I Can’t Believe It’s Been 20 Years Already!!!!

Just reminiscing a bit today…our office is finishing up 20 years in business in the Moberly area market and starting our 21st year in 2017. Many of you do not know that my parents started Advantage Real Estate and were experienced real estate agents moving here from the Houston Texas area. They had 3 successful real estate offices at one time. The oil recession changed a lot of lives back then. They started Advantage Real Estate with a guarantee for service that states if you are not happy with our service, you can withdraw at no obligation. When I joined their team after being at another major franchise in town, I kid you not: someone either called or came by every day of the week for a year and told us they were glad there was another choice in town! We’ve built our business by staying in touch with our clients, giving them feedback after showings, keeping them informed as much as possible every step of the way in their transaction. For that we say Thank You to all that we have touched through the years!  We’d be happy to help you or a friend you know in their next real estate transaction. Have them call one of our friendly agents at Advantage Real Estate.  660-263-3393 

Feel free to share if we’ve made a difference in your life! 

Why Do Real Estate Agents Ask If You’re Pre-approved?

Have you ever walked into an open house, or called a real estate agent about a listing, and within minutes, they’re asking you if you are “pre-approved” for a mortgage?

If you haven’t, then you have never walked into an open house or called an agent. Or at least enough of them…

Just wait. It’ll happen.

And you’re going to feel like it’s pretty pushy for them to ask that.

It’s like a joke.

It makes you feel like telling real estate agents this knock-knock joke…

You: Knock-knock.

Real estate agent: Who’s there?

You: Nunya.

Real Estate Agent: Nunya who!?

You: Nunya business if I’m pre-approved or not! Just show me the house, and I’ll get pre-approved if I even like the house. I can definitely get approved for a mortgage. Probably way more than this stupid house anyway. So, stop asking if I’m pre-approved.

Try it…maybe the agent will laugh! Or, maybe not. Depends…

But it’s no joking matter.

It depends on the agent. Agents have different personalities. They all come across different ways. They all handle how they meet, greet, and chat with consumers in different ways. There’s no one way to “be”, as a real estate agent.

But every single real estate agent should be asking you if you’re pre-approved. But many do not. Because they feel like it is a bit pushy and forward. Because he or she worries about offending you. But they should ask…

…because it’s entirely relevant for them to know.

…because it’s entirely important for you to be pre-approved.

It might come across as a pushy, or invasive question. Maybe that is because of how an agent asks the question. Or when the agent asks the question. Or, simply because you don’t know that it’s a question that should be asked.

But it is not a joking matter.

And you should expect the question, be prepared to say that you are pre-approved, and…you should actually want the agent to ask you that question.

It’s not like a first date.

If you were going on a first date with someone, and one of the first things the person asked about was how much money you make, and can you afford the date, you’d feel like that was pushy and weird.

Rightfully so. You don’t go in for a kiss the minute you meet each other, let alone ask for a hand in marriage. There’s some build-up.

Beyond that, there’s some time that needs to be spent together before probing questions about finances are asked. That kind of stuff comes way after even the first kiss, because finances are a pretty private, intimate subject. Even more intimate than a kiss…

Which is why it seems so invasive when an agent you’ve just met asks you if you’re pre-approved. It feels like they’re asking you some pretty private, intimate stuff that’s none of their business.

But asking for a pre-approval isn’t like going in for a kiss. It isn’t a marriage proposal. And it isn’t probing on the part of the agent.

It is a necessary question, and an important piece of information for the agent to know. And for you!

Why does an agent ask you if you’re pre-approved?

Agents aren’t asking you if you’re pre-approved because they’re looking to size up how much you can spend. (At least not most agents…)

They want and need to know that you are serious, and qualified to buy a house.

And they certainly have their reasons for wanting to know…

  • Real estate agents need to make sure they’re working with someone who can actually buy a house. They don’t get paid until and unless the person they’re working with buys a house. So, this is a matter of being careful about who they spend their time with. It might sound selfish…but you can’t fault them for that. They’re in business. Nobody cuts them a paycheck. And showing people houses is not a public service or charity work. Even working with someone who is pre-approved doesn’t guarantee them that they’re going to make any money. But at least it’s an indication that the person they are working with can do something.
  • Agents also need to know how much you’re pre-approved for in order to advise you as well as possible. Picture an agent showing you houses for weeks, and months. You finally find “the one”! You get all excited about the house, and you want to make an offer, only to find out then that there’s no way you could afford the house. This leads to heartbreak and aggravation…for both of you. It doesn’t do either of you any good to go through all of that only to find out you can’t afford the houses you were looking at…or even buy one at all.
  • And, to a degree, this is a safety precaution. You might not believe this, but agents are in a pretty risky position. If they just say OK to every person who calls and asks to go see a house, with absolutely no proof or verification of who the person is, that puts them at risk. Sure, a pre-approval won’t necessarily stop an evil person from doing something, but this is a pretty basic precautionary request.

Why you should want an agent to ask if you are pre-approved.

Even if you have just started browsing for a home just a little bit, and haven’t gotten pre-approved (yet)…at least expect the question. Don’t be offended when you’re asked if you are.

In fact, pay closer attention to the agents who do ask if you’re pre-approved! The ones who ask make it easy for you to find a great agent to work with.

Because if they’re asking that question, it’s a good sign that they are thorough and thoughtful about how they do their business. That’s the type of agent you want to have on your side when you’re buying a house — one who’s careful from the get-go. One who pays attention to the details. One who isn’t going to waste your time any more than their own. Or allow your heart to be broken when you fall in love with a house you can’t do anything about.

And if you want to get some really good attention and service from the best agents you come across, don’t even let them have to ask if you are pre-approved…

Get pre-approved before you even start looking. And let the agent know you’re pre-approved before they even ask. You’ll set yourself apart from almost every buyer the agent has ever met.

Why Your Home Isn’t Getting Shown As Much As You Think It Should

Why Your Home Isn’t Getting Shown As Much As You Think It Should

 

 

 

Picture having your house for sale, and you feel like it isn’t being shown enough. Or maybe it isn’t really being shown at all.

You expected lots of buyers coming through. Ideally, you even expected an offer (or multiple offers!) to come in pretty quickly.

But instead, not that many people seem to even know your house is for sale. Otherwise, they’d come out and see it. If people would come and see it, the house would practically sell itself, because it’s so nice.

You’re discouraged, frustrated, and angry…

You wonder if your real estate agent is doing his/her job.

Isn’t your agent supposed to be showing the house to their own buyers? That doesn’t seem to be happening.

Aren’t the other agents in your agent’s office supposed to be showing the house to their buyers?
Not one agent from his office has shown it yet.

Isn’t your agent supposed to be spreading the word to other real estate agents at other companies, and getting them to show the house to their buyers? Again…not happening. At least not as much as you anticipated.

And, isn’t your agent supposed to market your home, so that buyers that neither he, she, or any other agent even knows about, will come out and see your house?

Your agent probably isn’t doing anything wrong.

While it’s natural to be frustrated, it won’t do you much good. It will do you less good to be angry, or disappointed with your real estate agent.

You’ve probably expressed your frustration, and all your agent seems to be doing is making excuses. Or pushing you to do something you don’t want to do…like lower your price. Your frustration, and pushing to see more showing activity, may very well be forcing your agent to react that way, when in fact all you need is some perspective.

What may help you most in this situation is some third-party, objective thoughts. So, here goes.

First, here are some basic things many homeowners do not know.

  • There are only so many buyers in the market at any given time.
  • Not all of the buyers are even ready, willing, and able to even buy your house right away.
  • Some buyers are just getting started looking, and much of that begins online.
  • Most of the buyers who are truly ready, willing, and able to buy are the only ones you need to care about.
  • And most of them are represented by, and working with a real estate agent.
  • Maybe an appropriate, ready, willing, and able buyer is working with your listing agent…but, most likely not.
  • And, there’s a good chance that the most appropriate buyer isn’t even working with another agent within your listing agent’s office.

OK, with that under your belt, let’s get into a few more thoughts.

  • Not that many years ago, people had to call the listing agent or their office for even the most basic information about your house…like the price, or address. Or at least have a buyer’s agent who represented them to get them the information.
  • If they saw a picture of a home for sale, it was likely just that…a picture. Of the outside of the house.
  • Both of the above caused buyers who were at even the earliest stages of buying to come out and see a house for sale. It was the only way to rule out a house. It was the only way to get their feet wet and get a handle on what they could afford.
  • None of that is necessary anymore, now that the Internet has allowed so much information to be available to buyers at all stages of the process to see from the comfort of their own home.

The Internet has cut down on showings.

Buyers at all stages of the process (just beginning, all the way to needing to make a decision immediately) see a house that goes for sale immediately, in real time, as it pops up on the market. Pictures and all.

They can even see maps of the location, aerial views, street views, videos, etc. They can literally see inside the property, with all of the pictures made available nowadays!

There’s virtually no need to go out and physically see a property…unless it’s of actual interest to them. Before, they had to go out just to rule out houses. So, almost every house on the market would get more showings back in the day. Every buyer, at every stage of looking, would come out just to get a peek. Now they do it remotely.

This cuts down on how many buyers come out to see your home.

And only the most interested, most serious, ready, willing, and able buyers are coming out to see your home.

This is a good thing…it’s efficient.

So why isn’t your house being shown?

It’s natural for an owner to want more showings. But, be careful what you wish for.

Just creating traffic through your house isn’t entirely beneficial. You should only want serious, ready, willing and able buyers coming through. And remember, there aren’t endless amounts of them in the market.

What’s the use of harassing your agent to create traffic and showings if the buyers have no ability or intention of actually buying the house? You are tasking your agent with creating a bit of a dog and pony show for you.

Instead, sit down or hop on the phone with your agent and get down to what the real root of the problem is. The most sensible thing to do is for you and your agent to analyze what the cause is, and hopefully generate more showings.

Go over things like the following:

  • Is it the overall market? Are there not that many buyers actually buying in your area and price range? If so, maybe just be patient.
  • Are the buyers who have seen your house buying other homes? Then, maybe your house is overpriced, or not as appealing as other choices in the area and price range.
  • Is your house not being shown at all? Good chance that it’s either your price is too high, or there are no buyers in the market. Again, look to see if there are other houses comparable to yours selling.

More often than not, the reason a house isn’t getting shown is due to either the market being a bit slow, or the price being too high. It’s that simple.

Pricing appropriately within the market should get your house shown and sold quickly to the ready, willing, and able buyers in the market…as long as there is at least a buyer who is ready, willing and able in the market.

So, just take a moment to truly understand that creating more showings won’t solve the problem of getting your home sold. You can have showings every hour of every day, but there are only so many true buyers in the market, and they are aware of every house on the market the minute it comes on.

If nobody is coming, and / or nobody is buying it…it’s either price, or a lack of buyers altogether.

Do You Hate When Real Estate Agents Ask You This Question?

 

 

Have you ever gone to an open house? Or called a real estate agent about a listing you see? Maybe e-mail an agent about a property he/she has listed?

You just want to check out a house. Maybe you’re just curious. Or, maybe you’re even pretty serious about buying a house. Doesn’t matter. All you’re doing is wondering about a house. That’s it. That’s what you want to talk to the agent about…the house you came to see, or called about.

And it seems like one of the first questions an agent asks you is, “Do you have a house to sell?

It’s a seemingly odd question, right? It doesn’t make sense for them to ask that question…at least not at that moment.

It seems a bit “cart-before-the-horse”, doesn’t it?

It might even come across as kind of pushy and forward, and beside the point.

Whether you have a house to sell or not seems irrelevant at that point. You don’t even know if you like the house, or will buy the house you are looking at. And you aren’t even thinking about selling your house, until and unless you find the house you want and actually have an offer accepted.

So, why do agents bring this up all the time?

You probably figure it’s because they’re hoping you do have a house to sell, so they can list the home you own, sell you this one you are asking about, and get two sales off of you.

Or that they want you to list your home, and get it under contract, so that you have to move…(again, so they can get two sales off of you).

Which makes you feel like they’re just looking to make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible, off of you. And, all of your fears and perceptions about real estate agents seem justified…

Whether you have a home to sell or not matters.

It might seem kind of early on for the agent to ask you this. But it’s not.

In fact, this question should be asked, answered, and addressed, before you even look at a house to buy.

Agents need to know this.

You need to know this.

And it has nothing to do with an agent wanting to make more money, or any money at all, off of you.

Because, if you own a home, the chances are…you need to sell your house before you can buy another one.

That doesn’t apply to everyone, of course. But most people can’t buy another home, until and unless the house they currently own is sold…

…which doesn’t sound all that appealing to most people. It begs so many questions. Here’s a few of them…

  • Who wants to sell their home without having lined up the one they are buying first?
  • What if you can’t find a house you want to buy once your home is sold?!
  • Won’t that put you in a tough spot to negotiate the best price of a home you want to buy, since you will be under the pressure of time? Will you have to overpay just to make sure you have a house to move to?

Those are just a few of the most common, and valid concerns.

Maybe You Don’t Need To Sell Your Home First…

Almost everyone an agent meets wants to be able to buy a house, without having to sell the house they already own first.

So, agents are always asked if there are alternatives.

Basically, there’s one that solves this problem every single time.

Do you have enough cash to just buy a house outright!? If so, you are in luck!

Go ahead and look for a house, and buy one. Move out of your house and into the new one. Then sell the old one at your leisure. You have options most people do not.

There are some other options, of course. But they aren’t definitely options for everyone.

For instance:

  • A bank might loan you money to buy your next house without selling your other one first. There are certainly circumstance and products that will allow for this. But this depends heavily on you and your financial picture.
  • You might be able to negotiate a “home sale contingency”…meaning, the owner of the house you want to buy agrees to give you time to sell your home, and your purchase is actually contingent upon getting your house sold. (Tough thing to negotiate in a lot of markets, or with many sellers. It isn’t all that appealing to sellers. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute… Would you agree to that as a seller?)

While you might be able to find an alternate route, other than selling your house first, it’s unlikely. And in many cases, it makes you a less than desirable buyer…which limits your options, and ability to negotiate a good deal.

So many people lose out on the house of their dreams, because they search and find it before they are in position to do anything about it. It’s a recipe for wasted time, aggravation, disappointment, and heartache.

So, what should you do?

First, you should assess what your options are as early on as possible.

Speak to a real estate agent and a mortgage lender.

If you discover that you have options beyond having to sell your place first, awesome!

But if not, don’t feel like you are the only person on earth to ever be put in this position. You have a lot of company.

That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, of course.

What will make it easier for you, and set you apart from everyone else in the same position, is understanding how critical it is to sell your home first. And, having a solid plan and approach to time the sale of your home, and the purchase of the next. (Which a great real estate agent can help you come up with.)

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Hire The Agent With The Most For Sale Signs In Town

 

You want to hire the best agent when you sell your house.

You see real estate agent “John Listalots” all over town. His signs are everywhere. So, you figure he must be a great agent.

It seems like he sells almost everything in town, and you figure that he probably “has all the buyers”.

From an outsider’s point of view, this makes sense…

What better way to gauge and choose the best agent to list and sell your home?

You have the evidence in front of your eyes. So many other people have chosen him to sell their home, how could it not be true?

Something you should know…

Before we get into the three reasons why you shouldn’t just hire the agent with all the signs around town, there’s something you should know.

Very few real estate agents do tons of business. In any given area, there’s always an agent or two who seem to do all of the business.

But that doesn’t mean that the few agents who do most of the business, are the best agents.
Nor does it mean that the agents you don’t see doing much business are not the best agents.

There’s a difference between “top” agents, and “best” agents.

The “top” agents aren’t necessarily the “best” agents, who will do the best job for you, and get you the most money for your home. (But that isn’t to say they can’t, don’t, or won’t either.)

It’s just to say that you can’t judge an agent by the number of for sale signs they have up in town.

Don’t hire a real estate agent just because they have tons of for sale signs around town.

And, don’t not hire an agent who doesn’t have a lot of for sale signs around town.

The 3 reasons…

1. Appearances can be misleading.

Just because an agent has tons of for sale signs up around town all of the time doesn’t mean that the agent is selling them all. He might only sell half of the houses he lists.

And, the ones he does sell, he might not necessarily sell for the highest possible price.

Maybe he does. But maybe not. Just don’t base your decision off of appearances.

You might be better off hiring an agent who doesn’t sell lots of houses per year, but gets them all sold, and for the highest price possible.

2. Time and attention.

An agent who has lots of listings on the market could very well not have a whole lot of time and attention to devote specifically to you and your house.

Again, maybe he or she does manage to pay close and careful attention to every single one of their clients. But maybe not. In fact, there is a good chance an agent doing so much business cannot pay you lots of attention.

You might be better off hiring someone who has less listings, and can devote a lot of time and attention to you and the sale of your home.

3. They are too good at selling.

An agent who is good at finding and getting so much business is likely a very good salesperson.

But what are they good at selling? Maybe they do sell a lot of the houses they list, and quickly

Does that mean that agent did the best job and sold it for top dollar, or is it that the agent is good at selling their own client on agreeing to less than the best price and terms? Could they get more for their client? Is the agent pushing his or her own clients to do things, just to make a quicker sale, or a sale at all?

Almost impossible to prove. And not necessarily the case with a top producer. It’s just food for thought.

And it’s food worth chewing on…

Because so many great real estate agents, who take a tremendous amount of care in getting their clients the absolute best results, get overlooked simply because they aren’t the agent with the most for sale signs up around town.

Don’t overlook the best agent in your area, by just hiring the top agent in your area who has the most signs.

Dig a little. Ask around for that local agent who happens to be the best kept secret. And when you find one, don’t doubt your choice just because they aren’t the top producer. Trust him or her, and let your agent do the best job possible.

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A Simplified Guide to Your Home Inspection – Part II

A Simplified Guide to Your Home Inspection – Part II

 

 

 

If you have recently gone under contract to buy a home, you may be planning for your physical inspection. A lot of information will be thrown at you in a very short period of time, and a large amount of it is confusing. Hopefully, this will simplify your process. Part I of this article covered roofs, foundation, plumbing and electrical systems. Here, we will cover windows, landscaping, and termites.

Your inspector may recommend new windows. If you are happy with your old windows, they function well, and the casings are in good shape, that is great. But installing new windows is a great way to make your home more energy efficient. New windows are not inexpensive, though. Your window installer may need to repair the window casing (see the termite section, below). If you would like to maintain a vintage look, know that custom windows are really expensive. Also, you will likely have to paint inside or outside once installed. There is one more issue with windows – if the exterior is not sealed properly, they can leak during rains. This is more common than you think, even with condominiums. However, new windows can save you energy dollars and really freshen the look of your home.

Depending on what part of the country you live in, you may have visions of all new landscape including hardscape (created mounds, decorative or retaining walls, etc.). Nothing makes a house look more like eye-candy than refreshed landscape. Or, you may want a simple grassy yard, which might require sprinklers. Be warned – all of this is can be really pricey. Hopefully, you and your gang will want to plant, weed and replant yourselves, which is very time-consuming but can be a lot of fun. And once it stops being fun, you can always hire a gardener.

The other landscape item that your inspector may point out are your home’s trees and their roots. You will need to trim branches regularly to keep them off your roof. The big thing, however, are tree roots as they can lift or crack a foundation and invade sewer lines. If this occurs with a big tree that you wish to keep, you may want to hire a tree surgeon to cut the right roots and leave the other roots alone.

Finally, your inspector will check your outside drains and sump pumps, if you have them. These need to function perfectly so you do not have standing water close to (or in!) your house after heavy rains.

Depending on where you live, you may have a separate termite and wood-destroying organism inspection. Just about every house has termites. Termites are often even present in brand new lumber for brand new houses! In addition to eradicating the little pests, you may need some wood replaced. This is common with window sills and casings, wood overhangs and wood posts. The termites will come back, as well. It is a good idea to have your home inspected every two years or so, top to bottom, and eradication done then.

Hopefully, this has taken some of the mystery out of your inspection. Remember that everything can be repaired or replaced – at a price, of course.