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Home Matters with Yvonne

Buyers Choose A Real Estate Agent Wisely
Posted by Yvonne Hefner on Jan 1, 2003 - 4:20:00 PM

LOS ANGELESFor the month of December, in Canyon News territory, approximately 140 single family homes were listed for sale with approximately 97 sold. Also, during this time period, there were approximately 108 properties listed for lease with approximately 40 leased. The market has continued to perform better than expected this year primarily due to the low mortgage interest rates. After historic home sales in 2001 and 2002, sales are expected to slip but remain record strong next year due to low interest rates and strong projected economic growth. Interest rates are forecast to rise gradually to seven percent by this time next year yet hover around 6.2 percent during the first half of 2003. The prospects for housing demand should be good for the next decade.

Photo by Kibiwot Limo

Now, that you have been pre-qualified for financing to purchase a first home or another home and even better went steps farther to be pre-approved, you know exactly at what price range you can buy, approximately what your monthly mortgage payment will be and also know approximately your closing costs. Seeking a competent Real Estate professional may be next on your list. You may also prefer to begin the search of a new home by perusing the Internet, looking in the newspaper, driving around and going to open houses. There are several Real Estate listing sites on the Internet for the public. However, very often the properties listed are dated--already in escrow, sold or withdrawn from the market. The ads in the Sunday papers also may be dated since the ads may be re-runs or the property sold by the time the ad is in print. Driving around to search areas of appeal and appropriate to your needs is most helpful in making your selection, and Open Houses give you a chance to see interiors of homes and to become familiar with the prices. Should you locate the perfect home while at an Open House and you have not selected a Real Estate professional, it is acceptable and legal for the Agent representing the seller to also represent you, the buyer. Most buyers prefer to choose their own Real Estate Agent feeling more comfortable knowing their Agent is servicing only their interests and not both the buyer's and seller's which could cause a conflict of interest during the negotiation of price and other issues pertaining to the transaction.

Real Estate Agents most often choose and control their own professional approach to selling. Agents are not allowed to give any legal advice and must exercise reasonable skill, care and good faith. However, sellers are responsible for their representations to the buyer. In seeking a Real Estate Agent, ask friends, co-workers and associates for referrals. Some potential buyers believe they should first interview the Agent inquiring about how long the Agent has been in the business, what areas they work, how many clients they have and so on. How long an Agent has been in the real estate business is not always relevant. Since many newer agents have more advanced technical training and are more informed of current laws than some Agents who have been in the business 35 years. With the technology offered to Real Estate Agents today, an Agent can primarily work the Beverly Hills area but be able to tell a buyer what homes are currently available in Encino, the prices the homes have sold for in this area, how many are in escrow, etc. Although, if you are looking for a home in Orange County, you may certainly want an Agent located in Orange County due to the travel distance for the Agent located mainly in Beverly Hills.

What is pertinent to a buyer is an Agent who listens to what you say and just as important, what you do not say. A competent Agent will ask you, the buyer, several questions including ages of children, importance of schools in relationship to location of the new home, lifestyle and activities of family members, type of work you do, where you work in relation to driving distance, and pets. Agents today can e-mail listings whereby the buyer can view photos of homes including the complete description and price in the comfort of their home or office. In the current active Real Estate market, it is advisable for your Agent to check the market daily for new listings and for any price reductions. Many homes have numerous offers within two days of being offered for purchase. Listings that appear to be of interest to you, drive by first before having your Agent schedule an appointment to see if you even like the neighborhood and exterior of the home avoiding time wasted by all.

Once the perfect home has been selected, prior to making an offer, have your Agent do a Comparative Marketing Analysis (CMA). The results of this analysis will inform the buyer if the selected home is priced fairly and how high the offer should be. The CMA also most often eliminates the surprise of a home not appraising for the purchase price when appraised by the buyer's lender during the escrow process. Many buyers today complain of several offers on different properties not being accepted due to being out bid by others. A skilled Agent will know several helpful tips to assist you in your offer being accepted. Keep in mind, if you select a Real Estate Agent and are not satisfied with their performance before finding your new home, you may simply tell the Agent that his or her services are no longer needed and go with another Agent unless you have a written contract with that Agent which is most rare. However, it is not necessary nor is it proper protocol to have more than one Agent looking for your home. Most Agents work hard for their clients and today Agents have access basically to the same inventory in all areas. Until next time, home matters.

Yvonne Hefner, a licensed Real Estate Agent, can be reached at 323-650-8812 or at


Cliffside Malibu




Serving Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Beverly Hills. Brentwood, Laurel Canyon, Los Feliz, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Melrose, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Topanga, Canyon, Westwood & Hollywood Hills.