Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Word to Relocation Companies About Exclusive Buyer Agency

As an Exclusive Buyer Agent, I feel it is my duty to educate the public about the purest form of buyer representation. Here is what I recently sent to Promissor, a relocation company, which claims to value the avoidance of conflicts of interests. They were not clear about whether or not they had Exclusive Buyer Agents among their service providers. However, it needs to be said that in order to ensure that their clients' employees are truly free of conflicts of interest, relocation companies should make certain that their clients' employees are not exposed to the risk of dual agency, which is a conflict of interest.

In essence, relocation companies should stand by the things they claim to value, like avoiding conflicts of interest--or else their claims become only empty promises.

**********Letter Start***********

Hello Mr. Gimpel,

Your web site states the following:

"Consider the advantages of independence - yours and ours. Promisor Relocation is independently owned, meaning we're free from any obligations to affiliated companies and flexible to do what's best for our clients. No conflicts of interest, no hidden agendas. Quality is our only criteria."

However, you should know that if your established resources do not include Exclusive Buyer Agents that you place your clients' employees at risk of dual agency, which is a conflict of interest. I can appreciate that you value the best interests of your clients, and that is why I thought it best to inform you about the transitioning state of the real estate industry. Just to let you know, dual agency happens in one of two ways: (a) when an agent or broker represents buyer and seller, or (b) when two different agents, representing buyer and seller respectively, work for the same real estate company. The real estate company becomes the dual agent.

I am giving you this information, because you will not get the truth from traditional real estate companies. However, since your company web site states that you have a concern for preventing conflicts of interest, I thought you should know this very important information. Good luck!

Three Things to Consider Before Relocating to a New Area

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If you have been researching information about the relocation process online, in almost every article, you will read about how very stressful it can be. It is reasonable to say that one will most likely experience some degree of culture shock, because lifestyles can vary dramatically between states, including the cost of living. Here are three things to consider for eliminating the anxiety of relocation:

1. Take some time to visit the area you are considering.

A little familiarity will go a long way, when it comes to knowing whether or not the area will suit your taste and lifestyle. Planning a vacation to the new area is the ideal way to experience the area and what it has to offer. Brochures and pamphlets can only do so much. If your move is job related, you will likely have a few home-hunting trips paid for. However, don’t use this time to get familiar, as you will likely be under some kind of pressure to find a place. Instead, it would be better visit the new area outside of this paid house-hunting time, so you can relax while you see the sights, and all that the area has to offer. By doing this, you will establish a degree of familiarity that will ease any potential “culture shock” when relocating to a new state, and your planning will also benefit from the insight you gain from your visit.

2. Research and plan your move well in advance.

If you can help it, put time on your side. The more time you have to plan your move, the better your plans will be, and the better your move will turn out. There are many resources on the Internet that will help make your plans as solid as possible. For example, has area reports that tell you about an area’s cost of living, schools, crime reports, etc. It will also let you do area comparisons, which is always good when deciding where to move. Another resource you can find on the Internet is a move planner. has a free move planner that you can use, along with other resources on their site, to help you plan a painless relocation.

3. Find an Exclusive Buyer’s Broker or Agent in the new area.

When you have done your research, visited the new area, and you have invested enough time into your planning—you are now ready to find an Exclusive Buyer’s Broker or Agent, if you did not find one already during your initial visit to the new area.

An exclusive buyer’s broker or agent is one who works for a real estate company that does not take listings. Exclusive Buyer Agency is the purest form of buyer representation. It helps buyers completely avoid Dual Agency—which is a conflict of interest. More and more buyers are realizing that they can get caught in a dual agency situation in one of two ways: (a) When the same broker or agent represents both buyer and seller in the same transaction, or (b) when two different agents, one representing seller and the other representing the buyer, works in the same transaction for the same real estate company—their company becomes the Dual Agent.

The best thing for consumers is for them to have their own real estate representatives, separate and apart from the other side in order to completely avoid dual agency, and not giving consent when asked to give it. As a consumer, you should stand firm when it comes to protecting your interests, and being clear about who is working for you is one of the best ways you can ensure that they are protected.

Lastly, if your relocation is job-related, you should be clear on whether or not you will be able to choose your own real estate agent. If not, you should make an effort to negotiate with your employer to, at least, help you avoid dual agency by asking your employer to instruct their relocation company to assign an Exclusive Buyer's Agent to represent you in the purchase of your home in the new area.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Exclusive Buyer Agent: New Home Builder Review

On Tuesday, I viewed some very nice homes about a mile south of Hwy 16 in Port Orchard by Quadrant Homes. Nestled within the community of McCormick Woods, the area is an even mix of both new and existing homes. While the development is fairly new, their neighborhood map shows that most of its Division I lots are sold. However, there are still lots available within Division II.

Some highlights of the model homes I viewed were the lofts that were at the top of
their respective staircases. Although there is an option to make these lofts into an additional bedroom, having a loft at the top of the staircase adds a private living area to the upstairs; which I think is very nice, and it is right in line with Quadrant’s claim that their homes “are designed to use all available space as efficiently as possible.” (Quadrant Homes booklet p. 3).

Another notable feature is this builder’s eco-friendly building practices. According to their brochure, they are a founding member of the Master Builder Association’s Built Green Program. Buyers who purchase their homes will also have an opportunity to become “members of a local land conservation organization and contribute to the preservation of natural resources” (Quadrant Homes booklet p. 5).

While all of these points are very good, what I found most impressive about the work ethics of is this builder is that they work with buyer agents, and they respect their client-broker relationships. This means a lot, because it means that buyers can avoid dual agency. After all, the builder is the seller.

This builder has a proprietary homebuying process that includes Community Sales Managers, Home Mortgage Consultants, Superintendents, and Personal Service Representatives. Although they have their own mortgage consultants, the builder states that buyers are free to choose their own lender. I should add, for buyers who are interested in shopping around for the best mortgage rate, that they should go with a lender that is well-versed in new construction lending. If you are considering buying a new home, this would be the first important question to ask any lender outside of the builder's in-house mortgage consultants. With that being said...

Here are some photos from my tour:

First Home Viewed (2011C):

Second Home Viewed (2323A)

Third Home Viewed (2733B):

Fourth Home Viewed (2431A):

Monday, April 02, 2007

Buyer Beware: Read Mortgage Documents Before Signing Them!

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Closing day can be a very hectic and stressful time. However, I cannot stress the importance of taking the time to read the fine print of your loan documents before signing them. It could be your last chance to spot items that need correction before they are recorded, and before the loan funds.

For example, if you told your lender that you preferred a fixed rate, and after taking the time to read the fine print, you discover that the loan documents show the mortgage will actually be adjustable, you can have this corrected before you go through with closing. It will be too late if you wait until after closing.

Make sure you read everything, or if you have an attorney, have them review these loan docs for you. Don't let anyone pressure you into signing without reviewing your mortgage documents, and make sure that you clearly understand what you are agreeing to. All questions should be addressed prior to signing your loan documents, and all corrections should be made prior to signing your closing documents.

It will be well worth the peace of mind you will have when all is said and done.