By Kierra Pixler, Managing Editor
Belton is becoming one of the fastest growing housing markets in our area and choosing the right real estate agent can be an intimidating task. The number one responsibility of a Realtor is to educate their clients about the real estate transaction and things that they need to watch out for to avoid costly mistakes. Having grown up in Belton, local real estate agent Quinton Locklin works alongside his wife Jennifer and sister-in-law June Small. They make up The Locklin Team and work under Keller Williams Realty.
“I was born at Kings Daughter’s Hospital in Temple and have been here ever since,” said Locklin. “Of 40 years of life, I have only lived seven years away from here. Four years at Sam Houston State University, where I got my degree, and three years in Houston after I sold my landscaping business and took another job. We owned and operated a successful business called Ameriscapes Landscape and Irrigation for 10 years from 2001 until 2011 here in Belton. Our real estate business has taken off very quickly and I contribute most of that to the fact that we came back home to all of the people we know and love.”
For those who have to sell their home first, Locklin offers some useful and informative tips in order to help the process flow smoothly.
“Getting ready to sell a house comes down to two things in my opinion,” said Locklin. “Number one, price your house correctly from the beginning. Your agent should be able to provide you with comparables and sit down and really discuss where your house fits with the houses that have sold recently in your area. The second thing is to stage the home well. Decluttering, cleaning, fixing repairs that you know are needed and great pictures are a must. It is very competitive out there and if your home is priced correctly and you have staged it very well then people are more likely to go with your home over somebody else. So selling it quickly becomes a very real possibility.”
Most things the soon-to-be-homeowner will just pick up along the way, by experience. However, there are some things that buyers need to know before starting the home buying process.
“The very first thing that I recommend to anybody considering buying a home is to get in with a good lender and get pre-approved,” said Locklin. “I try very hard to get people to consider local lenders that know the nuances of our local real estate market instead of dealing with out of town or Internet lenders. We have some great local lenders that can match any deal you can find and you can actually put a face to a name and physically talk to somebody if that is needed. Also, getting a Pre-approval letter is super important in the market we are in. Sellers are typically not going to consider an offer from somebody who is not already pre-approved. I tell people you all the time that you’re not ready to pull the trigger on making an offer unless you have a pre-approval letter in hand.”
Buyers can never be too vigilant in today’s marketplace where fraud can be prevalent at times. So watching out for scams and red flags is also a crucial step in the process.
“There are some red flags that I would tell buyers about,” said Locklin. ”If the house has been on the market for more than 90 days ,then I simply believe it is not priced correctly. That could mean that there is something wrong with the house and it is priced too high for what the repairs are needed or that it is just overpriced for the area. If in any description it says “handyman special”, “investment opportunity” or “AS IS”, then be prepared to put in some serious sweat equity and cash into fixing it up. These are usually situations that the seller does not want to pay for any of those repairs. The scams I know about usually happen after the house is closed on. People will get mail in their new mailboxes after closing on a house that says that they will help with filing a homestead exemption for them. These are scams. You can simply go to the tax office after January 1 and file your own exemption without paying somebody else to do this. There are also deed retrieval services that are scams to be on the look out for.”