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A big question deserves a long answer…so settle in.  How about a Realtor having a fiduciary responsibility to look out for your best interests?  There are two sides to a real estate transaction, and when one utilizes the knowledge and expertise of a REALTOR and the other doesn’t…well, have you heard about sheep and wolves?  Every home sale is different, and the best Realtors are committed to staying up to date on the latest changes in laws, contracts, best practices and other factors that could influence a sale.

That level of expertise applies in other areas too.  Are you searching for a home?  I bet you’re online every night digging through listings.  REALTOR’s have access to tools that can streamline the search for you.  And when you’re ready to see a home, we’ll get you through the front door and use the experience of hundreds of transactions and thousands of showings to point out the good and the bad of the homes you see.

Ready to sell?  I’ll use every tool at my disposal and the most up to date information available to suggest a listing price that will maximize your sale price and move the home as quickly as possible.  Years of experience and training, along with a thorough knowledge of the market make me confident that I’ll find the sweet spot to sell your home.

By using a REALTOR to sell your home, chances are you’ll get more money at the closing table and move it faster.  There are reams of data to back up this claim but there are also no guarantees – there never are – that said, I like my chances vs a non-REALTOR every time.

Finally – the art of negotiation and the contracts that come with a transaction – this is where we (REALTORS) get down to business.  If you’ve bought or sold a home, you know the documentation necessary to complete the transaction is voluminous.  We see those docs every day, and are trained (and re-trained every year) to understand them AND make sure you understand them as well.  When the dance party begins between the two sides, we know all the steps.  I’ll always act in your best interests and it’s my duty to do so.  My job is to get you the best deal possible when buying or selling, and being experienced in knowing when to give and when to take is invaluable.  I’ll be objective and always be an advocate for you.

There are a litany good reasons to work with a REALTOR….we’re nice people with entertaining personalities, we keep our cars clean, and we’re not afraid to grab everyone a cup of coffee on the way to the first showing of the day.  Furthermore - most of us are snappy dressers, quick with a joke, and always leave our open houses cleaner then when we got there.

And in the case of one agent I know very well…devilishly handsome.

Reach over your shoulder and give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back!  You’ve made a wise decision to start building wealth through home ownership.  Between equity building, tax breaks, and the satisfaction of owning the roof over your head…buying a home is a smart choice!

Now, call or email a REALTOR.

I know one you can always reach at (651) 251-4898 or joe.anderson@results.net.

The first thing I’ll ask is “how are you going to pay for this home?”  If you say “with cash”, we’ll start looking.

Most clients say “we haven’t really spoken to a lender yet.”

That’s the first (and really most important) step.  Whether you’re a first timer shopping in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood or climbing the ladder to a home in Crocus Hill, it’s an expensive prospect.  Working with a good lender is vital to the process.  I have a network of lenders I trust, and will be happy to share their contact information.

The answer going to be a product of working with your lender, who will be able to tell you pretty quickly what you can afford.  That’s going to be a different number then what you want to spend.   Keep in mind you’ll be paying property taxes and homeowners insurance, as well as any of the expenses that come with owning a home.  You’ll need water, heat, electricity, trash removal, entertainment like cable TV and/or internet service, and the occasional repairs and improvements.  And you still have to eat.  I’ll help you understand the expenses associated with owning a home, and we’ll work with your lender to come up with a budget for buying your first, second, or third home (or fourth or fifth or….).

YES! As a REALTOR I have access to the Northstar MLS system - which is the clearinghouse for almost every residential property listed in Minnesota.  If a property is listed by a brokerage, chances are you will find it on the Northstar MLS and we can easily learn more.  Here’s the best part – I’ll set up a search for you, and new listings will be delivered every morning to your email inbox!  No more scouring the internet – let those home possibilities come right to you!

And there are other great tools at your disposal.  Tag homes as favorites, delete them from the search & keep it streamlined, and follow the links on the listing to learn more about that home.

I would tell you, but the Minnesota Department of Commerce would scold me (at the very least).  Before we can have a specific discussion about real estate and a particular market I must show you a document entitled “Agency Relationships in Real Estate Transactions.”  The good people at the Commerce Department want you to know how the brokerage side of this works – especially when it comes to the consumer.  I am an agent or RE/MAX Results and it’s important that you understand what that means in terms of representation.  When we meet for the first time, we’ll go over that document right away and then dive into the wonderful world of real estate!

We get busy.  Assuming everyone is comfortable with the home, I start performing due diligence on your behalf.  We’ll get locked in on an offer price – one that reflects the market value of the home.  Also, are there issues to address in the purchase agreement?  We’ll talk about those as well.  I’ll work with your lender to make sure you have a firm grasp on other expenses you’ll incur in both the sale of the home – and ongoing ownership.  There are fees that come with obtaining a home loan, and things like homeowners insurance and property taxes.  Those add up quickly and you need to know how much this is going to cost.

We’ll pull together a purchase agreement and all of the accompanying documents (all of which I’ll thoroughly explain to you), and hopefully reach a deal with the seller.

Then you absolutely should have a thorough (and professional) home inspection.  Pay a pro to go over every inch possible, so we know what kind of condition your future home is in.  After the inspection, we’ll respond to the sellers accordingly so you’ll have peace of mind when you move in.

Your lender will have the home appraised, the bank will want to know that the home is worth what you’re paying for it.  Assuming all goes well with this step, the title company you’ve employed will be taking the final steps towards getting you to the closing table.

When closing day arrives, you’ll sit down with a stack of documents as tall as you (kidding…kind of) and start signing.  The appropriate dollars will be exchanged, and so will a set of keys.

Once the documents are signed and the keys are in your hands – congratulations, you own a home!

To be clear, there are other steps in the process.  One home purchase is never the same as another.  Rest assured, I’ll be there every step of the way to inform you and ensure we get from the first showing to the closing table in the smoothest - and least stressful - manner possible!

By being honest with you.  If you’ve been reading the newspaper, you’re well aware of the fact that the housing market is in recovery mode.  Buyers are in abundance and sellers are seeing their equity return.  This is great news, and has home owners enthusiastic about the value of their property.  What every home seller needs to know is this – the area market will determine the eventual sale price of the home.  I’ll utilize all the tools at my disposal to give you an honest assessment of your home’s market value.  This is the most important step in the process.  If we list the home too high, you won’t get potential buyers through the door.  Too low, and you could leave money on the table (although you’ll get plenty of showings!).  It’s my job to be as accurate and as honest as possible.  I WILL NOT oversell the value of your home to get my sign in your yard!  Nobody wins in that scenario, as a home can linger on the market and that’s when sellers and agents get cranky!

That said, it’s your home.  I will price it wherever you feel comfortable.  If I don’t agree with you I’ll make that clear, but once it’s on the market we will be going full steam ahead to get buyers through the door!

How does that happen?  Listing on the Northstar MLS, networking with agents from RE/MAX Results and other brokerages, social media postings, unique and thorough listings on outlets like Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com and my own website (which you’ve already found).  I’ll host open houses for REALTORS and the public, and leave no stone unturned to find potential buyers.  We’ll talk about staging the home to make it appealing to today’s home buyer, bring in a professional photographer to present the best possible visual display, and…finally…negotiate with potential buyers in an effort to maximize your sale price.  From there we start moving towards the closing table, a process that involves a Title Company and a Closer.  I’ll work to provide them with all the information necessary to get you to closing day.

Whew! I’ll do everything I can to move the process along quickly with as little intrusion as possible.

Hard to say, in October 2015 the government changed the way lenders disclose fees through the TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) Rule.  That’s a big title - fitting for such an important rule change.  In a nutshell, lenders must provide a thorough estimate of fees at the start of the loan process, and a final list of those fees at least 3 days in advance of the closing of sale on a home purchase (there are other stipulations, but the 3-day rule is the biggest cause of delays).  If they don’t get those fees to you ahead of the 3-day deadline – the closing can get pushed back.  If you want to avoid delays, work with a great lender.  I haven’t seen any significant delays since the implementation of the rule, but I work hard with my clients to make sure they make smart choices when it comes to lenders.  If your lender has his or her act together, things should move along as planned.

Wow!  Would you look at the time…..