Monday, June 27, 2011


I love referrals! A referral can be a win-win for all parties involved. They not only benefit me as a realtor but they also help my customers -- no matter where they live.

I don't think most people understand how referrals work. Everyone loves to save money and I believe folks are sometimes reluctant to give my contact information to someone else because they think it will cost that person money to do so.

Here's actually how a referral works. Recently, my niece contacted me and said she was looking for a new home and needed a realtor. She lives 800 miles from me.

What I did for her was to research agents in her area. I made a list of potential realtors. I then called them and interviewed them. I sent my recommendations to her and she then contacted the realtors.

After speaking with them, she selected the one she wanted to work with and let me know who she chose. I then sent that realtor a referral agreement.

The referral agreement is a contract between two real estate companies and basically says that the selling agent (my niece's new realtor) agrees to give the referring agent (me) a portion of his/her commission from the transaction involving my niece.

This didn't cost my niece anything. My check came out of the other agent's commission. Had I not referred my niece her agent would have received the entire commission. He/she would not have reduced their commission. When my niece closed on her new house the title company in her town sent me a check.

Most realtors are happy to do this because a portion of a commission is better than no commission at all. And, don't forget, the agent who worked with my niece would never have worked with her without me contacting the agent in the first place.

Referrals work the same way if you're buying or selling. My referral fee is paid by the other agent's company.

A referral is really a great deal for anyone. I do the initial work for you, finding agents that specialize in a particular area, are buyer's/seller's agents, etc. I interview them and screen them before I send their contact information along to you. Even with my experience and training I can still miss on my suggestions but that is more a product of how well the person gets along with the agent rather than the qualifications of the agents I refer.

So let's re-cap.

1. I can find you or anyone else a realtor no matter where you/they live.

2. I will do the screening and interviewing and give you a list of 3-4 agents to contact.

3. You pick the agent with whom you are most comfortable.

4. It doesn't cost you anything.

5. What are you waiting for? Contact me today and let me help you.

Remember, if you or someone you know is buying or selling property, no matter where you or they live, please contact me. I can help you and it won't cost you anything.
If you’re thinking of buying a house anytime soon you might have to eat at home more often, buy generic brands at the store and dig a little deeper into your savings.

According to reports in the Washington Post, Republicans are circulating a proposal which would boost the down payment requirement for mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration. Some industry experts fear such a move would keep potential buyers from being able to purchase homes.

Currently, borrowers who take out FHA-insured mortgages are permitted to put down as little as 3.5 percent. For first-time home buyers that makes these loans an attractive choice. The increase in defaults on FHA loans over the last few years has caused the agency’s cash reserves to dwindle, creating concerns that taxpayers may have to come to the agency’s rescue.

The Republican proposal would require most FHA borrowers to put down at least 5 percent. Those who support the idea say that forcing borrowers to have more equity in their homes would better protect homeowners against default and thus improve the agency’s finances. The issue is scheduled to be discussed today at a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing led by Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.).

The proposal has not been formally introduced in legislative form and industry analysts say it is unlikely to gain bipartisan support. Gathering the upfront cash is often the biggest hurdle for those buying their first homes.

A similar Republican proposal stalled in the House last year after the Obama administration vehemently opposed it. At that time FHA Commissioner David H. Stevens said raising the minimum down payment to 5 percent would lower the agency’s loan volume by 40 percent in the next fiscal year and shut out 300,000 first-time home buyers.

The FHA has raised its down payment to 10 percent for borrowers with the poorest credit and said it would consider raising its down payment requirement as part of a broader effort to curb the government’s role in housing finance.
The administration has also teamed up with banking regulators to propose a rule that would enable only those who put down 20 percent to get the lowest interest rates, though that rule does not apply to FHA borrowers.