Ten Suggestions for Selecting a Real Estate Agent

Selecting a real estate broker or agent is an important first step in buying or selling your home. Here are some helpful suggestions for finding an agent who will meet your needs and make your buying or selling experience a positive one:

1.      Ask friends and family for recommendations.

2.      Interview several real estate agents:

  • Find out their history with the brokerage, their experience and background.
  • Gauge their knowledge of your neighborhood (if selling) or search area (if buying).
  • Ask the agent to provide references (previous clients).

3.      Pay attention to whether a potential agent is listening closely to what you say.

  • Is he or she asking follow-up questions that prompt further explanation and help him or her understand exactly your needs and wants?

4.      Give a potential agent the opportunity to educate you.

  • A good agent should walk a customer through the buying or selling process before ever showing properties or discussing a specific transaction.

5.      Have a good idea of what you expect from an agent and communicate those expectations.

  • How often do you want to hear from your agent?
  • How do you want to hear from your agent (e.g. phone, e-mail, text)?
  • Do you want to hold meetings at your house rather than the real estate office?

6.      Weigh the benefits of working with an experienced agent versus a novice.

  • An experienced agent may have more insight, but a new agent may have innovative ideas or more energy and time.

7.      Find an agent who complements your personality.

  • If you like to start your day at 7:00 a.m., don’t choose an agent who arrives to the office at 10:00 a.m.
  • If your preferred method of communication is e-mail, don’t choose an agent whose most advanced technology is a fax machine.

8.      Evaluate the agent’s firm and/or office.

  • Look for a real estate organization whose agents can empower you with real estate expertise and resources and provide first-rate customer service.

9.      Look for an agent who will be your partner.

  • Find someone you trust, who will give you the facts, help you make intelligent, well-informed decisions and work with you throughout the entire process.

10.  DO NOT just blindly walk into or call a neighborhood firm and ask for an agent at random.

When you are ready to start your home search or put your home on the market, give me a call or e-mail me. I will listen to your needs and requirements, and select one of my knowledgeable agents to help you get the process started.

Scott Myers, Broker/Owner of Century 21 Scott Myers

(210) 479-1222 or Toll-Free (888) 868-1222

Email: Scott.Myers@Century21.com

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Great Breakfast in a Quaint Neighborhood

My wife Joan and I recently had a late breakfast at the Koffee Kup. Lindsey, one of our Saturday secretaries, lives near it and told me about it a year or so ago. Since then, Joan and I have been there several times. We always go on Sundays between 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm because before that, there is always quite a wait. The wait will probably be relieved in a couple of months because they are moving to a large space a few doors away from where they are now.

My wife and I both had an order of two scrambled eggs, bacon, and delicious apple cinnamon pancakes. The prices are extremely reasonable.

The place is located in a nostalgic area, Jefferson Village, just down the street from Jefferson High School. If you have never seen Jefferson high School, do yourself a favor and do so. The architecture is a real throwback in time. The surrounding area is called Monticello Heights, and all the street names are from the Jeffersonian era, such as Alexander Hamilton Drive.

This is a family business. The owner does the cooking and his two daughters comprise the entire wait staff. They look nearly exactly alike and both have delightful personalities. The Koffee Kup is located at 1025 Donaldson Ave., San Antonio TX 78228. Drop by for a great breakfast experience, and you too will likely become a regular.

Understanding Real Estate Terminology

Purchasing a home can be a complicated and confusing process, especially for first-time buyers.  Throughout the process, first-time home buyers will encounter a variety of unfamiliar real estate terms. There are several key terms associated with purchasing real estate that are helpful to learn.

For example, many buyers confuse the terms broker and salesperson.  A broker is a properly licensed individual, or corporation, who serves as a special agent in the purchase and sale of real estate. A salesperson is an individual employed by the broker, or associated by written agreement with the broker as an independent contractor. The salesperson facilitates the purchase or sale of real estate. In Texas, both real estate brokers and salespersons are licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission.

Once you decide to purchase, a salesperson will prepare a sales contract to present to the seller along with your earnest money deposit.  The sales contract is the document through which the seller agrees to give possession and title of property to the buyer upon full payment of the purchase price and performance of agreed-upon conditions.  The earnest money is a buyer’s partial payment, as a show of good faith, to make the contract binding.  Often, the earnest money is held in an escrow account.  Escrow is the process by which money is held by a disinterested party until the terms of the escrow instructions are fulfilled.

After the buyer and seller have signed the contract, the buyer (unless paying cash) must obtain a mortgage note by presenting the contract to a mortgage lender.  The note is the buyer’s promise to pay the purchase price of the real estate in addition to a stated interest rate over a specified period of time.  A mortgage lender places a lien on the property, or mortgage, and this secures the mortgage note.

The buyer pays interest money to the lender in exchange for the use of money borrowed.  Interest is paid on the principle, the capital sum the buyer owes.  Interest payments may be disguised in the form of points.  Points are an up-front cost which may be paid by either the buyer or seller or both in conventional loans.

In general, there are two types of conventional loans that a buyer can obtain.  A fixed rate loan has the same rate of interest for the life of the loan, usually 14 to 30 years. An adjustable rate loan or adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) provides a discounted initial rate, which changes after a set period of time.  The rate can’t exceed the interest rate cap or ceiling allowed on such loans for any one adjustment period.  Some ARMs have a lifetime cap on interest.  The buyer makes the loan and interest payments to the lender through amortization, the systematic payment and retirement of debt over a set period of time.

Once the contract has been signed and a mortgage note obtained, the buyer and seller must legally close the real estate transaction.  The closing is a meeting where the buyer, seller and their attorneys review, sign and exchange the final documents.  In Texas, closings are typically done at a title company, with separate meetings for the buyer and seller. At the closing, the buyer receives the appraisal report, an estimate of the property’s value with the appraiser’s signature, certification and supporting documents.  The buyer also receives the title and the deed.  The title shows evidence of the buyer’s ownership of the property while the deed legally transfers the title from the seller to the buyer.  The buyer may also receive a title insurance policy, insurance against the loss of the title if it’s found to be imperfect.

Buyers should plan on a least four to eight weeks for a typical real estate transaction.  The process is complex and at times, intimidating.  A general understanding of real estate terminology and chronology of the transaction, however, will help any real estate novice to confidently buy his or her first home. For more detailed information, or if you have questions about the home buying process, give me a call, e-mail me or visit my Web site.

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Scott Myers, Broker/Owner of Century 21 Scott Myers

(210) 479-1222 or Toll-Free (888) 868-1222

Email: Scott.Myers@Century21.com

San Antonio Business News

Want to keep up with what’s going on in the San Antonio and South Texas business community? A great place to do that is Clocking In, the business news blog from mySA.com. One recent post covered a survey that cites Texas as one of the top three friendliest states for small businesses in the U.S., and San Antonio as one of the top performing U.S. cities for small business operations. Business owners cite several criteria important for a small business to thrive, including low taxes, licensing requirements and state/city training programs.

So if you’re considering moving your small business to a business-friendly location with a great climate, healthy economy, lots of great restaurants and things to do — San Antonio should be high on your list. If you already live here and are planning to start a business — no need to look elsewhere!

Click here to go to the Clocking In blog for the latest San Antonio business news from mySA.com. I have also added a link to it to the list of useful Web links on the “About Century 21 Scott Myers” page.

Some Information Resources for San Antonio

I have put together a few Web links for information on San Antonio and the surrounding area that new residents (or those considering a move here) should find useful. I have also added these to the “About Century 21 Scott Myers” page where you can always find them. I will periodically verify and add to this list of links, so check back frequently to see what’s new. I hope you find these helpful:

General information on a variety of topics from the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce: SA Chamber

Directory of San Antonio-area school districts, colleges and universities: San Antonio Area Schools

Official City of San Antonio Web site: City of San Antonio

Information Resource for military families: San Antonio BRAC

Jobs section of the on-line San Antonio Express-News: SA Jobs

I hope you find the above helpful, and check back frequently for new additions. And for your one-stop resource for all of your San Antonio-area real estate needs, visit our Web site at Century21ScottMyers.com.

Welcome to My New Blog!

This is the inaugural post to my new Blog — LIVING IN SAN ANTONIO. My name is Scott Myers, and I am the broker/owner of Century 21 Scott Myers, a full-service real estate brokerage serving San Antonio and the surrounding area. Complete information on my company and the services we provide can be found on my Web site.

In this Blog I will be focusing on items of interest to individuals and families who are planning or considering a move to the San Antonio area, as well as to current residents looking for information on things to do, restaurants, entertainment, etc. I will also provide periodic updates on the local real estate market, including tips on buying and selling real estate. I plan to make at least a couple of posts weekly, so check back frequently for updates.