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7 tips for picking a real estate agent

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Want to see through the hype to hire the best real estate agent?

There are things you can do to pull back the curtain and accurately assess a real estate agent’s past performance and potential success with your home, even though when it comes to choosing real estate agents, “we don’t have the information that we have about other service professionals,” says Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America, in Washington, D.C.

So whether you’re the buyer or the seller, here are seven ways you can find out more about your agent before you hire.

1. Talk with recent clients

Ask agents to provide a list of what they’ve listed and sold in the past year, with contact information, says Ron Phipps, past president of the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors, or NAR. Before you start calling the names, ask the agent if anyone will be “particularly pleased or particularly disappointed,” he says.

With past clients, “I’d like to know what the asking price was and then what the sales price was,” says William

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12 Negotiating Tips Every Homebuyer Should Know

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he old saying is that in real estate, everything is negotiable. But is it really?

When you go to buy a house, you’re certainly hoping to get the best price and terms. To do that, you need to know when to start negotiating and when to stop. That begins with being familiar with the market, down to the neighborhood and maybe even the street.

If there are more homes for sale than people who want them, there is usually more room for negotiation than if there’s a shortage of inventory, as is the case in many desirable neighborhoods throughout the country.

“All those deals of the century are gone,” says Sheila Rugege Dantzler, a broker with Related Realty in Chicago. “The deal of the century is ‘I got a good property that meets my needs.’ If you get it, then you win.”

The pace of home sales has slowed since last year in many cities, and buyers are gaining a little more leverage. Plus, many buyers are dealing with sellers who don’t realize that home

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4 Tips to Selling Your Home Without a Real Estate Agent

Elegant Entrance Series

Elegant Entrance Series

You may have already decided to do the heavy lifting on moving day yourself. You may have also already opted to throw your own elbow grease into slicking the walls with a fresh coat of paint.

And then there are those looking to add an extra layer of cushioning to their bank account through the frightful moving process (one that will keep up to 6 percent of their house’s sale price in their pockets). Yes, we’re talking about those who take on selling their home, too. While we believe that real estate agents play a pivotal role, there are definitely some who navigate the DIY home-selling route with finesse.  Here’s how they do it…

How to sell your home without a real estate agent

Real estate agents provide four major services to their clients: identifying and enhancing value, finding prospective buyers, negotiating price, and closing the deal.

  1. Identifying and enhancing value

Real estate agents identify value using a number of factors, including (but not limited to): location, condition,

What to Do When You Get Multiple Offers

What to Do When You Get Multiple Offers

For advice on all real estate matters, talk to the pros. Contact our team of real estate experts at Coast 2 Coast Realty who have years of experience working with both buyers and sellers in the Tampa Bay area.

Having multiple buyers making multiple offers on your home is not a bad thing, but things can go very wrong if you don’t know how to handle the situation. Now that it’s a seller’s market, the chances of this happening have increased, so take a few minutes to get an understanding of what you should do if it happens to you. Here are the different ways you can handle the situation:

Go with the highest bid.

Some sellers have the mindset that more money is always the way to go, so they simply accept the highest bid without even looking at the others. If the deal works out, this is a great way to go since it means more money in your pocket, but unfortunately, a lot of deals fall through before closing. If you happen to

Finding Comfort in Southern Living

As someone who lived in the north for most of my life, I never imagined that I would be living in the south. Sometimes you have to follow where the money is going to be. I received a job offer as a software developer which paid more than what I was getting from a software company in my home state. In order to take the job, I had to move down to Mississippi. I thought about for a long time, and accepted the job. I found a nice apartment in Hattiesburg MS to live in and made my way to my new home.

Things in the south are a little more laid back than they are in the north. People up north tend to be in a rush more often. I think it has something to do with the way everything is constructed. Here in Mississippi, it’s more about taking some time to see what’s around you and enjoying it. There is one thing about Mississippi that I wasn’t used to, and that was having to drive. Although I got a driver’s license many years ago, I hadn’t driven since the day of the driving exam. Continue reading

What’s the best room to renovate for best returns?

If you could renovate only one room of your home, which one would return most on investment?

According to Cathy Morrissey, of The Reno Chick, the answer is a no-brainer.

“If I had to say what gets people in the door, it is the front yard, your outdoor room,” says Morrissey, who has managed seven renovations since 2012. Each has returned a six-figure sum.

“That’s because if you can’t get them (prospective buyers) in the first 10 seconds, if you can’t make a good impression, you will never have a chance.”

If I had to say what gets people in the door, it’s the front yard.

Morrissey says her own daughter is currently looking to buy a home and already has decided not to stop and inspect 20 houses because she hasn’t liked the front yard.

“Investors don’t care so much because they are thinking about what they can do to improve it themselves but for owner occupants it’s their home so spend a little if that is all you have and it will bring the best return on your outlay.

“Make that positive first impression and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to do it.”

If you have less than $500, Morrissey suggests you:

  • Buy some

Tips on Buying a Beach Condo in Puerto Rico

White sandy beaches, balmy year-round temps, glitzy hotels, an eclectic Caribbean Spanish culture and architectural remnants of its colonial past shape Puerto Rico as a truly one-of-a-kind destination, with compelling investment and lifestyle appeal for U.S. citizens. Because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, there are no restrictions on Americans acquiring property on the island. Another advantage: U.S. citizens don’t have to go through customs when traveling between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland – a big-time saver.

The Risk – and Possible Rewards

One important caution: Puerto Rico is in the midst of a serious debt crisis, which has caused real estate prices to plummet by as much as 25% in recent years. Of course, that means it could be a good time to snag a deal. The emphasis is on “could” because purchasing property in any unstable economic climate comes with obvious risk: If the economy continues to deteriorate, it could force property prices down even further. However, solutions to the crisis may be coming this year, and if the situation stabilizes, it may work in your financial favor.

Consider the risks, and if you decide to proceed, condos, in particular, offer foreign buyers access to some of

8 signs a suburb is about to surge in value

Understanding the factors that trigger price growth helps ensure you pick a winning investment at the right time.

When it comes to investing in property, capital growth is king. While income helps you hold on to your investments over the long term, it’s capital growth that will have the most impact in the end.

In order to grow your property portfolio quickly, you want to get into the markets that are about to surge in value, to ride the upswing and the resulting growth.

So what are the early signals you should watch out for?

1. The average days on market are falling

If demand exceeds supply, buyers will quickly snap up available property, so the amount of time a property spends on the market drops, resulting in low average days on market.

2. Level of discounting drops

If demand is on the rise, vendors are no longer compelled to offer discounts to attract buyers.

3. More properties are being auctioned off

Real estate agencies will often sell properties by auction when the demand for property is strong. This allows potential buyers to outbid each other and push prices up for the seller. So a rising number of auctions and high auction clearance rates may be a sign of a

One House 12 Social Media Marketing Strategies

Did you know the search term “sell a house on social media” gets over 175,000,000 results? It seems like everyone wants to know how to use the power of social media to reach interested buyers. And that shouldn’t come as any surprise, with millions of prospects logging in to share, tweet and chat every day.

You know what they say: in real estate it’s all about location, location, location. Here are a cool dozen ways to get your listings in all the right locations for the most exposure in no time flat.

1. Build a Single Property Website

First things first, create a single property website with social sharing built right in so your sellers can share their house with their friends and family (and so can anyone else). If you use Point2 Agent, this is easy as pie and will take you just a few minutes. Here’s how to get started, but you can also just call or live chat our Customer Care team.

2. Curate a Pinterest Board

Pinterest can drive a lot of free traffic for real estate agents, if you are able to dedicate a little time to it. Start by setting up some boards that show who you are and establish

9 Common Real Estate Myths That Plague Buyers and Sellers

Buying or selling a house is not something most of us do every day. You may do it once a decade, or even once in a lifetime. Despite the fact that most of us enter the world of real estate only rarely, we all think we know how it works, based on the experiences of friends and family members, stories we have heard and things we have read.

But for everything we believe we know about the industry, there are a number of myths that circulate about how real estate actually works. Buying into those can hurt your chances of buying or selling the right home at the right price.

In recent years, technology has radically changed the way homes are bought and sold, and yet some aspects of real estate are the same as they were when your parents bought their last home. If a long time has passed since your last transaction, you may be surprised at how much has changed.

The Internet has made much more information available to consumers, but not all the information is equal, or even accurate.

“A lot of people, for some reason, they believe what they read on the Internet,” says Gea Elika, principal broker of

Bill Gassett 7 Blogging Tips for Real Estate Agents

Blogging can be a fantastic way for real estate agents to increase business and establish a positive image with both potential clients and other professionals. But for blogging to work well, you have to do it right. Just writing random blogs whenever you feel the urge will not get you the results you want. You need to be smart and strategic about how you blog, what you blog about and the way you get your blog out to the world. The most successful bloggers write extremely well and know how to market their content.

These same content providers also understand the kind of information consumers are looking for. A great real estate blog will generally answer questions that people are searching for online.

7 Ways To Make Blogging Work For Your Real Estate Business

1. Pick a great platform

You have a lot of options when it comes to blogging platforms. One of the most popular platforms for business blogging is WordPress. You can use WordPress to write and publish your blogs – all for free.

WordPress is so popular because it gives you all the tools you need to write your blog, add pictures or video, tailor the blog for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes and

8 steps to getting started in property investment

You’ve read the books, magazines and reports. You’ve been religiously checking realestate.com.au for properties.

Yet when push comes to shove, you get stopped.

You’re not alone. In fact less than 6% of Australians, or roughly 1.3 million people, own an investment property, even though property is a national past-time.

It’s not surprising. A lot of people get overwhelmed by the process and quit before they even begin. But it doesn’t have to confound. Reality is, property investing is relatively straightforward.

To help you begin your journey,  here’s eight steps to starting a property portfolio on a solid ground, without losing your mind.

1. Check your finances

This can be as simple as listing all your assets, including incomes and work out your expenses.

This will give you an idea how much cash you have available to invest. Don’t immediately assume that you can’t afford to invest. As long as you have a stable and reasonably good paying job with solid employment history, you shouldn’t have a problem getting a loan.

2. Get a pre-approval

You can get pre-approval through your lender directly or through your trusted mortgage broker. Going through a broker before applying for a pre-approval can be beneficial if you’re not sure you’re financially ready to invest.

Applying for

10 tips to find the best locations for real estate investment

I was recently asked by a real estate investor group to speak at one of their meetings. The topic of real estate is a broad one, so I asked if there was something specific they were interested in learning more about.

Not surprisingly, the topic they wanted to focus on was what to look for when finding the perfect community to invest in, i.e. what are the signs that identify the communities with the best investment potential?

I don’t look at major cities. These markets are watched intensely by many in the industry who buy using different parameters and who are okay with a smaller ROI. Personally, I look at regional centers — the smaller cities that form the hub for many outlying communities.

The following are important factors in determining if an area is a regional centre:

1. It is highly accessible. Access is key, and that usually comes along with a regional centre, but I look for good highways and airport access. How easy is it to get in and out of the community? This is important.

2. Investment from the private sector. If newer big box retailers are entering a community, the odds are that they have access to much better research on

5 tips for becoming an indispensable real estate agent

Gone are the days in which a real estate agent held all the power by controlling the MLS (multiple listing service). The Internet, along with shifting technologies, has changed many industries and real estate is no exception. Here we are in 2015, with a much-improved economy and rapidly changing technologies, but there are a lot of agents who are struggling to make the necessary changes.

For a real estate agent to survive in today’s world, they must adapt and change to accommodate their clients’ needs.

  1. Change your marketing strategy.

Any agent who wishes to stay relevant and in business must change his or her marketing strategy. In the past, it had been all about the listings and how many bedrooms a home had; these days that style of advertising just isn’t going to cut it. The majority of individuals don’t want to be the focus advertising, therefore advertisements should focus on lifestyle, and all marketing should feel authentic and organic.

  1. Customize your services.

The world continues to evolve a rapid pace. We’ve gone from Web 1.0 to almost Web 3.0, better known as the Internet. We need to focus on delivering a customized experience. How does this work in real estate? Focus on the

Six Habits Of Successful Real Estate Agents

Just about every broker or agent has their own style. Some are extroverts, some are more laidback. Some are fun and flamboyant, some are cool, calm, and collected.

In the course of my career, I’ve been lucky to meet or interview hundreds of Realtors and I have a huge respect for them. Many of the agents I have connected with have large offices and do huge amounts of business.

So what makes a successful agent?

The first thing is always passion. It’s a hard business and it takes a lot of attention to detail and a commitment to great customer service. In talking with agents I’ve noticed that the truly great agents also share the attributes below:

They return calls and emails at lightning speed – These are the people that get a lead and don’t let it go. They immediately make contact and they follow up.  They answer any questions and are happy to stay on the phone with nervous clients. They are the warriors of email, text, and phone and they keep that rhythm right up through the whole transaction, busy Washington DC agent Jeff Vinson told me he calls it his land, sea, and air approach, reaching out to clients through as

Tips For Working As A Real Estate Agent

Real estate salespeople, and other licensees who are required to work for and under the umbrella of a designated broker, are often referred to as real estate agents. In legal language, the term “agent” refers to the strictly defined relationship between a real estate salesperson and the buyers and sellers with whom he or she conducts business. An agent is an individual who is authorized and consents to represent the interests of another person. As an agent, you act to assist people through the process of buying, selling and renting land, homes and other properties.

In addition to meeting licensing requirements and having a comprehensive understanding of pertinent real estate laws, real estate agents have a long list of responsibilities. Real estate agents typically do the following:

  • Advise clients on mortgages, market conditions and pricing
  • Advise sellers on how they can make their homes more attractive to buyers
  • Compare properties to determine fair and competitive market prices
  • Generate lists of appropriate properties for buyers based on their price range and needs
  • Guide buyers and sellers through the transaction process
  • Manage lists of contacts
  • Mediate negotiations between buyers and sellers
  • Prepare and submit all required paperwork, including various contracts
  • Present all purchase offers to sellers for consideration
  • Promote properties through advertising, listing

10 Best-Kept Secrets for Selling Your Home

Selling Secret #10: Pricing it right
Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids — even in the worst markets — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

Selling Secret #9: Half-empty closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

Selling Secret #8: Light it up
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.

Selling Secret #7: Play the

17 tips for a successful career in real estate sales

  1. Be careful in implementing rules learned from mentors who are not where you want to be in net worth, happiness, family, fun and peace. You won’t know, so ask a lot of questions!
  2. When you are being sold an expensive or time-consuming solution for a small real estate business problem, just say “no!”
  3. The fastest way to move and stay at the head of the class is to spend no less than two hours every day on seller lead generation.
  4. Most average agents are great in great markets. Only great agents are great in rotten markets. Great agents are not born: They are trained.
  5. Huge deposits cure most closing problems.
  6. Net is more important than gross.
  7. Continuing education credits may not teach you how to sell more, make more and have happier clients. Don’t choose your training solelybased on continuing education requirements.
  8. Spend very little time or money generating buyer leads in any market. Spend it on generating seller leads.
  9. Remember, you are in sales. You can’t help anyone until you understand the clients’ needs, offer solutions, ask for their business and overcome objections — in one sitting!
  10. Hanging out with real estate agents in your town will make you little money.
  11. Trust a lender to whom you give most of your business.
  12. It’s 2014. We’re in an online real estate world: Get in the game or get out.
  13. All

Marketing Strategies of Successful Real Estate Agents

A successful real estate agent’s marketing strategy involves more than promoting new business or developing a high profile. The successful agent actively seeks out leads and referrals of potential clients who are already considering purchasing or listing real estate. Productive prospecting or farming for new clients involves maintaining and developing a relationship with current and past clients, who are often a valuable resource when building a real estate business.

1.Develop a slogan or name for the real estate agent or team, and use it to brand the business.

2.Build a real estate website and use an email address connected with the website as the business email, as opposed to a generic or free email service.

3.Purchase a smart phone, cell phone, to use as a direct phone line, and have emails forwarded to the phone.

4. Return phone calls and answer emails promptly. An agent who fails to answer a call or email promptly typically loses the client to another agent, who answers quickly.

5.Begin a blog, and make at least three entries a week, discussing real estate or the community where the agent does business. Write about current interest rates, market trends or give general or specific real estate advice. Add links from the

10 Tips for Getting a Fair Price on a Home

All homebuyers have one thing in common: they don’t want to get ripped off. In today’s increasingly frothy housing market – existing-home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted 5.46 million in December 2015, 7.7% above the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors – it’s especially important to make sure you get the right price.

It will be tougher than ever right now. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says that December capped off the best year of existing sales (5.26 million) since 2006 (6.48 million). Another sign of the growing housing surge: The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that the volume of mortgage loan applications rose 8.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis in late January 2016, as mortgage interest rates fell (But how do you know if you’re getting a fair deal – even in a tight market – before you make an offer? Here’s how to evaluate the price of any home so you can make a sound investment decision.

Learn These Tips

  • Research Recently Sold, Comparable Properties
    A comparable property is one that is similar in size, condition, neighborhood and amenities. One 1,200-square-foot, recently remodeled, one-story home with an attached garage should be listed at roughly the same price as

9 tips for becoming a successful real estate agent

  1. Partner with other agents

Perhaps a buyer or seller isn’t your cup of tea. Or maybe their price point isn’t in your wheelhouse.

Rather than turn these prospective clients away, you should co-list or co-represent them with competitors, according to a panel of top-producing agents at Inman Connect.

“Fifty percent of something is better than 50 percent of nothing,” noted Tanya Dzhibrailova, an agent at San Francisco-based Zephyr Real Estate.

Partnering with another agent is also a way to hedge against altogether losing a prospect to a formidable competitor, said David Kramer, executive vice president at Beverly Hills, California-based Hilton & Hyland.

How successful agents succeed

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  1. Use a publicist 

For as little as $500 a month, you can tap a publicist’s long-standing relationships with journalists to help position you as the local “noted source” for all things real estate.

  1. Pitch stories to reporters

Reporters are constantly hunting for story angles. Rather than merely suggest that they use you as a source, hand them scoops on a silver platter.

Are large garages or guest houses trending? Tell them.

“They’re hungry for topics,” said Andrew Greenwell, CEO of Pleasanton, California-based Venture Sotheby’s International Realty.

  1. Tap vendors and investors for leads

Dzhibrailova milked business from vendors and investors she met as a property manager to “build a foundation” for her real estate business. Accountants and lawyers tend to be particularly potent sources of business, Kramer said.