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Choosing a real estate professional?
Many people incorrectly assume that real estate agents are all basically alike and that having a real estate license is the sole qualification necessary to represent the interests of a buyer or seller. This misunderstanding has resulted in incorrect advice, unmet expectations, financial misfortunes, and broken friendships. There is a better way.
In Georgia, anyone who successfully attends an approved 75-hour real estate course and makes a minimum grade of 75 on the state exam may secure a real estate salesperson license. If they remain in the business for three years, take another 75-hour course, and complete additional continuing education, they may take the brokers exam. This results in a total of 175 to 200 hours of classroom training for brokers. But 80% of all new real estate sales licensees don’t make it to the third year.
For further discussion and to gain more insight into how to get the most for your house, call Van Purser at 770-623-3313 or email him at VanPurser@VanPurser.com.
Why is this important?
Few people realize that in the state of Georgia, the relationship between a broker, their licensed salespeople, and the clients they represent are modeled after the same laws of agency that apply to attorneys and accountants. This means that you should select your real estate professional in much the same way you would an attorney or accountant. If you were facing a life-defining legal issue or a financially-defining tax issue, would you want someone with little or no experience representing you or someone with a proven track record? The answer is obvious: You would want the most qualified, experienced person you could afford. By securing the most qualified person, you will increase the likelihood of achieving your desired outcome. In fact, experienced real estate professionals pay for themselves.
How can we serve you?
At Van Purser & Associates LLC with over 30 years of experience we are qualified to serve you in a variety of ways; brokers, as investors and as general contractors.
As brokers, we perform all of the functions associated with real estate brokerage. This includes buyer and seller representation. Our goal as a broker is to represent your best interests and approach all aspects of the sell of your home with this as our guiding principle. Combining this principle with our numerous years of real estate experience, we become advocates for our clients’ best interests. As seasoned advocates, we deliver a host of benefits to clients. Our client’s can be sure that there home will be priced correctly and that the proper blend of technology and organic influence will be used to accomplish your desired results.
As investors, we are able to serve you by buying your home from you. This can eliminate the need to list your property in the traditional fashion, allowing you to avoid the time, energy, and effort associated with putting your home on the market. If after considering the ways in which we might serve you; you decide to have us buy your property; you can choose the closing date, we will pay all of the closing costs, and you will not have to make any repairs. If you are planning on buying another home; this approach will allow you to coordinate the closing of your current home with the purchase of your new home and eliminate the possibility of having to move twice or have two mortgages. This approach may also be used as a back-up plan in the event you need to sell your listed home immediately.
Through our affiliate general contracting firm we can coordinate any desired or required repairs or improvements that may be needed on your home. Since 1981 we have renovated over 400 of our own houses and numerous homes for clients. In many cases a home will sell for more if certain improvements are made resulting in increased proceeds at closing. Our in depth analysis of your homes value will provide valuable insight into which improvements should be considered and the impact that they will ultimately have on the sales price. Once evaluated you will be able to make your decisions based on the return on your investment. Some of the recent improvements we have assisted clients with that have improved their proceeds have been siding and roof replacements, kitchen and bath upgrades, landscaping enhancements as well as other interior and exterior enhancements. We can manage the entire process for you or provide the contractors that will provide you the best job and at the best price.
How does the process begin?
As you decide how you would like to approach the sale of your home, you will need to determine whether you prefer to have us serve you as a broker or an investor. I would like to take a minute to describe briefly our process of equipping you to make this decision.
Prior to meeting with you, we will do some preliminary work in preparation for our first meeting. This will include collecting updated data about your home and those like yours in the immediate area. We will e-mail this to you prior to our initial meeting along with a list of items we’ll need copies of at our first meeting or shortly thereafter.
This initial visit to your home will provide us time to look at other recent home sales in your area, time to discuss with you your goals as it relates to the sale of your home, and time to look at your home with the purpose of determining its condition as well as what, if anything, needs to be done to the home to positively effect its price and marketability. This initial meeting typically takes one to one and a half hours.
This is also a time for you to get to know us and to address any and all questions that you may have at the time. Over the next two days, we will do a complete work-up on your home so that you will be able to make an intelligent decision. After this is completed, we will review it to determine how it meets your needs.
What is my home worth?
Performing a thorough market analysis is an essential part of equipping you to make decisions that will affect the sale of your home and your ability to move forward with your future plans.
After meting with you and seeing your home as well as having looked at other homes that have recently sold in the same subdivision or area that are similar to yours, we perform a market analysis. The term “market analysis” is often used to refer to a report that is instantly provided using the technology available to us. However, this approach is one that does not benefit from a thorough analysis of the data by the agent. This can result in the incorrect pricing, which could lead to your home selling for too little or not at all.
Our approach is different. We begin with information provided by local listing services, local tax records and Redlink, the leading data base of appraisals, used by virtually all appraisers. Instead of allowing the analysis to be done automatically, we analyze the data ourselves much like an appraiser would. This approach is far more thorough and requires a great deal more time and experience, but it results in a far better understanding of what your home is worth. This detailed approach takes into consideration those features that other similar recent sales may or may not have in common with yours as well as the condition of your home compared to others. Once the market value of your home is correctly determined; you will be able to move forward with your plans with increased certainty that your home will sell. Our appraisal-oriented approach to pricing your home ensures that it will sell in a predictable period of time and at the maximum market value. In addition, there will not be issues associated with the home appraising appropriately.
This market analysis also considers potential repairs and improvements as well as their affect on value and proceeds. This knowledge will equip you to determine if it is in your best interest to address certain items, knowing that they may affect how quickly your home will sell and how much cash you will take away at closing. Additional cost for this service: ZERO. Value associated with this approach: PRICELESS .
How will we serve you as your Broker?
When the analysis is complete, it’s time to review it. With this information in hand, you will be equipped to make the necessary decisions associated with the sale of your home. The essence of this is to determine how we will serve you -- either as your broker to sell your home or as an investor to buy your home from you.
As a broker, our approach to marketing your home is comprehensive.
It begins with entering the listing of your home in our local listing service: FMLS. It is through this listing service that all Web-based providers of homes for sale receive their information. It is essential that this information is correct and emphasizes the positive aspects of your home. Because of this, we do not use assistants; we enter these listings ourselves. It is our belief that in today’s market it is essential to keep your property in front of other real estate agents as well as potential buyers. We accomplish this by using a Web-based e-mail marketing program to routinely remind approximately 6,000 agents about your property. As for individual buyers, we capture their attention by providing them one of the most feature packed web sites for their home search, and personal follow up; which will keep them returning to the site and increase the exposure of your home. Within 48 hours of listing your home it will be displayed on the sites of every real estate firm in Greater Atlanta, as well as over 40 additional independent real estate search sites; such as Realtor.com, Yahoo, Trulia, Zillow, and Craig’s List.
Addressing repairs and improvements that could affect your results.
Sometimes it’s beneficial to make repairs or improvements before putting a home on the market. If there are any repairs you would like to make prior to listing your home, we will assist you in getting them done. In just the last few months we have assisted three clients in coordinating repairs and improvements to their homes. This consisted of roof and gutter replacements, removal of all exterior siding and the installation of new Hardi Board, and repainting. Each of these projects were completed in less than 10 days and resulted in thousands of dollars in savings as well as an increase in value. They allowed our clients to sell their homes more quickly and for a higher price. After improvements, each client received thousands of dollars more in proceeds than they would have if the repairs and improvements had not been made. If up-front cost is a concern, we will consider funding the cost of the work.
We will offer to purchase contingency property.
One of our most popular services is our ability to address issues associated with purchase offers that include contingency properties. Many buyers will have property they need to sell before purchasing yours. Our approach to this is to offer to purchase the contingency property. This allows for all parties to move forward with their plans with certainty and to coordinate closings and possession dates that provide ample time to move. When we purchase contingency property, we do so with cash. This also adds certainty to the transaction.
How can we serve you as an investor?
After having reviewed the market analysis and the benefits of us representing you as your broker, it’s time to evaluate our role as an investor buyer. Although this approach is not suited to everyone, it provides an option that offers certainty your home will be sold and closed at the time you choose. Guaranteed.
Avoid making repairs
Using us as an investor will allow you to avoid making any repairs on your home. If we purchase your home from you, we will purchase it as-is and will make any and all required improvements or repairs after you have moved. This will save you out-of-pocket expenses and will allow you to focus more fully on the purchase of your next home.
Eliminate the hassles associated with showing your home.
You will not get phone calls from agents wishing to show your home, and it won’t be necessary to leave your home, make arrangements for pets, or encounter the frustrations associated with appointments that are rescheduled or cancelled. You can also go ahead and begin packing without regard to any impact it may have on how your home shows.
You choose the closing date.
This is one of the greatest benefits associated with us purchasing your home from you. No longer will you need to adjust your plans to meet the needs of a buyer. You will be able to select a closing date that will best reflect your plans and goals. If you are buying another home, this will allow you to coordinate the sale of your current home with the purchase of your next home. We normally close on Thursdays and provide you the rest of the week to move prior to giving possession.
We pay all closing costs.
Since we will not be using traditional methods for funding the purchase of your home, the closing cost will be lower, and we pay them all. You need only provide a termite letter and bond. We pay all other cost associated with our purchase of your home.
How do I prepare my home for sale?
If you have decided to sell your home in a traditional fashion; it is now time to consider the steps associated with preparing it to go on the market. The time and effort you put into this phase of the process will pay dividends.
Have an inspection done on your home. This will provide you insight into any hidden issues you may not be aware of, and will provide you the opportunity to make the repairs prior to putting your home on the market. This will also greatly reduce problems associated with a buyer’s inspection of your home.
Make necessary repairs and improvements. Starting with the yard; spruce it up. Trim unruly shrubs, put down fresh pine straw, edge and groom beds. If the house needs painting; have it painted, if it needs a roof; have one installed. If resources are an issue let us know we have dependable contractors at reasonable prices. We can even advance funds for most repairs and improvements. Conditions apply.
Remove clutter and get organized. Start by packing up those things that you don’t use all the time. This may include excess pictures, items on kitchen counters, counter top mail files; garage items like extra shoes, kids play toys, and yard equipment. Additionally making sure the closets are organized will give a buyer the impression that there is plenty room for their things.
Make arrangements for the pets. This includes addressing odors, shedding, and provisions for them once the home is on the market and buyers want to see the house.
The small things matter. Provide a place in the living room, foyer or dining room for a flyer on your home and a small basket for agents to leave their cards. Making sure that these things are done will insure that your home will sell more quickly and at a higher price.
What happens after I list my home?
Now that you have prepared your home for sale; it is now time to put it on the market.
“Exclusive Seller Listing Agreement”. In Georgia as in many other states you will sign what is commonly referred to as an “Exclusive Seller Listing Agreement”. This is the document that is used to spell out the responsibilities of each party, both the Broker and you; the Seller. Contained in it will be a legal description of the property, the price that your home will be offered for sale, the Brokers commission and length of term for the listing. Additionally items such as co-brokering, signage, keys, lock boxes and advertising will be covered.
Sellers Property Disclosure. We will provide you a copy. It is a four page questionnaire that provides you the opportunity to tell a perspective buyer what you know about your home. It must be filled out promptly and accurately; since it will be a part of most contracts. If you need assistance in understanding the questions just let us know. We are here to help.
Promoting your home. Since 1981 we have become convinced that the best way to market your home is to keep it in front of agents and buyers. We do this by routinely delivering high quality email promotions to agents and buyers, and by insuring that your property is advertised on the major consumer oriented web sites. At times; depending on the property and circumstances we may suggest an open house. Additionally our feature packed web site and it search engine friendly design will not only attract new buyers but will also keep them returning. Within 48 hours of listing your home it will be displayed on the sites of every real estate firm in Greater Atlanta, as well as over 40 additional independent real estate search sites; such as Realtor.com, Yahoo, Trulia, Zillow, and Craig’s List.
Arranging for showings. You may want to include your phone number in the listing; so that agents wishing to show your home may call you to arrange a time. If possible it is best not to be there when they arrive or you may choose to leave when the do. Also it is best not to engage them in anything other than simple greetings; this will prevent them from considering your circumstances in their offer. Make sure pets do not interfere with an agent’s ability to show your home. Turn on all lights. Also please make sure that your doors are locked when you return. Sometimes agents forget to relock them.
Follow up. We make every effort to receive feedback from agents that show your home. This feedback is helpful in determining what perspective buyers and their agents have about your home, as well as what may need to be addressed or improved upon.
What happens when I receive an offer?
Upon receiving an offer on your home it is essential that certain steps be taken to insure that your interest as a seller is protected. Listed below you will find what we feel is required to accomplish this.
Review the offer. Prior to discussing the offer on your home with the buyer’s agent it is necessary to go through it thoroughly. This will provide valuable insight into financing, contingencies, closing and possession dates, and approaches to inspections. All of which will be topics of discussion when discussing the offer with the buyers agent.
Communicate with the buyer’s agent. In the discussion with the buyer’s agent, we believe that is a time to establish a relationship with the agent, as well as to systemically walk through the elements of the offer and the reasons and motives behind them. If handled correctly this will provide valuable insight into issues the buyer is tiring to address and alternatives that may work better for you and still meet their needs. It is important to create a non-adversarial relationship with the agent; where you are both working towards developing solutions that best meet the needs of the clients.
Communicate with the buyer’s lender. This is more important now than ever before. With the recent problems in the mortgage industry lenders are going out of business daily. This includes not only the small local lenders but major players in the market. As a result unless the buyer is working with a lender that can deliver the proposed mortgage products, your efforts will be a waste. The discussion with the lender should focus on their ability to deliver that product, as well as the buyer’s ability to qualify for the loan. Additionally a discussion that includes where the buyer is in the loan process, where their funds are coming from, conditions that may need to be met, other loan programs that could work for them, and insight into what their qualifying limits are. This important discussion is often times overlooked by agents, and quite often results in deals falling apart due to financing. This can be very frustrating.
Prepare a net sheet. After talking with the parties involved it is now time to reduce the elements of the offer into something that is understandable and digestible. Commonly referred to as sellers net, this is a spread sheet approach to helping you understand what the offer means to you financially. Additionally it can serve as a tool which will allow for you to strategize and track the negotiations. You will receive your initial spread sheet at the time we do the Market Analysis on your home. This way we can compare all offers to your original expectations.
Present the offer. After we have accomplished the items listed above it is time to present the offer to you. This shall include providing a copy of the offer, and the Sellers Proceeds Spreadsheet, as well as setting aside a time to discuss it and our response to it.
How are the negotiations handled?
After having prepared a Sellers Proceeds Spreadsheet showing your proceeds based on the other parties offer, it is now time to consider the offer and our response to it.
Negotiating style and approach. With your Sellers Proceeds Spreadsheet in hand showing the financial impact of the buyers offer; we can now consider our response. In considering an offer it is important to remember that there are three responses to an offer. It may be accepted as presented. It may be rejected entirely, or it may countered. In most cases the buyer and seller will usually counter each others offer several times. In many cases the items being addressed are not just financial issues. Other issues may be closing dates, date of possession, and inspection procedures. It is important to be patient during this process, and not let a buyer’s response to your counter offer create anxiety.
Responding to an offer. Now that we have evaluated the buyers offer it is now time to determine our response. With the aid of our Sellers Proceeds Spreadsheet we will be able to see the financial impact of our counter against their offer. This valuable tool allows us to see a side by side comparison of their offer and your counter as well as the impact that each counter has on the other party. This information is invaluable when attempting to massage numbers to create greater financial proceeds. Once we have arrived at our counter you will be emailed the Sellers Proceeds Spreadsheet so that you may monitor the negotiating process.
Concluding the process. This process will continue until either party accepts without change the offer of the offering party. This is considered our acceptance date, and in many cases will also be our binding agreement date. Of which the binding agreement date will be the date that triggers many other events. In most cases a report will be turned into each broker’s office which will show that the status of the property has changed from an active listing to a pending sale or contingency sale of some type. In either case once the status is changed your property will probably not be shown to other buyers.
How are inspection issues handled?
Contained in the Georgia Association of Realtors contracts; which are used by most major brokerage firms in the state are provisions for inspecting the property, and for addressing concerns which arise out of the inspection. There are three options provided in the contract for addressing the condition of the property. Special care should be given to evaluate the motives of the parties when considering each of the inspection options.
An “AS IS” Sale. In most cases you will not see this option selected by many buyers. It is an option selected by many investors when they are making an offer. If this option is chosen by a buyer they would purchase the property with any and all defects. There are generally no warranties as to the condition of the house. If you elect to have us serve you by purchasing your home from you; we would purchase it “AS IS”.
Property Sold With Right To Request Repairs. If this provision is chosen by the parties it provides the buyer a certain number of days after the binding agreement date to conduct an inspection of the property at their own expense. Additionally within the same number of days the buyer must submit a copy of the inspection report along with an amendment identifying all items from the inspection report that the seller is being asked to repair, replace or service. Once received buyer and seller will have an agreed upon number of days to negotiate the repair items and to reach an agreement on who will be responsible for addressing them. If buyer and seller can not reach an agreement during the allotted time there are provisions for the contract to be terminated.
Subject to Due Diligence Period. If this option is chosen it will provide the buyer a specific number of days to conduct any and all inspections, and to submit an amendment identifying any and all concerns which they may ask the seller to address. It also provides the buyer the right to terminate the contract for any reason prior to the expiration of the inspection due diligence period. This option in reality is no more than an option to purchase for the buyer and an obligation for the seller to sell. With this in mind many sellers may prefer an alternative inspection approach while buyer may insist on this one.
It is not necessary to become anxious over this phase of the process. If there are repairs required on your home we can assist you getting this done quickly and affordably by referring contractors and suppliers that we have worked with for many years. This will save you time, money and worry.
How do I prepare for closing?
During this period all parties to the transaction will have certain things they will be responsible for. It is important that everyone does their part to have a smooth closing. This means not waiting till the last minute to handle things.
The Seller and Their Broker
- Will arrange to make all necessary repairs.
- Will receive, fill out, and return an attorney information sheet.
- Will conclude packing.
- Will make arrangements with movers.
- Will contact utility companies to arrange for final turn offs and final bills.
- Will provide Broker a list of the utility companies and their phone numbers.
- Will make arrangement to leave the house in a clean condition.
- Will come to closing with a picture ID.
The Buyer and Their Broker
- Will submit any remaining information to their lender that is needed.
- Will transfer utilities into their name on the agreed upon date.
- Will secure home owners insurance.
- Will plan of a walk through of the property to insure repairs were made.
- Will come to closing with a picture ID.
- Will bring certified funds or a cashiers check to closing.
- Will arrange to meet the seller at the house at the time of possession.
- Will order the appraisal and make sure it arrives in a timely fashion.
- Will order the title search with the closing attorney.
- Will insure that final conditions for the buyer loan are satisfied.
- Will prepare the loan package and provide it to the attorney.
- Will arrange for the funding of the loan at the time of closing.
- Will conduct a title search.
- Will schedule a closing which will usually take about and hour.
- Will prepare a closing statement (HUD) reflecting all charges to all parties.
- Will collect and disburse all funds as provided for in the contract.
- Will issues title insurance and order survey if requested.
- Will handle and submit all loan payoffs to mortgage companies.
- Will submit all documents for recording at the county court houses.
- Will return all recorded documents to the appropriate parties after closing.
What happens after we close?
Congratulations! You have sold your home and are about to move. As you prepare to give possession there are several things to keep in mind. First of all; the contract requires that you leave the house free and clear of all personal items and debris. This includes bath cabinets, attic space, kitchen cabinets closets, basements and crawl spaces. The buyer is not expecting to have to remove left behind items.
Additionally you will want to leave the house clean. This will include thoroughly cleaning bathrooms and appliances. In many cases sellers will have carpets cleaned and will cut the grass one last time for the buyers. This goes a long way to make the move for the buyers as pleasant as possible and will pay dividends if there is ever a post closing problem that needs to be addressed.
Generally at the time of closing the buyer and seller will agree on a time to meet to do a final walk through and to turn the keys over to the buyers. This is generally a good idea since it eliminates any questions as to the condition of the property at the time possession is given. This concludes the sale and transfer of your home.
Remember Your Broker.
Don’t forget your broker after closing. Remember I am here to help. There have been countless times we have received calls from past clients who need a good contractor. Regardless of the job we will be able to provide you fast, reliable and affordable assistance for any home project you may have. And last of all, remember us when you know of someone who may be buying or selling a home. We promise to give them the same level of service that you have grown to expect.