Business / Economy

Real Estate Snapshots: Have a local Realtor help with home-buying process

Whether you buy a new or existing home, you are in good hands with a local Realtor

You may have noticed a fair amount of new home building going on in San Benito County. First there were the road closures and diversions due to the infrastructure being put in place, now the proliferation of trucks and contractors like so many ants scurrying on job sites.

Who's buying those homes? No one we Realtors know. Because the economy is good and the demand is high, the builders are not working with local Realtors. We are not allowed to represent our clients. We have to turn them over to the companies who process the purchase without us.

If we, per chance, took our clients to see the model homes, we still have to turn them over to the builders. We are given a small flat fee for that privilege. 

So does that mean the buyers are getting gouged and cheated? Not at all. I do not want to imply the builders are in any way unethical or illegal. But it does mean the buyers are left without impartial representation. 

If the economy sours, the builders will begin to work with Realtors again, putting homes on the multiple listing service (MLS) and allowing us to represent our buyers. But they try to avoid that because they know we will negotiate vigorously on behalf of clients. This is not in their best financial interests.

If you are thinking of purchasing a new home in one of the new neighborhoods, my recommendation is you call a local Realtor and ask them to accompany you BEFORE you register for the first time with the builder. Though the Realtor will not be an integral part of the process, at least you will have access to good advice and maybe some recommendations which could save you money.

There is no down side to this. You will not pay the Realtor a dime, but you could save yourself lots of !

Now let's look at existing homes. The inventory of homes listed on the MLS stood at 86 as of Jan. 5. This is down about 15 percent from last month. Of these, six are above $1 million; two are in the 900s; six are in in the 800s; 11 in the 700s; 16 in the 600s; 13 in the 500s; 22 in the 400s; nine in the 300s; and two in the 200s. This price curve is pretty normal for our area.

We expect the inventory to increase as people settle down from the holidays and begin planning for the year ahead.

If you are thinking of making a move this year, now is the time to talk with your Realtor. It is never too soon to start planning. You will want to ready your house for showing and line up your ducks for wherever it is you might be headed. Check in with your mortgage lender to see what programs are out there, and to take care of any credit challenges you might have.

There are many excellent Realtors in Hollister and San Juan Bautista. If you are considering relocating to this county but have an agent in your area, you probably want to ask them to refer you to a local agent rather than having them represent you in an unfamiliar place. It is amazing how much more local agents know about San Benito County than those who are accompanying you and seeing it for the first time!

Local agents know the schools, the services, the neighborhoods, the lenders, the title company personnel, etc. You want to be sure you have the best team possible when buying a new home…even if you end up at the new model homes.

Wishing you the best in 2016. It's a good life!

– Nants Foley is a broker at Four Corners Real Estate Group in Hollister. You may contact her at 831-801-5110 or [email protected] with questions or comments.

Nants Foley - Broker Associate

Nants Foley is a real estate broker DRE 01222234 and writer who works throughout California. She makes her home at Quicksilver Farm in San Benito County.