Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The dilemma is clear: wait for conditions to improve, or act now?

Are you one of the many would-be homebuyers holding off on purchasing a home, hoping for a favorable shift in the market? With insurance, property taxes, and maintenance costs on the rise, it's understandable why some are hesitant to take the plunge. However, the reality is that these factors affecting affordability are compounded by the continuing increase in home values. The dilemma is clear: should you wait for conditions to improve, or should you act now?

The Affordability Challenge - Escalating insurance premiums, property taxes, and maintenance expenses are making homeownership less attainable for many prospective buyers. As these costs continue to climb, the dream of owning a home may seem increasingly out of reach. The strain on affordability is further exacerbated by the relentless rise in home values, especially in competitive markets where demand outpaces supply.


The Waiting Game - In the face of these challenges, some buyers are adopting a wait-and-see approach, hoping for a market correction or a slowdown in price appreciation. However, this strategy may be misguided. History has shown that home prices tend to trend upwards over the long term, with only occasional periods of decline or stagnation. Consequently, waiting for a significant dip in prices may prove to be a futile endeavor.


Seizing the Opportunity - Rather than waiting for conditions to improve, prospective buyers are urged to consider taking action now. Despite the current challenges, there are compelling reasons to make a move sooner rather than later. By purchasing now, buyers can lock in today's interest rates and refinance if the opportunity presents itself.  You can secure a foothold in the housing market before prices climb even higher.


Mitigating the Impact - While rising costs and increasing home values may seem daunting, buyers who act promptly can mitigate their impact on homeownership affordability. By carefully evaluating their financial situation and exploring available options, buyers can make informed decisions that align with their long-term goals. Additionally, working with a knowledgeable real estate professional can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the buying process.


In today's competitive real estate market, waiting for ideal conditions may not be a viable strategy. With affordability concerns and rising home values on the horizon, buyers who delay their home purchase may find themselves at a disadvantage. By seizing the opportunity to buy now, buyers can navigate the challenges of homeownership more effectively and secure their place in the market for years to come.

Download the Building a Case for Homeownership Today information guide as well as our Buyers Guide.  We'd love to get together to answer your questions.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

The case for working with a friend and agent

The familiarity and trust established in a friendship may be the ideal foundation for a successful business relationship. Having a loyal ally from their social circle adds a new level of insight and service to such an important financial decision in their lives.

When considering the choice of engaging a friend who also happens to be a real estate agent in the purchase or sale of their home, consumers are presented with a multitude of compelling reasons to embrace this option. Firstly, the pre-existing level of trust between friends lays a solid foundation for effective communication and transparency throughout the transaction. This trust, combined with the highly personalized service that a friend-agent can provide, ensures that the process is tailored to the individual's specific needs and preferences. Additionally, friends understand each other's lifestyles, priorities, and goals, allowing for a deeper level of advocacy and support throughout the real estate journey.

Accessibility is another key advantage of working with a friend-agent, as the familiarity and comfort level shared between friends often result in prompt responses and availability during crucial stages of the transaction. Furthermore, the common goal of achieving a successful real estate transaction strengthens the collaboration between friends, fostering a sense of loyalty and commitment to each other's best interests. With a friend-agent, clients can expect insider insights and valuable tips about the local market, along with a flexible and accommodating approach that aligns closely with their needs and preferences.

Moreover, the shared values and understanding between friends ensure that the agent's efforts are aligned with the client's long-term goals and aspirations. Beyond the transaction itself, utilizing a friend as an agent can strengthen the bond and deepen the relationship, as both parties navigate this important milestone together. Overall, the decision to engage a friend who is also a real estate agent offers numerous benefits, from enhanced trust and personalized service to insider insights and strengthened relationships, making it a compelling choice for many consumers.

A friend who also happens to be an agent understands the delicate balance between friendship and business and would never jeopardize the relationship for the sake of a transaction. In fact, they are likely to go above and beyond to safeguard their friend/client's best interests, leveraging their expertise and dedication to ensure a successful outcome while preserving the integrity of the friendship.

If a buyer or seller has reservations about engaging in a real estate transaction with a friend who also happens to be an agent, it's crucial to address these concerns openly and honestly. Rather than allowing apprehensions to fester and potentially strain the friendship, initiating a candid conversation with the friend-agent can provide clarity and alleviate any uncertainties.

By expressing their concerns and discussing expectations upfront, both parties can navigate the transaction with transparency and mutual understanding. Ultimately, opting to work with a trusted friend who is an agent, rather than a stranger, not only ensures professional guidance but also strengthens the bond of friendship through open communication and shared goals.

If a person feels strongly about not working with their friend/agent, they should consider asking for a referral to a trusted colleague of theirs who would represent their interests effectively.  Your friend would want to support you even if it's not as your agent.

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Helping buyers make sense of upcoming changes

Upcoming changes in real estate transactions are imminent following the resolution of significant class action lawsuits involving sellers and the National Association of REALTORS� along with numerous leading real estate firms nationwide. These changes will have implications for sellers, buyers, and agents alike.

There has been a lot of news coverage in the past few weeks but unfortunately, much of it has added to the confusion on how things will change rather than clarify it.

It was reported that since the seller will most likely be paying only their commission, the price of homes will come down.  That is very unlikely to happen.  The value of a home is not determined by whether a commission is paid nor the amount of it.

In the terms of the settlement, which is still to be approved by a court, the change will go into effect on August 17, 2024 but some companies will implement the changes earlier.  The following excerpts are taken from the NAR Settlement Fact Sheet.

  • MLS participants acting for buyers would be required to enter into written agreements with their buyers before touring a home.
  • Compensation continues to be negotiable between agents and the consumers they serve.
  • Selling brokers must clearly state compensation offers to buyers' brokers on each listing, which may vary and can even be zero.Compensation offers may not be communicated through the MLS.
  • The types of compensation available for buyer brokers would continue to take multiple forms, depending on broker-consumer negotiations, including but not limited to:
    • Fixed-fee commission paid directly by consumers
    • Concession from the seller
    • Portion of the listing broker's compensation
  • The settlement expressly provides that sellers may communicate seller concessions � such as buyer closing costs � via the MLS provided that such concessions are not conditioned on the use of or payment to a buyer broker.

It is important for buyers to understand that in the many forms of buyer representation agreements that exist throughout the United States, there will be a provision stating the buyer's agent fee for the transaction.  In the past, the most common way the fee was handled was through an agreement that the seller would pay a specific amount to the buyer's agent or that the listing fee would be shared with the buyer's agent.

The market will be in a state of uncertainty as to the different ways the buyer's agent will be compensated.  The most common ways would be:

  1. The seller will offer cooperative compensation.
    1. If the fee was less than stated in the buyer rep agreement, the buyer will be responsible for the difference.
    2. If the fee was more than stated in the buyer rep agreement, without exceptions addressing this specific condition, the buyer will have some options such as receiving it as a rebate at closing.
  2. If the seller was not offering cooperative compensation, the buyer would cover it personally.
  3. The buyer could direct their agent to only show houses whose seller is offering cooperative compensation.
  4. Direct the buyer's agent to negotiate in the offer to purchase agreement that the seller pays the buyer's agent fee.

Consistently, almost 90% of homebuyers have chosen to collaborate with a real estate agent or broker, a trend expected to persist. Despite the rise of digital research and transactions, the obvious value provided by REALTORS� endures, with nine out of ten homebuyers expressing satisfaction and a willingness to recommend their agent to others.

National Association of REALTORS� members will remain steadfast partners for the countless Americans pursuing the dream of homeownership, providing reliable support and guidance along the way.

For more information and another viewpoint, see this Fortune.com article published April 3, 2024.  Download a copy of 105 More Ways agents who are REALTORS� are worth every penny of their compensation.