Real Estate Information Archive


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Dave Ramsey's Advice on Selling Your House

by Mark Brace

Dave Ramsey was asked "What are the advantages of using a real estate agent versus going the for-sale-by-owner route when it comes to selling a home?"

His response was this:

I've had a real estate license for 30 years. If I were to put my personal residence on the market today, I'd use an active real estate agent who really knows his or her stuff in the marketplace. I'd gladly pay them their commission, too.

Now, why would I do a for-sale-by-owner, or FSBO, I'm only getting my place in front of buyers I can attract from seeing a newspaper ad, Craigslist and anyone who happens to drive by the house. If you go with a high-octane real estate agent, you will have the advantage of being exposed to his or her entire pool of buyers.

More importantly, you will be in the MLS or Multiple Listing Service, database. There, you will immediately have thousands of potential buyers.

So, who do you think will have the best chance of selling your house? Market exposure is everything in the real estate game.

And think about this: Even if you went the FSBO route every time you moved, you might do three or four of these transactions in a lifetime. A good agent closed three or four deals last week. They will know all the ins and outs of buying and selling a home, and they'll walk you through every step of the process. Research has shown that, between basic mistakes, pricing errors and lack of negotiating skills, you will cost yourself more than the agent's commission by trying to sell it yourself.

Trust me, you will get a much better deal-with a lot less hassle- by using a top-flight real estate agent.

Dealing With IRS Tax Credit Rejections

by Mark Brace

The IRS has been rejecting first-time home buyer claims from anyone who shows a Form 1098 Mortgage Interest Expense in their prior year files.

In many cases, the applicants are entitled to the credit because their previous mortgage interest deduction is for a timeshare, mobile home, boat, or other recreational property.

If you have a client who is in this unfortunate position, here is some advice from Enrolled Agent Eva Rosenberg, who authors the Web site

Respond to the IRS immediately and tell them why their rejection is wrong. Be prepared to prove that the mortgage the IRS is seeing isn’t on a personal residence. First-time home buyers are entitled to own other types of real estate and still get the home buyers credit, so provide proof that the previous mortgage was on something else.

Send a letter explaining the situation and providing proof of a previous rental or other non-ownership living situation, including copies of rental contracts for the last three years, an old driver's license showing that address, utility bills, etc.

Home buyers who believe the IRS may view their situation in this way should be proactive, providing proof that they are a first-time buyer when they initially file for the credit.

Anyone who is rejected after two attempts to explain the problem to the IRS should call the Taxpayers Advocate Service toll-free, (877) 777-4778, their Congressman, and their Senator, Rosenberg advises.

Source:, Eva Rosenberg, EA (06/16/2010)

Buying a Builder Home Without Representation

by Mark Brace

This is a repost from an Agent in Arizona: Joyce Thomas at US Preferred Realty

Article : Buying a Builder Home Without Representation Can be a Nightmare

Buying a Builder Home Without Representation Can be a Nightmare.  This is a scary and unfortunately true story.  All names are being protected in this story.  Buyers need to take buying a home from a builder very seriously when they enter a builder's sales center and make sure they are fully represented by a Buyer's Agent (Realtor).

The main thing to keep in mind is that the "Realtors" working for the builder are actually "Salespeople".  They are trying to meet a quota for the week or month, to get their next plaque on the wall, or win the turkey for Thanksgiving.  It is quite unfortunate that Buying a Builder Home Without Representation Can be a Nightmare.

This story starts with a very nice couple in their early 50's (let's call them Bob and Bobbie Buyer) tagging along with their friends while they buy their new home.  Once the Salesperson (lets call her Susie Salesperson) working for the builder had sold the community and a new home to their friends, she turns to Bob & Bobbie Buyer and says, "So are you ready to buy a home?".  Bob & Bobbie Buyer, who had absolutely no intention of buying a home (new or resale) told Susie Salesperson "no".  But Susie (being a top Salesperson in 2006 and having won all kinds of awards for meeting sales quota) continued to use her newly learned sales pitches to pressure them by telling them, "Well let's have you get preapproved through our inhouse mortgage company just to see what you can afford.  After all wouldn't you like to live here with your friends in a beautiful new home in this fabulous community?" (Sell, sell, sell Susie Salesperson was doing.)

So you are probably thinking, "Sounds like the typical builder salesperson."  Thats what I thought too until they told me what the salesperson told them to do.  They didn't qualify for the new home through the inhouse lender, so Susie Salesperson told them that all they had to do was change their tax records so they would qualify (just for the loan of course).  I don't know about you, but I think that's ILLEGAL????  When Bob & Bobbie Buyer questioned her, she said, "Oh it's just for the purpose of your loan and then you just do an addendum to your taxes to correct them."  Buying a Builder Home Without Representation Can be a Nightmare especially when it is a salesperson such as this one!  But this "Salesperson" learned this from somewhere.....hmmmm…maybe the builder taught her to do this?  Scary!! 

The saddest thing about this story is that Bob & Bobbie truly could not afford this home and never should have been approved for a mortgage.  However, the excitement created by Susie Salesperson got them into a home that drained their assets and put them into Grand Rapids Foreclosures, ruining their credit.  They were happy renting a home and never had any intention of buying a home.  Unfortunately, they got caught up in the thrill of owning a home (after all they had never owned a home - ever!).  Now, they are renting a home again waiting on a buyer to put an offer on their home which is listed as a Grand Rapids Short Sales to try to avoid foreclosure because of this horrible experience of Buying a Builder Home Without Representation Can be a Nightmare.

Any buyers reading this, please beware that you must be represented by a Buyer's Agent (Your Realtor) when buying a home through a builder.  The builder's salesperson represents the Builder and is doing everything in their power to get the best deal for the seller (builder).  They work just like used care salespersons.  They receive a "draw" as income and when they make a sale they pay back their "draw".  If they go without making a sale, they could get fired or laid off and owe the builder money for the draws and lack of sales.  They are high pressure salespeople. When you buy a home directly through the builder without representation, you give up your right to be professionally and fully represented in the transaction and could end up in a very unfortunate situation like these poor buyers did. 

The best thing is that using a Buyer's Agent to help you buy a home costs you absolutely nothing.  The seller (builder) always pays the Buyer's Agent - you never pay anything! Buying a Builder Home Without Representation Can be a Nightmare!  Make sure you are fully and professionally represented by a Buyer's Agent (a Realtor) before stepping foot into a builder's sales office, even if you are just tagging along with a friend to look at model homes. 

A Buyer's Agent as the following fiduciary duties to you.  A Buyer's Agent must:

  • Be loyal and act in your best interest
  • Obey your lawful instructions
  • Protect your confidence
  • Exercise reasonable skill and diligence when answering your questions
  • Be accountable for handling funds and paperwork
  • Present all offers in a timely fashion

A Buyer's Agent works for YOU fully.  We are Accredited Buyer Representatives (ABR) and recognized through the National Assocation of Realtors.  As your Buyer's Agent, we act on your behalf to get you the best deal possible on the purchase of your new home, whether it be through a builder, a bank or a regular resale home.  Remember, Buying a Builder Home Without Representation Can be a Nightmare.

This is a re-post with Credit to: Joyce Thomas at US Preferred Realty

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3

Contact Information

Mark Brace, Realtor, ABR, GRI, CRS, SRES, e-PRO, A
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
3000 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids MI 49525
Direct: (616) 447-7025
Cell: (616) 540-7705
Fax: (616) 447-7025

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Michigan Real Estate is a full service, locally operated real estate brokerage company backed by the strength of a solid national and global brand. Our full service businesses include Residential, Commercial, Relocation, Mortgage, Insurance, Home Services and New Homes & Land. Our core values, service philosophy, cutting edge technology, and most importantly our people are what make us the leading real estate company in Michigan. We are committed to providing the highest quality real estate services possible and making each customer's experience one that surpasses their expectations.