John C. Martin, Tyler Texas real estate
QUESTION: How do I choose a realtor?
ANSWER: Choosing your realtor is, most certainly, one of your most important tasks. A relative, a neighbor, or a friend of a friend will probably not be the right choice. You might call your local real estate association and ask them for a top ten list of the most productive realtors in the area. Or you might go to your favorite search engine on the web, and enter (your city) real estate, e.g., Tyler Texas Real Estate. The first and second pages of the results will have the best web pages according to that search engine. After reviewing the web pages, email several realtors and ask them to correspond with you about your needs and their duties. Then pick the one with whom you are most comfortable. Give him or her your complete loyalty and set him or her to work for you. A competent and dutiful realtor will kill himself (herself) to make you happy.
QUESTION: What if my chosen realtor doesn't perform up to my expectations?
ANSWER: Then you have every right to go through the process again and choose another one! A realtor/client relationship is a reciprocal one; and you have a right to expect performance. You owe a non-performing realtor nothing. Realtors don't get paid unless they make their customers happy in buying or selling property. We here at Tyler Texas real estate believe that fees are earned!
QUESTION: What can I ask my realtor to do?
ANSWER: A competent realtor is a one-man or one-woman army who is experienced and educated in the art of 1) finding and showing property based on the criteria of his customer, 2) aggressively marketing properties for customers who wish to sell, 3) advising in negotiating contracts, 4) writing offers for contracts, 5) bringing all parties together in a harmonious transaction, and 6) making sure that inspectors, surveyors, lenders and title companies (or attorneys) are all on the same page. Realtors cannot act as attorneys or contractors. However, realtors may recommend other professionals for your consideration. Here at Tyler Texas real estate, we have lists of competent folks from which you may choose.
QUESTION: Do I pay my realtor?
ANSWER: Realtors work very hard for their income; and their fees are based on market conditions and performance. Competent, educated professionals charge a little more in some cases, but they're worth every bit to their customers. Realtors can be paid by buyers if the buyers choose to do so. Or, many buyers choose to negotiate their purchases with the seller of the property paying all the fees. Either way is acceptable.
QUESTION: What if I want my realtor to work only for me?
ANSWER: Realtors love to have realtionships with buyers which are reciprocally exclusive. Once a customer or client gains great confidence in his realtor, that relationship can grow very quickly. The only occasion in which a realtor might have a fiduciary relationship with both buyer and seller is when the buyer wishes to buy a property listed with his realtor. The state of Texas blesses this dual relationship when everything is disclosed and all parties are in agreement. We here at Tyler Texas real estate often work for both parties.
QUESTION: How do I go about choosing a property long distance?
ANSWER: Your chosen realtor must inquire as to your criteria in as much detail as possible. And he must have the ability to email full listing sheets and pictures of the properties that are available. Your realtor should also have the proper technology to take additional digital pictures as you should require and email those to you. This process will greatly reduce your work load in travel and shopping, because there is no need in visiting properties that don't meet your needs or your desires. Once you choose the properties which meet your criteria, then a trip to the Tyler Texas real estate, and East Texas real estate areas can be scheduled.
QUESTION: When do I apply for a loan? And how do I go about it?
ANSWER: It's always a good idea to contact a broker or a lending institution before you make an offer on a home. This process gives you assurance that you can buy the home that you choose, and it gives the seller some assurance that an offer, when accepted, will continue through to the closing table. Both parties can negotiate with confidence.
We here at Tyler Texas real estate have a short list of mortgage brokers and lending institutions which have performed well for our customers over the years. You can find them on the "Quality Services Providers" page on this web site. Or you may call Century 21 Mortgage Services, toll-free, from any page on this web site. Either way this is as "hassle-free" as we can make it, because you can do either one from the privacy of your own home.
QUESTION: How much time does it take? When can I move in?
ANSWER: From your standpoint, it depends to some degree on how you buy. Cash purchases can usually count on a couple of weeks to complete everything. If you require a loan, a lending agency may take several weeks to get everything from you they need, and then to process the loan through their system. Normally (if there are no problems) this may take from three to five weeks.
From the seller's standpoint, it depends on what his personal situation is. If he already has another place to move, he may negotiate an early move-in for you. If his situation is more tenuous, he may negotiate a lengthier process in order to remain in the home longer. But the general rule is thirty to forty-five days to move-in.
QUESTION: Are there always problems with closing dates and move-in dates?
ANSWER: There's a "frivolous" answer here; and it goes like this: "if something can happen in a real estate transaction, it will!" As I said, that's the frivolous answer, but it isn't far from the truth. The real issue here is that nothing is ever certain in a sale and purchase of a property. Things happen. People lose their jobs; people change their minds; people get sick; people die. Certain dates for moving and closing and occupying property often change with circumstances. Therefore it's always wise to build in some flexibility to your plans. It's rarely a good thing to build several closings on certain, specific dates and times, because one little glitch sets off a domino chain reaction. I've seen as many as six families in real estate limbo (including moving trucks) because the first closing didn't happen.
QUESTION: What does my realtor do after I make an offer?
ANSWER: Your realtor will take your offer for contract to the seller's realtor and make a case for your offer. Your realtor's salesmanship will give the seller's realtor plenty of ammunition to make the case for the offer.
Should there be a counter-offer, then that becomes an offer to you.....at which time you may reject it or continue to negotiate.
If your offer is accepted, then your realtor begins the process of coordination between you, your lender, the seller and his realtor, service providers (such as inspectors), and the title company. Your realtor keeps on top of the entire process, and keeps everybody apprised of each stage as it occurs. If problems arise, he puts people in place who can solve them. Your realtor can't act as a contractor, so he won't fix your leaky faucet before you move in. BUT, he'll give you a list of people who will.
QUESTION: What about home inspections?
ANSWER: Everybody who buys a home is advised to buy a home inspection. According to the size of the home and its location, the price may range from $300 to $600. Home inspectors are state licensed, and they must comment on everything that can be seen that has a problem...... including city and state codes. That doesn't mean that all local codes must be brought up to date, but it does mean that an inspector can point you to any serious problems that exist. A home inspection should be accomplished either before, or very shortly after, an offer is made. Your realtor can write that into your offer for contract.
QUESTION: Can I get out of a contract?
ANSWER: It's according to how it's written. If you make an offer "as is" and it is accepted, and there are no contingencies or stipulations, you'll lose your earnest money if you back out. And you open yourself up to a lawsuit. Contracts are legally and ethically binding, and one should be passionate about keeping his word.
But you may make offers (your Tyler Texas realtor can do this for you) that are contingent on financing or the condition of the home (or any number of other things. Remember, it's your offer, and you can instruct your realtor as to your wishes!) Further, you may buy an option (which is a commodity) for a certain period in order to give yourself some "consideration" time. For a relatively small amount of money you may buy a week to say "yea" or "nay" without further consequences.
QUESTION: What about insurance?
ANSWER: According to the location and condition of the property you wish to buy, insurance service providers will quote a price for one year's coverage. As soon as agreement is reached between a buyer and a seller, the buyer should begin the search for the coverage that he desires for his property. If there is a loan to be secured on the property, the lender will require that the insurance policy be in place at closing of escrow. And, unless agreed upon beforehand, the lender will require that an escrow acount be funded in advance for the next insurance payment.
Finally, if you have other questions on your mind, please let me know. (We will add to the page as we go.) Realtors are not usually attorneys, so we shouldn't provide answers to strictly legal questions. But we can be an encyclopedia of information for you in your search for your home, or ranch, or farm, or lake property, or commercial building. This web site provides all the numbers you need to contact us by phone, fax or email. Just do it! Let's get started.