HomeLife Buyer Services
Owning your own home is a universal and timeless dream.
In many ways, this dream is more accessible today than ever before. However, one of the first realizations a prospective home buyer often comes to is that the "dream home" does not always seem affordable.
Buying a home has changed in the New Millennium. Before, buyers usually shopped for the best house they could find, then "took out” a loan to pay for it. Today, prospective buyers must shop as thoroughly for the best financing as they do for the best house.
No One Treats You Like The Folks At HomeLife
Making its Real Estate debut in 1985, HomeLife Realty Services Inc. is one of the World's leading Real Estate Franchisors with hundreds of affiliates and thousands of Sales Representatives serving the Real Estate needs of consumers and businesses alike. HomeLife has businesses in a variety of countries worldwide, including Canada, The U.S.A., Germany, Portugal and China. Presently, HomeLife continues to expand one town, one city and one country at a time.
At the core of HomeLife’s remarkable success is the company pledge of Higher Standards. Instilled in each and every one of our Higher Standards Sales Representatives, HomeLife’s pledge is a unique commitment to professional conduct and excellence in customer service. That pledge, along with a strong dedication to community involvement, assures clients that they are dealing with ethical, knowledgeable and caring Sales Representatives. What differentiates us from our competitors, is our Higher Standards Five Star Marketing System.
There Are Many Good Reasons To Buy Your Own Home
Buying a home is a wise decision because property is one of the best and most secure investments available. Rarely, if ever, does Real Estate decrease in value. Depending on the area in which you live, buying a home may boast significant tax advantages over renting. Equity is another consideration. The equity you build as your home appreciates in value will allow you to borrow for expenses like a new car or college tuition. Your home’s equity is also the ideal down payment on the purchase of a second home or an "escape property" or vacation residence.
Buying a home also has several emotional advantages. The independence of ownership means that you’ll no longer have to worry about rent increases and the demands of a landlord. Another advantage is a homeowner’s power to personalize! When you own your own home, you can paint and decorate as much as you want. It’s your place!
Do I Need A Sales Representative?
An Important Question Before You Start Looking
Many potential homebuyers may wonder, do I really need a Sales Representative? In a word: Yes! A committed and professional Sales Representative will make the complex process of purchasing a home both simple and painless. A good Sales Representative should:
- Know market conditions in your community.
- Show updated knowledge of financing and mortgage rates
- Know what is negotiable in a contract and what is not
An experienced Sales Representative will also understand the complexities and importance of:
- Zoning and building laws
Buyer Representation Agreement
A written contract called a Buyer Representation Agreement establishes "Buyer Agency". It explains services the company will provide, establishes a fee arrangement for the Sales Representative's services and specifies what obligations a buyer may have. The buyer's Sales Representative works for the buyer and is legally obligated to look after their best interests throughout the entire real estate transaction. This Sales Representative owes full fiduciary responsibilities, duties and loyalty to the real estate buyer.
Why Choose A HomeLife Higher Standards Sales Representative?
HomeLife Higher Standards Sales Representatives Know Your Community
Living and working in your area, we are in an ideal position to help you find exactly what you are looking for. We are knowledgeable of area market conditions, including prices and availability. Additionally, HomeLife Higher Standards Sales Representatives have access to the latest financing and mortgage rates, helping to ease the stress of buying.
HomeLife Higher Standards Sales Representatives also understand the many legal complexities of buying, including titles, taxes and surveys. HomeLife Higher Standards Sales Representatives know what is negotiable in a contract, helping you secure the best possible terms on the home’s purchase.
How do HomeLife Higher Standards Sales Representatives know as much as they do? Knowledge and Experience. Continuous training at HomeLife University ensures that our team develops the Higher Standards of knowledge needed to satisfy our clients. Experience makes HomeLife Higher Standards Sales Representatives experts in their field, as they make more Real Estate transactions in a few months than most of us will make in a lifetime.
it is also comforting to know that the performance of your HomeLife Sales Representative will be fully accessible. In fact, each HomeLife Higher Standards Sales Representative gives you their personal "Pledge of Availability", which states that they will be available when and where you need them, including evenings and weekends.
The Power Of MLS
Through their association with HomeLife offices, our Higher Standards Sales Representatives have access to resources not readily available to the public. One such resource is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), an electronic Real Estate database. The MLS offers much more information about a home then one could find anywhere else, including utilities and Real Estate taxes. The MLS also contains the recent sale prices of homes in a specific area or community. This information will help you determine the true value of any home you may be interested in. The MLS is updated in real time, meaning that your HomeLife Higher Standards Sales Representative has access to homes the minute they’re listed. Best of all, The MLS includes many houses never promoted for sale by a lawn sign or advertised in a newspaper, giving you access to homes you may never have considered otherwise.
HomeLife's Five Criteria For Buying
When Looking For A Home, You Should Seek Out:
- A Home That Fits Your Needs
- A Suitable Location
- The Best Possible Terms
- The Best Possible Price
- All Of The Above In The Most Convenient Way Possible.
1. You've decided to sell your home
As an experienced HomeLife Higher Standards Sales Representative, I know that selling a home can be a confusing and complicated process. Chances are, you have a lot of questions.
Questions like, "Should I sell it myself or use a Real Estate agent?", "How do I price my home?" and "What are the costs to me when I sell my home?". This guide will answer your questions and help you through the process from the day you decide to sell to the day the sale of your home is finalized.
2. About HomeLife
No One Treats You Like The Folks At HomeLife
Making its Real Estate debut in 1985, HomeLife Realty Services Inc. is one of the World's leading Real Estate Franchisors with hundreds of affiliates and thousands of Sales Representatives serving the Real Estate needs of consumers and businesses alike. HomeLife has businesses in a variety of countries worldwide, including Canada, The U.S.A., Portugal and the U.A.E. Presently, HomeLife continues to expand one town, one city and one country at a time.
At the core of HomeLife’s remarkable success is the company pledge of Higher Standards. Instilled in each and every one of our Sales Representatives, HomeLife’s pledge is a unique commitment to professional conduct and excellence in customer service. That pledge, along with a strong dedication to community involvement, assures clients that they are dealing with ethical, knowledgeable and caring Sales Representatives. What differentiates us from our competitors, is our Higher Standards Five Star Marketing System. At the core of HomeLife’s remarkable success is the company pledge of Higher Standards. Instilled in each and every one of our Sales Representatives, HomeLife’s pledge is a unique commitment to professional conduct and excellence in customer service. That pledge, along with a strong dedication to community involvement, assures clients that they are dealing with ethical, knowledgeable and caring Sales Representatives. What differentiates us from our competitors, is our Higher Standards Five Star Marketing System.
3. Why Choose A HomeLife Sales Representative?
The Difference Higher Standards Can Make
The sale or purchase of a property can be an enormously complex procedure. This is why it pays to have a HomeLife Higher Standards Sales Representative on your side. From the moment your home is listed until the day you receive your money, we will be with you through the process of listing your home, considering offers, closing the sale, securing financing and moving.
Continuous training at HomeLife University education centre ensures that our team develops the Higher Standards needed to maintain a leading rate of repeat and referral business. Our Sales Representatives are known for their enthusiasm and a willingness to work with you until your home is sold.
Part of the HomeLife promise of Higher Standards is the "Pledge of Availability" which simply states that your HomeLife Sales Representative will be available whenever you need them and communicate with you regularly. Our Sales Representatives usually work five to seven days a week, including numerous evenings.
This dedication to customer service is at the heart of our Higher Standards promise. Buying or selling a home is perhaps the most complex transaction an individual can undertake. HomeLife makes it easy. The HomeLife name means better service, more qualified sellers and the best price possible on your property.
4. We Know Your Community
Local Ties, Global Strength
The Sales Representatives at your local HomeLife office know your area better than anyone. Why shouldn’t we? Just like you, we’re an active part of the community. With an office in your area, you’ll find HomeLife Higher Standards Sales Representatives to be knowledgeable about local shopping, parks and schools. Knowing the area makes a difference. The connections we have to the community allow us to set strong and attractive prices, find qualified and passionate sellers, and represent your home to its fullest extent. Based on experience, we will help develop your home’s "distinct capacity" by touring your property with our professional sales team to determine its principal benefit. This may be a newly renovated kitchen, an excellent local school, a close by transportation line, or an especially large yard. While one home might stand out because it backs on a golf course, another may attract a seller’s attention due to an in-ground swimming pool. Finding what makes your home different allows us to highlight your home’s individual character, breaking through the clutter to catch the seller’s eye.
For the HomeLife team, familiarity with your community is just another aspect of our promise of Higher Standards of customer service. Knowing your community means knowing your street. Knowing your street means knowing your home.
5. HomeLife’s 20-Point Marketing Strategy
Our Five Star Marketing System
Since 1985, HomeLife’s success has been based on a company wide commitment to Higher Standards. At HomeLife, we use the steps outlined in our 20-point plan to sell your property quickly, with the best possible terms and at the best possible price. We will post your property on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), an electronic database that will allow Realtors from every major firm in the country access to your listing. Your home will also be listed in our easy-to-use online 24 Hour Home Finder, which can be accessed globally at www.HomeLife.com.
However, we are not solely reliant on technology. We will also use effective conventional methods to sell your property, such as informing homeowners in your area, conducting open houses, placing an attractive sign on your property and displaying your listing at HomeLife Franchised offices. Our overall marketing strategy is based on a genuine dedication to customer service. This commitment to our clients is exemplified by your Sales Representative’s 20-point Higher Standards plan of action, which is their promise to you.
6. My 20-Point Higher Standards Plan of Action
HomeLife’s Promise To You
The following is a twenty-point promise; outlining all the steps I will take as your HomeLife Sales Representative to ensure that your home is sold quickly, for the best possible price with the best possible terms.
- Prepare a market analysis of your home.
- List your property on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for maximum exposure.
- List your property at www.HomeLife.com, using our 24 Hour Home Finder
- Display your property at our HomeLife locations, while also promoting your property to HomeLife staff at marketing meetings
- Prepare a detailed highlight sheet listing the features, advantages and benefits of your property
- Help develop your property’s "distinct capacity" by touring your property with our professional sales team to determine its principal benefit
- Place a professional and distinct HomeLife sign on your property
- Promote the sale of your property throughout your community
- Communicate to you regularly on all aspects of marketing
- Provide regular updates regarding market conditions
- Pre-qualify potential purchasers to save you time
- Make you aware of all financial alternatives regarding your sale
- Explain our home warranty program to you
- Offer moving services to both buyer and seller
- Communicate with you regularly and give you my "Pledge of Availability"
- Represent you on all offers and negotiate for the Best Possible Price and Terms
- Provide you with copies of all information relevant to the sale of your property
- Follow up on all necessary closing details until the money is in your hands and you’re ready to move
- Leave you a copy of My Action Plan
7. The Listing
Putting Your Home on the Market
The first step toward putting your home up for sale is to meet with your Real Estate Sales Representative at your home. What we call the "listing appointment".But beforehand, it's important to understand “who's who" and how brokers may co-operate to sell your home.
Listing Broker. An individual Real Estate broker whom the seller hires to represent the seller through a contract called a "listing agreement". The listing Sales Representative is associated with the listing broker. The listing broker is directly paid the listing commission and then splits the commission with the listing Sales Representative.
Selling Broker. This is the individual who produces a buyer for the property and divides the commission with a listing broker. Such a transaction is considered a "co-operative" sale because the house is listed by one broker and a buyer is provided by a second broker. If the listing broker also produces the buyer, then the listing broker receives both listing and selling sides of the commission.
A Little Homework
Before the listing appointment, both the home seller and the listing Sales Representative have some homework to do. While the home seller collects a list of documents requested by the Sales Representative, the listing Sales Representative studies recent area sales of homes comparable to the seller's, and also comparable homes currently for sale.
There's No Place Like Home
At the listing appointment, the listing Sales Representative will want to inspect the entire home and yard to become familiar with its special features and exact floor plan.
You have probably enjoyed living in your home and have been pleased with its many unique features. Your listing Sales Representative will want to tell prospective buyers about the special features of your home and community. Be ready to be specific about schools, churches, daycare, nearby metro, and other desirable community features, as well as home features not readily apparent.
Remember, prospective buyers will be "comparison shopping" and keenly aware of subtle differences in homes for sale in the area. Be sure to tell your listing Sales Representative why yours is special from any home remodelling to afternoon winter sunshine.
Property Profile Folder
To enable the listing Sales Representative to prepare a highlight sheet on the property, the home seller needs to provide a number of documents and information specific to the location and jurisdiction. This Highlight Sheet is often left in the home for the convenience of prospective selling Sales Representatives. Because the list is long, you can understand why it's best to collect the papers before the listing appointment. These materials may include:
Pay-Off Notice. A letter signed by the home seller and mailed to the lender by the listing broker to notify the lender of the intention to pay off the mortgage in order to minimize prepayment of interest penalties to the seller. (Home seller should provide the broker with the lender's address, loan balance, assumability, years remaining on present mortgage, PITI. and the interest rate, if possible.)
Septic and Well Inspection. If property is on septic/well, current inspections by local health authorities are required while the home is occupied. Listing Sales Representative will usually arrange for inspection after the contract is ratified.
Order Lender Appraisal. Lenders usually require an appraisal to assure that the property is adequate collateral for a loan. Appraisal may be ordered before (paid by seller), but is more often done after an "offer to purchase” is accepted (paid by buyer).
Assessments/Easements. Listing Sales Representative will ask home seller if any tax assessments or easements exist on the property that must be paid or included in purchase contract and passed on with the land when sold.
Property Taxes/Condominium Fees. Home seller provides record of property tax or condominium fee payments which buyer will reimburse on a prorata share to home seller at settlement. Inspections. Many lenders of new mortgages may require an inspection certificate that shows house is free of major defects Utilities.
Home seller should provide record of past 12 months utility bills, including gas, electric, sewer, water, and trash where applicable. Most buyers will want to know the history of utility costs.
Helpful Documents. If possible, home seller should provide listing Sales Representative with deed, house location survey, condominium bylaws or home owners association documents, subdivision map, house floor plan, previous title search abstracts, legal description of property (subdivision, section and lot), warranties on major systems or Home Owners Warranty, if still in effect, and copy of home owners insurance policy for endorsement in purchase contract.
In anticipation of a buyer's offer, the home seller must be ready to supply listing Sales Representative with a specific list of the personal property that is included in the Real Estate property for sale. Examples of items to "convey" may include: draperies, drapery rods, remaining heating oil, firewood, washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, microwave, disposal, swimming pool chemicals, awnings, storm doors and windows, screens, blinds, shutters, window air conditioner, etc. Home seller should tag or remove items which do not convey.
When the home seller is ready to put the home on the market, the listing agreement is filled out indicating a specific period of time the agreement is in effect ("listing period"), and signed by the seller. You've now hired a listing broker.
Questions & Answers
What is a "Lockbox"?
A lockbox is a universal metal container for your house key that is hung on the front door and can only be opened by a special key or combination by licensed Sales Representatives. It provides access when the owner is away, thus assuring full exposure to prospective buyers.
Do certain geographical areas have unique home selling requirements?
Yes. Home selling requirements vary from area to area. Ask your listing Sales Representative to investigate special taxes or other requirements applicable to the area in which you live.
8. Comparative Market Analysis
Maximizing Market Value
Preparing a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is an important tool HomeLife Higher Standards Sales Representatives use to help you earn the highest possible price for your home. A CMA involves looking at the public records of Real Estate Business in your community to better understand market conditions.
There are four steps your HomeLife Sales Representative will take in preparing your home’s CMA:
- Your HomeLife Sales Representative will consider the amount paid for at least three recently sold homes in your community.
These homes will be comparable in size to yours and together comprise a factual record of what buyers will pay.
- Your HomeLife Sales Representative will then consider the asking prices of at least three presently listed homes in your community.
Because these homes are similar to yours, these homes will be the benchmarks against which your home will be priced.
- Your HomeLife Sales Representative will then consider the asking prices of at least three homes in your community that went unsold for at least 90 days.
Similar to your home, these homes illustrate the dangers of overpricing your property.
- Finally, your HomeLife Sales Representative will use all the price information gathered to arrive at an ideal asking price for your home.
9. The Pricing Pyramid
How Price Affects Buyer Interest
* When you price your home above its market value, fewer buyers will show interest in your property.
* When you price your home below market value, you increase the number of interested buyers.
* In the end, the price you set and the interest you create should reflect your selling goals.