Choosing a Realtor

Aside

Choosing a Realtor: 10 Questions Your Agent Should be Asking You

Buyers aren’t the only ones who should be asking questions when interviewing agents. After answering all of your questions, it is the agent’s turn to further define your wants and needs by asking these ten questions:

1. Why buy and why now?

Helps the agent gain valuable insight into your reasons for buying a home tailor his or her services to your situation.

2. Are you working with a lender?

If you are not yet pre-approved, your agent will recommend a lender.

3. How many houses have you already looked at?

Helps us learn about your home search efforts and determines whether you are or have been working with other agents.

4. How do you prefer to be contacted?

Knowing the best way to communicate with you, whether via phone, email, or text, will set expectations as to when you (and your agent) are available.

5. What if we found the perfect house tomorrow?

This helps gauge your readiness to move and get insight into your timeline. Are you looking to move in the next three months? If you are a first time buyer, we will also discuss the home buying process.

6. What are your three favorite neighborhoods?

A fun way to talk about where you would like to live while having a conversation about local communities, neighborhoods, and subdivisions.

7. What is your favorite room in the house?

This helps us learn more about your lifestyle and opens up the discussion to features you are looking for in a “dream home”.

8. How important is outdoor/garage space?

In many areas and price ranges, this question quickly eliminates a number of options. Would you be willing to live in a condo or do you require a home with a garage and private back yard?

9. How long do you think you will live in the house you buy?

You may want a house you can enjoy for now that will be easy to sell later. Or you may want a forever home and have more particular requirements.

10. What is a deal breaker for you?

Roads with a lot of traffic? Apartment complex neighbors? No front yard? This question saves time by knowing your deal breakers upfront.

Whether you’re a first home buyer who is learning the ropes or moving onto your next home, these questions should help you to clarify your goals while selecting the right agent for you.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

June Housing Scorecard

Aside

Housing Market Continues to Make Progress

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury recently released the June edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard – a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market. The latest data show progress among key indicators, including growing equity and a rebound in the sale of new and existing homes. While this scorecard notes positive overall trends in the housing market, officials caution that more work needs to be done as the economy recovers from the Great Recession. The full Housing Scorecard is available online at www.hud.gov/scorecard.

“The June Housing Scorecard shows the housing market continues to make progress as we move into the summer months,” says HUD Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research Katherine O’Regan. “Sales of new and existing homes are up, equity continues to grow, and foreclosures starts continue trending down. While these are all signs of a healthy recovery, given the severity of the housing crisis, we must stay committed to helping homeowners.”

“Although the housing market continues to improve, Treasury remains committed to helping homeowners who are still struggling to make their mortgage payments,” says Treasury Acting Assistant Secretary Tim Bowler. “To date, more than 1.3 million homeowners have received a permanent modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), saving an estimated $28.2 billion in mortgage payments.”

The June Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market and the impact of the Administration’s foreclosure prevention programs, including:

Purchases of new homes surged by 18.6 percent in May. New-home sales rebounded to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 504,000 in May, following sales of 425,000 in April, and were up 16.9 percent from one year ago. Purchases of new homes rose in May by the biggest monthly gain in 22 years (since January 1992) and to the highest level since May 2008, indicating that home sales are rebounding from a severe-weather induced lull during the previous two quarters. (Source: HUD and Census Bureau).

Sales of previously owned (existing) homes rose again in May after a lackluster performance in the previous two quarters. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reported that existing homes—including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and cooperatives—sold at a pace of 4.89 million (SAAR) in May, up 4.9 percent from April but remain 5.0 percent below the 5.15 million pace a year-earlier.

Foreclosure starts continue their downward trend. Lenders started the public foreclosure process on 49,240 U.S. properties in May, down 10 percent from the previous month and down 32 percent from one year ago to the lowest level since December 2005—a 101-month low (although foreclosure starts were up from a year ago in 12 states). (Source: Realty Trac)

Foreclosure completions also fell in May. Lenders completed the foreclosure process (bank repossessions or REOs) on 28,373 U.S. properties in May, down 6 percent from the previous month and down 27 percent from one year ago to the lowest level since July 2007—an 82-month low (although bank repossessions were up from a year ago in 14 states). (Source: Realty Trac)

The Administration’s foreclosure mitigation programs continue to provide relief for millions of homeowners as the recovery from the housing crisis continues. In all, more than 8.5 million mortgage modification and other forms of mortgage assistance arrangements were completed between April 2009 and the end of May 2014. Nearly 2.1 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, including nearly 1.4 million permanent modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered more than 2.3 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions through May. The Administration’s programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with HOPE Now lenders offering families and individuals more than 4.1 million proprietary modifications through April (data are reported with a 2-month lag).

For more information, visit www.hud.gov/scorecard.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.