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Why Real Estate?

Written by Eric Munger, Founder of Realty One Triad


Occasionally I may ask myself, why in the world did I get into real estate? This thought will especially run through my head after a transaction falls apart that I’ve spent countless hours on, or after a particularly difficult call with a client or another agent.

So there it is. The question. Why oh why did I choose to spend my life and career in this prison known as real estate?

Okay, I’m kidding – it’s not a prison. It’s more like being chained to your phone than being chained to the job. Just kidding around again! (Somewhat.) Yes, the phone is never far from reach; but whose phone is far from reach anymore in our technology crazed society?

The truth is that I love what I do. As with any job you have those mornings you wake up and you’d rather roll back over and sleep for another hour than head into the office or start making calls. But frankly, 29 days out of 30 I wake up excited to get to work.

Why?

Paper house with cut-out paper family being held by child and parents.It’s the people. It’s not the paperwork. It’s not the next sale. It’s not the marketing. It’s not even the coffee waiting at the office. The people drive me and push me to do more and to do better, to succeed and to thrive.

It’s the fellow agents I work with here at Realty One – what an awesome team we have! I love the interaction with them, the conversations, the laughter, even sharing the ache and pain with them of a family member that’s hurting or of a lost loved one. I thrive on seeing the excitement that lights up their face when they close their first deal, or their 100th. I thrive in the sharing of amusing and interesting stories of the transactions, the situations and the people we help.

And it’s the clients. It’s the homeowner that I just helped avoid foreclosure with the sale of their home. It’s the homeowner that had been trying to sell for 15 years (quite literally) before I helped them sell.

As I think back over the 500+ homes I’ve sold, it’s the memorable situations, transactions, and people that come to mind. It’s helping people move forward in their lives and the satisfaction which comes from that.

What a great job to have, what a great career! More than a job, it’s practically a lifestyle. I breathe, drink and eat real estate. But in the end it’s not for the job’s sake itself, but for the people that are involved. For the people in whose life I can make a difference. For the joys and the sorrows, the highs and the lows that we all share. Our homes: the places we live and entertain and have community with one another – they’re such an integral part of the story of our lives. I’m glad to share in that with people.

The people. For me, that’s why real estate.

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When Is the Right Time to Sell?

Written by Eric Munger, Founder of Realty One


I get this question frequently when I meet with a client who is considering selling their home. They are unsure of timing and of the “right” season to sell.

Of course it is often assumed, as you may be thinking now, that the right time is spring. That it is pointless to put your home on the market in the fall or, more particularly, in the winter.

However, I have found that conclusion to be flawed. Yes, it is true that the spring and summer seasons have the most buyer activity and the most sales. The catch, though, is that is also when more homeowners put their home up for sale – so as a seller you are up against more competition if you choose to wait until spring. In the fall and winter months, there are fewer buyers and fewer sales, but there is also less competition. More homeowners also choose during those seasons to not list for sale, or to take their home off the market, giving you even more opportunity to be that lone good option for a buyer. Due to the amount of listing competition being quite different between spring and winter, that right season to sell is somewhat relative.

Ultimately, I advise clients to list the home for sale when the timing is right for them. If you are ready to sell and the timing makes sense for you, put your home on the market. In fact, I bought my last home in December. I’ve even delivered signed contracts to sellers on Christmas Eve – people do move during the holidays! Just like your right timing to sell could be in those winter months, that right buyer for your home might have the same timetable.

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Being a Home Buyer in a Seller’s Market

Written by Nathaniel Birdsong, Realty One Broker-In-Charge


It’s officially a seller’s market in the Triad for the first time in 10 years. There are many seasoned agents who are great at their jobs who have not experienced the current market environment. So while everyone is excited to be a seller what happens to you if you need to BUY a home right now?

Buying a home in a seller’s market can be a big struggle. You find there are far fewer options and the good options you want disappear quickly, often before you even get a chance to see them. Sometimes when you do, they already have offers coming in. Here are some strategies you can use to make your buying experience more enjoyable when your options are slim:

Be prepared: Most agents will have you work on pre-approval prior to looking at homes. Now that is more important than ever. When you find the right home you need to be prepared to act quickly. That means having mortgage pre-approval in place and a lender that is available to draft a pre-approval letter for your agent as soon as needed. Beyond that, you need to be mentally prepared to make the purchase. Understand while you are out viewing homes that you will likely have to make quick decisions. Many buyers like to see homes and be able to think about them for a few days before moving forward, but the current market doesn’t allow that. Know what you need before you go look and be ready to decide on the spot if possible.

Search a little under your price range: In a buyer’s market it is common to search a little above your price range because you can reasonably expect to negotiate a seller down on their price. The opposite will be true in today’s environment. It’s best to search $5,000 – $10,000 BELOW your budget so you can afford to win a bidding war if you find the right home and run into competition.

Be patient and search smart: If you aren’t on a strict timeline, be patient and understand new homes will hit the market every day. A good agent should be able to create automated searches that will notify you both instantly when a good option is listed. This one step alone can take some of the frustration out of constantly searching websites, only to find there is nothing you haven’t already seen. The other advantage of having an agent assist with search tools is they will be the more accurate. Syndication websites can take longer to show the newest inventory (usually the day after it actually hit the market).

Allow a little room for compromise: If you are searching common options that everyone wants you will be up against every other buyer struggling with low inventory. Look at things like granite counter tops or all wood floors and consider if they are optional to you as something you can update on your own down the road. The homes that have great cosmetic finishes will have the most competition. If a seller hasn’t been diligent in preparing their home that may be a great opportunity for you. Most buyers will over-estimate how much money or effort it takes to make some of those updates on their own and miss out on an otherwise good opportunity.

Consider a larger scale renovation project: Talk to your lender or agent about a renovation loan option for your home search. There are programs in place that allow you to purchase old, outdated, or foreclosed homes and have the cost of renovations built into your loan. You don’t have to spend any money out of pocket and get to select the finishes to the home yourself, customizing it to be exactly what you want.

Hire the right agent: As always, the best thing you can do to make the buying process easier is to hire the right agent. A great buyer’s agent will help you find to right option for you and make the process far less frustrating. We have many dedicated agents who are ready to help you!

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Why Your Real Estate Agent Really Matters

Written by Nathaniel Birdsong, Realty One Managing Partner and Broker


 I bought a house in January of 2007. Terrible timing. Like many people who purchased a home that year, I was upside down before I even got settled. It was my first home purchase, and I hated it. I didn’t blame my real estate agent at the time. Not really. She had no idea the market was going to crash that badly but I like to think she had some idea the great market couldn’t last forever.

I decided what really upset me was my own personal lack of knowledge when it came to home ownership. I felt completely unprepared to make a decision that big. Why wasn’t there anyone to tell me the real story about how owning a home worked? Why didn’t anyone layout the possible downside of the particular home I had chosen? Why did I feel like the whole process was a bunch of people just selling me to keep me moving forward so they could get paid?

It was in the wake of that entire situation that I decided to get into real estate for myself. I’ve always been good at sales and I like working with something that matters to everyone (their home). My plan was to turn my personal mission to never make a financial mistake like that again into a new career for myself.

I remember my first day of real estate school. My instructor was introducing the class to some basic concepts about being an agent. He called on one of the students in the front row and asked her name. For the purpose of this article, I’ll just call her Jill. He then proceeded to grab a piece of paper, write his address on it, and write the phrase: “I hereby give my home located at this address to Jill.” He then signed the piece of paper and gave it to her.

“Now” he said, “I just gave this piece of paper to Jill. Who owns my house?”

Everyone in the class, including me, thought this must have been a trick question. This was that cliché teacher trick of trying to get the class to yell out, in unison, the wrong answer on the first day. We all remained quiet.

“Jill owns my house,” my instructor said. “In the state of North Carolina, a general warranty deed can be as simple as a single page and it doesn’t even require the signature of the buyer. In the State of North Carolina, Jill now owns my house.”

And it’s true. It CAN be that simple to transfer property.

“But,” he said, “now there are some questions. Do I have the right to give her this home? Have I sold it to someone else as well? Have I had the roof replaced, but not paid the company that did the work? Is there a buried oil tank that is leaking into the ground? Have I separately sold the mineral rights? Do I owe back taxes?”

He continued to ask questions and we quickly realized the point.

He concluded with this thought: “Buying or selling real estate can be easy. Protecting the people who buy or sell real estate is hard, and that’s why great agents exist.”

Mind = Blown.

Suddenly it clicked for me. I had the idea of why I wanted to get into real estate. My instructor knew how to put that idea into words. Really what I wanted was to be that person who was missing from my home purchase so many years earlier. I wanted to help people buy and sell homes, of course, but I also wanted to provide education! I wanted to teach people all the things to look out for and empower people to make great decisions for themselves. I wanted to protect the people who were trying to buy and/or sell their homes.

That has been my personal mission since I got my license. Sometimes, helping a client is easy. They already know what they are doing they just need help getting the results. Great- get the sale done. But I actually prefer people who discover they need a little more of the education. I love it when I see something click for my clients and they realize they now understand something about home ownership they didn’t even know was important.

That is my driving force in working hard for my clients. The other agents who work with me at Realty One are all similar. We believe our relationship doesn’t end when your contract closes.

That is why we take a more personal investment in each and every one of our clients. We aren’t just selling a house, buying a house. We are helping people buy and sell homes. Our clients are making some of the biggest decisions of their lives. They need more than just some agent looking for the next big commission. They need a team of people invested in helping them make the right investment for the future of their family, and then the talent to get the results they need. That is what we strive for here at Realty One.

And for me… it’s personal.