Curb Appeal Blog - Older Posts

Do You Need an Agent?

The most common question people ask in the real estate industry is, "Do I really need an agent?" Surprisingly, no buyer or seller absolutely must have an agent. While any person is capable of learning the ins and outs of the real estate world, the skills and experience a professional real estate agent bring to the table can't be picked up from a quick Google search. So, before you make the decision for yourself, check out the following four benefits in particular that make having an agent an invaluable tool for your real estate needs.
1. It's a full-time job - Most home buyers and sellers are working hard every day to earn the money to pay their current rent or mortgage and hoping for a fast closing to keep them from paying for two properties. Adding the research, scheduling, and negotiating that come with every transaction on top of that regular workload (not to mention cleaning, staging, marketing, and much more that a great agent does) is too much for most people. An agent works for you and your property needs as their full-time work and can put the commitment toward the job it needs to be done correctly.
2. It's a complicated process - The contract paperwork and the state and federal laws that govern a real estate transaction can be extremely complicated, and they change and update every year to close loopholes in the process or to add further protection to one side or the other in a transaction. A professional agent is required by law to take regular classes to keep them up to date on these changes, but the experience of having seen them again and again makes navigating the process much easier than for the average layman.
3. An agent protects you - Not only does an agent work to get you the best price for a property, but they will also help to protect you from others that are looking to take advantage of your situation. For anyone that has ever run a classified ad to sell a car, you know that for weeks after the sale you will still receive calls, many offering well below the asking price because they know that people may take the offer thinking that no better offer will come. A real estate agent takes all of those calls, from the lowball offers to the lookie-loos to save you the hassle and headaches.
4. An agent has a network - Unless you are working with an agent on their first transaction, they have built up a network of other professionals, meeting other agents and ancillary providers throughout every transaction they work. Through other agents, your agent has easier access to available properties in the area. And should you home require some last-minute paint or landscaping, they likely have a provider that does enough regular work with them to provide a reasonable discount.
While you may still be weighing the costs of doing business with a real estate agent for your next transaction, the real question you should ask yourself is "How much could it cost me to not do business with a professional agent?" Those kinds of costly mistakes are the ones that no one can afford to make.

Rent vs. Buy

The decision to rent or buy can be a complex one, and the answer depends on a family's specific needs. However, many people contact a Realtor for the first time searching for a rental property completely unaware their income and credit score qualify them to purchase a home.
Both renting and home ownership have their own unique benefits. Renting provides greater flexibility for those that may not be in the same location for 5 or more years and has lower costs for maintenance and property upkeep, while purchase of a home can provide tax benefits and the chance to build equity through the investment.
If you, or someone you know, is looking to turn their monthly rent check into the future investment in a home there are several quick ways to know if it is the right move for their financial situation.
The first step would be to contact a mortgage loan officer to see how much of a mortgage loan you can pre-qualify for. This is very easy, and can give you an idea of what types of homes you can afford in the price range you can borrow. Click here to contact a lender that can provide you mortgage information.
Next, ERA provides an easy-to-use Rent vs. Buy Calculator to help users see how their monthly rent payment will stack up against an estimated monthly mortgage payment. The calculator will provide you a price-to-rent ratio, with over 20 suggesting renting as a preference, and a price-to-rent ratio of less 15 indicating home ownership may be more beneficial.

Charlie's Challenge

ERA Real Estate has worked to provide support for the Muscular Dystrophy Association over the past 35 years, but during the 2015 International Business Conference in Washington, D.C., ERA CEO Charlie Young announced the more than 32,000 ERA agents in 36 countries around the world would go above and beyond over the next 3 years.
Charlie issued a challenge to the entire ERA network to send 1,000 children to the MDA Summer Camp, which provides a fun and safe environment for children with muscular dystrophy to have amazing experiences and step out of their day-to-day lives. The 3-year project is an extremely large fundraiser that will be held in addition to all of the charitable giving done by ERA Franchise Systems and each local office around the world.
At ERA Sellers & Buyers, we were challenged to raise money for two children each year to attend MDA Summer Camp, one for each of our offices in El Paso and Albuquerque, but for those that know Broker/Owner Douglas Van Nortwick, just accepting a challenge is never enough.
After speaking with the agents in small groups, and later in a presentation to the company, Douglas plans to go well beyond the 2 children per year goal issued by Charlie Young. And over the next 3 years, he plans to grow the company's annual giving to the MDA Summer Camp cause.
In 2013, Douglas ran the grueling Tough Mudder event with other ERA leaders to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, and the following year, he shaved his beloved hair to further raise more than $12,000 for Wounded Warriors. All of this in addition to the donations of the very giving agents in the El Paso and Albuquerque offices.
ERA Sellers & Buyers is stepping up to Charlie's Challenge, and we encourage each of you to step up your giving to show support for any of the many deserving people in your local community. Together, we can make a huge impact in the lives of others.

Welcome to our new blog

This is the first posting for ERA Sellers & Buyers Real Estate's new blog, Curb Appeal, which will keep you up to date on the latest news and trends in El Paso's residential and commercial real estate market and the industry news and technology that affects the entire nation. 
ERA Sellers & Buyers is El Paso's largest and highest producing real estate brokerage, and our staff has more than 100 years of real estate experience from all facets of the industry, from home construction to digital marketing to navigating the legal landscape. Along with our 150 agents in the Greater El Paso Metropolitan Area, the team at ERA Sellers & Buyers is well-equipped to meet the ever-evolving real estate needs of the community.
Every day, we will address the most common concerns for home buyers and sellers in the area and share some of the exciting events and projects our company is undertaking. We also invite you, the readers, to submit any questions on real estate you have to us at Each week, we will select a question to be answered on our blog, as well as through social media.
Thank you for joining us in this exciting venture. We hope this new platform will allow us to better serve the future home buying and selling needs of the Sun City.