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November
29

Real Estate Myths You Shouldn't Believe

Real Estate MythsWhen you're buying a home, you're subjected to a variety of tips and recommendations from your friends and family. Unfortunately, our real estate agents know that much of the real estate tidbits floating around are myths.

Prospective homeowners believe these myths, potentially interfering with their dreams of homeownership. Here are a few common real estate myths we want to debunk.

  • Myth 1: You Can't Buy a Home Unless You Have a Ton of Cash
    This myth is usually offered by well-intentioned individuals, but it simply isn't true. It can also delay your dreams of homeownership because you mistakenly believe you need to spend as little money as possible so that you can save a lot of cash. With an FHA mortgage, you can purchase a home with a down payment as low as 3.5 percent of the home's purchase price. Even conventional mortgages offer a down payment as low as 5 percent of the home's price, also, if you are a veteran, you may be eligible for a 100% home mortgage!
  • Myth 2: Your First Move is to Find a Home You Love
    Before you start browsing Bradenton homes for sale, work with a lender to get pre-approved for a home mortgage. Your lender will request information about your income and assets, along with your credit history, to determine how much you can borrow. You don't want to find a home that checks off everything on your wishlist, only to learn that it costs more than your lender will approve you for. Most sellers also prefer homebuyers who have proof that they're pre-approved for a mortgage (especially in a competitive market). 
  • Myth 3: You Can't Buy a Home Unless Your Credit is Perfect
    It's possible to purchase a home even if your credit is less than perfect. There are mortgages specifically designed for individuals who have some deficiencies in their credit histories. While you can still buy a home with mediocre credit, it's best to improve your credit as much as possible before applying for a mortgage. The better your credit score, the lower your interest rate. This can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. 
  • Myth 4: A Lender Won't Approve a Mortgage That You Can't Afford
    When deciding how much to potentially loan you, your lender uses lending guidelines concerning how much debt a borrower should have. For example, conventional wisdom states that your home expenses (including your mortgage, taxes, and insurance) shouldn't exceed 36 percent of your gross income. All your debt payments, including your mortgage, shouldn't be more than 43 percent of your gross income. However, this guideline doesn't consider your other expenses and your individual goals. If you spend a lot on travel, school tuition, daycare, or an expensive hobby, this will impact the mortgage amount that you can comfortably pay. Don't assume that a lender understands your entire financial situation. Instead, look at your budget and spending habits to get a more accurate idea of an affordable mortgage payment. 
  • Myth 5: You Really Don't Need a Real Estate Agent
    Before you start looking at Sarasota homes for sale, find a real estate agent to help you find your ideal home. Real estate agents have access to more available homes than the general public. They also have extensive knowledge of the buying process and can help salvage a deal if problems arise. A great real estate agent can save you a lot of time and money when you're buying a home. 

Ready to start searching for your next home? Contact us today!

August
23

Tips for Picking A Real Estate Agent During a Hot Market

Real Estate Market

It's a hot market, and you're looking to buy or sell a home among Sarasota homes for sale or Bradenton homes for sale. While an agent can help you in any type of real estate market, their help is especially critical during a hot market. Here's why.

Why Hire an Agent?

Yes, your home might just fly off the market with a Craigslist ad or the like, but what if it doesn't? With an agent, your home will get considerably more exposure in MLS (multiple listing service) databases created and maintained by real estate professionals to help homeowners like you sell their property. It just makes sense that the more potential buyers see your property, the greater the chance that the selling price could go much higher than your expectations. You could have buyers competing with one another, and that could only benefit you.

Your agent will be there throughout the whole process and able to offer advice for any aspect of the sale, from determining a price to staging your home to determining the scope of repairs you want to do before you put the home on the market. 

But an even better reason to hire a real estate agent is that many potential buyers are not comfortable talking to the owner of a property and prefer to deal with an agent. Not only can you -- and should you -- make yourself scarce while the agent shows your home, but you'll boost the comfort level of potential buyers, who may feel they are visiting you, as the owner of the home, rather than seriously looking at a home they want to live in.

What to Look for in an Agent

As you begin to look for a real estate agent, you will likely focus on an individual's experience in selling houses like yours in your neighborhood. Ask neighbors for recommendations. Get at least three referrals. And remember, while experience is important, so is personality. Can you relate to this person? Does he or she seem real to you? Look for an agent you can build a rapport with, in addition to their sales and successes.

Pay attention to the agent's marketing tools, including website, business card, brochures, signage, social media efforts, and more. Does the agent's personal appearance give you confidence in them, or is something lacking? 

When you discuss the sale of your home with a real estate agent, you want someone who can guide you through what can be a precarious journey. Can your agent answer questions reliably and with real data about investment analysis, neighborhood-level market performance, and possibly even the impact of your decision to sell? You don't want an agent who honey coats their answers; you need real information about possible pitfalls, so listen carefully to how your agent replies to your questions and make sure the agent is really hearing you.

Our real estate agents can give you solid advice on how to hire the right professional to help you sell your home. Contact us today. 

February
8

Top Reasons Why You Should Use a REALTOR When Purchasing New Construction

New Construction

If you want the option to select the finishes in your home or if you prefer a brand-new space, our real estate agents know a new construction home is an excellent option. When purchasing a new construction home, you may be tempted to forgo using a REALTOR®. Here are a few reasons to use a REALTOR® when purchasing a new construction home. 

  1. A REALTOR®Has Your Interests in Mind
    When purchasing a new construction property, you'll encounter individuals who represent other parties (like a builder rep) who will offer to handle the details of the sale for you. While these individuals are capable, you should remember that they are already obligated to represent the best interests of someone else. A REALTOR® will focus only on your best interests. 
  1. Your REALTOR® Will Help You During the Negotiation Process
    Like any home purchase, you want to procure the best terms when you're purchasing new construction. Even though the builder might act like the terms are final, there are likely some details that are up for negotiation. Your REALTOR® will recognize these details and help you procure the best terms possible. Maybe the builder is firm on their price; your REALTOR® might suggest negotiating for upgraded finishes or adding extra items (such as appliances or blinds).
  1. A REALTOR® Knows What Builders are Reputable
    Most people only buy a few homes during their lifetimes. A REALTOR® handles thousands of real estate transactions. As you browse Bradenton homes for sale, your REALTOR® will advise you as to which home builders are known for doing quality work. 
  1. Your REALTOR® Can Provide Helpful Recommendations 
    Throughout the homebuying process, you'll find yourself searching for professionals to assist with your purchase. Before you start looking at Sarasota homes for sale, you'll want to get preapproved for a mortgage so that you know what you can afford to borrow. While your builder may suggest a mortgage, your REALTOR® can suggest lenders that they know are buyer-friendly. Once you're ready to commit to a new construction, you'll want to ensure that the finished product is sound. Your REALTOR® can recommend a home inspector to make sure your new home is ready for you to occupy. You'll appreciate having a knowledgeable resource throughout the process.
  1. A REALTOR® is Familiar with the Neighborhood
    When buying a home, it's important to find a property in a neighborhood that's right for your lifestyle. It's hard to get an accurate feel for a neighborhood during a short visit. A REALTOR® is a valuable source of information for the neighborhood's true environment. They know which neighborhoods are good for families and which areas are better for individuals who value their privacy. 

Ready to start exploring new construction? Contact us to get started!

April
26

How to Interview an Agent Before Listing Your Home

Use These Questions to Find the Right Agent to List Your Home

Interview a Real Estate Agent

If you're ready to sell your home, you will need to find the right real estate agent to list it.  As a savvy homeowner, you should find an agent that not only has the credentials to sell your home but one that you're comfortable and confident working with.  Our real estate agents have been asked a lot of questions during their careers.  Here are some of the best questions to ask while interviewing a real estate agent:

  1. How long have you been in the business? 
    Experience counts. While new agents can be hungry and may bring energy and enthusiasm to the job, it's important that you know up front how much experience your agent has. Ask the question, and make sure you are comfortable with the answer.

  2. How many listings do you currently have?
    Agents who are successful get more listings, but unless they have a strong team, multiple listings could take time away from working for you. There's no perfect answer, but you want an agent with enough time to focus on selling your home.

  3. How do you come up with a listing price?
    The best agents will have a process they can easily share that will likely include analyzing recent sales of homes in your neighborhood and the current comparable listings on the market. The best agents also will need to see your home to know how to adjust for condition and special features.

  4. Will I be working directly with you?
    There's certainly nothing wrong with working with a listing agent who has built a strong team, but you need to know up front if you will be working directly with the agent or his/her associates.

  5. Have you sold any homes in this neighborhood?
    Location counts when you are selling your home, and if the agent you select is familiar with your neighborhood and has sold homes there before, he or she may already know buyers who are looking to purchase in your area.

  6. Can I get a detailed marketing plan and what will it entail?
    Selling a home requires marketing, and you deserve to have a real estate agent who will provide a comprehensive marketing program. A good marketing strategy will include professional photos and website presence, a brochure or flyer, advertising in local newspapers and magazines, and direct marketing that may include postcards or social media.

  7. Can you offer suggestions for updates or staging to help sell my home?
    You want an agent who is honest and open with you; someone who can be objective about your home. The way your agent answers this question will tell you a lot about how well you will work together.

  8. How much is it going to cost me to sell my home?
    In addition to paying commissions for two agents (yours and the buyer's), you will have additional closing costs, as well as real estate taxes and other fees. Make sure the agent you choose can detail these costs for you.

  9. How long will take to sell this home?
    No one has a crystal ball, but a good agent will be able to tell you what the average time on the market for homes like yours has been in recent months.

  10. Can you provide me with references?
    Get a list of references and call a few. There is no better source of information about the quality of a real estate agent than clients who have worked with him or her before.

Now that you know what questions to ask, contact Wagner Realty. We have the best agents in the area, and you are certain to find someone that is just right for you.

Contact Wagner Realty

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