Frequent Questions

What is our innovative and cost saving philosophy at Sound Counsel Realty?

Sound Counsel Realty is a full-service real estate brokerage firm. The concept of the business was created to positively address the disadvantages and limited options sellers and buyers frequently encounter in the real estate market. Too often, sellers pay excessive fees to real estate agents without receiving the value they pay for those services, while buyers often do not receive the essential advocacy needed to fully represent and protect their best interests. We provide everything a homeowner or buyer would expect from a traditional real estate agent while also offering legal guidance. Top

What important benefits will I receive by hiring a real estate agent who is also a real estate attorney?

Buying or selling a home is often the largest and most important financial transaction a person will face in their lifetime. Legal pitfalls exist and often arise in the purchase or sale of a home. Buying or selling a home can be a highly stressful experience. At Sound Counsel Realty, we shoulder the burdens for you and help make the experience as smooth and stress free as possible.

With Sound Counsel Realty, sellers and buyers receive a legal eye throughout the transaction. We provide meticulous research and advise clients based on up to date market conditions. After careful analysis, we pursue a variety of strategies to meet our clients’ needs. As motivated and skilled negotiators, we have achieved successful results far beyond clients’ expectations including substantial price reductions for buyers and price increases for sellers (See Testimonials). We do not guarantee specific results in all transactions.

Unfortunately, sellers and buyers often place their faith and finances in non-attorney real estate agents who do not possess the legal knowledge to recognize and appropriately handle important legal issues. A real estate agent who is also a real estate attorney is invaluable to a client – making sure all aspects of the transaction are covered appropriately, understanding and advising clients regarding the legal requirements of the process, avoiding conflicts of interest, reviewing and making sure all of the disclosures are appropriate, carefully scrutinizing the purchase and sale agreement and other legal documents, submitting strategic offers and counter offers, setting and complying with timelines to keep the transaction moving forward, providing an exit plan if necessary, and overseeing a smooth transition of all important details until the sale is closed. Because the typical agent has no legal training, knowledge, or experience, the necessary foundation is lacking for recognizing and handling problematic, time sensitive and critical legal issues.Top

Are the savings substantial with Sound Counsel Realty?

Sellers – Exceptional Service and Lower Fees

Sound Counsel Realty provides the highest level of service while our fees are often lower than fees charged by traditional real estate agencies. We bring a level of service and education no other large brokerage can match. In most cases, Sound Counsel’s fees are 2.75% of the sales price as opposed to the 3% standardly charged by traditional agents. The difference in savings is significant, especially in today’s housing market. In addition, with our strong negotiation skills and advocacy, we are often able to help sellers obtain higher sales prices in addition to a commission reduction.

Our real estate services are comprehensive, including state of the art high definition photography, virtual tours, a dedicated website, staging by interior designers when appropriate, creative marketing strategies, open houses, and exposure of your home on the MLS.Top

Buyers – A clear advantage

Home buyers choose Sound Counsel Realty because they want the additional education and protection of having a real estate agent who is also an attorney to represent them throughout the process. We provide everything a buyer needs from finding the right home, aggressively negotiating the lowest possible price, and presenting and responding to the contracts and legal documents.Top

How does Sound Counsel Realty provide comprehensive service for less?

Most real estate companies are saturated with agents, all of which are paid purely on commission. In a traditional real estate office, the agents generally work independently from one another under the same broker. Agents pay for their individual advertising expenses, administrative costs, desk fees, and other miscellaneous expenses. When commissions are earned, agents are often required to share a large portion of their fees with their company. In this environment, agents work under the same roof in direct competition for the same clients, rather than working together to develop an efficient industry. We don’t think our clients should pay higher fees because of industry inefficiency.

By providing a unified approach to our business model, our resources are used efficiently which substantially reduces our administrative costs. We work as a team, rather than competing within the firm for clients. As a result, we are able to comfortably pass these savings on to our clients.Top

What is “Dual Agency” and how can it negatively affect the real estate process?

Dual Agency occurs when the seller’s agent and buyer’s agent is the same person or when both agents work for the same real estate agency. On many occasions, the buyer’s agent and seller’s agent often work out of the same small, local office. Dual agency creates a clear conflict of interest for the seller and the buyer. Having one agent try to represent the best interests of the seller and the buyer on the sale of the same house is not possible. There are no exceptions. The buyer wants the best deal possible. The seller wants the most money for their house. An agent representing both cannot accomplish this goal. As consumers, it is important to ask every potential agent if dual agency is permitted by their broker. Most listing agreements require the consumer to consent to dual agency. In addition, there is a huge financial incentive for agents to put their interests ahead of their client as they receive a double commission (6% instead of 3% when an agent represents both sides).

Think about it this way – Imagine the Super Bowl with the same coach for both teams? The only winner every time would be the coach. One person can not be the coach for both teams any more than one person being the real estate agent for both the Buyer and Seller.Top

Our unique business model in a nutshell?

Consumers no longer have to pay high fees to sell their most precious asset or risk making their largest investment without legal representation. With Sound Counsel Realty you will receive full service, comprehensive representation by real estate agents and a real estate attorney, all while saving significant funds compared to a traditional real estate brokerage.Top

What about finding and viewing properties?

As a full-service real estate company and members of the Multiple Listing Service we have access to the same properties and services as other MLS affiliated real estate companies. We will help you through the entire process, including showing you all the homes you would like to see until you find the right one.Top

What services does Sound Counsel Realty provide for sellers?

Sound Counsel Realty provides all of the services of a full service real estate agency. We go beyond most traditional agencies, which hold open houses and not much else – we also provide High Definition professional photography, creative marketing strategies including dedicated websites, professionally designed “For Sale” signs and MLS Internet exposure. The pictures of your house buyers will see on the internet are amazing. They will make your home stand apart from the competition. Photography is critical in today’s internet based market. How many times have you looked at bad pictures of a home and eliminated that home from your search? How many times have you agreed to pay your real estate agent a huge fee, expecting the best services, only to have your agent come to your house with their own 5 mega pixel camera to take “professional” photos?Top

What is the commission for sellers? What do most sellers not know about commissions?

What most sellers do not know; With a traditional real estate agency, the seller who signs the standard MLS listing agreement obligates them to pay the entire 6% commission even when the buyer does not have an agent! Why should you pay your agent an additional 3% when the buyer does not have an agent to pay and when you have agreed to pay your agent 3% for his or her services? We don’t think there is a good reason. At Sound Counsel Realty, if the buyer purchases your home without an agent, you keep the savings and only pay us the commission agreed to in the Listing Agreement for our side of the work.

For example, if you sold your home for $700,000 with Sound Counsel, in most situations, our fee would be 2.75%. If a buyer’s agent was involved in the sale, which is the case almost all the time, you would also pay them the commission you agreed to in the Listing Agreement, which is invariably the industry standard of 3% or $21,000. However, if a buyer purchased your home without an agent, your fee with Sound Counsel Realty would only be our fee and not 6% or $42,000! The benefit of a buyer not having an agent is passed on to you, not your real estate agent. We do recommend a buyer work with either an agent and/or hire an attorney to represent them for a variety of reasons, including avoiding potential conflicts of interest. A buyer will invariably hire and pay their own attorney for the representation. Top

What if my house does not sell?

If your home does not sell, you do not pay any fees.Top