FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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REALTORS FAQs

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The list is long, but here are a few good reasons to choose RE/MAX®.   I have been with RE/MAX® my entire career of almost 20 years.  Here is what I believe are the top reasons someone should choose RE/MAX® as their brokerage of choice:

1. Brand recognition:  With a brand a little over 40 years young, the red, white and blue RE/MAX® balloon insignia is among the top 10 most identifiable corporate logos in the world.  The more RE/MAX® advertises, the more traffic is driven to www.remax.com and more views on your home. RE/MAX dominates the airways with over 53% of all national television advertising against its competition, we are definitely Above the Crowd!

2. Industry leading technology:  In 2016 www.eBizMBA.com ranked RE/MAX® the #9 most popular real estate website, with the giant being Zillow sitting in the #1 spot.  With almost 2 million unique visitors each month, this is a massive advantage as we soar way above any other franchise brokerage out there.  This is among the top reasons why RE/MAX should be your choice.    In 2006 virtually all US real estate listings were offered to consumers on www.remax.com.

3. Leading in transactions: In 1997 RE/MAX became the first real estate organization in history to complete 1 million transactions sides in a single year.   The slogan, “Nobody In The World Sells More Real Estate” is not just a slogan, it had to be earned to use it.  Since at least 1999 the US and Canada have held the #1 market share, as measured by total residential transaction sides completed. We just do more in the industry.

4. Highly trained agents:  RE/MAX® agents lead the industry in earning significantly more advanced professional designations. By leading the industry in experience and productivity there is increased customer satisfaction among buyers and sellers in today’s market.

5. Customer satisfaction:  RE/MAX® agents receive an average of 70% of their business through repeat and referral business. Their competitors receive an average of 30% from those sources.  When you do a great job and get results, it will show in repeat and referral business.

6. Global reach:  RE/MAX® is in nearly 100 countries around the world, this only increases brand recognition.  Not only that, with more and more corporate relocation happening in this ever shrinking world, it makes referring clients easy and transactions smoother throughout the relocation process.

7. Charity: RE/MAX® agents have raised more than $147 million to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals since 1992.   It is one of the top three donors of all time.  RE/MAX® agents have been recognized for their community service through the National Association of REALTORS® annual Good Neighbor Award program.

8. Respected:  RE/MAX® agents are well respected among their business peers.  They know when working with a RE/MAX® agent, the transaction will be handled with the utmost level of skill and professionalism.  This can lead to quicker sales and thus higher prices for sellers.  For the buyers, this can lead to more contracts being accepted, especially when in competition amongst multiple offers.

There is still this lingering idea out there that since the REALTORS® office has a physical location, that this is the only city or area he/she covers?  Of course, this is not true.  This idea was true once upon a time, but is no longer true.  For more than 25 years or more this really hasn’t been true, but it is still thought to be true by some people. It really changed fully with the advent of the internet and MLS’s. As long as the REALTOR® knows the area, you should hire the best REALTOR® possible.  I cover a broad area that spans across several counties, which include the cities/towns in Collin, Denton, Dallas and surrounding counties.  However, even if you are searching in another city/town in DFW that I do not cover, I have a great DFW referral resource and can still direct you to the best REALTOR® in that area that is vetted and trusted.  This has been beneficial to many of my customers and clients.
Yes.  The best suggestion is to set up a consultation meeting where we can meet face to face and discuss your real estate needs.  However, for immediate purposes, please visit www.CollinCountyHomes.com and go to the About navigation tab.  There you can find my biography, testimonials, education and value proposition.
These are designations and certifications that have been earned over the years to improve my knowledge base thus serving my clients more successfully.   To see exactly what they mean and how having this education can help you as my client, please visit www.CollinCountyHomes.com  and go to the About navigation tab.  There you will find my education.
I have been selling real estate as a REALTOR® and serving my clients since 1998.
Yes.  I have always been a full-time REALTOR® since being licensed in 1998.  This profession is not geared toward anyone doing it part-time, although some real estate agents attempt to do just that.
Generally speaking I work seven days a week to serve my client’s needs.  More specifically, I do my best to keep Sunday free for family time, however, I know in this market and this area, it is highly probable I will be working on a Sunday.  For example, if I am negotiating a contract, yes I will be working.  If clients are coming from out of state, yes I will be working, etc.
Generally speaking my hours are 8am-8pm.  These are hours when I start taking calls and responding to emails and when clients can still reach me at night, etc.   However, my day begins way before 8am.  I try to keep my reachable hours reasonable, meaning I do not want to call my clients at 6am just because I might be working.  Conversely, I do not want my clients calling me at 11pm just because they might be working.   So I established a reasonable 8am-8pm timeframe.   That does not mean if I am negotiating a contract, I won’t respond to a text, email, or call before 8am or after 8pm.  The majority of the time I work by appointment.
Yes.  My clients are my highest priority.  Just because I am out of town does not mean business stops.  I provided a vetted and trusted REALTOR® to cover for me for any need that arises from negotiating a contract to showing a home.  However, in most cases, I will still be able to be contacted, if necessary.   It is very rare that I would be on vacation or out of town where I did not have access to phone or email.
Always an important question. First, understand that since this profession requires dedicated attention to each client and a high-level of multi-tasking, plus the real estate market being very busy, sometimes there is a delay in response with either a call, email or text.  However, my practice is one of diligence and dedication to serve my clients. Customers are very important too, however clients always get priority service.  That being understood, the best suggestion is calling my office first and having the call received by my administrative assistant.   That role was established to quickly address any questions or concerns that can be handled by that role.  In addition if she cannot handle what you are requesting, the call will be routed to the appropriate person, which in most cases would be me.  The second quickest way is via text if it is something that doesn’t require an in-depth response.  The third quickest is an email, which I can respond to very quickly over my phone with either a quick response or sometimes even an in-depth response.   The slowest would be an actual call to me on my cell phone as chances are I am with a client and it would go to voicemail.   But it is important to always leave a message, even if you think I know what the call is about.
Yes.   I am a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).  We agree to follow a Code of Ethics. Not all licensed real estate agents are REALTORS®.
The answers to this question are innumerable, however the quickest and easiest answer is, this is all I do and I do it every day vs. the average person does this maybe once every 10 years at most.   The benefits to having an experienced REALTOR® can net you more money when selling and save you money when you are buying.  I am ultimately a professional service provider and a problem solver.  People may say, it all went smoothly, why did we need you?  That is what I hope for, I work very hard and many, many hours to make sure it goes smoothly and to limit all potential problems.  I handle and solve so many issues behind the scenes and speak to dozens of people in order to keep the contract together, that clients would be amazed at the complexity and the multitude of moving parts.  These are the many reasons why most For Sale By Owner (FSBO) are not successful.
No.  Once you are licensed and become a real estate agent, for the most part, you can decide to be a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) or not, depending on the brokerage you work for.   So just because you are a licensed real estate agent, does not mean you are a REALTOR®.  However, all RE/MAX® agents are REALTORS®.  I certainly recommend you work with a REALTOR®.
NAR stands for the National Association of REALTORS®.  It was founded in 1908.  It is considered to be the largest trade organization and is the “Voice for Real Estate.”   It has over 1 million members.  The licensed agent agrees to follow a Code of Ethics.
It is a strict set of behaviors founded on the principle of providing fair and honest service to all consumers. REALTOR® business practices are monitored at the local board level.  Arbitration and disciplinary systems are in place to address complaints from the public or board members.
No.  Like most professions where a fee for service is involved, the level of skill between the same professional can vary greatly.  There are too many differences to even mention, however the one thing that is the same is we all have to take a certain amount of classroom hours and pass a state exam to be licensed.  Once completed, that is where it stops being the same.  Now most agents handle buyers and sellers alike, but how skillfully they handle the transaction or service they provide is what matters the most.  This can be based on how many years they have been in the profession.  Have they furthered their education beyond initially licensing? How many transactions have they done?  Just because your mom knows a real estate agent from church or the PTA, does not mean he or she is the best you can get.  This is why I suggest scheduling a consultation meeting so you can get to know me and be informed.  I feel that my extensive knowledge of the market, years of experience and education makes me a great choice to hire as your REALTOR®.
This form is required by the Texas Real Estate Commission.  TREC requires it be presented upon first substantive conversation about real estate.  It explains the different types of representation in a real estate transaction for buyers, sellers, tenants, and landlords. This form is not an agreement for services.
Yes.  There are definitely things that are the same, but there are many differences in being a client vs. being a customer.  There are too many to discuss here in the FAQ section, but at our consultation meeting we discuss this in detail.  The quickest and simplest answer is, level of service.  I must first review, by state law, the Information About Brokerage Services form.
No.  Having more than one real estate agent just confuses all parties.  Plus most real estate agents would not knowingly work with someone that is already working with another agent, this includes the services I provide to buyers.   Funny thing is you never see two real estate agents representing a seller with two different for sale signs in their yard.  I will not work with you if you have another agent that represents you.   If you are not formally represented, then by all means, we should have a buyer consultation meeting to discuss the benefits of proper representation.   Lastly, it is important to have buyer representation via a written agreement, this way there is no confusion on anyone’s part as to service provided or territory covered.   The only time that this could occur or would be acceptable, is if you are looking in two or three totally different areas that the one real estate agent does not cover himself/herself.
What you have heard is true.  The simple answer is you know you are getting the best REALTOR® possible, by virtue of having earned the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation.  Only 3% of REALTORS® have earned this distinction.   I have earned this designation in 2003.  I recommend if you do not hire me as your REALTOR®, please use another CRS.
Yes.  When it comes to buying or selling a home, this is the first step in the process and I consider the consultation meeting essential to the process.  For me this has always been my practice. When you have been doing this as long as I have, you learn what works and what does not.  I have found out when there is not an initial meeting, the process is off track from the start.   I know a lot of real estate agents do not do this, but I feel it is priority number one.  As priority number one, I make myself available to you, at your convenience.
The main benefits and topics covered are:  Understanding your wants, needs, and goals.  It saves you a lot of wasted time.  How you will be financing your home.  Understanding the laws of contracts.  How buyer representation benefits you.  Looking at your overall picture and establishing a plan of action.  Review the locations you are considering buying a home in.  Review the details about the home you want to buy. Making sure your expectations meet reality.  Understanding concepts in buying a home that will gain value over time vs. potentially loosing value. How commissions work when buying a home.  Lastly, I review my qualifications to represent you in buying a home.  And there is much more.
The main benefits and topics covered are:  Understanding your wants, needs, and goals.  Obviously finding out what is the market value of your home.  But I dig deep into that and determine what the positives and negatives are of your home.   I determine, of the negatives, what can be controlled and fixed and what cannot.  What parties I need to bring in to get your home show ready.  I lay out a plan of action to get your home on the market based on your needs. How commissions work when selling your home and what plans are available for my services.  Lastly, I review my qualifications to represent you in selling your home.  And there is much more.
First and foremost, it would be out of order to look at homes before our initial consultation meeting based on my years of selling real estate.  Secondly, it is not a smart business practice to show any homes until I know what you are qualified to buy, assuming I have not received a pre-approval letter.    It is for the benefit of the process and more specifically you the buyer.   This consultation meeting allows you to get all your questions answered in one meeting.  It gives you more understanding and knowledge of this process, thus being a better informed buyer.  Being better informed means you make better decisions.  Plus it allows any misconceptions or misunderstandings of the buying process to be discussed.  A lot of people think they know the process of buying because their parents told them, however, the last time they bought was 25 years ago potentially.  I usually like to reverse the question, why would you not want a buyer consultation meeting?  You are buying, most likely, the single largest purchase in your life and you would not consider spending 60-90 minutes upfront getting more information about the process and who will represent you?   It also establishes all the details of your wants, needs and goals.  Lastly, I review financing to make sure you have the best possible financing in place for your purchase.  I think if you look at it in this light you would not hesitate to have a consultation meeting.
Yes.  I am a full-time, full service real estate professional.  With having almost 20 years’ experience I have worked with hundreds of buyers.  Having earned multiple designations and certifications including the Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) and the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), I am well equipped to handle any buyer clients.
Yes.  I am a full-time, full service real estate professional.  With having almost 20 years’ experience I have worked with hundreds of buyers. The only difference here, with regards to buyers, is that this is your first time buying a home. My first several years were primarily all first-time buyers and I found it very rewarding helping someone buy their first home.  Having earned multiple designations and certifications including the Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) and the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), I am well equipped to handle any buyer clients.
Yes.  I am a full-time, full service real estate professional.  With having almost 20 years’ experience I have worked with hundreds of sellers. Having earned multiple designations and certifications including the Sellers Representative Specialist (SRS) and the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), I am well equipped to handle any seller clients.
Yes.  I am a full-time, full service real estate professional.  With having almost 20 years’ experience I have worked with hundreds of sellers.  The only difference here with regards to sellers is that this is your first time selling a home. I enjoy showing them many techniques to enhance their home’s value with little to no money spent and enhancing buyer appeal for higher sales price and quicker market time.   Having earned multiple designations and certifications including the Sellers Representative Specialist (SRS) and the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), I am well equipped to handle any seller clients.
Yes.  I am a full-time, full service real estate professional.  Even though some agents do not take the time necessary to prepare the tenant to find a lease property, I do, and thus I still require a consultation meeting.  We will discuss the process of working with me to help you find a home to lease.  It is very challenging in this market to find a lease property because of high demand, so having a plan in place is vital and the meeting will establish this.
Yes.   I am a full-time, full service real estate professional.  I market their property just like a home to sell and acquire a qualified tenant for their property.  We would have a consultation meeting to review the home and discuss all necessary details.  I do all the paperwork required to establish a good tenant for them.
Yes.  This is, of course, very common.  I would say the majority of clients are in the sell/buy category.  Having me in the driver seat for both transactions can make the process a whole lot easier.   It is a matter of navigating and controlling the process for better results.  Having a good handle on the aspects of the sell in order to do the buy is very important.  If it is a sell/buy in a location we do not cover, then we refer out to a vetted and trusted REALTOR®.
Yes and No.  I am only licensed in TX & PA, but just like I have a local DFW referral resource, I also have an extensive national referral resource.  So instead of randomly finding a REALTOR® to represent you in buying a home, you can rest assure that the REALTOR® I refer you, will be the best in that area, fully vetted and trusted. That way as we work together with the sale of your home here in DFW, if applicable, I can have a little more control over the process with the purchase of your new home out of state.  I can communicate effectively with the REALTOR® I referred.
Yes and No.  I am only licensed in TX & PA, but just like I have a local DFW and national referral resource, I can refer to over 100 countries around the world.  So instead of randomly finding a real estate agent to represent you in buying a home, you can rest assure that the agent I refer you will be the best in that area, fully vetted and trusted.  That way as we work together with the sale of your home here in DFW, if applicable, I can have a little more control over the process of your new home out of the country.  I can communicate effectively with the agent I referred.
Yes.  Whether this is a corporate or non-corporate relocation I can help.  I will handle every detail involved from start to finish.  I know that moving to a new state is very stressful and having representation in the state you are moving to will benefit you greatly.  Plus there are a lot more moving parts.  It helps that I have earned the Certified Relocation Specialist (CRP) designation.   Less than 1% of the REALTORS® hold this designation.
Yes and No.  I am only licensed in TX & PA, but just like I have a local DFW referral resource, I also have an extensive national referral resource.  So instead of randomly finding a REALTOR® to represent you in selling your home, you can rest assure that the REALTOR® I refer you will be the best in that area, fully vetted and trusted.  That way as we work together for you to buy a home here in DFW, I can have a little more control over the process with the sale of your home in your state.  I can communicate effectively with the REALTOR® I referred.
Yes. This is an area I specialize in.  I am a member of the Worldwide ERC and among a small group of real estate agents that have earned the Certified Relocation Professional (CRP) designation.  A lot of agents say they handle relocation, but have not taking the time and expense to invest in the education necessary to handle this particular client effectively.  I also have worked with many relocation companies.  Having earned the CRP I am well equipped to handle any clients relocating to DFW or relocation out of state or out of country.  Keep in mind most relocation companies prefer to have a REALTOR® that has this designation to represent their client.  There are some cases where they require it.
Yes.  I am a full-time, full service real estate professional. The DFW area has many communities with homes over $500k and working with these buyers and sellers is an everyday occurrence.  This is actually an area I specialize in, knowing and anticipating the needs of these clients is very important to them.  I have extensive education and the years of experience that high end buyers and seller appreciate and demand.
Yes.  I am a full-time, full service real estate professional.  This is a specialized area of practice that I handle. Whether you are buying real estate as an investment and keeping it in your portfolio or even flipping properties for profit I can help.  I work with a handful of investors that trust me to guide them.   Most investors are pretty savvy, but my expertise enhances any smart investor to get the best deal and highest price for the investment.  They know and appreciate the value that a REALTOR® brings to the table.  I even work the foreclosure auction one day a month, on Super Tuesday, at the Collin County Courthouse.
Yes.  I am a full-time, full service real estate professional.  This is a specialized area of practice that I handle.   I have handled dozens of these sales.  Having earned multiple designations and certifications including the Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource (SFR) and the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), I am well equipped to handle short sale clients.  Short sales are also known as pre-foreclosures.  I also help buyers looking to buy a short sale if they want that as part of their options when looking for a home.
Yes.  I am a full-time, full service real estate professional.  This is a specialized area of practice that I handle.  Short sales and Real Estate Owned (REO) are considered distressed properties.  This also could be a regular seller that has a home in disrepair and it is not a short sale or an REO.  I have handled dozens of short sales and many REO properties.  Short sales are also known as pre-foreclosures and REO’s are considered bank owned properties.  Meaning the bank has already foreclosed on the property and has taken back its asset.  I have worked with banks to help them sell their assets too.   I also help buyers looking to buy a short sale or an REO property, if they want that as part of their options when looking for a home.
Yes.  I have had the opportunity to sell new homes for builder clients in the past.   I currently do not represent any builders or communities.  Most builders have their own sales teams that handle their new home sales.   Some larger builders usually have their own real estate company to specifically handle new home sales. Having earned multiple designations and certifications including the Residential Construction Certified (RCC) and the Certified New Home Specialist (CNHS), I think I could be extremely beneficial to any builder wanting me to sell their homes.  Having a REALTOR® handle all their sales and utilizing the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) would increase sales and sales prices.
Yes.   I am a full-time, full service real estate professional.  However, oddly enough there are still a lot of buyers that believe it is not necessary to have a REALTOR® represent them when buying a newly constructed home or they just don’t think about it until it is too late. This can’t be further from the truth.  The sales agent sitting that model home represents the builder (seller) and cannot represent you.  Just because they “guide” you through the process doesn’t mean they represent you nor does it mean they have your best interests in mind.  Having earned multiple designations and certifications including the Residential Construction Certified (RCC) and the Certified New Home Specialist (CNHS), I know the benefits I can bring to the table in this type of purchase. I have sold many new construction homes to my clients over the years and at the end of the process they were so grateful for my expertise.
Yes.  I am a full-time, full service real estate professional.  I love working with veterans.  I am well versed with all the details involved and the great benefits veterans receive.  Plus the lenders I have vetted know all about VA financing.
To show that the buyer’s offer is serious and made in good faith, it is traditional for the prospective buyer to accompany the offer with a check for a modest amount – often a small percentage of the purchase price know as an earnest money deposit.  The amount of earnest money deposit varies by state, but is typically in the range of 1-2% of the purchase price.  The earnest money check should be made out to the escrow/title company, not the seller.   The buyer has 2 business days from the effective date of the executed sales contract to get the check to the escrow/title company.  When the transaction closes, the buyer receives a credit for this earnest money deposit towards their closing costs.  However, the seller may get to keep the money if the buyer pulls out of the deal for a reason that was not allowed under the sales contact – for example, if the buyer simply changes their mind or perhaps gets lazy about taking steps to finalize their loan.  Having an earnest money deposit on hold acts as a disincentive against buyers who make frivolous offers and ultimately compensate a seller who has to put a house back on the market.  As a practical matter (and under terms of the standard sales contract), however, the escrow/title company cannot turn the money over to the seller without both the buyer and seller agreeing to allow that.
The termination option paragraph of the sales contract gives a prospective buyer, in return for paying an option fee to the seller, the unrestricted right to terminate the contract by giving notice of termination to the seller within a certain number of days after the effective date of the negotiated contract.  The number of days and the amount of the option fee, like sales price and earnest money, are among those features negotiated between a seller and prospective buyer in the sales contract.  In Texas, option fees typically range from $100-$200.  Option fees are paid directly to the seller and are non-refundable.  The buyer has 3 calendar days from the effective date of the executed sales contract to get the check to the seller or seller’s agent.  When the transaction closes, the buyer will receive a credit for the amount of the option fee towards their closing costs.  The termination option is popular among buyers in Texas because it gives a prospective buyer time to fully evaluate the condition of the property and perhaps renegotiate the initial offer based on inspections, needed repairs or other considerations.  During the option period, buyers may either terminate the sales contact or proceed to purchase the home.  Sellers not only receive the benefit of the option fee payment, but also avoid jeopardizing a successful sale. In addition, during the option period, the seller can continue to negotiate and accept back-up offers from other potential buyers.
Yes and No.  If you are unrepresented the answer is no.  It is yes, if you have established representation with me and have been pre-approved for a mortgage.  It can then be a useful exercise in determining types of homes you like and areas you want to live.  However, It is still best to have me with you during any home showing, whether an open house or not. There will always be a sign in sheet, just make sure you sign in with my information and give them my business card.  This way you will not be bothered by the hosting agent looking to sell you a home.  Also it will not jeopardize your right to representation in any way.  Instead they will just call me to see if you are interested in the home.
Yes and No.  If you are unrepresented the answer is no.  It is yes, if you have established representation with me and have been pre-approved for a mortgage.  It can then be a useful exercise in determining types of homes you like and areas you want to live.  Most buyers do not understand that the sales agent that is at these model homes represent the builder (seller) and cannot represent you, therefore they are not looking out for your best interests.  Just because they “guide” you through the process of buying that new home, does not mean they have your best interests in mind.  Therefore It is still best to have me with you during any home showing whether, a new construction model or not.  There will always be a sign in sheet, just make sure you sign in with my information and give them my business card.  Make sure the sales agent is aware of your representation.  This way you will not be bothered by the sales agent at the model home looking to sell you a home.  Also it will not jeopardize your right to representation in any way. Instead they will just call me to see if you are interested in the home.  Keep in mind, it is common for builders to no pay commissions if you didn’t make them aware of your representation with a REALTOR® upon your first visit.  This can be a very big problem if you go in the model home without me and then want to buy a home in that builder’s community with me representing you.
No.  While I respect any seller’s right to attempt to sell their home themselves, unfortunately the statistics are not in your favor.  So I would never say yes when I know the best results will be with a REALTOR®.  There are so many reasons why these results happen.  For starters, the knowledge and skill level the REALTOR® brings to the table, far out way the commission spent.  Second, the lack of the most powerful tool, the Multi-Listing Service (MLS), is not being utilized.  I suggest anyone that is trying to sell their home themselves, to have a consultation meeting with me first. I can assure you there will be a plan that will work to get your home sold and you being completely satisfied.  I believe you will not be disappointed.
Yes.  I can show you any home, even FSBO homes.  Contact me with the information like; address and phone number, and I will get any information you need and arrange a showing if it meets your needs. Most FSBO want to sell their home and therefore would not restrict a potential buyer from seeing it. The only difference here is the matter of commission earned for a successful closing of their home.  Since they are not represented by a REALTOR® and thus not in the MLS, there is no fee established by anyone and thus needs to be worked out between the seller and I via a written agreement before I show you the home.  This is not an issue, as I have sold many FSBO homes.  Trust me, they are still saving money, which is generally the goal of a FSBO anyway.  Plus, they have a REALTOR® to keep an eye on their transaction, since they opted not to have representation.
No.  You can contact me, as a REALTOR® I have access to all homes on the market and can show you any home or answer any question you have. This can be listed with another brokerage, FSBO, new construction, REO and the like.  This is also a matter of buyer representation.  If we have established a formal agreement, it is in your best interest to contact me as I am representing you for any home you see.
Yes and No.  First let’s identify the reasons why the sign says coming soon.  The listing broker may list it coming soon because the seller still needs time to prepare the home for sale, but wants some added exposure for their home during that time.  The second reason is that the listing broker may be trying to acquire a buyer before it hits the open market and is exposed to other agents and their buyers. Remember the listing agent represents the seller; I would suggest having me call the listing broker to see what the status is and if we are able to set up a showing or not.  It is not a good idea to view the home without me representing you, this can cause a big problem with representation and negotiation of the contract. In many cases the answer as to whether or not you can see the home can change depending on who is giving the answer.  This has become an issue within the real estate market as there are no set rules yet on how to properly handle the coming soon signs.
Yes.  In most cases the answer is yes.  There are many different aspects and factors to consider when staging a home for sale.  One of those aspects could be a vacant property vs. a fully furnished property.  A factor could be time vs. money, the two most important parts of selling anything, especially real estate. It could be something simple like changing out all the dark curtains or moving some big furniture to storage to create the necessary eye appeal of a smaller room.  As part of our seller consultation meeting, we will discuss this in detail to determine the level of staging needed.  At minimum, I do recommend a no obligation consultation meeting with a stager.
Yes. This is the biggest question sellers have, of course, this is what I do. The most important part to getting a home sold is the preparation and ultimately the presentation.  The whole purpose for the preparation is to get the highest amount of money in the shortest amount of time on the market.  As part of our seller consultation meeting, we will discuss this in detail to determine what things are necessary and will bring the greatest results.
Yes.  As part of our buyer consultation meeting, we will discuss this in detail along with the pre-approval process.  Although you can choose any lender you want, it has been my experience that working with a lender that I have vetted can benefit you greatly.  We, as REALTORS®, do not get any kick-backs, as they are illegal.   The only benefit is a satisfied client.
Yes.  As part of our buyer consultation meeting, we will discuss this in detail along with other aspects of title. Although you can choose any title company you want, it has been my experience that working with a title company that I have vetted can benefit you greatly.  We, as REALTORS®, do not get any kick-backs, as they are illegal.  The only benefit is a satisfied client.
Yes.  This being an integral part of the home buying process, along with title company and mortgage lender should be discussed and a plan in place.   Although you can choose any insurance company you want, it has been my experience that working with an insurance company that I have vetted can benefit you greatly.  We, as REALTORS®, do not get kick-backs, as they are illegal.  The only benefit is a satisfied client.  Also, you may already have a relationship with an insurance company which might be great start.
Yes.  I have been selling real estate and working with financing for nearly 20 years, however, I am not a mortgage lender.  I am well versed in financing from jumbo loans to FHA to VA and everything in between.  These programs change all the time, so I do recommend speaking to our vetted mortgage lenders for the most up-to-date information on these programs and which ones fit your needs the best.
Yes.  As part of our buyer consultation meeting, we will discuss this in detail along with the pre-approval process.  From a logical stand point it does not make sense to look at homes before you know what you are approved to buy.   From a professional business stand point, I do not show homes until I know you are pre-approved for a mortgage or you are paying cash and I see proof of funds.
My commission is earned by successfully brokering the sale of real property between buyers and sellers via an executed contract. Generally it is a percentage of the sales price.
My commission is earned at the time and date of an executed contract.
My commission is paid at the date and time of closing.
My commission is paid on the closing disclosure at the time and date of closing.  It is generally paid through the proceeds of the seller. All monies are distributed by the title agent.  If there is not enough to pay the commission, which rarely happens, a promissory note can be created and paid over the life of the note by the seller.
There is no standard or set commission established by any authority.  When representing buyer clients, the fee is generally paid by the seller, which is typically a percentage of the sale price and has been established already in the MLS.  I have never had a buyer pay a commission yet.  Although it is considered your fee to pay, tradition and established practices have dictated the seller pays the commission.  The percentage is established within the Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement.
There is no standard or set commission established by any authority.  When representing seller clients, the fee is negotiated between us.  Generally speaking my commission has always been commensurate with the skills I bring to the process and services provided, which includes, years of practice, knowledge of the market, extensive education and the like.  Even so, we will establish that at our seller consultation meeting.  The percentage is established within the Listing Agreement to Sell.
There is no standard or set commission established by any authority.  When representing landlord clients, the fee is negotiated between us. Generally speaking my commission has always been commensurate with the skills and I bring to the process and services provided, which includes, years of practice, knowledge of the market, extensive education and the like.  Even so, we will establish that at our consultation meeting.  The percentage is established within the Listing Agreement to Lease.
There is no standard or set commission established by any authority.  When representing tenant clients, the fee is generally paid by the landlord, which is typically a percentage of the lease amount and has been established already in the MLS.  I have never had a tenant pay a commission yet.  Although it is considered your fee to pay, tradition and established practices have dictated the landlord pays the commission.  The percentage is established within the Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement.

LENDOR FAQs

Pre-qualification is the lender’s judgment of your ability to make payments on your mortgage, based on your verbal statement of income, assets and employment history.  Pre-approval is the underwriting decision that you are conditionally qualified and is subject to the lender’s review of your completed application, verification of your income, assets, employment history, credit check, appraisal and other determining factors.
The documentation required for each loan differs depending on the loan program. While some programs require income, employment and asset verification, others require no documentation at all. A mortgage consultant will provide you with the list of items needed.
Yes. There are loan programs that do not require a down payment, depending on credit, employment history and other determining factors.   A mortgage consultant will provide and discuss these programs with you to see if they fit your needs.
Mortgage insurance protects the lender against taking a financial loss in the event the mortgagor stops making payments.  It is required on mortgage programs that require little or no down payment and when the lenders exposure is greater than 80% of the purchase price or appraised value, whichever is less.   Mortgage insurance can be avoided by utilizing loan programs such as an 80/20, in which a 1st mortgage (80% LTV) and 2nd mortgage (20% LTV) are taken on the property.  No down payment is required.  Or, there is a Lender Paid Mortgage Insurance (LPMI).   With this option, the lender pays the mortgage insurance, which is offset by a higher interest rate charged to the borrower.
Rates are pretty standard. Sometimes you will find lenders advertising low rates that typically apply to someone with great credit and low debt to income (DTI).  What you should be asking is “Can I reach my lender if I have questions or concerns?”  “Will my lender counsel me as to what is best for my financial future?  What is the value I receive for going with a particular lender?  Value and Service should always win over rate.
A reverse mortgage is also called a home equity conversion mortgage. It is a type of home loan for older homeowners (62 years or older) that allows them to convert part of the equity in their homes into cash.  It requires no monthly mortgage payments. Borrowers are still responsible for property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.
Yes.   The possibility to qualify still exists. There are many programs out there for people looking to purchase a home but have lower than average credit.  Credit is one of the determining factors when qualifying for a loan, but not the only one.
These programs make it easier to purchase a home for those that otherwise may not be able to afford it. There are programs that require little or no down payments, no pre-payment penalties and limited amounts of certain fees and charges the borrower must pay to establish the loan.  These programs also have rates that are comparable to conventional loans.
Your monthly mortgage payment includes a payment to the principle balance, interest and escrows (taxes and home owners insurance) otherwise known as P.I.T.I (principle, interest, taxes and insurance).
No.  Applying online is free.  Some clients prefer to apply online so they can do it at their convenience.
You will receive a phone call from one of our mortgage consultants within 24 hours of submitting your application.
The interest rate is the rate you agree to pay for your mortgage loan. It is used to determine the interest portion of your monthly payment. The annual percentage rate (APR) includes your interest rate and prepaid finance charges to give you an average yearly rate.
A discount point is generally a percentage of the loan amount and is paid to the lender to buy down or lower the interest rate.
Your monthly payment includes an amount which is placed in a fund held by the mortgage company to pay your annual property taxes and insurance premiums.  The fund is referred to as an escrow account.
A rate lock is a contractual agreement between the lender and buyer.   There are four components to a rate lock:   loan program, interest rate, points and the length of the lock.
It is an upfront cash payment required by the lender as part of the charge for the loan, expressed as a percent of the loan (e.g. 2 points means a charge equal to 2% of the loan balance).

TITLE FAQs

A title is the evidence, of right, that a person has to the ownership and possession of land. It is possible that someone other than the owner has a legal right to the property. If that right can be established, this person can claim the property outright or make demands on the owner as to its use.
While medical insurance provides for any future issues, title insurance covers you for anything that may have taken place in the past.  It insures that you own the property without any encumbrances or issues.
Yes.  Title insurance is a means of protecting yourself from financial loss in the event that problems develop regarding the rights to ownership of your property. There may be hidden title defects that even the most careful title search will not reveal. In addition to protection from financial loss, title insurance pays the cost of defending against any covered claim.  If you have a mortgage, title insurance is required.
No.  Title insurance is different from other types of insurance. It does not insure against fire, flood, theft or any other type of property damage or loss.  It protects against losses from ownership problems that arose before you bought the property, but were not known at the time you bought the property. It does not guarantee that you will be able to sell your property or borrow money on it.
The one-time premium is directly related to the value of your home. It is a one-time only expense, paid when you purchase your home. Yet it continues to provide complete coverage for as long as you or your heirs own the property.
No. The premium rate is set by the Texas Department of Insurance. Each title agent is required to charge the same premium for a policy.  In Texas, the title premium is all inclusive and includes the title search, the title examination, and closing the transaction.  You only pay the title policy premium once, at the closing.   The buyer and seller may negotiate who pays the premium in the contract to purchase a home.
Yes. Title insurance rates in Texas are regulated. All title companies will charge the same premium for a policy. Rates are based on the property’s sale value. For example, the basic premium for a $50,000 property is $522, and the basic premium for a $100,000 property is $875.
Coordinate:  They coordinate all parties of the transaction to insure a smooth closing.

Cure: They search and provide examination of the titles to sufficiently prepare a commitment for the title insurance and clear up any issues there may be against the property or individual.

Close: They handle all documents necessary to effect the transaction and disburse the funds accordingly.

Cover: They provide title insurance policies to the buyer and/or lender insuring the title or loan is covered.

A commitment is a preliminary report that provides several types of information.  It tells you who legally owns the property, the legal description, and any restrictions to the use of the property by easement or deed restrictions.  It also sets out the steps necessary to transfer clear title between the buyer and seller.
A title search is a detailed examination of the historical records concerning a property. These records include deeds, court records, property and name indexes, and many other documents. The purpose of the search is to verify the seller’s right to transfer ownership, and to discover any claims, defects and other rights or burdens on the property.
Because the owner could, in a very short time, do many things to encumber the title. For example, he could grant easements or construct improvements that encroach on adjacent property. He could use the property as collateral for a loan or have received money, judgments, or liens which can attach to the real estate. It is necessary to conduct an up-to-date title search to uncover any such problems.
Land is permanent, and ownership could have been transferred between several owners.  In addition, various rights in the land, such as mineral, air or utility rights, may have been acquired by someone other than the recorded owner.  In order to transfer a clear title to a piece of land, it is first necessary to determine whether any rights are outstanding.
Not necessarily. A deed is just a document by which the right of ownership in land is transferred from one party to another, whatever that right may be. It is not proof of ownership, and it doesn’t do away with rights others may have in the property. In addition, a deed won’t show you liens or claims that may be outstanding against the title.
A title defect is anything that can cause a title to be considered invalid or defective in some way. Some examples are:

1. Invalid documents due to forgery, fraud, undue influence, duress, incompetency, incapacity, or impersonation.

2. Failure of any person or entity to have authorized a transfer or conveyance.

3. A document affecting title that is not properly executed, signed, witnessed, notarized, or delivered.

4. Undisclosed or unrecorded easements not otherwise apparent on your land.

5. No right of access to and from the land.

6. A document executed under a falsified, expired, or otherwise invalid power of attorney.

7. A document not properly filed, recorded, or indexed in the public records.

8. Ownership claims by undisclosed or missing heirs.

9. Defect arising from an improper prior foreclosure.

10.  Undisclosed restrictive covenants affecting your property.

Yes.  Some examples of lien defects are:

  • Any statutory or constitutional contractor’s mechanic’s lien or materialman’s lien for labor or materials that began on or before the policy date. Talk to an attorney about your rights.
  • Lien for labor or materials furnished by a contractor without your consent.
  • A previous owner failed to pay.
  • A mortgage or deed of trust.
  • A judgment, tax, or special assessment.
  • A charge by a homeowners or condominium association.
  • Other liens or claims that may exist against your title that are not listed in the policy.

Notify your title company immediately if someone files a lien or claims an interest in your property. Failure to do so could jeopardize your claim. Contact the underwriter listed on the policy and follow its claim-filing procedures.

Property taxes are paid in arears and billed in October of each year.  If you close prior to the taxes for current year being available, the taxes will be prorated between the buyer and seller, using the most current available figures.  The buyer will receive the prorated amount as a credit at closing and the buyer will be responsible for the full years’ taxes when they become due and payable.  If you are closing after the current year’s tax bill is available, the seller will be charged the full amount of the taxes and the buyer will credit the seller for the amount of prorated taxes owed for the time the buyer will own the house.
The Texas Homestead Law is contained in the Texas Constitution.  It was created for the primary purpose of securing for a head of family or single adult, a place for a home, shelter, and the earning of livelihood against the rights of creditors. The homestead is not protected from forced sale for failure to pay property taxes or the eight ways allowed under the Constitution to borrow money against the homestead. For example, a credit card company cannot file on a homestead property, but can obtain an abstract of judgement against the individual.
You will want to have these items completed or in hand when you come to the closing.  Please confirm with your escrow officer prior to closing.

Buyer:

  • Cashier’s check or wire transfer to make all payments.
  • Photo identification (passport, driver’s license, or state-issued identification card)

Seller:

  • Wiring instructions or voided check for proceeds.
  • Photo identification (passport, driver’s license, or state-issued identification card)
The Texas Department of Insurance requires Good Funds which consist of a cashier’s check made payable to the title company or wired funds, which are preferred.  Any amount for $1,499.00 or less can be paid by a personal check made payable to the title company.

HOME INSURANCE FAQs

Shopping in the option period, provides you information of prior claim history of the home you are purchasing as well as an indication of the insurance rate.
Hazard insurance is the same as home insurance and it is also called property insurance.
It is important to review what the HOA insurance covers in regards to the exterior and inside your unit.  Normally, on a condo you will be required to purchase a policy called an HO-6, to cover the walls in on the condo unit and your personal belongings.
Replacement cost for the dwelling and sales price are often different.  Each insurance company has a replacement cost calculator they require an agent to complete when quoting to insure the home is covered adequately for a complete and total loss.
Other structures would be improvements not attached to the home.  For example, fencing, decking, sheds, outdoor kitchens, pools, etc.
Office of Public Insurance Counsel offers a great comparative tool for coverage.  PLEASE NOTE:  If the site shows something it offered only by endorsement, be sure to check your quote that the endorsement has been added for coverage you desire.  www.opic.texas.gov
First, carry as high of liability limits as available and consider an umbrella policy that provides additional limits over and above the home policy.  Second, verify Other Structure coverage limits are sufficient to cover the pool and decking.
An insurance broker is associated with numerous insurance companies to confirm the insured is getting the best coverage and rate versus looking at only one insurance company.
The mortgage company is billed about 45 days before the renewal and will send the payment to the insurance company.  NOTE:  If your mortgage is taken over by a new company, it is very important to notify your insurance agent so the mortgagee clause is endorsed correctly and the billing is sent to the correct party.
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