How to Spot a Bad Business Broker

February 16, 2015 by

detectiveWhen selecting a business broker to help sell your business, make sure to watch for the red flags in their business plan. These few tips can help you save time and money during the selling process.

The broker wants a significant or total fee paid up front:

Many brokers have begun taking upfront fees, but generally the total fee is a combination of an upfront fee and commission paid upon sale of the business. An unreliable broker meets with you, runs some quick numbers, tells you that you can get your price or even more for your business, and then asks for a check to get started. In many cases, business owners are so relieved that they’ve found a broker and elated that they’ll write a check on the spot, without checking any references. “They get to ‘take away’ your check when they leave and you may not see them again, if they can help it. Read the rest of this entry »

Determining Premiums for Home and Auto Policies

February 9, 2015 by

iStock_000011471283XSmallThe age old saying “things just aren’t the way they used to be” still holds true when it comes to how insurance companies price insurance these days. The way it “used to be” was that a company would look at more risk based information when it came to pricing.

For instance, on home insurance policies, the age, location, and features of the home, along with whether or not the prospective insured had suffered any claims over the past 3-5 years, were the sole determining factors when it came to pricing. After determining the rebuild cost of the home to set the amount of insurance, the price for the coverage would be consistent from person to person using this method of pricing. However, this is not so in today’s insurance marketplace.

About 15 years ago, insurance companies began looking at the client more personally, focusing on their credit score, along with other personal information to assign them an Insurance Bureau Score. This score is now used as a determining factor for the price and is more heavily weighted in the pricing system than the risk characteristics mentioned above. The result is the higher a person’s credit score the lower the premium stands to be. Statistics have shown that people with higher credit scores typically are more reliable and responsible when it comes to day to day life. Insurance statistics also show these people are less likely to suffer a loss or file a claim when it comes to non-weather related incidents. Of course no one can predict the weather. However, most all other claims are preventable. Read the rest of this entry »

Working with a Relocation Management Company

February 2, 2015 by

blog 2At some point in your career, you’ll probably be requested by a corporate transferee to assist them either in a home purchase or home sale transaction. You might be wondering what that means to you. Corporate transferees are customers who have been directed by their employers to make a job transfer. For the most part, they wait until their human resources director tells them what steps they need to make and when, but sometimes the transferees jump the gun and makes decisions on their own that can affect how their employer helps them financially. What does this mean to you and to the customer?

You as the associate and service provider always want to protect the transferee’s benefits, so here are some rules and strategies to make sure you don’t make mistakes that jeopardize their benefits and your commission. Read the rest of this entry »

FHA Mortgage News for the New Year

January 12, 2015 by

fha_loan_limitsGreat news! FHA loan limits for the major counties in Georgia increased from $320,850 to $342,700 for all new FHA sales contracts written on or after Jan. 1, 2015. This gives homebuyers the opportunity to buy a home with a 3.5% down payment (all from a gift) and FHA has relaxed qualifying guidelines on homes $21,850 more expensive than last year.

The bad news is that the FHA Anti-Flipping Waiver expired on Dec. 31, 2014. Some folks might say, “What Anti-Flipping Waiver?” Many thought a seller had to have owned the home for 90+ days before selling it to a new buyer using FHA financing.

Well, you’re not totally right or wrong. Even though HUD introduced the Anti Flipping Waiver in February 2010 and extended it to December 2014, many FHA lenders and banks ignored the waiver guidelines and continued to require that the seller hold title to the home a minimum of 90 days before re-selling it to a buyer using FHA financing. Since HUD (FHA) only insures loans and FHA approved Lenders actually lend the money, FHA Lenders often have different guidelines than HUD’s guidelines for FHA Insurance purposes. Read the rest of this entry »

Contract in Review: Top 10 Contract Issues

January 5, 2015 by

contract_reviewIn addition to ready, willing and able buyers and sellers, the real estate professionals’ ability to collect a commission is dependent on how solidly the agreement is written. Whether you are the listing agent receiving the offer on behalf of a seller or the selling agent preparing the offer on behalf of an interested buyer, every agent involved in the transaction has an obligation to ensure the contract is well written. Many contracts are filled with loopholes and scenarios that could render the deal void if challenged. Below are the top ten issues that we see in Broker Support that could cause contract nightmares and possibly cause the contract to be voided by one party or the other. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Ahead for Real Estate in 2015?

December 29, 2014 by

2015_real_estate_marketThis has been a great year for the Georgia real estate industry. Prices throughout metro Atlanta are up and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers has more top producers than ever before. In some areas, the median sales price has met and exceeded pre-recession levels. This was another rebuilding year, but there’s still a lot farther our market has to go to truly recover. Read the rest of this entry »

The Return of the 97% Conventional Mortgage Loan

December 22, 2014 by

return_of_97_loanDuring the “anything-goes” mortgage days, 97% LTV (3% down payment) mortgages were readily available to homebuyers. In fact, a 97% LTV wasn’t a big deal since many mortgage lenders were offering the 100% mortgages. Then the mortgage foreclosure crisis hit and the mortgage industry experienced extreme new regulation and tightening of loan programs.

Over a year ago in December 2013, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both announced that their specialty First Time Homebuyer 3% Down Payment loan Programs were also being discontinued. Now, almost one year to the date, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have both announced the RETURN of the 97% Loan Programs for First Time Homebuyers. Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Card Time!

December 8, 2014 by

holiday_cardsThis is the best time of year to touch base with all of your past customers. This includes your client base that has relocated to another part of the United States. “Out of sight, out of mind” shouldn’t be your philosophy now. Often those previous clients who moved to Kansas, California, Texas or wherever may still need your assistance and should be on your holiday card radar.

There are lots of ways you can reach out to your customers across the country. If you keep in touch via newsletter, create a holiday theme and offer decorating advice or share a recipe. In your newsletter, let them know what’s happening in the real estate market currently and, oh by the way, if they are looking to make a lifestyle change or move again, you’re still their Realtor® and you can help them anywhere in the country as you work all markets nationwide.

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s a Solid Insurance Portfolio and Why Do I Need to Have One?

December 1, 2014 by

solid_insurance_portfolioMany people have no idea what their insurance limits are. More times than not, they just purchase the least expensive they can legally get by with, as it is considered a “necessary evil”. However, talk to anyone who has experienced a large loss in their lifetime, and they’ll tell you either they’re sorry they did not have enough, or are glad they listened to their insurance agent and went with the recommendations.

The purpose of insurance is to protect your assets, and to put you back in the same place you were before a loss. The homeowner policy pays to rebuild the house, replace the personal property, and pay for a temporary place for you to live while the repairs or rebuild is taking place. It also gives you liability protection in case you’re negligent in causing bodily injury or property damage to a third party. The auto policy provides liability coverage if you’re found to be at fault in operating a car, in addition to repairing your car if you purchase comprehensive and collision coverage.

So what happens if the insurance you carry is not enough to cover the loss that has been sustained?  The answer is simple: You have to come out of pocket for the difference.

What, then, is considered a solid insurance portfolio? Here are my recommendations: Read the rest of this entry »

3 Reasons the Holiday Season Is A Great Time To Sell!

November 24, 2014 by

home_selling_holidaysAs the holiday season nears, many homeowners who are contemplating selling think the holiday season isn’t a good time to sell their house. Because of that misconception, many will wait until after the start of the New Year, or even until spring to put their house on the market.

Contrary to what many think, the holiday season is a great time to sell a house! Putting a house on the market over the holidays can result in a seller getting a higher price and a quicker sale.

How can that be you ask? Here are three great reasons:

  • Buyers will have fewer homes to consider because competing inventory will be at its lowest level over the holidays.
  • Although there are fewer buyers looking at homes over the holidays, those that do are serious and highly motivated.
  • Homes that are tastefully decorated for the holidays show well.

So if you’re thinking about selling and planned to wait until after the holidays, you should consider going ahead now. The first step is to consult a real estate professional who is a local expert in your area.

Happy Holidays… and Happy Selling!

How to Avoid the Grinch Stealing Your Closing!

November 10, 2014 by

mortgage_grinchThe holiday season is upon us and the temptations that come out this time of year make the home buying and mortgage process even more hectic and tricky than normal. A common misconception that homebuyers have is that the mortgage approval is complete when the loan officer gives them a pre-qualification letter or when they receive the telephone call that they have been approved in underwriting.

What most consumers don’t realize is that the mortgage approval process occurs in stages and continues to the day of closing. The changes they make to their income, asset, debt or credit profile can change an approval to a decline very quickly. Read the rest of this entry »

Finding Potential Commercial Leasing Clients

November 3, 2014 by

commercial_leasingMost experienced leasing brokers agree that establishing a commercial tenant population usually requires representing landlords for a period of time. When you have a lease listing, you attract tenants and some number will not have an interest in your listed space but allow you to assist them with finding what they do want. Prospecting for landlords can include small to mid-sized inline shopping center owners, office building owners, retail property owners or industrial property owners. You can locate an ownership list if you want to purchase leads or you can approach landlords directly and solicit a listing. Read the rest of this entry »

Rent It or Sell It?

October 27, 2014 by

rent_or_sellWhat should I do with this property? This is a pressing issue in today’s real estate environment in many circumstances. Owners and agents alike are posing this question every day.

The market has begun its journey toward recovery and home prices are rebounding. The recovery has made it possible for an increasing number of previously underwater sellers to become equity sellers again. While the recovery is in PROCESS, there are many agents and sellers that remain frustrated with the rate of PROGRESS. Read the rest of this entry »

What Would a Veteran Do?

September 22, 2014 by

veterans_usaa_navyfederalAs a proud USAA and Navy Federal preferred broker, Metro Brokers is expected to deliver a high level of service. Our agents are required to attend training classes to service these types of clients, and we preach giving the best service possible. But it occurred to me recently that maybe the best way to provide superior service is to think like a military veteran.

With that in mind, here are some examples on how to think and act like a veteran: Read the rest of this entry »

Texting and Driving a True Danger in Our Industry

September 15, 2014 by

texting_and_drivingI know full well the importance of communication as a real estate agent. If you aren’t the first one to respond to a lead, or you aren’t responding quickly enough to a client, you can end up losing out on valuable business or souring a relationship.

It also doesn’t help that we’re on the road so often. Many times, it feels like we spend more time in our cars – driving around to different listings – than we spend in the office.

But it’s important to remember that safety comes first. ALWAYS. Read the rest of this entry »


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