Frequently Asked Questions
Question and Answer Session With Alan Wang
1> Why did you choose to become a Realtor®?
2> Why do I need a Realtor® to represent me?
3> Are all agents created equal?
4> Have you heard any horror stories of encounters with bad agents?
5> What if I don't want my agent to know my financials?
6> Who pays the commission?
7> How do I get to see homes on the market through the internet?
8> Why should I own real estate in California?
Q1: Why did you choose to become a Realtor®?
A: Buying or Selling a home is perhaps the most emotional and biggest purchases/sales that you will ever make, especially in the Bay Area. For many of us as first time buyers/sellers it is undoubtedly an emotional event as well as a journey into the unknown. When I purchased my first home, I was dismayed at the quality of the agents I dealt with. Some hosts of open houses were completely oblivious to the attributes of the houses they were selling. In addition, some of the more seasoned Realtors® had lost the human touch to the emotional aspects of properties. I had fired my own agent due to the fact that they were not sensitive to the ordeals and needs that I had.
Some go into this field with their eyes fixated on profits, while others enter due to being laid off from their regular jobs. Personally I do not feel that either of these are good reasons to enter any industry. I entered the industry because it is a field of interest. Not only do I love interactions with people and their needs, the Real Estate field is an area that grows a passion that I have been seeking all my life. My belief is that people that want to buy or sell properties not only have legal issues and paperwork to deal with, but also emotional ones. The agent should be the one to organize work that must be done in order to stabilize the transaction making it as painless as possible. Few take the time anymore to nurture and to be sensitive to a home buyer/sellers needs. This is the underlying problem that I am here to address.
Q2: Why do I need a Realtor® to represent me?
Buying or selling real estate appears to be a simple task. Today with the internet we can find a-lot more information than ever before. However, as an individual it is difficult to find all the information needed to make a real estate purchase. Many individuals follow open house signs to look at properties. I have known buyers who have looked at open house signs for over a year and still could not find what they wanted. It is important to note that a house on the market will not have an open house every weekend. A Realtor® can search in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and gain access to ALL the homes in the state listed for sale. (You may also do so yourself on my main page). An agent also has a special key that can open lock boxes in off hours or make appointments with other agents so that you as the buyer can see everything that is on the market. A Realtor® also serves as a filter to save you time by looking at the houses first and picking only the properties that fit your criteria.
Many sellers try to sell property on their own as For Sale By Owners. They post ads in the newspapers and on websites such as http://www.craigslist.org . These sellers have a tough time getting top dollar for their home because they are not listed in the MLS and miss thousands of opportunities of Buyer Agents finding their listing at all.
I have known of a gentleman who put a For Sale By Owner sign on his front door and has been waiting for 6 months for a single call. Realtors have special tactics to help a home sell and to sell quickly. The economics of supply and demand apply to real estate as well. If you are a part of the supply and no one knows that you are for sale, even if demand was high you would not get multiple offers that can push the price of your home up.
One last fact is that legally there are a-lot of disclosures and paperwork that Realtors are required to fill out to protect you in the event that a dispute arises. The law requires many forms and legalities that individuals may not be aware of. Realtors are required by law to abide by
Q3: Are all Realtors or Agents created equal?
A: There are certain items that you can buy such as a light bulb. Generally if you buy a light bulb you know exactly what you are getting. If you don't like a certain brand you can try another it's easily substituted. Choosing an agent is perhaps the most important thing you can do in a transaction. Not only is it important that the agent be knowledgable in the industry, it is important that the agent is trust worthy and keeping your interests at the top of his or her list. Keep in mind that you are not buying a product you are buying a service. Can you trust a complete stranger to handle one of the biggest purchases/sales in your life? Is there a guarantee that the Realtor is doing everything in their power to represent you appropriately?
Q4: Have you heard any horror stories of "encounters" with bad agents?
A: There are many stories that I've heard on this matter.
Story of the Family Friend
It is common to have the family friend who is a Realtor® referred to you. It is the most convenient and always appears to be the safest avenue. It is important to note that not all agents are created equal, hence not all family friends are bad agents. Recently a friend of mine listed with a family friend. The family listed with the family friend for $70,000 over the appraisal price. The agent did little to help the family in the time that the property was on the market and was not aware that the property had even expired. Now no agent should list a property $70,000 over the appraisal price, because even if an offer was made, the buyer can withdraw their offer because the appraisal price is lower than the price paid. As expected the home did not sell and was taken off the market. At times the family friend takes that relationship for granted. They tend to think that because of the family friend status that they can get away with less services or that there are less consequences to inaction or bad service.
Story of the Substituted Agent
I often have clients that go with another agent to be dismayed by the service level of that agent. I often get people who ask me to validate what their Realtor® has done. If you yourself cannot trust your own agent why is this person representing you?
Q5: What if I don't want my agent to see my financials?
A: The Realtor® does not see your financials at all. The first step of the process in the buying process is to have you meet with a loan agent who will check your credit, take pay stubs and evaluate how much you can afford. This information is confidential and safe in their hands.
Q6: Who pays the commissions?
A: Generally the seller pays both their Sellers Agent as well as the commission of the Buyers Agent. In short, if I am a Buyers Agent my services are free to you. I get paid through the seller and I represent you completely to fight for the best deal possible.
Q7: How do I get to see homes on the market through the internet?
To get properties e-mailed directly to you from my search engine, click Find a Home on the navigation bar and customize a search that fits your criteria. Or send me an e-mail and I'll have the search setup for you!
To Submit Your Own Questions Please Send An E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q8: Why should I own real estate in California?
California is simply one of the best places to live. Being born and raised in the Bay Area I have watched this area grow in population and industry.
The constant flow of immigrants to California is good for real estate home values. It is a simple formula of supply and demand; there are more people than there are homes available hence prices will continue to climb.
Abundant Job Opportunities
The primary reason folks move to the Bay Area is the ever growing Technology sector that provides a constant flow of job opportunities in the Silicon Valley. Abundant job opportunities mean a higher demand for housing and more disposable income to purchase real estate.
So Much to Do
The Bay Area offers so many activities no matter what you desire. Those of you that enjoy the city life from Downtown San Jose to San Francisco, there is an endless amount of nightlife activities. Concerts, symphonies, musicals abound in the valley. The beach is within an hour away from most cities and the ski slopes within hours. Also for those that need to get away there are many camp sites and hiking trails are available from Big Basin to Yosemite as well as wine country north of San Francisco.
Excellent Weather and Great Food
Where in the states can you find perfect sunshine from 9 to 10 months out of the year with little humidity? About 1 to 2 months of rain and no shoveling of snow from your driveway? The Bay Area has a very diverse population that provide us with some of the most authentic cuisines from all different regions across the world.
California is a great place to live and even if you compare price comparisons to the likes of New York to Boston or from London to Rome, you will find that people around the world are willing to pay to live in high demand locations.