Signs Your Real Estate Agent Is a Great Communicator

If you want to buy or sell a home, hiring a real estate agent is a must. With an expert real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble getting the best results.

A real estate agent can teach you the ins and outs of the housing market and ensure you can make informed buying or selling decisions. In addition, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you throughout each stage of the homebuying or home selling journey.

Although many real estate agents are available nationwide, it is important to remember that not all of these housing market professionals possess the same communication skills. And if you hire a real estate agent who is an ineffective communicator, you may miss out on opportunities to buy your dream home or get the best price for your current residence.

Ultimately, there are many signs that a real estate agent is a great communicator, including:

1. A real estate agent keeps in touch with clients via emails, phone calls and texts.

A real estate agent who understands the importance of effective communication will be able to stay in contact with you via emails, phone calls and texts. This housing market professional is happy to work with you in any way possible, and as such, is ready to lend a helping hand time and time again.

Furthermore, a great communicator understands the importance of timely, accurate messages. This means a real estate agent who strives to maintain open lines of communication should have no trouble keeping you informed throughout the homebuying or home selling cycle.

2. A real estate agent listens to your concerns and questions.

Let’s face it – buying or selling a home can be stressful, particularly if you’re operating in a competitive housing market. Lucky for you, a real estate agent who acts as a great communicator can listen to your concerns and questions and help you alleviate stress.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to assist a homebuyer or home seller. He or she also recognizes the importance of active listening and respond to your concerns and queries instantly. That way, this housing market professional can do whatever it takes to help you remain calm, cool and collected as you buy or sell a home.

3. A real estate agent is unafraid to be honest.

Although the homebuying or home selling journey should be simple, problems sometimes may arise. However, a real estate agent who serves as a great communicator will provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you overcome any challenges.

A real estate agent is proud to assist his or her clients. At the same time, this housing market professional is unafraid to deliver bad news. Therefore, a real estate agent who is an effective communicator can share good and bad news with clients, provide consistent support and help clients mitigate homebuying or home selling problems as quickly as possible.

Employ a real estate agent who is a great communicator, and you can work with a housing market professional who can help you overcome the challenges associated with buying or selling a home.

Looking For a Condo

When it comes to searching for a home, there are a lot of factors that you have to consider. This is especially the case if you are shopping for condos, as you will be sharing a lot of common space with your neighbors as well. The first thing to look into is the overall interactivity that goes on within the block of condos you are considering to make your home. In most cases, it is always better to find a condo that has an interactive community, because this in turn means that you never have to worry that someone might not be doing their part in keeping the block of properties maintained and in good condition.

One thing to be careful of is that some communities do not allow pets, and so if you are looking for a condo for you and your pets, then you need to make sure that the community has no problem with this. In the end, you have to find a condo that is able to be comfortable to live in, and where there is the least amount of stress. While it can be very beneficial to live in a community, it can at times be stressful if you are not one to go by strenuous rules. For some people, the idea of owning a home means that they have the freedom of choice to do what they want in their property.

One of the most important things to look into when buying a condo is the condo fees. What are they and what will they be down the road? Are they set condo fees, or could they become too costly to pay down the road? Some condos fees go up to the point that makes the great price you got on the condo not look so great because of what you are paying in taxes and condo fees. One of pluses of a condo is no maintenance and a lot of people really like that especially in your later years when you don’t want to mow the lawn or shovel the sidewalks. A condo is a great option for many buyers and you can generally get into a condo for a fair price.

Get Off the Fence

Whether you are a buyer or a seller it is time to get off the fence. Despite years of bad news surrounding the real estate market, the time has come when it is both a good time to be a buyer and a seller.

Why Buy?

Here are just a few reasons why you should get off the fence and buy:

1. When investors start gobbling up real estate you know it’s a good deal. In 2011, investors upped their buying by 64%.  While it is still not time to start flipping for a profit the clock is ticking down to an uptick in prices.

2. Interest rates are historically low. You have been hearing this for a while but they are hovering right around 4%.

3. First-time buyers are in a unique position. They didn’t lose money in the housing market.

4. It’s a great deal! Prices are at all-time lows. So you may be saving as much as 40% off a home if you buy now.

Why Sell?

Here are just a few reasons why you should get off the fence and sell:

1. Inventory is shrinking. Demand is up and in certain areas and price ranges there is limited inventory so putting your home on the market now will most likely result in a sale.

2. Mortgage availability has stabilized. Mortgage restrictions are loosening and especially first-time buyers are able to get mortgages as they were not affected as much by the financial crisis.

3. Unemployment is not as bad as you think. One is 30 Americans is unemployed as a result of the recent financial crisis. There are lots of able buyers out there.

4. Houses are selling and some are even going to bidding wars. Homes that are priced according to the market are selling and selling quickly.

5. Don’t wait for prices to increase. This could be a long wait.


Is Flipping For You?

The recent drop in homes prices, affordable mortgage rates and the popularity of television shows showing investors turning over homes has many people wondering if they can make money flipping homes. Flipping a house simply means buying and then selling a home quickly for profit. There are different ways to do this, but if you are interested in buying and selling houses, or just want to find a good deal to invest your money in. You will want to follow some tips on how to make sure you make money and not end up busting the budget.

1. KNOW THE AREA

It is not just about the house you want to buy but also the area. Focus on buying homes in an area that holds value and where homes sell quickly. The golden rule of a home, location, location, location, applies here as you will want the home to be able to be sold quickly. Get to know the average costs and days on market for homes in that area. The more information you have about the market you have chosen, the better decisions you can usually make when it comes time to buy.

2. DO NOT GET EMOTIONAL

This is a business venture; your goal is to make money. Emotions and money rarely mix well. Do not get emotional about house flipping. When choosing colors, fixtures and carpets go neutral, you will not be living in the home. Be careful of becoming too attached to the flip. Choose a price to sell the home, do not overprice the home. Overpricing typically leads to you holding the flip longer thus reducing your profit.

3. KNOW YOUR LIMITS

If you are new to flipping homes, it is important to know your financial and work limits. The budget will always be more than you anticipate, plan for unexpected problems. Start with homes that mainly have cosmetic problems. Look for houses that need new, modern paint or updated fixtures. Homes where the outside yard and landscaping are unappealing are usually a great buy and can yield more profit. Curb appeal is usually a problem that can be fixed very easily and relatively inexpensively while greatly increasing the value of the home.

4. HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY

The point of flipping is to get in and out as quick as possible. Every day that you own the homes costs you money. Have a plan and know exactly what you’re going to do with the home before you buy. Make a schedule of when work will get done and drop dead date of the house going back on the market. If you don’t know if you can sell it quickly, don’t buy it.

What to Ask Before You Add On

If you are thinking of adding an addition to your home there are some things you will wants to be aware of.

If you decide to add a new space, ask yourself the following questions:

* Can I finance the home improvement with my own cash or will I need a loan?

* How much equity is in the property? A fair amount will make it that much easier to get a loan for home improvements.

* Is it feasible to expand the current space for an addition?

* What is permissible under local zoning and building laws? Despite your deep yearning for a new sunroom or garage, you will need to know if your town or city will allow such improvements.

* Should I make the improvement myself or hire a contractor?

Many homeowners consider going to job alone to save money. Consider how much time you have, your level of expertise or willingness to handle the job, amount of help from friends or relatives, and how much you want, or need, to save by doing the job yourself. You could save up to 20 percent of the project cost through your own hard work.

Be aware, however, that you may need to call in the pros. Going it alone can sometimes lead to spending more time and money. if problems arise.

Most home improvement experts suggest that homeowners who do not have a lot of experience should stick to painting, minor landscaping, building interior shelving, and other minor improvements.

Buy a Home and Watch Your Money Grow

Before you decide to buy a house, it is crucial that you consider various factors beforehand. Some of these factors can be as straightforward as making sure to choose a home in a good area, and making certain that the property is also in good condition. However, it is also important to consider the housing market, because it is imperative that you buy a house at the right time. For example, if you are in a market where there is a huge demand for homes for sale, then the prices of houses will generally be high, and so if you are buying a house for investment purposes, this wouldn’t be the right time for you to make that purchase. With the market starting to creep back up buyers will be looking to get a good deal before demand goes back up so selling a home right now can bring great results.

On the other hand, if there is less demand for buying houses, then the price of property will generally be very low, thus making it the perfect time to buy. Right now is a fantastic time to buy a home with the slower market interest rates at the lowest in years. Buying a home in a down market can become a great investment down the road. You can consider it like a savings account. Buy the property in a down market, and watch your money grow.

Real Estate Lingo Decoded

Buying or selling a home can be complicated enough but add in the lingo and you may feel like you are listening to a foreign language. Here are a few real estate terms decoded.

Assessed ValueAssessed Value is the valuation placed on property by a public tax assessor for purposes of taxation.

Closing Costs –Closing costs are all of the miscellaneous expenses paid by the buyer and the seller when a real estate transaction closes. These costs can include real estate commission, mortgage fees, attorney fees, transfer taxes, recording fees, and title insurance.

CMA –CMA is short for comparative market analysis or competitive market analysis. A CMA compares the prices of homes sold, homes currently on the market and homes pending to a subject property. A CMA may be prepared for a buyer or a seller to determine market value. The CMA accounts for style, size, location and other factors that make the homes comparable.

Contingency – A contingency is a provision of an agreement that keeps the agreement from being fully legally binding until a certain condition is met. Common contingencies are a buyer’s contractual right to obtain a professional home inspection before purchasing the home or obtain mortgage financing.

DeedThe deed is the legal document conveying title to a property.

Earnest Money DepositThe earnest money deposit is a deposit made by the potential home buyer to show that he or she is serious about buying the house. This is typically made at the time of the offer to purchase.

Lock Box – A lock box is a secure key-holding device. It is used to hold a key for a home that is for sale. This allows cooperating real estate professionals to gain entry into the home. Entry is usually granted after obtaining permission from the listing agent or office.

MLS – The MLS or Multiple Listing Service is an organization that collects, compiles and distributes information about homes listed for sale. Real Estate brokers are members of the MLS. Membership is not open to the general public. The MLS is used for real estate professionals to share information about homes for sale to other agents. MLS boards are local or regional. There is no nationwide MLS.

Short Sale– A short sale is when the seller arranges with their mortgage lender to accept a price that is less than the amount they owe on the property. The lender typically agrees to forgive the rest of the loan. A short sale arrangement is made between the seller and the mortgage lender.

Title Insurance – Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects the lender’s or owner’s interest in real property. Title insurance as it is named protects against claims against the title or from unexpected or fraudulent claims of ownership. Buyers typically pay for the lenders title insurance policy as part of the closing costs.

Should I Buy New Construction?

When searching for a home you may want to first consider if you are looking to purchase a new or an existing home. This is a common questions that many home buyers  consider during the early stages of their home search.

Some of the advantages home buyers cite as reasons to buy a brand-new house or condominium are: energy-efficiency, open layout, a warranty, the selection of appliances, flooring, paint colors and other design elements.

There are advantages to purchasing both new and existing homes. The National Association of Home Builders(NAHB) has created a list of the advantages of buying a newly built home.

New homes are often built in communities of new homes. When this happens all the neighbors are new to the neighborhood. This can help families form bonds of friendship that can last a lifetime.

Newer homes offer more open floor plans making entertaining easier. New-home layouts often feature great rooms, higher ceilings and additional windows that bringing in more light than you would find in an older home.

The appeal of owning something new can be a strong draw. Some buyers like the thought of being the first to cook a dinner in a brand-new kitchen. While others don’t like the idea of having to repaint or update an older home. A new home allows a buyer to create their own home décor from the beginning.

Newer homes are built for today’s high-definition televisions, DVRs, computers and other electronic needs. New homes can be tailored to meet an individual home owner’s needs.

There is little to no cost associated with home repair on a new home. Buyers pick the features, appliances and modern features to suit your needs.  When purchasing a new home it is truly built to the buyer’s liking.

Newly constructed homes are more energy efficient. They often include energy saving features such as double-pane windows, insulation and appliances which can reduce energy costs.

Have you ever considered buying a newly constructed home, if so, why?