left and right and we’ve got tours lined up back-to-back. Summer, especially, is an easy time to let your guard down and accidentally open yourself up to risks!

Here’s a quick reminder for all you agents (and for sale by owner folks!) to stay safe using some of these easy to remember tips.

open house1. Never Lead

We’ve all been there. The master bath is to die for and just wait until you see this closet space! But it’s always safest to let the interested buyers/sellers lead the way, particularly in an unfamiliar property. Not only does it ensure we’ve never got our backs turned, it keeps the client up front and excited to lead the tour!

2. Check for Service

Before your open house or property tour starts, check to ensure you’ve got adequate cell service before relying on your phone as a lifeline. Not only do you need service, you need a decent charge so always keep a car charger and a backup battery on you! Remember that your phone’s only useful if you have it handy – and never rely on a tool you’re unfamiliar with (like pepper spray) to keep you safe, either.

3. Don’t Block Yourself In

If you end up in a situation that makes you uncomfortable at a showing or open you’re going to want an easy exit. Don’t allow your car to get blocked in when parking in a driveway, and try to back in if you can for easy egress. Parking on the street may make it easier to get in and out, too.

cell phone4. Host Opens Near an Exit

As we always say, encourage your clients to think ahead when holding an open house (hiding their valuables, finding somewhere else for the dog, etc.) so you don’t have to monitor the back recesses of their home. Staying near an exit at an open house not only keeps you safer, it allows you as the broker to keep tabs on who’s coming and going from their home.

5. Safety in Numbers

If you’re ever unsure about your safety, invite another agent to come along. If you’re holding an open house, having a lender on-site is a good way to get safety in numbers while also adding value for potential buyers! Safety in numbers is a real thing and it’s always more fun to have someone else along for the ride.

 

Being in real estate is very safe. Like any profession, ours has its risks but most of them can be mitigated by being vigilant and thinking ahead! We’re all about safety – for our kids, our clients, and our colleagues.

Now get out there and enjoy this hot selling/buying season in Charlotte!

 

 

What is the Due Diligence Period?

We get questions all the time from buyers and sellers about “Due Diligence.” Here’s a quick tutorial on exactly how the due diligence period works…

What is Due Diligence?

The phrase “Due Diligence,” of course, isn’t specific to real estate transactions but in the last few years more and more residential purchase contracts have included provisions for a due diligence period. In short, the due diligence period is a specified period of time (usually between 3-6 weeks) in which the buyer retains the home under contract but can perform reasonable inspections and research to determine if they’d still like to purchase the home. Once the due diligence period expires, if no changes have been made to the purchase contract the buyer is legally committed to the property. In every case, however, the due diligence period as well as the deposit involved is negotiable and depends on the time frame and parties involved.

How does the due diligence period work?

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When an initial “Offer to Purchase” contract is presented by a buyer to a seller, the due diligence terms are included. Once the contract is accepted by the seller and both parties have signed, the due diligence period is in effect until the specified date of expiration. For example, if you make an offer on a house on August 1st that’s accepted, your due diligence period may run until September 1st. Within that month, you as a buyer have the right to have the home inspected and have any questions or concerns answered that you may have. The seller may choose to make repairs to the property or the two parties may change the conditions of the contract itself to reflect any issues found during due diligence. As the buyer, it is within your right to cancel the purchase contract at any point during the due diligence period without incurring any fees other than the forfeiture of your due diligence money. A buyer may walk away from the transaction for any reason at all during the due diligence period.

Does the due diligence period involve money of any kind?

Yes. In most residential transactions, a buyer will offer both an earnest money deposit (to show the seller serious intention to purchase) as well as a due diligence deposit (to protect the buyer during inspections, etc.) Due diligence money is usually paid directly to the seller at the time of contract whereas earnest money is held by an attorney or real estate company until closing. If the transaction continues as planned and there are no issues during the due diligence period that cause the sale to fall through, the buyer will receive a credit at closing for both the earnest money as well as the due diligence monies. If the parties decide to cancel the sale during due diligence, the buyer must forfeit the due diligence deposit but will receive a refund of their earnest money. If the buyer decides to cancel the transaction before closing but after the due diligence period ends, there are additional ramifications such as forfeiture of the earnest money deposit. Be advised: your Realtor will guide you through the buyer and selling process, from due diligence to closing.

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Still have questions about the buying or selling process? Contact On the Move Charlotte today to discuss your residential home needs – Leigh, Michelle, and John are waiting to talk to you and help you through the home buying and/or selling process.

 

7 Reasons NOT to Try “For Sale by Owner”

for sale by ownerWith a noticeable uptick in home sales in the Charlotte market, the On the Move Charlotte team has seen more and more “For Sale by Owner” signs posted around town. While it may seem tempting to try to sell your house yourself to save on listing fees, there are dozens more reasons why you’ll probably ultimately lose money (and time) by going it on your own.

We hear the same complaint from clients again and again. Many assumed it would be a breeze to sell their own home between online listings and the hot Charlotte real estate market. Time after time they come to us looking for help selling their house after weeks and even months spent lingering on the market to no avail.

Here are seven reasons you should always use a professional Realtor when selling your home. Forget “For Sale by Owner.” How about “SOLD by On the Move Charlotte?!”

7. You are not a real estate professional.

No matter how well you know your neighborhood and how many hours a day you’re on Zillow, you’ll never have the knowledge and experience a professional Realtor has. Between the legalities of selling a home, pricing specifics that aren’t available to the general public, and long-term market knowledge that only comes from experience there are plenty of reasons to pay a listing agent for their services. Afterall, you wouldn’t think of trying to perform your own root canal; you’d visit a licensed dentist! Is the sale of your home any less important?

6. Pricing is hard business.

Every homeowners knows what they’d like to get for their house but unfortunately sometims that number is rather far away from what the market actually dictates as the house’s value. A Realtor is exactly the objective eye you need to help determine what your house is really worth to buyers. Starting at a slightly lower list price now but selling in 5 weeks as opposed to 5 months can actually save you money. Let a qualified Realtor perform a CMA on your home before you ever think of listing.

5. Your home needs to be on the MLS.

The Multiple Listing Service is a crucial resource for real estate agents and the first place your buyers’ agents are going to look when they’re searching for homes. If you try to “Sell by Owner” you won’t be on the MLS listings (there are some ways around this but they can be very expensive!) and your home may not be as visible as it could be. Likewise, don’t count on your house being listed correctly in online databases like Trulia and Zillow.  Realtors work hard to manage your home’s visibility which is something you simply can’t do on your own.

open door4. A Realtor can help keep you safe.

Imagine your hesitation to list a piece of furniture online only to be bombarded with calls and emails from strangers looking to show up at your house. Using a Realtor helps keep your family out of harm’s way by providing a vetting system for potential buyers and eliminating the need for you to allow complete strangers into your home. Working with a Realtor ensures only qualified buyers ever get past your front door, protecting your family as well as your privacy.

3. Negotiating is difficult work.

You may consider yourself a keen negotiator but all bets are off when you’re suddenly asked to make a very emotional decision involving hundreds of thousands of dollars, all while keeping a good “poker face.” Realtors are specially trained in negotiation and have years of experience handling tricky situations between buyers and sellers. An objective third party is exactly what you need when you’re trying to get the most money possible for your house but you don’t want to lose a deal.

2. Marketing takes more than a “For Sale” sign.

Efficiently and accurately marketing your home is an incredibly specific process. Many “For Sale by Owner” sellers assume that because they live on a busy street people will surely see the sign and call! Not the case. Between making flyers, hosting open houses, networking, and phone calls, marketing a piece of property is hard work. Particularly if your home has any hard-to-love aspects (i.e. strange layout, dated kitchen, small yard), having an experienced Realtor to pitch the property is crucial. You may think your house is so great it will sell itself but even in the upturned Charlotte market, it won’t.

frustrated1. Being a real estate agent is a full time job.

Odds are, you’ve got enough on your plate without adding to it the tens of hours a week that come with selling your own home. Even in the best markets, selling a house takes work – contracts, showings, negotiations – everything about the home selling process means time. Consider the opportunity costs you’re incurring by giving up precious family, work, or leisure time to struggle through a home sale you could simply hire a professional to do. Isn’t your time worth it?

 

When you decide you’re ready to sell,
contact Leigh Bryant at On the Move
Charlotte to talk about your options.

Harold’s Back With Charlotte’s (Great!) Market Stats for May

On the Move Charlotte’s mascot Harold is back with some great news for both buyers and sellers in the Queen City.

May is looking up…and it’s prime time to sell your current home or “move up” to a bigger house! Call the On the Move Charlotte team today to talk about your Charlotte neighborhood.