Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

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  #1  
Old 02-15-2008, 03:18 PM
Ouida Ouida is offline
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Default Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

My husband and I were down in TV for the past four days, looking at homes to buy. We were looking at pre-owned only and saw a few in the VLS (as opposed to the MLS) that we were interested in. As many of you know, but for those of you out there who don't, only a Villages agent can handle VLS listings, whereas outside agents handle the MLS listings. When you are assisted by a VLS agent in the purchase of a pre-owned home, that agent is basically representing both you, the buyer, and the seller as well, which creates a conflict of interest in my mind. We were already too far into the process of buying a home before we realized this fact. Before that realization dawned on us, we were somewhat taken aback that after looking at a particular home, we asked the agent for her input as to how much to offer. She quickly responded that she thought the listing price was reasonable and didn't see any reason to offer less (!!!). We thought that quite odd at the time. We proceeded to make an offer on another house, which was accepted at the time by the seller but who later backed out of the contract. However, that's another story. It was during the process of the agent's preparing the Offer to Purchase paperwork that we got caught up in the excitement of the moment and forgot to request a home warranty on the house we were buying. She made no suggestion or gave us any advice as to what we should include in that contract for our protection or in any terms of looking out for our interests as buyers. We were flat-out on our own with no advocate to represent us or help us in any way. In hindsight, we are glad that the seller backed out because we will not make that mistake again. We will be back down in TV in three weeks to start looking again for a permanent home. But this time, we will deal ONLY with an outside real estate agent so that we will feel more assured that we have at least one person who is looking out for our best interests. Has anyone else had a similar experience?
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Old 02-15-2008, 03:24 PM
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Default Re: Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

I would like a Florida real estate expert to tell me this.

Do not ALL real estate agents in a particular deal represent the SELLER, unless a person has a buyer's broker agreement with an agent?

If you don't have a buyers' broker agreement, aren't you the only person in the entire chain who represents the buyer, who in this case is you yourself?


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Old 02-15-2008, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

I'm not an agent, but have bought many a home over the years.
Agents represent the seller unless they tell you otherwise,
and TV sales reps always represent the seller.

you're on your own and better do your homework, including figuring what to ask and offer

MLS is a bit more buyer-friendly, but get the expectations of representation up front
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2008, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

When I sold my house in New Jersey, I had to sign some form that described the agent/buyer or agent/seller arrangement before anything else happened.

I know things change when you use the VLS - but as JohnN mentioned. VLS represents the seller.

I am also not sure how many of the VLS houses are available to the MLS agents. There was another post around that talked about the relationship.
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Old 02-15-2008, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

It was always my understanding that when a home is on the market by a real estate broker, that broker/salesperson always REPRESENTS THE SELLER ONLY!!! , that is the home owner who contracted with the broker.

However, there are real estate sales persons who can represent the buyer. When I purchased my home I used the services of "my" broker, who only represented ME and my best interests, in the quest for my dream home. I found the property myself in the newspaper, but still used (and shared the commission with seller) my broker's service to do all the paperwork and guide me through the process. All went well.
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  #6  
Old 02-15-2008, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

Unless you specifically get a contract stating that your agent represents you, as the buyer, the agent technically represents the seller. Most buyer agents charge an additional fee above the percentage split to do this. So far as I know, this is pretty universal across the United States.

Another way to get some help is get your own mortgage broker, not one referred by the agent. Many states require that they have their real estate license (I know they do in California). Ask what fees are normally part of the closing, what they would recommend you have done before purchasing. They have a vested interest in your getting a loan and will usually try to help you as much as possible not with just the documentation needed for the loan but in almost any aspect of purchasing if you ask. (If you use the one working with the broker, the odds are they are working together and have less interest in helping you if it might hurt their relationship with "their agent.")

A good agent wants your referrals, your business when you buy/sell again, so will step up and give you good advice no matter which side you are on but is not required to do so.
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Old 02-15-2008, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

The seller contracts with an agent, MLS or VLS to sell their home. *By law they have a fiduciary relationship with the seller and in ALL cases have to represent the sellers best interest. *If you want an agent to represent you, hire a buyer's agent and get an agreement in writing. *In the case of VLS I would decide what to offer, stick to that amount, make sure you have an attorney represent you and review the contract for sale. *But have someone who is representing you in this transaction. *The VLS agent is representing the seller only. *As long as you understand that going in, there is no reason not to look at the VLS listings. *In my experience they had the majority of the available proprieties anyway. *I used both but ended up buying a VLS home. *By not looking at those homes you are only seeing a small persentage of the available homes. *I let both agents, VLS and MLS, know right up front I was looking with both and my intention was to buy the home with the best value that met my needs. *
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  #8  
Old 02-15-2008, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

Real estate agents may take offense at this, but there is a reality to these transactions - the agent represents neither the buyer nor seller. The agent is strictly an intermediary to a transaction. RE Agents can't provide legal advice. Relying on a RE Agent for business advice is at your own risk.

Real estate offices are in the business to help promote the sale of real estate - the more, the better. Getting the buyer a little more money or the seller a lower price always seemed secondary (to me, at least) to turning property over at the fastest speed possible, the idea being that a lot of quick commissions are more profitable than advising one party or the other on the value of the offer which can delay (or kill) the potential of a transaction actually occurring. In the end, the primary activity has always seemed to get the buyer to spend money, because unless someone is willing to part with cash, no deal happens. If there is no deal, there is no commission.

There is an old commercial adage that taking advice from someone working on commissions based on what you spend or receive is folly, as that person has a vested and fiduciary interest in the outcome of the transaction. There is no objectivity, and therefore no value, to the advice.

Despite all the rhetoric and hyperbole to the contrary in all the real estate broker brochures, the only one you can rely upon to protect your interests in a real estate transaction is yourself or another advisor (attorney or agent) who is being paid independent of the transaction (in other words, not on commission).

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Old 02-15-2008, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

Oshenluva: Go check out Willoughby Golf community in Stuart. Great homes. It's on the Atlantic side. Even if it's not what you want, check it out. Course is great and the homes are heavenly.
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Old 02-15-2008, 05:57 PM
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Default Re: Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnN
I'm not an agent, but have bought many a home over the years.
Agents represent the seller unless they tell you otherwise,
and TV sales reps always represent the seller.

you're on your own and better do your homework, including figuring what to ask and offer

MLS is a bit more buyer-friendly, but get the expectations of representation up front
...what JohnN said. That's the way it is.

--and now for my morning dissertation. Today it is about real estate.

Where I live, the agent always represented the seller. The MLS listing contract is between the seller and the MLS through the listing agent and the agent's brokerage. That contract means that every agent in the MLS is working for the seller. --even if the agent is the one driving you around, maybe even buying you lunch, and who has never even laid eyes on the seller.

It is the selling price that dictates how much the listing agent, the selling agent, and the brokerage for each get paid. Therefore, everybody in the MLS is working for the seller. An agent makes the most money by selling his/her own listings. A brokerage makes the most money when the agents sell in-house listings.

But there is a reason why I said "represented" above instead of "represents." There is something relatively new in my state. It's a buyer's agent. But they are still paid by the seller so I don't quite get it. I think it has to with a disclosure form that says they are working for the buyer. - not sure.

VLS agents are a hybrid of sorts so it seems. They do not come under the MLS. I believe they once did, but that has all changed. My best guess is that their first obligation is to the developer. That's OK, too. You just have to understand it.

JohnN said it well.

You have to realize that you are really the only one who is working for you. A good agent of either the MLS or the VLS must be able to bring it all together in what has been called The Art of the Deal. But you have to do your homework and know your postion.

The TV market is probably going through some transition right now. Agents there were once able to give potential buyers a do or die window of just a few hours to make the decision to sign on the dotted line. Potential buyers had often just sold their homes in other parts of the country for quite a nice profit. All of that drove the market in TV. The houses there were selling really fast. Urgency was constantly in the air. My guess is that things have calmed down a bit.

Anyway, find yourself two agents, one VLS and one MLS. Make sure you are comfortable with them. Tell them what you want to see and where in TV. Don't waste anybody's time by looking at homes out of your price range or in a location you would never consider. TV hosts a lot of Open Houses which can help you get a feel for the various models.

You have to be clear on how agents get paid. It's OK. But you just have to keep it in mind, all through the process. Agents earn their pay by selling houses. The higher the price of the house, the higher the paycheck. But a good agent knows how to put a deal together. A good agent needs to be able to do more than just remain in "take it or leave it" mode.

It always comes back around to the fact that the market will bear what the market will bear.

But through all kinds of real estate markets, the buyer must understand his/her position. You look out for your own interests. That may be by hiring an attorney to make sure you are clear on everything. That attorney would be on your dime.
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Old 02-15-2008, 06:10 PM
Boomer Boomer is offline
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Default Re: Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

barb1191,

You make an excellent point about considering FSBO's. I agree that an attorney should always be in a FSBO.

There are a lot a people who are not comfortable with FSBO's. We are. We will definitely consider FSBO's, too, when we return to TV.
  #12  
Old 02-15-2008, 07:08 PM
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Default A Real Estate Agent Only Gets Paid When The Sale Closes

SteveZ has it right in his earlier reply. Like him, my experience has been that all real estate agents act in a way to bring seller and buyer together to consummate a sale. They may be "your" agent as a buyer or seller, but in the end they all try to get the buyer and seller to agree on terms and a price so that the deal closes. They don't get paid until that happens! And both buyers and sellers agents are somewhat motivated to close sales at higher prices rather than lower as their commission is generally stated as a percentage of the selling price.

There may be a difference with the agents of The Properties of the Villages. I have heard that they are salaried employees of TV and don't earn a commission on sales, although I'm not certain of that. Their job, it seems, is to bring resident-seller and new resident-buyer together to get a house sold. To a degree, they are competing with themselves in that they show and sell both pre-owned homes as well as new. In that sense, it seems that they would be motivated to keep the prices of pre-owned houses "up" so as to keep the selling residents happy and not create a pool of more cheaply priced homes that would compete with the new homes being offered by the developer.

While this may seem like not the best deal for a new buyer, in the long run supporting the prices of homes in TV is probably in the best interests of everyone concerned--new buyer (who eventually will sell), seller, as well as the developer.
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Old 02-15-2008, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

In 2004 we went to the sales office in May and were pushed into making a deposit on a home while only here for 1 day. Our house had an offer, so we THOUGHT we were all set. Our buyer backed out. We gave him his deposit back because it had only been a couple of weeks. Within 30 days of our TV contract we were not able to sell, so we lost our $5000 deposit (villiges agent was no help and said "live and learn") and the house in TV went back on the market. I continued to look online at MLS and TV listings. In Aug. we sold our home. The original home we put the deposit on wanted a new $5000 deposit and would not put our original $5000 towards the sale. I was not going to give them one red cent. I saw a nice place here and flew down the next day. We bought the MLS listed house with a GREAT agent (NON-VILLAGES) and were settled in by the end of Sept.. The original TV house we put a deposit on sat unsold for 4-5 more months after we moved here. After further research we found it was way OVERPRICED for its size!! After keeping our $5000 we couldn't have been happier for them! Our home is MUCH nicer and MUCH bigger than the one we lost the money on. Some things happen for a reason!! (I felt that since it was within 30 days we should have rec'd SOME of our dep. back) The owners were lawyer/investors living in a million dollar TV home!!! Shame on us for not inquiring about the deposit being returned if a breach was made on our home back north. It was a huge $5000 mistake. Take your time, don't "Live and learn"!
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Old 02-15-2008, 11:33 PM
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Default Re: Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

Boomer BeBack was complimentary to me. I think legally and by the rules I'm right in that the agent represents the seller. HOWEVER, SteveZ says it best, it's human nature to want to move those properties and collect the commissions, regardless of what the buyer pays or seller gets, on a $200K property commission, it's the big $$ that count, not the last $10K that is usually the haggle.

Like many have said here, get a VLS and MLS agent both, so you get to see all properties, but you are your own best agent. You and the folks here, who are really knowledgeable and have no vested monetary interest in filling their pockets with your cash.
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Old 02-16-2008, 12:05 AM
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Default Re: Villages Pre-owned Home Buyers, Beware

What a great discussion and topic! We have been to TV twice. Once "accidentally" to visit my uncle and his wife. We took the tour, stayed an extra and spent a week here last July (to see if we could stand the heat). While here in July, I searched Goolge to find out more (balanced) facts about TV than what I found in the Daily Sun. I found TOTV. This has been the best medium for getting the view of those who have bought in TV. We have a very nice sales rep and tend to forget that she works for the Developer. This discussion thread continues to remind me that we can't put all of our test in agents who are not independent.

We'll be back this summer again and hope to buy next year AFTER we sell our house in Pittsburgh. The live style of TV appears to be that unending vacation that we have never taken. TOTV tempers this with real life experiences. As I talk up TV, I also talk up TOTV. Membership in TOTV should be required for anyone considering buying in TV.

Thank you all for making this education possible.
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