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I’ll describe how to be a Real Estate Agent,

but first let me clear up any pronunciation confusion.  Realtor® is pronounced with as many extra syllables as you can cram in, like “Real-a-tor” or “Real-ly-a-tor”, or if you live in Alabama, “Dammit Thelma, get the gun. Them sales people’s over yonder again”.

Realtor® is the official designation of people who are licensed to help others buy and sell homes they can’t afford, their never having even remembered seeing the ugly green wallpaper in the basement, otherwise they wouldn’t have offered so much money. A Realtor® belongs to the National Association of Realtors®, an organization dating back to medieval England during the reign of Caveat Emptor®.  In those times when land was cheap, plentiful and offered for sale at extreme prices by landlords, there were many “for sale” signs on telephone poles around the countryside.  Eventually some enterprising individual who was starting a national organization of salespersons noticed that the signs’ letters “RARE LOTS” could be rearranged, and the name “REALTORS” was born.  The trademark symbol ® was added later when Shakespeare invented fonts.

Becoming a Realtor® is easy:

• Take internet real estate licensing courses on ignoring deadlines, miscalculating square footage, and the irritating and repetitive use of ®

• Take self-administered tests and receive a passing grade

• Register with your state, but neglect to report that you are a convicted drug felon

• Find a broker to supervise you and “share” your commissions with

• Perform costly yet ineffective marketing to get clients (people who let you demonstrate how not to sell their houses)

• Finally sell a house by accident to the seller’s uncle

• Pay a fine to the state for selling real estate without a convicted-felon’s license

• Use the last of your commission to pay dues and buy a keybox, signs, and a congressman who will ensure laws remain favorable to Realtors®

Disclaimer: This summary [   ] SHALL [   ] MAY [   ] BOTH (check one) be subject to arbitration should a dispute arise.  If BOTH is/are (sic) checked, the next paragraph applies; otherwise it’s Tuesday.

Now that you’ve completed your first transaction, you need ethics training.  Held to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism, many Realtors® nevertheless sometimes abide by a written Code of Ethics.  Written in code, this is like a bible of allowed conduct when Realtors® deal with other Realtors®, the Public, their Clients and their Pets.  Here’s an excerpt from the Code: “We Realtors® agree to abide by the Code of Ethics, the “Fairness and Equality” White Paper on the “Handling of Rezoning Requests by Ice Cream Street Vendors in New York City, Circa 1925”, the “Non-Discrimination Pact of Pre-war Poland”, and all of the terms of the Louisiana Purchase.  We further agree to not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, the countries people come from, possession of negative whole numbers, source of whiskey bottle collections, Lady Gaga, or shoe size.”

As you might imagine, Realtors®’ adherence to this Code of Ethics prevents less than 2% of the conceivable disputes in real estate transactions. The remaining disputes are distributed among several categories: frozen pipes, the smell of dog poop in the heat vents, and women’s rude comments about other women’s shoes during open houses.  Any one of these can stop a sale cold.  For example, I was involved in a transaction in which I represented the Seller (the person who owned the house).  I told him he should accept the offer from the Buyer (the person who didn’t have enough money to buy the house).  The Seller (let’s call him Manny), (his real name), (told me), “Dave, did you see the latest “Survivor” episode where Martha loses her bikini top?  Ha, that was a good one!”  While I was listening, the contractual “Long Story Short Deadline” (contract section 5.3 (a), iii) expired, and the Seller lost the chance to sell to the Buyer, who quickly filed a grievance against me, claiming the pipes were frozen.  That’s exactly my point.

You have now learned everything you need to become a Realyater.  But, instead, you can always just use one of the kabillion real estate professionals already out of rehab to help you with buying, selling, or a drug transaction. You can find one of us anywhere.  Just ask any high school student.  But remember: don’t hand over your earnest money until you first get a small taste sample.  And a copy of the Code of Ethics.

Author’s Note: See the HumorPress.com publication of “Becoming A Realtor®” 

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About The Wiseacre Investor: David Woodside is an author, a continuing education instructor and course provider for real estate agents, an investor, and has been a sales agent representing buyers and sellers since 1996. He holds a Physics degree and has worked as an Aerospace Engineer for over 20 years. Known as The Wiseacre Investor, he can help solve your real estate problems with panache. For free info on selling your home, visit The Wiseacre Investor.


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Space Shuttle Launch

An Unbalanced Market

Rocket scientists speak of “equilibrium”. When they launch a rocket, the forces of the motor’s thrust and gravity compete and are not in balance. If the thrust exceeds gravity, the rocket soars and the rocket reaches orbit where it coasts without further help of its motor. The forces are balanced, and that’s equilibrium. If gravity exceeds thrust at launch, there’s usually a big mess to clean up before beer call.

Supply and Demand

Real estate prices also seek equilibrium in the competing forces of supply and demand. In the absence of equilibrium, prices will go up if demand exceeds supply, and down if supply exceeds demand. When supply and demand reach an equilibrium, prices stabilize and don’t change much over time. Real estate prices are never constant for long, though, because lots of things in the economy can change the market supply and demand equilibrium.

Utah in June, 2016

Because of our booming Utah economy with its increasing jobs and population, the demand for housing is not currently being met by the supply of property for sale in our real estate market. These market “forces” compete to increase prices, lower the time it takes to sell a property, and increase the time it takes to find a property to purchase.

According to the June, 2016, Salt Lake Realtor® Magazine, “the biggest barrier facing home buyers today is the limited supply of housing inventory”.  This is slowing sales and continuing to increase prices.  In April, 2016, there were 1,533 homes sold by Realtors® in Salt Lake County. That’s only 2% higher than the $1,506 sales of April, 2015. The median price is $259,800, up from $244,750, representing a 6% increase from April 2015 to April 2016.  Supply is down, and that has driven up prices over the past year, while slowing down the rate of increase in the number of sales. Plus, those properties that are for sale sell very quickly: a median of 10 days, down from 20 days a year ago.

What about the future?

Our economy continues to boom, people move into the state for jobs, and the threat of higher interest rates loom. These forces keep our real estate market moving under competing forces. Supply and Demand—while not exactly rocket science, it continues to be the name of the game in our Utah real estate market.

I have a supply of knowledge and experience to help you if you demand it. If you need help pricing a home for sale or determining what your next purchase will cost, give me a call.  First-time home buyers welcomed!

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About The Wiseacre Investor: David Woodside is an author, a continuing education instructor and course provider for real estate agents, an investor, and has been a sales agent representing buyers and sellers since 1996. He holds a Physics degree and has worked as an Aerospace Engineer for over 20 years. Known as The Wiseacre Investor, he can help solve your real estate problems with panache. For free info on selling your home, visit The Wiseacre Investor.


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House For Sale!

Your Important Actions After Buying A Home

 

Welcome to the world of home ownership!  Your transaction is closed, the recorded deed is in your name, and you’re the legal owner.  So what do you do now?

 

Here are some key things to consider and some actions to take after the closing to ensure you’ll be off to a good start as a new homeowner.

Move In!

Now’s the time to do a thorough cleaning. Get the place ready, then call your friends to help you move in. Hang your pictures. Put the sofa in just the right place. Find a place for the cat’s litter box. Settle kid disputes over who gets which bedroom. And don’t forget to allocate a special space for a man cave. He’ll appreciate it.

Review and File The Closing Documents

Review the document package you got from the title company or attorney who conducted the closing. Do you have questions? The closing can be stressful, so maybe you didn’t get all your questions answered. Just call your Realtor® or the escrow agent, and they will get you the information you need.

Keep your closing documents in a safe place. You may need them for various purposes later and they may contain some information you can use now like phone numbers of utility companies so you can use to get accounts set up in your name.

Get Ready To Pay The Bills: Open Utility Accounts In Your Name

Immediately after closing, call the electric, gas, and water companies to set-up accounts in your name. They’ll need the date of closing, and they will adjust the Seller’s final bill to that date. Easy!

Change Or Re-key Your Locks

For security reasons, consider re-keying your property locks. You never know who may have a set of keys to your home.  You never got a key to the storage shed?  If the Seller doesn’t have it, simply call a locksmith.  He can make a key for that lock and even re-key all the locks to use the same key if you desire.

Do Some Initial Maintenance

Make sure you know the status and condition of the utilities and equipment in your home. Change the furnace filter when you move in and regularly thereafter. Also replace the batteries in the smoke detectors, and consider replacing the detectors if they are old. Service the air conditioner, swamp cooler, and sprinkler systems. Service and clean the furnace. If you purchased a home inspection as part of the purchase process, review that document to see what other items may need attention.

Home Warranty

Review the terms of your home warranty plan if you purchased one, note the phone number, and don’t hesitate to call them if you have an issue that they cover. Put a note on your calendar one year after closing to check the home warranty plan to see if you want to renew it.

Remember To Make That First Mortgage Payment!

In your closing package of documents, you’ll have a “first payment letter” which shows where to make your first payment and the payment amount. Don’t forget to make that first payment!

Your mortgage servicer will send you info in the mail about how to contact them.  Consider creating an online mortgage bill pay account to easily make future mortgage payments.

Take Photos For Hazard (Fire & Liability) Insurance Documentation

It’s a great idea to take photos or video of your home’s interior and exterior, with notes about condition and serial numbers and model numbers. If you ever need to make an insurance claim, this information can really help.

Good Deeds: Check Your Property’s Legal Title

Perhaps you initially “took title” personally because your lender required it, but you’re intent is to title the home in a Revocable Trust.  Remember to look into changing this title “vesting” whenever your life situation changes (marriage, divorce, death, winning the lottery). A title company or estate planning attorney can help you with that.

Plan Ahead for Income Taxes

At tax time, give the closing’s HUD-1 settlement statement to your accountant or tax preparer, along with other details such as mortgage interest paid.  Keep all receipts and records for your home, particularly those for so-called capital improvements or large expenses.

Review Your Mortgage Impound (Escrow) Account

If your mortgage lender required that you escrow funds monthly for property hazard insurance premium amounts and for property taxes, those bills will be paid by your mortgage servicing company when they become due. You don’t need to worry about making the payment. However, you should verify that the payments were made. Simply create a free online account with your mortgage servicer, and there you’ll see the details of how your mortgage payment is applied, the balances of your escrow accounts, and an annual summary of how the funds were used. Every year the servicing company will reconcile the impound account and make any needed adjustments to your future mortgage payment based on anticipated or actual changes to your insurance premium and property taxes. If you change property insurance providers, the new insurer will know to ask you for your mortgage details so that the mortgage servicer will be notified of your new insurance provider and the premium amount.

Plan Ahead For That Leaky Roof And Sewer Line Break!

Dang, your mortgage payment isn’t your only expense?!  No!  You’ll have lots of other expenses associated with home ownership. There’s utility bills, of course. Make a budget so you’ll have funds for present or future repairs. Your roof will eventually wear out. What about that sprinkler system that you want? Do you want to install air conditioning? Do you need a snow blower? What about annual lawn care? Maybe you’ll need a lawn mower or yard service, fertilizer, and flowers!

Celebrate!

Ok, you made it! All the work paid-off and now you’re a home owner. Have a party! Don’t forget to invite your Realtor® and make his favorite foods. (Sure he already got paid, but he’s always hungry.)

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About The Wiseacre Investor: David Woodside is an author, a continuing education instructor and course provider for real estate agents, an investor, and has been a sales agent representing buyers and sellers since 1996. He holds a Physics degree and has worked as an Aerospace Engineer for over 20 years. Known as The Wiseacre Investor, he can help solve your real estate problems with panache. For free info on selling your home, visit The Wiseacre Investor.


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