Linda Durec, CCIM
Century 21 T. K. Realty
Commercial/Residential Real Estate Sales
My work is that good. I promise! And behind that promise, I want you to know that I back my work with a satisfaction guarantee. I will cancel your listing at any time if you are unsatisfied with anything about our transaction.
Residential or Commercial
I have all your real estate needs covered: from the sale of your home to selling/leasing commercial properties and everything in between. I do not advertise myself as a residential broker and basically handle residential transactions that are referred to me. There are not very many residential or commercial brokers that have attained the elite status of being a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM). I completed the extensive classroom training, submitted my $5,000,000 in completed transactions, and passed a 6 hour comprehensive test given in Orlando in 2010.
SELLING RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE
When conversing with real estate brokers, you will often find that when they talk to you about buying real estate, they will refer to your purchase as a "home". Yet if you are selling, they will often refer to it as a "house". There is a reason for this. Buying real estate is often an emotional decision, but when selling real estate, it's better to try to remove the emotion from the sale. With that being said, there are many instances when the emotion is impossible to remove. Let's say you are selling the home you were raised in and relocating your parents to an assisted living facility or you are selling your home because of a divorce or because you have lost your job and it is not longer affordable. All real estate brokers are adequately trained to handle the sale of your house, but not all can provide the nurturing environment that you might need in selling your "home". Be clear in establishing your goals and knowing the type of real estate broker you need. Handling the emotion in a transaction is definitely something I specialize in.
Let's go into the initial steps involving the selling of your home. During our initial contact and this is generally by email or phone, I will ask questions regarding your home, pull the tax records, and research what I think are similar homes just from our conversation. If your home has ever been for sale, I can get some details from that older listing. I will want to meet with you by appointment, take pictures and measurements, and ask more detailed questions on home improvements. I will then prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and come back to discuss a marketing plan including the price I am recommending along with the commission structure. I've determined price comparing your home to similar homes that have sold within the immediate area within the last six months. This price is almost always lower than what you anticipate or think your home value is.
PRICING YOUR HOME
It is so important to get this right from the very beginning of the marketing period. Pricing it right increases your chances for a successful sale that brings you the most money. Pricing it too high could lead to a below market sale price. A home attracts the most attention when it is new on the market. Improper pricing misses out on this peak interest period. Factors that influence the value include market conditions, interest rates, buyer demand, state of the economy, motivation as a seller, property features, recent sales, and active/current homes on the market. Factors that do not have any impact include what you paid for it, what you need to net, and certain improvements that were done for your benefit and have no value to the new buyer.
Once we have agreed on all of the details, there is paperwork that will need to be completed. The listing agreement is a contract between you and Century 21 T. K. Realty and it spells out the length and details of our agreement. We will detail the personal property that we will include with the sale. In addition to this listing agreement, we must fill out a property disclosure, mold, radon, and lead based paint disclosure (this is necessary only if the home was built prior to 1978). These disclosures are available online and included with the listing information.
PREPARING THE HOME FOR SHOWINGS
After we complete the necessary paperwork, we will walk through the home together. I will give you some suggestions on how to make your home more appealing for showings. These suggestions might include decluttering, removal of excess furniture, a cleaning service, and maybe some curb appeal suggestions that do not cost much money. I personally do not recommend costly improvements but prefer to have the price reflect what the home needs, allowing the potential buyer to make those improvements themselves. I can give you many past examples of a homeowner updating their home with an improvement that the buyer feels is worthless to them. A good example would be replacing the carpet and the buyer decides he wants to put in hardwood floors. At this time, we'll also discuss open houses, actual procedure for showings, whether a lock box is necessary, and I will answer whatever questions you have.
WHERE DO BUYERS COME FROM
Century 21 has a chart available that details where the most buyers found the home they purchased in 2015. 44% found their home on the internet first and 33% from their real estate agent. Century 21 downloads our listings to hundreds of websites across the country giving tremendous exposure to the listings that go into our system. Surprisingly, only 1% of buyers found their home in the newspaper and 9% by the yard sign. I can email this chart to you if interested.
I'm going to talk now about the buyer part of the process. Once a home goes under contract, the events for both the buyer and seller are the same. You will find details of that sequence after the buyer portion.
Buying a Home
ON YOUR WAY TO YOUR FIRST HOME
Buying a home is one of the most important personal and financial decisions you'll ever make. It's also one of the most stressful. I'll be continually available to answer your questions along the way. I want your first real estate experience to be both hassle-free and rewarding. The following information explains the real estate process and procedures normally followed in a typical ho me purchase. Read on and see how finding a home might be easier than you think!
CHOOSING YOUR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL
Because this process is so important, it is in your best interest to choose an experienced real estate broker who will listen to and understand your needs. Most first time home buyers don't really understand that the commission int his transaction is "usually" paid by the seller of the home. You are able to reap the benefits of an experienced agent and it is at no additional cost to you. Some of the things that will be detailed in our first conversation or email will include the type of home that you like, the neighborhood where you want to live, home prices, schools, and transportation requirements. Before we can actually start looking at homes, however, you'll need to have a conversation with a mortgage representative about getting a mortgage pre-approval. This will help determine what price range we begin our search. This pre-approval also needs to be submitted along with any offer to purchase a home. I used to have a long explanation of the pre-approval process and lending on my website. I prefer that you call a lender of your choice or I can give you some recommendations. There are many changes and new programs in the mortgage industry and I would prefer you receive that information directly from a lender.
YOUR HOME SEARCH
Once you contact me regarding buying a home, there is a program I like to use called ConnectMLS. I have the ability to insert criteria into this program based on what your preferences are and you will received automated listings of homes that fit your criteria the minute the listing is entered into the computer and into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). These listings are send direct to your phone or computer and to an email account. These listings are sent as soon as they are inputted into the computer as a new listing. We can tweak the information and narrow the search as we go along. You'll want to have an idea of the features that you "want" versus "need". Here are some of the questions I'll ask you. What in a home is most important? Number of bedrooms? Baths? Do you want special features like a garden, fireplace, a big yard, or a two car garage, detached or attached. What about a basement? Is it most important that the house be in a specific school district, close to work, or is public transportation important? Are you willing to improve the home yourself or are you looking for something totally updated. I like to send you as many listings as possible at the beginning of your search. This is a great educational tool in terms of allowing you to see the activity and prices prior to us actively even looking at homes. We will usually begin the actual viewing of homes somewhere between 3 to 4 months before your targeted purchase date. . What you like changes as we go through the process and you become more educated in the homes and areas that are in your price range. Once we have that pre-approval, we can start looking at homes! Now the fun begins! Few first time home buyers really know what they are looking for. We begin the search based on criteria you have specified. The ConnectMLS program allows you to make notes and check homes that you are interested in. We start with those homes and I might add a few that I think you may have overlooked. It's really a process of elimination. It's easy to look at a home and decide it isn't where you can see yourself living. We'll discuss what you especially like about a house and what you didn't like. We've gotten to know each other very well during this home search process and I guarantee you we've had a lot of laughs. Then we walk into a house and from the minute we walk through the door, we recognize that this is the house we've been looking for. I can feel your excitement as you go room to room! It's really important to point out here that everyone who is going to be involved in this purchase needs to be along for the searching. We need to see a lot of no's before we find the home that you love! You rarely buy what you thought you would like either because you change your mind or because we are not in the right price range. We have to kiss all the frogs to know that we have finally found the prince!
Making an Offer
Once we find the home that you are prepared to buy, we'll make the seller an offer in writing. We'll use a standard real estate contract that will include the following details: the purchase price, the amount of down payment (we include a copy of the check), the personal property that is to be included with the sale, how you intend to finance the home, the date you will take ownership and physical possession of the house. Contingencies allow you to anticipate potential problems so that if something is not what was expected, you can cancel the contract and receive your down payment back without any penalties. Normal contingencies that are part of the standard real estate contract include contingencies for attorney modification, inspection, and for a mortgage. There can be other contingencies as well but these are the usual contingencies for a first time home buyer. Once we submit the offer to the seller's real estate broker, we then wait for the seller to respond. The seller can accept, reject, or counter your offer with a higher amount or with a change in something else in the contract. This begins the process of negotiation that continues until both parties either agree on terms or decide that mutual acceptance is not possible. The other broker and I conduct this negotiation verbally. Once everything has been agreed to, the buyer will make the changes on the contract, initial it, and the contract goes back to the seller for their signature. This is a very emotional process for both the seller and the buyer and happens to be something that I excel in. I strive to find that happy median where both the buyer and the seller are content with the terms and feel theat they have both been treated fairly. This is crucial to the culmination of a successful closing. It has been my experience that if either party is not emotionally satisfied with the terms of the contract, they will find a way to terminate the contract at some point prior to closing. This requires both the seller's broker and the buyer's broker to work as a team. This is a very important quality in selecting the real estate broker you decide to work with!
Down Payment or Ernest Money
Along with your offer, we'll provide a down payment that demonstrates to the seller that your are serious in buying this house. Who holds this money is determined in the contract and it is usually held by the seller's attorney or by a title company selected by the seller's attorney. This money is usually due immediately upon all parties signing the contract and is credited toward the purchase price of the house at closing.
Buyer and Seller - After Contract Acceptance
Once both the buyer and seller sign the contract, copies of the contract are sent to the attorney for both the buyer and the seller. At this time, a copy of the contract will also be sent to the buyer's lender. The escrow money is also deposited. Immediately after the contract is signed, the buyer needs to complete the home inspections. Generally, they have been given a recommendation from friends or relatives. The contract clearly specifies that this person is to be a licensed home inspector. In a typical inspection, these services cover from the basement to the attic as well as the exterior of the home, wall, chimney, roof, as well as included appliances. In addition, he will report on the plumbing, electrical, furnace, and hot water heater. This is an overwhelming experience for both the buyer and the seller. I will detail some information here but a more extensive conversation needs to happen at this point in the transaction.When we made an offer on the house, we did it based on what we knew and on what we could see when we viewed the house. We can see that there were cracks in the sidewalk or that the appliances were old. We knew that the bathrooms or kitchen might need to be updated and the the furnace was fairly new. We already based our offering price on this criteria and we assumed by contract that everything that is included with the house was in working condition. This inspection is meant to uncover information that is not visible and determine if there are any things safety related. It is not meant to reopen negotiation for the price already agreed upon. Who you decide to select for this home inspection is very important and it needs to be someone who has either come recommended through a friend/relative or through me. You have the opportunity to be present during the time the home inspection is taking place. How thorough and willing the inspector is to explain what will be included in this report usually determines how the transaction next proceeds. We are usually dealing with older homes and the details in this report are very extensive. Your home inspector needs to accurately describe what he finds and also what types of corrections are necessary. You'll be new to this and won't know unless he tells you the difference between something major and something that needs only a $15 part. This inspector needs to be able to separate what is truly a problem and what is easily corrected. Once we have this report, you and I will discuss what your priorities are and we send the report along with this list to your attorney.
Along with this home inspection, it is highly recommended that you also have a radon company complete an inspection. There is a brochure that is available online or just contact me and I'll send one to you. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. One of every three homes in DuPage County will test positive for radon. This test is only necessary if you have a basement or below grade area or a crawl space. Generally, a mold company is not contacted unless the home inspector details a problem somewhere.
Before a mortgage company will approve your loan and allow you to close on your new home, they will ask you to show proof of title, title insurance and homeowner's insurance. Your attorney will handle the first two but you will need to submit a paiI bill for insurance prior to the closing. As a seller, if you have had any recent claims, those all are in a centralized system now for insurance and that information will be available to the new agent the buyer contacts.
CLEAR TO CLOSE
These are the words that everyone in the transaction is waiting to hear. It means that the buyer's loan has been approved and all of the contingencies have been satisfied. At this point, the attorney for the seller and the buyer will set the date, time, and place for the closing. Before the actual closing, the buyer will be allowed the opportunity to revisit the house to insure that the house and personal property included in the contract have been left in the same condition as when we last saw the house. If any inspection items were to be repaired, we are also making sure they have been done. The buyer's attorney will ask for those receipts at the closing table.
The actual closing is held either at the office of the title company or at the office of the seller's attorney. Those attending include the closing officer for the title company, both the seller and buyer attorney, both real estate agents, and the buyer and seller. The seller can pre-sign the papers and choose to have his attorney present to represent them. The buyer must always be present! My job at this point is to answer any questions that are addressed to me regarding the transaction but your attorney and the closing officer handle the necessary paperwork. One the paperwork is completed and the funds are dispersed, you will be handed the keys to your new home! Congratulations, you are now a homeowner! Finding and buying a new home should be a very rewarding experience. I know that the search for this home is much more than just putting a roof over your head. It's an expression of your hopes and dreams, your lifestyle and values. It's a place to spend time with family and friends, as well as your personal retreat at the end of a long day. It's about making changes for your future. As a Century 21 professional, I hope to be part of this change in your life. If you enjoyed reading this, I guarantee that you will enjoy working with me even more!