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Broker/Seller Relationship

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Real Estate's jargon and laws can be a bit difficult to grasp for first time homebuyers and sellers. Kijner & Sons International Realty would like to help you better understand how real estate in Florida works. Today, let's start with what we commonly call the Broker/Seller relationship and what it entails.

To be enforceable, Broker/Seller relationships are contractually established verbally - if the listing agreement is less than a year - or in writting - if it is longer than one year.

A listing agreement in writing must include the following elements to be valid:
1) A descritpion of the property: you can use the previous deed for a complete and thorough legal description
2) An expiration date: a listing agreement cannot contain an automatic renewal provision as per Florida law
3) Price and terms
4) Fee or commission: the commission rate is always negotiable between the broker and the seller
5) The signature of the seller

Keep in mind that if the property is owned by more than one person, but only one of the owners has signed the listing agreement, that owner is legally bound if the broker didn't know about the existence of the other owner(s). However, the broker will not be able to enforce the agreement against the owner(s) who didn't sign the listing agreement. If both owners are married and if the broker performed his/her obligations, the listing agreement is enforceable against the spouse who signed it. 


Global Perspectives

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to share with you the December 2011 issue of NAR's "Global Perspectives". This issue looks at what's driving Canadian buyers to look south. There's more at play than just the strong Canadian dollar and snowbirds' flight to warm weather. Canadian exposure to the U.S. market has spread beyond Florida to some places that may surprise you.

 

 

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Source: Global Perspectives December 2011

Questions to Ask When Choosing a REALTOR®

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Make sure you choose a REALTOR® who will provide top-notch service and meet your unique needs whether you are considering purchasing a property in Sarasota or Miami Florida.  

1. How long have you been in residential real estate sales? Is it your full-time job? While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate — like many other professions — is mostly learned on the job. 

2. What designations do you hold? Designations such as GRI and CRS®* — which require that agents take additional, specialized real estate training — are held by only about one-quarter of real estate practitioners.

3. How many homes did you and your real estate brokerage sell last year? By asking this question, you’ll get a good idea of how much experience the practitioner has.

4. How many days did it take you to sell the average home? How did that compare to the overall market?

The REALTOR® you interview should have these facts on hand, and be able to present market statistics from the local MLS to provide a comparison. 

5. How close to the initial asking prices of the homes you sold were the final sale prices? This is one indication of how skilled the REALTOR® is at pricing homes and marketing to suitable buyers. Of course, other factors also may be at play, including an exceptionally hot or cool real estate market.

6. What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home? You don’t want someone who’s going to put a For Sale sign in the yard and hope for the best. Look for someone who has aggressive and innovative approaches, and knows how to market your property competitively on the Internet. Buyers today want information fast, so it’s important that your REALTOR® is responsive.

7. Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction? While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where the practitioner’s obligations lie. Your REALTOR® should explain his or her agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party.   

8. Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and help with other things I need done? Because REALTORS® are immersed in the industry, they’re wonderful resources as you seek lenders, home improvement companies, and other home service providers. Practitioners should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive compensation from any of the providers. 

9. What type of support and supervision does your brokerage office provide to you? Having resources such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, and assistance with technology can help an agent sell your home. 

10. What’s your business philosophy? While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.

11. How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently? Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but it reflects your desires. Do you want updates twice a week or do you not want to be bothered unless there’s a hot prospect? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit?  

12. Could you please give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent clients?

Ask recent clients if they would work with this REALTOR® again. Find out whether they were pleased with the communication style, follow-up, and work ethic of the REALTOR®. 

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* For more information about KSI Realty's licenses and how we can assist you as Realtors® with your next investment project(s) in Florida, visit: http://www.kijner.com/About-Us & http://www.kijner.com/Daniel-Kijners-Licenses. You can also contact us at info@kijner.com


To look for all properties available in:

> The greater Sarasota area, click here

> The greater Miami and the beaches area, click here

Common Closing Costs for Buyers

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

You’ll likely be responsible for a variety of fees and expenses that you and the seller will have to pay at the time of closing in Miami or Sarasota Florida. Your lender must provide a good-faith estimate of all settlement costs. The title company or other entity conducting the closing will tell you the required amount for:

  • Down payment
  • Loan origination
  • Points, or loan discount fees, which you pay to receive a lower interest rate
  • Home inspection
  • Appraisal
  • Credit report
  • Private mortgage insurance premium
  • Insurance escrow for homeowner’s insurance, if being paid as part of the mortgage
  • Property tax escrow, if being paid as part of the mortgage. Lenders keep funds for taxes and insurance in escrow accounts as they are paid with the mortgage, then pay the insurance or taxes for you.
  • Deed recording
  • Title insurance policy premiums
  • Land survey
  • Notary fees
  • Prorations for your share of costs, such as utility bills and property taxes

A Note About Prorations: Because such costs are usually paid on either a monthly or yearly basis, you might have to pay a bill for services used by the sellers before they moved. Proration is a way for the sellers to pay you back or for you to pay them for bills they may have paid in advance. For example, the gas company usually sends a bill each month for the gas used during the previous month. But assume you buy the home on the 6th of the month. You would owe the gas company for only the days from the 6th to the end for the month. The seller would owe for the first five days. The bill would be prorated for the number of days in the month, and then each person would be responsible for the days of his or her ownership.

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Source: The National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

Negotiation tips for sellers in Florida

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Sellers are sick of hearing about how this is a “buyers market.” Homebuyers are demanding so much right now. Here are some tips from Kijner & Sons International Realty to help you take some of the stress out of selling your home in this market.

Don’t mention deadlines for selling your house, even if you have one. Keep it to yourself. Letting others know you are in a hurry to sell gives them the upper hand. Don’t share too much information about yourself and why you’re selling either. That can hurt a potential sale. When asked why you’re selling give a vague and definite answer, and think about it before you’re asked. Don’t hint at your desire to move quickly. Don’t let the buyers know if it’s a divorce sale. That is code for buyers to give a low-ball offer because they know you need to sell quickly.

If you can’t afford the mortgage payments and that’s why you’re moving, try negotiating with the banks. They will generally work with you to lower payments when they know you are actively trying to sell the house. It’s good for the bank if you sell your house in a regular sale, so they may be willing to work with sellers in the Miami or Sarasota Florida areas.

Stop trying to prove that your house is worth buying. Let the house sell itself. You are attached to your house but potential buyers aren’t, yet. So try not to be there, so they can see themselves in the house rather than see you. Plus if you’re not there buyers can’t read your body language and ask you questions that could help them get a good deal on your house.

If you’re truly in a hurry to sell and you don’t have time to convince buyers that you’re not, try offering the agent an incentive. Make an offer short term, like for three weeks, and then you’re not stuck if six months down the line the sale is made.

Having a plan b is also a great idea in Florida. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Expand your options rather than panicking. Renting out the house is an option. Making it known that you have a plan b will let buyers know you aren’t desperate to sell and can take your time. The buyer will know they aren’t the only game in town.

Take back some of the power in selling your house! Kijner & Sons International Realty will help you get what you deserve.

What buyers desire in 2011

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

If you’re selling a home, whether being in Florida, Thailand or Costa Rica, then you should know what the buyers in your area are looking for this year. Buyers today want it all. Having spaces that mix indoor and outdoor living, like patios and decks, and a little luxury with high quality appliances will help give buyers what they want. Buyers want to drive a hard bargain and get a great deal.

Buyers demand a home in well-maintain condition. Buyers don’t want an unknown expense hanging over them after they move in. They would rather spend more to move in at first. Very few people want fixer uppers anymore. Buyers today only have enough money to buy the house, not buy it and fix it up. Having a well maintained house will help you sell your house.

Buyers aren’t going to settle, because they known they don’t have to. They will negotiate to get a better deal. Repairs, updates, cleaning and staging will help you win over potential buyers. Kijner & Sons International Realty can give you a few other hints as well.

It can’t be stressed enough the buyers are very interested in outdoor living areas. Consider screened porches, outdoor kitchens and two way fireplaces. It’s a selling point if your house already has it.

Green features are on the top of buyers lists. Not only because it’s good for the environment but because it’s easy on the wallet. Having energy efficient appliances and triple glazed windows is a selling point.

Open kitchens interest buyers as well. Having an open kitchen in your home can appeal to a lot of buyers. The kitchen is becoming part of a gathering room, and blocking if off doesn’t appeal to new buyers.

Buyers are buying smaller homes and want to be able to use every inch of it. The formal rooms are disappearing. Buyers want rooms they will use all the time rather than a formal room used only a hand full of times a year.

Small touches of luxury are an affordable way to give buyers in Florida, Thailand or Costa Rica, the luxury they crave, without breaking the bank for you. Slightly more expense finishes give the feeling of luxury.

5 Things to Know About Title Insurance

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Title insurance protects the holder from any losses sustained from defects in the title. It’s required by most mortgage lenders. Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to share with you five other things you should know about title insurance.

1. It protects your ownership right to your home, both from fraudulent claims against your ownership and from mistakes made in earlier sales, such as mistake in the spelling of a person’s name or an inaccurate description of the property.

2. It’s a one-time cost usually based on the price of the property.

3. It’s usually paid for by the sellers, although this can vary depending on your state and local customs.

4. There are both lender title policies, which protect the lender, and owner title policies, which protect you. The lender will probably require a lender policy.

5. Discounts on premiums are sometimes available if the home has been bought within only a few years since not as much work is required to check the title. Ask the title company if this discount is available.

If you are looking to purchase a property in Sarasota or Miami Florida, do not hesitate to contact us. You can also register to our free email alerts and receive, at your convenience, a list of properties available in the Sarasota or Miami Florida areas. To do so, just click on the desired link.

> For French, click here 
> For English, click
here and for short sales and foreclosures, click here

10 Questions to Ask the Condo Board

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Before you buy a property in Miami or Sarasota Florida, Kijner & Sons International Realty advises to contact the condo board with the following questions. In the process, you’ll learn how responsive — and organized — its members are. You’ll also be alerted to potential problems with the property.

1. What percentage of units is owner-occupied? What percentage is tenant-occupied? Generally, the higher the percentage of owner-occupied units, the more marketable the units will be at resale.

2. What covenants, bylaws, and restrictions govern the property? What grandfather clauses are in place? You may find, for instance, that those who buy a property after a certain date can’t rent out their units, but buyers who bought earlier can. Ask for a copy of the bylaws to determine if you can live within them. And have an attorney review property docs, including the master deed, for you.

3. How much does the association keep in reserve? Plus, find out how that money is being invested.

4. Are association assessments keeping pace with the annual rate of inflation? Smart boards raise assessments a certain percentage each year to build reserves to fund future repairs. To determine if the assessment is reasonable, compare the rate to others in the area.

5. What does and doesn’t the assessment cover? Does the assessment include common-area maintenance, recreational facilities, trash collection, and snow removal?

6. What special assessments have been mandated in the past five years? How much was each owner responsible for? Some special assessments are unavoidable. But repeated, expensive assessments could be a red flag about the condition of the building or the board’s fiscal policy.

7. How much turnover occurs in the building? This will tell you if residents are generally happy with the building. According to research by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, owners of condos in two-to-four unit buildings stay for a median of five years, and owners of condos in a building with five or more units stay for a median of four years.

8. Is the condo building in litigation? This is never a good sign. If the builders or home owners are involved in a lawsuit, reserves can be depleted quickly.

9. Is the developer reputable? Find out what other projects the developer has built and visit one if you can. Ask residents about their perceptions. Request an engineer’s report for developments that have been reconverted from other uses to determine what shape the building is in. If the roof, windows, and bricks aren’t in good repair, they become your problem once you buy.

10. Are multiple associations involved in the property? In very large developments, umbrella associations, as well as the smaller association into which you’re buying, may require separate assessments.

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Source: The National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

What buyers look for, or look out for when purchasing a home.

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

What should buyers look for, or look out for when purchasing a home in the Sarasota or Miami Florida areas? This article will help sellers look into some important aspects of selling their home and what potential buyers look out for as well.

The way you live in your house is not the way to sell your house. So, what makes a house a home for sale on the market, and one that soon has a “SOLD” sign out on the front lawn? And what aspects are important to look at because potential buyers will ask the question, “How much work are we going to need to do prior to moving in and beyond?” The appearance and cleanliness of the home are significant. Always have your home ready to be shown at a moment’s notice with Kijner & Sons International Realty, your agent, because this is what buyers are looking for. And a tip - burned out lights need to be replaced; classy lighting and upgraded fixtures can ameliorate the value of a home. Also, buyers said they would be willing to pay more for a home with a renovated kitchen.

Here are some things a buyer will look out for when dealing with the purchase of a home. The buyer will consider the following:

  • Exactly what property is included in the sale? Lighting fixtures, drapes or blinds, refrigerators, stoves, washing machines and dryers are often problem areas.
  • Is the neighborhood quiet, friendly? Are the homes well kept?
  • Are there any development plans that will affect the property?
  • The inspection report - are there any substantial problems with the house?
  • Real estate taxes - what are the current property taxes, and what impact will your purchase have on the taxes?

Another issue that raises concern regarding buyer appeal is that sellers often mistakenly think that viewing empty properties will give the buyers an accurate sense of the space available. On the contrary, it is more difficult to really judge the size of a room without furniture and other objects as reference points. An empty room even allows buyers to focus on negative details instead of getting a sense of the overall space and the flow of each room to the next. Buyers need to ask themselves the question, “Can I see myself in this home?” Therefore, staging really helps buyers envision themselves in the space.

The idea of “staging” a home to make it look alluring to buyers has become popular during the last decade, as manifested by the proliferation of numerous home staging companies offering advice about how to make the house more attractive to buyers. Check out next’s months article about “Staging a Home.”

When selling your home with Kijner & Sons International Realty keep in mind what buyers look for, or look out for before coming to look at your home in the Sarasota or Miami Florida areas.

Unclutter Your Home and Get It Ready to Sell

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

It is very important to make a great first impression to the potential buyers of your home. Every seller wants their home to sell fast and bring top dollar. Does that sound good to you? Well, it's not luck that makes that happen. It's careful planning and knowing how to efficiently unclutter your home that will excite buyers. Here is how to prep a house and turn it into an appealing and marketable home.

Get rid of those items that have been sitting around for years without being used or even handled. This is the hardest thing for most people to do because they are emotionally attached to everything in the house. After years of living in the same home, clutter collects in such a way that may not be evident to the homeowner. However, it does affect the way buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it. Buyers and real estate agents should see your house in its best condition from the very first day it's on the market.

Here are a few approaches to take to unclutter your home and get it ready to sell. Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room's purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don't want buyers scratching their heads and saying, "What is this room used for?"

Another way to unclutter your home and get it ready to sell is to make those minor repairs and best of all, make the house sparkle! Only do one room, or even one small area, at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Your best friend is the trash bag; when in doubt, throw it out. Many find it easier to use boxes to sort items, so you don’t have to find a home for everything as you unclutter. Most important, be quick and decisive when sorting. Tell yourself:
• If you don't need it, why not donate it or throw it away?
• Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.
• Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.

If you are getting your house ready to sell in the Sarasota and Miami Florida areas, then take a step back and pretend you are a buyer. Let a friend help point out areas where you can unclutter your home and let Kijner & Sons International Realty help you to get your house ready to sell.

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