Why is REALTOR® in all capital letters?

My husband asks me about this because he doesn’t like the flow of having a capital word “yelling” at someone in the middle of a document. Don’t worry, in real life I’m not the yelling type. I’m more of a slow simmer, take deep breaths and logic it through type of person. It’s the gift of coming from a big family…either learn the art of patience, communication and logic or get upset a lot. Life is seriously too short for that.

The short answer to the question is REALTOR® is a registered trademark so yes, I have to put it in all caps. Technically speaking, it is pronounced as it is written and not the “Realator” that we often hear. A lot of agents get upset about pronunciation, but honestly, I don’t care how you pronounce it. It’s more important to understand there are subtle differences between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®.

REALTOR®

Both real estate agents and REALTORS® must be licensed by the state(s) they work in to sell real estate. The basic difference is that a REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and by being a member, we must follow a specific Code of Ethics.

But what does this mean to you?

The Code of Ethics contains 17 Articles and Standards of Practice. As a REALTOR®, I and my fellow REALTORS®, agree to abide by higher standards and rules. These standards are more restrictive and limits how we conduct ourselves…in a good way. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that all REALTORS® are morally or ethically superior to real estate agents, but it is an attempt by the industry to regulate conduct to the benefit of those who hire us.

Now, don’t be confused and think that Real Estate Agents are running about willy-nilly without oversite. Real Estate Agents and REALTORS® must be placed under a Real Estate Broker. The Broker allows the agent to act on behalf of the Brokerage. Meanwhile, the Broker oversees all of the work we do, verifies contracts are written correctly and helps resolve disputes, should they arise. When you sign a listing, you are actually hiring the brokerage who is allowing that specific agent to work on your behalf.

The main difference, besides who carries the liability, is education. Brokers are required to do more education than agents and have been in the business longer. The standards of how long vary by state. As an example, I am a Broker in Washington state but have not chosen to go through the classes and testing to become a Broker in Arizona, even though I have the years of experience to qualify as a Broker. Mostly, because I love what I do and don’t want to be stuck in an office looking over contracts. I much prefer working with you, my buyers and sellers.

In larger organizations there is a Principal Broker, who oversees Brokers, who oversee the agents. Clear as mud, right? If you have further questions or want clarification on anything, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

Advertisements

About the Author

Before getting into a business relationship with someone, people learn as much as they can about that person. They research to see if they have similar goals, are reliable, have the financial means they need to follow through on their obligations and most important, can they be trusted.

Buying a home is a relationship that goes beyond merely “business”. This person is not only helping you negotiate what will probably be your most expensive purchase but help you find the place where you will make friends, raise your family or spend your retirement.  Hiring a real estate agent shouldn’t be a quick, easy decision or one made off the cuff.

So, before getting too involved in my blog, you should know more about who is writing this. First off, here’s my professional bio.

Raised in a real estate family Dana always had a passion for real estate.  In 2005 she made the jump from Human Resources Director to REALTOR®.  With her experience in contract negotiations and attention to detail, Dana gained a reputation for protecting her clients’ interests. Honesty, strong negotiations and clear and consistent communication join uncompromising integrity as the hallmarks of Dana’s service.

Dana is licensed in two states but keeps her focus on Arizona where she lives with her husband in the Phoenix valley.  Dana is known not only for her professionalism and high ethical standards but for being honest, friendly and hard-working.  She does absolutely everything in her power to ensure her clients satisfaction.  Dana’s father and brothers all served in the US military, giving her a unique understanding and empathy for those who have served.  Dana is a Certified Military Residential Specialist (CMRS designation) and proud member of the Heroes Home Advantage, a real estate rebate program for those that protect, serve and care for our country and community: military, law enforcement, firefighters, health care, emergency personnel and teachers.

In her personal time, Dana is committed to giving back and serving not only her community but also nationally and internationally. Locally she volunteers with children and seniors. Nationally Dana volunteers and raises funds to rescue victims of human trafficking. 

If that answers your questions, great. If you want to know more, read on…

I enjoy people and love learning about their life, passions, beliefs, and values even when they are diverse from mine.  I’m perpetually curious and enjoy watching historical documentaries, reading books and visiting museums.

You should be aware, it’s not unusual for me to try a new look from time to time, so don’t get too pent up on what my picture looks like. I may be blonde, brown, red or black, straight or curly, glasses or contacts etc. It really depends on my mood and what my Stylist will let me do. Currently she is opposed to letting me go black again. Darn it!

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Arizona in Cambodia                 Business Photo - Suit                     Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Arizona in Cambodia (2)

All of that being said, I do care about people and believe deeply that we should not leave this world without having made positive differences during our time here. While I actively support various charities with my time and finances, I have a passion for the work in Cambodia through Water of Life Asia and the people they help. I try to visit them every 1 to 1.5 years, bringing a small group with me. Occasionally I have an opportunity to speak about their work.

Why am I writing this blog?   When I decided to relocate to the Valley of the Sun, we had a very hard time finding a real estate agent who could assist us.  Having grown up in a real estate family and being an agent for several years, I knew what to look for.  The problem is, I couldn’t find it.  I interviewed countless agents, hired and subsequently fired around half a dozen agents before I found one that I trusted enough to help us find the place we were going to begin our life in Arizona.

On top of that, I had a ton of questions about various areas, businesses, new construction, shopping districts etc.  I ended up doing a lot of research online, on yelp, at http://www.spotcrime.com etc.  Of course, I now have clients with similar questions so I decided to start this blog to help them find the right community to raise their family.

To sum it up: Your home is where your life happens.  Choosing where you live isn’t just a matter of a nice house, but what is around it.  Helping you find that place for you and your family, is why I started this blog.

Who am I?  A person that loves what I do and believes in working hard, playing hard, laughing often, loving deeply and doing the right thing.

To Step In or Not to Step In to New Construction

To build or not build??? That my friends, is only the first of many questions you need to consider before you walk in the door. Once you have decided to embark on the journey of new construction communities, the questions will just keep on coming. I am hoping I can answer a few for you here.
Location! Location!! Location!!!
One of the questions I often hear is where to find information on new communities being built. This can be tricky as some homes are listed in the MLS but most are not. There are hundreds of new home communities in the area and it seems like a new one pops up every day! Writing about every one would be daunting to say the least. I only write about neighborhoods I’ve personally visited and spoken to a sales representative about.
As time permits, I will be posting about various new build communities. In the interim, if there is a specific neighborhood you would like to know more about, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I have access to information and would be more than happy to assist you in finding the perfect community to fit your needs.
BEFORE walking into any office in a new build community, there’s a few things you should know.
• DO YOU HAVE A REAL ESTATE AGENT? Don’t let your curiosity kill your pocketbook. If you decide to stop by without your real estate agent present, then they will not allow any agent to help you negotiate your new home. Usually a phone call to your agent before walking inside will allow agents to register you to go in to communities with or without us, yet still allow your agent to help you navigate the process and negotiate for your best interests.

• New home prices show a base price. Much like car dealer… you see an advertisement on TV that looks amazing and a price flash on the screen with a little asterisk next to it with little tiny writing about that being the ‘base price’. Then you go to the dealership to drive the amazing car only to realize how much more all of those bells and whistles featured in the commercial are. Worse yet, you don’t even LIKE the base model of the car and don’t want to pay the asking price for all the whistles.

Remember when you are touring the model homes that they carry premium upgrades. It’s important to physically see a “base” house compared to the model. The upgrades you’re viewing in the model will cost tens of thousands more than the base model. It’s not unusual for someone to see the model and fall in love only to go into a “base” home and not even recognize it as the same plan.

Case in point: this weekend I showed clients through several model homes. The flooring that was in the great room and entry of the model cost $50,000. No, that is not a typo. Nor was that the flooring price for the whole house, just the entry and great room. We then looked at a base home of a different plan and they hated it. Later we went to another community from the same builder where they had the home they “hated” shown as a model. Guess, what? They LOVED it, only to suffer sticker shock when they saw how much upgrades were.

• Sticker shock doesn’t stop inside the house because you still need to pick out your lot. Each lot has a premium attached to it. Sometimes they have the lot price included in the base price, but more often they do not. If the builder has several lots available on which to build a plan, some may be more desirable than others based on N/S verses E/W exposure, lot size, location and other factors. The more desirable lots will have a larger “premium” to purchase them. The premium can be from a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars for a lot on a prime golf course, lake or with a view.

• The same “lot” premium also applies to what level floor you’re purchasing on in a condominium; the higher the floor or the better the view or exposure, the higher the premium. The penthouse unit may be exactly the same as one on the first floor, but will be much more expensive.

• Negotiating new builds has some intricacies. My recommendation is to have a clear understanding of what floor plan, lot and amenities you want before even thinking about writing an offer or discussing price with the sales people in the office. Offering too soon can leave you with a price tag much higher than originally intended. Before walking in the doors to negotiate, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of what you “need” vs. what you “want”. Make a list and shoot a copy to me. That gives us a starting and ensures you don’t later regret what is missing in your new home.

a Toda Madre!

One of our favorite and more recent finds is Barrio Queen in the Heritage District of Gilbert.  Barrio Queen has a long standing location in Scottsdale in addition to their new location in Gilbert.  Barrio Queen is not your average Mexican restaurant.  Gordon Ramsey showed up at the opening, if that tells you anything.  The atmosphere is casual sophistication so you can wear everything from shorts to dresses and feel perfectly comfortable dining there.

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Arizona Final Barrio Queen sign 

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Barrio Queen Enchiladas SuizaDana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Barrio Queen Carne Asada TacosDana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Barrio Queen Cocktel de Elote

Recently we had friends in town that are looking to relocate from the Midwest.  They desperately missed the type of good Mexican food they couldn’t find at home but remembered from their youth.  They were a little dubious that we were taking them to an “upscale” rather than “traditional” Mexican restaurant.

When we ordered the guacamole, our friend Jim said he didn’t really like ‘guac’ but it was fine if everyone else wanted it.  It only took one bite and we had a convert to the ‘guac’ loving side of life.  Why didn’t anyone ever tell me about putting craisins in guacamole?!?  Granted I would’ve thought that sounded weird but as it turns out, weird tastes good.  Really good.
Then there’s the queso fundido….seriously, who can resist hot and gooey Oaxaca cheese topped with chorizo??  Christine spent the remainder of the evening raving about it and wondering if she could get this cheese in Iowa.  Needless to say, we ate far too much, loved every bite and took home fewer leftovers than we should have.

Dana Bentley Black Real Estate Gilbert Arizona Barrio Queen with Jim and Christine

 I think they liked it!

From previous dinners there, my husband has decided that the elote (corn) appetizer is one of his favorite items.  It tastes like a salsa infused corn and very flavorful.  Speaking of salsa – theirs has spice without being hot, just the way we prefer it. The carne asada has a mild citrus flavor and is tender and tasty.  The pulled chicken suiza enchiladas are topped with chorizo which adds a pleasant spice to the meal.

Let’s talk margaritas for a moment, because really, what’s Mexican food without a margarita?  Barrio Queen does not serve what we consider a traditional margarita.  In fact, the margarita they call traditional is not blended and (for me), quite strong!  If you’re looking for traditional, you might be disappointed.

The bar is always hopping.  Unfortunately, their water is not filtered but the iced teas are not hampered by this.  They serve both black and passion fruit tea, agua frescas, coke fountain drinks, bottled Panna and Pellegrino and Mexican coffee in addition to a full bar menu.

If you’re in the area before 6pm, stop by for Margarita Mondays, Taco Tuesdays or just plain ol’ Happy Hour from 2-6 weekdays.  You won’t get $1 tacos on Tuesday but you will get $2.50 tacos.  The quality of the food, flavors and atmosphere are totally worth the extra buck fifty to us.

What’s Happening at Greasewood Flats?

Plans are progressing for Taylor Morrison’s proposed 79-lot single family residential development on the site of the former Greasewood Flats following the Scottsdale City’s Council’s consent approval of the final plat.

The proposed Cavalliere Flat subdivision features 55 townhouses and 24 free-standing homes on approximately 46 acres at the southeast corner of N. Alma School Parkway and E. Pinnacle Vista Drive. The city’s Development Review Board approved the preliminary plat in February.

The developer will dedicate rights of way widths on Alma School and create a private trail within the subdivision, as well as public trail easements on both Alma School and Pinnacle Vista. 17.7 acres will be dedicated as open space.

Site work is planned to begin in October, with models open by Fall of next year.

By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange