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Picking the Right Agent is Crucial


The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Sales Report two weeks ago and in the report they discussed a troubling trend: cancelled contracts are increasing dramatically. NAR defined the issue:

“Contract failures – cancellations caused largely by declined mortgage applications or failures in loan underwriting from appraised values coming in below the negotiated price.”

NAR explained that 18% of all contracts were cancelled in August. This compares to 16% last month and 9% in August of 2010.

The percentage of cancelled contracts has doubled in the past year!!

It is extremely important that both buyers and sellers pick the right real estate professional to assist them with their real estate needs.

BUYERS

Make sure your agent can not only help you find the home of your dreams but also find you professional assistance with all aspects of the transaction (mortgaging, title, etc.)

SELLERS

Realize that your agent must sell the home twice:

  1. to a qualified buyer
  2. to the bank (through the appraiser).

The second sale may be more difficult in this market than the first.

Bottom Line

It is imperative in this housing market that both buyers and sellers use a true real estate professional to guarantee that the deal will actually reach the closing table.

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10 Responses to “Picking the Right Agent is Crucial”

  1. Missy October 5, 2011 at 8:23 am # Reply

    This is a great topic and something I am seeing across our local market increasingly, however there is something that is VERY important to stress to our sellers regarding "selling" the house twice. We do not have much ability to "SELL" the contract price to the appraiser... Or at least in my market area.

    While we as listing agents can list a property with the most up to date data and can suggest a sales price, once the contract has been accepted there can be multiple factors that can sway an appraisers opinion of value, and it is important for the seller to be aware that the bank and the appraiser do not have to listen to why the listing agent thinks a house is worth "X".
    I have seen appraisers pick the lowest 3 out of 10 comps and refuse to use what I felt were more similar comps. Thus... A home that I had under contract in 2 days, because it was priced aggressively, appraised low. There were plenty of great similar properties that could have been used. I did my homework and previewed every home in the seller neighborhood months before listing because we were finishing our "It's Showtime" checklist. I know which homes were great and not so great. Did the appraiser? Why did he use the lowest comps? Short sales and bank owned? Because he can. There are more details..but the point is... we had to reduce. Thus setting an even worse price point in the neighborhood.... a normal sale closed at a lower price! How are we to improve? Maybe that is a good topic for discussion one day?
    I try to explain to my sellers that we sell it to the buyer.. But it is just as important to explain that even the best comps and contract may not appraise in this market. Sometimes that is out of our control.

  2. Mr. K October 5, 2011 at 11:51 am # Reply

    You can't be serious! What Realtor doesn't know the reputation and performance record of multiple lenders within their community? Every Realtor that I know will provide the buyer with the names of several lenders with whom past clients have had good experiences. But as the old saying goes, "past results are no guarantee of future performance". It should have occurred to the author of this article that every month it seems to be getting tougher to get loans approved by ANY lender. Those rejected loans are caused in large measure by the lender tightening their loan requirements...not because the Realtor gave the names of incompetent lenders.. nor is it the Loan Officer's fault. What the author did get right is that many loans are rejected because of appraisals that came in lower than the agreed upon purchase price. But the Realtor cannot have any discussions with the Appraiser until AFTER the appraisal has been submitted. The author should familiarize himself with HVCC (Home Valuation Code of Conduct). And to say that it is the Realtor's job to sell the Appraiser on their idea of value is plain nuts, and implies that an Appraiser can be persuaded to change their opinion of value via a sales pitch. A high percentage of Appraisers won't even discuss the appraisal with the Realtor at all, and definitely not unless or until the lender (who the appraisal belongs to) authorizes the Appraiser to discuss the appraisal. Sometimes the Appraiser is willing to take a look at comps that the Realtor thinks should be used, but in most cases the Appraiser had already rejected those comps for legitimate reasons. While I have seen appraisals changed due to additional information coming from the Realtor, it is indeed very rare. The next thing this author will probably try to tell the reader is that BPO's (usually performed by Real Estate Agents) are just as good as Appraisals when determining an Opinion of Value.

  3. Grand Rapids Short Sale Agents October 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm # Reply

    What we need to understand here is the restrictions that are being placed on the appraisers. I just had a Grand Rapids Short Sale come in under the value on a BPO. The appraiser was not allowed to use any distressed property comps. As far as I am concerned Chase Mortgage Loss Mitigators are a bunch of complete morons! This was a distressed property but the appraiser wasn't allowed to use something that was like the property!!!! Are you kidding me???! Or how about the fact that the price was started high to make sure I hit every single price point but they would not accept where I got an offer. Real Estate o 101 Chase Bank!!! A HOUSE IS ONLY WORTH WHAT SOMEONE IS WILLING TO PAY FOR IT!!!

  4. ryan October 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm # Reply

    The reason for the high cancellation rates are shorts sales. Banks take forever and most buyers after waiting countless months, bail and find something else. It's sad because getting these deals done in a timely manner would really help clean up the mess faster and keep values in check. Until the banks get a handle on all these Short Sales and get their REOs on the market and cleaned up, we are going to be in this mess for years.

  5. Jimmy October 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm # Reply

    Let me state up front that a few years ago, I was part owner of a firm that did appraisals. I am currently a real estate broker in a small town in North Carolina. I am appalled at the quality of some appraisals! (Not all by any means, you appraisers who read this!) As an example of what I have seen in some cases recently, let me relate my experience when I refinanced my own home. I was incredulous when I saw some of the comps! I know the neighborhood fairly well, since I list and sell real estate there. I had been inside several of the comps. The appraiser was picked by a "third party" in compliance with current law. She was from a town 30 miles away, and was an apprentice working under a fully licensed appraiser. Apparently she, as has been the case a number of times with appraisers lately, did not know anything about this area. Additionally, either the apprentice appraiser did not go in at least one vacant foreclosure, or she is astoundingly incompetent. It is obvious that the supervising appraiser did not drive the thirty miles to check her work. The real estate industry has major problems without the additional ones caused by lazy or incompetent appraisers. The current requirements isolating the lender and realtor from the appraisal process solve a problem we all know existed. But the process of selecting appraisers who know very little or nothing about the local neighborhoods causes additional problems none of us need in this very difficult market! (Incidentally I had no problem getting my refinancing. But if I had needed a loan of eighty percent of the true value, I would have had to start over.)

  6. Kristina October 6, 2011 at 9:59 am # Reply

    Today more than ever, our job as real estate agents faces a crucial and challenging time. There are too many factors involved that are way beyond our control. Timing may be everything but it is always crucial to have a reliable agent who will always be upfront about everything. Great post as usual!

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