If you are a T.R. McKenzie resident, or looking to be one, you’ve probably heard us mention the T.R. McKenzie Home Buyer Program. To help you understand what it is, and where to get started, we sat down with our Managing Broker Andy Crooks to hash out the details.

Q: What is the Home Buyer Program?

A: The Home Buyer Program is an exclusive program we offer to our residents looking to purchase a home in the Dane County area. Through our program, we connect you with an in-house, local Realtor®. Once you close on your house, you’ll be released from your lease on the last day of that month. This saves you the stress of working around a closing date that coincides with your lease and saves you money that would be wasted in additional rent payments.

Q: What are the benefits of the Home Buyer Program vs. going with another real estate company?

A: What some people don’t know is that in addition to property management, T.R. McKenzie is a full-service Real Estate Brokerage, meaning we have experienced and qualified Realtors® that work for our company. The difference is when you sign a Buyer Agency Agreement with us, we will insert language into the contract that will release you from your lease at the end of the month, after you purchase a home. We also work with buyers and sellers that do not live in a T.R. McKenzie managed property.

Q: What will using a Realtor® through the Home Buyer Program cost me as a buyer?

A: If you would like to work with us, both parties will sign a Buyer’s Agency Agreement. This is a state approved form where we fill in the blanks to say that you agree to pay us a commission in exchange for letting you out of your lease. The majority of properties that are actively for sale are listed with an offer of commission for Buyer’s Agents or cooperating agents. In almost all cases the entire commission will be paid by the Seller. If the commission being offered by the seller is less than our agreed upon percentage, you can always ask for the difference to be covered in the Offer to Purchase. In real estate, there is a relatively abstract concept called procuring cause. The short version about this topic is that if you want to work with one of our agents through our Home Buyer Program and don’t want to pay commission as a buyer, it is vital that you contact us before you physically look at properties or call any listing agents about a home you are interested in.

Q: Can’t I just call the agent who is listing the home to save the money that I would pay a TRM Realtor® in commission?

A: When the property is listed on the MLS, it would be listed with a commission percentage for the Listing Agent and an offer of commission to the Buyer’s Agent or Co-operating Agent. If you were to call the Listing Agent directly, while it may seem that you would be saving money on the commission, however in reality the Listing Brokerage would keep the entire commission and you would have no one acting in your best interests. It is in a Buyer’s best interests to have someone representing them.

Q: Are there any restrictions to the Home Buyer Program?

A: In order to qualify for the Home Buyer Program, you must be a resident at a T.R. McKenzie property for at least six months, and the purchase price of your home, lot, or condo must be greater than $150,000. The Home Buyer Program is also only for residents that are planning to purchase a home or lot within Dane County. If you are looking to purchase a home outside of Dane County, we may be able to serve you but would need to discuss on a case by case basis.

Q: Can I rent with T.R. McKenzie with the sole purpose of using the Home Buyer Program?

A: Yes! We have many residents that sign a lease with T.R. McKenzie exclusively because of our Home Buyer Program. If you want to rent now, but expect to start looking to purchase a home sometime within the next six months to a year, a T.R. McKenzie property may be a perfect fit for you. Once you’ve lived in one of our properties for six months, you can apply to be a part of the Home Buyer Program.

Q: I found a house I like online, can I contact you to set up a showing if I’m not yet part of the Home Buyer Program?

A: Before going to any open houses or trying to set up a showing, get in contact with our team so we can set you up with a Realtor® to represent you as a buyer and help you through the process. Going to view properties prior to enlisting the help of one of our Realtors® may make you ineligible for the program. A good tip: even if you are casually looking at homes online, get in touch with a mortgage lender to see what your approved loan and budget will be prior to getting your heart set on a house that is over budget.

Q. What happens if I don’t get along with my Realtor®?

A: By agreeing to work with our Home Buyer Program, you become a client of the Brokerage and not the agent. We have the utmost confidence in our agents and their ability to provide quality services, however if for some reason you have a personality or other conflict with your Realtor®, our Managing Broker Andy Crooks can help you resolve your issues or match you with another agent.

Q: What if I am interested in building a home and only want to purchase a lot? Can I still be part of the Home Buyer Program?

A: The Home Buyer Program is not solely dedicated to people wanting to buy a home. If you have dreams of building your own home and need help purchasing a lot, we can help there too. A branch of T.R. McKenzie Inc. is our development team. We may have lots in one of our developments that are right for you. But if not, our development background will aid you in your decision-making process. Not every lot is going to work with your new build requirements, so working with a company that also develops land and builds custom homes, will help you find the perfect lot for your dream home.

Q: I don’t know where to start. What are the first steps I should take to move from renting to homeownership?

A: Regardless of who you choose to work with, the first person you should contact in the home buying process is mortgage lender. They will show you lending options and help you understand what you can afford. If you don’t know of a mortgage lender, we can put you in touch with lenders we’ve worked with in the Madison area who we know provide a great service. You can also contact your bank to meet with a mortgage specialist.

Q: Is there anything else that I should know?

A: Rent now, buy later! One of the most difficult things for a buyer or seller is coordinating the timing of your current living situation to your next one. This program was created to help buyers coordinate those dates and to give them peace of mind in an otherwise challenging situation. We are here to serve.

Q: How to I sign up for the Home Buyer Program?

A: Contact Andy Crooks at acrooks@trmckenzie.com or (608) 469-2520 to start the process or get more information.