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 Brokers Rated Highest in Quality?

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a real estate broker that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified real estate brokerage. 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 Sonoma County – Real Estate Brokers CATEGORY

Mikki Cardoza is a 16-year veteran of the real estate industry and owner of MikkiMoves Real Estate, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (707) 200-1355 or by email.

Mikki Cardoza

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Mikki Cardoza: Working from the Heart

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA ROSA — Before she was moving real estate, Mikki Cardoza was molding young minds in the classroom, a vocation she loved in spite of its exhausting nature. When she transitioned to a career in real estate, she encountered a new set of challenges, but more importantly, she found a fresh opportunity to work from the heart. “In 2000, I was working as a middle school teacher and also had four seventh- and eighth-graders at home,” she remembers. “I got to a point where I was completely exhausted, which prompted my decision to take a year-long sabbatical from teaching. During this time, my neighbor who owned a real estate brokerage suggested I give real estate a shot. It wasn’t long before I’d passed my realtor exam and was working locally. I was enjoying it so much that I started to consider staying in real estate rather than returning to teaching.”

In contemplating the transition from teacher to realtor, Mikki’s principle concern was whether she’d still be able to make a positive impact. “I told my best friend, who also happened to be a teacher, that I was worried about going from a rewarding profession like teaching to a career in sales,” she explains. “She responded that buying a home is one of the most difficult decisions people make in their entire lives, and it’s important to have a caring, honest, ethical person guide them through the process. Hearing that made me realize I could still do good and find fulfillment in this new field.”

After going into real estate full-time, things began to ramp up for Mikki, and it wasn’t long before she found herself in a familiar state: exhausted. “I found myself working pretty much nonstop, with barely any time to see my family,” she says. “I could feel a burnout coming, but I knew I didn’t want to give up my business. So, I sat down and wrote a dream business plan that addressed the issues I was currently facing. For example, I imagined how it would look if I could actually take time off without impacting my clients.” Soon after, Mikki found a chance to put her plan into action. “In February of 2012, I had the opportunity to purchase a commercial building, and a month later, MikkiMoves Real Estate was born.”

Today, Mikki says her favorite part of her job is making a difference in the lives of others. “I love working with my clients and helping them achieve their goals. Also, as a lead broker, I like helping the other agents on our team be successful. In everything we do, my hope is that we always work from the heart and keep our clients’ best interests in mind.”

A resident of Santa Rosa (where she lives with her husband, Art), Mikki spends her time outside of work engaged in a variety of hobbies and activities. “Art and I have two grandchildren, so my number one thing is spending time with them whenever I can,” she says. “I also enjoy traveling, going out to eat, talking walks in the park, reading, cooking and relaxing at the beach.”

When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Mikki says she would have no trouble filling the extra time. “I would definitely like to travel more, as well as spend more time with my family. My husband is already retired, so when I’m headed to the office, he’s usually headed to the golf course. I’m looking forward to my chance to play!”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Have you ever read a book more than once?
A: “Awaken the Giant Within” by Anthony Robbins.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: It’s a tie between Sea Thai Bistro and Willi’s Wine Bar, which are both in Santa Rosa.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Fiji, for the beaches.

Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: The ability to get along with any kind of crowd. You might say I was socially ambidextrous.

Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: “The Princess Bride.”

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Real Estate Contingencies

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SANTA ROSA — In real estate, when a seller accepts an offer from a buyer, the two parties enter into a tentative contract, which gives the buyer a chance to more closely evaluate the property. One of the most important features… Read more

How to Buy and Sell a Property at the Same Time

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SANTA ROSA – Buying a home is a complicated endeavor, but when it comes to buying and selling simultaneously, you need to have a carefully planned strategy. In most cases, your best course of action is to place your property on… Read more

Avoid Tax Surprises When Selling an Investment Property

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SANTA ROSA — Before selling an investment property, make sure you educate yourself about the potential tax implications. Selling an investment property is different than selling a primary residence because the sale is subject to capital gains taxes, or taxes… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Understanding Real Estate Contingencies

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Complete Video Transcription:

SANTA ROSA — Host, Sarah Rutan: Before entering into a preliminary home purchase agreement, you’ll need to have an understanding of the contingencies involved. Today, we’re… 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

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

Agua Caliente
Alexander Valley
Annapolis
Asti
Bloomfield
Bodega
Bodega Bay
Boyes Hot Springs
Camp Meeker
Cazadero
Cloverdale
Cotati
Duncans Mills
El Verano
Eldridge
Fallon
Fetters Hot Springs
Forestville
Fort Ross
Freestone
Fulton
Geyserville
Glen Ellen
Graton
Guerneville
Guernewood
Healdsburg
Jenner
Kenwood
Lakeville
Larkfield
Lytton
Mark West
Monte Rio
Occidental
Penngrove
Petaluma
Rio Nido
Rohnert Park
Roseland
Russian River
Russian River Meadows
Salmon Creek
Santa Rosa
Schellville
Sebastopol
Sheridan
Sonoma
Stewarts Point Rancheria
Temelec
the Geysers
Sea Ranch
Two Rock
Valley Ford
Villa Grande
Vineburg
Windsor

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Know What You Want
Consider These Questions Prior to Hiring a Real Estate Broker in Sonoma County

You’ll need to consider many factors before selecting a real estate sales broker in Sonoma County that will best meet your needs. Write down everything that you’re searching for before you begin. Think about the following questions before making your final choice regarding a real estate sales broker.

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified real estate broker that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee?
  • What personal and professional characteristics would I like my local real estate broker to have? (These may include good communication skills, honesty, reliability, cleanliness, etc.)
  • What is my budget for buying a new home?
  • What is the time frame that is most optimal for me to purchase or sell my real estate property?
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What To Ask In Person
Factors to Inquire About with a Sonoma County Real Estate Broker

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

  • Considering the current market, at what price do you think my home can sell?
  • Can you work with lenders to help me locate a decent loan when purchasing a new home in Sonoma County?
  • Can you act as the buyer and seller (dual agent)?
  • Can you give me a comparative market analysis of recent home that are on the market as well as recent sales in the area?
  • Do you insist on a buyer agency agreement?
  • Can I get references for your last five deals?
  • Has a client ever filed a complaint against you?
  • Are you a member of NAR or other reputable real estate organizations?
  • Can you perform property auctions or exchanges?
  • Can you perform appraisals in Sonoma County?
  • What if I am unhappy with your service? Do you offer a guarantee?
  • How many other sellers are you representing now? (Keep in mind that the busiest real estate sales brokers are often the most efficient.)
  • Do you perform credit screening on either buyers or sellers?
  • What sets you apart from other real estate sales brokers?
  • Can you assist me in placing an offer on a new home in Sonoma County?
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  • What To Ask References
    Ask These Questions When Talking With References of a Sonoma County Real Estate Sales Broker

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified real estate sales broker in Sonoma County, including the larger cities of Sonoma, Cloverdale, Sebastopol, Cotati, and Guerneville, 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 Sonoma 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 broker within reach, 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 broker. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the real estate sales broker 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 brokers 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. Do you feel that the real estate broker was pushy when it came to selling or buying?

    • Was the real estate broker knowledgeable about the community, town, and market you were interested in?
    • Was this real estate broker respectful of your time and property? Were there any issues of theft or damage during showings?
    • Did you feel that the real estate sales broker was working with your best interest in mind? Or did you feel like the real estate broker was influenced by other motivations or brokers?
    • Would you recommend this real estate sales broker to your family and friends?
    • Did the real estate broker help you devise a selling/buying plan and help you stick with it?
    • Was the real estate broker helpful in guiding you during the offer process?
    • If you sold real estate with this real estate broker, did they do a good job of showcasing and showing your property both in person and on the listing sheet?
    • If you need a real estate sales broker in the future, will you consider hiring this real estate broker?
    • Was the real estate broker helpful in guiding you during negotiations?
    • Was the deal was complete, were you satisfied with the real estate broker?
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  • Review Your Options
    Hiring a Dependable Real Estate Sales Broker in Sonoma 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 broker is important to you and your family. So before making the final decision on the best real estate sales broker in Sonoma County, you may want to consider the following questions:

    1. Is my real estate sales broker well-established in the community?
    2. Is my real estate sales broker of choice applying pressure or sales tactics in order to get me to sign a contract before I am ready?
    3. Is my real estate broker from Sonoma County, including the smaller cities Roseland, Russian River Meadows, Salmon Creek, Annapolis, Camp Meeker, Asti, and Temelec, flexible regarding the commission rate?
    4. Does my real estate broker have good references that I have checked?
    5. Does my real estate broker have a good record for selling real estate property in a timely fashion by using successful marketing strategies?
    6. Do I trust my Sonoma County real estate broker?
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  • How To Work With
    The Buyer's Broker Agreement in Sonoma County

    If you are purchasing real estate, your real estate sales broker my ask you to sign a “buyer’s agent agreement.” This agreement protects the real estate broker if you, the client, choose to switch to a different real estate broker 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 broker will be compensated for their work. It specifies rights and duties of the buyer as well as how and when the broker will be compensated.

    If your real estate broker wants you to sign a buyer’s agent agreement, here are a list of issues you should carefully consider:

    • Geographic area. Make sure the real estate broker is experienced in your area. If it is possible that you will venture outside of the comfort zone of the real estate broker, make a provision in the contract that the real estate broker will refer you to another broker and collect a referral fee. Or that, in this type of case, the contract will be void.
    • Term. You can always renew later, so lay down a reasonable time period for working with the real estate broker. Keep in mind that if you purchase a property that the real estate broker showed you a few months after the contract has expired, the broker is still entitled to a commission.
    • FSBOs. If you don’t want to pay a commission on For Sale By Owner properties in Sonoma County, including the larger cities of Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Windsor, and Healdsburg, make sure to put that in the contract. Keep in mind, however, that the real estate broker may be able to save you money by determining a fair purchase price and negotiating the deal.
    • 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 broker 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 broker’s performance.

    The contract should clearly define both the duties of the broker and the buyer. These duties should include:
    Responsibilities of a Good Real Estate Broker:

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

    Your Responsibilities When Buying Real Estate in Sonoma County:

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

    A Real Estate Listing Contract
    A listing contract is the contract between a real estate broker and a seller of real estate property that gives the broker the right to offer the property for sale. The listing contract must include the following:

    • A beginning date and a termination date for the real estate broker services
    • The list price which the property will be offered for sale
    • The amount of compensation offered to the real estate broker. 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 broker to cooperate with other brokers as sub-brokers and also details the compensation that will be offered to those brokers in the event they secure a buyer.
    • Authorizes the real estate broker to disclose or not to disclose the existence of offers formerly received.
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  • Be a Good Customer
    Being a Dependable Sonoma County Real Estate Sales Broker Customer

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

    • Be clear and upfront with the real estate sales broker from Sonoma County, including the larger cities of Sonoma, Cloverdale, Sebastopol, Cotati, and Guerneville. Let them know what you want from your real estate sales broker, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Ask your real estate sales broker if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
    • Be sure your real estate sales broker 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 broker can reach you for any necessary updates or questions.
    • Before you hire a real estate sales broker in Sonoma County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the real estate sales broker your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local real estate sales brokers occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • When your real estate sales broker contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the real estate project on schedule.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!

    Why would you want to be a good client? Real estate sales brokers in Sonoma 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
When You Sign the Sonoma County Real Estate Written Contract

In order for your real estate purchase or sell to be official, you must sign a written contract. It must include the following:

  • Signatures by all parties involved in the real estate sales
  • A legal purpose
  • 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
  • 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
The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee

Diamond Certified real estate brokerages are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the Sonoma County real estate broker you’ve hired is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by talking directly with the broker, contact the mediation department at [email protected] or call 800-738-1138.

Resolving Conflict with Sonoma County Real Estate Sales Brokers
The truth is most real estate sales brokers in Sonoma County are honest and really do look out for their customers’ best interests. Still, you should know what to do if you are ever dissatisfied with your local real estate sales broker’s service or work.

If you have a complaint or concern about the service you received from your real estate sales broker from Sonoma County, including the larger cities of Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Windsor, and Healdsburg, immediately speak with the real estate broker or the real estate company manager. It is often best to resolve problems directly with the real estate sales broker, minimizing conflict and getting your real estate project finalized on time.

When discussing the issue with the real estate sales broker, keep these tips in mind:

  • If you do not get a suitable response from your Sonoma County real estate broker, consider sending a letter that outlines the problem and how you would like it resolved. Send the letter by certified mail and request a return receipt. If the problem continues, it may be time for outside intervention.
  • Let your real estate sales broker know that you’re willing to compromise or negotiate a mutually-beneficial agreement.
  • Review the contract specifications with your real estate broker and attempt to verbally resolve any problems in person.
  • Create a deadline for resolution, and tell the real estate sales broker that you are willing to agree on a mutually-beneficial solution.
  • You have the right to legally withhold payment until the dispute is resolved to your liking.
  • Try discussing the problem with a trusted family member or a friend. If that doesn’t help, you may need to seek legal advice from an attorney.
  • Remain calm and polite.

Document your concerns in writing with the real estate sales broker. Write down the real estate sales broker’s response to your complaints in case you need records for future arbitration.

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Top 10 Requests
Top Requests for Real Estate Sales Brokers

Real estate sales brokers in Sonoma County provide assistance for all types of real estate properties. Following is a list of the most popular types of properties.

Split-level Homes in Sonoma County
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.

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.

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.

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.

Condominiums / Condos in Sonoma County
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.

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.

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

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.

Rental Properties in Sonoma County
These are properties that include lands, buildings, units, or rooms that are available for or being rented.

Sonoma County Commercial Properties for Sale
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.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Terms for Clients of Real Estate Brokers

Below are key real estate sales broker terms and descriptions that will help you navigate your way through buying or selling real estate properties from beginning to end.

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

apartment sales
This is a reference to the sale of an apartment which is a residential unit in a building that is comprised of five or more residential apartments. The building itself is a commercial apartment building designed for several families.

Also known as: apartments for sale, apartment for sale

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

bank-owned homes sales
This is the sale of a home that has gone through foreclosure and the bank owns. These types of homes are often sold at auctions by the bank to the highest bidder. Typically banks try to sell the homes “as is” with as few repairs as possible.

Also known as: bank owned homes for sale, bank owned home sales, bank owned 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

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 property sales
This is a reference to the sale of commercial property, which 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.

Also known as: commercial property for sale, commercial properties for sale, commercial property for sales, commercial properties sale

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.

condominium sales
This is a reference to the sale of a condominium. A condominium is an individual unit on a large property complex that has several of these 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 sale, condominium sale, new condominiums for sale, new condominium for sale

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

foreclosed homes for sale
This is the sale of a home that the bank has repossessed because the owner is unable to make mortgage loan payments.

Also known as: free foreclosed homes for sale, hud homes for sale, foreclosed homes sale, foreclosed home for sale

high-end homes
High-end homes are luxurious homes in affluent communities. The high-end status is determined by location, property entry, architecture, décor, decadent amenities, entertainment capability, grounds, etc.

Also known as: high end homes for sale, luxury homes, high end real estate, high end mobile homes, houses for sale, luxury houses for sale, high end custom home builders

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

investment properties
These are properties that have been purchased with the intention of earning a return on them and they are not occupied by the owner. Examples of investment properties include apartment buildings and rental houses.

Also known as: investment property, investment property financing, investment properties for sale, buying rental property, investment property tax, real estate investor

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

luxury homes for sale
This is a reference to the sale of luxury, or high-end, homes found in affluent communities. The high-end status is determined by location, property entry, architecture, décor, decadent amenities, entertainment capability, grounds, etc.

Also known as: luxury home sales, luxury home for sale, luxury homes

manufactured homes for sale
This is the sale of a home that has been constructed almost entirely in a factory. The mobile home is then transported to the building site. Mobile homes come in many different shapes and sizes. They can be large and complex or just a simple one-story home.

Also known as: used manufactured homes for sale, new manufactured homes for sale, manufactured home sales, manufactured home for sale, mobile homes for sale, manufactured home sale, repo manufactured homes for sale, manufactured homes, modular homes for sale, manufactured mobile homes for sale, used manufactured homes, manufactured homes for sale by owner

mobile homes for sale
This is the sale of a home that has been constructed almost entirely in a factory. The mobile home is then transported to the building site. Mobile homes come in many different shapes and sizes. They can be large and complex or just a simple one-story home.

Also known as: used mobile homes for sale, repo mobile homes for sale, fema mobile homes for sale, mobile home sales, mobile homes sale

new home listings
This is a service used by real estate brokers that allows them to view a list of new homes in a particular area that are for sale and listed under different real estate agencies.

Also known as: new home listing, buying a new home, floor plans for new homes, new construction homes, new homes listing, new homes for sale, new homes guide, new home plans, new home construction, new construction homes

rent-to-own homes
This is a reference to a real estate agreement which is both a rental lease and a purchase agreement where the tenant has the option to buy the property at a fixed cost at a specified point of time in the future.

Also known as: rent to own homes listings, rent to own home, rent own homes

townhouse sales
This is a reference to selling a townhouse.  A townhouse is a home that shares a building with other units. Usually there are no other units above or below.

Also known as: townhouse for sale, townhouses for sale, condos townhouses for sale, new townhouse for sale, condo townhouse for sale

undeveloped property sales/land for sale
This is a reference to selling land or property that has no added improvements such as drainage, streets, landscaping, utilities, and structures.

Also known as: land for sale by owner, government land for sale, farm land for sale, hunting land for sale

vacation home sales
This is a reference to the sale of a home that is used seasonally as a vacation residence rather than being lived in year round.

Also known as: vacation home for sale, vacation homes for sale, vacation homes, vacation homes for rent, vacation homes sale, cheap vacation homes for sale

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Local Real Estate Brokerages

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified real estate sales broker?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a real estate sales broker with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only real estate sales brokers 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 broker.

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.

Q: Does my house need to be in move-in condition before I sell it?
A: Usually, buyers are searching for homes that are in move-in condition. If you know that you are going to sell your house, put yourself in a buyer’s position. What would make your home look more appealing? Consider repainting the exterior and interior with neutral colors. Consider refinishing your floors or remodeling the kitchen. All of these things add value to your home and make it sell more quickly.

Q: Can a real estate broker help me stage my home?
A: Most real estate brokers will help you with this. Some brokers work with companies that specialize in staging homes so they get noticed by buyers. Homeowners aren’t always aware of the importance of staging their houses—people have an emotional response to your home when it shows beautifully, so it’s crucial to make the first impact with a potential buyer as positive as possible.

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: You most likely don’t have the knowledge needed to represent yourself in a real estate transaction. 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: 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: 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: How long will it take to sell my home?
A: The selling process depends on the property, so giving an accurate estimate is difficult. First, a real estate broker has to decide what type of buyer would be interested in your property. Then the percentage of buyers that would have an interest is determined. A quality real estate broker will do their best to sell your home as quickly as possible. In today’s market, the median number of days for a single family home to close is 41. That means an equal number of homes have closed after more than 41 days as less than 41 days.

Q: Do I have to move out of my home when I put it on the market?
A: Not necessarily. Staging is easier when you’re not residing in the home, but if that’s not possible, a real estate broker will work with you to make the property as attractive as possible to potential buyers.

Q: Do I have to disclose problems with my home before I sell it?
A: If your home has a serious defect, it’s in your best interest to disclose it.  Otherwise, the buyer might come back, acknowledge you knew about the problem and follow through with legal action.

Q: How do I determine the value of the property I’m selling?
A: Whenever the value of a property is determined, the first thing a real estate broker will do is pull a ‘property profile,’ which reveals important information about when the property was built, its square footage, etc. Then the real estate broker will look for comparable sales in the same neighborhood sold within the last six months that are no more than 10 years older or younger than your property, and where the size of the square footage is no more than 25 percent larger or smaller than your property. Finally, the real estate broker will determine the value by taking all the above parameters into account, as well as the condition of the comparable sales compared to your property.

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 do I decide where to start looking for a new home?
A: A real estate broker will get a feel for your preferences. This is done by considering where you currently live, whether you like the neighborhood, and naming other neighborhoods that you’d like as well. Then they will consider your current financial situation and recommend the best locations.

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

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