Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
  • Performance is Guaranteed.

Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Real Estate Agents Rated Highest in Quality?

Photo: Van Heusen Real Estate Group (2015)

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a real estate agent that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified realtor. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated real estate company and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Contra Costa County – Real Estate Sales – Agents CATEGORY

Bryan Van Heusen is a 15-year veteran of the real estate industry and realtor at Van Heusen Real Estate Group, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 203-9289 or by email.

Bryan Van Heusen

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Bryan Van Heusen: Headfirst

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

PLEASANTON — Fifteen years ago, Bryan Van Heusen was comfortably immersed in a respectable trade, but following an unexpected setback, he found himself diving headfirst into uncharted waters. “Right out of high school, I started a career as a licensed electrician,” he remembers. “When the dot com bust occurred in 2001, I was laid off. Fortunately, I had a friend who did mortgage lending for a local bank, and he helped me get a job. After about three years of doing mortgage lending, I wanted to get into something that would allow me to interact face-to-face with people instead of sitting in a cubicle all day. So, I decided to make the switch to residential real estate sales.”

Citing the competitive character of the industry, Bryan says it took considerable effort just to stay afloat during his first years as a realtor. “I wasn’t brought in under anyone’s wing; rather, I had to jump in and work my way up from the bottom. I took the big hitters in my office to lunch and applied the things I learned from them to help get my business off the ground.” Today, more than a decade later, Bryan says his favorite part of his job is the satisfaction he gets from concluding a positive transaction. “Whether it’s handing keys to a new homeowner or delivering a check to the seller, I love seeing the expressions on my clients’ faces at the end of their transactions. It’s hard to beat that feeling.”

A lifetime resident of the Bay Area (where he lives with his wife, Siena), Bryan enjoys taking advantage of all the region has to offer. “As someone who loves food and being outdoors, I feel right at home in the Bay Area. Not only is there a wide variety of restaurants to choose from, there’s an abundance of open spaces to explore, including the beach and the mountains. I’m also a big Bay Area sports guy, so I follow all the local teams.”

In regard to his career as a realtor, Bryan cites a notable quotation that he says has served as a guiding professional principle. “One of my favorite quotes is from Zig Ziglar: ‘You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.’ This is something I apply in my work by always keeping my clients’ best interests at the forefront. I know that if I perform at the level my clients expect and achieve positive outcomes for them, they’ll refer business to me and I’ll be taken care of.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Bryan says he’d take off for a long-deferred excursion. “When you work in real estate, you don’t get to travel as much as you’d like because you always have a deal in the pipeline and need to be available for your clients. So, I think the first thing I’d do is go someplace that doesn’t have cellphone reception, which is something I haven’t had the luxury of enjoying for some time.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: I’ve never been to Europe, so I’d probably start with one of the typical tourist destinations like Paris or London.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Pamir Restaurant in Dublin.

Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: Probably sports—I played baseball and wrestled.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Music, just because it helps me unwind after a long workday.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Mixed nuts. I always have a supply of Planters Mixed Nuts in my office.

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Debunking Real Estate Appraisal Myths

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PLEASANTON — If you’re planning to sell your home, one of the first things you’ll need to determine is how much it’s worth. Unfortunately, when it comes to calculating a home’s value, there are a lot of misconceptions that can lead to… Read more

Making a Good Impression with Professional Real Estate Photos

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PLEASANTON — If you’re planning to list your home for sale, it’s important to consider the impact that photos can have. Since more and more people are using the Internet to browse home listings, any photo you post online is… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Debunking Real Estate Appraisal Myths

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Complete Video Transcription:

PLEASANTON — Host, Sarah Rutan: When having your home’s value appraised, you’ll want to avoid common pitfalls and misconceptions. To learn more, we’re in Pleasanton with Jesse Willoughby… Read more

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

commercial properties
high-end homes
vacation homes
luxury homes
modular homes
split-level homes
chalet-style homes
beach homes
A-frame homes
green homes
Craftsman homes
Victorian homes
condominiums
rental properties

luxury homes for sale
rent-to-own homes
mobile homes / manufactured homes for sale
foreclosed homes for sale
bank-owned homes sales
investment properties
home listings
vacation home sales
townhouse sales
condominium sales
apartment sales
new homes for sale
commercial property sales
undeveloped property sales / land for sale

Alamo
Antioch
Bay Point
Bethel Island
Blackhawk
Brentwood
Briones
Byron
Canyon
Clayton
Clyde
Concord
Cowell
Crockett
Danville
Diablo
Discovery Bay
El Cerrito
El Sobrante
Hercules
Hilltop Mall
Kensington
Knightsen
Lafayette
Los Medanos
Maltby
Martinez
Moraga
North Richmond
Oakley
Orinda
Pacheco
Pinole
Pittsburg
Pleasant Hill
Point Richmond
Port Chicago
Port Costa
Rheem Valley
Richmond
Rodeo
San Pablo
San Ramon
Tara Hills
Vine Hill
Walnut Creek
Walnut Heights
West Pittsburg

94506
94507
94509
94511
94513
94514
94516
94517
94518
94519
94520
94521
94522
94523
94524
94525
94526
94527
94528
94530
94531
94547
94548
94549
94553
94556
94561
94563
94564
94565
94569
94570
94572
94575
94582
94583
94595
94596
94597
94598
94801
94802
94803
94804
94805
94806
94807
94808
94820
94850

ACRE Association of Commercial Real Estate (http://www.acre.org/)
AIR Commercial Real Estate Association (http://www.airea.com/)
BBB Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.com)
CADRE California Department of Real Estate (http://www.dre.cahwnet.gov/)
CAR The California Association of Realtors (http://www.car.org/)
CRE Counselors of Real Estate (http://www.cre.org/)
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (www.dca.ca.gov)
NAEBA National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (http://www.naeba.org/)
NAIREB National Association of Independent Real Estate Brokers (http://www.nationalrealestatebrokers.org/)
NAR National Association of Realtors (http://www.realtor.org/)
NAREB National Association of Real Estate Brokers (http://www.nareb.com/)
NBAR North Bay Association of Realtors (http://www.norbarrealtor.com/)
NCCAR Northern California Commercial Association of Realtors (http://www.nccar.org/)
REEA The Real Estate Educators Association (http://www.reea.org/)

Know What You Want
Questions to ask Yourself Before Hiring a Real Estate Sales Agent in Contra Costa County

Many factors should be considered before selecting a real estate sales agent in Contra Costa County that will meet your needs the best. Write down everything that you’re searching for before you begin your research. Think about the following questions before making your final choice regarding a real estate sales agent.

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee?
  2. What is my budget?
  3. What personal and professional characteristics would I like my Alameda commercial contractor to have? (These may include good communication skills, honesty, reliability, cleanliness, etc.)
  4. What is the time frame that is most optimal for me to purchase or sell my real estate property in Contra Costa County, including the larger cities of San Ramon, Danville, Brentwood, Martinez, and Pleasant Hill?
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What To Ask In Person
What to Ask a Contra Costa County Real Estate Sales Agent in Person

The next step in the process of hiring a real estate sales agent in Contra Costa County is to interview them. Consider asking the following questions.

  1. What if I am unhappy with your service? Do you offer a guarantee?
  2. Can I get references for your last five deals?
  3. Has a client ever filed a complaint against you?
  4. How many other sellers are you representing now? (Keep in mind that the busiest real estate sales agents are often the most efficient.)
  5. Considering the current market, at what price do you think my home can sell?
  6. Can you give me a comparative market analysis of recent home that are on the market as well as recent sales in the area?
  7. Other than a CMA (comparative market analysis), what does your marketing package contain?
  8. Do you represent buyers and sellers on the same house?
  9. What sets you apart from other real estate sales agents?
  10. Can I list the house with you for 60 to 90 days?
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  • What To Ask References
    Find Out About Previous Customers’ Experiences with a Contra Costa County Real Estate Sales Agent

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified real estate sales agent in Contra Costa County because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality real estate work in Contra Costa County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified real estate sales agent within reach in Contra Costa County, including the smaller cities of Bay Point, Briones, El Sobrante, Hilltop Mall, Tara Hills, Lafayette, and West Pittsburg, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your real estate sales agent.  Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the real estate sales agent are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the real estate agents will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

    1. Was the real estate agent knowledgeable about the community, town, and market you were interested in?
    2. Did you feel that the real estate sales agent was working with your best interest in mind? Or did you feel like the real estate agent was influenced by other motivations or agents?
    3. Did the real estate agent help you devise a selling/buying plan and help you stick with it?
    4. If you sold real estate with this real estate agent in Contra Costa County, including the larger cities of Concord, Richmond, Antioch, Walnut Creek, and Pittsburg, did they do a good job of showcasing and showing your property both in person and on the listing sheet?
    5. Was this real estate agent respectful of your time and property? Were there any issues of theft or damage during showings?
    6. Was the real estate agent helpful in guiding you during the offer process?
    7. Was the real estate agent helpful in guiding you during negotiations?
    8. Do you feel that the real estate agent was pushy when it came to selling or buying?
    9. Was the deal was complete, were you satisfied with the real estate agent?
    10. If you need a real estate sales agent in the future, will you consider hiring this real estate agent?
    11. Would you recommend this real estate sales agent to your family and friends?
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  • Review Your Options
    Finding and Hiring a Real Estate Sales Agent in Contra Costa County

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Your choice of real estate sales agent is important to you and your family. So before making the final decision on the best real estate sales agent in Contra Costa County, you may want to consider the following questions:

    1. Is my real estate sales agent well-established in the community?
    2. Does my real estate agent have good references that I have checked?
    3. Does my real estate agent have a good record for selling real estate property in a timely fashion by using successful marketing strategies?
    4. Is my real estate agent flexible regarding the commission rate?
    5. Is my real estate sales agent of choice applying pressure or sales tactics in order to get me to sign a contract before I am ready?
    6. Do I trust my real estate agent of choice?
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  • How To Work With
    Signing the Buyer’s Agent Agreement

    If you are purchasing real estate in Contra Costa County, including the larger cities of San Ramon, Danville, Brentwood, Martinez, and Pleasant Hill, your real estate sales agent my ask you to sign a “buyer’s agent agreement.” This agreement protects the real estate agent if you, the client, choose to switch to a different real estate agent at the moment of signing a contract for real estate property for the purpose of saving money, etc. This contract ensures that the real estate agent will be compensated for their work. It specifies rights and duties of the buyer as well as how and when the agent will be compensated. If your real estate agent wants you to sign a buyer’s agent agreement, here are a list of issues you should carefully consider:

    • Geographic area. Be sure the real estate agent is experienced in your area. If it is possible that you will venture outside of the comfort zone of the real estate agent, make a provision in the contract that the real estate agent will refer you to another agent and collect a referral fee. Or that, in this type of case, the contract will be void.
    • Term. You can always renew later, so determine a reasonable time period for working with the real estate agent. Remember that if you purchase a property that the real estate agent showed you a few months after the contract has expired, the agent is still entitled to a commission.
    • Compensation. Be sure that total compensation is covered in the buyer’s agreement. Any commission that is paid by the seller to the buyer’s agent will reduce any commission owed by the buyer. Avoid paying a retainer fee. Also check to see how to cancel the contract if you are unhappy with the real estate agent’s performance.
    • FSBOs. If you don’t want to pay a commission on For Sale By Owner properties, make sure to put that in the contract. Keep in mind, however, that the real estate agent may be able to save you money by determining a fair purchase price and negotiating the deal.

    The contract should clearly define both the duties of the agent and the buyer. These duties should include:

                Agent Duties:

    • Best effort to identify properties that meet the needs of the buyer
    • Unless requested to do so in writing, the real estate agent is not obligated to show properties that are not available in the Multiple Listing Service.
    • Assists with obtaining financing
    • Arrange for properties to be inspected
    • Negotiate contracts
    • Discloses any information that would affect the buyer’s decision to purchase

    Buyer Duties:

    • Work exclusively with the agent to find real estate property while the agreement is valid
    • Cooperates with the agent in order to fulfill the terms of the agreement
    • Be available to view potential properties
    • Pays compensation
    • Provide the agent with adequate financial information to research appropriate properties

    A Listing Contract
    A listing contract is the contract between a real estate agent (if the agent is acting in a broker’s name) and a seller of real estate property that gives the agent the right to offer the property for sale. The listing contract must include the following:

    • A beginning date and a termination date
    • The list price which the property will be offered for sale
    • The amount of compensation offered to the real estate agent. This can be in the form of a percentage of the sales price or a flat fee.
    • The terms and conditions under which the brokerage fee will be paid by the seller
    • Authorizes the agent to cooperate with other agents as sub-agents and also details the compensation that will be offered to those agents in the event they secure a buyer.
    • Authorizes the real estate agent to disclose or not to disclose the existence of offers formerly received.
    • Authorizes the real estate agent to disclose or not to disclose the existence of offers formerly received.
    • Authorizes the real estate agent to disclose or not to disclose the existence of offers formerly received.
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  • Be a Good Customer
    How You Can Be a Good Contra Costa County Real Estate Sales Agent Customer

    It’s the real estate sales agent’s responsibility to work for you according to your needs. But you play a big part in the success of your real estate sales agent, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Contra Costa County real estate sales agent.

    • Be honest and upfront with the real estate sales agent. Let them know what you want from your real estate sales agent, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
    • Before you hire a real estate sales agent in Contra Costa County, including the larger cities of Concord, Richmond, Antioch, Walnut Creek, and Pittsburg, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the real estate sales agent your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local real estate sales agents occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your real estate sales agent if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
    • Be sure your real estate sales agent has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re helping you look for real estate. The real estate project will move along more smoothly if your real estate sales agent can reach you for any necessary updates or questions.
    • When your real estate sales agent contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the real estate project on schedule.

    Why would you want to be a good client? Real estate sales agents in Contra Costa County appreciate clients who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Verifying the Contra Costa County Real Estate Contract

In order for your real estate purchase or sell to be official in Contra Costa County, including the smaller cities of Walnut Heights, Moraga, Oakley, Orinda, Pacheco, Discovery Bay, El Cerrito, and Hercules, you must sign a written contract. It must include the following:

  • Identification of parties involved: both the seller(s) and the buyer(s) of the real estate
  • Identification of the real estate property
  • Identification of the purchase price
  • Signatures by all parties involved
  • A legal purpose
  • Consideration: This is something of value that is bargained for in exchange of the real estate. Usually the form of consideration used is money, but, for example, other property could be used in the exchange.
  • Contingencies (conditions) that must be met if the contract is to be performed. Certain types of contingencies include inspection, appraisal, another sale contingency, etc.
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Written Warranties
Top Service Requests from Real Estate Sales Agents

There are many types of real estate sales agents in Contra Costa County that provide all types of real estate services. Following is a list of the most popular real estate agents.

There are many types of real estate sales agents in Contra Costa County that provide all types of real estate services. Following is a list of the most popular real estate agents.

  • Broker associate
    This is a real estate broker who works for another real estate broker. Though they could choose to work independently, many real estate brokers choose to join a larger real estate network.
  • Real estate agent
    This is a licensed salesperson. Unlike a real estate broker, a real estate agent must work for an employing real estate broker rather than independently. Requirements for a real estate agent vary from state to state.
  • Realtor
    This is a title that simply means the individual belongs to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). A realtor can be either a real estate broker or a real estate agent. Members of NAR also belong to state and local trade associations.
  • Buyer’s agent
    A buyer’s agent is also known as a selling agent. Though a buyer’s agent may work with both sellers and buyers, it is not usually in the same transaction.
  • Dual agent
    A dual agent represents both the seller and the buyer.
  • Transaction agent
    A transaction agent writes an offer for the buyer. They do not represent either party but, rather, facilitate the transaction.
  • Real estate broker
    A real estate broker usually has more education than a real estate agent. A real estate broker typically has a four year degree as well as the completion of eight college-level real estate  courses that qualify them to take the broker’s real estate exam. However, if the real estate broker does not have a four year degree, two years of real estate sales experience will qualify them to be able to take the eight college-level real estate courses. Thirdly, lawyers who belong to the bar can qualify to be a real estate broker if they pass the exam.

There are also many different types of listing agreements. The best choice for you will depend on your ability and willingness to undertake some of the home selling requirements. It also depends on the climate of the real estate market in your area.

  • Exclusive agency listing
    In this type of listing, the broker represents the owner; however, the owner still has the right to sell the property without paying a commission.
  • Exclusive right to sell listing

This type of listing gives the exclusive right to earn a commission. The broker represents the owner and is responsible for bringing a buyer either directly or through another brokerage. The owner is responsible for paying both the selling broker fees and the listing. If you as the owner sells the property in your own, you must pay a commission to the broker.

  • Exception to the contract

This type of listing allows the seller a certain number of days to sell the property without owing a commission.

  • Length of listing

This listing agreement negotiates the duration of the listing. Common terms include 30 days, 90 days, six months, one year, or more.

  • Selling commission

This determines the total percentage of commission that will be paid to the selling agent versus the listing broker. By determining a larger amount to the selling office, it can motivate a real estate agent to worker harder to sell your property.

  • Cancellation of contract

This type of listing allows you as a client of the real estate agent to be released from a contract if you are unhappy or dissatisfied with the service.

  • Open listing

This lets owners sell the home by themselves; however, they must pay a broker to represent the buyer if a real estate agent finds a buyer to purchase the real estate property. If, on the other hand, they find a buyer themselves, they won’t owe anybody a commission.

  • Expiration of contract

This type of listing means that, if the owner and broker do not renew a contract, the owner must still pay a commission to the broker if the property is purchased by a prospective buyer (whose name is given to the owner by the broker) within a specified time period.

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Top 10 Requests
Top Service Requests from Real Estate Sales Agents

There are many types of real estate sales agents in Contra Costa County that provide all types of real estate services. Following is a list of the most popular real estate agents.

  • Broker associate
    This is a real estate broker who works for another real estate broker. Though they could choose to work independently, many real estate brokers choose to join a larger real estate network.
  • Real estate agent
    This is a licensed salesperson. Unlike a real estate broker, a real estate agent must work for an employing real estate broker rather than independently. Requirements for a real estate agent vary from state to state.
  • Realtor
    This is a title that simply means the individual belongs to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). A realtor can be either a real estate broker or a real estate agent. Members of NAR also belong to state and local trade associations.
  • Buyer’s agent
    A buyer’s agent is also known as a selling agent. Though a buyer’s agent may work with both sellers and buyers, it is not usually in the same transaction.
  • Dual agent
    A dual agent represents both the seller and the buyer.
  • Transaction agent
    A transaction agent writes an offer for the buyer. They do not represent either party but, rather, facilitate the transaction.
  • Real estate broker
    A real estate broker usually has more education than a real estate agent. A real estate broker typically has a four year degree as well as the completion of eight college-level real estate  courses that qualify them to take the broker’s real estate exam. However, if the real estate broker does not have a four year degree, two years of real estate sales experience will qualify them to be able to take the eight college-level real estate courses. Thirdly, lawyers who belong to the bar can qualify to be a real estate broker if they pass the exam.

There are also many different types of listing agreements. The best choice for you will depend on your ability and willingness to undertake some of the home selling requirements. It also depends on the climate of the real estate market in your area.

  • Exclusive agency listing
    In this type of listing, the broker represents the owner; however, the owner still has the right to sell the property without paying a commission.
  • Exclusive right to sell listing

This type of listing gives the exclusive right to earn a commission. The broker represents the owner and is responsible for bringing a buyer either directly or through another brokerage. The owner is responsible for paying both the selling broker fees and the listing. If you as the owner sells the property in your own, you must pay a commission to the broker.

  • Exception to the contract

This type of listing allows the seller a certain number of days to sell the property without owing a commission.

  • Length of listing

This listing agreement negotiates the duration of the listing. Common terms include 30 days, 90 days, six months, one year, or more.

  • Selling commission

This determines the total percentage of commission that will be paid to the selling agent versus the listing broker. By determining a larger amount to the selling office, it can motivate a real estate agent to worker harder to sell your property.

  • Cancellation of contract

This type of listing allows you as a client of the real estate agent to be released from a contract if you are unhappy or dissatisfied with the service.

  • Open listing

This lets owners sell the home by themselves; however, they must pay a broker to represent the buyer if a real estate agent finds a buyer to purchase the real estate property. If, on the other hand, they find a buyer themselves, they won’t owe anybody a commission.

  • Expiration of contract

This type of listing means that, if the owner and broker do not renew a contract, the owner must still pay a commission to the broker if the property is purchased by a prospective buyer (whose name is given to the owner by the broker) within a specified time period.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Terms for Clients of Real Estate Sales Agents

Below are key terms and their descriptions used by real estate sales agents. These will help you navigate your way through the real estate sales process.

a-frame homes
A-frame houses feature steeply-angled sides that usually begin at or near the foundation line and meet at the top, creating a home that looks like the letter A.

Also known as: a frame houses, timber frame house plans, steel frame house, a frame house designs, timber frame house, a frame house plans, timber frame house kits, a frame house kits, timber frame houses, how to frame a house, framing a house, timber framed houses

annual percentage rate (APR)
This is a value created according to a government formula. Its purpose is to reflect the true annual cost of borrowing in the form of a percentage.

Also known as: annual percentage rate credit card, apr calculator, annual percentage yield calculator, mortgage rates today, apr rates, effective annual rate formula, what are interest rates

application
This is the form used to apply for a mortgage loan. In contains information regarding a borrower’s income, assets, debts, savings, etc.

Also known as: application manager, application form, application software, common application, printable applications, online applications

appraisal
This is a written justification regarding the price paid for a piece of property. It is mainly based on an analysis of similar pieces of property that are nearby.

Also known as: home appraisal, appraiser, property appraisal, appraisal management companies, free home appraisal, home appraisal cost, house appraisal estimate, home appraisal calculator, appraisal management company

beach homes
A beach home is a home designed for the beach. Typically beach homes are a form of a vacation home rather than a permanent residence.

Also known as: beach homes for rent, beach home rentals, beach homes for sale, beach rental homes, luxury beach homes

bill of sale
This is a written document that transfers the title to personal property.

broker
Most realtors are agents who work under a broker. However, some agents are brokers as well. A broker is a person who acts as an agent by bringing together two parties for any type of transaction. The broker earns a fee for doing so.

Also known as: mortgage broker, stock broker, brokers, online broker, brokerage, commodity broker, best broker, broker comparison, real estate broker, direct access broker, online brokers, discount stock brokers, cheapest online broker

chalet-style homes
Reminiscent of homes on alpine ski slopes, chalet style homes are rustic homes based on Swiss alpine cottages. They have a rectangular shape, big lofts, large windows, and steep gabled roofs.

clear title
This is a title that is free of legal questions regarding ownership of the property. It is also free of liens.

Also known as: clear title loans, salvage title, title company, title companies, clear title company

closing
This is a reference to the meeting where all documents are signed regarding the sell or purchase of a property and money changes hands.

Also known as: closing costs, closing a sale, closings, escrow, closing sales

commercial properties
This is land or buildings that are used for the purpose of generating a profit. Commercial property includes medical centers, office buildings, industrial property, retail stores, shopping centers, warehouses, farm land, multifamily housing buildings, etc.

commission
Most real estate agents earn commissions for the work that they do. The commissions are paid out of the charges paid by either the seller or buyer in the purchase transaction.

condominiums
This is a large property complex that is divided into individual units. Each unit is owned by an individual who has a form of property ownership that includes a fractional interest in the common areas of complex.

Also known as: condominiums for rent, condos for sale, new condominiums, condominium sale, new condominium, condos for rent

credit
This an agreement in which a borrower receives something that is of value in exchange for a promise to repay the lender by a specified date.

Also known as: credit report, free credit score, credit history, annual credit report, credit report free, free credit check, credit bureaus, credit agency, check credit score, check credit, credit score free, credit ratings, free credit report, credit agencies, credit bureau, online credit report, free credit scores, credit report agencies

debt
This is an amount owed to another person or institution.

Also known as: freedom debt, debt consolidation, debt relief, debt consolidation loans, credit card debt, debt consolidation programs, debt help, credit debt, debt relief, debt reduction

deed
This is the legal document the conveys the title to a property.

Also known as: land deeds, real estate deed, quick claim deed, deeds of trust, warranty deed, quit deed, deed transfer form, deed forms, reconveyance deed

escrow
This is an item of value, money, or documents that are deposited with a third party to be delivered upon the fulfillment of a condition. An example would be earnest money is deposited in escrow and then delivered to the seller when the transaction is closed.

Also known as: escrow agent, escrow services, in escrow, escrow service, online escrow, escrow real estate, escrow agents

green homes
Green homes are built using a process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout the building’s life-cycle. This “green” process includes design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. The purpose of a “green” home is to reduce the overall impact of the home on the human health and natural environment.

Also known as: prefab green homes, green home design, green home building, green homes plans,, building a green home, green modular homes, green home products, green home construction, green home designs, green home plans, green home floor plans, affordable green homes

home equity line of credit
This is a mortgage loan that allows the borrower to obtain cash that is drawn against the equity of his home. There is usually a predetermined amount of money that can be obtained from a home equity line of credit.

Also known as: home equity lines of credit, home equity line of credit rate, home equity line of credit bad credit, home equity line of credit loans, home equity line credit, home equity line of credit calculator, home equity line, home equity line of credit rates, home equity lines, home equity line of credits, equity line of credit, home equity loan, equity line of credit rate

home inspection
This is a thorough inspection by a professional for the purpose of evaluating the structural and mechanical condition of a property.

Also known as: home inspection checklist, home inspection costs, home inspection list, cost of home inspection, home inspection cost, new home inspection, home inspection service

lender
This is a term which, in real estate terms, refers to the institution making the loan to the buyer.

Also known as: private lenders, subprime lenders, subprime mortgage lenders, hard money lender, private money lenders, payday lenders, money lenders, loan lenders, private loan lenders, home lenders, home equity lender

lien
This is a legal claim against a property. A lien must be paid off when the property is sold.

Also known as: lien release, property lien, definition lien, liens, real estate lien, lien on property, lien waiver

line of credit
This is an agreement by a financial institution to extend a certain amount of credit for a specified time to a borrower.

Also known as: personal line of credit, business line of credit, line of credit calculator, lines of credit, home equity line of credit, line of credit loans, line of credit rates, business lines of credit, equity line of credit, line of credit loan, unsecured personal line of credit, commercial line of credit, equity lines of credit

loan
This is a sum of borrowed money, also called principal, that is typically repaid with interest.

Also known as: debt consolidation loan, loans, loan rates, personal loan, personal loans, financial loans, loan calculator, unsecured loan, loan amortization

modular homes
These are constructed of pre-made parts called modules that are transported from the factory to the building site.

note
This is a legal document that obligates a borrower to repay a mortgage loan at a specified interest rate during a stated period of time.

power of attorney
This is a legal document that authorizes another individual to act on one’s behalf. A power of attorney can be limited in regard to authority or to a certain period of time. A power of attorney can also be granted complete authority.

Also known as: limited power of attorney, power attorney, power of attorney real estate, durable power of attorney form, special power of attorney form

Also known as: pre approved mortgage, mortgage pre approval, pre approved, fha pre approval, online mortgage pre approval, pre approval for home loan, pre approval home loan, pre approval mortgage, loan pre approval, pre approval calculator, mortgage prequalification, pre approve mortgage

principal
This is the amount borrowed or remaining unpaid. The principal is the part of the monthly payment that actually reduces the remaining balance of a loan.

promissory note
This is a written promise to repay a specified amount over a specified time period.

Also known as: promissory note form, free promissory note form, secured promissory note, loan promissory note, promissory note sample

rental properties
These are properties that include lands, buildings, units, or rooms that are available for or being rented.

Also known as: private owners rental properties, rental properties management, rental property software, commercial rental properties, local rental properties

split-level homes
This is a style of house in which the floor levels are staggered. The main level of the house is halfway between the lower and upper floors. Usually the main level contains the normal living areas such as the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Two short sets of stairs connect the main level to the upper and lower levels. The upper level usually contains bedrooms and bathrooms while the lower level is the basement area and often has additional living areas that can include office space, a hobby area, a family room, laundry facilities, etc.

Victorian homes
Victorian homes are usually two story homes with steep roof pitches, turrets, and dormers. Typically a Victorian home has a large porch as well.

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Real Estate Agents in Your Area

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified real estate sales agent?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a real estate agent with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local real estate agents who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only real estate sales agents rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified real estate sales agent.

Q: How do I know if a certain property is a good investment?
A: Your real estate sales agent should be able to help by providing plenty of information regarding property in the area from low end to high end. They can even provide historical information regarding how properties in the are have performed as well as an educated guess as to where they are going.

Q: How should I choose a realtor?
A: Ask about experience. Learn how many clients that real estate agent worked with in the last year or so and request permission to contact them.

Q: How can I maximize the value of my home?
A: There are several things that you can do to make a house more desirable for potential buyers. This is called staging. A good real estate agent will be able to help you stage your property in an effective manner.

Q: What about doing more extensive improvements?
A: Some improvements will pay for themselves when you sell the property. But this all depends. A knowledgeable real estate sales agent will be able to advise you.

Q: How can I build equity into my home besides making monthly mortgage payments?
A: Always try to send in a little extra. This extra amount will go directly to the principal of the loan rather than interest. Even $50.00 per month extra can build your equity quickly. It can also knock years off of your loan.

Q: If I want to purchase a home and I know the seller already has an agent, can I act as my own agent and negotiate a lower fee?
A: Most likely, you don’t have the knowledge needed to represent yourself. The seller pays the real estate commission rather than the buyer. The real estate commission is already set in the listing contract. It actually doesn’t cost you anything to have your own agent represent you because the seller is paying for it already.

Q: What is a housing ratio?
A: This is the percentage of your housing payment to your monthly gross income. Lenders use this ratio to determine how much money they will loan you.

Q: What is a spec house?
A: This is a home that was built without it being requested or ordered by a buyer. A spec house is not customized or built to a particular buyer’s tastes.

Q: What is an appraised value?
A: An appraised value is an opinion regarding a property’s fair market value based on an appraiser’s analysis and inspection of the property.

Q: What is an assessed value?
A: This is the public tax assessor value of a property. It is determined for the purpose of taxation.

Q: What is depreciation?
A: This is a decline in the value of property due to general wear and tear.

Q: Why should I use a real estate agent?
A: A real estate agent acts on your behalf by providing you with guidance and advice while helping you buy or sell a home. An agent will be able to provide you with current information in a fast changing market that will be critical to your success in either purchasing or selling a home.

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