Antitrust Efforts Against the “Real Estate Cartel”

boy hugging dog in front of big home
boy hugging dog in front of big home

Money Saving Tips

Is the real estate industry being stifled by “cartel” activity, happening among agents who want to maintain fat commissions and big paydays? The Consumer Federation of America (CFA), an organization that focuses on consumer rights, has found that antitrust steps need to be taken to avoid the trend of higher home prices, stifled competition, and poor service for home buyers. As home prices have soared, so have real estate commissions. Many people are questioning the 6% fees that are charged for every home… wondering if real estate agents are working any more to receive the higher commissions? Not only has it gotten easier to sell a home because of the online tools that are available, but these 6% fees are standard – regardless of the real estate agent’s experience.

Class Action Lawsuit

Earlier this year, a class-action lawsuit was filed, aiming at the real estate agents who are sticking with the traditional fees. This lawsuit charges that the four largest real estate brokerages in the nation, as well as the National Association of Realtors, are conspiring to charge inflated fees. The argument is that these high commissions violate the federal antitrust laws. Several problems have arisen because of the high fees, mainly due to how buyer’s agents and seller’s agents choose to structure their fees. For example, some brokers refuse to show homes to clients who are using real estate agents that offer lower commissions. If a real estate brokerage chooses to reduce their fees, then the “cartel” steers transactions away from any agent that isn’t maintaining the traditional way of doing business in the industry.

You Don’t Have to Pay High Real Estate Commissions

The truth is that there is no reason why 6% should be charged in real estate commissions on every transaction! At DUFFY Realty, we’ve found that the digital advancements in the real estate industry have made it possible to cut overhead costs because less time is required to sell a home. As a result, we are reducing our commissions and passing those savings onto our clients. You can expect to save thousands of dollars when choosing our team over a traditional real estate brokerage. We’ve definitely had some kickback in the local industry because of other real estate brokerages who don’t like to compete against our low prices. But we’ve held our ground and focused on the needs of our clients, which is why our team is thriving. Customer service is always our highest priority, and our clients love that they can save money without sacrificing the quality of real estate services offered. If you are looking for a way to save money on your upcoming real estate transaction in Atlanta, then it’s time to talk to us at DUFFY Realty. Call to learn more about our affordable real estate fees: (678) 318-1700.
Rhonda Duffy

Rhonda Duffy

Real estate expert and consumer advocate Rhonda Duffy is documented and ranked the #1 Agent in the U.S. for resales three years in a row and #1 Agent in Georgia 12 years in a row. Rhonda is the media’s go to expert on real estate matters for her commonsense approach, consumer advocacy and work to educate the public on the rapidly changing landscape of her profession. She has been licensed in real estate for 20 years, has been a broker in seven states and is trained in staging certification.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Set Reminders to Replace the HVAC Filters in Your Home

Set Reminders to Replace the HVAC Filters in Your Home

As a homeowner, it is easy to forget small to-do items that need to be taken care of during the year. If you want to maintain the quality of your home and avoid big home repair expenses in the future, then it is essential that you are proactive to keep up with regular maintenance and care. One area that is often neglected is the care of the HVAC system.

Filters for Your HVAC System

Most homeowners don’t realize that they need to do something with their HVAC system until it is too late. By the time the heater or air conditioner stops working, you might be dealing with high-cost repairs or the need to replace the system. These problems can often be avoided by staying consistent with maintenance tasks.

If you want to prolong the life of your HVAC system and improve home efficiency, then consider the benefits of regularly replacing the filters. These filters should be replaced every three to six months depending on the type of filter you are using and the quality of your HVAC system. Read the details on your filter packaging, and talk to your HVAC contractor to learn more about the recommendations for your home.

Buying High-Quality Filters

Instead of looking for the cheapest filters that you can find, consider the benefits of buying high-quality products to reduce the air particles in your home. You might look for high-efficiency filters that are pleated, with built-in electrostatic charges that attract tiny bacteria-carrying particles.

It is a good idea to buy several filters at a time so that you always have extra filters on hand when it is time to take care of the replacement. If you remember that the filters need to be replaced but you don’t have time to run to the store, then it is possible that you might delay the replacement process because you are too busy with your daily routine.

Set a Reminder to Change the Filters

Instead of relying on memory to replace the filters, it is a good idea to set a reminder so that you don’t forget. What system works best for you? Some people have a calendar on the wall, and they make a note every three months to check the filters. Other people find that it is better to setup a calendar reminder on their phone so that a notification pops up when it is time to change the filters.

Find a system that works for you, then take fast action when the reminder comes up. By quickly taking care of the filter replacement, you can have the peace of mind to know that you are caring for the quality of your home.

At DUFFY Realty, we are here to help you choose the best home for your family. Our goal is to help you find the right home that will last for many years. Call us to learn more about real estate in Atlanta: (678) 318-1700

Home Renovation Ideas that are Less than $500

best tips to sell your home fast

Are you ready to buy the home of your dreams for your family? It is an exciting time to find a property that is everything that you have always wanted. But, many people are in the situation where they need to sell their current home before they can move into a nicer home.

If you are getting ready to sell, then there are a few things that you can do to improve the property. These small steps can go a long way to boost your property value, which in turn will provide the equity that you need to buy the best home for your family.

It is amazing to see how much of a difference a small investment can make to improve the outcome of selling your home. Even if you don’t have time to manage these projects on your own, you should consider the advantages of hiring a handyman to help with the upgrades.

Cheap Home Renovation Ideas

Don’t worry; you don’t need to spend a lot of money on your renovation projects. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Upgrade the kitchen backsplash to put in stylish tile
  • Refinish the cupboard doors and change out the hardware
  • Add new flooring in the bathroom and match it to a new mirror or sink
  • Use fresh paint or wallpaper in any room in the house that needs to be touched up
  • Switch out the light fixtures for modern, stylish designs
  • Install nicer countertops to get rid of the wear and tear on the older counters
  • Pull the weeds and plant a few bushes or flowers
  • Add shutters to improve the curb appeal of the property
  • Cover up blemishes on the flooring with a nice area rug
  • Clean out the clutter in the garage and closets to make the property feel spacious
  • Use plants to add a nice touch of elegance to empty corners and spaces
  • Refinish the fireplace with a fresh coat of paint
  • Hire a carpet cleaner to improve the appearance of the flooring
  • Bring in a cleaning crew to deep clean the entire home

These renovation projects might seem small, but they can add up to make your home presentable for potential buyers. You need to be sure that you are setting the right impression when people walk through the door, and these things will help you create a good first impression.

Talking with an Expert

You deserve to work with a real estate professional who is experienced in your local area. The right real estate agent will be able to make recommendations about the upgrades and improvements that might be helpful in your home.

Here at Duffy Realty of Atlanta, we know what works in the real estate industry. If you want to hire the leading real estate team in the Atlanta area, then we invite you to call us right away: (678) 318-1700

Why Flat-Fee Real Estate Agents Can Charge Less than Other Agents

flat fee Atlanta real estate agent

With any real estate transaction, you want to be sure that you are maximizing the cash flow for your benefit. It can be frustrating to see a big portion of your home equity handed over to a real estate agent when you are selling your house. On the other hand, it can be just as frustrating to buy a home and have the fees increase because you need to cover the cost of the real estate agent.

In some cases, unknowing home buyers and sellers are caught off guard at the amount of fees that are paid to their real estate agent. The fees are often calculated on a percentage basis, which means that the costs can quickly add up.

A Better Solution: Flat-Fee Real Estate

There is no reason why you should be paying these high real estate agent transaction fees, because Duffy Realty of Atlanta offers a better solution: flat-fee real estate. Some people might think that this option sounds too good to be true… but it is possible for you to pay lower fees and have an excellent experience.

Maximize the transaction for your benefit, so that you can save your money for home improvements or new furniture. It is possible for you to save thousands of dollars by choosing a flat-fee real estate agent, instead of an agent that charges the traditional fee structure. We offer flat-fee real estate services, so that you know the out-of-pocket costs up front, with no hidden charges.

Why Can Flat-Fee Agents Charge Less?

In recent years, there have been many improvements in technology, making it easier for real estate agents to be more efficient with their time. As a result, the agents are much more efficient than they were 5, 10 and 20 years ago. Even though an agent doesn’t require as much time to help with buying or selling your home, many agents have maintained the same commission structure because they didn’t want to reduce the amount of money they were earning.

There is no reason to maintain the same pricing model that was used 20 years ago, when the tasks and requirements are much different now! In fact, many real estate agents are working LESS time and earning MORE money, because they charge the same 6% commission fee… and property values have increased substantially over the years.

Our flat-fee pricing structure is focused on the satisfaction of each customer we work with. We believe that home buyers and sellers should be able to benefit from the recent developments in technology by saving money on their home transaction.

The Best Flat-Fee Real Estate Agent in Atlanta

At Duffy Realty of Atlanta, your satisfaction is our top priority! We offer high quality service at a price you can afford, and we will gladly help with your real estate needs. Whether you are selling a home or you want to buy a home, we can help. Call us for more information about flat fee agent commissions: (678) 318-1700

The Ins & Outs of the Real Estate Market

How to Sell Your Home: Take the First Steps

steps1

Now that the prime selling season is upon us, it is time for you to take action. Whether you are selling your first home or you are a veteran in the home-selling game, there are some things that you need to keep in mind before and during your listing.

Start from the inside-out.

You should make sure that your home is in the best possible condition before selling. To prepare your home properly, you need to begin by clearing out all clutter. Throw away or donate old clothes and trinkets, and eliminate or file away papers in your office or on your counters. Once you’ve effectively de-cluttered your home, you can tackle small jobs around your home to ensure that it will pass inspection. Stick to the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Fix major issues like leaky faucets or broken down, old, or outdated appliances. Don’t waste time renovating if you are hoping to make a quick sell this summer, though. Your buyers can always make aesthetic changes to the home when they move in. But if you want to make small aesthetic edits to your home, try a new coat of paint. Once you’ve made your fixes inside, move outside to improve your curb appeal. Keep your lawn and flower beds tidy and trimmed back. You may even want to plant some colorful, eye-grabbing flowers and shrubs to really stand out from the crowd.

Be picture perfect.

Take photos that feature the best characteristics of your home. Try not to take pictures of works of art or of furniture in your home, since these are all things that will be going with you to your new home anyway. Take multiple photos that will reel buyers in. The majority of buyers start their home-buying process online, so photos can be a big part of selling your home. Make sure they are of the best quality possible and that they showcase your home in a way that persuades buyers to see it in person.

Be accessible.

Allow for buyers to access your property as easily as possible. Add your contact number to your listing and answer all calls that come so that you can open your property for all agents and prospective buyers. On your counters or dining table, leave some fliers or information for buyers and agents to look through. You can include in this information your contact information, seller’s disclosure statement, and information about the property and community.

Overall, be proactive and ready for anything on this journey. Whether you sell your home sells in two weeks or two months, be aware of ways that you can improve the marketing of your home and boost traffic so that you can get your home sold.

Buying a Fixer-Upper? Prepare Yourself!

fixer_upper1

Buying a fixer-upper can be daunting, but it can also be the exact right thing to do when considering the area that it’s in. If you happen to find an older home with some need of TLC in your dream neighborhood, buying a fixer-upper can give you the chance to renovate and decorate to your exact specifications to create your dream home. Plus, you have the added benefit of a somewhat discounted home so that you can put the money you saved from buying an outdated home towards your desired renovations. Before doing this, though, you need to consider all of the angles.

Get ready for an ongoing project.

Updating and renovating a fixer-upper will force you to take on a myriad of projects to achieve the exact look and feel you imagined. This can take a lot of time and money. Even if you are an avid DIY-er, you will have to prepare yourself for some grueling projects that will require much of your time. Life can get in the way sometimes, too, so be sure that you are ready for your home to be in all kinds of disrepair while you are in the process of working through your new home. The most efficient way to work through the projects on your home is to focus on one to two projects at a time. Finish those before moving on to the next task. The worst thing you can do is start a bunch of projects at once and then never finish them, since this might leave your home worse off than when you found it.

You will have to pay a pretty penny.

Before budgeting for what projects you know you want to accomplish in your new home, put aside some money first for one big unforeseen project. With older homes, sometimes something will end up breaking down in the first year of owning the home, and you should be prepared to fix it in a pinch. So, it is important to keep in mind that while your fixer-upper may have passed inspection, it is not a guarantee of complete working order. If, after the first year of living in the home, nothing needs repair, then you have extra money to put towards more of your cosmetic projects. Once you have budgeted for this possible unforeseen project, then you can consider how much money you have to put towards the rest of your planned renovations. If you aren’t the DIY-er you wish you were, you will have to hire some contractors, which means shopping around for the best deal for the best job done. Add some wiggle room in this budget since most contractors will come in for a job you want done, but will then suggest a mini side project that they can do while completing the task you hired them for. For example, a contractor updating the floors in your bathroom might also suggest updating the vanity while they’re at it.

Remodeling: Should You Embark On This Endeavor Prior to Selling?

remodel

Many sellers think that they must make all sorts of repairs and renovations to their homes before even listing. This endeavor can be a daunting one, but sometimes it can give sellers just the edge they need. Before taking on this task, consider all of the angles.

What are the benefits of renovating and what updates should be made?

If you feel like your home won’t be up to the task of competing with newer, more recently updated homes, then renovations can definitely help sell your home faster than it would if you tried to sell it as-is. This is especially true with older homes with out-of-style interiors. One way to bring your home up to scratch is to update counters and flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms, update the cabinetry, and install new appliances. Take a look online to see current trends or visit homes in your area in the same price range to see what kind of updates others have made or to see what renovations are necessary for your home to be competitive in the market. Don’t feel pressured to rip out your entire kitchen or bathroom to renovate, though. Small improvements can be made that will make a big impact. Be mindful to update within your time constraints as well. For example, don’t start multiple projects all at once. Get one project done first before beginning another, in case you decide to go ahead and list after completing one project. Sometimes you’ll find that only having to do one big update is all you need to do to vastly improve your home’s appeal in the competitive market.

What might be the downsides of updating and renovating?

These kinds of renovations can cost a lot of money and time. Depending on the project, you might have to spend a pretty penny and postpone putting your home on the market for a while during the renovations. Remodeling any part of your home can be stressful on top of everything else you are doing to prepare for selling your home and buying and moving into a new home. Sometimes it is best to simply sell your home as-is to get the home off of your hands and put your money towards your new home. Plus, selling your home as-is will give buyers a chance to remodel the home on their own to their tastes. It isn’t necessary for you to go overboard with a ton of different remodeling projects that might not even be right for some of your buyers’ own personal styles. So the best way to get by without renovating is to clean, depersonalize, and simply fix things that are no longer functioning or need repairs.

If you aren’t sure about whether or not to remodel features of your home, discuss it with your agent. They will have sage advice for you during the process of listing and selling your home.

Listing Your Home for the Spring Season!

Need some tips for listing your home this spring?  Rhonda Duffy was interviewed by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and gives you all the advice you need to get your home sold!

 

Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for more awesome videos from Duffy Realty of Atlanta!

Rhonda Duffy Hosts Zillow.com’s #NextGenAgent Chat

nextgenagent

As one of the top reviewed agent on Zillow.com, Rhonda Duffy was asked to host Zillow’s #NextGenAgent chat on Twitter!  She and other top agents shared their expertise on client reviews and the importance of these for overall marketing strategies  Check out all of the amazing tips on Zillow’s blog!

#NextGenAgent Chat: Top Agents Share Tips About Client Reviews

For more helpful tips, please feel free to visit Duffy Realty of Atlanta’s YouTube Channel and Rhonda Duffy’s Twitter!