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Ask The Expert - Beth Thomas-Edwards
02/09/2009

Ask The Expert - Beth Thomas-Edwards

Beth Thomas- Edwards
Mack-Morris Beth Thomas-Edwards, Inc. Realtors
Holmdel, NJ
(732) 946-0600



Beth Thomas-Edwards is Broker of Record and President of Mack-Morris Beth Thomas-Edwards, Inc. ealtors, an independent and full-service real estate agency. Beth founded Mack-Morris 23 years ago. The firm has remained #1 in total sales and listing volume for Holmdel and Colts Neck combined for the past 9 years, as shown in Multiple Listing Service statistics. Mack-Morris is a unique boutique, successfully competing with national franchises. Beth still enjoys working with clients and remains extremely successful and highly respected in the real estate industry.

 

What is the biggest myth about the real estate industry?


The real estate industry has its ups and downs. We are presently in a down market, also called a buyers’ market; home prices have been plummeting. There have been many bank foreclosures and short sales due to the adjustable-rate mortgages and homeowners over-improving their properties. The positive aspect is that interest rates have dropped to an all-time low. This is the time to invest! Home sellers might lose some profit, but they gain lower interest rates in purchasing a new home. Prospective home buyers have a lot of inventory, low prices, and great interest rates to choose from.


What are the key criteria one should use when hiring a listing agent?


Call three real estate professionals, look at each agency’s website, check your local newspaper, and ask each agent to do a thorough inspection of your property. They will recommend any repairs. Have them do a market analysis using the past 6 months’ comparable sales in your immediate area. Ask for a marketing program. Does that agent invest his own money for a virtual tour, pictures, and a color brochure? Does he/she arrange for open houses? The agent you choose should call you weekly, present all written offers in person, make sure the prospective buyer is qualified, and guide you through contract negotiations. They will confirm inspections, additional deposits, and the buyer’s mortgage process, and should accompany you to the closing.


What are the key criteria in hiring someone as a buyer’s agent?


A buyer’s agent works strictly for the buyer. The agent should know current market conditions, show all homes in the area that meet the buyer’s criteria, and obey the buyer’s instructions. All relevant information should be disclosed to the buyer, including known facts affecting the property value, the length of time the property has been listed, the seller’s need to sell, the willingness of the seller to accept a lower price, and the buyer’s ability to obtain the property at the lowest price. After an offer is made, a market analysis should be provided using comparison sales in the immediate area over the past 6 months. The buyer’s agent must give their undivided loyalty to the buyer but deal fairly and honestly with the seller.


What makes for a smooth closing?


Every seller and buyer should use a real estate attorney. Once attorney review has ended, three contingencies have to be met in a timely process: the buyer’s second deposit, inspections, and a mortgage commitment. If there are any issues on inspections from a licensed inspector, those must be renegotiated through the attorneys. The seller must obtain a certificate of occupancy. The buyer’s attorney will do a title search and survey. On the day of closing, the selling agent will do a walk-through with the buyer to make sure maintenance of the property has been kept up, all included items are intact, and all appliances are in working order. Both listing and selling agents should attend the closing in case any problems should arise.




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