SALE

Common Q & A for Buyers

Buyers usually have many questions about the process of buying a house. Love The Green Real Estate Consulting Firm offers detailed information on our website in the Buy Section and on YouTube. Today we thought we’d answer some of the most common questions.

 

What is the difference between a Realtor and an Agent?

Although both must be licensed to sell real estate, the main difference between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor is the latter is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. A Realtor must subscribe to the Realtor Code of Ethics which includes 17 articles. Many consumers only want to work with a Real Estate Agent who has sworn to treat all parties fairly and honestly.

 

When can I start looking at properties?

Several things need to happen before we start looking at properties.  First, if you are getting a loan, you need to meet with a lender (we can recommend some for you) to find out how much you qualify for.  Next, we will meet and talk about the home buying process in NC, and your wants and needs concerning your future purchase. Then you need to provide all the paperwork necessary to be pre-approved.   At this point if you are ready to buy in the next 90 days, then we will start looking at houses.   

 

If I call or email a Realtor about a house I saw online, who is the Realtor working for? 

If you have not signed a buyer agency agreement, the Realtor is working for the seller.

 

Can I work with more than one Realtor? 

It is possible that you may have some part-time or inexperienced Realtors who are willing to show you a few houses without requiring you to sign a Buyer Agency Agreement. However, they may not be working for you – they may be working for the seller.

 

How do I know if the Realtor is working for me? 

You will sign a Buyer Agency Agreement that states the time period and who you are working with. This agent or team will be your contact point for all homes you want to know more about, call for information on “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) properties, and stay in touch with you.

 

How does a Buyer's Agent get paid? 

Realtors are usually paid on commission at the close of the sale of a house. In most cases, the Buyer’s Agent is paid by the seller as part of the listing agreement. Top professional buyer agents and teams usually request a retainer fee from the buyer since real estate is their full-time business and are not in the learning stage. It is possible for Buyer Agents to be paid by the buyer at the beginning of the search.  This is part of consulting services and is often used by experienced investors.

 

Visit our YouTube channel.

2020 Real Estate Projections

World and national economics affect the housing industry, so we’ll start with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) forecast, then look at our local market.

Across the nation, there is still a housing shortage, which means new construction will continue to grow. However, new construction costs more than existing homes and we already have an affordable housing crisis. Mortgage rates are predicted to stay low, yet buyers’ wages limit loan qualification amount.

The consensus at the NAR Forecast Summit is that at best, there will not be a recession, at worst, a 29 percent chance.

Markets to Watch According to NAR:

  • Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill
  • Winston-Salem, NC
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Charleston, SC
  • Columbia, SC
  • Chattanooga and Memphis, TN
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
  • Columbus, OH
  • Fort Collins, CO
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Ogden, UT
  • Boise, ID
  • Rochester, NY

So what does all of this mean for us? Well, pretty much the same thing.  The greater Asheville region will continue to have an affordable housing shortage. The average sale price for an existing 3 bedroom/2 bath home was $265,000, and $325,000 for new construction.  While these numbers may seem low to people moving into the area from larger cities, our local residents have a current living wage of $13.65 an hour, which makes it almost impossible to buy a house. The same holds true for most of the aforementioned hot markets.

Most buyers will either be second-time home owners or moving here from a large city.  Sometimes, out-of-state buyers are shocked by our prices. Houses $350,000 and under will go fast, so be prepared to make an offer as soon as you find one you like.  If you are looking for a home that doesn’t need any remodeling or repairs, be ready to pay $275,000 or more. Once you are in the price range of $400,000 - $600,00 and above, you have a little more time to make up your mind. That price point stays on the market an average of 50-60 days. The issue is that there is significantly less supply because many of the active listings are new construction and have not yet been built.

All of this should mean good news for sellers. However, the market is shifting.  We have leveled off on extreme price increases. The condition of the house critically affects the price.  No longer can you stick a sign in the yard and get a crazy amount for a pig with lipstick.

Buyers expectations have changed in the past 12 months.  New construction is often the competition, so existing homes need to be in generally good condition and ready to move in.  If you plan to sell your house for more than $275,000, you will need to do some upgrades and repairs.  Otherwise, buyers will be subtracting those improvement costs when they make an offer.

A noticeable trend is that many people are moving more than 20 minutes from downtown Asheville.  More of my clients are stating that they don’t want to live in town due to high prices and traffic. The same is true for Hendersonville.  Towns like Weaverville, Marshall and Mars Hill are becoming attractive due to price point, the sizes of homes and lots, and a “small town feel”.  Another trend is that investors have expanded their “sweet spot” locations to as far as an hour away for their home base.

Ironically, all of this means that it is the prefect time to both buy and sell in the greater Asheville area.  Historically, this area has continued to appreciate at 3+%. This means that house prices will always be going up, so if you want to buy, now is the best time.

For sellers, the factor to consider is that new construction will continue to come online and buyers will almost always buy new construction if the price is the same.  So now is the time to make those improvements and get top dollar for your house.

Real estate is cyclical and change will happen. Eventually, there will be a slow down in the market and interest rates will rise. Right now, 2020 looks like a good year for both buyers and sellers.

View the Real Estate Trend Indicator for Buncombe County for 2019 here.
View the Real Estate Trend Indicator for Henderson County for 2019 here.

If you would like more information about our local market, please contact me at mary@lovethegreen.org.

QUESTIONS FOR A REALTOR WHO SPECIALIZES IN GREEN HOMES

BUYERS AND SELLERS

  • Do you have special training in Green Homes?
  • Do you have certifications? Are they up to date?
  • How long have you been specializing in Green Homes?
  • How many Green Homes have you sold or helped buyers with in the past year?
  • Do you have a list of preferred Green Builders?
  • What organizations are you a member of that relate to Green Building?
  • What types of Green Home Certification are available in this area?
  • How do you know if a house is certified?
  • Do you know any Raters?
  • What Green Communities are in the area?
  • Are all homes that have solar Green?
  • What does Energy Star certified mean?

SELLERS

  • What will you do differently than a standard Realtor to market the Green Features of my house?
  • Attachments—certifications, checklists, appraisal form, cost savings?
  • Information sheets on items around home?
  • Special websites?
  • Riders?
  • Tours?
  • Educate other Realtors?

QUESTIONS FOR A BUILDER

  • What’s your definition of Green building?
  • What rating systems (Green Built NC, LEED, etc.) have you used and how does building a certified home differ from your normal building methods?
  • Who are your sub-contractors and how long have you been working with them?
  • What makes your homes energy efficient?
  • What makes your homes durable?
  • What type of windows do you recommend?
  • What heating and cooling systems do you use?
  • Can you make provisions for future PV installation?
  • What decisions will I need to make and when?
  • Who will be my main point of contact?
  • How do you charge for your time - contract price? Allowances? Cost plus? Change orders?
  • Do you always check references and look at jobs in progress and their past work?

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