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Upper Marlboro, MD Real Estate Blog

Real Estate By Real Estate Agent Timothy Johnson

By Timothy Johnson | Agent in Maryland
  • Upper Marlboro MD Real Estate: Know Your Options, Don't Just Walk!

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Upper Marlboro, Property Q&A in Upper Marlboro, Home Ownership in Upper Marlboro  |  October 31, 2012 9:59 PM  |  213 views  |  2 comments
    I just heard from a neighbor in my condo community that several other neighbors just walked away from their condos.  This was unfortunate news.  As a real estate agent and home owner, I understand the financial hardships that owners face.  One day everything is going great, and then boom, your financial plane is taking a complete nose dive.  Talk to a realtor before you just abandon your home.  Real estate agents are trained to help you when it matters most.

    Thus, there are alternatives to abandoning your home.  Even if you decide to walk away, you still legally owe the mortgage company the balance of the loan.  A short sale is a great way to sell your home.  Or, renting your home out is another option.  With the short sale, sellers can work with the bank to sell the property at a price below what is owed.  The bank can forgive some or either all of the debt still owed after the sale of the home.  If you rent your home, you can move out and rent a cheaper home.  This is a good option to save money while someone else pays for your mortgage.  Ultimately, this gives the seller time to rebuild his or her financial situation. 

    Sellers, don't feel helpless in your hardship.  Know your options before you walk away! 
  • Upper Marlboro MD Real Estate Agent: Did Someone Say They Needed A Realtor?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Upper Marlboro, Home Buying in Upper Marlboro, Property Q&A in Upper Marlboro  |  April 12, 2012 6:44 PM  |  218 views  |  No comments

    In today's market, buyers have brought a new meaning to the word savvy.  They just hit the internet and start looking for properties online without consulting a real estate agent.  Buyers are very much aware of the home listing sites and don't need to get instructions on how to do this.  But, what happens when there's a question about a property?  What does the buyer do next?  Did someone say they needed a realtor?

    Yes, I will always first advocate for buyers to use a realtor.  Not because I'm a real estate agent myself, but because real estate is more than just searching for homes for sale online.  At some point, there are questions that will come up about the properties found.  Who's best to answer those questions than a realtor?  However, the need for a real estate agent goes beyond the simple task of answering questions.

    To begin with, when a buyer starts making moves without a realtor, he or she is moving forward at risk.  It's not there's a bunch of wolves waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers, but the buyer is maneuvering without proper protection.  That safety net is called representation.  With this comes years of expertise about the real estate industry and market.  There's a lot of understanding about the habits, behaviors, and dynamics that go hand and hand with the real estate process, but only through representation can the buyer get this valuable knowledge. 

    Furthermore, when a buyer is not signed with a realtor, the listing agent is not truly obligated to do anything extra special for the buyer.  The listing realtor may show you the property, but the buck might just stop there.  The listing realtor might entertain a few questions, but is not entitled to do additional work for the buyer working without a realtor.  Ultimately, if a buyer wants to write a sales offer on the listing agent's home for sale, a real estate agent is needed to help the buyer write the offer and submit the paperwork.  Writing a sales offer requires strategy and requires the expertise of a real estate agent to do this.

    In additon, the real estate agent helps to bare the burden of the buyer.  What this means is that as the buyer, you can now relax, go back to doing other things, and let the real estate agent take over and do what he or she is experienced at doing.  How good is this?  This is called a "no brainer proposition."  And considering the agent's payement for services comes from the seller (unless otherwise determined between the agent and buyer), the buyer's agent is really being hired to bare the burden for free.  To make it plain, it means the buyer does not pay the fee for services for the buyer's real estate services.  That sounds like a sweet deal. 

    Now, this is my short list of reasons for using a real estate, but I think the reasons help to make it clearer why expertise and experience overrides independence.  Fishing for answers doesn't help a buyer get any closer to achieving a goal.  The knowledge of a real estate agent provides certainty and helps eliminate the need to fish for information.  The real estate agent is there to help the buyer interpret and understand information and provide an understandable view of the real estate process.  If someone said they needed a realtor, then I think they're right! 

    Contact me to learn more on how I can help you buy, sell, or rent a home.  Register on my website to receive a free home analysis and neighborhood trend report or to just search for properties and other real estate information.  Thanks.

  • Upper Marlboro MD Real Estate Agent: New Construction, New Opportunities

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Upper Marlboro, Home Buying in Upper Marlboro, Property Q&A in Upper Marlboro  |  January 13, 2012 5:38 PM  |  312 views  |  No comments

    As a Community Specialist, I am regularly visiting new developments in Upper Marlboro, MD and other areas.  Of course, this is my self-made title, but I take pride in knowing that I stay abreast of new inventory within my community and surrounding areas.  While I haven't visited them all, I have visited enough to know that builders are still buiding new homes in Upper Marlboro, MD and everywhere else. 

    As a result of the current buyer's market, new opportunities are available for the purchase of new homes.  First, interest rates are down to historically low rates.  What does this mean for the buyer in this market?  You now have an excellent chance to afford a new home.  I would lean to believe most buyers are right now looking for resales and trying to find the hidden treasures in all of the short sale properties that characterize the market.  However, there are great treasures that are in the new home communities.  If you visit the new communities, you will definitely see this.

    Now, add the low interest rate to reduced prices on new construction, you have a match made in Heaven.  Not only do you get a lower interest rate in this current  real estate market, but you get home prices that have been drastically reduced.  In many cases, new homes have been slashed hundred of thousand of dollars compared to what they would have cost in the previous seller's market where homes where selling faster and for more money.  These two factors alone give home buyers incresased leverage and ability to afford a new home.

    For example, one well-known home builder in the area has announced an incentive deal where you can pick three for free.  This is a rare treat for home buyers.  You can choose from a spa bath, deluxe kitchen, finished rec room, hardwood floors, and paid closing costs.  This makes the path to buying a new home easier and more inticing.  This is a super deal!  Builders are giving buyers the red carpet treatment. 

    As a real estate agent in Upper Marlboro and the Washington, DC area, it seems that new construction has picked back up.  To tell you the truth, it has never really stopped.  According to a CNN Money online article, "Permits for housing construction climbed in October, signaling an uptick in optimism among homebuilders."  You have single family homes, condos, and town homes just waiting to be purchased.  I'm not sure how long this great opportunity on new construction will last, but if I were a buyer in this current real estate market, I would seriously be looking to purchase new construction.  

    To learn more about more about how I can help you to buy, sell, or rent a home, contact me directly.  You can register with me at www.agentskyshooter.com and to receive monthly online newsletters.  Thanks from Timothy Johnson.

  • Upper Marlboro MD Real Estate Agent: Let's Sign And Drive!

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Upper Marlboro, Rental Basics in Upper Marlboro, Property Q&A in Upper Marlboro  |  January 12, 2012 10:09 AM  |  322 views  |  No comments

    As an Upper Marlboro, MD real estate agent, it's always a great feeling when a potential buyer knocks on your door.  So, what happens next?  You answer the buyer's questions and try to determine their plans and hope that you will turn this lead into an an active buyer.  Okay, what is this?  Yes, it is called a Buyer's Agreement.  It's used for buyer's and renters.  Let's sign and drive.  Then, the real estate agent can begin the true depth of work needed to help the buyer or renter achieve his or her real estate goals.

    Why does the buyer and renter have to sign an agreement before the real estate agent takes them out to view homes?  Basically, everything in real estate has to be in writing to be legal.  The Buyer's Agreement is giving the real estate agent permission to work on behalf of his real estate office for the buyer or renter.  Simply put, it establishes an official relationship between the buyer and the Broker for whom the real estate agent works for.  Furthermore, when the goal of purchasing a home or renting a home has been achieved, this Buyer's Agreement (along with other paperwork) allows the real estate agent to get paid. 

    Does the Buyer's Agreement have to be signed before showing properties?  The answer is, no it is not a fixed protocol, but it is standard or customary among real estate agents to do this.  In summary, it is best practice to sign the agreement prior to showing properties.  Why? Real estate agents have to gain a client's commitment before he or she can be compensated for the work done.  Real estate agents are working for free until a transaction is officially completed.  The established relationship allows this to happen. Many times real estate agents will take buyers or renters out over short and long periods of time to view properties with the intention of the buyer or renter to purcahse or lease.  With no commitment, the buyer or renter can just walk away and the real estate agent will have spent a lot of time with no end result.  I have had this to happen to me various times.  

    In summary, the Buyer's Agreement really says that the buyer or renter is serious about their communicated desires of buying a home or renting a home.  Real estate agents, such as myself, are always excited to help clients and go the extra mile to help the buyer or renter achieve their real estate goal.  However, the real estate agent wants to provide a service to buyers and renter who are certain of their goal to purchase or rent.  Time is valuable for all parties, and the real estate agent just wants to make sure that the buyer or renter is ready to grab the bull by the horns and make this happen. 

    Whether it's for homes for sale in Upper Marlboro, MD or somewhere across the state to across the country, a Buyer's Agreement will need to be signed at some point and time.  Even if it's not up front, when a home for sale or rent is found and the buyer or renter wants to write an offer or lease agreement on the home, a Buyer's Agreement has to be signed and turned in with this paperwork.  Otherwise, the real estate agent cannot help the buyer or renter.  So, buyer's it's not to startle you when we ask for the Buyer's Agreement to be signed before viewing properties, it's just that the real estate agent is doing his or her job properly.  As an Upper Marlboro, MD real estate agent, I want to provide every service and resource available to help my buyers and renters.  The Buyer's Agreement make all services provided by the Broker available to the buyer or renter and moves us confidently foward in the property search.  Now, that this is out the way, "Let's Sign and Drive."

    To learn more about how I can help you buy, rent, or sell a home, contact me directly.  You can register with me at www.agentskyshooter.com and sign up to receive monthlhy online newsletters.  Thanks from Timothy Johnson. 

  • Upper Marlboro MD Real Estate: I Gave You A Courtesy and Received Whammy!

    Posted Under: General Area in Upper Marlboro, Home Buying in Upper Marlboro, Property Q&A in Upper Marlboro  |  December 22, 2011 7:46 PM  |  259 views  |  No comments

    So, you want a listing of homes for sale in Upper Marlboro, MD.  Yes, I can send you a list of homes for sale in Upper Marlboro, MD.  If you want a list of homes for sale in Bowie, MD, I can do that too.  Okay, did you get my list?  I send another email to the  prospective buyer.  Did you get my list of properties?  Now, reality sets in and it's too late.  My precious list of properties have been hornswoggled and the buyer is no where to be found!  I gave the buyer a courtesy, but I got a whammy!

    In real estate licensing class, you learn about those courtesy duties you provide to potential clients or the public.  You finally get your real estate license and you begin to apply what you've learned.  However, I wished someone would have given me a warning earlier.  There has to be limits to the courtesies you provide to potential clients.  Again, the word is potential.  Potential does not guarantee business. 

    Maybe it's just me as a real estate agent in Upper Marlboro, MD.  Maybe, I've been too naive for too long, but not any more.  Many times, it seems that people are doing more fishing for information rather than truly looking to use your real estate services.  I have found sellers to be more straight-lined with their intentions than buyers.  Sellers want you to sell their house or not.  Buyers tend to float and will come to you for something, but have not really decided what they want to do.  You want to accommodate the potential buyer as much as possible, but you can't afford ongoing accommodation without a guarantee. 

    Just as it was asked, "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a lollipop?"  The question becomes, "How many courtesies does it take before you put on your real estate brakes?"  I don't know if there is a magic number, but I do believe that there's a simple answer to this: a buyer's agreement.  

    A buyer's agreement is the commitment a buyer makes to using your services on behalf of your Broker.  Here, the buyer says that I am willing, ready, and able to get the show going.  This is by no means an occupy protest against the nature of buyers, but it's a learning moment for each party.  Buyers should understand that real estate agents are constantly working for free until they go to settlement, and they are paying for services and membership fees just so that can help them up front with buying a home.  Furthermore, a real estate agent just wants to be able to fully and officially help a buyer by executing a buyer's agreement.

    Thus, real estate agents love buyers.  Real estate agents want to help, but helping has to have limits until a buyer's agreement is signed.  This is the best way to conduct business for both parties.  There will always be enough courtesies to go around for buyers.  Real estate agents want your business and they will probably do a few things for you without a buyer's agreement.  However, no whammies please! 

    To learn more about buying a home, go to my website at www.agentskyshooter.com.  You can register to receive monthly online newsletters or to be a part of my prospective buyer list.  You can contact me directly about how I can help you with buying a home.  Thanks from Timothy Johnson. 

  • Upper Marlboro MD Real Estate: Straight to The Builder Without A Realtor

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Upper Marlboro, Home Buying in Upper Marlboro, Property Q&A in Upper Marlboro  |  December 19, 2011 7:24 PM  |  203 views  |  No comments

    There are many homes for sale in Upper Marlboro, MD.  There are short sales, foreclosures, and regular sales.  There are established communities and then there are the new communities on the block.  It seems there is plenty of home inventory to provide business for those anxious real estate agents.  Sometimes you feel like you're in a classroom full of students, raising your hand and vying for that teacher to call your name.  But, what happens when you don't get picked?

    Yes, it's a hurtful feeling when buyers overlook us, the real estate agents.  However, the buyer has the right to work with a real estate agent or not.  I have visited many new communities and have seen the constant flow of potential buyers viewing model homes.  You think to yourself, "I wonder if this person has a real estate agent?"

    Ultimately, many homes are purchased in new communities without the buyer using a real estate agent. So, why does this happen?  Outside of personal choice, I can only speculate, but believe my speculation has some validity.  First, the builder provides some pretty good buyer incentives.  While the buyer has the option of using a real estate agent, the buyer has the help of the sales rep working directly for the builder.  While the sales rep actually represents the builder, he or she is still helping the buyer with the transaction.  Therefore, in many ways, the buyer may feel that a real estate agent is not necessary and it would be more bothersome to have one.  Secondly, I think when the builder is providing incentives with certain conditions, the buyer may feel a risk of not getting the incentives if a real estate agent is used.  These are just a few of my hypotheses, but it shares some light on the buyer's thinking.

    No real estate agent wants to feel unneeded, especially when business is not running to your door.  Of course, it's always my suggestion to the buyer to use a real estate agent.  A matter of fact, everything really boils down to representation.  It's almost like going to court and not having an attorney.  It's a risk a buyer takes when he or she engages in a sales trasaction without a real estate agent.  The sales rep is there to meet the needs of the builder and first and foresmost represents the builder.  The real estate agent's knowledge plays an integral part in making sure that the buyer is being treated honest and fair.  Also, the real estate agent helps the buyer to better understand the language of the builder's sales contract and becomes a point of reference and guide throughout the sales transaction. 

    As an Upper Marlboro real estate agent, I have had buyers to purchase homes directly through the builder, and from experience, things do happen.  It's the nature of real estate.  I'm not sure what my buyers would have done without me, but I do feel like my involvement helped to take some of the stress load off their backs.  As savvy buyers, I'm sure they would have worked things out and made their way to the settlement table without me.  Therefore, even if a buyer elects not to use a real estate agent, it would still be wise to have a conversation with one before making that decision.  To learn more about buying, go to my website at www.agentskyshooter.com.  You can register on my website to receive monthly online newsletters and to speak with my directly about how I can help you purchase a home.  Thanks from Timothy Johnson. 

  • Let The Battle Begin- New Home vs. Old Home

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Upper Marlboro, Home Buying in Upper Marlboro, Property Q&A in Upper Marlboro  |  December 15, 2011 9:19 PM  |  222 views  |  No comments

    It's time to rumble!  In this corner, we have a brand new home.  This new construction was just completed and is ready to occupy it's first and only home owner.  It has modern amenities and many upgraded features.  It also comes with a 10 year home warranty.  In the other corner, we have the contender-an older home.  This home is 15 years old and has had one owner.  It has been maintained well and is listed at a bargain price.  The owner has upgraded the kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops.  Who will win?  Let the real estate battle of homes begin!

    As an Upper Marlboro, MD real estate agent, I see a mix of new homes and older homes for sale in Upper Marlboro, MD.  Even in the current real estate market, it seems that new home builders are steadily building new homes.  And, as I've read in recent articles, it appears that builder activity is on the rise.  Older home will always be a staple.  So, which home will win the buyer's attention?   

    Well, the brand new home is a great contender all around because it's totally new and always comes with modern amenities.  Becuase it is new, it comes with a home warranty covering appliances to HVAC systems.  The brand new home gives that worry free impression because it is new.  It becomes inticing because the builder is giving money towards closings cost and is giving a free recreation room as a buyer incentive.  This is a hard fight to contend with.  It's down fall is that it's purchase price is not often budget friendly.  On the other hand, the older home stands out because it seems to be consistently in the buyer's budget whether it's the resale of a condo, townhome, or single family house.  Furthermore, the older home is in a community that has no home association fees.  In addition, there are no by-laws to follow.  Yes, you can leave that grille out on your patio and not worry about getting a note on your door reminding you to take it off.

    Now, it's up to the buyer to determine which home for sale is going to win.  To tell the truth, a buyer's budget is really the knock out punch.  The greater the buyer's budget, the more choices he or she will have in selecting a home.  This means that the winner could really be the new home or the older home.  Even if a buyer is working with a smaller budget, patience may find a rare treat and deliver the victory of a new home.  If it's not new, it might be an older home that has been renovated.  Thus, it's a unanimous decision. I say both are winners; it's a tie.  Shopping for a home is about buyers finding homes for sale that they like and are in their budget, whether it be a new home or older home for sale.  May the best home win! 

    If you want to know more about homes for sale in Upper Marlboro, MD or anywhere else in the MD and DC region, you can contact me directly and register your infromation on my website at www.agentskyshooter.com  You can learn more about buying a home and also register to receive monthly online newsletters.  Thanks from Timothy Johnson

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