May 16, 2017

Man builds a home over pond so he can fish from a hole in his living room!

When you love something as much as this home’s owner loves fishing, you go to extreme measures. For some that might mean decorating an entire wing of the house in fishing memorabilia. For others, going so far as having their favorite fish tattooed somewhere personal on their body. For this Skiatook man, he built his home on a pond, and a fishing hole in his living room. Paul Phillips, a contractor in the Skiatook area, has built a multitude of homes over the years in the community. Through the years he had a dream of building a special home. One that he could fish right through the living room floor. See the house that a love for fishing built. Thank god he didn’t have a love for NASCAR.

Via Matthew Stafford
Posted in Funny
May 3, 2017

Best day to go looking for a home!

It's Sunday morning. You're scheduled to go out and see houses later on with your real estate agent. But it's nasty outside. It's beyond pouring. You can't even imagine walking from the car into a house. You'd rather just cancel the appointment and hang inside, maybe watch some TV. You can always go see the house next weekend. But should you wait for next weekend? Should you even wait to go see houses only during the weekend? There's five weekdays you can go see houses. Is there a better day than a Sunday? What if someone else scoops up the house before you end up getting out to see it? Right?! Sure. Totally a possibility. And, totally a reason to motivate and go see that house today in the rain. But that's not the point of this article. The point is that the best day to see a house is not necessarily Sunday. It's also not necessarily not Sunday. The best day to go see a house is when it's raining. Even better if it's raining heavily. And it's best if it's been raining for a few days straight. Picture this... It's the future. You skipped going to see the house in the rain, but you ended up buying it eventually. Of course you had a home inspection done on the house during the process. But that was a sunny day, and it hadn't rained in some time. Then, after you've lived in the house for a while, you start to notice a drip in the ceiling. Or some dampness in the basement. Or worse, actual water on the basement floor. You'd probably be pretty upset. You'd feel like the owner should've disclosed it. You feel like there's no way they didn't know that this was a problem. And you'd probably be right. But good luck proving it. Then you think one of the real estate agents should have either noticed the issue, or knew about it and hid it. But, there's a good chance that the agents truly didn't have knowledge of it. And frankly, unless the real estate agents are told about an issue, they aren't qualified to assess issues that a qualified home inspector should pick up on. Ahhhh...the home inspector. The home inspector should pick up on it! That's who to blame and go after. Most likely they would pick up on water related issues. There is usually some sort of evidence they can see. But sometimes these types of problems aren't all that obvious. Especially if the inspector is looking through the house after it has been dry weather for some time. It's easy to try and place fault, blame, and consequences on others when something goes wrong. The true enemy, though, is water. So much damage can be done to a house due to water...

  • From the roof.
  • To the gutters.
  • To the windows.
  • The basement.
  • And even the landscaping and driveway can be affected by water related issues.

It's best to take advantage of the moments in the buying process where you can face your potential enemy head on...on a rainy day. You can save yourself a lot of time, money, and aggravation by seeing a house in the rain. If there are problems, they should show up on a day like that. That doesn't mean there won't be in the future of course. That also doesn't mean you shouldn't buy the house of your dreams if there are some water related problems. But at least go forward knowing what you're dealing with, and ideally getting the owner to own up to and fix any issues before you close on the house. Because once you close on the house, those problems are your problems. So, if you wake up and see rain on a day that you're scheduled to go see a house, don't cancel. Go. Obviously you can't guarantee it will rain every time you go see houses, or on the day you do a home inspection. It would be impossible to find and purchase a house if you only looked and inspected homes on rainy days. So don't get too hung up on it. But if the opportunity arises, certainly don't overlook the benefits of getting out to see houses in the rain. A rainy day can be the best day to go see a house.

Posted in Buying a Home
April 12, 2017

Must Haves For A Safer Home

When it comes to your home, you want to make sure you have everything on hand you need to create a safe environment for you and your family. But what exactly do you need to make your home safe? Here are 6 must-haves you need to ensure your home is safe for your family and yourself:

1. Smoke and carbon monoxide detector

A smoke and carbon monoxide detector is a must to keep you and your family safe. You can either buy each detector separately or purchase a model that detects both. Either way, you need to make sure that you have a detector monitoring the air in your home for both smoke and carbon monoxide at all time. You should have at least one smoke and carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home (so, for example, one in the basement, one in the ground floor, one upstairs, and one in the attic). Test them regularly and replace the batteries at least twice a year to ensure they're working properly.

2. Fire extinguisher

House fires are more common than you'd imagine. In 2015, there were over 365,000 house fires in the United States. And while you hope that a fire will never happen to you, you still need to have an extinguisher on hand just in case. Keep your fire extinguisher in or easily accessible from the kitchen; most home fires start in the kitchen, so you want to have your extinguisher close should a fire occur. If you have a multi-level home, you should also keep a fire extinguisher in your bedroom should a fire break out while you're asleep.

3. An exit plan

When all else fails and your home becomes unsafe, you want to make sure you and your family all know how to get out of the home quickly and safely. Develop an exit plan that allows you and your family to safely exit the home from all areas of the house in case of an emergency; you should have an exit route from all levels of the home so that no matter where you are when an emergency occurs, your family knows where and how to get out. Meet with your family at least once or twice a year to review the exit plan and make sure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.

4. First aid kit

Minor accidents are inevitable in your home; your children might fall and scrape their knee, you may burn yourself while making dinner. These things happen. But to keep minor injuries from escalating, you want to make sure to have a first-aid kit on hand. First aid kits should include:

  • Bandages
  • Gauze
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Pain reliever
  • Alcohol Cleansing Pads
  • First Aid Tape
  • Ice Pack
  • Gloves
  • Finger Splint

Depending on your family's needs, you might need additional items, like an Epi-Pen for allergic reactions. You can pick up a first-aid kit to suit your needs just about anywhere, including First Aid Store and Amazon.

5. Contact sheet

In case an emergency happens when you're not home, you want to have a contact sheet full of important contacts and information so whoever is home with your family or children will know who to call and how to get in touch with them. Include your own contact information, the contact information of friends and family that live close to your home, your family doctor, and all emergency numbers, like the police station and fire station. You'll also want to leave insurance information in case it's needed.

6. Disaster kit

In case of a major emergency, like an earthquake, that would cause you to hunker down in your home (or leave in a hurry), having a disaster kit on hand can be a lifesaver. Your disaster kit should contain the following:

  • At least 3 days worth of water and non-perishable food items
  • Cash
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • A battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
  • Copies of birth certificates, passports, insurance cards, and other important documents
  • Can opener
  • Disposable utensils
  • Pet food (if you have an animal)
  • A backup cell phone battery and/or a solar charger

In an ideal world, you won't have to use any of these safety items. But these 6 must-haves are essential in keeping your family safe in case of emergency. So do yourselves (and them) a favor and stock up.

Posted in Real Estate News
April 2, 2017

10 Assumptions about realtors.

Via Bigstock

Real estate is a prolific profession. Everyone either knows a real estate agent, or is connected to one through six (probably less) degrees of separation. Between friends and relatives, and the stereotypical representation of real estate agents on television and in pop culture, the general public has a adopted some assumptions about agents that are very far from the truth. Here are ten things that people assume about real estate agents that just aren’t true:

1. They make “easy money”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. The only people who could ever possibly make the case that being an agent is an easy way to make money are those who have never done it. It’s hard, uncertain work, with many instances of months wasted on a deal that doesn’t ever close. The only thing easy about it is reading the Lighter Side of Real Estate.

2. They are required to show you houses even if you’re not pre-approved

There are definitely agents who will show you houses without a pre-approval (or at minimum a pre-qualification), but an agent is not required to, and most experienced agents probably won’t. The ability to qualify for financing dictates whether or not a deal is even possible, so an agent is simply saving you from disappointment (or worse) by asking you to get pre-approved.

3. Zillow is more accurate than they are

It would be wonderful if Zillow (and similar websites) were accurate in their home valuations, but if you compared their results to actual appraised values, in most cases you’d burst out laughing. Real estate agents want you to get as much money as possible for your house, but oftentimes reality gets in the way. Trust your realtor to give you a fair market assessment for your house...at least more than you trust Zillow.

4. They make huge commissions

The popular real estate flipping shows on cable, and Million Dollar Listing have given everyone the impression that real estate agents are rolling in the dough. Most real estate agents wish that this was true, but reality is much different. The median US existing home sale price in December 2016 was $234,900, which means after splitting the commission and paying their broker, an agent took home about $3500 on the transaction, not including all marketing and related expenses. As a monthly income, this adds up to about $40,000 per year. Not exactly huge.

5. They’re an unnecessary evil

Many people have made the argument that real estate agents are unnecessary and are merely an impediment to a more efficient “For sale by owner” model of real estate. The best way to eliminate this misconception is to try selling your house yourself. There is nothing more sobering than desperately Googling state and federal real estate laws as some unkempt stranger is knocking on your door asking you questions about your FSBO house.

6. They’re sleazy

Unfortunately, real estate agents have joined the ranks of lawyers, politicians, and salespeople in some of the public’s assumptions about their trustworthiness. The financial collapse of 2008 exacerbated this perception. Thankfully, the market correction also weeded out most of the unsavory elements in the business. The truth is, real estate agents are honest, hardworking people, making a living like any other profession. And just like any other profession, there are a few bad apples that unfairly give the others a bad name.

7. They’re uneducated

This misconception really gets under most agents’ skin, because not only do many agents have degrees (and advanced degrees in quite a few cases), but the knowledge required to pass a real estate exam is substantial. There are many people who are unable to get their licensing because of an inability to pass the licensing tests, which makes the concept of an “uneducated” agent laughable.

8. They want you to pay more for a house so they can make more money

If you truly looked at the math involved in calculating real estate commissions, you’d never utter this falsehood again. An agent getting you to pay $10,000 more for a property will net that agent approximately $150, which barely covers the cost of gas required to drive to and from your appointments. The truth is that an agent absolutely wants you to buy a house. What’s not true is that they want you to pay more for one.

9. They’re mostly part-timers or bored housewives

If you ask the average person to describe the archetypal real estate agent, they’ll probably say it’s an older married woman who is looking for something to do in her free time. Ugh. This is stereotyping at its finest, and ignores the hundreds of thousands of male agents, the hundreds of thousands of full-time agents, and the hard-working primary bread winners that make up the real estate workforce. Sure, the stereotypical agents do exist, but they’re the exception to the rule.

10. All they want from you is the deal

Yes, agents want your business. But true professional real estate agents want to be your lifelong real estate advisor. They want you to think of them whenever you or your family and friends have any real estate questions. They want to see you and talk to you more than once a decade, and they want to make sure that you remember your interactions with them as being absolutely delightful.

Posted in Community News
April 1, 2017

Guide to your home inspection!

If you are under contract to purchase a home, congratulations! Of course, you are excited and a little nervous, too. Your physical inspection can be especially nerve-wracking. In a short amount of time, you will receive more information than you can process, and it will all seem very serious. And confusing. And potentially expensive. In order to calm your nerves, here is a breakdown of the inspection's most important home components and priorities. (Homes and condos are constructed differently across the U.S.; this will deal with structures that are mostly wood and not brick, and homes that are not new.) Your home's most important elements are its roof, foundation, plumbing, and electrical system. First, here's the story on your roof. Your inspector may say that the roof "is at the end of its useful life." It is not unusual for a roof to need some repairs and maintenance, but it is unusual to need a whole new roof. With continuing maintenance and proper repairs, your dying roof can last several more years. Repairs are pretty easy and most roofers are cost-competitive. Condo purchasers will want to check with the condo board to see what repairs have been done or are anticipated. Your foundation will either be raised above the ground on piers and posts, or it will be a slab. If you have a basement, it is raised; if you have a newer home, it is likely on a slab. If your raised foundation has some cracks, those can be easily repaired with special epoxy products. If it is completely cracked, and off its posts, run away. Electrical problems that your inspector finds can be difficult to understand. Amps, breakers, sub panels, drops - what does that all mean? Older homes may not have enough power to run today's modern appliances, toys, and systems. Wiring may be older, too. The good news here is that electrical work, even replacing wires and panels, is very routine for an electrician. It does not take very long to complete and is usually cheaper than you think it would be. Your plumbing has many components and some are more serious/expensive to fix than others. Leaky faucet? No big deal to repair. Septic tank pumping? Routine. Roots in your sewer? Common. Unfortunately, many other problems can be progressively more serious and expensive to fix, especially if walls need to be opened. You will want to get estimates from at least two plumbers - hopefully only a portion of your plumbing needs repair. It is usually not necessary to re-pipe a whole house. Hopefully, your inspection will make a little more sense to you now. The next post on this topic will go over other home components like heating and air-conditioning, fireplaces, windows, and outside spaces.

Posted in Buying a Home
March 31, 2017

Buying a home on a main street.

Everyone’s heard that the three most important things to consider when buying real estate are “location, location, location”... It’s true enough. Location matters. Location affects the value. Location affects how easy it is to re-sell. Location affects the enjoyment of the property (depending on a person’s tolerance levels). In a perfect world, everyone would live on a quiet, dead-end street, with professionally landscaped yards, and friendly neighbors. But that’s just not the case… There are homes on main roads. And people buy them and live in them. Yet, pretty much anyone you ask will say, “You shouldn’t buy a house on a main road.” But, maybe you should...

Where Do You Draw The Line?

What is a “main road”? That definition is totally subjective, and relative to any particular area. You could say that a main road is one that has double yellow lines. But it could be a road without double yellow lines, and is just one the busiest roads in town. Maybe it isn’t even technically a “main” road, but people use a particular street in town as a common cut through, or short cut. The point is, in whatever area or town you are considering buying, there are going to be roads considered “main”, or “busy” roads, by the people in town. And it matters. How the people in town perceive a location is what ultimately affects the desirability and value of a property. But, that doesn’t mean you should overlook a perfect house for you, just because the majority of people swear they would never buy a house on a main road. The double yellow lines shouldn’t be the determining factor in where you draw your own personal lines about whether you should buy a house on a main road. The only thing that really matters, is whether or not you are comfortable with the location.

Ignore The Stigma

People in general give homes on main roads a bad rap. And it might even seem like most real estate agents agree that you shouldn’t buy a home on a main road. But most real estate agents don’t entirely feel that way. There’s a person for every home. And a home for every person. Agents may “agree” with you if you bring up the topic, and suggest that you shouldn’t buy a home on a main road… But that’s in part because if someone can afford a house in a better location that meets their wants and needs, then sure, it is “better” to buy a house that is not on a main road. It’s also because when you say something like that to an agent, they’re probably just agreeing with you in the sense that they’re listening to your preferences, and respecting your point of view. If they sense you’re saying you don’t want to live on a main road, they’re “agreeing” with what you say you want. But not necessarily agreeing with the statement overall. In fact, a really good real estate agent will also probably suggest looking at a house on a main road to you, once they get a handle on your likes and dislikes, and your overall financial ability versus the options available to you. So, while you might feel like everybody and their brother (you included) believe that buying a house on a main road is a bad choice...ignore that. At least enough to consider some of the benefits buying a house on a main road might have for you.

Get A Bigger And Better House For The Dollar

The biggest reason you might want to consider a house on a main road is that you will get more house for the dollar than you would if you spent the same amount on a house in a neighborhood. There’s no absolute percentage less that a house should be worth on a main road. Be careful if you see some offhand advice that suggests you should offer 10%-20% less than an equivalent home on a side street. There are too many factors to say that. But the bottom line is that you should expect to get more for less. And it should be a good amount less. If it’s just a few thousand dollars less, then you would be better off going after a house on a side street, if they are similar in size and condition. The difference in savings for a few thousand mortgaged dollars is so insignificant.

But Do Keep In Mind...

There’s nothing “wrong” with buying a house on a main road, if you are fine with the location. But do keep in mind that when you go to sell the house, not every buyer will be ok with the main road. It will limit the pool of buyers who will consider your home. Don’t worry about that. There will be someone who will see and appreciate that what you have to offer is bigger and better than what they can otherwise get. Just don’t forget that you need to account for the main road location when pricing against other homes. The biggest concerns and complaints about homes on main or busy roads are:

  • The noise from traffic (but most people do get used to it…)
  • It can be tough pulling out of the driveway
  • Not as easy to be “neighborly” (which can be a benefit, if you aren’t into being neighborly…)

Pro Tip…

If you can find a home located on the corner of a side street, but located on a main road, you can get the best of both worlds… Buy a bigger, better house than you could otherwise, while getting the benefits of the side street. Not something you can necessarily bank on finding, but this is a great find if you are considering houses on main roads. Don’t overlook the opportunity!

To Tie This All Up…

“Location, location, location” certainly means a lot. And many people tend to look at homes on main or busy roads as less desirable, or something to outright avoid. But don’t let that get in the way of finding and getting the best home for your wants and needs. What other people tend to think is not as important as what you think. Hopefully this gave you some food for thought. In the least, take this all as “permission” to go after the house of your dreams if it happens to be on a main road.

Posted in Buying a Home
March 30, 2017

Why you need a buyers agent.


When you first start looking at houses to buy, you're probably looking to find the best house possible...not looking for the best real estate agent possible. It usually begins innocently enough... Maybe you see a house online. So, you reach out to the agent with the click of the button. Or send a quick e-mail. Perhaps even pick up the phone to ask a few questions, or schedule a showing. Next thing you know, you're being sent listings by e-mail, and going out to see houses with that agent. Or, maybe you go to open houses and meet a bunch of different agents, and eventually just find yourself working with one of them. (Or several of them at the same time.) You might be a little bit more deliberate about finding an agent, though. And you might choose to work with one who you have seen who has lots of signs, ads, or billboards. It might boil down to choosing an agent because everyone seems to use that particular agent. But too many people just sort of stumble into working with a real estate agent by chance. It's not the best way to "hire" a real estate agent when you're buying a house, but it's pretty typical. Life is busy, and there isn't any true process to finding the very best real estate agent. So, the point is this: for most people, stumbling into a relationship with a real estate agent is just how it goes. So, what is the point of the article then? What is the solution? What should you do?

First things first...

Make a concerted effort to find and choose the real estate agent you work with to buy a home... before you actually start looking at any homes. While it's natural to be excited to find the home you want to buy, when you do that first, you are skipping a worthwhile step. Instead, you should ask friends, family, coworkers, or whoever else you know, for recommendations and referrals. Then, meet with, and speak with a few agents. Get a feel for how they work. Determine whether you trust them, and whether they seem like they know what they're talking about and doing.

Once you find one, actually hire the agent...

When you find one you like, hire that agent. Commit to the agent. Work solely with that agent. Too many people feel like they should have several agents helping them find a house. Yet, all the agents have access to every home on the market. Every agent can get you in and show you the houses. But not every agent can represent you, your needs, and your best interests the same. Some are better at handling the ins and outs of the process. And better at analyzing values, and advising you. And, of course, some are better at negotiating. It isn't about having several agents out there looking to find you some needle in a haystack. Or an agent who is willing to jump to show you a house the minute you call about one. It's about having one that is solid and skilled representing your interests with their knowledge and skills, once you do find the right house. And an agent that good isn't likely to spend a whole lot of time or attention on you if they don't feel that you are being loyal to them, or aren't serious and committed to them, and the process of buying a house. The best way to show them you are all of that, is to literally hire them. Sign a buyer's agency agreement with them. Show them you are committed to him or her, and the process, by committing to them.

Why should you?

Most people, even some real estate agents, may tell you that you should never sign a buyer's agency agreement and thereby hire a specific agent. And you don't have to. So many agents will work without requiring you to do so. You can get the milk for free, as they say...so why buy the cow? Because...you aren't "most people". You know better. If you don't specifically find, choose, and hire a specific real estate agent to work with, you will possibly find one representing you by default. It could be one that you meet at an open house. You just go to see the house. You love it. You want to make an offer. And, boom, the agent that was there is now representing you and your best interests. Maybe that agent will be great. Maybe not. And even if the agent is good, it isn't like that agent will have a whole lot of background with you, or insight into you and your needs. This can make the whole process not so great. You can find yourself feeling at odds, or working with someone who doesn't seem to be fighting for you, so much as convincing you to do what they want you to do so they can make the sale. That isn't necessarily going to happen. But it can...and does...to so many people. To "most people". And then "most people" complain about how horrible their experience was buying a house.

Here's the kicker...

The reason why people complain that their home buying experience is often not great, is because the client and the agent do not have a committed relationship! The lack of commitment actually causes mistrust, and less than ideal dealings. Yet, most people go about it that way. So, solve the problem most people have by actually seeking, finding, and hiring the best real estate agent you can find to help you buy your house. Don't just stumble into a loose relationship with someone you need to trust to get you the best house, at the best price and terms.

Posted in Buying a Home
March 29, 2017

What you should look for in your first home!

When you're buying your first home, there's so many things to consider: you need to secure a home loan, find a realtor, decide on an area... the process can be a bit overwhelming. And as someone new to the home purchasing process, it can be challenging to know exactly what to look for in a home. What kind of criteria should you be judging potential homes against? Here are 4 things you should look for when you're buying your first home:

1. A House You Can Grow Into

Purchasing is not like renting. When you rent, if your home no longer meets your needs, when your lease is up you can just pick up and move. But with homeownership, ideally you want to stay in your home long enough for the property to appreciate in value, which is at least 3 to 5 years. So it's important that you not only consider how well a home fits your current needs, but also how well it will fit your future needs. You want a house you can grow into. Think about where you plan to be a year from now, two years from now, five years from now. Are you planning on expanding your family? If so, you'll want to look for a house with enough space to accommodate your growing brood. Thinking about getting a big dog that needs lots of exercise? You'll want to have a backyard so they have plenty of room to run and play. Are your parents close to retirement, and would you like to have them come and live with you? Then a home with an en suite would be a great fit. When purchasing a home, don't just look at how well it might work today. Think of how well it will work for all your tomorrows.

2. A Solid School System

When you're buying a home, one of the first things you should look at is the school system. Is it highly rated? Is it a place that people want to send their kids? Is your new neighborhood invested in education? Even if you're not a parent yourself, the school system in your neighborhood should play a huge role in deciding whether a property is right for you. A good school system can increase the value of your home and will appeal to a wider audience (i.e. - parents with children) if and when you decide to sell. On the other hand, a poor school system can slow the appreciation or even devalue your home. Bottom line: whether you have children or not, investigate your new neighborhood's school system before you make a purchase.

3. The Right Neighborhood Fit

Buying a home is a commitment, and when you buy, you're not only committing to your home. You're also committing to your neighborhood. And as such, you want to make sure that the neighborhood you buy in is the right match for you and your lifestyle. For example, if you don't own a car (and have no desire to own a car), you're going to want to purchase a home in a neighborhood where you can easily access restaurants, shops, and other needs on foot or bike. If you're obsessed with the outdoors, you probably want to look in a more nature-centric neighborhood instead of the city center. If you have a family, you'll want to look for a neighborhood with other families so your children have ample opportunities for recreation and to make new friends.

4. The Right Price

When you're buying your first home, the last thing you want to do is saddle yourself with a mortgage payment you can't afford. That's why it's important to be realistic about your budget and then find a home that has a price tag you can comfortably afford. Many first time homeowners get so excited about a property that they'll stretch their budget in order to get into their "dream home." But when you buy a house that's outside of your budget (and outside of the price range you can afford), you're setting yourself up for major financial stress, which isn't a great way to start off your new life as a homeowner. Before you start looking at homes, sit down and create a budget and be realistic about what you can afford to pay every month. Then, even if you get approved for a higher amount, stick to that budget. There's all sorts of unexpected expenses that come along with homeownership, like broken appliances and surprise repairs, and if you're funneling all your extra cash into a too-high mortgage payment, you won't have the resources to deal with those situations as they arise. Buying your first home is one of the most exciting times in a person's life. Enjoy the process, take these 4 areas into consideration, and you'll find the house that's right for you - and your life - in no time.

Posted in Buying a Home
March 28, 2017

6 Awful Reasons for not hiring a Real Estate Professional.

There are millions of homes bought and sold every year, most of them with the help of a real estate agent. However, there is still a segment of the population that chooses to go it alone when it comes time to sell or buy a home. There are different reasons for this, many of which aren't very good. The only good reason might be if you're an agent yourself, and even then, it might be better to work with another agent so that you're not letting your own emotion cloud your judgment. Here are some of the worst reasons for not hiring a real estate agent:

1. To save some money

You might think you're guaranteed to save yourself money by not hiring a real estate agent, but that's not true. It's very likely that it will cost you money during the process because of all of the potential pitfalls that you're not even aware of. There are multiple points in a real estate transaction where making the right decision, or knowing what to look for will save you thousands of dollars. A real estate agents know this.

2. Because you think you're a great negotiator

You probably think you're a great negotiator, and you might be, but you also might not be as good as you think. In fact, there are many billionaires and CEO's who openly admit that they aren't good at negotiating, and oftentimes have other people negotiate on their behalf. Again, understanding real estate, and what factors may affect price are things that a real estate agent knows that can help with negotiation, and will get you a much better deal.

3. You read about a bad experience someone had

Of course there are horror stories on social media and forums about people's experience buying and selling a home. This shouldn't deter you from hiring an agent to guide you through the process, because you're much more likely to find yourself in a nightmare scenario if you go it alone. There's an important thing to remember about the nightmares you see online; people are much more likely to post about their negative experiences than their positive ones. There are lots horror stories about hospitals, restaurants, and hotels too — that doesn't mean you'll never leave the house again, right?

4. Because you saw a real estate show on HGTV

We all love real estate shows. It's a lot of fun to sit back and watch a shockingly good-looking couple flip a home and make a $50,000 profit in less than 30 minutes. But it's important not to confuse television with reality. You can't learn everything you need to know from watching tv, otherwise this country would be full of expert martial artists, race-car drivers, and stand-up comedians. Hire someone with real-world experience to help you along.

5. You think you're the only one who knows how much your home it "really worth"

You love your home, and it's likely that you love it and appreciate it more than anyone else does. It's completely natural to not only develop a sentimental attachment to where you've spent years of your life, but to also appreciate all of the repairs, upgrades, and other special details that you know and love. But just because you believe your home should be priced a certain way, doesn't mean that's what the market will bear. Having a business-minded, detached approach to pricing and selling your home is critical to a successful real estate transaction.

6. Because... "How hard could it really be?"

Some lessons in life are only learned through experience. Real estate agents have studied, been through it, and know that conducting a real estate transaction can be a potential minefield if you're not careful. As a buyer or seller, it's important not to minimize the difficulty and effort that goes into closing on a home. Hire a real estate agent, and let them worry about the difficult aspects, you'll be glad you did.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Feb. 28, 2017

Are you considering selling your home?!

So you're thinking about selling your home? I realize you didn't arrive at this decision lightly, and that you might be nervous or scared. There are so many things that are probably going through your head right now. I'd like to help you by offering some advice, and hopefully putting your mind at ease.

First, do some research.

It's important for you to understand how much money you can expect to get for your home. We need to be realistic. Unfortunately, checking online sites like Zillow or Trulia isn't going to give you the most accurate picture of your home's value. This is why it's important to sit down with a real estate agent that understands the market and will give you a realistic home value estimate by comparing similar properties that have recently sold in your area.
This meme is pretty funny (and rather sarcastic)... but at the same it illustrates a painful reality.

Discuss your situation.

Discussing your situation with a real estate agent will also help you identify any other aspects of the transaction that you might be forgetting. For instance, there might be something glaringly obvious that could get in the way of a smooth home inspection that you might not be considering... or, on the other hand, a unique feature that your home might have which could help maximize its value. Also, discussing the process with an agent will help you understand how much money you can expect to walk away with after the closing.

Considering braving it alone?

If you're considering selling your home without an agent, remember that you're doing so at your own risk. There are quite a few things that can go wrong (many of them legal) which an agent is trained and perfectly setup to handle. Also, do you really want to deal with random strangers showing up at random times throughout the day, wondering whether they're even qualified to buy a house or if they're just bored and looking for something to do. Or said a different way...

Let an agent worry about these things; you'll thank yourself later.

Pick the right agent.

Working with the right person can mean the difference between a smooth transaction and a less-than-memorable experience. How do you pick the right one? First, make sure you feel comfortable with the person. You might spend a lot of time with them, so it's important that you have rapport. Secondly, if the agent is giving you some inconvenient feedback or information, don't dismiss them. The best agents will tell you the truth because they understand that setting the right expectations is more important than promising you the world.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Lastly, ask as many questions as you need to until you feel comfortable with your level of understanding. The right agent will be patient with you, and will understand just how big of a deal this is.

Don't stress!

This might be easier said than done, but try to keep things in perspective. Your home is probably your most valuable asset, and the most consequential transaction that you'll ever work on. But people buy and sell their homes every day, and there's a very comprehensive system in place that helps facilitate those transactions. Your agent will help guide you through the process and will help you feel at ease. Remember, you're not the first and you won't be the last person to feel the stress.

Expect the unexpected.

It would be lovely if I could promise you that everything will go perfectly smooth, but it rarely does. Obstacles almost always come up during a real estate transaction, but that doesn't mean you should pull your hair out worrying. Agents know there will be bumps in the road, and they'll also know how to get over them and get your home sold with as little stress for you as possible. So don't stress, be realistic, find the right agent to help, and remember that small hiccups are just part of the transaction. And by the way, feel free to give me a call. :)

Posted in Selling Your Home