There are numerous benefits to hiring a professional real estate agent and working with them closely throughout each step of the process of buying or selling your home.
This is one of the most complex transactions in our economy and likely the largest single purchase that most buyers ever make in their lives; with the amount of legal maneuvering, regulations, and taxes that come into play on even the most seemingly straightforward process, there is a lot to keep track of. By working with an experienced real estate pro, you can benefit from their accumulated experience and reduce the amount of stress you need to take on yourself.
Those who choose to enter this process completely on their own without formal training will likely find themselves at the same disadvantage as if you forgo legal representation to act as your own lawyer in court. You might feel as though you are saving on fees in the short term, but you will ultimately pay the price that comes with your lack of knowledge and expertise; specifically you will dramatically limit your ability to effectively negotiate on your behalf, miss out on critical market knowledge and insights, and likely find yourself drowning in large quantities of paperwork.
Working with a seasoned real estate pro makes everything simpler; they reduce the spam coming into your line of visibility and ensure you see properties that are the right fit for you. You benefit from their innate knowledge of the market and long-term trends in your region. If you seek to understand the long-term trajectory of buying trends and where the next hot developments are in Jacksonville, for example, you can learn far more working with the expert team at Redzone Realty Group.
Given the plethora of licensed real estate professionals aggressively pitching their expertise via increasingly creative marketing strategies, how can you be sure to pick out the really outstanding agents from the crowd? There are a few key factors to pay particular attention to when selecting a high quality real estate agent to work with throughout each step of your purchase or sale.
They should be continually adding value to you at each junction by providing insights into what is happening in the broader marketplace and how you can best position yourself to achieve your goals. Are they informed about what is happening in the region on a 5-10 year basis? Can they cogently explain what factors are driving demand and creating opportunities in your region?
A clear warning sign to steer clear is when an agent is overly zealous to close a deal, to the point that they don’t take the time to get to know you or seem to be pressuring you to make a hasty decision. The right agent is one with the calm and patience to see guiding you to the best fit for you as a success – even if it takes a longer timeline than a snap decision will allow.
An increasingly visible sign of a good agent today is their ability to use technology in creative ways to enhance the real estate process. Do they offer virtual tours that allow you to see some properties from the comfort of your home? Can they help with or advise on ways to make properties more attractive with advanced photography methods? The more they are comfortable with thinking outside the box and using new tools, the more likely it is that they are a continual student of their job – and always finding new ways to better serve their clients.
Building trust is an absolutely essential component of working effectively with a real estate agent. Given the high stakes and complexity of any home purchase or sale, you need to have the utmost confidence in the ability of your agent to effectively deliver and provide you the best counsel possible.
One way to ensure that you can trust a real estate agent is to look at the experience that past customers have had working with them. Be sure to check out their customer testimonials, which is easier than ever today thanks to online forums like Yelp, in addition to the testimonials available on their website. And don’t rest there – ask your agent if you can speak to a few customers directly to allow you their personal perspective…and so you can ask follow-up questions.
Take the time to get to know your agent. Test how willing they are to answer your questions and explore your options. If they continually keep one eye on the clock and seem to be pressuring you into making a fast decision on something as life-changing as a home purchase, it is a strong sign that they are less focused on getting you into the best property possible and more focused on landing themselves a profitable deal in a hurry.
You can also tell a lot about the trustworthiness of a real estate agent by their listening skills. Do they refer back to your previous conversations or do you find yourself needing to remind them again and again that you are looking to downsize to a condo? While most successful agents will indeed be balancing the demands of a range of clients, it is not unreasonable to expect them to develop some understanding of your needs and personal situation without you needing to refresh them in every conversation.
Selecting the right real estate agent always begins with doing your homework. Don’t limit yourself to checking out the testimonials of clients on their websites; in the internet of transparency, you can delve deep into their past successes and failures with a simple Google search. While not every customer review should be read as gospel, you can likely pick out a trend if an agent is consistently delivering underwhelming service to customers.
First impressions can last a lifetime so also be sure to check out their web presence and social media platforms. If you see plenty of signs of happy customers and evidence of an engaged web presence that seeks to demystify the real estate process for new buyers, it is a sign that you are in good hands.
There are plenty of agents out there who know how to talk persuasively and put out slick ads. The true workhorses and innovators stand out with specifics and knowledge. What are they doing to use new technologies to make the process of buying a home more straightforward and painless for customers, especially first-time buyers? What do they see as the broader trends impacting the real estate market in the region? Are they willing to push back on your ideas when you need to be challenged or are they willing to say and do anything just to close a sale? By having frank conversations and probing your prospective agent to determine the limits of their knowledge, you can ensure that you are working with the right real estate agent for you.
The real estate industry is an absolute ball to work in; it can be one of the most fun fields to work in – if you aren’t afraid of a little hard work.
One of the most enticing things about working in real estate is that you can become involved in a wide range of truly fascinating areas – everything from sales to construction to marketing to customer service – all in support of one of the most beautiful things you may ever see in this life: helping an individual or family find the perfect home or location for them.
At the end of the day, even with all of the technology that is now at our disposal, this is still largely a people business that is rooted in personal relationships. Real estate agents often develop very strong, close relationships with their customers over the course of their purchases and home searches – so it can be a very satisfying, if sometimes bittersweet, feeling when a purchase is finally made and the property search process comes to an end. There are few greater feelings of accomplishment than helping that person secure the right place for their needs.
There is often, of course, a lot of freedom which attracts many to the real estate field to begin with. Shackled down with a 9-5 job in an office, many love the idea of working when they want to, with no ceiling on what they can hope to earn. This is indeed one of the most powerful benefits of working in real estate, but be warned – it also means that you need to be incredibly self-motivated and entrepreneurial. With nobody breathing down your neck to meet a quota, it will be up to you to maintain your drive and commitment to succeed, even when you would perhaps rather be doing anything else. As long as you are self-motivated and truly love the thrill of the chase that comes with the real estate game, there are few professions that are anywhere near as exciting and fulfilling.
The question of whether a realtor can represent both a buyer and seller is a good question. As with many, the answer largely depends on a few factors. You can easily imagine the implications and potential likelihood of a conflict of interest for the broker when they are working with all parties in a pending real estate transaction. As the old adage says, it can be challenging to serve two masters at once.
You will need to make sure that you have built a strong relationship grounded in trust with your agent if they are representing both parties, to ensure that they are not representing the interests of one. Take special care to note how quickly they respond to your questions and if they are flexible in meeting your requests, compared to how they treat the other party. If you find that you aren’t receiving responses in a timely fashion or you are continually met with seemingly unreasonable requests, it is a good sign that the agent is not treating each party in the transaction equally.
Be aware that the law generally doesn’t require the agent to be fully transparent so it will depend on their sense of ethics and your level of trust. Most laws do generally stipulate that dual agents are obligated to let a buyer or seller know that the other party is willing to consider a lower price without the buyer or seller’s consent.
A standard rule of thumb when considering this situation is that it is indeed legal, but you should proceed with caution and be sure to work with an agent you trust – no different, when you think about it, than any other real estate deal or major purchase.
Jacksonville is wonderful – a terrific place to live, work, and raise a family. No matter what you are looking for in your next home, you can find it here with beautiful weather to boot – that’s why so many continue to flock here: both the 12th fastest-growing city in the U.S. and the 12th most populous.
It presents a unique blend of everything that people love about Florida living – beautiful sunshine, abundant recreational opportunities, rock-bottom taxes – along with many of the perks that those who leave Middle America come to miss if they leave the heartland behind for the sunny environs of, say, South Beach. Jacksonville is one of the most affordable areas of the state in comparison, despite offering some world-class amenities in the form of its miles of beaches and golf resorts. Part of the cost difference comes with the sheer land turf that Jacksonville covers – at 875 miles across its city limits, it stands as the single largest municipality in the States, even larger than famously sprawling Sun Belt cities like Phoenix. This means that it can take a bit longer than most cities to get from Point A to Point B; underscoring the need to know exactly what kind of experience you want to have when you move here. It can be difficult to generalize broadly about the area given how many different kinds of experiences you can have depending on where you decide to set up your roots.
If you want a walkable, “young urban professional” vibe, you can certainly find that in some of the neighborhoods popping up around downtown with abundant options for nightlife lovers and foodies. Or you can head out to the suburbs where you can find abundant space for a yard and easy access to the area’s beaches on the highway. You really can choose your own adventure here.
Even with the influx of newcomers to the area, it still maintains a very strong personal and cultural atmosphere that you might associate more with the American south (we are jutting along the Georgia border after all). It isn’t uncommon to meet someone out doing errands and be struck by their politeness and general Southern hospitality – not to mention how many Alabama football fans you will find watching kick-off on game day at local bars.
It truly depends what you are looking for in your next move. In my perspective, there isn’t any such thing as a good or bad neighborhood in the region – just the area that makes the most sense for you.
Consider the wide range of options at your fingertips here – Jacksonville residents live in everything from multi-million dollar condos to golf courses in gated communities to small but hip studio apartments downtown within a few feet of bars and nightspots.
Riverside is a great place to consider if you’re single and new to town, looking for plenty of options for recreation and meeting other singles. The area also attracts plenty of medical professionals due to its close access to the cutting-edge campus at St. Vincent’s Medical Center.
If you fancy yourself as an artist type, you won’t find the same creative ecosystem as in New York City (not that anywhere can quite compete) but you can find plenty of hip craft beer places and like-minded peers in the San Marco area.
If all you care about is quick access to the beaches and you don’t want to lose too much time in traffic waiting to get there, you can look into Mayport or one of the other neighborhoods around Jacksonville beaches – where nothing holds you back from getting to the Atlantic Ocean first thing in the morning.
The options go on and on and they can be overwhelming. If you are new to the area and looking for expert insight into what you can hope to get from your first neighborhood, consider talking to some local experts on the market – such as the team at Redzone Realty Group – who can help steer you in the right direction of making a decision about your next potential home.
Yes! Jacksonville is a wonderful place to live – no matter what you are looking for from your next home (unless you are determined to scrape ice off your windshield every morning or need to go skiing on a regular basis, in which case you probably are better off looking elsewhere).
It offers world-class beaches, golfing, great places to eat and drink, and a vibrant downtown – all located under beautiful sunshine virtually all year long.
If you have kids or visitors, it is also just a quick drive away to some of the state’s other world-class attractions like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. It is certainly a great perk that access to attractions like these is readily in reach, while allowing you to live in a much cheaper and lower-stress area.
As one of both the largest and fastest-growing cities in the region, the area offers abundant professional opportunities for job seekers. There is an especially large contingent of military families in the region who pass through Jacksonville on deployments or postings and find themselves staying here long term after they fall in love with the area’s abundant charms and opportunities.
So much of Florida is essentially a vacation-paradise. It caters to fantasies about what people think they want from life – whether it’s Disney for kids, retirement retreats for the elderly, or the nightlife scene in Miami for college kids. The beauty of Jacksonville is that it offers a place full of real people and real community; the area isn’t choked with tourists like many other parts of the state. You can actually build a real meaningful community of people who care about each other here and who are committed to helping the region continue to grow.
As wonderful a place as Jacksonville is for most who live here, nowhere is perfect (not even a place with virtually perfect weather). There will inevitably be some days now and again that you will wish you were living somewhere, even anywhere else.
Even though Jacksonville is far more affordable than many bustling parts of Florida, your cost of gasoline could well be higher given the sheer size and sprawl of the area, which often necessitates driving long distances. The traffic in general often proves to be one of the most cited downsides among many who otherwise love living in the area. The lack of many investments in public transit can certainly be a downside for those who may be seeking to live a largely car-free lifestyle.
You also should keep in mind that Jacksonville is its own unique place. It is certainly not Miami and it is not Orlando. There may not be endless nightlife or food options in comparison, especially when it comes to evening hours. Despite being one of the largest cities in America (at least as far as land mass is concerned) it still retains a bit of a smaller city/small town, laid-back atmosphere that might not sit with well with you if you are looking for a megacity experience.
The question of whether or not the time is right to buy a house in Jacksonville will always sit with you, the buyer, but the odds are very good that the answer is yes when you consider that buying a home is the best strategy for many Americans to attain meaningful wealth and that owning one’s own home often puts one far ahead faster than renting.
That said, larger concerns about the broader real estate market certainly leave an impact on the Jacksonville market; a December survey from Fannie Mae found a declining number of Americans saying it’s a good time to buy a home, largely due to higher mortgage rates and increased home prices.
As far as the timing this year, this is some indication that buyers generally tend to get better deals in January and earlier in the calendar year than sellers in August (perhaps due to trends in holiday travelers), but at the end of the day, I believe there is little gain to be found from trying to time to market. In the end, you are the one to decide whether the time is right to buy a home in Jacksonville. Are you prepared to make a commitment to the area that will last at least a few years at the very minimum? Do you have your financial house in order, with savings for a down payment and ongoing indications of new income? Are you ready to do your homework and partner with a trusted team of real estate advisors (like the talent at Redzone Realty Group)? If so, you are ready to find your Jacksonville dream home.
Jacksonville is a red hot real estate investing market, regularly topping end-of-year lists for the most dynamic areas in the country for investors to watch. The area continues to grow rapidly, attracting ongoing influxes of residents and tracking well for job vacancies and especially affordability. In fact, research findings from Realtor.com projected in May 2019 that Jacksonville will continue growing faster than the national average at 0.5 percent home sales growth.
Unlike many in-demand regions in bustling cities, however, the demand has not resulted in Jacksonville’s cost of living to skyrocket out of control; thanks to the area’s sprawling land mass and the state’s long tradition of low taxes, there is plenty of breathing room and relief for the wallet to be found here among residents.
Up-and-coming neighborhoods like Murray Hill in Jacksonville continue to attract new residents and create emerging opportunities for businesses and services catering to those residents.
With that said, prices are beginning to climb across the Jacksonville area, a trend we increasingly see from our team’s vantage point at Redstone Realty Group. If you are on the cusp of making a home purchase or investment in the region, now may be the right time for you to act quickly in getting into or expanding your involvement in the local market.