Austin Texas Real Estate...Your Home!

Austin Texas.....Your Home!
  1   Here are my answers to some questions you may want to ask to help identify the buyers' agent who is most capable both of helping you find the best home to buy and negotiating the lowest purchase cost ...

What information will you provide me about the homes I look at and the neighborhoods in which they are located?

When I take my clients on a home tour, they are, of course, provided with MLS listing sheets that disclose specific information about the homes they visit. In most cases I am able to identify the builders of the homes I tour and discuss with my clients what I know about those builders.

I additionally provide my clients extensive information about each of the neighborhoods within our market area where homes I visit are located. This information includes TAKS scores and accountability ratings of the local schools; list prices and summary descriptions of homes available for sale; and sale prices, costs per square foot, and other similar information about MLS-listed homes sold during the previous year.

* * * * *
Why should I pick you to be my real estate agent?

Providing really terrific client service is something I strive for every day.

Mark's degree from UT's McComb's School of Business and his background in marketing and management in combination with his thirty years of real estate brokerage in Austin is an invaluable perspective he passionately shares with every client.

When it comes to expectations about service quality, I have always set the bar pretty high. The level of service I have insisted upon and provided to my former clients and that which I now provide to my real estate clients is why my best advertisement is word of mouth.

Also, I think it is fair to say that no one else can provide you the information that I will about the Greater Austin/ suburban residential real estate market. If this is the area in which you want to relocate, what I know will help you find the community, neighborhood and home that you and your family are looking for.

What geographical area do you specialize in and how do you stay current on the real estate market conditions there?

I specialize in the Greater Austin area, specifically the Central Historic District, Downtown, Dripping Springs, Lake Austin, Lake Travis, Northwest, Southwest, West, and Westlake. I first meet most of my clients when they are beginning their search for a luxury or executive home in these areas.

To stay current on market conditions, I spend a great deal of time looking at properties in the Greater Austin area that are for sale. I also routinely spend considerable time compiling and analyzing market information that helps my clients find the best home to buy and pay the lowest possible price for it.

Do you handle both sides of transactions or work exclusively for the homebuyer?

Texas law allows licensed real estate agents to assist both the buyer and seller of a property, but it requires the agent assume an intermediary role in the transaction.

However, when acting in this intermediary role, a real estate agent cannot provide the advice and counsel that I believe my clients are due. Agent intermediaries also place themselves in a position where the question of whether they are putting their own interests ahead of those of their clients might arise.

Since I personally am uncomfortable with both of the above conditions, I do not handle both sides of a transaction.

In which neighborhoods will I most likely find the home that best meets my requirements?

Identifying the right neighborhoods is not a particularly difficult task, as long as one has the appropriate market knowledge and approaches it logically. The first thing I do with my clients is ensure they have identified, fairly precisely, what they are looking for in a new home. I also discuss things like acceptable commute distances and times, school requirements, and desired neighborhood amenities.

Using this information, I search our proprietary Greater Austin Area/ suburban neighborhoods database to identify which, and to what extent, various neighborhoods match my clients' requirements. The neighborhoods that best match their requirements are, of course, where I look first.

Can you get me a really great deal on a home?

The residential real estate market in this area actually is quite transparent. Generally speaking, every homebuyer (and seller, for that matter) has the opportunity to know the prices for which most homes are sold. Such market transparency makes it possible for me to produce a comparative market analysis (CMA) for each property on which my clients decide to make an offer. I also am able to determine the supply of homes (months of inventory) available for sale, the average discount from list price for which homes are selling in price range and areas where my clients are looking, and other similar information.

Because I usually are better informed about current market trends and conditions than the homeowners and real estate agents with whom my homebuyer clients and I negotiate, I am well-positioned to negotiate favorable terms. In some cases, my clients and I were able to negotiate better deals than they expected, or even hoped for. Nevertheless, as much as I would like to be able to say that I can get you a really great deal on the purchase of your home, the simple truth is it is most unlikely that either I or any other buyers' agent will be able to do that.

If I am not pleased with the services you provide, what is required to terminate our Buyer Representation Agreement?

Just let me know that you no longer want me to represent you as your buyers' agent.

The purpose of a Buyer Representation Agreement, in my opinion, is to ensure that I am on the same page as my clients about how I work together. It definitely is not to hinder them from switching to another agent.
I want my clients to continue working with me solely because they feel I am doing a superior job for them. This is why I include the following language in the Buyer Representation Agreement that my clients sign: "Client or Broker may terminate this Agreement, without cause and at any time, by providing written notice to other Party."

Will I be charged any commission or fees for your services?

No. The sales commissions I receive are paid to me by the listing agents, when the home being purchased has been listed on the MLS, or by home owners, in for sale by owner (FSBO) situations. This is the only way I am compensated for the services I provide to my homebuyer clients.

That being said, if recent stories circulating in the local real estate community are to be believed, this is a question you may be especially well-served to ask.

Some agents working in the area reportedly are substituting their own "special" form for the Residential Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement that has been developed by the Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) and is used by most buyers' agents. These "special" forms contain terms, which are quite easy to overlook unless you are specifically looking for them, that obligate homebuyers to pay commissions and/or fees not typically charged by other agents.

When agents present their own form for you to sign, you probably first will want to ask why they are not using the TAR promulgated form. Regardless of the form used, but especially when it is not a standard TAR form, it also is important to read the entire agreement carefully. Finally, you will want to be sure that the terms of agreement entered onto the form by the agent are both complete and consistent with your understanding of your agreement.

By the way, it is fairly easy to identify the TAR promulgated form. It has a copyright notice just under its title and an identification number of the bottom left of each page, currently (TAR-1501) 7-7-04.

Copyright @ 2007 Mark Downs. All Rights Reserved, Austin Texas 1 1A T X 3 6