Latest Settlement News

Extensive media coverage has highlighted the impending settlement by The National Association of Realtors, leading to confusion among buyers and sellers. The final settlement details will impact real estate agent’s practices, with many states still ironing out the specifics of how to implement these changes.

For sellers, the significant change is that offering compensation to a buyer’s agent will no longer be mandatory. However, it is advisable to heed your agent’s advice on local norms to stay competitive in the market. Commission rates have always been negotiable, contrary to rumors suggesting otherwise.

For buyers, a major change is the requirement to sign an agreement with a buyer’s agent before viewing a property. Only by signing this agreement, which outlines compensation can an agent show you a property.

A preliminary approval was granted on April 24th, with a final hearing set for November 26, 2024. Though court case timelines can be uncertain, the potential approval of these changes is believed to benefit both buyers and sellers.

Your reliable Realtor is the best source for up-to-date information. Armed with accurate knowledge, sound decisions can be made about real estate transactions. For immediate inquiries, feel free to reach out to one of our agents.

Reflections

So often, buying, selling, or even renting Real Estate involves some of the biggest and most important decisions we ever have to make in our lives. For many buyers, sellers, and tenants, it can also become some of our most stressful moments. Is there anything we can do to minimize these conditions and concerns? After over thirty six years in this business, I have concluded that there are. It starts like many other tasks we have to take on, plan ahead. Start by writing a set of realistic objectives and expectations. If you are a couple, it’s imperative that each of you have input. Both people being on the same page has proven to be essential later on in the process. Where there are differences, work on a compromise in advance. If you’re a buyer, get your finances in order before even considering to look for a house. Choose a professional experienced mortgage broker as part of your team. Stay away from the attraction of lower rates offered by online loan companies. You will need to communicate with a professional throughout the loan process. Don’t just contact Real Estate Agents at random, whether you are buying or selling, or seeking to rent, do some research, ask for referrals and interview potential agents. You need to hire a professional to lead your team to a successful conclusion. The same standard applies to Real Estate Attorneys, don’t just hire the least expensive one. Surround yourself with a team of the best people and your stress level will be dramatically reduced. Wishing you a Happy & Healthy Holiday season!

Is An Investment in Real Estate A Good Idea?

People will often ask, “Is this a good time to consider buying investment property?”. Aside from owning your home and perhaps a second home, maybe adding an investment property to your portfolio is worth considering. There are quite a few advantages to do so. Unlike a traditional portfolio, Real Estate is a tangible asset, that is you can actually feel, see & touch it. Typically, you will enjoy long term appreciation, as well as a great hedge against inflation, while also having a steady rental income. If you’re new to being a landlord, there are a number of excellent property managers who can take that part of ownership out of the equation. All though interest rates are high now, they are expected to come down as inflation woes lessen. The demand for housing continues to remain strong, and as a result rental prices have continued to rise. The wealthiest folks throughout history have often attributed the owning of Real Estate investment properties as the very foundation that helped create their wealth. So give it some thought, there are lots of good reasons to do so.

Why Zillow Should Not Be Your First Option

Often Real estate agents get calls from potential buyers indicating they saw a property listed on Zillow and would like to view it. In some cases, they contact the listing agent. They may not be aware that the agent is working on behalf of the seller. Another issue is that the information on Zillow is prepared and updated by agents, and may in fact not be up to date. Even Zestimates, which are provided as to the market value are not aways accurate due to the fact that they are based on data provided by the local municipalities, and again not based on actual visual visits. It may be easier to use Zillow, however it could be costly. A far better approach is to connect with a professional agent in the area of your interest and have them work for you as your agent and advocate. They know the area and properties, and have direct knowledge of the neighborhoods and condition of the homes, and most importantly if it is fairly priced. This is too big an investment not to have a personal touch, and a knowledgeable agent on your team.

Should I Rent Or Buy?

The simple answer is… it depends. Of course, owning your own home is certainly a far better financial option in the long term, rather than renting and paying off the landlord’s mortgage. Both rental costs and housing costs are rising. So, step one is to determine if you can actually afford a to carry a mortgage and the additional costs associated with home ownership. To begin that process, you need to speak directly with a qualified mortgage broker or your local bank. Based on your income and your credit score and any outstanding debt, that person should be able to pre-qualify you at a particular price point. Then, depending on where you are thinking to buy, you should reach out to a local Real Estate agent to see if what you can afford is available in the area where you need to live. Keep in mind that your first home need not be you dream home. Concern yourself with what you need rather than what you want. Good luck in what ever path you take!

First Time Home Buyer Tips.

As the real estate market continues to shift, it will allow more renters, who are now paying a premium for rent, to seriously consider home ownership.
The first step is to create a plan.
Here are some steps to utilize in your plan.
  1. Start with a savings plan, even having a small amount taken out automatically from your paycheck is a great beginning.
  2. Check you credit score, you are entitled to a free report every year. Check with either Equifax, Experian, or Trans Union.
  3. You can also check with State of NY Mortgage Agency. They offer affordable loans as well as down payment assistance.
  4. Explore other Mortgage options through a local mortgage broker.
  5. If need be, ask family for assistance with a down payment.
  6. Engage a local and experienced buyer’s agent to represent you.
Best of luck in your endeavor to own your first home!

The Tide Is Changing

We have been talking about the possibility of a changing real estate market for quite a while now and we are seeing a once hot market starting to cool off. What has happened is a series of events that continue to challenge all consumers. First, the increase by the Federal Reserve has push interests rates to near 6%, thus forcing many would be buyers to step away from the market. Spiraling higher costs for gas and just about all goods and services is making owning a home substantially more expensive. Many second home buyers, who had been buying homes with profits from their investment portfolios, have had to put the brakes on due to the recent downturn in the stock market. As inventories are starting to increase, and prices softening, this could put buyers in the near future to be in stronger position to get back in.

Buyer Beware

Often buyers will go to look at a house and simply look at the amenities and the setting. It’s reminds me of a car buyer who is drawn to the gleaming shine. Aside from the obvious things to observe, an astute buyer should be looking for signs of deferred property maintenance. If a home owner has neglected basic routine care, then bigger problems may be lurking. To start with, are the grounds well maintained? Are there signs of rooms in need of painting? Do the windows look like they are all in good working order? Is there water in the basement, or cracks in the foundation that could lead to bigger problems later on? Ask your agent to get a list of what maintenance issues the home owner has taken care of in the last year. Remember not to get caught up in the presentation, lift the curtain to get a real peak.

Tips When Working With Your Buyers Agent

In the past, I have often suggested that you should interview a few agents before deciding on one that you are comfortable working with. You and your agent will now be a team working together to find you a suitable home to purchase. This agent should be a professional who knows the market that you’re interested in. Step one should be your ability to clearly explain and define your objectives. Also, allow them to make the selections of the homes that you should see. Don’t send them listings, they know the market and the surrounding neighborhoods. Be clear and realistic in your expectations by separating your needs from your wants. They need to know in advance what items would not be acceptable for you. Early on, make clear when you will be available and how each of you prefer to be in communication with each other. Establish goals that have a timeline in which to achieve them. If during your search, for any reason, you are not satisfied about something, make certain you communicate that to your agent. They want you to be happy with their services. When you are working with a professional, the stress of house hunting is truly minimized.

Tips For Minimizing A Bidding War

In today’s very competitive seller’s market, here are some suggestions that could help reduce the chance of you getting into a bidding war.
  1. Hire a local buyer’s agent who knows the market you’re interested in.
  2. Give details to that agent of your needs list, not your want list. They will be able to preview any new property for you just as soon as it becomes available, and sometimes prior to it hitting the market.
  3. Get pre-qualified or have a proof of funds letter in advance of your search. Your agent can put you in touch with local lenders or mortgage brokers.
  4. If your agent agrees with the asking price, offer full asking price.
  5. If your agent agrees, remove inspection contingency, instead you can have your agent recommend a local contractor who could come to the house with you.
  6. Ask your agent to find out what is the best time frame for the seller to close, and try to use that date as your closing date.