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    Originally posted by bjmcgeever View Post
    We're in the process of buying our first home too. We're moving to The Woodlands, and the housing market is just nuts. Houses are sold before they even go on the market. We were trying to put an offer on one, but it was already taken after being on the market not even 48 hours. Living 90 miles away doesn't make it any easier either.
    I just noticed this post. I'll be in Spring. The house I'm getting is 10 minutes from the new ExxonMobil campus and 15 minutes from the Woodlands mall.

    Housing is selling like crazy there due to the extra 2100 families coming in because of the new ExxonMobil campus. Stuff is selling in 2-4 days after being put on the market and even then it's at more than asking price. That's why we went with new construction. I get locked in at a price and get a house the way we want it. By the time my house is built, it will probably be worth about $40K more than I'm paying for it. Although in Texas you don't want your house increasing in price too much due to the high property tax rate.

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      Originally posted by Vicious49 View Post
      I just noticed this post. I'll be in Spring. The house I'm getting is 10 minutes from the new ExxonMobil campus and 15 minutes from the Woodlands mall.

      Housing is selling like crazy there due to the extra 2100 families coming in because of the new ExxonMobil campus. Stuff is selling in 2-4 days after being put on the market and even then it's at more than asking price. That's why we went with new construction. I get locked in at a price and get a house the way we want it. By the time my house is built, it will probably be worth about $40K more than I'm paying for it. Although in Texas you don't want your house increasing in price too much due to the high property tax rate.
      Huh. We're moving to the exact same area.

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        Dappered party!

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          Originally posted by bjmcgeever View Post
          Huh. We're moving to the exact same area.
          Basically. But you're actually in the Woodlands right? My wife is from Spring so we're moving there since housing and cost of living is cheaper there as compared to northern VA. Not to mention so she can be closer to her family and we can use them as free daycare. We ended up choosing a place right in between her parents house and the Woodlands mall.

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            Originally posted by Vicious49 View Post
            Basically. But you're actually in the Woodlands right? My wife is from Spring so we're moving there since housing and cost of living is cheaper there as compared to northern VA. Not to mention so she can be closer to her family and we can use them as free daycare. We ended up choosing a place right in between her parents house and the Woodlands mall.
            Well, my new job is in the woodlands, but we are looking at places in spring as well. At this point will just be happy to find something decent in our price range.

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              Originally posted by bjmcgeever View Post
              Well, my new job is in the woodlands, but we are looking at places in spring as well. At this point will just be happy to find something decent in our price range.
              Depending on your price range (assuming it's similar to ours), I might be able to tell you what to look at or to skip (as far as new construction is concerned). Send me a PM if you want.

              Too bad you weren't moving there next year. My wife wants to be a Realtor. After going through the house buying process and watching all the HGTV she does, she thinks it's something she would enjoy and be good at. I told her to go for it and in the meantime I'll continue the daily grind for the steady paycheck.

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                Originally posted by Vicious49 View Post
                Depending on your price range (assuming it's similar to ours), I might be able to tell you what to look at or to skip (as far as new construction is concerned). Send me a PM if you want.

                Too bad you weren't moving there next year. My wife wants to be a Realtor. After going through the house buying process and watching all the HGTV she does, she thinks it's something she would enjoy and be good at. I told her to go for it and in the meantime I'll continue the daily grind for the steady paycheck.
                Dude... After buying my condo and seeing how much realtors get paid for so little actual work, I want to be a realtor.
                Ben

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                  Originally posted by Vicious49 View Post
                  Although in Texas you don't want your house increasing in price too much due to the high property tax rate.
                  It's more than offset for most people by the lack of an income tax.

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                    Originally posted by LesserBlackDog View Post
                    Dude... After buying my condo and seeing how much realtors get paid for so little actual work, I want to be a realtor.
                    In NYC, Realtors (aka apartment brokers) get a broker fee on each apartment rented, which is typically 1 month's rent (sometimes as much as 10-15% of annual rent). It's a huge monopoly and they do a terrible job at the very little work they have to do.

                    Also, if you have any lawyer friends, you might want to look into having them act for you in the closing as opposed to having 2 realtors involved. In certain states, they allow lawyers to be realtors without any additional training or certification, which could halve your realtor fees.

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                      Originally posted by hornsup84 View Post
                      In NYC, Realtors (aka apartment brokers) get a broker fee on each apartment rented, which is typically 1 month's rent (sometimes as much as 10-15% of annual rent). It's a huge monopoly and they do a terrible job at the very little work they have to do.

                      Also, if you have any lawyer friends, you might want to look into having them act for you in the closing as opposed to having 2 realtors involved. In certain states, they allow lawyers to be realtors without any additional training or certification, which could halve your realtor fees.
                      Yeah, when I bought my condo I did it without a realtor. Only the seller used a realtor. I drafted the buy-sell myself (which confused the shit out of the seller's realtor) and did my own closing work with a little help from my mom and uncle, who are also attorneys in the area. I did the same work for less than $500 worth of billable hours that a realtor would have done for a 3-6% commission ($7,000-14,000).

                      You know the real estate business is a racket when realtors make attorneys look cheap.

                      If you go the attorney route, though, you've got to make that incredibly clear to any realtor involved on any side of the transaction. In my case, I included a clause in the buy-sell that I was self-represented. Realtors do not give up on their commissions easily, and they will push you VERY hard to agree to be "represented" by them.

                      I'd also recommend that new home buyers skip "home inspectors" and just hire a reputable plumber, electrician, and so on to take a look at your house. Home inspectors are as big a racket as realtors - they will glance over your house, write a report that tells you they can't tell anything without a specialized inspection, and charge you $800.
                      Ben

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                        Originally posted by LesserBlackDog View Post
                        Dude... After buying my condo and seeing how much realtors get paid for so little actual work, I want to be a realtor.
                        Buyer's agents earn their keep. We used one (predetermined they'd split the fee, which is about 4% in my area, with the listing agent), and she worked really hard for us. Responsive to my (many, many) emails within the hour, showed us ten or so properties, multiple times each for many of them (and at odd hours), got the inspections/repair quotes/etc. scheduled for us, etc. If we had bailed, she'd get $295. That's less than an hour and a half of lawyer billable time (at my rate... less than an hour at my bosses').

                        Now listing agents, who basically post Craigslist ads for a living? That's the gig right there.

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                          Originally posted by LesserBlackDog View Post
                          Dude... After buying my condo and seeing how much realtors get paid for so little actual work, I want to be a realtor.
                          I'm going to say it depends on your realtor. I've used a guy out of Paris, KY (who normally does sales for hundreds of thousands of dollars out of our price range) who spend lots of time with me trying to find the right place. Also used a team from Nashville that did a ton of work over a single weekend to get us a signed contract when we were visiting from over 500 miles away.

                          Realtors live on good reviews, recommendations from clients, or crap loads of marketing. Try to find one basing their sales on the first two.

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                            Originally posted by AngusM View Post
                            Buyer's agents earn their keep. We used one (predetermined they'd split the fee, which is about 4% in my area, with the listing agent), and she worked really hard for us. Responsive to my (many, many) emails within the hour, showed us ten or so properties, multiple times each for many of them (and at odd hours), got the inspections/repair quotes/etc. scheduled for us, etc. If we had bailed, she'd get $295. That's less than an hour and a half of lawyer billable time (at my rate... less than an hour at my bosses').

                            Now listing agents, who basically post Craigslist ads for a living? That's the gig right there.
                            I think listing agents have the harder job. They have to do their homework with comps and know the area and decide what is a good price to list at. They also have to be on top of things and make sure they fill all the contingencies once a contract is in place to make sure the buyer can't pull out. My agent had been doing it for 26 years and she was on top of things. She came prepared to our initial meeting, which is why I hired her. She had the sign post up right away, she paid someone to do some minor painting in the house, paid for a professional photographer to take pics, and printed out very nice glossy brochures which almost look like a calendar. I think it's much easier to be a buyers agent which is why there are so many more of them.

                            My wife has me watching Million Dollar Listings NY with her sometimes and it shows just how hard those guys have to work sometimes.

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                              Originally posted by Vicious49 View Post
                              I think listing agents have the harder job. They have to do their homework with comps and know the area and decide what is a good price to list at. They also have to be on top of things and make sure they fill all the contingencies once a contract is in place to make sure the buyer can't pull out. My agent had been doing it for 26 years and she was on top of things. She came prepared to our initial meeting, which is why I hired her. She had the sign post up right away, she paid someone to do some minor painting in the house, paid for a professional photographer to take pics, and printed out very nice glossy brochures which almost look like a calendar. I think it's much easier to be a buyers agent which is why there are so many more of them.

                              My wife has me watching Million Dollar Listings NY with her sometimes and it shows just how hard those guys have to work sometimes.
                              I can do the comps from Zillow, but I guess if you're going to extensively market the home like that the selling agent does add value. I shouldn't have cast aspersions on all listing agents everywhere. The sellers didn't go to any of that trouble in our case (but we're far from a Million Dollar Listing with our little starter home), so I have this lingering sense that we're overpaying. Makes me a touch resentful, you might notice.

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                                Originally posted by AngusM View Post
                                I can do the comps from Zillow, but I guess if you're going to extensively market the home like that the selling agent does add value. I shouldn't have cast aspersions on all listing agents everywhere. The sellers didn't go to any of that trouble in our case (but we're far from a Million Dollar Listing with our little starter home), so I have this lingering sense that we're overpaying. Makes me a touch resentful, you might notice.
                                I think I'm overpaying too but I think sellers agents do more work than buyers agents. Buyers agents basically do a search based on your criteria and then show you around. It doesn't really take much to do that other than a bit of time.

                                Sellers agents need to market the place and make sure they meet all the contingencies and not screw anything up. I think that's much harder than showing people around.

                                Really, if you didn't need their keycard access you could do the search yourself on Zillow and Redfin and not even need the buyers agent.

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