Posts Tagged ‘buyers agent st augustine’

How Much Does Real Estate Cost? Buyer Closing Costs

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

How much does real estate cost?  What are buyer closing costs for real estate?

Kate Stevens, broker associate, and I did a short video on the subject below.

Here’s what we cover in the video:

Settlement fees, tax proration, HOA/Condo proration, HOA/Condo transfer fee, loan origination fee, appraisal, credit check, pre-paid interest, private mortgage insurance, pre-paid insurance premiums, lender title policy and endorsements, recording fees, doc stamps on the mortgage, survey and flood elevation certificate, intangible tax.

Coming next: seller closing costs.

Contact St. Augustine Team to get a handle on your closing costs, or call broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327.


Is it Possible for a Buyer’s Agent to Work 100% in Your Favor?

Friday, January 13th, 2012

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

Climbing, as does real estate, requires trust.

Climbing, as does real estate, requires trust.

“Honestly, is it possible for a buyer’s agent to work 100% in your favor?”

I saw this question on an online forum the other day and was prepared to answer it in this blog.

It seems that a buyer was shopping real estate agents and just couldn’t get someone whom he felt could be “100%” committed.

But before I could write my own post, another agent on the forum, a Broker from Seattle named Mack McCoy, answered it far more eloquenty than I ever could have.

He said:

“There are steps that need to be taken in this business relationship before the agent can commit to the interests of the buyer.

“One is that the agent trusts the buyer. I’m serious about this. If the buyer has a scheme going on where they’re looking with several agents, or is hoping to find an end-around the agent, don’t expect the agent to throw themselves into that vacuum.

“One is that the buyer trusts the agent. This requires a level of sophistication in the buyer, because a good agent knows the difference between earned trust and blind faith.

“Another is that the buyer (or seller, this all applies to a seller client as well) is sincere in setting out to close a deal. If you’re just “testing the market,” don’t be surprised if an agent doesn’t throw themselves wholeheartedly at an exercise in which they will not get paid.

“But if you have mutual trust and respect, and a sincere desire to close a transaction given the realities of the marketplace, you can have an agent who will then work 100% in the best interest of the buyer – even to the point of advising them to walk away from a specific deal.”

I couldn’t say it any better.

Believe it or not, the reality of a real estate agent is that it takes approximately 10 buyer prospects to achieve a single buyer sale.  Imagine the amount of work that takes!  Typically those 10 prospects will winnow down to 3-5 who actually look at property…imagine the amount of time, gasoline and research resources a Realtor has to bring to the table for each one!

And then the dude that “just can’t wait to move,” who you’ve showed 15 houses to over a weekened suddenly disappears and won’t return calls.  This really happens.

Or the same dude walks into an open house and writes the contract with the agent standing there, cutting you completely out of the deal (the Realtor that writes the contract gets paid).

So, if you want 100%, you have to give 100% back.

Contact St. Augustine Team for a group of agents who always make sure you get an 100% effort.  Or just call Broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327.

How to Choose a Realtor: a Checklist

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

In our last blog post we did “How to Choose a Realtor: an Overview.”  Below you’ll find a video outlining a more specific way to find a Realtor, and a checklist below that .

If you’re looking for a real estate agent Iwerecommend:

1. Ask Around. One of the easiest ways to find a good Realtor is just to ask your friends or co-workers who have bought or sold a home recently.  That would be an excellent way to get a name or names, and then you can do the check up from the neck up as outlined below.

2. Research Addresses. Another way is by driving around your neighborhood (or any neighborhood) and look for homes for sale.  Write down the addresses and then punch them into Google or another search engine when you get home and see what comes up.  Do you like the marketing and media available for the home?  Does anything come up at all?

The reason you do this is just to find out how fast, how easy, and how available it is to find any individual Realtor’s home for sale on the internet.

3. Absortion Rate. Once you start narrowing down agents you want to find out how quickly their inventory sells.  For example, if you have a Realtor who has 24 listings he or she is probably Mr. or Mrs. Big Shot in town.  However, if they are only selling 1 listing a month it will take them 24 months to sell their inventory (which is horrific).  It would be better to choose a Realtor with only 4 listings but who will sell out in 2 months…they are twice as effective as Mr. or Mrs. Big Shot.

Unfortunately, most of the time the only way you can get a Realtor’s sales figures is from the sales agent themself.  What you want is current sales in the last 24 months, current inventory, and current pendings.  If they sell one listing a month and have 24 listings that means it takes them 2 years to sell out their inventory.

4. Days on Market, with a Grain of Salt. Another thing to consider is Days on Market.  For example, if it generally takes 60 days to sell a house in a given neighborhood (which means the near side would be 30 days and the long side 90 to make a 60 day average), if a Realtor consistently beats the average or is at least always within the long side, that might be a good person to hire.  If they are constantly selling well past any window, they might not be the best choice.

The grain of salt?  Every home sells in its own time.  The reason most homes don’t sell is that a seller insists on a higher listing price…and then won’t back down when it becomes obvious that the price is the sticking point.  Also, it’s not unusual for some classes of homes, high-end luxury for example, to sit on the market for 2 years because the buyer pool is so small.

Most real estate agents work both sides of the fence, so to speak.  In other words, half their business might be with sellers, and half with buyers.

5. True Buyers Agents are Harder to Find on Internet Searches.  Agents who work strictly with buyers will be much harder to find because their names won’t be tied with any listing.  And let’s be honest, most buyers searching on the internet are searching listings and find their agent that way.

To find a true buyer’s agent you can google something like “buyer’s agent (insert city),” but keep in mind that if you do that you will find the agent who is best at Search Engine Optomization, not necessarily finding you a home.

6. Check the Agent’s Online Resume. So after you find a couple of buyers agent names do an internet background check (and this goes for seller’s agents too) on places like YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google (Bing, Yahoo) to get a better idea of how these agents work.

When you check up on an agents’ online presence keep do this in mind: Kate, our partner Ron Barry, and I were the original “St. Augustine Team,” so we don’t have individual Realtor profiles on Facebook, but instead St. Augustine Team Realty’s profile doubles as our profile.  But each of our agents has their own individual profile, and we also promote our individual agents on the company website.  So be aware when you’re choosing a Realtor, if they don’t have an “individual” page it may because they are under the company banner.

For a GREAT Realtor in St. Augustine, contact St. Augustine Team, or just call broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327! 

How to Choose a Realtor: An Overview

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

by Sean Hess (, Broker and Manager for St. Augustine Team Realty ( Join us on Facebook.

Kate and I did a video last month on how to choose a Realtor, which you can view below.  It’s more of an overview than a checklist.  For the checklist see our next blog post which will cover some specific examples on how to choose a Realtor.

For a group of GREAT Realtors contact St. Augustine Team right away!  Or call Broker Sean Hess at (904) 386-8327.