Q:  I thought you were a Buyer Brokerage firm. Are you taking listings now?
 
A: Home Team AdvantEdge Keller Williams is a full service Team at Keller Williams Company, one of the nation’s largest franchises. We are able to assist home buyers and home sellers. But we refuse to have a conflict of interest and will not represent buyers and sellers in the same transaction. Even though this policy limits our earning potential, we feel that keeping our ethics is more important than making money.
 
 
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 Q:  What should be my first step in the home search process?
 
A: The very first steps for home buyers is to identify how much they can comfortably afford for a home and to be sure that their credit rating allows for this amount of borrowing. Consumers can spend valuable time looking around in a wrong price range or shopping for a home without realizing that the bank will not be authorizing a loan at a particular interest rate because of poor credit. Home buyers should get their financial affairs in order before looking for a mortgage lender. Shop around programs, companies and interest rates. Become aware of drawbacks and benefits of different programs such as conventional, VA and FHA mortgages. Education is the key to avoiding problems in the future.
 
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 Q: What is the difference between Modular Homes and other type of construction?
 
A: Modular homes have been constructed in a factory and then brought to the home site in pieces and put together on site. "Stick built" is the traditional way of building a house from the ground up. Each method has benefits and liabilities. Stick built allows more options in a floor plan and the home construction can be monitored at each phase. On the other hand, modular homes are constructed in a controlled environment and weather conditions are generally not as important as with a stick built home. Many builders also consider a modular home to be a stronger construction since it has to be built to withstand travel to the home site. When initially looking at a modular home, the cost seems less that other construction. Keep in mind, however, that often the cost of the land, septic system and connection, plumbing and electrical connection and foundation may not be included in the advertised price.
Q:  Who should I ask for a recommendation of a licensed home inspector?
 
A: It is important to know that by law in Massachusetts traditional real estate agents are not allowed to recommend specific home inspectors. Only a Buyer Agent can offer recommendations for specific home inspectors. Traditional agents are only allowed to pass on a complete list of all home inspectors in the state with no personal recommendations. This is the State Law!
 
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 Q:  Do you recommend looking into purchasing foreclosed property either through a bank or Auction?
 
A: These types of properties will not necessarily be undervalued. They will however be more difficult to purchase especially if you need conventional financing. Many times, at an auction, a buyer will not have an opportunity to see the home on the inside, let alone have the opportunity for a full home inspection. Before attending a foreclosure auction, the buyer would need to do preliminary research including a Title Search. Many properties will have liens that need to be paid off to obtain a clean Title. Without a clean title the home will not be sellable. Also, many auctions require a significant down payment at the time of an accepted bid and the balance to be due within 30 days. Purchasing foreclosed property in this manner is risky and entails a great deal of extra effort and risk on the part of a buyer.
 
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 Q:  How much must I agree to pay a Realtor who brings me the buyer through Multiple Listing Service?
 
A: That’s entirely up to you as a seller. Offering compensation to a buyer agent is one of the best marketing strategies you can have. Since an average agent has less than 4 deals a year, your home will be more enticing with a better than average commission. The greater the percentage you offer, the greater is the enticement to brokers to bring home buyers to your property. Home sellers in the past have offered 2% to 3%.
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Q:  If a Buyer Agent is working on a commission basis, why would that buyer agent try to get me the best (lowest) price?
 
A: For every $1,000.00 of purchase price, a typical buyer agent might receive a commission of $20-$40. For every $1,000.00 that an agent saves the buyer, the agent "loses" $20-$40. Logically, if an agent saves a buyer thousands of dollars on the price of a home (and "loses" one or two hundred in commission), the buyer would be very happy and would be glad to recommend that agent to their friends and relatives. True Buyer Agents have created a niche market in real estate. They are offering professional service to the buyer. It would make no sense to do a less than exemplary job if the agent wants to have a long lasting relationship with the buyer for repeat and referral business.
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Q:  What does a full service listing offer that having my home on the MLS doesn’t?
 
A: A full-service listing broker should come out to the seller's home, advice on the optimum way to market the home, do a price analysis, show the property to prospective buyers, negotiate on behalf of the seller (at the seller's direction), and handle all offers. The broker will supervise any inspections, handle all paperwork, and be the fiduciary. When you decide to work with a listing agent, you hire a real estate professional to represent your interest. You are primarily paying for experience and expertise. 
 
 
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Q:  What is a fiduciary?
 
A: A person in a position of trust who looks out for the best interests of another. Fiduciary duties include loyalty, confidentiality, reasonable care and diligence, accountability, full disclosure, and obedience. When a buyer or seller enters into a contract with a real estate broker, the licensee often has certain fiduciary responsibilities to his/her client. One finds fiduciary relationship in professions of trust such as a doctor or a lawyer.
 
 
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Q: What kind of agreement do you have with your buyer clients? 
A: At the Home Team AdvantEdge, Keller Williams Co. we work with all of our clients under and exclusive employment agreement that has no retainer fee up front. The duration of the contract is generally 90 or 180 days. The contract includes a clause that allows for termination of the agreement by either party if they feel that this contractual relationship is not in their best interests; the
, only stipulation being standard language allowing the broker to get paid if the buyer decides to buy one of the homes that the broker has presented to the buyer during the contracted period.
 
The Home Team AdvantEdge, Keller Williams Co. typically works with buyers in the central third of Massachusetts. We have had clients buy homes from the New Hampshire border to the Connecticut and Rhode Island borders and from the route 495 arc to the western edges of Worcester County. Obviously we don't recommend that any single client drive all over central Mass. in their home search!
 
At our first meeting we can work to narrow the focus to those areas that seem to best fit the buyer's criteria. In the past when our clients have shifted their home search outside of this area we have referred them to exclusive buyer agents, when possible, in their new area(s) of interest.
 
 
 
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Q: Can I just get on Realtor.com since it's where the majority of buyers look for homes?  
A: No, having a listing in the MLS is a prerequisite to be on Realtor.com. www.Realtor.com draws all of the listings from various MLS services.
 
 
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Q: I have had bad experiences in the past and I just don't trust the process. Is there a way for me to try out a service without having a buyer agent involved in the full process and have the option of continuing the relationship? Is there a charge and what would it be?
 
A:   Our employment agreement is only as good as our relationship. If you are not happy for any reason, we provide you with an easy exit opportunity whether you are selling or buying.  
 
 
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Q:  I just found a home with an agent who does not represent me, what do I do now?
 
A: Using a buyer agent will cost you no more than the price of the home because much of the time, the real estate fee is built into the price. The agent who shows you the home, whether representing you or the seller, typically splits the fee with the listing agent. If you decide to use the services of a buyer agent after the fact, the buyer agent will most likely not be able to step in. 
 
 
 
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Q:  If I work with a traditional agent to find a home, aren't these services done for free?
 
A: Whether you realize it or not - when you use a traditional Realtor to find a home for you - it isn't "free." They get paid a commission from the seller with money that you - the buyer provides for the transaction. When you think about it - the buyer is really the one that is paying all of the Real Estate commissions. The seller typically wants to achieve a certain bottom-line Net. The seller bases what kind of offer they will accept based on what they will net.
 
You have always paid it based on the final sale price of the home that the seller is willing to accept. You just haven't received representation for your money. Isn't it about time that you did? The cost-of-transaction for the purchase has always been taken from the money you paid the seller. It was just labeled differently at the closing. The seller called it their expense and deducted it from their asset basis when figuring taxes but the money always came from you - didn't it? It was your savings or the amount you borrowed in the mortgage, and was part of the sale price of the home.
 
 
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Q:  How much will it cost me to list with a full service broker?
 
A: By law, all real estate fees are negotiable. To standardize them would be a restraint of trade. Many home owners in the past have decided to list their home at 5% to 7% of the sale price; their negotiated commission was often dictated by their particular home and the current real estate market.