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Interviewing Realtors and Builders
Paragon C&D Builders / Vallone Real Estate
Wednesday, December 21, 2011 • Posted December 22, 2011 10:29 AM

You should always interview several realtors and builders before selecting one. You might be surprised at what you get. Most realtors and builders will be prepared to present their marketing campaign to you. And if they aren’t, think twice before you select them. Here are a few things to think about:

Let’s start with selecting a realtor. Whether you are listing or even buying a property, how do you go about finding that right agent? Reputation is the most important thing. But even reputation has questions that need to go with it. So many agents are all about what they can get for themselves they forget they are representing the seller or buyer. Greed can take over and you have to beware. Did you know a lot of agents will adjust their commission if representing both the buyer and seller? Did you know some agents pay to advertise in many areas other than just their local MLS (Multiple Listing Service)? Ask to see the agent’s marketing process. The new trend is a virtual office – agents don’t need a physical location. They can totally operate on the road. Using smart phones, iPads, wireless laptops, and more can enable an agent to meet with clients in local restaurants, show listings on the go, and more. Technology plays a big part in how an agent operates. Also, does this agent stay current with the new laws and regulations to help their clients? Participation in local boards and associations keeps the agent aware of the latest news to help sale or education their clients. Remember, you are hiring them to represent you at their best. And last, but not least, select a local broker and their agents. They represent their area and the economic development within their community. For instance, if you select an Austin broker, money goes out of your area. So again, interview at lease 3 agents, and compare the apples to apples in your selections. You just might be surprised.

Now how do you go about selecting that builder? Again, interview at least 3 and compare, compare, compare. Look at how they start a project, follow through, and end. Get referrals from past clients. Does the builder complete their projects on time? Does the builder truly oversee each new home, remodel, or special project? Some just get the job and send their people. Is this what you are paying for? What type of materials do they use? Some builders want to take on anything that comes their way and over-extend themselves. This tells me they are all about money. Others only take on what they can keep their hands on and not over-extend. When they don’t over-extend themselves, it allows them to stay on top of anything that might happen on the jobsite and make those deadlines. Remember, if you are building a home, it is not cheap. Living in the Hill Country even adds additional cost. Wells, a septic system, electric, and roads can cost a tremendous amount and you still haven’t even gotten to the cost of the house. Square footage from a custom builder can start at $125/sq.ft. and go up, depending on what you want in your home. Yes, you can build a cheaper house with tract builders, but this is comparing apples to bananas. So think about what you want and interview a few different builders.

In both scenarios, realtors and builders, you get what you pay for or, if you don’t do your homework, no telling what you might get. Always, compare what you will get for your time and money. And don’t forget, communication from the realtors and builders is a key component in your final relationship. Good luck!

For all your real estate and building needs or questions, call Debbie at 830-833-4249 or 713-818-6658, or send an email to debbie@vallonerealestate.net.

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