Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. Like many first-time homebuyers, you probably have a long list of questions, from determining the right time to buy to understanding how much house you need. With so many choices to make, it’s not surprising that most people aren’t sure exactly where to start when buying a home. When it comes to buying a home, it’s natural to think of selecting a Realtor first. According to research from the National Association of Realtors, 44% of homebuyers begin by looking at properties, while another 17% goes directly to a real estate agent. This may come as no surprise however; first-time homebuyers are truly best served by starting the process with their lender. Because one of the most important concepts to understand is how much you can afford and how much you will ultimately spend beyond the cost of the house itself. Tools like mortgage payment calculator are a great way to start creating a budget, but borrowers also need insights from a seasoned mortgage professional. He or she will run your credit report, review your savings, and assess other factors and ultimately determine how much you can borrow. At the same time, your loan officer will explain any special home loan programs for which you may be eligible. Many individuals can take advantage of programs that reduce or eliminate down payments, or lower the qualifications for securing a loan, such as a VA Home Loan, USDA Rural Home Loan, or FHA Home Loan. You may also be eligible for down payment assistance, which can play an important role in budgeting. At this point, your loan officer can break down how large your down payment should be, address costs that are common to mortgage financing (such as interest and mortgage insurance), and project a monthly payment. This is also a perfect time to discuss closing costs. Typically shared by the buyer and seller, closing costs average 2% to 6% of the loan’s total value and are payable at the time of signing. With all this information in mind, you can set a realistic budget and address any financial issues that may keep you from getting approved for a mortgage.
Ways to Sue A Realtor Foreclosure Specialist
• Failing to disclose a property defect: Clients who discover defects after signing the papers will be quick to blame the real estate agent. Every bit of damage and every defect found on the property should be thoroughly documented. Defects can include construction issues, improvements without permits, leaks, cracking, noise or nuisances. When a client sues a foreclosure specialist for failing to disclose a property defect, they have to prove the agent knew or should have known about the defect and failed to disclose it. Be sure to perform a thorough inspection of the property, and have your clients sign a statement that documents their awareness of any issues.
• Breach of duty: One of the most common lawsuits brought against foreclosure specialist is for breach of duty. Foreclosure specialist know they must always act in the best interest of the client, as clients place a special trust in real estate agents for their expertise. Foreclosure specialists are held to a high standard of honesty and full disclosure. Any breach of this duty, whether from negligence or intentional action, is subject to the risk of a lawsuit. Always document everything, and practice honesty at all times to avoid this common pitfall.
• Representing clients in unfamiliar territory: If you are showing and selling properties in an area that you are unfamiliar with, take extra precaution and do your research first. Many times there are requirements or other situations particular to an area of which you are unaware. If an issue arises that is due to the geographic location, you might be blamed because you failed to warn your clients about any such problems.
• Giving legal advice: Clients want their foreclosure specialist to have an answer for every question they ask. Similarly, foreclosure specialists want to help their clients.
• Misleading clients: Every foreclosure specialist strives to make their property stand out from the crowd. It might even be tempting to exaggerate here and there about the features or the condition of the house. However, this kind of deception can end disastrously for agents. If a buyer feels misled about anything, a lawsuit typically follows shortly after. Always be truthful about claims you make about a property with no room for misinterpretation. A misleading statement might help you close a sale, but it might also lead to legal action and financial loss. It’s not worth the risk.
• Breach of contract: When a client claims a foreclosure specialist did not perform under the terms of a contract, he or she might seek legal action. One of the most common reasons for breach of contract is failing to comply with time frames stated in the contract. A breach of contract claim is often made in conjunction with claims of negligence, fraud or breach of duty. It’s important to examine every aspect of your contracts with a lawyer to ensure all appropriate information is accounted for and accurate. Additionally, be sure to take time with each client to advise them on the terms of a contract properly. Identify any unclear clauses, terms or issues to reduce the chance of later legal action.
• Failing to keep your clients’ data safe: Hackers are everywhere, and they want your clients’ information. Moreover, if they are successful in getting it, you will be the one who pays. Protect your clients’ information from criminals by installing security software and keeping your paperwork in a secure location. Once you have a secure system in place, regularly change your password and make sure your data is encrypted.
• Failing to recommend inspections: Foreclosure specialists frequently fail to recommend property inspections to prospective buyers. Your clients trust you for your expertise and guidance through the real estate process. But there are some areas that require a third-party opinion. Inspectors should be recommended for pools, chimneys, roofs, septic systems and structural issues. At minimum, a general home inspection should be recommended.
• Negligence: Negligence is a cause of action alleging the failure to exercise due care toward others that a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances. Clients can make claims that a foreclosure specialist should have known something but did not and failed to take appropriate action. Negligence differs from fraud in that it lacks an element of intent. Often clients seeking legal action will begin by claiming fraud, but if they are unable to prove intent, they will seek reparations for negligence. It’s hard to prevent claims of negligence because you might not always know what you should have known. Be sure to obtain insurance coverage for these unfortunate instances.
• Bodily injury: If a client is injured during a showing and you are found liable, you will be responsible for reimbursing any costs related to the accident. Always make sure any debris is picked up, the snow is shoveled and the ice is melted to avoid slips and falls. Bodily claims might also include physical problems resulting from an undisclosed mold problem. Evaluate your property for all possible physical risks and protect your business with insurance for unforeseen accidents.
Reasons You Should (Or Should Not) Become A Realtor
Emotional investment, hard work and flexibility all drive a career in real estate — will they be your risks or rewards?
Pros: Hate working the 9- to-5 because you often sit around doing nothing just to put in some face time? Being a Realtor is the job for you! You’re not going to work fewer hours, but you get to organize your own schedule to make it work for you and your clients.
Cons: Managing your own schedule may sound like fun at first but it’s not that simple. Turns out it’s much easier to hit the snooze button than it is to wake up and make phone calls, create marketing and do pricing analyses.
Pros: The best part about earning income as a real estate agent is that you get out what you put in. This means your income cap is virtually limitless. A salary may provide some certainty, but commissions based on your own effort provide opportunity.
Cons: Steady income? Yeah, right! If you’re a new agent it could be a while until you see a paycheck.
Pros: Of course it’s an emotional business, but that’s good for you. If you keep a level head and stay focused on your clients, you will rise above the majority in this industry and stick out as a true expert.
Cons: There are a lot of different personalities you will have to interact with as an agent. Besides clients, you’re also dealing with other agents. Some people just don’t know how to separate emotions from business. If you don’t like confrontation and can’t keep a level head, you might want to choose a different career path.
Pros: Climbing the corporate ladder isn’t fun, so be your own boss! Maybe it’s not that simple, but you would be amazed at what you can do for yourself by growing a business as a real estate agent and building your own brand. There are a lot of opportunities within the real estate industry and even outside the industry that you can unlock from your success as a Realtor.
Cons: If you’re not content with being a Realtor as your long-term career or you don’t have the vision to see how you can go beyond the average real estate agent, you may have hit your limit. The only career advancement opportunities are the ones you make. You’re not getting an offer for that rich and famous contract just because you’re you.
It’s hard work
Pros: Most new agents will wash out because they thought becoming a Realtor meant easy money. Take advantage of this; put in the hustle, and you will be on your way to great success.
Cons: Managing listings, clients, transactions and your own marketing is really tough! It takes a lot of discipline and effort to get it right.
Steps To Get Your Utah Sales Agent License
• You must be at least 18 years of age and hold a high school diploma or its equivalent.
• You must also not have had a felony in the last five years, or a misdemeanor involving fraud, misrepresentation, theft, or dishonesty within the last three years, starting from the time of conviction/plea or completion of any jail/prison sentence.
1. Complete 120 hours of approved Pre-Licensing education
Successfully complete 120 clock-hours of approved Pre-Licensing sales agent education. These courses must be completed no longer than one year before applying for a license. Learn more about your package options here. If you are licensed in another state, you may qualify for an education waiver. Please contact the Utah Division of Real Estate for more information.
2. Pass the course final exam.
After you complete all the course materials, there is a final exam. The minimum passing score is 70%.
3. Pass the Utah real estate sales agent exam.
Pearson VUE administers the Utah real estate sales agent licensing exam. This test is comprised of two portions, covering both state and national requirements.
4. Complete application.
Once you have passed the Utah sales agent exam, you must submit an online application for a license within 90 days. You must submit the following documents. The Utah Division of Real Estate checklist will ensure you submit a complete application.
• Completed and signed application (issued at the testing center).
• Signed original school certificates (issued by the real estate school) or Education Waiver (issued by the Division).
• Signed responses to the Qualifying Questionnaire (issued at the testing center) and supporting documentation to any “YES” answers.
• Two fingerprint cards (Blue FD-258) or receipt of electronic fingerprint submission and a signed Fingerprint Waiver (issued at the testing center). Starting January 1, 2020, all new applications for real estate and appraisal licensees will need to obtain a fingerprint background check and enroll in Rap Back.
• Pay any required fees.
• Completed Certification of Legal Presence.
How to Choose a Real Estate Agent when you’re ready to buy
Choosing the right real estate agent is one of the most important decisions that you will make when you’re ready to buy a home. A good agent can help you navigate the buying process with minimal stress, whereas a not-so-good agent might make the process harder on you (and your wallet) than it needs to be. Your goal when you’re ready to choose a real estate agent is to find someone who you communicate well with, and who shares your same goals not just about buying a house (that’s the goal for all buying agents, after all), but doing so in a way that prioritizes your needs as a buyer and gets you the best home possible for the best price possible. There is no magic formula for finding a great agent, though there are certainly steps that you can take to improve your chances.
Behind every good real estate agent is a set of skills that make them a top choice when you’re looking to buy a home. So what are these skills? They’ll vary depending on your needs, but at the very minimum you should choose a real estate agent who has these key qualities.
Successfully buying a home is as much about communication between buyer and agent and buying agent with selling agent as it is about open houses and inspections. Be sure to hire an agent who you communicate well with, and who is willing and able to answer any and all questions that you might have about the home purchasing process.
It’s important to ask a potential agent how long they’ve been buying and selling homes, but don’t forget to dig a little bit deeper into their experience. Ask about their average list-price-to-sale-price ratio, as well as the amount of time it typically takes their clients to find and close on their new home. You’ll want to choose a real estate agent who has a proven track record of getting buyers into homes fast (and getting them a great deal, too).
Strong local market knowledge
Every market is different. Whether you’re buying in a city, the suburbs, or the country, you’ll want a real estate agent who knows local market trends and patterns like the back of their hand and who can help guide you through the nuances of your specific locality. A good way to gauge local market knowledge is simply to ask. Inquire about the basics, like average time on the market for newly listed homes and average sale prices, but also ask about any unique trends regarding your local market that you should know about.
Online reviews are one of your best assets when it comes to choosing a realtor. Read all of the reviews that you can find before selecting who you’ll work with, and look for an agent whose previous clients have only positive things to say about their experiences. (If there are any complaints, be sure to distinguish between complaints about the individual realtor versus complaints about the stress of the home buying process itself.)
Ultimately, you want to choose a realtor who you get along with. You’re going to be spending a lot of time together, so it’s important to work with someone whose company you enjoy, and who you just genuinely feel understands your needs. Trust your intuition on this one—if you’re getting bad vibes, trust your gut and find somebody else.