BJH: Tell us a little about yourself.
RZ: My family and I moved to Baltimore 7 years ago, and we love living here! The community is warm and inviting; we feel like we have been here forever!
I started my working life as a special education teacher but I was always fascinated by real estate. A few years ago, I decided to get my real estate license and have been working in the industry part-time since then. Recently, I decided to leave education and focus solely on real estate.
BJH: What do you enjoy about real estate?
RZ: Being a teacher gave me skills that translated well into real estate. Teachers excel at helping, guiding and mentoring children in new situations, and being a real estate agent uses very similar skills! Buying and selling a home is a big decision and there are a lot of details to go over in the contract. In Maryland, the agent manages the entire transaction from beginning to end. Helping clients understand the process, and walking them through it, is something I really enjoy. Helping people find a home they love gives me a lot of pleasure!
BJH: What does an agent actually do?
RZ: It’s important to understand the role of an agent, so that you can see why it is recommended to use one when buying or selling a home. An agent’s priority is to make a home purchase/sale as smooth and easy as possible.
Your agent is your advocate during all parts of the buying/selling process. They will support you through the entire process and help to make sure you are protected from any potential issues that come up.
Hiring the right real estate agent who brings experience, professionalism, and expertise to the table can make a huge difference.
BJH: Why should a buyer use an agent?
RZ: A buyer’s agent is an advocate to help someone get a home at a fair price with minimal issues. Agents are experts in your target neighborhood, so they can help you find the perfect home for you. They help negotiate terms of the sale and they are there to ensure that there are no surprises. Agents handle all the paperwork and make sure all deadlines are met. They can also work with the mortgage company to keep the home buying process simple and streamlined. Generally, buyers don’t pay the agent fee, so it’s always in their best interest to work with a knowledgeable and professional agent to help get the deal to the finish line!
BJH: Why should a seller use an agent? Why not do “For sale by Owner”?
RZ: Yes, sellers are generally the ones who pay the commission fee to the real estate agents in a transaction. That makes it a harder decision for a seller to work with an agent.
Research shows that sellers who sell their home with an agent can often get 15-25% more than they had hoped to originally get. One big advantage is that Seller’s agents can market the home to a greater audience. Additionally, an agent can negotiate a strong transaction, manage an overwhelming, emotionally charged process and can prevent costly mistakes. Their knowledge of the market and the market trends helps a seller achieve top dollar for their home.
BJH: What’s with the market these days? Houses have gotten so expensive!
RZ: Unfortunately, the rules of supply and demand have come into play. Our community is known to be warm and friendly, and it has grown exponentially. The more popular the neighborhood, the more a house will cost.
Additionally, many homeowners were able to lock in very low mortgage rates. This makes them less willing and interested in moving, which leads to fewer houses available for buyers.
BJH: Will the price of houses go down? Will mortgage rates drop?
RZ: I wish I knew the future! There is no way to know what will be. Interest rates at 2-3% which we recently saw was a rare occurrence; mortgage rates have historically been at 7-9+%. While it may cause some sticker shock when buying a home, it’s important to note that buying a house is usually the financially prudent thing for people to do- it’s always a safer economic choice than renting and has numerous tax and financial benefits for people. Rates can change and if someone buys at a higher mortgage rate they can always refinance along the way.
BJH: What should people look for in an agent?
RZ: An agent/client relationship is a partnership- you need to find someone you are comfortable working with. Do your research! Ask your friends and family who they recommend. Look for someone who is knowledgeable about the local market and industry, honest, communicative, and who understands you and your needs. Feel free to ask an agent questions to determine if they are the right fit for you.
I would love to work with you on buying or selling your home and am available to answer any more questions you may have about real estate! Feel free to reach out to me via phone, email or text.
Best wishes for a Kesiva V’chasima Tova!