So, you want to Buy New Construction? MYTH BUSTERS!

After a long, exhausting search of resale homes, I had a buyer client call me on Saturday and ask if they were to buy new construction if I would be paid. The answer to that is YES. It is extremely important that you disclose to the builder that you are working with a real estate agent.

This particular client has a great understanding of the fundamentals of buying real estate. We have researched tax records, MLS histories, property disclosures, and neighborhood values on more homes than you can shake a stick at. They know how important it is to have their own representation. On a personal note, I am thankful they chose me.

I could probably write a book on the reasons why you should have your own representation when purchasing new construction, but I promise to keep this short and sweet.

The onsite agent’s job is to get the best deal for the builder. If things go sour during a build job, you need someone who will fight for YOU. Remember, your agent is paid by the builder, but works for YOU. I cannot tell you enough how important it is to have someone on your side during such a large financial investment.

There is a common myth about NOT using a real estate agent in your deal that I would like to BUST!

Myth: “I’ll get a better deal/cut if I buy directly from the builder and not use an agent”.   

Reality: An unrepresented buyer can be at a real disadvantage not to using an experienced real estate professional. The fact that there is no commission paid on a particular home does not mean there is more room for negotiation on a home. Any reputable builder would never offer such a deal because of the ramifications it would have within the broker community. This means you cannot negotiate down the percentage that would have been paid to your agent. If a builder were to cut agents out of the loop they would have “that reputation” and it would spread like wildfire among the real estate broker community. With the high volumes of sales made by real estate agents on new home sites, that is not a lead source that any builder would risk.  Myth busted! You will not get a better deal by not using a realtor.

My job is to represent my clients’ best interest and assist them through the entire transaction with as little frustration and hassle as possible. My goal is to get my client the most value for the least money. I have heard buyers say they do not need an agent for a transaction, but I have NEVER had a client say to me at the end of the transaction that they were sorry they had me at their side during the process. The least important part of my job is showing houses (although it is important); my real value comes later in negotiating and working through the process on behalf of my client.

So, if you’re looking to buy a new construction home, hire a professional! I can be reached at: (803).944-9544 or by email at:

Is Your Real Estate Agent a Realtor?

The words REALTOR® and Real Estate Agent are often used interchangeably, but are not the same!
Both are licensed to sell real estate, but the difference between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent is that a Realtor must subscribe to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.

The Code of Ethics is strictly enforced. It contains 17 Articles and various underlying Standards of Practice. Here are 17 things that a REALTOR® promises to do that non-affiliates do not:

#1) Pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own and to treat all parties honestly.  

#2) Shall refrain from exaggerating, misrepresenting or concealing material facts; and is obligated to investigate and disclose when situations reasonably warrant. 

#3) Shall cooperate with other brokers / agents when it is in the best interests of the client to do so. 

#4) Have a duty to disclose if they represent family members who own or are about to buy real estate, or if they themselves are a principal in a real estate transaction, that they are licensed to sell real estate. 

#5) Shall not provide professional services in a transaction where the agent has a present or contemplated interest without disclosing that interest.  

#6) Shall not collect any commissions without the seller's knowledge nor accept fees from a third-party without the seller's express consent. 

#7) Shall refuse fees from more than one party without all parties' informed consent. 

#8) Shall not co-mingle client funds with their own.  

#9) Shall attempt to ensure that all written documents are easy to understand and will give everybody a copy of what they sign.  

#10) Shall not discriminate in any fashion for any reason on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

#11) Expects agents to be competent, to conform to standards of practice and to refuse to provide services for which they are unqualified.

#12) Must engage in truth in advertising.

#13) Shall not practice law unless they are a lawyer.

#14) Shall cooperate if charges are brought against them and present all evidence requested.

#15) Agree not to bad mouth competition and agree not to file unfounded ethics complaints.

#16) Shall not solicit another REALTOR'S client nor interfere in a contractual relationship.

#17) Shall submit to arbitration to settle matters and not seek legal remedies in the judicial system.
The National Association of REALTORS® was founded in 1908 and has more than one million members.

Member lookup here: Realtor Lookup


Goodbye, Landlord!


Is buying a home a wiser choice than renting? I get this question ALL THE TIME, especially from twenty-somethings. At this moment in time, buying is the smartest decision.  Please consider the following before your throw one more cent away on that home that you will NEVER own:

While comparing monthly mortgage payments to rent is a good starting point, you need to consider this, part of your mortgage payment is being applied to principal. This is forced savings! For example, if you purchase a $200k home with a 30 year mortgage at 4.25%, your monthly payment will be $993 with $285 of that amount going to the principal.

Low mortgage rates have kept homeownership from becoming more expensive than renting. If you are considering purchasing now, be mindful that real estate forecasters are predicting a significant increase in 2015.

As a renter, you have ZERO control over your housing destiny. The landlord is in total control. If S/he decides to sell or are foreclosed on , you will be out of a home. They can also raise your rent at the end of your lease or choose not to rent to you at all. Owning a home will give you a sense of security that you cannot find in renting.

You also have the option of doing whatever it is you want to do with your own home. Paint the walls garnet or orange? Go right ahead! It’s yours! Perhaps you want to add a deck or hardwoods? More often than not, these types of improvements add to the value of your home.

Owning a home will reduce your federal and state tax obligations because of the deductibility of interest payments on your mortgage. When you rent, you end up with 12 cancelled rent checks at the end of the year. However, as a homeowner, you end up with 12 cancelled mortgage checks that are nearly fully tax deductible in most cases.

Yes, owning a home comes with repair expenses down the road, but anyone who thinks that you do not need to worry about a leaking roof or shotty heating & air in a rental home has not met my new buyer client’s former landlord.

In short, the answer to the question of whether you should buy or rent is so obvious that it is hardly worth stating. Property prices and interest rates are going up. Owning a house is a wise move.

If you are considering investing in your future and telling the landlord, "goodbye", call me today! (803).944.9544. Serving Lexington, Richland, & Newberry Counties.

9 Real Estate Agents to Avoid

1. The agent who needs more training.
There are too many agents who are simply undertrained, and it shows during the transaction.
As with all  professions, it takes a long time to learn the ropes.  Many people get into selling real estate because it looks easy to make a lot of money. Experience is the only true teacher!

2. The agent who misses contract deadlines.
Nightmare! Plain & simple!

3. The agent who always over promises and under delivers.
Making a promise that can’t be kept is a deal breaker! Clients and other agents remember those who talk a big game without bringing home the win.

4. The agent who ignores calls and emails.
 When you’re trying to close a deal, there is nothing more frustrating than working with someone who doesn't return calls, listen to voice mails, or return emails.

5. The agent who quotes crazy high prices to win a listing.
Winning a listing is great — unless in the process you’ve ruined your client’s chance of closing in a timely fashion by bringing them unreasonable numbers of what the property is worth. Property will not move based on any wishful thinking and delusions.

6. The agent who doesn’t focus on the details.
Real estate agents have to be able to see the bigger picture and focus in on the details. Whether it’s dealing with deals, presenting an offer or reading emails, thoroughness is a valuable skill in this industry.

7. The agent who tries to be a big bully.
Agents whose methods of moving a transaction along always involve voice-raising and choice words score high on the drives-me-nuts scale. These guys do more harm than good for their clients- always.

8. The agent who doesn’t anticipate potential problems.
Real estate deals are about getting clients to closing the best way possible. That’s impossible if an agent is always getting tripped up by transaction surprises. Experience is key!

9. The agent who’s dangerously walking the ethical line.
The last and least liked of all the agents are those who are actively unethical. Those who get the deal done by treading in the gray area of the law.