Author: Black Hills Property by Gideon Oakes

4 Reasons You Should Hire Your Friend Or Family Member As Your Real Estate Agent

Should you work with a real estate agent who’s your friend or a family member?

This is such a common question. And it can be a touchy, awkward subject when you know a real estate agent and are planning to buy or sell a house.

Part of you probably wants to ignore the topic. Maybe hire another real estate agent, sell your house, or buy a house, and hope your friend or family member just doesn’t notice or find out.

They will. And it will be more awkward if you do that. So, you should address this head on.

It probably feels like a no-win situation as far as you’re concerned. If you don’t work with your friend or family member, feelings will be hurt, and the relationship will be affected forever. On the other hand, if you do work with them and something goes wrong…feelings will be hurt, and the relationship will be affected forever.

Sounds miserable. And, beyond your gut feelings and concerns, there seems to be so much information on the Internet, and in conversation, that points to it making sense not to work with someone you know…

  • What if the agent doesn’t do a good job? Will you feel fine firing him or her? Or just have to grin and bear it?
  • What if you decide not to buy or sell, and waste their time? You would feel bad…
  • What if you simply don’t want your friend or family member to “know your business” or finances…

OK, fine. All valid concerns and reasons. People use these excuses. And it can make sense for you to avoid dealing with a friend or family member, if you have solid reason not to.

But those types of reasons are easy to find elsewhere. You can feel validated and “right” by all the stuff you see online, or hear out of the mouth of some random random real estate agent who’s trying to convince you to work with him, instead of your friend or family member.

Now that we have your concerns out in the open, let’s focus on why you should hire your friend or family member. Because there’s a lack of articles pointing out why it should make total sense for you to work with a real estate agent you are friends with, or are related to.

Here are some valid reasons for listing with your friend or family member:

  • TRUST – The entire basis of the relationship between a real estate agent and their clients is that it’s a “fiduciary relationship”. Simply put, it’s a “trusting relationship”. You really ought to be able to trust a friend or family member, and their motives for counseling you, above and beyond someone you don’t even know. If you can’t, well, then you shouldn’t hire the person even if they’re your friend or are related to you.
  • ABILITY – If your friend or family member is a great agent, and is as good of a choice, if not a better choice than someone else who simply fits the bill because they aren’t your friend or family member, hire your friend or family member! Hiring some random, lesser skilled agent only serves to potentially cost you lots of time and money just to avoid the potential for awkwardness.
  • APPRECIATION – This is such a loaded subject. Real estate agents hate this issue more than you do…more than you could ever imagine. They’re constantly bracing themselves to have to deal with it at some point. If you simply talk openly about this subject with the agent you know, and show that you understand their dilemma, and feel for them, you will get some crazy appreciation from the agent. And that crazy appreciation can translate into some awesome care and service.
  • COMPASSION – This is something most agents don’t want to openly say much about. But I will. The agent you know probably really needs your support and for you (and everyone else they know) to hire them. This is a tough business. It’s highly competitive, and it’s hard to make money…not even lots of money. We’re talking just-surviving-in-the-business type of money. So when someone an agent knows uses someone else just to avoid any weirdness, it hurts. It hurts their heart, and their bank account. (And just because an agent probably isn’t getting filthy rich in this business, and needs as much business as possible, does not mean they aren’t a great agent who will do an awesome job for you!) So, have some compassion and help the agent you know, instead of some random agent you don’t really care about.

Remember: You are hiring somebody’s friend or family member anyway.

Go ahead and ask any real estate agent you don’t know if you should work with a friend or family member. But if they even sniff that you’re thinking of buying or selling, and they have a shot at business, they’ll probably give you so many reasons not to. Of course they will.

But that’s a double edged sword. Be leery of a real estate agent who pushes that angle too much, because that agent is someone’s friend or family member, and rest assured, they don’t have that same perspective when it comes to their own friends and family.

Use your own head, and your own heart to make the decision. Make it as much of a business decision as possible, but do take into consideration that there’s some amount of being a kind human that needs to be considered.

Before you hire someone else, at least sit and chat with your friend and family member who’s a real estate agent.

Better yet… sit with them now, before you’re actually buying or selling, and chat about real estate. More specifically, chat about their career. Get to know how they work, and are as an agent. So you can not only hire them when the time comes, but also so you can refer them as much business as possible starting now. They’ll surely appreciate it!

And, if you can’t possibly see yourself working with the agent you’re friends with, or are related to, at least ask them to refer you to another agent, before you just go finding a random one on your own.

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.

3 Common Fears Of First Time Home-Buyers… And How To Overcome Them

Buying your first home can be one of the most exciting experiences of your life. But it can also be one of the scariest.

Buying real estate is a complicated process. And if you’ve never purchased a home before, the fear of all those unknown variables can make the experience stressful, frustrating, and downright terrifying.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home but are dealing with the fear that comes along with it, don’t worry! You’re not alone. Most first time home-buyers deal with a certain level of fear as they get ready to buy their first home.

But that fear doesn’t have to hold you back. Here are three of the most common fears of first time home-buyers (and how you can overcome them).

“I can’t afford to buy a home.”

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The number one fear most first time home-buyers struggle with is the fear they can’t afford to buy a home.

But while there are certainly people who aren’t in the financial position to purchase a home, becoming a homeowner isn’t as expensive as you might think — and sometimes all it takes to be able to buy a home is a little budgeting.

If you’re worried about being able to afford a home, it’s time to take a good, hard look at your finances. Make a list of all of your monthly expenses and all of your debt. How much are you spending per month on living expenses? How does that compare to how much you’d be spending per month on living expenses if you were to purchase a home? How much are you saving each month? Are there any opportunities to cut back on spending and pad your savings a little more each month? How much debt do you carry and what’s your plan to pay it down?

Getting a firm understanding of your financial situation will a) give you a better idea of how much you can afford to comfortably spend on a house, and b) help you come up with a plan to get there.

“My credit isn’t perfect. How am I ever going to get a loan?”

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If you have less-than-perfect credit, a major fear you might be dealing with is how you’re going to get a mortgage.

Many first time home-buyers fear that their credit report might hold them back from securing a loan. But while getting a mortgage with not-so-hot credit can be a challenge, it’s certainly not impossible.

First things first: if you’re thinking about purchasing a home, you need to get a copy of your credit report. According to an FTC report, 1 in 5 Americans have a mistake on their credit report — and those mistakes can end up costing you in the long run. The lower your credit score, the higher your interest rates will be, so it’s important to make sure there’s nothing inaccurate on your report that’s dragging down your score.

Once you’ve reviewed your credit report, you’ll want to do everything you can to bring up your score before you apply for a loan, like pay down any high credit card balances, which will bring down your credit utilization and bump your score. You’ll also want to make sure to pay all of your bills (including your rent and utility bills) on time, which will help show lenders that you’re responsible with your debts.

If you do all of these things and still get stuck with a high-interest mortgage, it’s not the end of the world! You can always continue to work on increasing your credit score and refinance in the future.

“I have no idea what I’m doing. How am I supposed to successfully buy a home?”

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As mentioned, buying a home is a complicated process. From getting to know the market to finding the right kinds of properties to negotiating with sellers, there’s a lot to handle. And if you’ve never purchased a home, it can feel overwhelming. The sense of “I have no idea what I’m doing!” can be pretty terrifying.

But luckily, you don’t have to know what you’re doing when it comes to buying a home… as long as you work with someone who does. Working with a real estate agent who understands your market is an invaluable resource, especially to first time home-buyers. Your real estate agent can not only walk you through the entire process, but they also handle the hard stuff — like finding that perfect property and negotiating with tough sellers — so you don’t have to.

You might be afraid that the fact you’ve never purchased a house before will hinder the process, but when you work with the right real estate agent, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Purchasing your first home can be a scary process. But now that you know the most common fears — and how to overcome them — it’s time to transform that fear into excitement, get out there, and find the home of your dreams!

4 Mistakes To Avoid The First Time You Buy or Sell A Home

If it’s your first time buying or selling real estate, you don’t know what you don’t know. There are tons of potential pitfalls and challenges along the way that it’s hard to anticipate when you don’t know what to expect.

But luckily for you, most of the missteps taken by first time buyers and sellers are pretty universal, which means you can learn from their mistakes and avoid falling into the same traps.

Here are four common real estate mistakes to avoid the first time you buy or sell a home:

1. Thinking you know the right price

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The price of a home – whether you’re buying or selling – is one of the most important components of a real estate transaction. But there’s a lot more that goes into pricing than what meets the eye.

Pricing a home is a kind of science. There are so many factors that come into play – time of year, current market conditions, how quickly homes are selling the neighborhood, the current value of the home. The real estate agent takes all of those factors into consideration when coming up with the right price for a home.

Without a real estate background, it’s impossible for you to understand all of those conditions and how they affect the price of a home. If you’re selling, you’re likely to think your home should sell for a higher price because of the value it holds for you. If you’re buying, you’re likely to think a property should sell for less because that means a better deal on your end.

But ignoring your real estate agent’s pricing advice because you think you know what the price of a property should be is a mistake. As a seller, you’ll end up overpricing your house (which will leave it sitting on the market). As a buyer, you’ll end up lowballing your offer (and losing the house in the process).

The first time you’re buying or selling a home, it’s your best bet to leave the pricing to the experts. Your real estate agent will always work to get you the best deal – and keep you from pricing yourself out of the deal you want.

2. Not budging on negotiations

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Another mistake first time buyers and sellers make is being too rigid when it comes to negotiations.

Most real estate transactions require a bit of compromise. As a seller, you might need to give in on some of your buyer’s demands and as a buyer, you might need to work with the sellers a bit in order to close the deal. It’s just the way real estate works. And if you’re not willing to give an inch, the deal can very quickly go south.

Now, just to be clear: you should never compromise TOO much. Don’t compromise on the things that are important to you. But if a minor repair is all that’s standing between you and closing your real estate deal, giving in can be much easier than walking away.

3. Not thinking outside of the box

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If there’s a mistake that nearly all first time home buyers make during their home search, it’s not thinking outside of the box.

Most first time buyers have a very specific idea of what they’re looking for in a home. And while it’s fine to know what you want, refusing to look at properties that don’t check off every single item on your wish list is a major mistake – a mistake that can keep you from finding a home you’re in love with.

If you want to find a home you love, it pays to get creative and see as many properties as possible. Have certain non-negotiables (like a specific number of bedrooms or a designated outdoor space) but allow for some wiggle room on everything else. You’ll end up seeing more properties, and who knows? You might fall in love with a house that’s totally different from what you thought you wanted – a house you would never have seen if you didn’t think outside of the box.

4. Trying to do everything on your own

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Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make the first time you buy or sell a home is trying to do everything on your own.

Buying or selling a home is not only hard work, but it requires a certain level of knowledge and expertise. You need to know where to look for hot properties, how to market to buyers, how to negotiate, how to file all the paperwork… if you’ve never bought or sold a home, it can be completely overwhelming.

Which is why you need a real estate agent to walk you through the process. When you work with a great real estate agent, they make the experience of buying or selling a home easier, faster, and more profitable.

Trying to do everything on your own is a mistake. But hiring a real estate agent can quickly rectify that.

Buying or selling your first home can be overwhelming. But now that you know the most common mistakes to avoid, you’re well on your way to a stress-free first time buyer or seller experience.