July 30, 2015

10 Benefits of Using a Realtor® to Buy a Home

10 Benefits of Using a Real Estate Agent to Buy a Home ~ by Rebecca Fairley Raney


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In tough times, most people are looking to cut costs any way they can. And in a home purchase, who wouldn't want to save that extra 3 percent -- an extra $3,000 per $100,000 of the sale price? That's typically what buyer's agents make on real estate transactions, and most experts think it's money well spent.

It's true that anyone can shop for a house, and even get a peek inside, without formally signing on with a real estate agent. But unless you have time to make home shopping a part-time job, an agent might be able to match you with the perfect property much faster.

Say you want a swimming pool. Or don't want a swimming pool. Or maybe you want a fenced-in yard for the dog or a basement playroom for the kids. If you're looking for something specific, a real estate agent is the person whose job it is to know if there's a house out there to fit your needs, and he or she will hold your hand through the deal to boot.

Let's look at some of the top benefits of using an agent to buy a home.

#10  Ethical Consideration

Though not all real estate agents are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), those who do join the group agree to abide by a code of ethics. That code essentially stipulates that Realtors deal with all parties of a transaction honestly.

Under the code, the Realtor is obligated to put the clients' interests ahead of his own. He or she is also required to make full disclosure about the problems with a property and be truthful in advertising.

The code of ethics has some teeth; local boards governed by the NAR enforce the provisions. Penalties can include a $5,000 fine, a one-year suspension from the association or a three-year expulsion. How frequently this happens is unclear. Because local boards handle enforcement actions, no national statistics on penalties against Realtors are available.

#9  Pricing Expertise

Most real estate agents can set a price on a home the minute they walk through the door. If they have a lot of experience in a market, they know how well a neighborhood holds its value, too.

While anyone can spend a few minutes online and pull information on sales of comparable houses, real estate agents have the experience to know whether a specific house is overpriced or underpriced. In the best-case scenario, an agent will have such a good idea of what you're looking for that she won't even waste your time touring houses that won't work.

Not only can agents provide all the data on local home sales that you want to see, but they can also bring assets to the deal that come from years of watching waves of transactions in the neighborhood.

#8  Requesting Repairs

Often, the touchiest part of a real estate purchase involves the delicate dance of requesting repairs. Areal estate agent will be able to identify trouble that you may not see, as well as recommend a good independent home inspector who will provide a detailed report on problems with the house.

These reports can be dozens of pages long. Within all those pages, some problems are important and others aren't. If the house is in reasonably good condition, requests for repairs can make or break a deal. The agent will have a good sense of what's reasonable to request and what's excessive.

In many cases, it depends on you as the buyer, too. An agent can read the situation and suggest what would work for you. "Each buyer has a different tolerance for what they need to do," says Elizabeth Mendenhall, the 2011 vice president of committees for the National Association of Realtors. "Some need [a house] to be in a better condition."

#7 Finding Available Homes 

Though most homes for sale are widely available for buyers to assess on Web sites, in some cases, sellers don't want the fact that they're selling to be widely publicized. In those cases, only the real estate agents know the houses are for sale.

"Sometimes people don't want it advertised actively," Mendenhall says. "Maybe it's a more for personal reason, that they don't want their neighbors or friends to know that their house is for sale."

Sometimes health problems, financial problems or divorce factor into the need for privacy. Or sometimes, people don't want the sale advertised during the holidays. Either way, working with a real estate agent gives you access to homes you might otherwise miss seeing.

#6  Tackling the Paperwork

If you've ever bought a house, you've probably dedicated a full shelf somewhere to the documents that were involved in the transaction. These probably include the written offer, the written and signed counteroffer, the little details (like specific repairs) and what exactly was and was not included in the sale. The paperwork can be tiresome.

This is when a good real estate agent can save the day. Often, these offers and counteroffers are limited by a time frame. The agents are armed with fax machines that, in good economies, never stop churning out paper.

The odds of missing something, not initialing a margin or not checking a box, can drop substantially when you're working with someone who knows the paperwork inside and out.

#5  The "Purple Room" Phenomenon

Aside from the technical aspects of a sale and the mistakes people can make in the paperwork, real estate agents know neighborhoods and houses inside and out.

Mendenhall calls it the "purple room" phenomenon. If a buyer wants a house with a purple room, she says, the experienced real estate agent will know the house that's for sale that has that room.

In a more general way, an agent will be aware of features that don't show as well on the Internet. If a buyer is looking for a house with a space that could be used as an office, an attached mother-in-law unit or a room that's perfect for showing off a prized grandfather clock, a human agent is more likely to find a match than a real estate Web site.

#4 Unemotional Negotiation

As levelheaded as you think you are, when you're fighting with a seller over adding a hose to the dishwasher because the water drains on the floor, it's easy to lose your cool. Having an agent to write the requests objectively and forward them to the seller saves you the trouble of getting overly emotional about the deal.

Say the seller won't budge on the dishwasher hose and you want to adjust your offer. The agent can handle that part calmly, too. Experts advise that you let the agent take the heat in difficult negotiations.

The best way to make a deal is to look for the positive part of every offer and counteroffer, and never let the other party see you make a sour face. Often, the most effective way to do that is to present the face that's doing business -- not your own.

#3  Code Expertise

If you want to buy a charming little house near a business district and turn the front parlor into a candle store, you need to know if the city will allow it. Typically, an experienced real estate agent is familiar enough with local zoning ordinances to make sure you don't buy the wrong house.

By the same token, if you want to build a fence in the backyard or add a bedroom, an agent should be able to make sure you're buying a property where the city allows it. Also, some cities may require expensive upgrades on older properties when they sell. For example, if a house isn't connected to the city's sewer system, and a buyer will be required to spend tens of thousands of dollars to connect the property, the real estate agent will make sure that requirement is disclosed before the deal goes very far.

#2   Thorough Record Keeping

Although real estate agents aren't lawyers,they can serve as good resources years after a deal is closed. In some states, licensed agents are required to keep full files of all documents in all transactions for several years.

While you may (and should) keep files yourself, you can count on your agent to keep that information organized and safeguarded should trouble crop up with the property in years to come. You'll also be able to contact your agent at any time in the coming years should you have questions about the property yourself.

#1  Avoid Closing Problems

When a sale nears closing, all kind of pitfalls can kill the deal in the final hours. A real estate agent knows to watch for trouble before it's too late.

For example, the title of the house may not be clear -- some long-lost relative might be listed on the title who hasn't signed off on the sale. Or maybe the lender is causing a problem by not meeting the timeline on financing.

"When you're getting close to the closing, you want to make sure there aren't any unexpected title issues, that the financing has come through and that all of the professionals involved are staying on task and on timeline,"Mendenhall says. Real estate agents are used to dealing with these types of issues and can work through almost any challenge that arises.

(Raney, Rebecca Fairley.  "10 Benefits of Using a Real Estate Agent to Buy a Home",  13 January 2011.  HowStuffWorks.com , 30 July 2015.)


Greg Rapp is a licensed Realtor® with Wallace Realty.  When you want to find the home you want, or sell the home you're in, using a trusted real estate agent with a proven track record eases the challenges of real estate transactions!  

Call Greg for your next property deal: 704.213.6846

Greg Rapp 
Wallace Realty Co. 
704 213 6846 Mobile 
704 636 2021 Office 

307 Wake Drive is SOLD! But There Are Others Like This - Waiting for YOU!

While Realtor® Greg Rapp specializes in historic homes and properties, not all his real estate transactions are with old house lovers.

307 WAKE DRIVE in Salisbury, NC was just sold by Greg Rapp. What a great house! 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, built in 1965, with over 2700 square feet of living space in this all-brick home! We love brick homes for their energy efficiency, lasting value, and low maintenance! The world's most beautiful and most practical homes are built with brick.

Yes ~ this one is SOLD! But don't fret if this type of home is on your radar! There are other homes similar to this one, and you'll want to call Greg at (704)213-6846 to check them out!

For instance: This beautifully appointed brick home at 110 Polo Drive in Salisbury, North Carolina! This single-story, 2700+ square foot, 4-bedroom/3-bath brick home exudes spaciousness and graciousness at every turn.

The kitchen alone in this gorgeous home is nearly 20’ x 12’ ~ it's hard to tell what our favorite feature might be, from the octagonal center cook’s island, to the charcoal-colored granite countertops, to the creamy beige tiled floors ~ quality and storage abounds! 

The center work island is encircled with drawers and cabinets, the kitchen walls have cabinet space galore, built-in wine rack and microwave cubby, and if this were not enough, there is the pantry for storing all those extra goodies! A breakfast nook overlooks the side yard.  

Or maybe your favorite feature will just be the multiple skylights that stream natural daylight into this warm cooking and gathering space.

110 Polo Drive is appointed with beautiful and large formal dining & living rooms, each with large windows and chair rail details. The den or Great Room will be a favorite gathering place with its high, vaulted ceiling and fireplace outfitted with gas logs, and French doors leading to the exterior tiled patio space.

Your most treasured place in this Country Club Hills home is certain to be the large courtyard~style patio. The courtyard patio has walls on three sides, with French doors leading from both the Great Room and the Master Bedroom, and provides seclusion and privacy, before expanding out into a large tiled backyard entertaining space.
In addition to the privacy and seclusion this patio provides, courtyards such as this offer many landscaping and planting advantages, such as providing a framework to support climbing, trailing, and espaliered shrubs, trees or vines ~ and the opportunity to create a fabulous container garden area!

And speaking of space . . . the Master Bedroom Suite, one of four large bedrooms, will astound you! The Master bath alone is a huge 18’ x 13’ space that includes dual walk in closets, dual vanities, a jetted tub, and separate glass-door shower. The Master Suite also has French doors leading to your courtyard patio! This country-club home has an additional 2 more full baths.

The modern architectural style of 110 Polo Drive offers the convenience of single story living, with Master Bedroom, Living Room and Great Room, Dining, Kitchen, and laundry all on the main floor. You'll be sold on the high, vaulted roofs with multiple gables, and its open floor plans with living and eating areas melding together in a smooth sweep of spaciousness.

110 Polo Drive is a single-story home and in addition to being set back considerably from the street with a gracious sweep of front lawn, features a spotless double attached garage lined with an array of shuttered windows and beautiful landscaping, providing provides even more space!

The home is all brick and composite building materials, meaning low maintenance for you, the owner! And 110 Polo Drive offers the added convenience of being located on the Country Club Hills subdivision, close to area hospitals, Catawba College, and Downtown Salisbury shopping, dining, and culture.

This impeccable brick, Country Club Hills home, with over 2700 square feet of extraordinarily large rooms and living spaces, it’s gracious courtyard patio, and its proximity to the Country Club of Salisbury, can be yours today for just $235K. Annual taxes for this wonderfully spacious home, with its set-back location, wide sweep of front lawn, and impeccable landscaping are just under $3500 a year!

Call Salisbury, North Carolina Realtor® Greg Rapp to see the grand space and low maintenance life style this wonderful Polo Drive home has to offer! 704.213.6846 ~ you won’t be disappointed!

Salisbury, NC 28144
MLS #: R54988
List Price: $235,000

Greg Rapp 
Wallace Realty Co. 
704 213 6846 Mobile 
704 636 2021 Office 

July 28, 2015

Now is the Ideal Time to List Your Property With Greg Rapp

Realtor® Greg Rapp is closing property deals in the Salisbury/Rowan County area!  You'll want to talk to Greg, (704) 213-6846, if you are thinking of selling YOUR home or commercial property!

"The real estate market has been booming in recent years, but the market never heads in a straight line. If you're looking to sell your home or your vacation property, now may be an ideal time to cash out.

Let's go over a few of the reasons it makes sense to sell your home now.

1. Mortgage rates are likely heading higher
. The Federal Reserve has made it clear that interest rates will be moving higher. Fed chief Janet Yellen recently said that rates will move higher later this year after seven years of central bank easing that helped the battered real estate market bounce back following the subprime lending crisis.

We're already seeing market sentiment starting to factor in the inevitable hike. After bottoming out at 3.77 percent in April, rates for 30-year mortgages have crept up to 4.26 percent, according to rate monitor Bankrate (RATE).

This should be alarming if you have a house to sell. It means that potential buyers are getting less bang for their borrowed buck, and that could drive home prices lower to balance things out. With cash buyers peaking last year, the market's now at the mercy of mortgage-seeking buyers. Higher rates won't help.

2. You may as well get out while the getting is good. Last month was great for sellers. Existing homes sold at the fastest pace since early 2007. The National Association of Realtors is reporting that home sales rose 3.2 percent in June, pushing the seasonally adjusted annual rate to 5.49 million homes changing keys. Even the real estate agency is conceding that the strength in turnover is likely tied to fears that rates will move higher in the near future. Median sale prices have risen 6.5 percent over the past year -- to a new record of $236,400 Nationally -- but that momentum will be challenged in the new normal of rising mortgage rates.

3. Locking in today's low rates. A common gripe during the housing boom is that if someone sells a home, they still need to find a new place to live. This could be an ideal time to consider trading down, moving to a more affordable housing market, or possibly even renting. However, if selling now results in buying now, it's probably a good idea to do it sooner rather than later to lock in today's rates.

Waiting for rates to move higher may result in better prices as a buyer, but is that a chance you want to take? You don't want to be priced out of your next address.

4. Your home will stand out. There were 2.3 million existing homes on the market at the end of June, according to the National Association of Realtors. Given the recent spike in buying we can divide that by the 5.49 million annual rate of seasonally adjusted sales to see that we have just a five-month supply of homes in the market. That's the lowest that it's been in years, making it easier for your own property to stand out if it's put on the market.

Home prices have posted year-over-year gains for 40 consecutive months. No streak lasts forever, and the climate is right now to consider moving on if it's something that you were planning on doing anyway." (Rick Aristotle Munarriz, 4 Reasons to Sell Your Home Now, DailyFinance.com, July 27, 2015)

So if you're thinking about selling your property, now is the time to contact Greg Rapp at Wallace Realty and get it on the market!  Call 704.213.6846 today!

Greg Rapp 
Wallace Realty Co. 
704 213 6846 Mobile 
704 636 2021 Office 

July 26, 2015

List YOUR Historic Home ~ With Greg Rapp ~ And MAKE THAT MOVE!

For whatever the reason, a job transfer, move closer to family, downsizing, upsizing, . . . or you simply found a house you like better than the one you now have . . . if you list your home with Greg Rapp at Wallace Realty ~ it will MOVE!

This 'restoration-in-progress' at 414 Park Avenue, a marvelous 3900+ square foot circa 1890s Victorian that was once the queen of the neighborhood, was just sold!  This home was not for just any old buyer!  With 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths, NINE fireplaces, and some work yet to be finalized ~ the home need that special buyer who loves old homes and has the passion for restoration! 

Listed with Greg Rapp, the home's story got told on a multitude of marketing outlets, one of the BIG differences in working with this real estate agent that sets him apart from the herd. Greg specializes in historic homes, and has a passion for the same. He not only 'talks-the-talk', but 'walks-the-walk' ~ living in his own circa 1882 Victorian farmhouse ~ and understands not just older homes and their multitude of benefits over the newer homes, but how to market them in a way that gets your home SEEN!

Moral of the story: List your home with Greg Rapp / Wallace Realty...and make that MOVE!


Greg Rapp 
Wallace Realty Co. 
704 213 6846 Mobile 
704 636 2021 Office 

Condominium Living in Your Near Future!

Is a condominium life-style in your near future?  Realtor® Greg Rapp has just the home you're looking for!

Why a condo?

There are lots of reasons that a condo might be a better fit than an apartment or single home, and money is surely one of them. According to The Real Estate Journal, condo prices tend to appreciate at a slower rate than single-family dwellings, making them a more affordable choice in markets where prices are on the rise.

And, compared to renting an apartment, because you actually own your condo, you can take advantage of tax deductions such as the interest on your mortgage.

No yard to mow. This is a big appeal of owning a condo. There will be no mowing because you'll pay dues to a condominium association, which will take care of most of your maintenance needs. As a first-time homebuyer, it's enough to get your arms around the internal furnishings and such and a relief that you don't need to worry about landscaping, yard maintenance and physical labor activities like snowplowing and road maintenance and roof repair.

It’s cheaper than buying a comparable house. Obviously, the cost of a condo versus a house depends on the size of the home, the property values of the neighborhood and the cost of living in the area. But typically, you'll spend less on a condo, especially in higher-cost markets where condos can be the only alternative to high-priced, single-family homes.
How much cheaper is a condo? As an example, if you were to buy a 2,400-square-foot town house condominium in a pricey Boston suburb, you might pay $725,000. Meanwhile, a similar-sized, single-family house in the same area would cost just over $1 million.

There is a sense of community. Plenty of homeowners would say the same thing about their own neighborhood, but as noted, condo owners tend to live in much closer proximity than many suburban homeowners, who often have relatively big yards separating them. There are always social moments that occur throughout the day. Whether it be to take the trash out or pick up the mail, there are opportunities that one just doesn't get in a home. (Geoff Williams, "3 Reasons to Buy a Condo", U.S. News & World Report, September 2014)

Welcome to 1100 RAVENWOOD COURT in the Castlewood subdivision of Salisbury, NC, a 2-bedroom-2-bath condominium. 

Built in 1996, 1100 Ravenwood is a super- immaculate 1500+ square foot home, with new granite counter tops in a sunny, updated, eat-in kitchen that is equipped with loads of cabinet space, gleaming white, and streams natural sunlight.  The family cook will never be separated from guests with the awesome ability to look out into the dining/living room areas via a large architectural window-opening in the kitchen overlooking these areas.

You'll be impressed with the feeling of space in this condominium home! The combination dining and living room is huge with vaulted ceiling.  The Master bedroom has a beautiful bay window and large private bathroom. 

Throughout the home you'll find ample closet space, including a small storeage closet off the sunroom to the rear of the home.  The sunroom is heated and cooled and overlooks a grassy knoll.  A small rear patio off the back door is the perfect place for al fresco dining and outdoor entertaining. 

This home is in very nice condition, with lovely landscaping and fine entryway floors. Mature trees provide shade on sunny summer days.  Large open green spaces surround the complex.  The exterior brickwork here will need some attention, and therefore this home is being sold as-is. There is a transferable home warranty that expires April of 2016.

Condo living

Condos provide attractive lifestyle choices for many prospective buyers. They're especially popular for retirees who want to be able to socialize or take advantage of services at communities that cater specifically to seniors. Living in a condominium can also free you from some of the usual chores that go along with owning a house, such as yard and exterior maintenance.

If condo living is for you, 1100 Ravenwood Court might be just the home you are looking for!  Call Realtor®  Greg Rapp, with Wallace Realty at (704) 213-6846, and let him show you the benefits of condominium life!

Salisbury, NC 28147
MLS #: T57899
List Price: $129,000

Greg Rapp 
Wallace Realty Co. 
704 213 6846 Mobile 
704 636 2021 Office