Can I Trust My Aurora, Oregon Realtor?

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Thankfully, Most Aurora, Oregon Realtors Are Law Abiding

Before entering into a business relationship, it’s helpful to know your Aurora, Oregon real estate agent is nice, patient, available when needed…and honest. So while many of us assume we’re ‘safe’ in the hands of our doctor, attorney or pastor, what about your Aurora Realtor? Find out more in the audio podcast of this program here, or use the audio player below.

Due Diligence
Sadly, as seen in this TV news report, not all real estate agents are trustworthy. However, some preliminary work has already been performed by the state of Oregon to ensure a real estate agent is sufficiently trustworthy to work with the public. This includes a state screening, which involves a criminal background check, fingerprinting and mug shot.  This data is submitted for review by the Oregon Real Estate Agency (OREA), which also provides regular updates about investigations in their insightful publication Oregon Real Estate Agency News Journal.  

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John Dillinger Proved Robbers Wear Ties

Of special note is the OREA ‘Administrative Action’ section, which provides information about decisions regarding Oregon real estate violations. The resulting consequences to untrustworthy real estate agents could include a reprimand, license suspension, license revocation and/or a civil penalty. So while no screening process is foolproof (as witnessed by crimes committed by doctors, attorneys and other professionals), the state of Oregon does considerable due diligence to vet real estate agents.

As part of the application process to become an Oregon real estate agent, any felony and misdemeanor convictions and arrests must be disclosed. The disclosure requirement is fairly high, because in addition to any criminal activity, also requiring disclosure are any administrative proceedings, plus civil and even financial issues. For example, if a prospective Oregon real estate agent has an unsatisfied judgment or bankruptcy, each must be disclosed.

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Whom Can You Trust?

A Matter of Trust
Trust is an important factor when buying or selling Aurora, Oregon real estate. Thankfully, trusting your Realtor is not super risky. That’s because consumer surveys consistently reflect a high level of satisfaction with Realtor performance.  One study by Forbes magazine revealed 96% satisfaction for the real estate industry. So if many real estate agents were dishonest, we could expect that figure to be much lower. 

This doesn’t mean blindly signing off on every suggestion one receives from their Realtor. But obsessively hand wringing over transaction minutiae is one sure way to make the process less enjoyable. A recommended approach is for Aurora area homebuyers and homesellers to carefully read all documents, ask plenty of questions and work with a recommended professional with a solid track record. 

Trust For Homesellers
Looking at trust from a Aurora homeseller’s perspective, for starters there’s significant trust needed to deal with buyers. For instance, significant trust is needed to allow strangers in your house. There’s also trust in taking your property off the market, in the hope a sale will go through. And trust in finding a replacement home.

Trust For Homebuyers
Trust is needed for Aurora area homebuyers, too. Trust is necessary in working with a lender and that the discomfort of prequalifying will be worthwhile. Trust they’ll find a home they like and can afford. Trust their lender will come through.

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Trust For Both Homebuyers & Homesellers
So what do Aurora, Oregon homebuyers and homesellers share in common? Trust. And there is perhaps no greater trust that homebuyers and sellers have in common than in their Realtor.

After all, your Realtor is someone you expect to be there to help navigate your way through what is frequently the largest financial transaction of a lifetime.  Similar to an attorney or priest, Realtors are expected to keep confidences.

But let’s first look at a few situations which underscore why it’s important to be able to trust your real estate agent.

  1. Trusting your Realtor means you don’t have to second guess suggestions you receive. Let’s take pricing your home, for example. If you can’t trust your agent to provide meaningful comparable home activity information, how can you possibly expect him or her to advise you once an offer comes in?
  2. Trusting your Realtor means you can breathe easier with less stress. Buying or selling a home is considered to be a particularly stressful activity. In addition, most homebuyers and homesellers don’t want to take on real estate as a second job, especially when making a house move. So expect that by having your bases well-covered by a professional you can believe, you’ll find the entire process far less taxing. If a Realtor is ‘pushy’ and won’t listen to your concerns, it’s likely a good time to find a new one.
  3. Trusting your Realtor means you can readily access reliable resources.
    Speaking of taxing, if you need recommendations for an experienced 1031 tax exchange professional, or real estate attorney, or home inspector, or mortgage lender, or home repair contractor, expect those recommendations to be even more valuable from a trustworthy agent. 
  4. Trusting your Realtor means you can focus. There’s usually enough to deal with throughout the course of any real estate transaction. Dealing with lenders, appraisers, inspectors, contractors, title companies and the like can be overwhelming. As a result, you’re more likely to be far more effective if you can concentrate on what you’re best at, while having your real estate agent handle what he or she is best at.
  5. Trusting your Realtor means more time. Just like you can expect to have more time to go fishing if you hire a contractor to build your new deck, working with a trustworthy real estate agent allows you to do other, more enjoyable tasks than scheduling a home inspection, constantly dealing with escrow details, or meeting an appraiser.     
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Chemical Equation for the Explosive Called TNT

Relationship Chemistry
Trust is easier when there is good ‘chemistry’ between a Realtor and their client. When seeking an agent to refer for out of area homebuyers or homesellers, there are many things that a Realtor can readily confirm. These include an agent’s years in business, designations earned, coverage area, plus areas of specialty like homes, farms or commercial property. 

As a result, I’m frequently able to locate a very good Realtor to ‘match’ with an out of state homebuyer or seller and it’s not always difficult.  That said, the one challenging element to know with certainty is the ‘chemistry’ that even a highly qualified, out-of-area Realtor will have with a new client.

People are different and that includes real estate agents. Most times relationships work out swimmingly with the referred agent. On rare occasions, it doesn’t work out. But going in and at least on paper, the homebuyer or homeseller who interviews a previously unknown, yet vetted Realtor, knows the agent is qualified and experienced, along with some important other facts about him or her. Plus, knowing these facts up front is typically less risky than taking a ‘shot in the dark’ with an unknown agent.

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Does The Company Matter?
Because Oregon real estate agents are independent contractors, the individual Realtor is who typically matters most. After all, you don’t expect a faceless corporation to answer your late night question, or go over the details of your settlement statement. For example, I don’t care that much about what hospital I go to, but I want to have a say in the surgeon who will do the operating. Similarly, it’s the individual agent who is in a position to make the most difference, whether from a small or large office. However, longevity of a real estate firm can be helpful in determining that they are probably doing something right.  So if a company you’re considering has been in existence for half a century or more, they’re likely not a ‘fly by night’ outfit.  

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Alternative Agent Finding Methods
One of the ‘little-known secrets’ about real estate online, including agent ratings, is that placement is frequently purchased. Realtors frequently buy what are known as ‘leads.’ Examples include Zillow and even Realtor.com. Sometimes this is done by the agent buying incoming inquiries regarding a specific zip code. Sometimes, the agent pays for better placement on a real estate website page in order to stand out.

If you decide to use a magazine or the Internet to locate an agent, it may be best to consider that as a first step of information gathering. Promotional materials can be misleading and if carefully crafted, can leave out a lot of important information. For example, if an Realtor is brand new, he or she may focus on how many agents their company employs, personal community involvement like donations to charity, or sponsorships. While these could be nice facts, they may not have a lot to do with the agent’s proficiency, professionalism, or even trustworthiness. 

Referrals Are Built on Trust
One good way to find a trustworthy Realtor is to ask people you trust and get a referral. The ‘proof is in the pudding,’ so if your friend or family member is happy with a specific real estate agent, there’s a good chance for a similar repeat performance.

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What Color Hat Does Your Realtor Wear?

White Hat or Black Hat?
One area where certain real estate agents are sometimes revealed to be wearing either a ‘white hat’ or ‘black hat’ is in the area known as ‘dual agency’ or ‘disclosed limited agency.’ This is a situation when an agent with a listed property also works with the buyer. To be clear, most Realtors are aboveboard and honest, continually looking out for their client’s best interests.

That said, the challenge to some agents comes when the agent attempts to ‘elbow aside’ other buyers, their agents and/or offers, in order to push his or her offer through. Why on earth would a Realtor push hard to get their offer accepted, since it’s all about simply selling the house, isn’t it? Not exactly. That’s because if the listing Realtor also sells your home, they typically get paid more.

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Agency Pamphlet

Dual agency is well known as a potential minefield among ethically challenged agents and as a result, the State of Oregon, the National Association of Realtors and the Oregon Association of Realtors all have rules in place to help prevent its abuse.

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Dueling with Dual Agency
In Realtor circles, the topic of dual agency has proponents and detractors. As a result, don’t expect every real estate agent you run into to have the same opinion. In reality, dual agency can be a very good thing, as seen in our previous article titled “5 ‘Insider Oregon Real Estate Tips.’ There, the topic Having A ‘Double Agent’ Can Be A Good Thing ranks as item #1 out of the five items listed. The advantages to having an agent on both sides of a real estate transaction are clear.

The result, good or bad, can significantly depend on your agent’s trustworthiness. For example, hurriedly accepting the first offer can work out. That’s because sometimes the first offer is the best offer. Alternatively, acting without as much available information as possible sometimes comes at significant expense to the seller, who may be urged to quickly accept the offer their listing (seller’s) agent has written. The problem is that the listing Realtor can be expected to reasonably know how much activity there is on the property for sale. Again, trust is key here.

Plus, given the amount of agent and buyer activity, along with the quality of inquiries (such as highly motivated, qualified buyers), the seller’s Realtor may have even heard comments from other agents about possible future offers. So by pushing his or her own offer, is the listing Realtor providing the seller with all known information in order to truly serve the seller’s best interest? Sometimes the only person to seemingly know the answer is the listing agent. A Harvard Business Review article notes why this situation can be a problem:

“Take cheating. Claremont McKenna psychologist Piercarlo Valdesolo and I have conducted many experiments on the topic, and one surprising (if disheartening) result we have found, time and again, is that 90% of people—most of whom identify themselves as morally upstanding—will act dishonestly to benefit themselves if they believe they won’t get caught. Why? Anonymity means no long-term cost will be exacted. Even more startling is the fact that most of those who cheat also refuse to characterize their actions as untrustworthy; they rationalize their behavior even while condemning the same in others…”

More than once, an honest real estate agent working with a highly qualified and motivated buyer has inquired about a property, even written up that buyer’s offer, only to have the listing agent hurriedly put together his or her own offer and submit it to the seller in order to ‘tie up’ the property (and presumably make more money), before other offers can be considered. It’s a fact of the real estate business and as a result, unethical agents develop a reputation and are often viewed warily by others in the business.

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The ‘Commission Effect’
If all these elements don’t sufficiently complicate the task of finding a trustworthy Aurora, Oregon Realtor, there is also a phenomenon you might call the ‘commission effect.’ This is outlined in a previous article titled ‘5 little Known Realtor Insider Tips:’ Realtors Can Calculate Their Paycheck by Viewing a Property Listing Sheet. This means that for agents truly focused on maximizing their payday, you might expect them to guide you toward homes that pay a higher commission structure. The listing sheet is typically only seen by multiple listing members. Thankfully, most Realtors simply don’t do business in this manner.

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The Bottom Line
During high level negotiations, President Ronald Reagan sometimes used the term ‘Trust, but verify.’ This old Russian proverb could be a  helpful approach to grant you peace of mind in finding a trustworthy agent for your next real estate transaction. Do your research and ask family and friends for Realtor references. Be open and forthright, then make your best decision based on relevant, reliable information for your situation.  

Aurora Oregon
Aurora Resident & Realtor Roy Widing

Questions?
Thinking about selling your Aurora property, or have real estate questions? Contact your Aurora real estate specialist Roy Widing with Certified Realty today for a free consultation. Roy has been selling Aurora properties since 1988 and he can sell yours, too. Simply use the convenient form below, or call him at (800) 637-1950.

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Dancing the Aurora, Oregon ‘Two Transaction Tango’

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Simultaneous/Consecutive Home Transactions
Selling your Aurora, Oregon home and buying a replacement property are frequently linked activities. In this article and related audio podcast, we reveal how to maximize the efficiency and minimize the bother when simultaneously home buying and home selling.

Click here or on the ‘play’ button below for the audio version of this presentation about homebuying while homeselling.


We’ll also examine options to help decide if either simultaneous or consecutive real estate transactions may be best for you.

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Timing
The singular act of buying or selling a home is often the foremost concern of many. Whichever immediate task you may be considering, it’s common to have twice the activity anticipated, but in two steps. That’s because Aurora, Oregon home buyers often not just have a home to sell…in addition, Aurora, Oregon home sellers are frequently seeking a home to buy. So what’s the best way to navigate this potential real estate quagmire without getting entangled in a morass of stress and needless extra costs?

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First Steps
To begin, it helps to examine three common dual home sale/home purchase options:

  1. Selling your existing house first, then buying your next house.
  2. Buying the next house first, then selling your existing house.
  3. Simultaneously moving from your existing house to your next house.

Your challenges, benefits and results will largely depend upon which of these three decisions you settle upon. Here are three quick takeaways for these three usual options:

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Option #1.  Selling your existing house first, then buying the next house
This option usually requires a ‘double move.’ Yet one advantage of this approach is that you won’t have double house payments. One disadvantage is that you may have to move twice.  An added benefit of this ‘selling first’ approach can include negotiating with strength in the purchase of your next home. That’s because your purchase needn’t be contingent upon the sale or closing of your sold home. As a result, you are seen as a ‘cash in fist’ buyer, or at the very least, a buyer who is considerably more likely to qualify for a home purchase, given that you ostensibly now have access to the equity in your now-sold home. This helps you negotiate with more power in the purchase of your next home.

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Option #2.   Buying the next house first, then selling your existing house
When first buying a house, then selling yours, one advantage is that you know where you’ll be moving. The reduced stress of ‘knowing where you’ll land’ is empowering.

Unless you’re a cash buyer, you’ll likely need to qualify with a lender. And if you have an existing loan in place on the house you’ll be selling, this may mean you need to qualify for two loans, your current home loan and the loan on the house you’re buying.

As long as your current Aurora, Oregon home sells in a timely manner, added financial obligations can be minimized.  For more information about bridge loans, see the below ‘A Bridge Too Far?’ discussion.

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Option #3.  Simultaneously moving from your existing house to your next house
This situation is very common. Provided your activities are clearly thought out, well-executed and contingencies are in place for protection, it’s also one of the more affordable options.

Think far ahead and shoot for impeccable timing, in order to make your move the smoothest possible. In order to have sufficient time to move out soon after closing on your current home’s transaction, you will need to locate your next home, write an accepted offer, have the home inspection and if you’re getting a home loan, likely an appraisal…all before you close on the purchase and can actually move in.

One advantage of this approach is that you won’t have double house payments. You also know where you will be landing, and you won’t likely have to move twice. One disadvantage is that your timing needs to be good and possibly have a little extra ‘cushion’ to allow for emergencies, like delays with appraisals, inspections and repairs. Otherwise it’s easy to feel ‘squeezed’ by your being in the middle of two time-sensitive transactions.

That’s one challenge of going this route; It’s complicated by not knowing with precision the timeline of certain key activities. That’s because while home inspections can usually be completed within a set time frame, like 10-14 business days, other requirements like appraisals, can take much longer, with less certainty of the completion date. On top of that, most transactions involve two appraisals, one on the house you’re selling and another on the house you’re buying. So if you plan on a simultaneous sale/purchase, huddle up with your Realtor to create a well planned timeline, then build in some extra breathing room, as necessary.

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A Bridge Too Far?
One way to do purchase a house without first selling your Aurora, Oregon home is with what’s called a ‘bridge loan.’ This is effectively a loan against the equity on your existing home. There are plenty of added details, but for the sake of simplicity, just understand that if you use a bridge loan to buy your next home, until your current home is sold, you will likely have double house payments. So if your current home doesn’t sell in a timely manner, hopefully the squeeze on your wallet won’t be more stressful than if you were to have simply sold your existing home first. 

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Tools of the Trade
To accomplish the job of simultaneously buying and selling homes, among the most common protective tools is called a contingency. Consider contingencies as akin to safety goggles. They’re designed to prevent a mishap, only in this case, the mishap could be losing your earnest money.

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Earnest Money
Earnest money is usually a certain dollar figure placed on deposit as a sign a buyer is earnest, and later applied to the home purchase. This helps convince sellers that a buyer is serious and take their property off the market. Earnest money essentially helps to ‘hold’ a property for a buyer. Earnest money is not often the total down payment, although it can be applied as part of the down payment.  Earnest money is important to homesellers, because without it, a buyer could otherwise tie up the seller’s property with virtually no obligation.

A large part of contingencies relate to a buyer keeping their earnest money, or the initial deposit showing the buyer is ‘earnest’ in proceeding to closing on a home sale. If a homebuyer does not have a sufficient contingency in place during a home sale, forfeiture of a buyer’s earnest money becomes possible. It’s not terribly common, but it can and does sometimes happen.

Types of Contingencies
Home inspection contingencies provide buyers with the right to have a house inspected for a variety of conditions, all within a specified time frame. Another common contingency is the loan contingency, so if for some reason a lender does not approve a buyer or the property for a home loan, the earnest money deposit is returned to the buyer. Buyers have lost out on qualifying for a home loan because they went out and bought a car during the home purchasing process, thereby disrupting their loan ratios.

The Reality of Earnest Money Deposit Risk
As long as appropriate contingencies are in place and they’re followed in a time-conscious manner, it’s relatively uncommon for buyers to lose their earnest money. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your timeline.

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Buying And/Or Selling?
Use the form below to contact Aurora, Oregon veteran Realtor Roy Widing with Certified Realty for a FREE consultation. Whether your real estate situation involves homebuying, homeselling, or if you simply have questions about our current Aurora, Oregon real estate market, Roy can help!

Aurora, Oregon Real Estate Statistics

A new report on Aurora, Oregon real estate was just released by Ticor Title Company. The survey confirms a continued significant upward price trend for Aurora, Oregon homes. Click here to view this new report on Aurora, Oregon real estate, or click on the image below.

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Click Image to View Report

According to this new survey, the median list price for an Aurora, Oregon home is now $799,000. The average market time to sell an Aurora home is now 275 days, or around 9 months. 

Several factors help explain these figures. Along with our improved local housing market, many Aurora properties included in the report feature acreage, which tends to influence both the higher price and longer market time.  And with a median house size of 3,294 square feet, Aurora, Oregon homes are considerably larger than average.

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This Aurora, Oregon home has been featured in national home design magazines.

Have you considered selling your Aurora, Oregon property? Contact our sponsor, Certified Realty using the convenient form below for a FREE report on what your property could sell for in today’s market. Family owned and operated since 1950, Certified Realty specializes in the sale of Aurora, Oregon properties.

Recent Sold Aurora, Oregon Homes

Six Aurora, Oregon homes sold in September, according to the Regional Multiple Listing Service. Selling prices for these Aurora homes range from $110,000 to $939,500.

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Click Image to View Sold Aurora Homes

Click here to view September’s sold Aurora, Oregon homes, or on the above image.

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Some Aurora, Oregon homesellers plan to move by the holidays

Thinking about selling your Aurora, Oregon home? Contact our sponsor, Certified Realty for a FREE report on what your Aurora property could sell for in today’s market using the convenient form below.

 

Local Fun This Saturday!

Here’s information on a fun, local event from the Oregon State Park website:

The Donald Manson barn has played a central role in 151 harvests. Manson built the current barn in 1862, a year after the devastating 1861 Willamette River flood that cost him his original barn, equipment, animals and harvested crops. He rebuilt his barn in the spot where it still stands today in what is now Champoeg State Heritage Area.

dancing
Photo courtesy of Oregon State Parks

Farmstead Day showcases life in the 1860s via dozens of volunteers in period clothing re-enacting everyday chores. Your family can join in living history demonstrations, including:

  • Grinding wheat and corn
  • Harvesting the vegetable garden
  • Dutch oven cooking
  • Butter churning & bread making
  • Water pumping and hauling
  • Blacksmithing with a traditional leather bellows and period tools
  • Period woodworking
  • Listening to a fur trapper & hide tanner tell their stories

Just like early farmers after harvest end, celebrate the day with music and dancing in the barn.

The event is free, but day-use parking is $5.

Click here for more information and a map to this upcoming event.