7 Reasons to Use a Real Estate Agent

Posted on Oct 5, 2011 in Mortgage News

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by Universal Pops (mostly off until Oct 12)

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by andrewmalone

Profiles in Green Building: the Austin Real Estate Market

Austin has long been a home for friendly folk- friendly to each other, viagra buy friendly to animals, case and friendly to the environment. What used to be considered as only the concerns of hippies and the bohemian sect, link environmentalism is now at the forefront of commercial and residential design, and “green” businesses are popping up nationwide. Austin, however, was the first city in the United States to establish a local green-building program, laying out environmentally friendly and sustainable guidelines for home builders and its interested citizens back in 1991.

Since the Austin real estate market is known nationwide as the leader of these green building methods, the National Association of Home Builders chose the city as its hub to launch an industry-wide effort to establish green-building guidelines in 2004. These guidelines now provide a practical nationally recognized framework for builders to follow to reduce a home’s environmental impact by making them more energy efficient, improving indoor environmental quality, and so on. Though Austin has already been using similar guidelines for over a decade, now the rest of the country is following suit.

The City of Austin and Austin Energy provide a great resource to owners of Austin homes, and new home builders, who are looking for ways to conserve energy, and build an environmentally friendly home. The city’s website offers a list of companies willing to do an energy analysis of a home that will determine possible options to help the house conserve more energy, with suggestions ranging from air conditioning repair to weather stripping doors. The city then will offer a 20 to 75% of that cost.

For those Austinites building a new house or commercial building, the city created the Austin Energy Green Building organization to promote the construction of high quality, more sustainable buildings, and has even zoned sections of the city’s real estate to require an Austin Energy Green Building rating. Four times a year, the organization also holds a one day “Green By Design” workshop open to the public. The workshop provides an overview of the green building process, and brings in design, building, engineering, landscaping, and Austin real estate professionals with many years of experience in homebuilding and remodeling, to help make sense of it all.

In March of this year, Austin was named as the city leading the country in “cleantech” by SustainLane, an online resource center that offers sustainability tips to state and local government. The term “cleantech” refers to venture capital-based startups based in green technology, with Austin as the front runner with seven such startups, ranging from internet-controlled irrigation to geothermal energy technologies. To keep Austin on the cutting edge of green technology, the Clean Energy Incubator program was set up to help young clean energy businesses succeed by commercializing their ideas. With citizens, government, and forward thinking businesses, Austin will likely be the city to follow in the environmental battle for years to come.

Ki is a real estate agent in Austin and can help buyers find a green friendly home in the Austin real estate market. If you are looking for more information on the Austin market his Austin real estate blog is a good place to start your research or you can search for homes on his Austin MLS search.

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by Kenski1970

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by Let Ideas Compete

7 Reasons to Use a Real Estate Agent

Some people choose to use a real estate agent and some people choose to go it alone. One thing I have noticed over the years is that a number of seasoned investors looking in a new city will seek out a good agent while novice investors will frequently go it alone. I have even had a number of successful real estate agents seek out my help when they are moving to our city. Why do some of these seasoned investors choose to work with an agent? Below is a list of 7 benefits of using an agent.

1. Understand potential restrictions of the property. I recently heard a story from a friend at the city development office in Austin Texas. A couple had saved up for their retirement. They wanted to retire and live out in the hill country. They went to the foreclosure auctions. At the auction they purchased a lot for 500, cure 000. It had great views and they were going to build their dream house on it. They had researched the lot before the auction and found it was zoned SFR which means a single family residence can be built on it. After purchasing the lot they started plans to build their retirement house. At this time they discovered the lot was in the 25 year floodplain. My friend at the city development office explained that the lot could not be built on and was basically worthless.

2. Know about new developments that might affect a properties value. A good realtor will know of proposed new developments that might affect different properties in which a buyer is interested. Whether these developments are positive or negative can be valuable information when weighing different housing options.

3. Find potential problems with a property. It is always a good idea to have a home inspector look at a potential house. However, a Realtor is a good first line of defense to see if a house has inherent problems. A Realtor that can know about common problems, such as foundation or electrical, that affect a particular neighborhood.


4. Understand contracts specifics. Whenever you buy or sell a house you are entering into a large personal transaction. It helps to have someone on your side that deals with these types of transactions on a daily basis. A Realtor can help you understand contracts and can explain what is typical for your area. The most common pitfall into which I see unrepresented buyers fall is to become involved in an atypical contract that is not to their benefit. For instance a seller will sign an offer that has an option period that is 4 times longer than what is typical. A buyer might put in offers on multiple properties with long option periods. The buyer will wait and see if the market appreciates. If the market has appreciated the buyer buys the house at now and undervalued price. If the market has gone down the buyer walks away.

5. Misperception of a benefit of going it alone. Buyers frequently think that by not using a buyers agent they will get a better deal from the seller. In most situation the listing agent asks for 6 percent from the seller. If a buyer comes with an agent the listing agent splits the 6 percent with the buyers agent. If an unrepresented buyer comes the listing agent keeps the whole 6 percent. On the selling side, For Sale By Owners (FSBO) often think they are saving alot of money by avoiding a listing agent. Nationally, FSBO homes sell for 14 percent less than agent listed homes in the same neighborhoods. In addition alot of FSBO’s still end up having a buyers agents involved. There is also money spent on advertising. Since an agent has experience marketing homes the agent often can spend money more effectively on advertising. Agents often know which advertising sources produce the most potential buyers.

6. Save time when looking for listings. Looking for listings without an agent can take up large chunks of time. When looking with an agent you can see several homes in a few hours. When going it alone you have to call the listing agent for each house and wait at the house for the agent to arrive and open up the house. In addition agents often know houses which are not listed or may have already identified potential problems with a particular house of interest.

7. Insure Security. When a home is listed with a broker, agents coming to the house have to usually log in. This allows the listing agent to keep a record of every party coming into the house. Since their business is on the line, agents are more likely to protect the house from damage or theft. For a variety of reasons, it is generally not a good idea to have random people you do not know come into your house. Often sellers simply have a phone number, but that phone could be their house, a friend’s house, a pay phone, or even a stolen phone.

Searching for a home can be stressful and difficult but it can also be fun. Whether you choose to look for a home on your own or with a Realtor its a good idea to be a extremely careful when you seek out your dream home.

Ki Gray is a realtor with the Austin Texas Real Estate in central Texas. Their website escapesomewhere has a free Austin homes search. They also offer a custom Real Estate Calculator.

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