Joe Rieker: Who Needs a Buyers Agent

Educating clients is our job and that includes explaining why they need us when buying a home.  In today’s world of technology and information, buyers have more resources than ever and are very excited about buying a home. Yet, so many call or go directly to a listing agent without realizing that the listing agent legally represents the seller, period. The listing agent is interested in getting the best price and terms for the seller and will keep all information about the seller confidential. Not so with the buyer. Any information given to a listing agent can and will be used against a buyer. A buyers agent is your negotiator and advocate and legally works for you, the buyer. A buyers agent will help discover all material facts about a property and inform the buyer. Best of all, the buyers agent is usually paid by the seller, even in For Sale By Owner properties. There is no good reason not to utilize a buyers agent.

A buyers agent will negotiate for the seller from the first offer through the inspection and appraisal right to the closing. Things can and do go wrong and a good buyers agent is often the calm mediator who keeps the deal moving when things get difficult or helps a buyer safely terminate an offer if necessary. A buyers agent knows to expect the unexpected.

Information must be interpreted with knowledge and experience, which is another reason a buyer’s agent is so important. Our clients may have bought and sold a house or two in the past, even FSBO, but they don’t realize their past experience may have little or nothing to do with our market or the property at hand. The most important thing is to get our clients the property they want and safely get the deal closed with the best price and terms for the buyer; all this without letting superfluous issues interfere. This can happen when a relative is a real estate agent in another state telling the buyer they’ve never put earnest money down and offers should start at 80% or a relocation buyer telling us that foreclosures are selling at 50% back home so they should here also.

In summary, a buyers agent is a buyers representative paid by the seller. A buyers agent protects a buyer from the pitfalls of the home buying process. Appreciation of the buyers agent grows as the process plays out. Think of going car shopping with a mechanic.

Article by:

Rieker, JoeJoe Rieker
Broker/REALTOR with Intracoastal Realty

Michael Wolf: After Identifying Your Goal, Act On It

I remember when I was a young man my father giving me advice about being on the receiving end of a high pressure sale. He said, “Just tell the guy if he has to have an answer right now then the answer is no.” If you are not ready to commit to something then you are justified with a “no” answer. Often the “no” answer comes in the form of “let me think about.”

In Wilmington real estate however, if you have already made the decision to purchase a new home in the 200,000.00 – 275,000.00 range, your hesitation could cost you. No pressure here, just stating a fact. Inventory is disappearing at those price points. If you find that perfect home, in that price range, put your offer in.

I would also go as far as to say if the property absolutely “speaks” to you, meets all your criteria, and you get the feeling that “it’s the one”, then hesitation should be avoided. No matter what the price point.

Too often, and with more frequency lately, I have seen the buyers desired home slip through their fingers due to waiting a bit. Sometimes within a matter of just a few hours their dream home is gone; soon to be enjoyed by someone else.

Years ago I heard a man named Barry Clarkson speaking about achieving what you want. Whether it is business, marriage, home ownership, whatever. After identifying your goal, act on it. He said, “Tomorrow kills.” How true that is for so many things.

Did I mention interest rates are supposed to go up this Spring?

Wolf, MichaelMichael Wolf
Broker/REALTOR at Intracoastal Realty
Direct: 910-859-0733

Top 5 Reasons to Buy a Home Now

Many potential buyers are waiting until they can be 100% sure the real estate market has fully recovered before making the move to purchase a home. Here are five reasons why waiting might not make sense any longer:

1.) Prices Are on the Rise

The latest Case Shiller Home Price Index revealed that home prices have appreciated 5.5% over the last year. This is occurring across the nation as increases were reported in 19 of 20 metros. The Home Price Expectation Survey, which polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts, calls for continued appreciation over the next five years.

2.) Mortgage Interest Rates Are Expected to Increase

The Mortgage Bankers Association has predicted that, after reaching record lows in 2012, mortgage rates will creep up slowly in 2013 to 4.4%. Rates have already increased by 2/10 of a point (3.32 to 3.53) in the last two months.

3.) Rents Are Continuing to Skyrocket

Recently, Zillow reported that rents in the U.S. increased by 4.2% over the last year. Increases were 5% or more in many major metropolitan areas including Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Detroit, Baltimore, Denver, San Jose and Charlotte.

4.) New Mortgage Regulations Will Be Announced Later This Year

Six regulators, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Securities and Exchange Commission, are currently drafting the new Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) rule. They will decide on two major requirements for buyers looking to qualify for a mortgage: minimum down payment and minimum FICO score. Many experts believe the new rules will be more stringent than current requirements.

5.) Timelines Will Be Shorter

The dramatic increase in transactions caused many challenges to the process of buying or selling a home in 2012. We waited for inspections, dealt with last minute appraisals and prayed that the bank didn’t ask for ‘just one more piece of paper’ before issuing a commitment on the mortgage. There are fewer transactions this time of year. That means that timetables on each component of the home buying process will be friendlier for those involved in transactions over the next 90 days.

These are five good reasons why you should buy a home now instead of waiting.


Open House Etiquette

Intracoastal Realty Open-House-Sign

Visiting open houses is a great way to get a feel for an area if you’re in the market for a home. This time of year is a very busy time for open houses. Following these simple Rules of Open House Etiquette will help you get the most out of your open house visit. Remember that you are a guest in someone else’s home, so common rules of decency apply.

Remove shoes at the door
Oftentimes an open house hosts will place a big basket by the front door to hold visitors’ shoes. Occasionally stretchy disposable shoe covers are provided for open house guests. The point is to preserve the cleanliness of the property. This is also a good reminder to wear clean, matching socks without holes!

Children and Strollers
Strollers can easily bump furniture and interior finishes as well as roll in dirt and germs. Park the buggy outside, or stow it in the car while you tour the home. And if you bring children along, make keep them in sight. Open guests are liable for any breakages or damages that were caused during their visit.

Leave pets at home
If you cannot help but bring your pet along, leave him in the car while you view homes, and don’t leave any evidence of his presence in a homeowner’s yard.

Sign in when you arrive
As a rule, the open house host will have a guest register or clipboard list for visitors to sign upon entry. Even nosy neighbors must sign in. This is common courtesy and a security measure

Save food or drinks for later.
Please don’t bring these in the open house! If refreshments are provided, stay in the kitchen or area where this occurs, rather than moving through the entire home with plates or cups in hand.

Don’t take photos without permission
Open house guests must respect the privacy of the homeowner. Don’t start taking pictures or video of the property, without first asking the host for permission. Typically a printed brochure is available and has property photos. If you have to take a photograph of any special features just ask the open house host first.

Ask before trying out bathrooms
It’s best to deal with this prior to the open house. But, in an emergency, politely ask the hosting agent for permission to use the bathroom before using it. Be as quick and as discreet as possible and leave the area as clean as you found it.

Avoid monopolizing the host
The host may be welcoming several visitors at once. Sometimes it may be hard to find all the answers you need while touring a crowded home. This is when a brochure and agent’s phone number or email address comes in handy to contact them later.

Withhold negative comments If you can’t say something nice…wait until you leave to say it! Be courteous and don’t offer criticisms about the home.

Baby Boomer Bungalows!

Intracoastal Agent Connie Parker on Baby Boomer Bungalows…

I am proud to be a member of the BABY BOOMER generation! We grew up in a time when the new industrialized world was at the end of a world war with all it’s heartaches and difficulties. Our parents were ready to start their families and begin their new lives in a country full of hope and vitality. Some of my favorite memories, when I was little, was going to Myrtle Beach, SC to “ROSS HAVEN”, our favorite family gathering vacation house. It wasn’t ours, we just divided up the cost between grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles, it was a wonderful mass of “kin”. The one story cottage was right on ocean front with wood plank siding. Inside the walls didn’t go all the way to the ceiling and of course there was no insulation back then. There were about 6 tiny bedrooms with (as I remember) one bathroom! The windows and doors would stay open all the time with screens and screened doors to keep the pesky “varmets” out. There were oscillating plug-in fans for cooling on humid days. The ocean side had a double-wide porch with a big swing that most of the kids could get in all at one time to entertain themselves for a few minutes at a time, as well as lots of rocking chairs. These are sweet memories of a special place to me that is no longer there.

I think it is because of these special times in a special place, that the continued love affair with the charming bungalows and quaint cottages have a hold on my heart strings. As our generation is now retiring or having more time to enjoy a get-away, there are many of us that are looking for smaller simpler places to enjoy time, family & community entertainment. Many of these smaller homes are located in our beautiful historic district which is at the Cape Fear Riverfront and shopping district, with loads of specialty restaurants shops, bistros and grills. The aromas, sights and sounds of old Wilmington, NC will charm the socks right off of you! The downtown district also offers amazing quality theatre at the civil war era THALIAN HALL and many other venues for the cultural and performing arts where there is something going on all the time.

Today’s Bungalow and small cottages vary as much as the old and new Wilmington. There are still many early 1900 era homes that are available for the “ go-getters”, to the ones available that have been retro-fitted with state of the art kitchens, baths, re-wired/plumbed and insulated for energy saving efficiency. There are wonderful older communities where homes are being purchased by investors, where specialized craftsmen and decorators repair and restore these homes for the turn-key buyer. The prices also range as wildly as the ages. You may prefer the seclusion of a gated (or not) community with their own golf courses with lots of amenities, or the water or beach front hideaway to escape to permanently or every chance you get!

2011-5-Parker, Connie Connie Parker