Buyer's Guide to Real Estate
The more you know, the better-about the market, about the process, about your own desires. Here are answers to some of the questions we hear from prospective buyers.
"Right now, I'm just looking. Any suggestions?"
Call or drop by our office for a map and list of properties on the market. Or, if you prefer, take a tour with one of us at Summers Cook & Company. You won't find any better guides in the Longview area! We pride ourselves on our knowledge of local properties (including some not even listed yet!).
"I'm ready to buy. Where do I begin?"
We'll get together first and listen to your interests and needs. The more you can define what you want, the better we can help you find it. We'll talk about whether you want to be in town, out in the country, or maybe a little in-between. We'll help you consider your options: zero lot line, charming older neighborhoods, new construction, or a building site for your own custom home. (We can find you a building contractor.)
"OK, I'm ready to look. What happens next?"
After our initial meeting, we'll visit some properties. You'll find us completely prepared. We'll have previewed the properties that fit your criteria and selected the best. We won't waste your time with properties that just don't suit you. If you see an ad or a sign for property that looks interesting, we'll secure further information.
"Who does the broker represent-me or the seller?"
In the past, most real estate agents worked for the seller. Today, there is a wider variety of brokerage relationships. At Summers Cook & Company, we offer the following forms of agency:
- Owner Representative: We become the owner's agent by entering into an agreement with the owner, usually through a listing agreement, or by agreeing to act as a subagent of the listing agent. We can assist you, the buyer, but do not represent you and must place the interests of the owner first. We cannot disclose to you anything the owner does not want you to know that might impact his ability to get top dollar for his property. (This does not apply to latent defects or items in need of repair, which must be disclosed by the owner.) Almost all of our listing agreements have an intermediary relationship agreement that allows our agents to show you an "in-house" listing.
- Buyer Representative: We become the buyer's agent by entering into an agreement to represent you, usually through a written buyer representation agreement. A buyer's agent can assist the owner, but must place the interests of the buyer first. The buyer’s agent will direct you to the source of information you require to make informed decisions during the buying process. The buyer agency agreement has an expiration date for our relationship and obligates you to work with your chosen agent exclusively until the agreement expires.
- Intermediary: We can act as an intermediary, or transaction broker, without being an advocate for you or the seller. A written contract with you is not required, and we will not disclose to the seller that you will pay a price higher than your original offer. In addition, we cannot disclose to you that the seller will accept less than he is asking. We are required to treat each party to the transaction fairly and comply with the Texas Real Estate License Act.
- Additional information about brokerage services will be presented when you come in to meet with our agents.
"Will you show me properties that are listed with other offices?"
Yes. We can arrange to show you anything on the market, thanks to the multiple listing service (MLS) of the Longview Board of Realtors. We make sure you see all the properties that fit your criteria, no matter who has them listed. Our objective is direct you to a property you'll fall in love with relatively quickly. But if it takes days and miles, that's not a problem.
"Okay, I've found a property I love. What next?"
Summers Cook & Company will help you prepare an offer. We use the standard Texas Real Estate Commission forms with the appropriate specific addendums. We keep up with the best interest rates, and, if you need a loan, we can direct you to a lender. Loan processing usually takes from 30 to 45 days. There are lots of different loan programs out there, and we'll help you find a lender that will find the one that best fits your needs. We will give you an estimate of your closing costs after it’s determined which loan is best for you.
"How will you help me during the closing process?"
Most closings can take place within 4 to 6 weeks, depending on financing. We handle a lot of "behind the scenes" details, like scheduling the home and pest inspections, ordering the survey, negotiating any needed repairs, and keeping you and the seller informed of progress. We'll coordinate a closing time and date with you and the seller, provide you with local utility information, help you with homeowner's insurance, and be at the closing to make sure there are no last-minute details left unattended. Our goal is to make this move your best move!