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5 Reasons to Use a Boutique Firm Instead of a Large Company

5 Reasons to Use a Boutique Firm Instead of a Large Company

boutique real estate firm

Hold on, what’s a boutique real estate firm?

Boutique real estate firms aren’t necessarily what you might think. The word boutique often makes people think high end, expensive, or even unapproachable. Think again!

These real estate firms are, simply put, specialized businesses who focus on customer service, professionalism, and client relationships. Instead of a generic real estate transaction, boutique real estate firms are committed to providing the best experience and representation possible to their clients.

Buying a house is one of the most expensive things you’ll ever do. The investment is worth taking the time to find the best representation possible. With a boutique firm, you can be sure you’ll get a whole team of real estate professionals working to find you the house of your dreams.

How are boutique real estate firms similar to big companies?

In truth, there are a lot of differences in boutique real estate firms and big companies… but that doesn’t mean there aren’t similarities.

  • Both use Multiple Listing Service in the representation of houses they’re marketing. What does that mean? Everyone has the same access to properties on the market.
  • Thanks to this, much of the technology provided to clients and customers is the same. Real estate professionals use the MLS system, and a lot of the technology that comes with it. Since both big firms and boutique firms have the same access to the MLS, they can provide their customers with the same technology.
  • Online marketing offers the same outlets for both big companies and boutique real estate firms. Think Trulia, Realtor.com, Zillow, and all the other online house hunting tools. This means your property will be marketed in all the same places, with the same representation.

So, why should you pick a boutique firm instead of a big company?  Just because you can be in all of the same places, a very important question is how you will be there and how will your property be represented?

Five reasons to use a boutique firm instead of a big company

boutique firm

1.) You’ve got a whole team representing you

You know what’s better than one head? Two! Boutique real estate firms are made up of a team of real estate professionals who work together to represent their clients to the best of their ability.

2.) Personalized customer service is at your fingertips

There’s a huge sense of care, attention to detail, and desire to succeed in a small boutique firm. Wouldn’t you pay the utmost attention when it’s your name on the business cards, and it’s your reputation? With that much emphasis on customer service, you can be sure your property won’t get lost in the sea of other homes for sale.

Boutique firms also care more about their clients than building a business empire. Larger companies work to produce empires, boutique firms work to produce community.

3.) Boutique firms have local authority and a big local network

Since they’re founded locally, boutique firms are typically made up of real estate professionals who know their territory like the back of their hands. They’ve crafted a great network of other professionals who can help you, too. Need a property manager? Your boutique real estate firm can help. Need a utilities company? They’ve got you covered, too.

4.) There’s quality in the quantity of experience

Smaller firms like boutique real estate firms have less incentive to “go with the flow” and produce results in terms of numbers. Instead, the real estate professionals work in the best interest of the client while working with experts in a variety of fields thanks to their large networks. With a smaller firm, agents can connect with the brand and have a personalized interest in the culture of the firm they’re representing.

A hiring manager or owner of a boutique real estate firm is going to pay attention to the professionals they hire. You can expect quality in the quantity of team members.

big company5.) Owners and real estate professionals of boutique firms are passionate about their business and culture

Boutique real estate firms care about their reputation. Members of the firm are passionate about their brand, culture, and customer service. They’re excited to show their attention to detail and excellent representation. And yes, they’re excited to show you they can and will compete with the big firms.

What’s more? Boutique firms have the ability to do their own “thing”. They can be innovative, they’ve got flexibility, and their work is fueled by a love for what they do.

Real Estate Experts

Acquiring real estate is a complex business. Mistakes can literally cost you thousands of dollars or the missed opportunity of owning the home of your dreams. As a buyer, you are always in competition with other buyers who also are looking to buy their dream homes.

There is a vast difference in the level of expertise and quality of service provided by real estate agents. Give yourself the advantage of working with Top real estate agents at Real Estate Experts and get the following value-added services that will make a big difference for you!

We have helped hundreds of families move over time. The depth of our experience is a testament to our expertise and negotiating skills that give our clients a major advantage over buyers working with other agents.

Real Estate Experts are here to help. Visit us online.  Call us today at 919-813-6449 or e-mail us at  [email protected] for additional information.

Of Course You Don’t Need a Buyer’s Agent!

Of Course You Don’t Need a Buyer’s Agent!

 buyer's agent

In the magical age of the internet, it’s easy to be informed on a ton of topics. It’s easy to think the help of a professional isn’t always necessary because you’ve got that knowledge at your finger tips. Hey, if you can DIY projects, why not have a go without a buyer’s agent?

Oh, contraire.

You might cut out commission, but you cut out your best ally, too. You forgo legal help, a knowledgeable professional, and an expert negotiator. If you’re looking for a home buying headache, here are 5 reasons you don’t need a buyer’s agent.

 1. It’s cheaper to rely on yourself instead of a professional

Actually, this isn’t true at all. A buyers agent will cost you nothing. A seller actually pays the buyer’s agent fees when their home sells. The commission the buyer’s agent gets comes from seller’s wallet, not yours!

2. You love stress

Buyer’s agents are basically real estate agents, data analysts, marketing professionals, and contract wizards. All rolled into one. They save you incredible amounts of time by looking at homes, staying familiar with inventories, and they’ve got access to valuable tools like the MLS system. They can write up offers, contracts, and help you understand the ins and outs of real estate transactions.

The search for the perfect house for you is handled by a professional who has your best interests at heart. When you use a buyer’s agent, you won’t have to worry about the small details of the home buying process. And you’ll save yourself some serious stress.

3. The internet is the only resource you need

You can find the perfect home on your own, thanks to websites like Zillow, Realtor, and Trulia.  Of course, they’re awesome resources to check out some of the houses in your target area. However, you can’t really rely on the information you find online house hunting. Zestimates are often wrong, some of the listings are out of date.

The most accurate information you can find will come from a real estate professional. The MLS in your area is accurate, and you can only get access through your chosen professional.

4. You have loads of local connections

Real estate professionals have connections to everyone. OK, maybe that’s a generalization. But, they surely do have connections that make the home buying and selling process easier. From real estate attorneys to contractors, interior designers to mortgage brokers, a realtor has them all.

Not to mention, they can reach a massive amount of people through their network. This means your home will get on the market, be seen by the right people, and have more offers.

What’s more? They have access to properties coming onto the market soon. They exchange advice, ideas, and other useful tidbits with one another to bring sales together.

5. You are a fantastic negotiatorbuyer's agent

Are you a sales person? Probably not. Are you a marketer? Maybe. Regardless of your affinity for finding good deals and sales, your real estate professional is better at it than you. It’s their job!

It can be complicated to negotiate through the multifaceted transaction that is buying a house. Buyer’s agents are perfect mediators who can help you achieve the best results, for you. They’ll help you get the best offer possible. They’ll help you work through counter-offers.

Most buyers don’t consider what they don’t know. It’s important to recognize you don’t know the landscape of real estate transactions like a real estate professional. They’ll open your eyes to options you didn’t even know you had!

Real Estate Experts

A Buyer Agent, or a real estate agent working for a buyer, works solely for the buyer and has no legal or other responsibilities to the seller. When working with a Buyer Agent, you have the advantage of personal representation, independent counseling, loyalty, confidentiality, and trust. On the other hand, while helping you present an offer and then negotiate and close a transaction, a general real estate agent has certain fiduciary responsibilities to the seller and agent of any property you choose.

At Real Estate Experts we are focused on finding the ideal home for you. We are fully committed to you throughout the entire buying process; our sole career is real estate. We pride ourselves on listening to your needs and wants and delivering the best results possible

At Real Estate Experts, we want to be your ally while you look for the best home for you.  You’re not getting an agent, you’re getting a team. We’ll work with you every step of the way, from financing to floor plans. Start to finish, we want to help you get into your new home.

To see Real Estate Experts’ newest listings in the Triangle area, click here. Feel free to give us a call anytime at 919-813-6449 or send us an email to  [email protected].

Real Estate Words: What’s the Meaning of Encroachment?

Real Estate Words: What’s the Meaning of Encroachment?

You don’t need any “beware of dog” signs. You have legal rights!

Real estate terminology can be tough to grasp. There are a lot of words seemingly interchangeable, when they’re defined very differently. The definition of them can differ greatly, or minutely. Understanding the nuances of the terminology can help you get a fuller understanding of your rights as a home owner, buyer, or seller.

What’s the meaning of encroachment?

what's the meaning of encroachment

The definition of this term is sort of an umbrella. When you think of the word encroaching, you typically think about someone slowly getting in your space. In terms of encroachment in real estate, it means property encroachment. Simply put: trespassing physically or in the building of structures that intrude on your property.

A neighbor builds a shed that looms over your yard. Another neighbor expands their house, the porch seemingly inches away from your living room window. A fence touches your property, carving out some of your land for your neighbors. Your garden is trampled and consequently ruined by people crossing your yard for access to a public space. These are all examples of encroachment.

Even utility companies can encroach on your property. In certain circumstances, they can do this to plant power poles, or similar structures.  This is actually called an easement. Many properties have power or sewer easements so that utility companies can access power or sewer lines in the event of an emergency or for some other reason.

But how can this happen if there are private property rights?

The ways encroachment can happen in real estate

Let’s just say this: some people don’t pay attention to boundary lines when they’re building. If you hire a contractor to do the building for you, it’s possible they won’t adhere to the boundary lines of your and your neighbor’s property.

Sometimes, property lines aren’t drawn correctly.  Not all surveys are perfect but it is truly rare when they are wrong. This is why it is so important to have a survey in your name.  Not only does it protect you against any title insurance survey related problem, it can be used to identify problems before you close on a home or something for a contractor to work from if you are making an improvement to your  home or lot.  In realty, most of the time homeowners and sellers won’t even notice there’s an encroachment until they try to sell the home. The property survey will show the encroachment issues, though.

Private property disputes have solutions, and settlement occurs in a few ways. However, any encroachment must be documented or cleared before the title of a home can transfer from the seller to the buyer.

What you can do

Before beginning any expansions, updates, or improvements to your home it’s important to get a property survey.  If you did not get a survey when you bought your home, it is advisable to get one if you are making improvement, like putting up a fence, that involves your property boundaries.  If you find property encroachment during the property survey, you must tell your real estate attorney as soon as humanly possible!

Even though an encroachment is something buyers may be unhappy about, it won’t necessarily break a sale as long as it’s addressed early on.  Also, many encroachments are not a huge issue.  A neighbor’s fence or garden might be a fraction of an inch over the property line.  Things like this typically are not issues.  If, however, your neighbor’s fence is a foot inside you property line, it is best if this is discovered before you buy but if it is afterwards, these issues can still be settled.

How to settle property encroachment disputes

If there is a real issue, like a fence is significantly encroaching on your property, a neighbor can be asked to move the fence. Sometimes issues can  be cleared with the title insurance company in advance of closing.  In one instance, I had a client purchasing a property with a new detached garage.  The survey found that half of the garage was sitting outside the allowable neighborhood set back line.  If a neighbor wanted to make an issue, they could have been asked to move the garage.  At the closing table the closing attorney cleared this issue with the title insurance company and my clients also got a settlement for this in case they were asked to move the garage.

Many times when it is not an issue, all you have to do is disclose that a neighbors fence or garden is a faction of an inch over the property line.  Nine times out of ten, when a buyer knows these things ahead of time, they never become an issue.

 

Confused with easements? Here’s what it means

An easement is the right to use someone else’s land for a purpose. Generally, it’s granted by the property owner as to let others legally cross the land or use it. Money can be exchanged for use or even as a reoccurring payment of “rent”.

It’s important to note an easement is delineated in writing. This right of others to use the land also passes on to future

easement in real estate

owners.

Alternatively, encroachment is an unauthorized intrusion onto your land. If there are damages done by way of trespassing, the owner of the property is entitled to a lawsuit in order to recover damages.

Real Estate Experts

With the help of a real estate professional, encroachment and easements aren’t difficult to sort out. Your real estate professional of choice can help you understand North Carolina’s many laws and statutes around these issues.

At Real Estate Experts, we can help you sort out your real estate questions. We’re experienced buyer’s agents who are prepared to help you find the perfect home for you. As we’re obligated to you, the buyer. So we’ll keep your best interests at heart and work to get you into your dream home quickly!

To see Real Estate Experts’ newest listings in the Triangle area, click here. Feel free to give us a call anytime at 919-928-5131 or send us an email to  [email protected].

 

 

Just Got Your First Job Out of College?

Just Got Your First Job Out of College?

Don’t buy a car, buy a house instead!

It’s an exciting time of life. You’ve just graduated college. Or, alternatively, you’re celebrating landing your first job out of college. Either way, it’s an exciting time of life. You’re funded by a wallet a little larger than you’re used to, so it’s tempting to funnel your finances to a big purchase. You’ve been driving the same car for a few years, probably something second hand.

Tempted to buy a new car? Don’t give in to that temptation. Buy a house instead! Here’s what you need to know to understand why you should invest your money into a property instead of a vehicle. Let’s talk investments, assets, and values.

What’s a Depreciating Asset?

Essentially, a depreciating asset is something that will decrease in value over time. Physical property is a great example of a depreciating asset because over time, physical things breakdown. Just like a car (see where this is going?)!

As an asset, it loses value over time. Consider this: you finance a loan for a $15,000 car. You pay the loan off over several years, but you end up spending more money than $15,000 because you’re paying interest, too. Over several years, you lose money that you won’t get back when and if you sell the car.

A car is an expense, not necessarily an asset.

So, what’s an Appreciating Asset?

Fortunately, this concept is pretty easy to understand. An appreciating asset is something that increases value over time. Simple, in essence, right? The increase in value can come from increased demand, lower inventory or supply, or as a result from inflation or interest rates.

Because you can improve a home, update a property, or invest in remodeling, a house’s value can increase from the time you purchase it to the time you sell it. Especially if you “maintain your asset”. Real estate can be purchased with the mindset that it’ll be worth more in the future, unlike a car which has a finite life span.

Don’t Buy a Car, Invest in a House

Even though we’re on the topic of what not to buy, we’ll suggest this: learn the power of principal paydown over time. By paying more towards your mortgage, you’re saving money in interest.

Check out this example of why paying down your mortgage can save you money.

Extra payments add up. A $200,000 30-year home loan with an interest rate of 5% would cost $186,512 in interest with the traditional 12 payments a year. Make the equivalent of 13 monthly payments every year, and the loan will be retired in 26 years and you will pay only $153,813 in interest — a savings of $32,69

You can save yourself money in the long term by investing in a house, paying down your mortgage, and focusing on assets that appreciate instead of depreciate.

But Wait, What If You’re Going to Move to a New City?

Of course you’re not sure if you’ll stay in the house forever! There’s a lot of unknowns, especially early on after graduating college. What if a job takes you somewhere else in the country?

Here’s where the term investment property comes in. Consider renting out your property, or choosing a property management company to hold the fort down for you. If and when you need to move, a property management company can manage your investment for you.

Property Management With Real Estate Experts

Our property management team is ready to hear from you if you’re looking to turn your home into a rental or investment property.

At Real Estate Experts, you pay zero lease-up fee, which means we don’t get paid until you do. Once your property is leased, we charge at the bottom end of the spectrum, just 8% of the rent. And that’s our only fee, ever. Not only do we provide some of the cheapest rates, but I also feel confident telling you that we provide the best service you can get.

In order to charge the least and give the most, we can only work with excellent clients. Learn what’s required to be a Real Estate Experts client.

Real Estate Experts

If you’re ready to take the plunge into home ownership, we’re ready to help. Yes, it’s one of the most expensive decisions you’ll ever make. However, we’re advocates for the first time buyer and have years of experience helping new owners get into the home of their dreams.

To see Real Estate Experts’ newest listings in the Triangle area, click here. Feel free to give us a call anytime at 919-813-6449 or send us an email to  [email protected].

Millennials Don’t Want to Buy Houses: Fact or Fiction?

Millennials Don’t Want to Buy Houses: Fact or Fiction?

millennials buying housesBuying a home is one of the biggest investments anyone makes. There are financial hurdles involved that make potential buyers jump through all kinds of hoops. There are myths and all kinds of preconceived notions about what buying a house actually entails.

It’s important to touch on the fact that there certainly are obstacles which make buying a house difficult for the Millennial generation. Finding affordable housing throughout the country can be difficult, especially with a low inventory in a feasible budget of that coveted $200,000-$300,000 bracket. Finding jobs that provide sufficient income for monthly payments can be difficult, too. These are realities facing Millennials.

“The single biggest impediment right now is affordable housing, finding homes that are affordable to Millennials,” says chief economist Svenja Gudell of Zillow.

Here’s the catch: many Millennials aren’t aware of the options that exist for them, especially in terms of financing options.

Millennials Want to Buy a House

Surprise!

Though there has been a general assumption that Millennials don’t want to buy houses, we’re starting to see that this isn’t the case. They just need help sorting through the murky waters of home hunting, mortgage must-dos, and financial assistance. Buying a home increases your control over your living space, gives you access to nicer homes, and helps establish a sense of privacy. Not to mention, it’s an investment that can help you create lasting wealth as you get older.

how can millennials buy a house

Courtesy of Home Choice Warranty

“There’s a strong indication millennials want to become homeowners, which is quite different from what we’ve heard,” states the Mortgage Manager of NerdWallet, Chris Ling.

How Can Millennials Buy a House?

Oh, a $250,000 question. How can Millennials buy a house? Taking advantage of different financing options is one avenue this generation can pursue, especially now that we’re aware it’s not that this generation doesn’t want to be homeowners.

Buying a house may be more of a possibility than you know.  Familiarizing yourself with down payment options can broaden your home-owning horizons. Let’s take a look.

While putting 20% down on a house is nerve-wracking (do you really need to put down 20%?) there are lower down payment options. Saving for a down payment is one of the biggest obstacles of buying a home, especially for the Millennial generation. However, there are lender options that range from 3%-6%. Kind of mind blowing, isn’t it.

Real Estate Experts has your guide to down payment assistance programs. Grants, tax credits, and second mortgage loans are all options you may qualify for.

There are also other options today, even 100% financing depending on the situation.

Resources for Millennials Buying Houses

So, you’ve caught on to the idea that you’re not too young to buy a house. We’ve covered that there are ways to get around the “down payment doom”, which is to say that you’re aware there are financial assistance programs and different financing options. Needless to say, it’s time to provide some resources for Millennials buying houses.

Zillow took the needs of Millennial buyers to heart, creating RealEstate.com. This website aims to “help Millennials find homes they can afford.” We’re a fan of this noble cause at Real Estate Experts, but we also know that a trusted and local real estate professional can help you find the perfect home for you in a way that house hunting online can’t, even with great tips. With that being said, you still should check out RealEstate.com for their “all-in monthly price” for the listings. This neat tool helps you see the final calculated monthly cost of property taxes, HOA fees, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

Real Estate Experts

We work with a number of excellent lenders and would be happy to introduce you to any one of them.  We have built a team loaded with the experience you need to help through the home buying process. We are all very technology oriented too!

Interested in kick starting the house hunting process? Don’t hesitate to reach out! We can’t wait to help you find the perfect home in the Triangle area, or assist you in selling your property. We’d love to hear from you. Contact us today at 919-813-6449 or send us an email to  [email protected]. Visit us online at realestateexperts.net.

Hey First Time Buyer, Don’t Be Surprised By These Unexpected Expenses!

Hey First Time Buyer, Don’t Be Surprised By These Unexpected Expenses!

You found the perfect property. You have your down-payment, your loan, and your closing date. But do you have any idea of the financial check points you missed along the way? It’s easy to miss some of these expenses, especially when you’re excited about the prospect of moving into your new home. While these aren’t necessarily “hidden costs”, these expenses come as a surprise to many first time buyers.

Home Inspections Are Unexpected Expensesfirst time buyer

Of all the corners to cut, many new home owners think this is one of them. That, first time buyer, is a serious offense! Essentially, a home inspection is a user-guide to owning that particular home. You get an idea of what’s wrong with the house, and you learn how to maintain it as it needs to be maintained. Not every house is a one-size-fits-all kind of deal, which is just another reason why you need the home inspection.

Even though the home inspection can cost anywhere from $400 to well over $1,000, it’s very important to remember: it’s in your best interest.

Closing Costs Often Surprise First Time Buyers

You might want to grab a notepad because closing costs add up.

Closing costs consist of everything. Be sure to consider attorney fees, lender fees, escrow fees, and every other combination of a real estate term and “Fee”. Interest and appraisal costs should also be considered in terms of closing costs.

This cost can be surprising, even if you think you have an idea of what it might cover. You can set yourself up for success by saving an additional 2-5% of the purchase price to cover for closing costs.

Homeowner’s Insurance is a New Thing for Renters

If you’re used to renting a home or an apartment, this fee can be unexpected. Even though the Triangle doesn’t face as many environmental hazards as other states, it can be surprising to run across the numbers on your insurance bill. According to Insurance.com’s average annual rate for home insurance, North Carolina pays $773.

Property Taxes Too

Just like homeowner’s insurance, if you’ve come from rental land property taxes can throw you for a loop. Depending on where you’re located in the Triangle area, your property taxes could range from

Maintenance and Repairsunexpected expenses

Imagine you’ve finally finished moving all of your things into your new home, and you find there’s mold. Or you find that there another necessary repair you somehow missed before closing. You’ve tied up your money in this new house, so you have nothing left over to pay for additional repairs and future maintenance.

Account for the leaky faucet, the broken disposal, and the cracked paint job. And account for them a second time by saving money to allot to ongoing repairs. According to one financial planner, it can be a very solid investment to save another 4% of the purchase price.  This amount should be saved yearly for both ongoing and future repairs or maintenance.

Moving Expenses

What, you’ve finished packing up all your things, cleaning your new home, but… you don’t have a way to get your things there? Many people forget there’s a price tag on a moving truck. That price tag goes up if you’re moving far, too. Plan ahead so the process of moving into your new home doesn’t take a caravan.

Well, it might either way.

Real Estate Experts

If you’re ready to take the plunge into home ownership, we’re ready to help. Yes, it’s one of the most expensive decisions you’ll ever make. However, we’re advocates for the first time buyer and have years of experience helping new owners get into the home of their dreams.

 

To see Real Estate Experts’ newest listings in the Triangle area, click here. Feel free to give us a call anytime at 919-813-6449 or send us an email to  [email protected].

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