REALTORS® and the WEB

I remember in 1999, when I was serving as President of the Old KY Home Board of REALTORS, we had just established an MLS service, many of us didn’t do our work on computers, and the internet was only a big scary place where information lived. We didn’t know really how it got there and were even less sure about how to get it out! Times have changed! Back then, there were a small number of clients who searched the internet looking for a home.
Realtor.com, started in partnership with NAR (National Association of REALTORS®), became the first reliable source of “home-shopping” for consumers. There was some real concern with agents back then because we all know how the internet impacted the travel agent profession- allowing people to do their own homework and helping them cut out the “middleman”.
Many in our profession feared that we would suffer the same fate.2014 LegKARmeeting

We knew that people were looking at this site as a shopping aid for buyers, but we weren’t sure how far it would take them. We still advertised our listings the traditional way- in the newspaper and home magazines- hoping that most people would get their basic info there, and call us for the rest. And they did, and still do- to a certain degree. But, let’s face it; today’s homebuyer is much savvier than those of the last century!

Next- after Realtor.com became so successful, other search sites such as Zillow, Trulia and Homes.com started popping up and the real estate industry started asking- “What is happening to our industry?” “How do we remain relevant- and central to the real estate transaction?” Again, as it was after the launch of Realtor.com, many started predicting the demise of the profession. Yet- even though approximately ninety percent of consumers go to the Web to begin their real estate searches (NAR), and even though forty two percent find their homes through online searches, 89% of them end up using a real estate agent or broker to make the actual purchase.

How in the world, you might ask, do REALTORS® continue to survive when they have been electronically replaced in the home buying process? That’s the question that has launched many professionals into a panic and challenged many consumers to consider going it alone. The answer is really quite simple- the shopping process is only a small part of the home buying process. It’s the fun part! It’s the rainy, cold afternoon when families sit at their computers and look at pictures, videos, virtual tours and dream, prioritize and educate themselves about the reality of the market, prices, and how prices may vary in different locations. It’s where consumers can give themselves a pat on the back for being more educated before they set out on their home buying journey.

Part two of the answer here is that gathering information is only step one of the journey. Then there is the rest of the story! It takes experience and skill to be able to write a good and complete and enforceable offer to purchase. It takes skill and experience to negotiate that offer into an accepted contract which addresses all the issues and explains them in a way that results into satisfied clients and good results. It takes experience and skill to understand that your partners in the rest of the process (lenders, inspectors, etc.) need to be reliable, tested and held to the same degree of professionalism as your REALTOR®.

Finally, there is nothing like having an established relationship with a person that can answer your questions when you start to second guess your decisions, or when you want to know your options with this or that issue. It’s peace of mind. There is one thing that has always driven me to be the best REALTOR® I could be- and that is, “Did I bring my clients the feeling that they

were in good hands? Did I leave them with peace of mind, knowing that their dreams and my skills were the best way to take on the most complicated transaction that they may ever confront?”

Meanwhile- the internet will always challenge the real estate agent in terms of providing information- but nothing will cancel the impact that the personal representation of a REALTOR® has in pulling together all the pieces of the deal to result in the ultimate goal~ your new home!!

The Old Kentucky Home Board of REALTORS® is a local professional association representing REALTORS® from the Nelson, Washington, Marion, Larue and Hart Counties in Kentucky. http://www.okhrealtors.com

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Say hey to I R M A!!

I have a character that I developed to help my boys set goals and create structure and guidelines for navigating life!  Her name is IRMA.  I insisted that she is the PERFECT guide no matter what you are dealing with in life!  School, relationships, work- IRMA is the key!  So today, IRMA buys a house!  I first introduced IRMA to the public a few years ago, and decided to bring her back into the picture.

By now you have probably figured out that IRMA is an acronym for the steps toward accomplishing any goal.  I will walk through the formula especially suited for home buying success!

INFORMATION. The first step to making the home buying process as enjoyable as possible is the gathering of the right information. You will want to know how much you can afford to pay for a home and what the costs of a loan for that house will be. When you go to meet with a lender to get qualified for a loan- gather all the pertinent information and place it in a folder.  **2 months bank statements, 2 recent pay stubs, past years’ income tax, child support or other income, debt or credit card numbers and balances.  Armed with that information, your lender should be able to give you a good idea about what you can afford to spend on a home.

Keep that folder handy, because you’ll want to add the information you collect from your lender to share with your REALTOR®.  Your folder will grow as you continue on this journey, but everything in there may prove to be very useful along the way.  Once you have a price range, your REALTOR® will want information from you about your wants and needs, and then will select some properties to show you.  Add the listings you like to your folder.  Throw the rest away!  Don’t clutter your brain with homes you have ruled out!

RELATIONSHIPS. Find a REALTOR® and Lender that you 1) trust, 2) like, 3) is reputable and 4) is available. These relationships are vital to having a positive experience buying a home. Interview several if you don’t have any idea who to use.  Ask friends about their experiences with different people.  Ask your friends and relatives about neighborhoods.  T

Well- I made sure IRMA was pretty- so my boys would want to read it…

rust your own instincts about the rapport you have with different professionals you speak to.  Once you have settled on that person who will help you buy your home- be loyal to them!  Remember that most REALTORS® don’t get paid unless a sale closes, so don’t be a two-timer!

MAP IT OUT. Together with your REALTOR®, you are now ready to make a plan.  You know what you can spend, how much money you will need, what you’re looking for in a home, where you want to live and when you want all of this to happen.  Based on this information your REALTOR® will map out a strategy for looking for homes, how you want to handle the offer/counter offer process and how to structure your financing clause in an offer to purchase.  You will want to talk about how you will handle home inspections, good faith deposits and some of the other variables beforehand so that once you find the “right” home- you’ll be ready and informed about making a good offer!

ACT ON IT!! So, how is it so far? It’s not too hard to get through the first three steps of this process.  Actually, it really can be fun.  You’ve gathered all the information you need and have figured out your financing.   You’ve met and committed to an exclusive relationship with your REALTOR® and Lender and developed a relationship of trust.   You and your REALTOR® have mapped out how to find that perfect home and what you will do once you find it.   And now you’ve found it!  The home you want to buy! What now? ACT!  ACT NOW!  Work through your plan of making an offer, negotiating for the things that are most important to you and finish the journey!  Your REALTOR will help with the follow up on all the conditions of the sale until the home is yours!!

Information, Relationships, Map it out, and ACT ON IT!  I~R~M~A- how do you like her?

Peggy R. Smith is the Association Executive for the Old KY Home Board of REALTORS®.  The Old Kentucky Home Board of REALTORS® owns and operates the MLS for the Nelson, Washington, Marion, Larue and Hart Counties in Kentucky and is a member of Kentucky Association of REALTORS® and National Association of REALTORS®

Be Patriotic- Buy a Home!

During this 4th of July weekend, I think it’s a good time to share a little history, a little research and a little personal insight. I’m not talking about the revolutionary war, the waving of “old glory”, or the courageous service of our great military. I want to explore the most patriotic of American traditions- the buying of a home to call our own!
If you go back centuries into English medieval times, the only form of wealth was land. If you had possession of it, you owned it! And- if you wanted it, and somebody else owned it, you fought for it! That is- until 1066 when William the Conqueror took over all of England and decreed that ALL land was now the Property of the King. The King was free to give the use of or ownership of land to his officers or other people as a means of bargaining with people or rewarding their loyalty.
This “feudal system” of allocating the king’s land meant that no one was free to work hard and earn the money to buy property to have ownership rights. This drove many Englishmen to set out in search of new lands to settle and create and build wealth
and pride that they would never have in England.
Fast- forward a few centuries to today! Many have fought to claim this land as a place where all men and women have the right to use their fortunes to gain legal rights to own property to make a home, to build a business, to create wealth! Along with ownership comes the sense of belonging to a community and all the responsibilities that come with that. Pride in your home and pride in your community lead to strong towns and cities, and further to great states andfinally we form the solid basis for a strong and great nation!
NAR (National Association of REALTORS®) over the years has conducted many studies, surveys and reports to understand all the things that impact real estate and all the things that real estate ownership can affect. One of the conclusions that seem to resurface year after year is that families that own their own homes tend to be more stable, more involved in their communities, more socially responsible. They have higher educational performance, better health and are less likely to be a victim of crime. The pride of homeownership and the implied responsibility that comes with it is the most fundamental of all institutions that makes Americans happy.
The first line in the preamble of the NAR Code of Ethics is- “Under all is the land.” It is a big part of the foundation upon which this country is built! It will always have value in terms of your long term financial fortunes, and- more than that is what it means to live in a country where we have the freedom to own real property. Celebrate Independence Day by doing the most patriotic thing that most of us will ever be able to do for our families- and our Country! Buy a home!!
Peggy R. Smith is the Association Executive for the Old Kentucky Home Board of REALTORS®, a professional organization representing REALTORS® from Nelson, Marion, Washington, Larue and Hart Counties in Kentucky. http://www.okhrealtors.com

patriotic