Monday, December 15, 2014

5 Good Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional

The 5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened due to the projections of slightly higher mortgage interest rates and home prices as the market continues to recover. 

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream?

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are many people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS“the typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 among agent-assisted home sales.” Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional. 

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?
Dave Ramsey, the financial guru advises:
“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”
Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line:

You wouldn't replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Negotiating With The Cashiers Area Developer

Cashiers and Highlands contain some of the most distinguishing developments and neighborhoods in all of western North Carolina and it's advantageous to work with an agent that knows all of the nooks and crannies where these developments exist.  As a long-time Buyers Agent, below are some helpful insights I've learned to use while acquiring property from a developer in the Cashiers- Highlands area.
The "Outpost" at Chinquapin, Cashiers NC

1.  Prepare for the negotiation.  Be clear what you want before you enter into it.  If you a purchasing a property, you should have done a huge amount of due diligence and know the price you want to pay as a result.  Have your reasons for this standing by and stick to them.
2.  Be sensitive to timing.  In every negotiation, there are times when you can push forwards and times when you have to be patient.  Understand this and act accordingly.  For instance, developers have their “end of year” when they may need to make some quick sales to reach their sales targets.  You are more likely to get a deal if you approach them at these times.  Similarly, if a house has only been on the market for one week, the vendor is unlikely to offer you a deep discount!
3.  Don’t mention a price first.  Let the other person come up with their offer.  Many times, I have found that the person was willing to offer a greater discount than I had in mind.  If I had mentioned the price first, I would never have known!
4.  Encourage the other side to talk first … and be a good listener.  Throughout the course of the conversation, the other party may well reveal things that help your position.  Ask questions and listen carefully to the answers.  They may reveal a lot.
5.  Use the “7 magic words” … “Is that the best you can do?”.  This is a non-confrontational way of asking them to “help” you towards a better deal.  Say it with a smile and then let them think about it.
6.  Know your bottom line/highest offer in advance.  Explain clearly why this is your offer. .  Put the offer on the table and give them space to think about it.
7.  Offer and expect commitment. The glue that keeps deals from unraveling is an unshakable commitment to deliver. You should offer this comfort level to others. Likewise, avoid deals where the other side does not demonstrate commitment.
8.  Trade concessions – don’t give them away.  Never give away a concession without getting something in return (buyers tend to resist giving any concessions at all).  This is a matter of discipline and control. It’s simple. Never give anything away without getting something in return. If you do you are not negotiating you are simply conceding.
A commitment from the other person can be a suitable concession to get in return for something of relatively low value. The simplest and most elegant concession to secure is agreement to proceed with the deal now – use it to close.
9.  Leave your ego at home.  I try and build rapport with someone first, before even starting the negotiation.  Some buyer’s think that being a buyer gives them some sense of superiority and that the seller should kow-tow to them.  I don’t describe myself as a “property investor”.    Develop the talent to end the negotiation with the other side thinking that it was all their idea!  Let them take credit for it, and thank them for it.

10.  Put everything in writing and leave the door open.  Not every negotiation comes to fruition on the day.  Always put your offer into writing with your reasons for the offer being at this level.  As a Buyer, you are not in a chain, you can complete quickly etc.  These are all sweeteners to someone giving you the deal.   Your offer may not suit them at the time, but that could change further down the line.  I once had a developer come back to me six months later to agree on a deal I had put forward.  The developer said “I came back to you because you were the only person who put the offer in writing and I kept it on my desk.  When I was able to finally give the deal you wanted, I was able to contact you immediately and let you know”.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Negotiating Isn't Only About Price

We all know that negotiating price is important to the home buying process, however most buyers forget that it’s not the only thing that needs negotiating. Price is just the first thing that is negotiated – once your under contract the real deliberations begin.
There are hundreds of things to negotiate in a home sale once you’ve signed the purchase contract such as inspections, repairs, home warranty, and closing costs so it’s important to be prepared.
You Will Want A Buyer’s Agent
With so many things to negotiate in a home sale, it literally pays to have an agent on your side. So what do you need to look for in an agent? Ken Fernandez professional negotiator Broker ABR Old Cashiers Realty says, “One of the biggest things an agent needs to show is their ability to negotiate on your behalf. Buyers need to ask their agent – What negotiating tools do you have available to help me accomplish my goal?” 
It takes years of practice, market knowledge and some learning to be an great negotiator. That’s why the first thing you should look into before you start making offers on homes and trying to negotiate sales is finding an agent to help you out. Negotiating skills your agent should have include prior knowledge of your local area, professional training in negotiation strategies and most importantly unyielding determination.
As a buyer, you don’t have to pay for your agent out of pocket. Their commission comes out of the home sale so don’t let fees stop you from finding a professional to do some strong negotiating on your behalf.
Sellers are Asking for More Than They Expect to get
 If you look at listing prices and sold prices, you will notice that sold prices are always lower. That’s because sellers are already highballing when they put their home on the market, anticipating a negotiation with buyers looking for a deal. Sellers ask for more than they expect to get so it’s ok to make an offer that is below their listed selling price.
Beware: Know the market you’re up against. In a seller’s market with low inventory and bidding wars, you don’t have the luxury of making a lowball offer. In a buyer’s market however you can offer as much as 10% below a seller’s price without worry.
Be Ready to get Inside the Seller’s Mind
You have to look at what’s being said by the other side and decipher their goals or self interest in order to be a good communicator and negotiator says Fernandez Understanding the seller means understanding why they are selling their home in the first place. By understanding their standpoint and motivations, you will learn how to approach your negotiating. Are they looking forward to retirement? Are they in a rush to move out because they’re relocating for work? Knowing the seller’s motivation is the key to engaging them in negotiations and getting what you want.

List of Common Negotiations

There are hundreds of negotiations that are a part of a home sale. Here is a quick list of just a couple major points you and your agent with be negotiating on for your new home:
  • Price – Negotiating the initial price of the home is just the tip of the iceberg. Once that’s over, the bulk of your back and forth with sellers begins.
  • Timeline or length of escrow – Be prepared, the sellers will want a quick and speedy escrow because they are on their way out.  However, as a buyer you will benefit from a longer escrow period to ensure any problems with the home are resolved and your loan is handled correctly.
  • Inspections – It is crucial to have an inspection done on a home before you buy – it is standard in all home sales today. You and your agent should work on a list of contingencies to put into your purchase contract based on the findings of an inspection.
  • Home Warranty – The home warranty can be paid for by seller or buyer. While the warranty is to your benefit, some sellers are willing to pay for it as a way of preempting any further responsibility on their own part in the event that there are problems with the home post-closing.
  • Closing Costs – These costs can be paid by either party but in a seller’s market, you might offer to pay these in order to sweeten your offer.
  • Repairs – Based on the home inspection you will come up with a list of repairs. What it comes down to is asking the sellers to fix any problems that arise or negotiating a lower price.

If you’re searching for a new home and want to save yourself hassle and money, contact Ken Fernandez Not only is he here to help you find a home, Ken is dedicated to guiding you through the home buying process while keeping your personal needs first. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

3 Negotiating Tips For Mountain Home Buyers

I've been negotiating home purchases for Buyers in the greater Cashiers, NC area for over 10 years now, and as we continue to pull out of the housing market slump, understanding the history of the local market statistics have become invaluable.  Here are 3 tips to remember during the deal-making process of your home purchase:

It is critical to respond to counteroffers as soon as possible and to avoid making a counteroffer with any term that is not truly a deal breaker. Delays in responding leave the door open for another buyer to step in and create a bidding war, or even more likely, for the seller to perceive that other serious buyers might be out there. A seller's mere perception of a potential bidding war is a homebuyer's number one nemesis, ratcheting up the possible sales price in the seller's head on an exponential basis.

When you want to ask or tell the seller something, always go through your real estate agent, who will communicate your request or concern to the seller's agent. I know it seems inefficient, but it is truly a rookie move to contact the seller directly. Mostly because the terminology is tough to master and legally sensitive. Also, some seemingly minor changes to your agreement with the seller might create problems with your lender; your Realtor is better equipped than you to see these problems ahead of time. You hired your agent, so use him/her! It will prevent the catastrophic misunderstandings that can result when you or the seller says something even slightly different than what you each actually mean!

When the sold comps aren't that similar as in the Cashiers- Highlands area or sold a long time ago, a buyer can go crazy wondering what price the buyer of that pending comp agreed to pay for the place. Sometimes the listing agents of pending comps can be sweet-talked into giving up the dirt. Your real estate agent can call them up, explain the situation, and ask obliquely for contract price hints, like "Did it sell for over (or under) asking? About how far over (or under)? What was the list price to sales price ratio? Did you have multiple offers?" And you can also make some educated guesses; the longer it was on the market, the less likely it sold for the asking price. The opposite is true, too. If it went off the market really quickly, it probably sold at or over the asking price.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Give & Take

No matter how low of an offer you put in for a home, it almost never fails that at some point you get buyer's remorse wondering if you could have purchased the property for even less. Some realtors might tell you that the fair market value is what you did pay, but we all know that sometimes buyers can, and do, over pay. Often that's because they are thinking with their emotions rather than with their head. On the other hand, did you offer too little that you might lose the deal?One important fact that many are either unaware of, or tend to forget, is that negotiations are a matter of “give and take.”  Both parties to the negotiations must feel like they came away with a “win” or there is no reason for them to make the deal.  Furthermore, a key element to the negotiation process, concessions, is either often neglected, unappreciated or un-reciprocated.
Four Strategies to Help Avoid This from Occurring:
1.    Point out each concession at the time it is offered.
2.    Let the other party know that what you are giving up has value and is costly to you.
3.    Emphasize the benefits of the concessions to the other party.
4.    Don’t give up on your original demands too hastily, they just might be accepted if you maintain your resolve.
Also Imperative:
1.    Define and Expect Reciprocity – diplomatically insist upon it.
2.    Make Contingent Concessions – State that the concession is being offered only if the other party agrees to make a specified concession in return, i.e. buyer removes mortgage commitment in exchange for a more favorable due diligence date.

3.    Make Concessions In Installments – The same concession will be received more favorably if it is offered in installments.  In other words, don’t request or offer everything at once and you’ll have a better chance of an agreement.

Call me if I can help.  I go to work for Buyers.

Ken Fernandez
ABR Broker
828-743-9900 (office)
828-507-3156 (cell)