Q: I am a licensed Realtor working in Indiana and Arizona. I currently live in Indiana, but want to move back to Arizona sometime in the next 3 years.
I am working as a buyer’s agent and want to build my business. Can you give me any advice on ways to advertise that will build my business?
A: I don’t know much about advertising techniques. But any entrepreneur will tell you if you’re looking to drum up business, you should network in the community. Volunteer your time at local organizations, or sponsor a local kids’ baseball or adults’ softball team by providing t-shirts (with your name on it).
Join non-profit associations or local trade organizations and volunteer to work on various projects to make connections. Offer to give some talks about buyer’s agency and how it can help.
If you want people to get interested in your business, my feeling is that you have to give back first.
Q: I owe about $29,000 on my home mortgage. It is a 15-year at 6-7/8 percent, with a monthly payment of about $1,000. I have about 7 years left on the loan.
Should I pay off the mortgage with my home equity line of credit? My bank is quoting 5 percent.
A: I think you have a unique opportunity to pay off this loan by the end of 2006, that’s 2 years instead of 7 years. Let’s look at the numbers.
If you use your home equity line of credit and structure the repayment period for 7 years, your payment falls from $1,000 to $409 per month. If you use your savings of about $600 per month to prepay this loan, you’ll have paid off the $29,000 before the end of 2006, or almost 5 years sooner than if you keep the loan you currently have.
There is a small amount of risk. The risk is that the interest rate will go up and you’ll pay a little more. But since you’re going to pay off this debt in two years, it’s a very small risk to take for a huge upside.
I’d take your bank up on their offer. Ask for a home equity line of credit that can be opened without any fees and start paying off this debt.
Q: My wife and I began looking for a home. Through the course of becoming pre-approved, we were offered a 100 percent mortgage. This seems like a great option for us because we only have enough in savings to cover the closing costs.
When we mentioned this financing option to our real estate agent, she was very negative and stated that sellers do not respond well to them.
Can you tell us why she would respond this way?
A: Good question. Sellers don’t want to waste time with buyers who seemingly can’t afford to buy the home. And if a buyer doesn’t have cash for a down payment, sellers often conclude that they won’t qualify for financing either.
An agent knows a 100 percent mortgage can be a tough sell and this may be why your agent is so negative about it.
It’s up to your agent, in my humble opinion, to convince the sellers and their agent that you are really guys are legit. One way to help her out is to apply for and get pre-approved for your 100 percent mortgage before you make an offer.
Once you’ve been approved, your lender will give you a commitment letter that states that you will get your mortgage provided the property appraises out in value.
Attaching a commitment letter and perhaps even $1,000 as a good faith deposit should strengthen your offer significantly, and make your agent feel a whole lot better about bringing that offer to the seller.
Jan. 19, 2009.