Real Estate Agent Slogans

Catchy taglines are everywhere in advertising. Whether they rhyme, or they inspire, or they create a memorable image, taglines are something every advertising agency works hard to craft. How many of us know, “Like a good neighbor” or “Just do it”? While you might not create a slogan as memorable as those, you should be able to come up with something that your local clients will always think of. Need a little inspiration to get started? Here are some suggestions for slogans and ways to get the creativity rolling.

When you do come up with a slogan, you need to use it throughout your advertising and on your website. That way, people will be faced with the association frequently and they will be better able to keep your name and the slogan together.

Your slogan should be short and sweet. Try your best to keep it under eight words. Anything longer will just deter people instead of drawing them in. It should also make sense for the brand you are creating.

One thing you can do is come up with a rhyming slogan. Case in point – a Realtor named Scott Geller tagged “The Home Seller” after his name and because it rolls off the tongue so smoothly, it has become all one phrase. And, that makes it easy to advertise. His word of mouth campaign keeps his advertising costs low.

Your slogan should make a tug on the heartstrings, too. You are taking part in one of the most important events in a person’s life. By letting your customers know what you can do in terms of customer service, your slogan will help quickly convey what you can do. Consider something like, “Jane Smith – Helping Your Family Make the Right Move”.

Avoid any slogans that are bland or generic. They won’t work to set you apart from your competition, and they might even work against you. If your slogan is generic, your potential clients might think you are, too, and that you won’t be the best agent they can find. Think about something like, “I’ll take the stress out of your home buying experience”, or “Call the Carson City condo specialist”.

You can also consider your location for your slogan. When you add in your place, it not only helps make you the personal expert for someone, you also boost your search engine ranking.

Creating an image in your potential client’s mind is an effective slogan, too. Assuring your client you can solve the mystery of home buying or be their personal navigator makes that slogan unique and memorable at the same time.

If creativity is still escaping you, you can contract this process out and hire a professional. Some will even blend the slogan into your total advertising plan, and not charge you too much for it.

Now, if you come up with a slogan and you test it on your friends and family but you receive a negative reaction, be ready to set that slogan aside and pick something else. You should also not take it personally. Try out another one and keep going until you do find one that is well received.

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How to Choose a Realtor – 7 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

Buying or selling real estate is probably the most significant transaction you’ll ever make in your life. That’s why it’s important to choose the best Realtor to help you achieve this goal. But before you hire the services of a real estate agent, there are important factors to consider.

Many people have the perception that all real estate agents are the same. Some sign with the first one that comes along. Unfortunately, they realize later on that they should have been more selective before signing an agreement. To guide you in choosing the best Realtor for your needs, below are seven questions to ask your prospective real estate agent.

1) What is your experience in real estate?

The first thing you need to ask a real estate agent is how long they’ve been in the real estate business. It doesn’t mean that you cannot enlist the services of newly licensed real estate agents. Just keep in mind that those who have years of experience under their belts are probably more knowledgeable on what to do, from listing to closing. Aside from the number of years in the business, ask them what segment of real estate they focus on – residential, commercial, luxury, etc. Find out if he/she is primarily a listing agent or a buyer’s agent (or both). Familiarity with the market is also essential, so ask what geographic areas the agent usually covers. You can even dig deeper by asking if the agent has received any awards for outstanding performance.

2) How many and what types of properties have you listed and sold in the past year?

It’s one of the most important questions you should ask a real estate agent. The number of properties he or she has listed and sold in the past year is a valuable indicator how good a real estate professional is in getting the job done. Take note that this question consists of two parts: properties listed and properties sold. Agents may demonstrate their ability to list homes; however, the more important thing is the sales part – the ability to close deals. If they have many properties listed and sold in the past year, it shows that whatever strategy the agent is using, it’s certainly working.

3) What was the average sales price for the properties you’ve sold over the last year?

Asking this will give you an idea in what kind of market the agent specializes. Find out if the real estate professional has experience selling properties in the price range you’re listing at. If a majority of properties sold falls on the low-end market segment, it might take longer for the agent to sell if yours is a higher-end home. Although agents can sell any property regardless of price range, it’s likely that they will have better success in the market and price segments in which they have the most experience.

4) What is your average sale to list price ratio?

The sale to list price ratio (sometimes called the sale-to-list or list-to-sale ratio) is the final sales price divided by the listing price, expressed as a percentage. If it is 100%, it means the sales price was equal to the list price. You can view this ratio in two ways. A skilled listing agent can negotiate sales prices that are equal or close to the list price, and sometimes even greater in a very competitive market. So ideally, listing agents should have sale to list price ratios closer to 100%. On the other side of the coin, a good buyer’s agent can often negotiate a sales price that is lower than the list price. Therefore, buyer’s agent ratios ideally should be lower than 99%.

5) What marketing strategies will you use?

Deciding on what strategies to use can spell the difference between success and failure. A poor marketing strategy will diminish the chances for success. Do your own due diligence by asking how the agent will sell your property. There are lots of options – staging, open houses, joint marketing, print advertising, and of course, online marketing. Whatever approaches are used, they should be designed to bring in the highest number of qualified potential buyers. Higher end properties can also often benefit from professional staging. In any case, your agent should advise you on how to best prepare the property to make it the most attractive to potential buyers.

6) Can you give me some references?

Reputation is important in this line of business. Whether you’re buying or selling a property, you should ask for references (past clients). If possible, call a few and ask them about their experiences with the agent. Were they pleased with the service provided? Also ask if they are in any way related to the agent. A list of references made up of friends or relatives generally won’t provide an objective assessment of the agent’s qualifications.

7) Do you offer any type of guarantee, and will you let me out of my contract early if I am not satisfied with your service?

You can’t say with certainty how things will go, even if you did your due diligence. For this reason, you should ensure that you’re prepared for any eventuality. If you sign a contract and later find that you’re not satisfied with the service, will the agent allow you to cancel the agreement? If things don’t work out the way they’re supposed to, you should have the freedom to choose another agent who can deliver better results.

As you can see, there are many things to consider when choosing a real estate agent. Finding and interviewing Realtors can be a very time-consuming and laborious task. However, now armed with these seven questions, you are on your way in choosing the best Realtor for your needs.

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The Funniest Real Estate Blunders

In real estate it pays to steer clear of blunders. Every Agent will tell you so, adding also with a very serious, monochrome facial expression the like normally reserved for weddings or funerals, that blunders in real estate are very costly . What not every Agent will tell you, however, is that sometimes we – the Agents – are the ones making the blunders. I was reviewing the other day a collection of very funny newspaper ads I have gathered throughout my eighteen years of real estate practice. Today it is very easy to correct an error on the Internet with just a couple of clicks of the mouse. But only a few short years ago we did not have the benefit of computers with all the whistles and bells like websites, blogs, electronic newsletters and ads. The electronic era was in its infancy and the World of Real Estate was primarily a printed world. Which meant that a blundered newspaper ad, for example, was going to be delivered into each and every household in town before it could be corrected, much to the detriment of the author. And in the impetus and stress of real estate sales and sometimes merely for an abundance of zeal, some of those ads did not reach the intended results. You be the judge …

[] CENTRALLY LOCATED

"Location .. Location .. This property is conveniently located with Revenue Canada only two short blocks to the south, the hospital only one short block to the north and the cemetery right across the street."

[] CENTRALLY LOCATED … IN THE INTERIOR

"This apartment complex is located in the center of town, surrounded by all modern amenities and with Safeway only a short two-hour drive away".

[] WHISTLES AND BELLS

"Furthermore this very fine house comes with all the whistles and bells you can possibly imagine, including the front door".

[] HOW HIGH IS IT?

"From the luscious living area step outside the large, stone-covered, wrap-around balcony where you can enjoy the most amazing, breathtaking, 270-degree view of Canada."

[] LEAVE THEM IN THE CAR …

"Additionally this open layout apartment comes with the exclusive use of one underground parking where you can securely park your car with your inlaws."

[] ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE …

"The living room is bordered by the open wall which coupled by the crystal floor-to-ceiling divisory partition enhances the spaciousness and luminosity of the area so that practically anyone can be laid down."

[] PERFECT FOR ROBINSON CRUSOE …

"Enjoy the sunsets from the acreage of this wonderful, pristine island estate, with the ferries passing on the horizon once a week".

[] THE FASTEST GUNS IN THE WEST …

"This spectacular house was built by the famous Sahota Brothers, Amrit and Jill, in less than a month."

[] A VERY SMALL MAID

"The kitchen communicates with an approximately 8 'by 7' room that can be used as pantry or can easily be adhibited as living quarters for the maid."

[] SHE IS GOING TO NEED A LADDER

"Grandma will no doubt enjoy the ceiling-mounted wall socket, perfect for plugging in the iron while watching TV."

[] THIS ONE IS REALLY, REALLY NEW

"This fine property is still on the drawing board, construction will begin in mid-June and it's never been used before".

[] LEAVE THEM IN THE GARAGE

"The detached garage is fully functional and self-sufficient and can be used to park your cars or as a guest suite for the inlaws."

[] START YOUR HOME BUSINESS

"The manicured backyard which is second to none borders with the United States and is, therefore, a smuggler's paradise."

[] A LITTLE TIGHT, PERHAPS?

"Don't be fooled by the square footage. This studio will easily fit yourself, the wife, the children and your pets all in the same room."

[] HOW MANY DO YOU NEED?

"There is a master bedroom on the main floor, a master bedroom on the upper floor and a master bedroom downstairs. They will make a Frenchman pale."

And here are some very good reasons for hiring them:

"With me real estate is not an art: it is an adventure!"

"List with Bob Bye – The Guy with the Tie."

"I am not only your Realtor! I am your boyfriend!"

"I am not only passionate about real estate, not only passionate about your house: I am passionate about you!"

"My marketing plan is very simple and efficient: I will present you the offers and then will dispose of them all."

"My motto is not integrity, not credibility, not sincerity: my motto is you and me!"

"Your friendly neighborhood expert. And I know the whole town too!"

"I will get you the highest possible price – if not, it could not be done."

"If I can't sell your house in four months, by then you will stay with me for another four months."

Luigi Frascati

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What Real Estate Investors Should Know About Local Customs

As a commercial real estate investor, there is a good chance that you will invest in a property located in another state in which local customs may be very different from where you live. Knowing some of these customs may help you avoid mistakes that may cost you money. While people say when you are in Rome, do what Romans do. However, there is often disagreement about whether the seller or buyer is in Rome. This article discusses some of the common customs that you should know. It may or may not explain why these customs are what they are which could be a very long story.

Independent Consideration
You often see this independent monetary consideration in contracts in Texas (TX), Georgia (GA), and North Carolina (NC) but not in California (CA) where love and affection are acceptable consideration. Listing brokers in these states often insist that you pay the seller $ 1000- $ 5000 as independent consideration for the right to cancel the contract during the typical 30-day due diligence period. As an out-of-state investor, you have to pay for air fare, hotel, food, and car rental to visit the property as part of your due diligence. So if you decide that the location is not as good as it appears from satellite map or whatever reasons, it does not make sense to pay another $ 1000-5000 to cancel the contract. While the law in these states requires an independent monetary consideration, it does say what that amount must be. So you should pick a big number between $ 1 to $ 10 to make the contract legal!

Nonrefundable Earnest Deposit
In CA, there is no such thing as nonrefundable deposit per a CA court ruling. Most if not all real estate contracts in all states have a paragraph addressing damages due to contract breaching by either party. This is often sufficient. However, some listing brokers and sellers outside of CA often insist that all the earnest deposit "going hard", ie becoming non-refundable and released to the seller, after the expiration of due diligence period. While the purpose is to make sure you think twice about breaching, it could be difficult to get any of earnest deposit back if

  • You, for unforeseeable position, eg hit by a truck or have a heart attack and go to heaven or wherever, cannot close the transaction.
  • The property is partially damaged, or even burned down by arson.
  • The seller spends it all and your loan is not approved due to soil contamination discovered later on!

You are in a bad position to negotiate with nothing to offer when the money is in possession of the seller. It is therefore advisable to keep the deposit in escrow until closing. However, sometimes you have to make a tough choice, especially when there are multiple offers so you can buy a desirable property.

Property Taxes
In CA, the property is automatically reassessed at the purchased price. The property tax rate is about 1.25% of the purchased price. Due to the Proposition 13, property taxes can only increase by a small percentage annually unless there is change in ownership.

In TX, the property tax rate is about 3% of the assessed or taxable value. However, the taxable value may or may not be the purchased price which is often higher. If the higher purchased price is reported to the county then you will pay property taxes based on the higher purchased price. So it's a good idea not to report this higher purchased price since it is not required. Lately in TX, the local government tries to raise revenue by aggressively reassess the property values. The new assessed value could be significantly higher than, eg 100% the old assessed value. Should this happen to your property, you may want to hire a professional company to protest this property taxes increase even on a property with NNN leases. The success rate appears to be fairly high. As an investor, it's wise and prudent to keep the NNN expenses as low as possible for your tenants. You definitely want your golden goose to keep laying eggs.

In Florida, there is a monthly state sales tax for commercial properties, so make sure you know who is supposed to pay it. In Illinois, the property taxes rate is fairly steep at about 5%. The property tax rate for NC is about 1.45% of the taxable value which is not changed after the sale.

Attorney States
In CA, an escrow company can handle the closing of a real estate transaction. In GA, FL, or NC, escrow companies can only hold the deposit for you and you must hire an attorney licensed in that state to do the closing. These states are often called "attorney states". The proponents say that a real estate transaction is very complex so it must have an attorney to assist you. For opponents, it's all about job security for lawyers. If you invest in a property in an attorney state, you want to hire an attorney who charges a flat fee since the amount of work is very much predictable. You will receive an estimate based on what you need the attorney to do. He or she won't start working until you authorize him or her in writing to do it. The attorney will review all the documents and give the blessing before you sign them. It is advisable to avoid an attorney who charges you by the hours. Most likely you are dealing with a lawyer looking for a big pay day.

In CA, the buyer automatically receives the Preliminary Title report which shows the owner and various information, eg liens and loan amount on the property. If you cancel the transaction, you normally don't pay escrow any fees. In attorney states, the attorney will do the title search and review. The title company then issues a title commitment to insure against any title defects. Should you cancel the transaction, the attorney and Escrow Company may charge a fee for the work done.

Closing Costs
When you make an offer, you often state that buyer and seller split closing costs based on the custom in the county where the property is located. In CA or TX, the sellers customarily pay for owner's title insurance premium based on the purchased price which guarantees the buyer of a clear title (technically you should not have to buy the owner's title insurance when you refinance the property because the title was already insured when you bought the property.) The buyer pays for the lender's policy premium based on the loan amount. This lender's policy is required by the lender to protect it against losses resulting from claims made by others against the property. Of course, if you pay cash for the property then there is no lender's policy. However in GA, it's customary for the buyer to pay for both owner's and lender's policy. So make sure you have sufficient fund to close the transaction.

Deeding Instrument
In CA, the sellers often transfer his interest to the buyers by a grant deed. In other states, the seller will transfer his interest to the buyer by a general or special warranty deed.

  • General warranty deed is used to convey the seller's interest in real property to the buyer. The seller certifies that the title on property being conveyed is free and clear of defects, liens, and encumbrances. The buyer may sue the seller for the damages caused by the defective title.
  • Special warranty deed is also used to convey an interest in real estate. However, the grantor does not warrant against the defects arising from conditions that existed before he / she owned the property. So the special warranty deed is not as good as the general warrant deed. However, most sellers will use this deed for obvious reasons.
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Good Versus Bad Debt – Is Real Estate Debt OK?

Here’s a very basic conversation about “Good Debt” versus “Bad Debt”

Is there such a thing as “good debt”? Years ago, I considered “good debt” to be an oxymoron.

This good vs. bad debt conversation comes up a lot in real estate conversations. Especially for investors just starting out. And, typically, understanding “good” debt has proven more difficult for women (sorry girls). We, it seems, are much more concerned about paying the bills today for our home and our children. After all, doesn’t most of society tell us that debt is bad? So, how is some of it good? And why?

My husband and I argued about “good debt” vs. “bad debt” for two and a half years before I finally got it (and by “it”, I mean I finally understood his argument). I wanted no debt and was absolutely NOT interested in finding something called private money lenders. Why in the world would we want even MORE people – besides mortgage companies – to owe money to?!?

But, ultimately, I became convinced. “Good debt” is a real thing, and not just an oxymoron. I learned about something I had not previously understood – Leveraging.

Here’s one definition I found for leveraging: “using borrowed capital for (an investment), expecting the profits made to be greater than the interest payable.”

Yes, “profits made to be greater than the interest payable” means you can pay back the lender and still have profits (money) left for yourself. If you do this once, it’s a wonderful thing. If you do this ten times, it can be incredible. So, done right, taking on more “good debt” can increase your own long-term profits.

Not all debt, naturally, leads to profits – not a big screen TV or another car, but investment debt done right definitely can. Here’s a very basic way to look at it:

Example 1:

Say you personally have $100,000 cash. You can purchase one house for $100,000 and get $1000 per month rent for it.

Example 2:

Or, you buy ten $100,000 houses, putting $10,000 down for each, and get $1,000 per month rent from each house. Yes, you have debt to pay to the borrower on each one, but you also have profits left for yourself on each one.

  • You only need $100 profit left on each to still receive your $1000 per month income.
  • Plus, you have someone else paying off those mortgages.
  • Plus, you receive tax write-offs on the interest you pay to your lenders.
  • You receive additional tax write-offs on the depreciation on those properties.
  • Over time, your tenants, not you, pay off the mortgages.
  • You end up with ten houses each paying $1000 per month rent. Rather than the original one house paying $1000, you now have ten houses paying $1000. And you still only paid out your initial $100,000 for ten times the reward.

Now THAT’S leveraging!

Another important fact when purchasing real estate is that you have an asset against your debt. It’s not like borrowing for a bigger TV or even for a car where the purchase has little to no value. In fact, those aren’t assets but liabilities. With real estate, if circumstances go awry, you have the option to give the asset to the lender to satisfy the debt. A much safer deal for everyone.

Begin to see this “good” debt is as an investment in your future. The important thing is that you must buy right. Be sure to buy at a deep discount, never pay full retail. That leaves plenty of room to maintain value even if the market and property values drop (remember 2008, 2009 and 2010?).

Does this make you think of real estate debt differently? What can you add?

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How The Overall Economy Impacts Real Estate?

Many of us, who are involved, on a daily basis, with the many nuances of real estate, get so involved with buying, selling, marketing, and promoting homes, and making/ giving listing presentation, we often ignore, the many economic factors and other conditions, which impact the real estate market. Some of these factors are local, in nature, while others may be national or international/ global. Some are actual, while others are perceived (for example, belief in their job security, negative possibilities because of some action taken by government, etc). With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly consider, examine, review, and discuss, how the overall economy impacts the real estate/ housing markets.

1. Mortgage/ interest rates: When the Federal Reserve announces they are raising, planning to, or considering raising rates, in most instances, mortgage rates follow. About 2 years ago, we witnessed historically low mortgage rates, and today, while, from an historic perspective, they are still relatively low, they are about one percent higher, than they were, at the low. When mortgage rates are low, many buyers qualify for a higher price, and thus, we often witness a rice in home prices. As they rise, generally, prices, and, especially, the rate of increase, slows.

2. Taxes: When local real estate taxes are comparatively low, the effect on monthly carrying charges, is a positive, for the housing market. When they rise, they cause homeowners, to have to pay more monthly. Some houses, neighborhoods, regions, counties, etc, have lower taxes than others, so when one region abruptly raises rates, that local market is hurt, and certain surrounding areas benefit. In addition, in higher tax areas, such as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut. Massachusetts, Illinois, California, last year’s tax legislation, may have potential longer – term ramifications, on the housing market. That inclusion, known as State and Local Taxes, or SALT, limited/ capped the federal tax deduction, permitted, for state and local taxes, to a total of $10,000. Since many houses in these regions, have much higher taxes, and, several of these areas, also have state and/ or regional taxes, these caps, have the potential, to harm the real estate market, especially, if, they increase, any more.

3. Jobs: Do people perceive, they have job security? Is the job market, strong, or relatively weak? Are incomes increasing? The more confident, and comfortable, qualified potential buyers, are, the stronger the market.

4. Overall economy, and world news: For example, if the present, partial government shutdown, continues, for a substantial period, many workers, industries, and small businesses, especially, will be negatively impacted! There seems to be lots of fears, doubts, and insecurities, about safety, etc. The more confident, the public is, the better off, usually, is the real estate market.

These items are just the tip of the factors, which have an impact on the housing market. Beware, prepare, and plan accordingly.

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The Duty Of Confidentiality In Real Estate

In any Listing Agreement there is a point in time when the agency relationship ends.

A Listing Agreement, as it is widely known, is none other than a contract between the rightful titleholder of an interest in land (the ‘Principal’) and a duly licensed real estate firm (the ‘Agent’), whereby the firm stipulates and agrees to find a Buyer within a specified timeframe who is ready, willing and able to purchase the interest in land that is the subject matter of the contract while acting within the realm of the authority that the Principal confers onto the Agent, and wherein furthermore the titleholder stipulates and agrees to pay a commission should the licensee ever be successful in finding such Buyer.

As in all contracts, there is implied in a Listing Agreement an element which is commonly know at law as an ‘implied covenant of good faith and fair dealings’. This covenant is a general assumption of the law that the parties to the contract – in this case the titleholder and the licensed real estate firm – will deal fairly with each other and that they will not cause each other to suffer damages by either breaking their words or otherwise breach their respective and mutual contractual obligations, express and implied. A breach of this implied covenant gives rise to liability both in contract law and, depending on the circumstances, in tort as well.

Due to the particular nature of a Listing Agreement, the Courts have long since ruled that during the term of the agency relationship there is implied in the contract a second element that arises out of the many duties and responsibilities of the Agent towards the Principal: a duty of confidentiality, which obligates an Agent acting exclusively for a Seller or for a Buyer, or a Dual Agent acting for both parties under the provisions of a Limited Dual Agency Agreement, to keep confidential certain information provided by the Principal. Like for the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealings, a breach of this duty of confidentiality gives rise to liability both in contract law and, depending on the circumstances, in tort as well.

Pursuant to a recent decision of the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (http://www.recbc.ca/) , the regulatory body empowered with the mandate to protect the interest of the public in matters involving Real Estate, a question now arises as to whether or not the duty of confidentiality extends beyond the expiration or otherwise termination of the Listing Agreement.

In a recent case the Real Estate Council reprimanded two licensees and a real estate firm for breaching a continuing duty of confidentiality, which the Real Estate Council found was owing to the Seller of a property. In this case the subject property was listed for sale for over two years. During the term of the Listing Agreement the price of the property was reduced on two occasions. This notwithstanding, the property ultimately did not sell and the listing expired.

Following the expiration of the listing the Seller entered into three separate ‘fee agreements’ with the real estate firm. On all three occasions the Seller declined agency representation, and the firm was identified as ‘Buyer’s Agent’ in these fee agreements. A party commenced a lawsuit as against the Seller, which was related to the subject property.

The lawyer acting for the Plaintiff approached the real estate firm and requested that they provide Affidavits containing information about the listing of the property. This lawyer made it very clear that if the firm did not provide the Affidavits voluntarily, he would either subpoena the firm and the licensees as witnesses to give evidence before the Judge, or he would obtain a Court Order pursuant to the Rules Of Court compelling the firm to give such evidence. The real estate firm, believing there was no other choice in the matter, promptly complied by providing the requested Affidavits.

As a direct and proximate result, the Seller filed a complaint with the Real Estate Council maintaining that the information contained in the Affidavits was ‘confidential’ and that the firm had breached a duty of confidentiality owing to the Seller. As it turned out, the Affidavits were never used in the court proceedings.

The real estate brokerage, on the other hand, took the position that any duty of confidentiality arising from the agency relationship ended with the expiration of the Listing Agreement. The firm argued, moreover, that even if there was a duty of continuing confidentiality such duty would not preclude or otherwise limit the evidence that the real estate brokerage would be compelled to give under a subpoena or in a process under the Rules Of Court. And, finally, the realty company pointed out that there is no such thing as a realtor-client privilege, and that in the instant circumstances the Seller could not have prevented the firm from giving evidence in the lawsuit.

The Real Estate Council did not accept the line of defence and maintained that there exists a continuing duty of confidentiality, which extends after the expiration of the Listing Agreement. Council ruled that by providing the Affidavits both the brokerage and the two licensee had breached this duty.

The attorney-client privilege is a legal concept that protects communications between a client and the attorney and keeps those communications confidential. There are limitations to the attorney-client privilege, like for instance the fact that the privilege protects the confidential communication but not the underlying information. For instance, if a client has previously disclosed confidential information to a third party who is not an attorney, and then gives the same information to an attorney, the attorney-client privilege will still protect the communication to the attorney, but will not protect the information provided to the third party.

Because of this, an analogy can be drawn in the case of a realtor-client privilege during the existence of a Listing Agreement, whereby confidential information is disclosed to a third party such as a Real Estate Board for publication under the terms of a Multiple Listings Service agreement, but not before such information is disclosed to the real estate brokerage. In this instance the privilege theoretically would protect the confidential communication as well as the underlying information.

And as to whether or not the duty of confidentiality extends past the termination of a Listing Agreement is still a matter of open debate, again in the case of an attorney-client privilege there is ample legal authority to support the position that such privilege does in fact extend indefinitely, so that arguably an analogy can be inferred as well respecting the duration of the duty of confidentiality that the Agent owes the Seller, to the extent that such duty extends indefinitely.

This, in a synopsis, seems to be the position taken by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia in this matter.

Clearly, whether the duty of confidentiality that stems out of a Listing Agreement survives the termination of the contract is problematic to the Real Estate profession in terms of practical applications. If, for instance, a listing with Brokerage A expires and the Seller re-lists with Brokerage B, if there is a continuing duty of confidentiality on the part of Brokerage A, in the absence of express consent on the part of the Seller a Realtor of Brokerage A could not act as a Buyer’s Agent for the purchase of the Seller’s property, if this was re-listed by Brokerage B. All of which, therefore, would fly right in the face of all the rules of professional cooperation between real estate firms and their representatives. In fact, this process could potentially destabilize the entire foundation of the Multiple Listings Service system.

In the absence of specific guidelines, until this entire matter is clarified perhaps the best course of action for real estate firms and licensees when requested by a lawyer to provide information that is confidential, is to respond that the brokerage will seek to obtain the necessary consent from the client and, if that consent is not forthcoming, that the lawyer will have to take the necessary legal steps to compel the disclosure of such information.

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Five Basic Tips for Investing in Real Estate

There are a lot of things to learn in Real Estate before you start investing. In fact, investing in Real Estate is much more complicated than the stocks investing. That is why Real Estate has become the common investing area for many people and thus have become more popular over the years. One needs to have financial and legal knowledge before investing in the Real Estate.

So, here we are providing you five basic tips which helps you to familiarize yourself with the basic concept of Real Estate.

1. Location:

Location Matters which is an old age saying perfectly suits when we think of the investing in Real Estate. The first thing you should make sure while investing in a property or proceeding forward is whether it is located in a good place or not.

If it is the best location, it can be the worst house there, but that doesn’t matter as you can just fix the issues or resell it to someone who wants a house in the best location. This is called as the Fixing and Flipping formulae by the professional Real Estate investors.

2. Wholesale properties:

Being wise is also very much important while investing. You need to follow the Warren Buffet formulae from the stock market investing which says “You need to be greedy, while everyone else is feeling fearful.” You need to look out for the wholesale properties that are being offered at great discounts and thus avoid paying full prices.

Using this technique, you can buy the property at low price and keep the selling price twice the buying price which helps you in maximizing your investment return.

3. Connect with local investors:

Hanging out with the local investors and talking with them about the local Real Estate market will help you in knowing the things better. Ask them to show their properties and take in every single bit of information they give you.

4. Reading helps a lot:

There is a tremendous amount of information available online these days. You can also gain information that you may need regarding the Property field and investing as well. Buy and read books that give you practical knowledge about buying, flipping, renting and selling the properties.

5. Find a good Realtor:

This is the best part. When you are all set and finally ready to invest in some property, then a Realtor is the person who helps you with it. And a good Realtor who understands the concept of investing returns and also have sold a number of properties can be the best choice.

Property investment can offer fabulous returns, but there are also people who are bankrupted after investing in Real Estate. It is all in your hands, so be sure and know everything involved before you invest.

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History of Real Estate Agency Relationships

In the beginning, real estate brokers were known as middlemen and optioneers. Back then, the customary practice was for a middleman to know about a property for sale, but to keep it secret from other middlemen. It was difficult for these middleman to collect a fee for their services so they would resort to tactics that were not always in their seller’s best interest. Optioneers, on the other hand, were usually more successful in collecting their fees because they would tie up the seller’s property on an option to purchase, sell the property to a buyer at a price over the option amount, pay the seller the option price, and then pocket the rest.

The early real estate brokerage business was loosely organized and used methods of brokering that were often dishonest, subject to fraud, and that took advantage of sellers and buyers. Eventually, a newer concept with the real estate broker being an agent of and owing a fiduciary duty to the seller and receiving payment for his services was developed. This new concept forced the seller and broker relationship to a higher level of service and duty. It also allowed brokers to list property for sale using contracts. These contracts are what we now refer to listings. The earlier forms of listings we called open listings. The open listing is a type of non exclusive listing contract authorizing a real estate broker to offer a property for sale, find a buyer and get paid for services upon the closing of that transaction.

Other brokers could also have open listings for the same property, but only the broker who actually found the buyer would receive a commission. In addition, no broker would get paid a fee if the seller sold the property. The open listing discouraged cooperation between brokers, since each broker could obtain their own open listing. To solve the open listing problem, the exclusive agency listing became popular.

The exclusive agency listing is a type of listing contract wherein the seller offers only the listing brokerage compensation if the buyer is procured through the brokerage’s efforts or the efforts of other real estate brokerages. This means that in certain situations, such as For Sale by Owner, the listing brokerage may not receive compensation when the property is sold. In the exclusive agency listing, the listing brokerage or another brokerage working with the listing brokerage must procure the buyer in order to have a claim on compensation.

The exclusive agency listing encourages competing brokers to find buyers for listing, since the listing brokerage pays the selling brokerage’s fee. However, the seller still does not pay a fee when a seller finds the buyer. The exclusive agency listing eventually gave rise to the exclusive right to sell listing.

The exclusive right-to-sell agreement, the listing brokerage is offered compensation in the event of a sale regardless of who procured the buyer. The exclusive right to sell listing guarantees that the listing broker will get paid a fee, even if a competing broker or the seller sells property. It provides the most protection for the listing broker and is considered in the best interest of the seller because the listing brokerage will put effort and resources into marketing the property, since a commission is guaranteed during the term of the agreement.

Even after the exclusive right to sell listing became popular, there was little cooperation between brokerages, since a buyer who wanted to buy a specific property would have to deal with the broker who had exclusive listings of interest. It was also quite clear to all parties in that the broker represented the seller and that the buyer had no representation.

By the 1950s there was pressure for more cooperation between brokerages. As a result, a broker working with a buyer would contact competing brokerages to to learn of their inventory and possible matches for their clients. Deals often resulted where the selling agent did not know the seller or their agent and the selling agent’s only dealings were with the buyer. Suddenly, the concept that the selling brokerage owed its fiduciary duty to only the seller was no longer a neat and logical concept. However, it would take many years before the unworkable agency concepts would be sorted out and lead to buyer representation.

As the 1950s and 1960s progressed, a more formalized cooperative brokerage system, known as the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), was developed. Through the MLS, the concept of subagency evolved. Simply stated, this meant the listing broker was the agent of and represented only the seller. The listing brokerage would hire sales associates who were considered subagents of the seller. The listing MLS brokerage was required to make the listing available to all cooperating brokerage within their MLS. These cooperating brokerages were also deemed subagents of the listing brokerage, who were agents of the seller. If the cooperating brokerage had sales associates, they were subagents of the cooperating brokerage, who were subagents of the listing brokerage, who was the agent of the seller. During this period, an agency relationship with a buyer was not possible, since the agency relationship was always with the seller. The only duty a licensee owed to a buyer was to not lie when asked questions about a property. The concept of “buyer beware” was truly the reality of how the brokerage business operated and buyers were always unrepresented.

The rise of consumerism, as manifested in numerous court decisions, put pressure on the brokerage business to be more concerned with the interests of the buyer. Because of that, licensees working with buyers had an affirmative duty to disclose known matters affecting a property. For example, if the broker knew that a roof leaked, he would have to disclose this fact. This disclosure concept was later expanded by the courts to include conditions about the property that the brokers should or could have known.

By the 1980s, a government study found that nearly three-quarters of all buyers thought the brokerage they were working with was representing them as a client. The same study concluded that nearly three-quarters of all sellers also thought that the cooperating brokerage represented the buyer’s interests. It soon became obvious the concepts of agency law that the industry and governmental regulators had attempted to impose in order to simplify and clarify the agency relationships had not worked. Continued pressure from consumer groups and the courts finally led to the buyer representation movement of the 1990s.

In 1991, the National Association of REALTORS® formed an advisory group to study agency representation issues. Testimony was received from real estate practitioners, industry experts, the public, and state regulatory authorities. The advisory group’s report made the following recommendations:

  • The NAR’s multiple listing policy should be modified to make subagency offers optional. If subagency was not accepted by a cooperating brokerage, then the listing brokerage was to offer compensation to the brokerage representing the buyer.
  • The NAR would encourage state associations to promote changes in real estate law and regulations in order to promote disclosure of agency options. These options would include seller agency, buyer agency, and disclosed dual agency. The purpose of this recommendation was to assist consumers in making informed decisions regarding representation.
  • The NAR should encourage real estate brokerages to adopt written company policies addressing the handling of agency relationships with its clients and customers.
  • The NAR would encourage education of all members on the topic of agency representation. State regulatory agencies would also be encouraged to include agency as a mandatory topic in continuing education requirements for all licensees.

As of 1992, the National Association of REALTORS® adopted the following policy:

“The National Association of REALTORS® recognizes seller agency, buyer agency and disclosed dual agency with informed consent as appropriate forms of consumer representation in real estate transactions. The association respects the need for all REALTORS® to be able to make individual business decisions about their companies’ agency practices. Furthermore, NAR endorses freedom of choice and informed consent for consumers or real estate services when creating agency relationships with real estate licensee.”

These NAR changes to representation policy modified the way the industry practices. Exclusive Right to Represent buyer agreements now allow a buyer to contract with a brokerage to find, and negotiate, the purchase of real property. Generally, these agreements are for a specified period and require the buyer to pay a commission upon the closing of the real property transaction. As an agent of the buyer, the buyer’s brokerage owes all of the fiduciary duties (care, loyalty, disclosure, obedience, and accounting) to his principal, the buyer.

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5 Possible Real Estate Ramifications Of Tax Law

While there has been a significant amount of disagreement, and dispute, regarding the proposed (apparently, soon, to be adopted), tax legislation, there can be little doubt, real estate, will be, one of most, impacted entities, and components, of the American economy. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has opposed these proposals, because of fears of adverse ramifications, on the industry, etc. Although, no one can be certain, of what will occur, in the future, this article will attempt, to briefly, discuss, consider and evaluate, 5 possible/ potential ramifications, of this law, once enacted, on things, related to real estate, and housing.

1. Capping real estate tax deductions will hurt pricing, etc: The legislation has significantly changed, how state and local taxes (referred to as SALT), which includes income tax, sales tax, and real estate taxes, are handled, from a tax perspective. Presently, these taxes are deductible on one’s federal return, for many reasons, including, the previous, overwhelming agreement, not doing so, is a sort of double taxation, as well as, would hurt the housing market. When potential buyers can’t fully deduct these, but, rather, they are capped at $10,000, many markets are affected, more than others. In states, such as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, New Hampshire and Texas, either the real estate, and/ or combination of these with income taxes, homeowners will discover, their income tax, will probably increase. This overly affects middle, and upper – middle – income citizens, to a disproportionate degree! Logic should indicate, when the benefits are reduced, home prices will decrease in value (many economists state by 10% or more).

2. More potential home buyers might opt to rent, rather than buy: While single family home prices, and sales, might suffer, multi – family, rental properties, might potentially benefit. However, if this causes a significant increase in demand for income properties, it could cause higher selling prices, which would result in higher rents, for tenants. Potential buyers will always consider the comparative benefits of ownership, versus renting, and this may, make a significant difference in perspective.

3. Owning rental property benefits: While real estate tax deductions for your personal home are being capped, they are not, for income properties. In addition, if more people seek rentals, it reduces the associated risks, involved, in purchasing and owning, these.

4. Negative impacts on specific local economies: The greater, New York City, area, especially Long Island, will be severely harmed, when this becomes law. Newsday states, Long Island, will be injured, far more, than anywhere else, because of the real estate taxes, and income taxes, and, the $10,000 cap, is somewhat insignificant, in relation, to the reality!

5. Upper – level/ priced home sales could suffer: While these homeowners have the same potential challenges, as others, their potential resale values, could significantly suffer, because of the cap, on deducting mortgage interest. This legislation will bring with it, the ability to deduct, only the interest on a maximum, new mortgage, up to $750,000.

An evaluation of this legislation, should indicate, while some middle – class people, in certain areas, might slightly benefit (estimates are, approximately 1% lower, income taxes – this means, for someone owing $10,000 per year, in federal taxes, about $100 savings, or $2 per week), most of the advantages, go to the wealthiest individuals, because of the lowering of the upper bracket, higher estate tax levels, and significant reduction in corporate taxes. Beware, the housing market will probably be the biggest victim, and, once again, the politicians, refuse to envision, and consider, ramifications of their politically motivated, actions!

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