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S. Milton Hill's Blog

By S. Milton Hill | Agent in Dover, DE
  • The CIS impact on the Buyer

    Posted Under: General Area in Delaware, Home Buying in Delaware, Home Selling in Delaware  |  August 4, 2011 10:51 AM  |  124 views  |  No comments

    If you ever noticed when a real estate agent sends you listings via email that there is a form that you must elect to accept in order to proceed. This for is the called the Consumer Information Sheet. The importance of this form is more than a piece of paper that must be presented prior to showing a property under Delaware Law (24 Del Code §2972). In this document, sometimes as a tri-fold brochure and other times a 3 page document contains terminology and the responsibilities between the buyer, the seller and the agent. But what impact does this document have on the buyer?

    Because I am not a lawyer it would behoove me to interpret law. However, I can tell you according to the CIS, page 1, states that signing the form creates a statutory duty between you and the real estate agent. What this document does not do is COMPELL you to use this agent if you decide to buy a home. Yes, agents have a job to do and we should get paid for doing it. So, upfront, let the agent know whether where you are in your journey with buying a home. Whether it is just looking or need to buy now be fair and expect fairness in return. What do I mean by this?

    I cannot defend any agent who displays the characteristics of a Used Car or Condo Weekend Salesperson. This is true pressure sales. Hot, heavy, and in your face tactics that will assure to give you buyer’s anxiety. Some may not like this technique; but it works and agents get paid for it. In fact, some buyers/sellers prefer this style because it portrays boldness and confidence. But is this sort of agent a good fit for you? Now, if you look again at page 1, only a written statement may create an exclusive relationship between you and your agent. In doing so, you agree to work only with this particular agent until you either complete a real estate transaction or terminate the agreement. Again, this agreement is neither verbal nor something you scratch on a posted note.

    The form that will bind the buyer and the agent is an Exclusive Right to Represent Buyer agreement. The upside for the agent is that the buyer works exclusively works with him/her. Some companies make it a practice of asking the buyer immediately or shortly after the first meeting to sign this agreement. This makes work more purposeful for the agent. Any consumer can ask the agent to show property without the purpose of making a purchase or are already working with an agent and refuse to disclose this information. However, if you are not ready to commit, be forthcoming about it. If an agent tries to brush you off because of your refusal, whether subtle or overt, just kick off the dirt from under the soles of your shoes and move on. (Then come see me).

    On the flip side, there is an out clause in the contract that allows the buyer to get out of the contract by giving written notice. Is that all? Maybe not? Remember, the agent has invested time in providing the buyer a service. Therefore, an agent may request compensation for properties shown during the exclusive agreement if you should decide to purchase any of those properties through your new agent at a later date. Don’t shoot the messenger. This is just an FYI. Following through is up to the agent. Make it your business when dealing with legal documents, if you do not understand it, then consult a lawyer.

    Buying a home should not be a stressful experience. Understanding the forms used in the process can make the journey smoother. Remember, the CIS is not a chokehold. It is a document that agents are required to give to consumers, under Delaware Law, prior to showing property. Now go online, find some homes, and tour, tour, tour. 

  • Proof of Funds

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Delaware, Home Selling in Delaware, Foreclosure in Delaware  |  June 22, 2011 7:12 PM  |  156 views  |  No comments
    Can you recall in the old movies where a character would flip over their mattress to get large amounts of cash. NO PROBLEM. Lately, many of my prospectus homebuyers who migrate to the United States are usually cash (dollar bill, benjamins) people. Ask them for a bank statement to show proof of funds and you get a big argument. This is most troubling when dealing with a person of Middle East decent. 9/11 is a very sensitive subject and one can catch it both ways when explaining the rationale behind the enforcement of proof of funds. So what is one to do.

    My solution, whether business owner or homemaker of any race, nationality, or ethnicity; all should be required to attend a personal financial workshop. Not because of the lack of knowledge with managing money, but with understanding the US financial system when it comes to purchasing certain items; especially big ticket items. In the Real Estate industry, first time homebuyer workshops and seminars are probably best offered at the beginning of the calendar year. This gives time to comprehend the information and allow participants to become mortgage ready during the traditional peak home sales season. In Delaware, some residents may even qualify for a home under the Neighborhood Stabiliztion Project (NSP).

    Qualifying for an NSP property requires some financial training through an approved NSP counseling program. Other programs such as Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), a HUD certified counseling agency, may not be popular to agents and loan officers because of the large turnouts and unrealistic expectations the Save the Dream Events depicted. But the underlying purpose of these programs is to counsel and educate propsectus homeowners and most of all, avoid the the proof of funds verbal challenge. 

    For additional HUD certified housing couseling programs in Delaware go to
  • Ready, Set, Hurry.

    Posted Under: General Area in Dover, Home Buying in Dover, Home Selling in Dover  |  June 9, 2011 8:05 PM  |  186 views  |  2 comments
    This is a good time to buy a house. But it is also a good time to sell your house. School is out, the fiscal year for local municipalities is nearing and what better time to get your ducks in a row than now. Buyers need Sellers. Sellers need Buyers. Most of the movement in sales is approxiamtely mid 200's and below. But hold on. You should see what remains on the market. It looks like a department store clearence sale. This is the reason that now is the best time to buy and sell.

    Not many houses on the market now are move-in ready. Those that are have a major issue. They are overpriced because they are well maintained. Because of this, a seller can price their home, which is new to the market, in move-in ready condition home, and minus the sentimental value, and receive offers. PRICING. For the past month, I have teamed with a colleague and performed Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) for properties. Good thing I took physics in college. The prices are down and if our leaders cannot come up with a plan to create jobs, then prices may continue to fall. But seller can stop this. Get a good CMA and a sales agent with an attitude and presentation that you understand and meet your needs. If your house is priced right during this season, then you will probably have a bidding war on your property. And if those dreamy homeowners with homes on the market for more than 180 days continue to sport their rose tinted glasses, they will miss out on this too. What about new construction since you don't want resale?

    New sales are great. Many builders have reduced prices by as much as $50k and are offering as much as $25k in assistance. However, because we are only 3 months out from the beginning of school, the only model choices are either a quick delivery, or a manufactured home. But you don't have to search for new construction homes alone. Realtors in Delaware are also Buyer Agents (dual agency) and are here to serve you. I have visited so many new construction sites during the Winter that many of the Sales Mangers call and chat with me about any changes and specials. Most agents are not aware of these changes until they arrive to the model home. I worked it, and mom loved the ride. HOLD IT. Dual agency? Can we cheat you?

    Listen, there are good and bad in every profession. Some agents even work their own listing just to get commision as both buyer and seller. How can you tell? Unless you are very spiritually in-tuned or psychic, then you can't. Know that we are governed by a Code of Ethics as well as other guidelines to safeguard from being shamed. Despite this, don't allow someone's past performance dictate your choice for an agent today. Some agents are still living in the "show me the money" days prior to the housing crisis. ...You're not pre-approve...call me back when you are. (To the renters who are paying over $1000/month for rent, call or email me. Those who are near maximum income guidlines for Section 8 too.)  These agents will tell you about the number of years they have in the industry. But what have you done for me lately? Find someone who cares.

    GOOD LUCK!!                                                           

                                                                                                     Romans 8:28
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