REALTOR®

REALTOR®

Heather Estes

Visalia, CA

Female, 27

I am a full-time REALTOR® under the state of California. I specialize in home buyers and am passionate about sharing the importance for everyone (especially young people) to become credit worthy. Many see home-ownership as something unattainable, or something to do when their in their 30's, married and with kids. While it might be one of the most expensive purchases in our lifetime the process itself is not as daunting as it's made out to be. With the right information anyone can own a home!

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Last Answer on April 03, 2015

Best Rated

I'm not a homeowner, but 100% of my homeowning friends describe the purchase of a home as one of the most painstaking experiences they've ever had. Why is the process of buying a house – even after a price has been agreed upon – still so darn hard?

Asked by Rob over 6 years ago

Excellent question Rob,

There are many factors that go into home buying that can either make it a smooth process or a nightmare. Fist off, I don't think I can stress enough the importance of having, not just an experienced Realtor, but one you feel comfortable with and communicate well with. Next, you need a lender who will move mountains to ensure your loan gets approved. Even if all is well on your side, as the buyer, title issues may arise on the seller's end.

Aside from all that inspections may be the only other thing that might get in the way of an offer going through or making it super difficult. However, if your agent is a good communicator there is no reason a small issue would be so difficult. 90% of real estate transactions aren't painful and sometimes agents get cocky and tell their clients how easy the process is only to have some unforeseen error occur down the road. I don't recommend that as it adds unneeded stress on the buyer. Things can go wrong at any moment but if you're in good hands you can weather any storm.

I have heard of other agents' clients deciding before the close of escrow to open new credit accounts or purchase thousands of dollars in new furniture. These poor home buyers didn't realize that loan underwriters have to check your financial situations throughout the home buying process and they successfully made themselves un-loan worthy by doing so. However, the lenders I work with and many agents tell clients not to make any large purchases or open new lines of credit during the process to avoid this horrible situation.

I'm not sure If I answered your question completely. Please ask more if you feel the answer I gave didn't cover it :)

Do you think men or women make better real estate agents? If the buying decision-maker is typically a man, do you think that flirting can help a female agent make a sale?

Asked by BabyCrosby over 6 years ago

Thank you for the question BabyCrosby!


It honestly doesn’t matter if you are male or female. Yes, some people prefer one gender over the other, but for the most part I think agents are chosen based off their knowledge, experience, and popularity. It’s not my job to convince someone who wants a male agent that I am just as qualified. It’s a comfort thing so if someone prefers a male agent I know plenty great ones that I can refer them to. If you’re not completely comfortable with your agent your transaction will not go as smoothly as it could. It doesn’t offend me when I am not chosen for that reason alone.

As far as getting sales based on flirting I can’t imagine that working too well. If the most exciting part of home shopping is checking out your agent you’re probably going to take your time finding a home…not sure that would work in the agent’s favor. Also, let’s not forget that that behavior is just wrong all together and unethical on multiple levels! Flirting with clients never “helps” and more often than not I am left to deal with a male client flirting with me.


Most issues arise when representing couples. If the couple has a stable, trusting relationship there are usually no issues, but if the wife has little or no trust in her partner my every move and response is scrutinized. To avoid this I usually don’t compliment my clients unless the compliment applies to both of them. I don’t aim to compliment to begin with, but when someone looks nice or changes their style in a positive why I can’t help but send a quick compliment their way. But with couples I would never compliment the husband/boyfriend on his new hair cut if I had nothing to say to or a way to tie the wife/girlfriend in. It comes down to knowing your clients and its best to keep it as professional as possible in order to ensure your kind gestures and words are not misconstrued by either party.


Integrity and honesty are important to a good agent and often we look to these qualities when deciding which clients we work with (Yes, sometimes we decide not to work with someone and refer them to someone else who would be a better match).  So if, for whatever reason, I feel I will have an issue providing intergrety and honesty to a client I don't take them on. Remember, I provide a service for my clients and word of mouth is a valuable part of promoting that service. If anyone stated that my services were anything but “finding a great deal on a home”, my business would reflect that, and I would be mortified.

That was a really good question, thank you! :)

 

 

How long would you let a house stay on the market before you tell the sellers to reconsider their asking price?

Asked by letsgorangers over 6 years ago

Great question!

The ultimate goal is to price the house right the first time. I work mostly with buyers so when I'm home shopping with a client I hear things like, "What's wrong with the house on XYZ street? It's been on the market for the past six months!" Maybe the house is fantastic but it's just not priced right, or maybe there is some glaring issue that has scared away every buyer who's seen it for the past six months. Most home buyers are going to assume the latter and steer clear of it.

If an agent presents a case for why they think a home should sell for X amount price reductions are not needed. However, if a client won't head our words I would suggest a price reduction once the home has been on the market longer than the average days on market for the county the home is listed in. So if the ADM is 45 days I would present a price reduction to my client on the 46th day.

Does a seller or a realtor have a duty to look into where a buyer's money is coming from? What if you suspect that an all-cash offer is being made with stolen or shady funds?

Asked by Moise Hillel almost 6 years ago

Good question Moise,

When a buyer makes an offer the seller likes to see proof that the property can be purchased by the buyer. If the buyer is using financing to secure the property they usually include a letter of qualification from a bank or lending institute proving funds will be given to the buyer to purchase the property. If the offer is being made in cash they buyer then supplies a proof of funds from their bank. In both cases the buyer also needs to supply bank account history either to the lender for financing or to the seller if paying cash. This is used to prove that the funds have a legit paper trail and didn't come lump sum from illegal activity or cashing out a credit card to fund the purchase. If the bank doesn't catch it I doubt anyone else will. You want to make sure the money being used to buy the house has a history with the seller, so paper trails are important.

Were you a realtor during the mortgage-backed securities crisis in the mid 2000s, when people were getting loans to buy houses they really couldn't afford? And did you ever get a weird feeling about how people were able to get loans so easily?

Asked by daveteschel about 6 years ago

No, I was licensed in 2007 but the economy and family situations made it difficult to leave two paying jobs for a commission only career. I had to wait a few years before I could make the transition. Honestly, I’m not sure many agents (depending on how long they had been in the business) would have thought twice about it. When someone decides they want to work with me I set them up with my lender and he digs into their finances. I know nothing about their fanatical capabilities of owning a home. I get the yay accompanied by a dollar amount or a nay with limited reasoning. Then lender is there to protect their information, it’s none of my business what they can afford, I have to rely on my lender to do what is right. I am really grateful there are more restrictions to ensure the same mistakes are not made.


I wish I could have been more insightful in answering that, but I lack that experience and can’t really speak for those who lived it.

Why is the word "Realtor" trademarked??? (Didn't know it until I looked it up just now b/c of your job title!)

Asked by Synergy about 6 years ago

Great question!


There is a difference between a REALTOR and a real estate agent. Both are real estate agents, but one is further dignified by the title REALTOR. The NAR or National Association of Realtors and its members are held up to high standards when it comes to integrity in the industry. A real estate agent refers to anyone that has been licensed by the state to practice real estate. NAR membership is extra and they try hard to ensure that their membership status stands out. If you visit their website (www.realtor.org) they say, it is the job of "the Board of Directors to preserve the value and meaning of the REALTOR® marks for all Members. Each member of the National Association of REALTORS® agrees, as a part of their local Association's Bylaws, to abide by the rules governing the use of the REALTOR® marks. Only by knowing and abiding by the rules adopted by the Board of Directors can we be sure the Marks will retain their meaning and value for future generations of REALTORS®.." They coined the name and just want to make sure we all use it the same. If the ® symbol is not available to us we have to type it in all caps.

I hope that somewhat answers your question!


If not you can read more here: http://www.realtor.org/logos-and-trademark-rules/logo-trademark-faq


Thank you again for the great question!

Did you see the news story about the Vegas real estate agent who was kidnapped and murdered recently? How safe do you feel when showing homes to strangers and what precautions do you take?

Asked by Meghan almost 6 years ago

Really great question! Personally I don't ever show homes to strangers so that isn't a concern. However, I do have to be on my toes during open houses. Before the open house I put about a week's worth of work advertising where I will be and how long I will be there giving plenty of opportunity to be staked out and attacked. I always carry my phone with me where ever I go and linked up with a few members of our local police force. I let them know when and where my open house will be and they will take the time to drive by a few times to ensure my safety. I have heard they make special jewelry now that can be activated to alarm to the police should an agent feel in danger.

For more of what I do to prevent myself from being harmed or kidnapped read my blog article

3 Reasons Why I Don't Show Homes to Unqualified Buyers (and why no real estate agent should!)