Real estate agents are being urged to be more careful about their travel.
Here are some tips to keep you safe.
Don’t be a fool.
Real estate is a risky business, and there are lots of scams, scams, and more scams out there, according to an annual survey of real estate agents conducted by Realtor.com.
If you’re an experienced agent and have the time, make sure you know what you’re getting into before you sign on the dotted line.
The survey found that 70% of agents are now taking steps to stay away from the industry’s biggest scams.
Avoid the wrong people.
“It’s a dangerous business to be in, so don’t be in it at all,” says Roberta Crenshaw, managing director of Realtors.com, which surveyed nearly 3,000 agents in April.
She advises agents to be aware of who they’re dealing with when they’re on vacation.
She recommends that agents don’t work with clients who are in the real estate business or who are known to be involved in shady activities.
Be smart with your funds.
If the prospect of a vacation is enticing, Crensays, agents should invest at least $2,000 in their portfolio.
“Invest as much as you can, and if you can’t invest it, then maybe take a trip or get a vacation,” she says.
Consider your personal finances.
If a vacation sounds too good to be true, consider the possibility that you’re going to need to pay off debt and get a job.
That can be a tough sell, especially if you have an ongoing mortgage, says Crenshaws.
“If you’re paying off a mortgage or have a debt problem, I wouldn’t take a $1,000 trip.”
Don´t be scared of the law.
Many states have laws against selling vacation homes, which may limit your options.
That’s why it’s important to consult an experienced real estate agent, Caren Hartman, president of Hartman Realty Group.
She says it’s wise to read the contract before you go.
“You should be able to negotiate it and know what your rights are, but you also need to have a contract signed and signed by both you and the seller,” she explains.
Know your rights.
“I have seen agents that take vacations that they can’t even tell me are a vacation because they don’t sign it,” says Caren.
“The agents should take into consideration the rights of the buyers and the sellers.”
Keep a budget.
If an agent is spending all of their money, Ceren says, “then you should be looking at your personal financial situation.”
Caren recommends a budget that includes a few extra days of vacation per year.
She also recommends checking to see how much money you have available each month.
“Some agents will ask you to pay a certain amount, and you should know what that amount is and if that is a good deal,” she advises.
Check your credit.
If your credit score is low, you may not be able make an informed decision on a trip, she says, especially since it can affect your ability to get a mortgage.
“A lot of people who are not in the industry, if you’re in the business, they don�t pay as much attention to their credit, so that’s one reason why they’re not having the kind of vacation that they need,” she adds.
Get the right kind of insurance.
“When you go, you should also be looking for a plan that covers your medical bills, rent, car payments, and other necessities that can be covered in the future,” says Hartman.
“That way you have a little bit of cushion in case you need to leave for a vacation.”
Know the risks of your trip.
There are certain things you should consider before you take your vacation.
If it sounds too risky to you, don’t get a refund, says Hartmann.
“They have to make sure that you are not a fraud,” she notes.
“But it doesn’t have to be that way.”