Questions About Selling
Why do I need a real estate agent?
With all of the new services that help home sellers and buyers, it’s no wonder you’re asking why you would need an agent to help you to sell your home. While doing the work yourself may save you a significant amount in commissions, flying solo could end up being even more costly.
Selling (or buying) a home is a huge undertaking – emotionally and financially. A real estate agent has the expertise and knowledge needed to help you avoid delays, pitfalls, and costly mistakes. Here are five main reasons you need a real estate agent:
Better access and more convenience. A real estate agent’s full-time job and responsibility is to act as a liaison between buyers and sellers. They have immediate access to all other agents and can get your home seen by potential right-buyers, quicker and easier (even those living out of state and planning to relocate). What do I mean by “right-buyers?” Buyers who are actually looking to purchase a home like yours, not lookie-loos who just want to see the homes in their neighborhood.
Your real estate agent is also there to fully represent you and make the selling process more convenient. If you are selling your home on your own, you will have to filter all calls from interested parties, answer their questions, and book appointments. Potential buyers can be impatient and are likely to move on if you are busy and don’t respond quickly. Or, you could take an afternoon off of work to accommodate appointments only to have no one show up.
It’s my job as your real estate agent to ensure your home is marketed across all channels and gets seen by the right buyers in order to sell as quickly as possible. It is also my job to handle all of the calls, appointments, and questions so you don’t have to.
Negotiating can be tough. It’s a noble idea to think that buyers and sellers can sit down – in full transparency – and put a deal together where no one is the bad guy and each person’s best interest is maintained. In the real world, however, that rarely happens. At some point, either the buyer or you, the seller will most likely be the bad guy – causing disease, disagreement, and possible stand-still without even trying.
It’s my job, as your real estate agent to be the bad guy. To always have your best interest in mind and equally weaved throughout the deal. This puts you in a much better position and can ensure you get the best price and best terms in selling your home.
Contracts can be tricky. When you decide to sell your home, there is a lot that needs to be handled, most of which is paperwork and contracts. In today’s litigious society, you have to make sure all of your t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted (literally and figuratively). As the seller, you are responsible for making sure all conditions of your home – good or bad – are disclosed properly to potential buyers. You also have to meet certain contractual obligations and deadlines.
As an experienced real estate agent, I deal with contracts on a regular basis and can safely guide you through the legal process of selling your own.
Real estate agents can’t steal from or lie to you. Well, okay, we actually can. But because we are legally bound not to, there are higher stakes and more repercussions if we do. First of all, we have a fiduciary relationship with clients. Which means, we have a legal and binding obligation to uphold your best interest at all times. Plus, we rely mainly on referrals. Our reputation matters.
You can’t always save money. We, as agents, hear this all of the time from sellers: “I can save thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars in commissions if I sell my home myself.” I’d be lying if I didn’t say, “Yes, you can save in commissions.” However, that doesn’t always mean you will save money in the long run.
Selling your home takes knowing all of the ins and out of what to do and how to do it, otherwise you run the risk of making costly mistakes. Let us help you take that burden away.
What is the average number of days my home will be on the market?
This is a question we get asked a lot and I wish I could give a definitive answer. As the seller, you determine how long your home will stay on the market – per your listing agreement. Your home can sell quickly or slowly within that time frame depending upon quite a number of things, one of the most important is pricing.
Are you priced to sell? Pricing your home can be tricky. If you are overpriced your home could stay on the market for quite a long time. The same goes if you are underpriced. Underpricing your home can deter buyers because they think something could be wrong with your home and you’re needing to “dump” it.
The bottom line is, the current market value and economic trend is what typically determines how many days your home will take to sell.
With over 30 years of selling real estate in Clark County, I know a thing a two about market value and trends. We will work together to price your home accordingly so your home sells as quickly as possible.
What do I need to do to prepare my home for sale?
Every home is unique. Some homes may need to only be “freshened up” while others need actual repairs. We will work together to determine what preparations are necessary to maximize your profits. We believe you should never overspend when preparing your home for market.
We can also give you tips on how to de-personalize, stage, and present your home in the best way, which can help to better sell your home.
How do I know how much my home is actually worth?
Most real estate agents work off of comparables of neighboring homes and price your home according to market supply and demand. We go a little further in determining the value of your home by performing our 10-Point Home Sale Evaluation to ensure you get the best price for your home in your market.
You want a real estate agent with integrity, one who will evaluate the value of your home based on extensive knowledge and expertise. If two agents tell you your home is worth $500,000 and another agent tells you your home is worth $700,000, beware. The agent giving you a higher home value may be inflating the price to win the deal, causing you time on the market and money out of your pocket.
We will always give you an honest, best estimated value of your home so you know it will be accurately priced to sell.
What will it cost to sell my home?
There are common costs to selling every home, such as: seller and/or buyer closing costs, escrow fees, excise tax, recording fees, title insurance, real estate commissions, etc.
We will give you an estimated itemized accounting of the costs associated with selling your home at time of listing your property with our company. Should there be any additional repair costs due to inspection or other contractual obligations during the sales process, you will be well informed and the estimated disclosures will be recalculated accordingly. Prior to close you will also receive a final statement of costs.
You can be certain we will always work to maximize your overall profit.
How do you plan to market my home?
At Scott Combs Real Estate, we have a dedicated process to market your home. The obvious is through the RMLS (Multiple Listing Service) which is a national database searched by real estate agents representing buyers (and sellers) in every state. We also use a myriad of other conventional – and unconventional – ways to market your home, such as:
- Social Media. You would be surprised how many homes get bought and sold through social media.
- Live Video Tour which gets published on a multitude of home buying and home selling internet channels
- Custom marketing campaigns. We’ve developed a succinct and effective marketing campaign to ensure our listings get top exposure.
- Digital (online) and print advertising. Yes, print advertising still works and we still invest in it. However, digital (online) advertising is even more important. We can develop and place internet ads for your property that are designed to sell your property quickly and dynamically.
- Plus, a whole lot more. (We can’t give away all of our trade secrets here, now can we?)
After 30 years in real estate, we know the most effective marketing tricks to use when it comes to selling your home. When we sit down together, I will be happy to go over them all with you in person.
How will you communicate with me?
We believe in being in constant communication with our sellers. As we used to say, “you’ll have us on speed dial before the day is over.” Which means, you will hear from us a lot. The how is up to you. We can accommodate any type of communication that is best suited for you, whether that’s by phone, text, email, Facetime or other video chat platforms, Facebook Messenger, etc.
When we enter a listing agreement with you, we will enter a communications agreement that’s best for you as well.
Do you ever represent both sides of the transaction?
There is no one-size-fits all answer to this question. Although representing both sides of the transaction is tricky, it is done – even with us.
Typically, I personally, do not represent both sides of the transaction. Why? Because – as an agent – I have a fiduciary responsibility to all of my clients, sellers and buyers alike.
With that said, when you list your home with me, my first priority is to get your home sold at the best price and in the shortest time frame possible. Sometimes that means I may also have a buyer we are working with who would love your home and so we would represent both sides of the transaction.
My policy is to allow one of my associates to represent our buyer while I represent you as the seller. That way, we can ensure both sides are being equally and fairly represented.
Do you only sell homes or work with buyers in a certain price range?
Simply put, no. While some agents niche themselves in certain price levels of properties, I pride myself on representing sellers (and buyers) in all price ranges. I am just as knowledgeable and comfortable listing and selling a million dollar plus home as I am a $50,000 plus home.
My associates and I are well equipped to market and move any price of home you have to sell.
I understand home loans can cause a seller a lot of grief, what do you know about home loans?
You’re right, home loans can cause many hiccups in the closing process of selling your home. A buyer should have a real estate agent that ensures their home loan is in good order. On the rare occasion that it isn’t, I can help walk you through whatever is happening. I’ve been dealing with home loans on a regular basis – as a buyer, seller, investor, and builder myself – and am well versed on the entire lending process.
On the rare occasion that there may be something extensive happening with a buyer’s home loan, I turn to my preferred mortgage lending expert for his guidance and expertise.
Rest assured, we will be on top of the buyer’s home loan process (with or without their agent) to ensure your closing happens when it’s supposed to.
How many homes have you sold and where are you ranked with other real estate agents?
As you get to know me, you’ll find that I don’t like talking about myself or my accomplishments very much. Why? Because selling your home is about you. But since you asked, here are my stats:
- Personally sold over 5,000 homes
- Sold over 330 homes in the Fisher’s Landing area of Vancouver, Washington before major shopping centers and amenities were there
- Sold single-family and multi-family homes, developer communities, land, and commercial property – making me one of very few real estate agents who have handled a wide range of property types
- Ranked in top 15 of Clark County real estate agents for over 10 years running
- Ranked in the top 1% of all real estate agents in Washington state for 10 years running
Questions About Buying
Is it better for me to buy a new home instead of an older home?
This is really just a matter of preference, but both newer and older homes offer distinct advantages, depending upon your unique taste and lifestyle.
Older homes can generally cost less than new homes, however, there are many cases where new homes can also cost less then older homes. Most new homes will not have any backyard landscaping and some don”t include any front landscaping either. With an older home, the landscaping is normally already completed and could have 10”s of thousands of dollars in landscaping done, which is included in the purchase price.
Taxes on some older homes may also be lower. Some people are charmed by the elegance of an older home but shy away because they”re concerned about potential maintenance costs. Consider a home warranty to get the peace of mind you deserve. A good Home Warranty plan protects you against unexpected repairs on many home systems and appliances for a full year or more after you move in.
In a new house, you can pick your own color schemes, flooring, kitchen cabinets, appliances, custom wiring for TV”s, electrical, computers, phones and speakers, etc., as well as have more upgrade options. Modern features like media rooms, extra-large closets and extra-large bathrooms and tubs are also more attainable in ground-up construction. In a used home, you rely largely on the previous resident”s tastes and technological whims, unless you plan to farm thousands into a remodeling and rewiring.
New-home designers can use new building materials such as glazed Energy Star windows, thicker insulation and other technology that will lower future energy costs for the owner. Most states now have minimum energy-efficiency requirements for new construction. Kitchens and laundry areas in new homes are designed to house more efficient energy-saving appliances. Older homes, unless they have undergone an energy retrofit, usually cost much more per square foot to air-condition and heat.
Builders have to follow very strict guidelines in new-homes and additions, especially in the West and Northwest, where earthquake safety standards must be observed. In general, new homes are usually more fire-safe and better accommodating of new security and garage-door systems.
Older homes can be better judged for their quality and timeless beauty. New homes that now possess a smooth veneer might reveal the use of substandard building materials or shoddy workmanship over time.
As you can see there are advantages and dis-advantages to each, but it really comes down to what fits you and what you are looking for in a home.
What is the difference between being prequalified and preapproved for a loan?
If you’re prequalified it means that you POTENTIALLY could get a loan for the amount stated to you, assuming that all of the information you provide to the bank is accurate and true. This is not as strong as a preapproval.
If you’re preapproved, it means that you have undergone the extensive financial background check, which includes looking at your credit history, previous tax returns and verifying your employment – and the lender is willing to give you a loan, basically meaning you’re approved!
You will usually be provided an accurate figure which shows the maximum amount that you are approved for. Most sellers prefer buyers that have been preapproved because they know that there will not be any problems with the purchase of their home.
How can I avoid private mortgage insurance?
The easiest way to avoid PMI is by putting 20% down payment; however, PMI can also be avoided if you only have 5% or 10% for the down payment. The way to accomplish this is via a first and second mortgage combination commonly referred to as 80/10/10^s or 80/15/5^s.
These two methods combine a first mortgage lien for 80% of the home price with a second mortgage lien for either 10% or 15% of the home price leaving the remaining 5% or 10% as the down payment. Because the first lien is at the magical 80% loan=to-value, there is no PMI required, even though a second mortgage is being |piggybacked| onto the financing thus allowing for the lessor down payment.
While the second lien terms are not as attractive as first lien rates, the second mortgage is still home mortgage interest and thus deductible as such on your federal tax return where PMI is insurance and offers no deduction.
What is title insurance?
Title insurance is insurance that protects the lender and buyer against any losses incurred from disputes over the title of a property.
What should I look for in a real estate agent?
Buying a home can be a challenging yet exciting journey. You will want an agent who is well equipped to handle the ups (and downs) of the home buying process.
Most importantly, your real estate agent should have extensive knowledge and experience in the market you’re buying in as well as the entire home buying process. You will also want someone who is available for you. That means, they answer their phones or get back to you within a reasonable amount of time. Your agent should also be tech savvy and able to communicate in ways you prefer.
As your agent, I will be with you every step of the way. With over 30 years experience I know the home buying process from top to bottom and can walk you through with ease. I can even help you work with your mortgage lender to ensure you have everything you need for the home loan process.
We can also offer you a multitude of resources to help ensure every need is met.
What sets you apart from other real estate agents in your area or even your office?
Great question! I have been working in real estate as a full-time career since 1986 and have represented ( ___ hundred, thousand ??) buyers and sellers in Clark County. I have extensive knowledge and expertise in this local market as well as the entire home buying process – both as a businessman and lifelong resident.
With that lifetime of knowledge, I can help you whether you are a local buyer or someone who lives outside of the Clark County area, looking to relocate here.
I’ve also been in your shoes and have bought many personal and investment homes myself. Which means I’ve been on both sides of the table and can help you every step of the way.
I pride myself on being able to provide you solid advice on every aspect of buying your home and am proud to have been recognized as one of the top 15 real estate agents in Clark County multiple times throughout my career.
When am I legally committed to work with you?
Well, as they say, “not until you sign on the dotted line.” You are under no legal obligation to work with me until we enter a formal contract – a.k.a., Buyer’s Agreement. Typically this happens once I have helped you find the home you would like to purchase.
Rest assure that you will be clearly notified when it is time to enter a formal contract with me as your agent. Until that time, I will work hard to earn and keep your business.
Is a home inspection necessary?
Buying a home is one of the largest investments you will ever make. Having a home inspection done prior to purchase is the smartest way to protect your investment. It’s a nominal expense for having the peace of mind and added security of knowing you’re purchasing a home that is in good condition.
If you are purchasing a pre-owned home, we absolutely recommend having a home inspection done so that any underlying issues with the home can be addressed before your transaction closes.
If you are purchasing a brand new home, a home inspection may not be necessary. Most builders offer at least a one year builder warranty. We recommend new home buyers wait to have the home inspection done just before the one year anniversary of purchase to ensure any issues are covered through the builder’s warranty.
As your real estate agent, we will help you to make sure your investment is protected in every way possible. That includes helping you through the home inspection process.
Am I obligated to work with the lender, inspector, or other service providers you recommend?
Absolutely not! We only recommend lenders, inspectors, and other service providers to make your home buying experience easier. You are in no way obligated to use them.
Should you choose to use their services, you have our personal guarantee that we have personally and professionally vetted them. That means, we have used them and their services in previous transactions, know the quality of their work, and are extremely familiar with how they operate and service their customers.
We would never recommend any service provider without proper vetting.
What is your fee?
Typically the seller pays both the selling and buying agent fees out of the money you pay for the home. Normal fees for each agent are between 2% and 3% of the purchase price. The exact commission amount is set by the seller and can vary from sale to sale.
What you, as the buyer, want to make sure of is that your agent is being upfront about their share. You don’t want an agent who pressures you into a certain home based on the amount of commission they will receive, but rather the home that is best suited for your needs and wants.
For me, your home purchase is NOT about the money. It’s about making sure you’re investing in the right home for the right price. My goal is to be your “go to” real estate expert for years to come. Which means, I work hard to earn and keep your business so that – sometime in the future – when you sell the home you’re purchasing now, you’ll turn to me first.
Will I always be working with you, or does someone else on your team handle my transaction?
As a Broker, I personally work on and oversee every transaction in my office. You will meet with me first and together, we will decide if I personally handle your transaction or if another associate of mine would be better suited for you. Either way, I will still be in communication with you throughout your home buying process.
On the rare occasion I am representing the seller on a home you wish to purchase, then you will most likely work with one of my associates. Why? Because as a client, I have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure your best interests are being represented in every way. As the seller’s agent I have that same fiduciary duty to them as well. Although it is perfectly legal for me to represent both of you in a transaction, I prefer not to and avoid it at all costs.
That way, there is never any question that your best interests are being upheld at all times.
How quickly can you get me into a home?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. There are a lot of variables that can determine how quickly your home purchase happens.
What I can promise is that we will all work quickly and diligently to ensure we are finding the right homes for you to see as soon your schedule will allow. We are available at a moment’s notice to tour you through a home you find appealing.
Once you find a home, depending on the type of home loan you are obtaining, your closing can happen as quickly as 21 to 30 days (assuming home inspections, appraisals, and other contractual requirements can be completed in a timely manner). If you are paying cash, it could be even sooner.
On average, our buyers finds homes within one to two weeks of looking.
Questions For Home Builders
As a broker, what is your number one priority?
The most important aspect of our job is to get the right buyer into the right home, which makes our number one priority finding the right buyer for your community.
We understand there’s a lot more to our relationship with you, but nothing comes above making sure the right buyers are being introduced to your homes and that, when it’s all said and done, your communities are filled with happy families.
As a life-long resident of Southwest Washington, I know what it’s like to live, work, and play in Clark County and can help each potential buyer to see how perfect your communities are for the lifestyle they most desire.
How do I know you’re the right broker for me?
Our relationship with you, as well as all of our clients, is one that is rooted in transparency and trust. We understand and recognize the important role we each play in helping buyers fulfill their desire for homeownership in a community that delivers on their lifestyle goals.
One of the most important things we deliver to you is communication. We will always keep you well informed as to the feedback we’re getting from potential buyers as well as their entire purchase process and details of their transaction.
You will receive regular status reports and updates so you know where each buyer is in their home buying experience. We like to say, “you may not always hear what you want, but you will always hear from us.”
We believe in consistent and reliable communication with quick response times, frequent check- in calls and/or meetings, and weekly activity reports and updates on sales and marketing. We are well-equipped to customize communications personalized to YOUR preferred style.
It is in both of our best interests to foster a long-term relationship. We’re looking to be your go- to broker for life. We work hard to establish trust with our clients so they come back to us in five or six years to buy or sell another home. We want that same trust with you.
We take care of issues right away and are responsive to you and your buyers so we are all more likely to get return business.
If you would like to talk more about why we’re right for you, give us a call today at 360-904-2966.
What commission amount do you expect to be paid?
We offer you, the builder, a wide variety of valuable services. Our commission rates are standard and competitive with the current market. We are happy to discuss our extensive services and commission rate with you at any time.
How will you market/promote my homes or communities?
We have an in-house marketing team dedicated to selling your homes and communities and have various ways get them SOLD!
We believe in an aggressive strategy for attracting the right home buyers. This includes distributing individual listings for each floor plan, along with photos and video tour available, to the RMLS and over 65+ additional premier home search websites.
Many of these have extended networks as well, resulting in exposure on up to 900 different home search sites. We even promote your homes across our personal and business connections via social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
It’s a fact that over 92% of home buyers use the internet to search for a home. The good news is that the majority of our marketing materials can be created into an electronic version and emailed out to contacts and posted on our website. That means we can promote your homes to not only homebuyers, but agents across the country as well.
As part of Real Living, America’s 2016 Real Estate Brand of the Year and Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study Most Loved Brand, we have a network of over 44,000 real estate professionals nationwide to promote your homes to in order to attract home buyers currently looking to relocate to Clark County.
But it doesn’t stop there. We also market your homes through:
- Traditional property marketing strategies
- Print advertising
- Direct mail marketing
- Online marketing
- Personal promotion and networking
- Social media marketing
- Public relationship and events
- And more
How do I know you have the experience I’m looking for in a broker?
In new home sales, we represent you – the builder. We are your “ambassador”, meaning we’re the face of your company and your brand. We take that responsibility VERY seriously.
We have a combined background of 60+ years in all aspects of new homes sales, land acquisition and development, new construction, master planned community sales and development, homeowners associations, lending, and negotiations. You can depend on us to handle all aspects of getting your homes sold quickly.
Along with the typical broker relationship services, we can also help you with value-added services, such as planning, management, pinpointed market research, specific marketing advice and strategies, and community involvement.
Scott has personally been a land and home developer. He knows what you do and what you need. You can be rest assured you’re in good hands when working with us.
How do I know you’ll find buyers that will want to purchase my homes and live in my communities?
It’s our job as your broker and sales agent to become an expert in your homes and communities and what they have to offer buyers of every demographic.
We will discuss in great lengths the ideal buyer for your homes and communities and strategically market to them. We will first look at price range, lifestyle wish lists, and buying timelines in order to best match the right buyers to the right homes you offer.
With that said, we will never assume that we know exactly who will buy or not buy your homes. We believe in a 360 marketing approach to attract your buyers.
We will also invite you into our weekly sales meetings to talk about available inventory, new releases of lots, and other critical sales information to better attract buyer who will want to purchase your homes.
Our mission is to cultivate happy homeowners. We do everything in our power to deliver on that commitment.