MARKET UPDATE October 2013
Jennifer Helton, Realtor / Broker in Charge — Choose A Good Agent, Inc.
Closing the Gap! As the charts below indicate, houses are closing faster than we’ve seen in several years. This is due to more eligible buyers coming into the market, more lenient lenders, and more satisfied sellers that are getting a good price for their homes. We are heading into our slowest market time of the year — October through December — but I predict that in January, the gap between the list date and the close date will be under 100 days on average in our Charlotte market.
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The importance of a Pre-Qualified Buyer; Do Not Put the Cart Before the Horse Often, when I have a listing for sale, I receive calls to show it, usually from folks driving by and calling off of my for sale sign. I will always ask these questions: 1) 2) 3) 4)
Are you already working with an agent? Are you getting a mortgage or paying cash? If you are getting a mortgage, do you have a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter from a lender? If you are paying cash, can you show proof of funds?
If they say “YES” to question 1, I ask them to contact their Buyers Agent to show them the house, as I represent the seller. It’s best not to “muddy the water” or “step on any toes” by showing the house to a buyer that already has a relationship with another agent. The Buyers’ Agent should have asked questions 2, 3 or 4 of any customer before showing them homes….that’s their job, and I, as the Sellers’ agent trust that they’ve done their job. If they say “NO”, they are not working with another agent, then I explain that I already have a relationship with the seller and if I work with them also, I will be considered a “Dual Agent” and then I explain what that means. If they are okay with me representing both parties as a Dual Agent, then I go on to question 2, 3 and 4. On those remaining questions, some folks might think I am prying into their personal lives, and there have been times when I have prospects get offended by this question. But, here’s the reality and practicality of the situation. We are offering a house for sale and I work for the seller by marketing the property to BUYERS. If you are just a “looker” or not that serious, why should I ask the seller to vacate their property to show their house to someone who really isn’t a good candidate to buy the house. (Sellers get very excited when there is a showing of their property – to them, every showing is a potential candidate/buyer. Why get them excited about someone who really isn’t interested in buying or can’t buy? Put yourself in their shoes. Would you like showings for folks that can’t purchase your house?). In my experience, typically, a serious buyer, or someone who is IN the market for a house, will already have an agent AND will have at least a pre-qualification (or “pre-qual”) letter from a lender in hand. (A pre-qual means the buyer has talked to a loan officer and it has been determined, by the information the buyer gave, that they appear to be qualified to get a mortgage – credit scores might be checked and questions about income and debt are asked. A Pre-Approval means the buyer has already submitted check stubs from employment, bank statements, credit check, etc. to the lender and they are in even better shape to purchase). Also, FYI – both processes, pre-qualification and pre-approval, are free of charge from most lenders, so there’s no excuse not to do this before looking for a home. And, if they say they are paying cash – well, I will need proof of funds before showing the house. It’s just that simple. Saying “Cash” doesn’t mean that you have carte blanche to see a house without being checked out. There are instances where people have been allowed into homes, without any sort of identity check, or without any type of questioning, and within a few days, a robbery occurs at the property. Again – if I am a good listing agent for my sellers, I am protecting their best interest and will take the proper steps to insure that anyone coming into their home is qualified to do so. So – if you call about a house, and you get asked these questions, please do not get offended. We are just being good agents and doing our job. And if you are seriously wanting to buy a house, don’t look for a house before you even know you can buy. That’s called “putting the cart before the horse”.
JENNIFER HELTON REALTOR—BROKER IN CHARGE Licensed in NC & SC Specializing in:
Buyers & Sellers all over Charlotte
First Time Home Buyers
15+ years of solid experience! IF YOU ARE NOT IN THE MARKET TO BUY OR SELL A HOME, MAYBE YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO COULD USE A GOOD AGENT — REFERRALS MAKE MY DAY!
Cell 704-996-4469 Email firstname.lastname@example.org