Q: How are real estate agents paid?
A: Real estate agents (and the brokers with whom they are licensed) are usually paid a commission. A commission is a fee, often calculated as a percentage of a home’s sale price, paid to a real estate broker. The broker then divides this fee, sharing it with the real estate agent and cooperating broker/agent (if any) in the transaction. An agent skilled in marketing, negotiating, and in closing the transaction often can make you more money than the fees you pay them. By law, there is NO set commission schedule for real estate transactions. Typically, the agent commission IS PAID BY THE SELLER.
Q: How are buyer’s agents compensated?
A: It used to be that seller-only agency was “customary” in residential real estate. The real estate commission was thought to be paid by the home’s seller, deducted from the home sale proceeds at the time of closing. Real estate agents and brokers represented the interests of the property’s seller; the buyer was unrepresented in the transaction – and usually not even aware that this was the case!
This “conventional wisdom” changed across most of America, during the 1990s: without buyers, nothing sells. The real estate commission is derived from the proceeds of the home sale, and is really paid by both buyer and seller. Both parties are entitled to an “agency relationship,” and the representation it entails.
With the advent of buyer agency, homebuyers are now able to be fully represented by a real estate agent in the purchase of property. In most states, it’s rare that buyers would pay their agent/broker directly for services in finding and purchasing a home. If a broker does charge buyers a direct fee, it should be outlined in an exclusive agency agreement that the buyer signs when engaging the broker.
When a buyer is represented by a real estate agent, she/he comes to terms on which services the buyer-client is seeking, and the manner in which the agent will be compensated for providing those services. In most cases, a fee or commission is still derived from the seller’s proceeds of sale, and shared between the seller’s (listing) and buyer’s (selling) agents and brokers.
Q: What typically goes into an agreement for buyer representation?
A: Like any contract, a buyer representation agreement needs beginning and ending dates, acknowledgement of your willingness to be represented by the company and its agent, and what (if anything) you will pay for real estate-related services. New Centuri Properties does not charge any transaction fee or additional fees.
Q: What is an Agency Disclosure?
A: An Agency Disclosure is a state-required document, disclosing to you as a principal in a real estate transaction (in this case, the buyer) whom the agent(s) in that transaction represent. A state’s Agency Disclosure simply notifies you of that state’s agency laws; it does not obligate you to work with any particular agent or broker.
Q: How are buyer’s agents compensated?
A: It used to be that seller-only agency was “customary” in residential real estate. The real estate commission was paid by the home’s seller and deducted from the proceeds at the time of closing. Real estate agents (and the brokers with whom they were licensed) represented the interests of the property’s seller. The buyer, however, was unrepresented in the transaction – and usually not even aware that this was the case!
With the advent of buyer agency, this need no longer be the case. Home buyers are now able to be fully represented by a real estate agent in the purchase of property.
The buyer and real estate agent come to terms on which services the buyer-client is seeking, and the manner in which the agent will be compensated for providing those services. In most cases, a fee or commission is derived from the sellers proceeds of sale and shared between the seller’s (listing) and buyer’s (selling) agents.
Q: Is New Centuri Properties a member of the Multiple Listing Service?
A: Yes – New Centuri Properties belongs to the local MLS, as well as being members of the National Association of Realtors, Texas Association of Realtors and Houston Association of Realtors®.
Q: Should I buy first … or sell first?
A: The answer to this question lies squarely with you. Do you need the equity that’s built up in your present home to complete the purchase of your new home? If so, you either need to sell first or consider a bridge loan or house sale contingency. We strongly suggest that you engage a real estate agent with whom you can enter a trusting relationship. Then discuss this question with him or her, touching on every aspect of what it may mean for your particular situation.
Q: I’m thinking about buying a home. Where do I start?
A: The first step in the plan for potential homebuyers is a credit check. It’s best to keep an eye on your credit reports so you can spot any mistakes and dispute them. Also, avoid running up high credit card bills in the months prior to buying a home.
These two things will help you in the next phase of your game plan, pre-approval on a mortgage. A full-service real estate broker will be able to help you with this portion of the plan. Pre-approval includes analyzing your income, assets and present debt to estimate how much house you can afford. This means the lender has committed to loaning you the money subject to the house you choose to buy. Being pre-approved for a loan will make you attractive to sellers because the contract won’t be tied up with financial issues.
After you know how much you can spend, you are in the homestretch. This is the time for you to become familiar with neighborhoods and the features of a home. Educate yourself by visiting local real estate Web sites and viewing the inventory of listings. This is also the time for you to decide what you want and need in a home.
Q: Why do I need an agent to help me find a home with all of the technology and advertising available?
A: The Internet and newspaper ads are good places to start researching what the current housing market is like. You can also find information to help answer many of your financing questions. Once you have looked at what’s available to you it’s time to get a professional involved. You might spend hours scanning newspaper ads and home magazines, driving through neighborhoods looking for “for sale” signs or phoning on individual listings, and still miss the opportunity to see some of the best homes available.
Q: What should I consider when I start to look for a home?
A: First, put together a list of features and benefits you want in a home. Think of such things as pricing, location, size and amenities. If you can’t get a home at the price you want with all the features you are looking for, figure out what features are most important to you and rank them in priority so you know what you’re willing to give-and-take. Would you rather have a large kitchen and smaller bedrooms? Also consider your needs in the future. Maybe now is the time to buy a larger home rather than expanding a smaller home in the future. Your Realtor can also help you compare the price of homes with the features you are looking for or suggest alternate uses of space.
Q: How do I choose between renting or buying?
A: Owning a home offers tax benefits as well as the freedom to make decisions about your home. Homeowners, unlike renters, can secure a fixed-rate loan and lock in their monthly payments and make investment plans knowing these expenses won’t change substantially. However, rent can go up each year without the renter’s input. Renters are at the whim of their landlord, while homeowners are in control of their property when it comes to decisions, such as whether they allow pets, any decorating or improvements that are permanent.
Q: As a buyer, do I have the right to obtain past information about the property I am interested in purchasing?
A: Yes. Sellers are required to disclose all known defects associated with the property. With the help of your Realtor, you can find out what has happened to the property in the past. You should make careful observations, examine the property and request or otherwise obtain any records important to you. These requests should be in writing. If you decide to put an offer on a home, it is important to have a professional inspection completed before closing.
Q: If I am thinking about buying a newly-constructed house, why do I need an agent?
A: Building a home often requires hours of research and decision-making. You must first decide what area you want to build in and which builder you want to work with. After these initial decisions, you still have many choices of floor plans, building materials and fixtures. Personalization and freedom of choice are some of the benefits of building a home, but they can also be very stressful. An agent will guide you through the entire home building process and help you along the way should you need it. You’ll still get to make the choices on your own, but your agent will be there to help, keeping your best interests in mind. Also, buyer representation comes at no cost to you.