RSM Real Estate Consultants Bronx Real Estate Broker

An Interview with Raysa Santos, Broker/Owner

April 14th, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Type:

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By Kolie Crutcher

Kolie Crutcher: Tell me about yourself.  How did you get started in real estate?

Raysa Santos: I came to the USA  in 1984, and in 1985 I went to City College to become an Architect since it was my childhood dream to design my own house.  I graduated in 1990 with my BS in Architecture and entered the work force.  Years passed and I still had not realized my dream to design my own house.  In 1998, I made the decision to stop paying rent and buy my own multi-family to generate some extra income.  I closed on a 3-family house in 1999.  The buying process was hellish as I didn’t anything about real estate, and there was no agent involved in the transaction (I purchased the house directly from the seller) to guide me.  When the closing was over and I had the keys in my hands, I swore I would take a course in real estate just to learn and be ready for another investment.  A few weeks later I had completed the 45-hour salesperson course and went to work for the Century 21 franchise office located down the street.  So, in other words, I entered the real estate world to use the new learned skill as a tool for my own benefit, but it turned out to be a radical change in my career and lifestyle.

K.C.: How long have you been selling real estate, and where are you licensed to sell?

R.S.: I’ve been in the real estate business since 2000.  I worked for 11 years under the Century 21 umbrella, and early this year decided to open my own firm, RSM Real Estate Consultants, Inc.   My license is good for the entire NY state, however, my territory is the Bronx and lower Westchester County.

K.C.: Is investing in real estate one of the best decisions one can make?  If so, why?

R.S.: In my opinion, investing in real estate is one of the best wealth generating paths a person can take.  The two best reasons are: Equity build up and Tax advantages.  For instance, the 3-family I purchased in 1999 allowed me to “borrow” $150,000 for the construction of my dream home.  It was just great how that worked out.  I bought a 3 family investment, and that property bought my dream house.   Regarding tax advantages, your accountant will be the best person to guide you.  All I can say is that a large portion of my rental income is not taxed due to all the deductions the property has (improvements, repairs, mortgage interest, etc.)  Real estate is not for everyone though.  I know of many cases where people have lost money in real estate.  I personally believe, in those cases, the wrong choices of property or financing were made.  If you do your homework, you will make money in real estate.

K.C.: What is the best advice you would give someone who is shopping for a mortgage?

R.S.: Meet with a loan officer from a reputable institution and go over your credit report, your income and debts.  It is very important to determine your buying power before you go shopping for a house.  That way you do not waste time looking at properties outside of your price range.  Insist in going over projections of monthly payments and ask for the closing costs to be disclosed.  If you do not, later you will be surprised with hidden fees.  There are many loan products available; just make sure you select the one that makes sense to you.  Read the fine print regarding interest-only loans and adjustable rates.

K.C.: What training do you need in order to sell real estate?  How long does it take?

R.S.: Real estate is very easy to get into.  You need to take a 45-hour salesperson course, passing a school test and the NYS exam.  After that is completed, a real estate broker needs to sponsor you.  He will give you the necessary, in-house training so you learn how to do the business.  It takes about 6 months to learn the basics.  And, just like with any other career or profession, you will get what you put into it.

K.C.: Can you briefly describe the home buying process?

R.S.: The home buying process might take as little as 1 month or as long as 1 year.  A good agent will explain the process step by step and will guide the buyer to minimize their anxiety:

1)Meet with a lender to determine your buying power; 2)Meet with a real estate agent who will help you find the right property and explain the process; 3)Make an offer on the property that suits your needs; 4)Inspect the property; 5)Go into contract to secure the property – make sure you hire a real estate attorney; 6)Submit required documentation to the bank; 7)Bank orders an appraisal on the property to verify value comes in; 8)Attorney orders a title search to make sure the property has a clean title; 9)Bank issues a conditional commitment; 10)Buyer, agent and attorney work together to satisfy all the conditions; 11)Bank clears the file and closing is scheduled; 12)Buyer and agent attend a final walk-thru to verify property is in the same or better condition as when it was first viewed; 13)Closing takes place and buyer gets keys of the property.

K.C.: Is the process any different if you already own real estate?  If so, how?

R.S.: The steps are still the same.  When you already own a property, though, the bank will have different down payment and income requirements than those for a 1st time homebuyer.  There will be less “hand holding” since the person already went through the buying process.  In 11 years I have deal with all types of buyers, and there’s always something different or special about each deal.

K.C.: How about for the sellers…Is the process different?

R.S.: The process of selling a property is a bit different.  The buyer and the seller want to end up at the same destination  (the house is sold), but they have different road maps to get there:

1)Meet with an agent to help him price the property right and place the property on the market; 2)Prepare the house to be shown; 3)Grant adequate access to the property; 4)Once an offer is made, accept or negotiate the amount; 5)Go into contract to secure the buyer – make sure to hire a real estate attorney; 6)Grant access to the property to conduct engineering and appraisal inspections; 7)Work with the agent and attorney to satisfy any conditions requested by the bank; 8)If a mortgage still exist, a final payoff letter is ordered from the bank; 9)Grant access for the final walk-thru; 10)Attend the closing and get paid.

K.C.: How can you know how much your property is really worth?

R.S.: The best way to know the real value of your property is by paying a licensed real estate appraiser.

K.C.: What’s the difference between a “Buyer’s market” and a “Seller’s market”?

R.S.: A “Buyer’s market” is what we have today.  In this market, the inventory of properties is much larger than the number of buyers looking to buy.  Buyers have more options, and they can negotiate down the price of the property because the demand for houses is low.  A “Seller’s market” is what we had between 2000-2005.  In this market, the inventory is scarse, buyers have less choices and end up buying properties at cost value because the demand for houses is high.

K.C.: What advice do you have for first-time home buyers?

R.S.: Do your homework!!  Use the internet to get familiar with real estate terminology, loan options and property choices & values.  Work with an agent who knows her stuff and will explain the home buying process along the way.  Once you build a team of professionals (agent, loan officer and attorney) who you like, trust and respect, the process will go a lot smoother.

K.C.: How can a potential homebuyer or seller contact you?

R.S.: My cell number is the best way to reach me (917) 747-4280; you can call or text me.  My email is:  RSM Real Estate Consultants, Inc. is located at 2210 St. Raymonds Avenue, Bronx, NY 10462.  Thanks!

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