Frequently Asked Questions

Common Questions

Home Inspection

Shipping and the Listing Process

Real Estate Agent Commissions

 


Most Common Questions:

  • What is Creekview Realty’s success rate?
    • 100% . . . as long a the seller follows our recommendations and advice!
    • Sellers normally have a contract within a week to 30 days. Rural properties, raw land, extremely unique properties, and properties over $1,000,000 may take a little longer to get under contract, but no property should ever take more than 6 months to sell.
    • If a property isn’t selling, we can always determine the problem and advise the client on what needs to be done. The nature of the way we charge for listings and services gives our seller more choices. Sometimes sellers may make choices against our advice, which in turn can hinder a sale.
    • We are always available to help with a simple phone call. If we ever make a mistake that prevents a property from selling, we will issue a 100% refund!
  • Why will sellers get more activity on their homes when listed with us?
    • First, we answer our phones live, 7 days a week, including after hours.
    • Any buyers who call on your property are referred directly to you, after we explain that we don’t charge a commission, and that the seller will save 3% if the buyer doesn’t have an agent. Once the buyer understands he can save you money and that you may pass some savings on to him, he is even more interested and deals directly with you. We never divert your buyers to other properties.
    • A common process at other real estate offices is that any call on a listed property is viewed as a lead of a potential buyer to convert into a client, not a buyer for the home they called about. The agent talks to them about other properties instead of the property they called about. This is common, especially when the person answering the phone is a random agent working at that office.
  • What is the difference between a Realtor and Real Estate Agent?
    • REALTOR® identifies real estate professionals who “are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics”, which is the official definition from the National association of Realtors (NAR). Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. In more practical terms, a Realtor® is a real estate agent who signed some papers and paid his/her dues to belong to the local real estate board to have access to the MLS listings. The truth is that any state licensed real estate agent will be accepted by the real estate board and become a REALTOR® if they pay the fees. There is no additional background check, and no reason for the public to believe a REALTOR® is any more ethical or honest than a regular real estate agent.
  • What is the MLS (Multiple Listing Service)?
    • The Multiple Listing Service is a database of property listings that are accessable by Realtors. The purpose is to allow a listing agent to invite all other agents to bring their buyers in return for compensation, usually 3%.
    • Property listings on MLS are also made available to the public on all the public real estate websites. More detailed information is only available to other Realtors through their local MLS. Such information would include commission offered, if the home is vacant or occupied, showing instructions, etc.
    • There is a contractual relationship established between the listing agent and all other Realtors who belong to that local MLS. When a real estate agent first joins the MLS, a contract is signed that obligates the agent to pay the commission stated in their listings to any other agent who belongs to that MLS and produces a buyer who closes on the transaction. The Realtor is NOT obligated to pay any commission to a Realtor who does NOT belong to that MLS. This contract is completely separate from any contract an agent has with their client.
    • There are over 2000 real estate boards across the country, and each of them operates their own MLS database. Some real estate boards joined together to form larger MLS databases so that local Realtors don’t need to join multiple boards to have access to the listings. All of the local MLS databases feed their listings to the big national public sites. From just looking at Zillow.com, you would never realize that the property listings are actually accumulated from so many individual real estate boards.
  • What are Secondary Listings on MLS?
    • Secondary listings are just that: a second (or third) listing on another adjacent MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Sometimes a seller is open to either selling or leasing their property. In such cases, a secondary listing is an ideal solution. This will allow them to advertise the property both for sale and for rent at the same time.
    • Additionally, if a home is located between two MLS areas or in a smaller one, but near a larger, more robust MLS, a seller might want their real estate listing to appear in both. For example, it is quite common for sellers to list on both the San Antonio MLS ( SABOR ) as well as the Austin MLS ( ARBoR ) in order to increase their listing’s exposure and reach as many potential buyers as possible.
    • Remember, most real estate agents are members of only one, maybe two, MLS sites at the most (although some areas do have a regional MLS). Creekview is a member of 15 MLSs in Texas, so we can list your property on more than one MLS at a time. Many people have the mistaken idea that the MLS is one massive interlocking system: it’s not. There are literally over a thousand stand-alone, local MLS databases across the country, and they vary in size; some are quite big, and others and quite small.
  • Is it better to market a house furnished or vacant?
    • Vacant, but it doesn’t make a huge difference.
    • Don’t go through extra trouble of moving out so it can be vacant, but don’t make any effort to furnish a vacant house because somebody told you it will show better that way. If you have tenants, it’s better to get them out, clean it up, and show it vacant (unless it’s being marketed as investment property). Tenants almost always cause showing problems.
    • NEVER let somebody move into your vacant house because they will “help with showings” or any other reason. You don’t need them –you only need a keybox. There are “home staging” companies that make a living furnishing houses to make them “show better”.
    • The house will sell much faster if a seller reduces the price by whatever such a staging company would charge. Nobody buys an over-priced house no matter what furniture is in it. Builders furnish model homes when the home is also their office, but you won’t see them moving furniture in and out of their spec homes or inventory homes.
    • Advantages of a vacant house:
            • Easier to show
            • Easier to keep clean and in showing condition
            • It looks bigger
            • Buyers can visualize their furniture in the house better
            • Buyers feel more comfortable looking at vacant homes
            • Buyers who need a quick closing may choose to only view vacant homes because they know most sellers expect to have a month to move out.

      Disadvantages of an occupied home:

            • Showing problems with pets, tenants, or other occupants
            • Annoyance of people trudging through your home and having to leave for showings (assuming you are, which is best)

      There are no advantages of an occupied home or disadvantages of a vacant one. It is a common misconception that a home will sell faster or for more money if it’s occupied or furnished.


Home Inspections

  • What is a Home Inspection?
    • A home inspection is meant to evaluate, at minimum, the structural and mechanical condition of a property. An inspector will spend on average 4 hours on a 2,500 square foot house, and will look at everything about the structure, including but not limited to plumbing, water heaters, HVAC, electrical, installed appliances, windows, doors, siding, roof, foundation, swimming pool and equipment, etc. As a buyer, your contract should include an option period during which time you can cancel the contract and get your earnest money back if the inspection report is unsatisfactory or if the seller is unwilling to correct defects the report uncovers. Cost: About $400 for an average size home.
    • Click here to see a sample inspection report. Please note that the format of inspection reports vary, and they don’t always include pictures or as much detail as this sample report.
    • Normally a seller is not present for the inspection. If you are the seller and can’t leave the house, at least stay out of the inspectors way, and definitely don’t follow him around. Keep in mind that the buyer is paying the inspector, so he is not working for the seller. If you are the buyer, it is best to let the inspector do his job and meet him as he is finishing up so he can show you some of the items he found.
    • Most inspectors have access to the home through the Realtor Electronic Keyboxes, and schedule the inspection either through CSS or the listing agent.
    • Other types of inspections that are not normally covered by a home inspection are:
      Wood-destroying organism inspection report (WDI) – also referred to as a Termite report. This is typically done by a different inspector during the home inspection. Cost: About $75
      Septic inspection when the property has a septic tank
      Foundation report – usually ordered after being recommended by the home inspector. This can be done by a foundation company or a structural engineer.
  • What is a wood-destroying organism inspection report (WDI) ?
    • Also referred to simply as a termite inspection, a wood-destroying organism inspection report is a written opinion by a qualified state licensed structural pest control inspector based upon what was visible and evident at the time of inspection. The inspection report does not represent or guarantee the structure to be free from wood-destroying organisms or their damage, nor does it represent or guarantee that the total damage or infestation is limited to that disclosed in the report. Wood-destroying organisms include subterranean termites, damp-wood termites, carpenter ants, wood boring beetles and wood decay fungus.

Shipping and The Listing Process

  • How long does it take to get listed?
    • We can list you in MLS the same day as long as we have the completed forms, description and photos by 11am on any business day.
    • The process begins with your payment. Your forms will be generated after you make your payment. Your 6 month listing term begins on the date you put on the listing agreement (not the date you pay).
    • We ship your sign and keybox out the same business day if we have your payment by 3pm.
    • If you order professional photos, this is potentially the biggest delay. It can take a few days to set the appointment, and a few days after the photos are taken to actually have them ready to enter in MLS. If you want to get your listing up ASAP, we can get your listing entered with some temporary pictures you supply until we have the professional ones.
  • How long does it take to get my sign and keybox?
    • Once you have placed your order, you will receive a phone call from us to verify your information (property address, shipping address, contact info, etc.). Once we have completed this call, we will send out your shipping. We ship with UPS and you will receive your order either the next business day or within 2 business days (depending on your location). UPS will leave the box at the shipping address. If you ordered an electronic keybox, please let us know as soon as you have placed it on the door.
    • Please note: any orders placed and verified (meaning we were able to call you and confirm your information) by 3 PM will be shipped out that same day. That is the UPS cutoff time. Any orders placed after 3 PM or orders that are not verified will be shipped out the next business day.
    • We Pay For Shipping!
    • If you ordered an electronic keybox (Supra), we include a return shipping label as well. If you lose it, we keep a copy on file for you – just ask us! Don’t worry about the sign and flyer box, we only need the keybox back.
  • What if I’m not quite ready to be listed yet?
    • That’s no problem. Your 6 month listing doesn’t start until you are actually listed in the MLS. That means that you can make your payment at any time, and wait as long as you need to get your property ready for listing. You can send in your paperwork at any time along the way and we will save it in your file until you are ready.
  • How and when should I return the keybox?
    • Please keep your keybox until you have closed! While you are under contract, there may be times that appraisers, inspectors, the buyers and the buyer’s agent, and more will need to access your property. The keybox allows them to get in and out without trouble, and keeps everything on track. You are still notified if someone is coming by your property to access the keybox.When our sellers send back the keybox early, they end up causing headaches for the buyer’s agent and many others who are involved during the contract phase. They end up playing phone tag with each other just to figure out how and when they can access the property.We pay for shipping both ways, so when you receive your keybox, the box also contains a return shipping label for you to use whenever you are ready to send the keybox back. If you lose the label, we can send you a new one.You as the seller do not want anything in the way of closing on your home! Keep the keybox until closing.
  • How do I get the key out of the keybox?
    • In short, you can’t without the magical secure Supra key that only agents have.So you have 2 options:
      1. Find an agent with a key who can open it for you
      2. Just send it back to us with the key in it and include written instructions telling us to either throw it away, or mail it to a specific address.

All About Real Estate Agent Commissions

  • Can I negotiate the buyer’s agent commission? 
    • Commissions are only negotiable with your listing broker (that’s us) before your home is listed. Once it’s decided what commission is to be offered to the buyer’s agent for bringing their buyers, the commission amount is entered in the MLS by the listing broker. This creates a contractual obligation for the listing broker to guarantee that commission to any agent who produces a buyer.
    • This can be confusing to some For Sale By Owner clients who assume our only role is to enter the listing in MLS, similar to placing an ad in the newspaper. Anybody can place an ad in a newspaper, but you need a real estate license and must sign a contract with a real estate board to be able list a home on MLS.
    • It becomes clearer when you consider why the MLS was created in the first place. The concept is for agents to make their listings available to all the other agents to sell, and to be able to show their buyers all the other agents’ listings as well as their own. The traditional 6% commission is split in half, with 3% going to the buyer’s agent, and the other 3% to the listing broker. All the brokers contractually agree through the real estate board to guarantee buyer agents the posted commission. It is this guarantee that makes the multiple listing service, or MLS, function. This makes a lot more sense than listing your home with multiple agents, or having to deal with a different agent for every house you want to see.
      The difference is that we only charge a small fee to save the seller half of the 6% commission, and we refer buyers directly to sellers so they can save the other 3% as well. Such a “self-service” listing allows the seller to save money by doing some of the work on their own. But the listing broker is still ultimately liable for the commission offered to other agents by their contract with the MLS.
      The results of a seller trying to negotiate down the commission after receiving an offer will be any one or all of the following:

            • Agent calls us to complain
            • Agent refuses to conduct any further negotiations with the seller, and threatens to file a complaint with the real estate board
            • Agent’s broker actually files a complaint with the real estate board
            • Agent’s broker files a lawsuit against us for the commission
            • Listing broker will cancel your listing!

      If you don’t want to pay a 3% commission to a buyer’s agent, then whatever you are willing to pay must be stated in your listing agreement and must be entered in the MLS.

  • Your listing agreement says we will pay 3% to the buyer’s agent, but we only want to pay 2%. Can we change it?
    • Of course you can, but unless your home is worth over $1,000,000, it’s not a very good idea (see the first two questions regarding commission). You could get away with it if your house were in California or New York, where houses cost 3-4 times what they cost in Texas. In Texas, about 99% of all homes are listed with 3% being offered to buyer’s agents. The result of offering less is that you will get fewer showings.
      Of course agents are supposed to be ethical and put their clients’ best interests ahead of their own, so they should show your house regardless of the commission offered, shouldn’t they? The truth is that they care more about their commission than anything else, so they’d rather show another house with a 3% commission.
      The smartest thing to do is set your price to include a 3% commission for a buyer’s agent, and leave less room for negotiation. If a buyer comes along without an agent, there’s 3% room for negotiation. If you insist on only offering 2% anyway, here’s what will normally happen:

      • Your house will get far fewer showings
      • Some agents assume it’s 3% without looking, and write their offer to include a 3% commission anyway. Then there’s the problem of restructuring the offer, which usually ends up irritating the agent as well as the buyer. The result is you end up agreeing to pay the 3% anyway or they go buy something else.
      • Most agents who do notice the lower commission offered and are still willing to show the house will have a written agreement with their buyers that guarantees the agent a 3% commission. The buyer then has to pay his agent the other 1%, so in the buyer’s mind your house is 1% more expensive. It’s the same deal to the buyer if the house were listed for 1% more with a 3% commission. It’s just more complicated and tends to annoy the buyer.
      • Almost all sellers who start with 2% eventually increase the commission to 3% after the house doesn’t sell at 2%, and they miss out on the first 2-3 weeks when a listing is fresh and buyers are more anxious to make offers
  • How much of the commission do real estate agents get in a typical transaction?
    • The typical 6% commission in a real estate transaction is usually split 4 ways. The listing broker and the buyer’s broker typically get 3% each. Most real estate agents are working under a broker, and split the 3% with that broker. That split typically ranges from 50% to 70% going to the agent, and 30% to 50% going to the broker. Assuming a sale of a $100,000 home at 6% commission, involving 2 agents who each work for a broker with a 60/40 split:
            • Listing office gets $3,000, with $1,200 going to the broker and $1,800 going to the listing agent.
            • Buyer’s agent’s office gets $3,000, with $1,200 going to the broker and $1,800 going to the buyer’s agent.
            • Note that legally, commissions are negotiable between any client and their agent. This example merely illustrates a typical transaction.