Broker's commission is negotiable
Q: Are real estate commission rates usually mandated by the local board of Realtors or multiple listing service?
A: No. The amount of commission charged by brokers continues to confuse many consumers. The commission rate is always open to negotiation between the client and broker.
An increasing number of brokers are lowering their commissions below the generally prevailing rate, without sacrificing services.
More brokers are aiding buyers
Q: Is it common for real estate brokers to offer "buyer representation" services, as opposed to the more conventional seller representation service?
A: Yes , it's increasingly common for brokers to offer services specifically for (and legally representing) a buyer. This is particularly true in areas where real estate sales activity is generally sluggish. It's a way to beef up the daily work schedule and revenues.
One of the nation's major relocation networks, RELO, recently surveyed their broker members to see how many offered the option of buyer representation. Surprisingly, 78 percent reported they now offer such an option.
"This means buyers, particularly transferees and first-time homebuyers, can have an added benefit of working with agents who will legally act in their interest," explained William Sage, president of RELO.
"In the past, agents in residential real estate transactions were required to represent only the sellers. Giving consumers the choice of being represented in a residential transaction will help them buy smarter."
Buying foreclosed property is risky
Q. Is it safe to buy a foreclosed property?
It's very risky unless you are a very knowledgeable real estate investor.
A: It's difficult and sometimes impossible to examine the trustee's file to make sure all notices and matters leading to the trustee's sale are in proper order.
Failure to give proper notice to lien holders may invalidate the sale or may fail to eliminate a non-noticed lien. Also, if the owner losing the property through foreclosure files bankruptcy within a year of the sale, the bankruptcy court can set aside the sale if it finds it was not made for a fair equivalent value.
And foreclosed properties sometimes are burdened with taxes and liens that are past due. You (the purchaser) could be liable for these costs.
These are just a few of the high-risk factors that are involved in many foreclosure property sales.
Book offers help on taking back mortgage
Q: What's a good source of information about sellers taking back a mortgage when selling a home?
A: A new book has been published on that subject, "Sell Your Property Fast -- Take Back a Mortgage Without Being Taken." The authors are seasoned real estate practitioners Bill Broadbent and George Rosenberg.
For information, write: Who's Who in Creative Real Estate, P. O. Box 23275, Ventura, Calif. 93002.
(Send questions to James M. Woodard, Copley News Service, P.O. Box 190, San Diego, Calif. 92112-0190.)