The Three A’s to Consider in Selecting an Agent

Google “how to choose a Realtor” and your results will be trite, recycled, platitudes (experience, market knowledge, a “go getter,” etc.). The spectrum of competence among Atlanta real estate agents is broad; mediocrity often hides behind name recognition or a non-vetted referral. With so much at stake in buying or selling a home, deciding with whom to place your trust and confidence warrants digging deeper and demanding more. The three A’s – ACCESS, ADVISE and ADVOCACY offer a meaningful framework for evaluating a real estate agent.

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Fall – A Buyer’s Market?

Mid-March through June brings the greatest concentration of homebuyers into the market, particularly in the single-family home neighborhoods located in the top school districts. In spring, there is a frenzy as families scramble be settled into a new home before school starts again. Deals can be hard to find. By August, however, the buyer pool has largely evaporated, leaving motivated sellers anxious about the prospect of carrying the home through the holidays and into next year. Late summer and fall often present some very attractive homebuying opportunities.

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Is Your Agent Your Fiduciary?

A fiduciary is someone legally committed to act solely in the interest of a client; the relationship demands uncompromised loyalty, disclosure, accounting, and confidentiality. A fiduciary is bound to promote and protect the client’s interests, avoiding any self-dealing and all conflicts of interest. As a home buyer or seller, you expect your agent to be 100% in your corner – your fiduciary. It’s commonly-assumed that real estate brokerages and their agents owe a fiduciary duty to their clients. In Georgia, nothing is further from the truth…

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Home Pricing Scruples

Last summer, I interviewed to list a nice, albeit a bit quirky north metro Atlanta home. The seller insisted that the home was worth 25% more than the market indicated it was. In trying to “sell me” on an unrealistic value, he ignored the market data and effectively told me that if I couldn’t get on board with his price, he’d find an agent who could. I knew he would have no problem finding a willing, opportunistic agent to saddle up for the down hill ride…

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iBuyer – The Cost of Convenience

This article was inspired by a recent conversation with one of my Lynwood Park neighbors. She wondered why everyone wouldn’t just sell to an iBuyer rather than list their home with an agent.

The “iBuyer” is the latest thing in residential real estate. An iBuyer (short for “instant buyer”) is a company that will make an on-the-spot, cash offer to buy your home at a guaranteed price. iBuyers offer liquidity and convenience – you receive a market price for your home, close on the date you select and avoid the time and inconvenience associated with listing and selling the home. Because iBuyers purchase with cash, they can close quickly. Sounds awesome; so what’s the catch?

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The Double Dip Commission Conflict

Most home sellers understand the traditional real estate commission structure. The Listing Agreement provides for half of the (typically 6%) total commission to be paid to an agent bringing a buyer. If the buyer has no agent, however, the listing agent is entitled both sides – the entire 6% commission. The “double dip” opportunity built into the customary commission structure holds the potential for a serious conflict of interest between the listing agent and his/her client where there are two or more competing offers on the home. Don’t get sold out by your agent!

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13 Curb Appeal Tips to Sell Your Home (Fast)

The home selling season (also known a “Spring”) is right around the corner. Selling a home is all business; details matter and “curb appeal” is critical. The exterior is the first and perhaps the most lasting impression buyers will get of your home. Great curb appeal can give your property a distinct edge over its competition. Here are 13 of our most cost-effective curb appeal suggestions. These “bang for the buck” tips will help to sell your home in shortest time and at the highest price.

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$11 Million Slated for Lynwood Park Improvements

$11 million in improvements were recently approved for Lynwood Park in Brookhaven’s popular Lynwood Park neighborhood. Because of its location and walk-ability from within the neighborhood, the park is, by any measure, a valuable amenity of the Lynwood Park neighborhood. The approved park improvements will enhance not only the park, but the lifestyle value of living in the Lynwood Park neighborhood.

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Six Reasons Why FSBOs Fail

A recent study shows that more than 2/3 of By-Owner sellers (FSBOs) end up listing with an agent. Marketing and selling a home is like any business; if you are not immersed in it day-to-day, you won’t have the knowledge, experience or resources to do it well. Moreover, you won’t know what you don’t know. This reality can be costly in terms of both time and money. These are the top six reasons why FSBOs fail.

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Here Comes the Gold Rush

Sustained strength in the real estate market brings out the career changers. You can almost hear it: “I’ll get my real estate license and all my friends will use me.” Sadly, the real estate industry has trained consumers to commoditize real estate services, opening the door for social connection to become a proxy for experience and competence, and the default criterion for choosing a Realtor. Consider the cost of misguided loyalty in one of your most important legal, financial and lifestyle undertakings.

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Understanding Seller Disclosure Requirements

Anyone who has bought or sold a home is familiar with the Seller Property Disclosure Statement form. The form is designed to guide sellers in disclosing to prospective buyers known property defects. The form, a detailed checklist, gives the impression that Georgia law imposes a high seller disclosure standard. The disclosure standard is actually very limited; in fact, the law places a high degree of responsibility on the buyer to inspect the home.

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Undies in the Blue Jeans Drawer

Over-pricing a home in the electronic marketplace is like putting underwear in the jeans drawer. Someone looking for undies won’t find them. Someone looking for jeans will see the undies and and wonder why they are in the jeans drawer. For qualified buyers to find your home, it needs to be in the right price drawer.

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Smile – You’re on Camera!

If you are a buyer touring a home, be careful of what you say and do; the sellers (or their agent) may be watching, listening or recording. That’s right, the nanny cam, security camera or other audio and video devices may be active in a home during a showing, watching and listening to what you are saying about the house.

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The Three A’s to Consider in Choosing an Agent

The spectrum of knowledge, skill and experience among Atlanta real estate agents is broad. Sadly, name recognition, social obligation or unvetted referral are often the basis for choosing an agent. With so much at stake in buying or selling a home, deciding with whom to place your trust and confidence warrants more. Resume matters! Access, Advise and Advocacy offer a meaningful framework for qualifying a real estate agent.

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