Choosing a REALTOR to Sell Your Home

the best REALTOR

How Do You Know that You are Working with the Best Realtor?

This is an excellent question since there are so many REALTORS out there. Just because your brothers, cousins, gardener’s son is a real estate agent — doesn’t mean you should use them. Selling a home is often a stressful process – not only do you have to give up the place you have lived, loved and raised your family, but the process itself, if it goes wrong, can cost you thousands of dollars.  For most people, a home sale is the most expensive transaction you will make in your lifetime.   This means that you should choose a REALTOR carefully and to do that, you have to know what you are looking for.

The  Best REALTORS

The best REALTORS are patient. They take the time to understand what you want out of the transaction so that they can ensure that you have a good experience throughout.  The best REALTORS put your own financial well being before their own.  This is called a Fiduciary Responsibility.  They will make sure that your home is properly valued and if isn’t they will advise you on what you should do about it.  To come up with that value, they do a CMA, look at other, similar homes that have sold in your area, review the local real estate market and provide you a price.  The best REALTORS will usually provide multiple prices that your home could sell at — from staying on the market for some time to “fire sale” prices.  There is a direct correlation time and home prices –

You can sell your home in 24 hours if your price it well below market value.

Communication with your REALTOR

Good REALTORS also communicate with their clients on a regular basis. They will ask you how you prefer that they get in touch with you for updates – there are some people who like to know everything as it is happening, while there are others who prefer a brief communication at the end of the day.  The best REALTORS will ask you how you choose to be communicated with.  Do you want daily e-mails?  Phone calls?  Maybe you want your updates by text message.

Availability of your REALTOR

Truth is, if you call 100 real estate agents, you will usually get 95 voice mails.  Before listing your home with an agent, ask them what is their availability.  Do they work weekends and holidays?  What is the latest they will take phone calls?  Don’t be discouraged if they have some limitations — as most agents will promise you the world, and then simply not be available when you have a question.   The best REALTORS do have some personal time restrictions, just as anyone would.

Real Estate Education

All licensed real estate agents have went through some level of real estate education in an effort to get their license.  In most states, in addition to the real estate classes necessary to get a license, many also need post-licensing classes as well as yearly continuing education.  These are the basics!  NAR provides a variety of designations, which require additional training to acquire.   Keep in mind, having REALTOR designations and certifications such as GRI or ABI doesn’t (in itself) mean you are dealing with a better agent – what it does is shows that your REALTOR cares about honing their trade.  They understand that knowledge makes them a better agent.  Ask your potential agent what additional designations or certifications they have.

Real Estate Technology

real estate technologyThe best REALTORS have invested heavily in real estate technology.  With technology playing such a large part in any real estate transaction today, your agent should have all of the necessary tools and services to market your property correctly as well as provide convenience factors such as electronic signatures.  Does your REALTOR have a website?  Is it simply their broker’s website or is it there own?  Does it rank well in the search engines?  Does it get traffic from buyers looking to purchase a home?  What do you find if you Google your agents name?  With the majority of buyers starting their real estate search online, the best REALTORS have a solid web presence.

Representing Both Buyers and Sellers

The best REALTOR will represent both buyers and sellers so that he can help his clients complete their transactions fast. This is called dual agency.  Most home sellers expect their real estate agent to bring them a buyer.  Dual agency simply lets the same agent who is listing your home, represent the seller too.  Some feel that opens the door to an agent being unscrupulous – but remember, REALTORS have a fiduciary responsibility to you.  If your realtor has clients who are looking to buy all he has to do is let them know that your home is available for sale – if it suits the needs of one of them then you sale is complete.  REALTORS that end up on “both sides” of the transaction (representing both the buyer and seller) have much more control over the sale.

Getting to the Closing Table

Some REALTORS don’t show up to the closing.  That should NEVER happen!  If your real estate agent is scheduled for a vacation to Aruba, they still should show up at the closing.   Needless to say, some agents will disagree with that stance, but truth is…they signed up for that.  In most instances, they scheduled the closing date. There are many things that can go wrong on closing day — your REALTOR should be there.

Conclusion

There are many things that make up a good REALTOR.  Don’t underestimate how important it is to choose your REALTOR wisely.  Remember – Just because your brothers, cousins, gardener’s son is a real estate agent — doesn’t mean you should use them.  Ask the right questions – Its the largest financial transaction of your life!

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Thinking of Becoming a REALTOR?

Thinking of Becoming a Real Estate Agent?

become a real estate agent

Have you thought about becoming a real estate agent? Want to take on clients, make your own hours, and guide people in their journey to finding a home? Well, before you get started, it’s important to understand the levels of education required (or highly recommended) for becoming a successful real estate agent.

Getting Your License

So how do you become a real estate agent? Well, the answer might vary depending on what state (or country) you may live in. Every state requires you to have a real estate license, and each state has their own licensing process as their rules might be different than the next state’s.

Some of the basic requirements for becoming a real estate license are that you are 18 (some state’s it’s 19) years of age and that you are a legal US resident. Also required is for you to complete your state’s required education, and that you pass your real estate license exam.

Being a real estate agent might not be as easy as it looks—it’s important that you take your real estate education seriously, as an estimated 87% of new agents fail within their first five years.

Get Educated!

So take a pre-licensing course! These courses can be taken online or in person, and generally cost anywhere from $200 to $500. Make sure that you’re going through a certified, reputable real estate school and that you are taking your state’s required number of hours (which vary from 40 to over 180 hours).

These courses are designed to teach you real estate terminology and practices, as well as the legal aspects of real estate. It is important to understand your learning style and to sign up for the classes that are best for you. Some people really struggle with online courses, so check your local colleges or real estate firms for a class schedule.

Make sure you are present in your courses, take good notes, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or for clarification or examples. These courses are meant to prepare you for taking the real estate agent exam, so it’s vital that you learn all you can from them. Get your monies worth!

So go out there and get your real estate education! There has never been a better time to start your career as a real estate agent.

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House Styles

Know The Style Of Home You Are Looking For

With the “Tiny House” and the “I Was A Metal Building Once” style of home to hit the scene, it is more important than ever to be able to communicate to your Real Estate Agent what type of home you are searching for.  There are many options in Homes For Sale in New Orleans, LA.  It may not be one style that peaks your interest, you may be interested in two or three styles.   Here is a few of the most popular and what amenities they offer:

Shotgun Style and Camelback Homes of New Orleans

The Shogun Style Home gets it’s name from the simplicity of the architecture.  You enter through the front of the home and it just goes straight back.  You walk througshotgunh each room to get to the next.  Initially, this style of home was popular with the middle class, and then became a sign of poverty in the mid-20th century.  These homes are built of wood, and usually found in bright colors throughout the city.

Another version of this home is the Camelback Home.  “Camelback” shotgun houses include a second floor at the rear of the house.  They are both built with very simple materials that run from the outside of the home, to the interior.

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans Real Estate lost many of these historical homes.  The damage was so excessive, and the homes were so old that bulldozing was the least expensive option.  There are still many brightly colored Shotgun Homes, and Camelback Homes, in the city that have been spared demolition and add to the historical preservation of the Real Estate in New Orleans.

French Country Homes, also referred to as French Style Homes

French Style homes are very popular in the south.  Many homes for sale in the New Orleans FrenchStyleHomeSEOarea would be described as French Style homes.  The exterior of these homes are typically recognized by their stucco and/or brick exteriors.  The windows may have working shutters, or decorative shutters and arches above windows and doors.  The high-pitched hip roof pulls together the elements of the exterior and is a very dominant characteristic.

The interior of the French Style most often has fireplaces adorned with ornate fireplace mantels and hearths.  A lot of stone and wood features inside the home giving it a classic French feel.  As you enter this style home, you will see high interior doorways, and high ceilings.

If the home is occupied and decorated, the tall windows will most often be covered with dramatic silk drapes that puddle on the floor.  Subtle colors, think white, pale mint, sand, linen or gray.  Adding pops of color in decorative accents, but even then, it will be subtle.

Contemporary-Modern Homes

Contemporary-Modern Homes are very popular in states like California, Texas and some sprcontemporaryHomeinkled throughout the south.  When searching for homes for sale in New Orleans, a few Contemporary-Modern Homes will come up on your list, especially in the higher end neighborhoods.  These homes are most identifiable by their sleek, contemporary design.  Clean, simple lines and minimal decoration.  The use of glass, and flat rooflines define the exterior. Oversized windows that are left uncovered, to bring the outside in and utilize the natural light.  An easy to spot exterior element of this style home is the use of skylights and solar panels strategically placed to light and heat the home.

The interior of the Contemporary-Modern home will carry the esthetics of the exterior, to the interior.  The use of glass, clean lines and minimal décor.  Some may describe the floor plans as being unusual with an openness that carries through to outdoor living spaces.

Interior colors of the Contemporary-Modern Home will include neutral tones of gray, brown, and blacks and whites.  Simple, bare flooring in gorgeous finishes such as hardwoods, porcelain and ceramic tiles, travertine and marble have made way to Modern-Contemporary living.

With the age of technology, this style home offers the best solutions for hosting your gadgets.  Technology is a décor feature of the Modern-Contemporary home.  The use of technology in this style of “smart home” can control things such as your lights, heat and alarm systems through smart phones, computers and tablets.

Traditional Homes

Traditional homes have characteristics of one or more architectural styles. Brick exteriors andTraditionalHome shingled roofs of various pitches, with various architectural details.  These homes are famous for not being easily defined as any “particular style”. They may be eclectic, displaying multiple stylistic influences or simply very pared-down. They fit in well in established neighborhoods and rural lots. You will appreciate the welcoming front porches and “traditional” floor plans.

The interior of the home will have formal living and dining rooms along with cozy fireplaces.  This style of interior is the most simple of all to decorate.  Neutral paint colors, and flooring using natural, but durable elements in a less than open floor plan.  The use of interior walls define each room as it’s own.  It is easy to make the Traditional Home “your own” with unlimited decorating ideas, because it is not bound by the architectural elements of the other home styles, such as the Modern-Contemporary or French Country Style.

Tudor Homes

The Tudor home will be easiest to identify by it’s asymmetrical style of architecture. Here in the United States this style of home first began growing in popularity during the late 19th and early Tudorfirst half of the 20th century.  Late in the 20th century it gained popularity once again. The Tudor Style Home are inspired by elements from medieval architecture of the early 16th century.  Most recognized by their exterior features of steeply pitched roofs and decorative half-timber used sparingly.  The steep roof design can endure the harsher elements of lots of rain and snow. In this country, the endurance of this Tudor Home style roof is popular in regions such as the Midwest, Northwest, and along the East Coast, although other regions boast their fair share of this special home.

Tudor Homes have doorways that are often embellished with stone pavers that are not uniform in shape. These doorways are inset to offer protection from the elements and often a focal point to enhance the curb appeal of the home. Always adorned with massive brick or stone chimneys, again as much as a design feature, as a way to provide heat in harsh elements. Windows come in groups of two, three or four, and are tall and narrow.  Sometimes the glass panels are diamond shaped versus rectangular.

The interior will retain the architectural features of exposed beams, arched doorways, beaded board wall paneling and elaborate mantels.  Warm colors, such as neutrals with hints of gold, red and green for contrast. The use of heavy draperies, velvet and warm woods add to the coziness of Tudor Style home.

Cottage Style Homes

Despite the cozy design, the Cottage Style Home can offer a lot of space.  Not skimping on living space, the floor plans of these homes make them feel larger than their square footage. The CottageHomeCottage Style Home sits well on picturesque lots, waterfront and beach front areas.  Storybook gable roofs, balconies, small porches, and bay windows, along with the colorful paint choices, make these homes a stand out for curb appeal.

The interior of these homes lend to a cozy style of living that lacks in the larger, less personalized homes of other styles. Soft colors, woods and the minimal use of hard stones make for an ease in decorating.

Do Your Research

There are many more styles of homes available. By doing your research ahead of time, visiting a few styles and knowing which ones best fit your needs, will make your home shopping experience a more pleasurable one.

While there are many well preserved architectural styles across the United States, some older houses have been renovated and often disguise their origin.  Using a Real Estate Professional can assist you in finding out the history, and additions to these homes.  Also, getting a Home Inspection will reveal any poor renovations or lack of permits in the pre-owned home market.

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Why Granbury TX is a Great Place to Retire

Granbury Real Estate Offers Retirees Options

Granbury, Texas was often overlooked as a great place to retire in Texas.  Now, based on social life, highly sought after medical facilities and taxes, Granbury is ranking at the top of some lists for retirement cities.  These rankings even show Granbury making a gain on Fredricksburg, which for years was considered the “best place to retire in Texas”.  The real estate options in Granbury are limitless.

Planned Retirement Communities

Granbury is a host to several beautiful and well planned retirement communities.  The WaterviewWaterview is one located in Granbury that offers homes for sale as with independent living, as well as assisted living options.  Located on the shores of Lake Granbury, the setting is picturesque.  Granbury Tx has many subdivisions offering a variety of living options when choosing a home.  Indian Harbor has shown to be one of the hottest areas for retirees to move to because of the waterfront, resort style living.

 

Another great Granbury Real Estate option for retirement is Lakestone TerraceKnown for modernizing the retirement experience, you can choose from spacious cottages to independent living apartments.  Very compassionate, and very stylish, nestled with a view of Lake Granbury.  With many health fairs, art shows and recreational activities planned year round, you will never have to leave home for a good time.

Medical Facilities

As aging consumers look to find the best place to retire, the options for high tech medical care is at the forefront of their minds.  They want to be able to have great physicians and hospitals that they do not have to travel hours to get to.  Granbury offers just that.

One of Granbury’s general medical surgical hospitals is Lake Granbury Medical Center. With just 83 beds, the size of this hospital is appealing to older patients who do not want to fight the obstacles that go along with larger medical facilities. Lake Granbury Medical Center has a fully staffed emergency room, and performs inpatient and outpatient surgeries.

A little more than 15 miles away, in Fort Worth, TX, is Huguley Memorial Medical Center.  This facility was ranked as “high performing in caring for patients in Heart Failure” by U.S. World & News Reports. #1

There are several other high tech health care facilities located less than 30 miles from the center of Granbury, TX.  Doctors offices and medical labs in and around Granbury, offer retirees plenty of options in healthcare.

Recreation For The Active Seniorgolfcourse

With many parks, walking trails and sought after golf courses, you can find plenty of things to keep you active in Granbury.  Live theater, music and the arts are always sure to be found in season.

Ranked Number 1

Many lists show Granbury as number one in Texas for best cities to retire.  The below, lists the top 3 cities in Texas for retirees.   SmartAsset, a website dedicated to providing easy to understand answers to financial questions. They have named Granbury the Best Place to Retire in Texas for two years running – 2015 and 2016!

BEST IN TEXAS FOR RETIREMENT

1. Granbury 

2. Fredericksburg 

3. Boerne

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New Orleans Real Estate Market

New Orleans Home Prices Begin To Level Off

The cost to own or rent a home in the City of New Orleans, LA has been rising for years, but the trend of being priced out of the city is beginning to change.

Prices have been rising since the revitalization after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.  After the catastrophic hurricane, the homes that were renovated, and ready to live in were at an all time low in supply.  If they were not destroyed in the Hurricane, they were in high demand. New Orleans natives were scooping them up at whatever cost just to stay in their city. The prices rose.

As new construction soon began popping up, more homes were available.  Still, getting back into the City was pricey for natives eager to return.  Builders knew the supply and demand conditions would be a big payoff for them for a few years after Katrina, and they capitalized on that.

Shortly after the hurricane, you would find single, shotgun style homes that were going for shotgun house$300,000.  That runs about $300.00 per square foot. Too costly for most natives to return home, coupled with the rise in crime, it just didn’t make sense to move back.  Until now.

Bringing The Price Back To Affordability

Looking at the prices of 2016, we have seen the cost of Real Estate in New Orleans neighborhoods starting to level off, and it was due to flatten out and go down a little.

2016 showed a slow down in the oil and gas industry, and the capping off of the film tax credit did cause some Louisiana jobs to move elsewhere.  Also, typically during a presidential election year, things slow down on the Real Estate front as a whole.

There appears to be a little bit of an oversupply and that will put pressure to moves prices downward some.  This oversupply will also cause rentals and sales to stay on the market a little longer in some neighborhoods of New Orleans.

Higher Priced Neighborhoods Affordable Again

The Uptown, and the Warehouse District are higher priced markets that too will see price drops, and some will be significant.  This is not to go as far as to call it depreciation, or a “Buyer’s Market”, but can be viewed as a slow down on appreciation.  This will help natives to move back into the cities higher end neighborhoods they once fled after Katrina.

Recovery Still Going On

There are still parts of New Orleans that have not recovered.  Homes are gone, but the land where they once sat remains.  Real Estate experts in the area predict these areas will again have homes built that are affordable.  As with any catastrophic event in Real Estate, there comes a time that prices level back out, and people can come home.  That time appears to be now, and all eyes are on the prices for 2017.  This will only be measured by the amount of people returning to the City.

 

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2016 Fourth Quarter Gains In Existing Home Sales

Home found

Home Sales Are Ticking Up

The National Association of Realtors® shows the fourth quarter of 2016 showed an up tick in home sales across the United States. It is expected to slow down some during the winter months, but if this is a sign of things to come in 2017, we are in for a good year.  Real Estate Agents, Lenders, Home Sellers and Home Buyers are all keeping a hopeful, and watchful eye that this trend will continue going forward.

National Increase By Region

Southern Regions

Existing-home sales in the South rose by 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter and are 5.4 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2015. The median existing single-family home price in the South was $210,500 in the fourth quarter, 7.9 percent above a year earlier. Picayune, MS is seeing this rise in existing home sales, as well as other cities across the south. Real Estate Agents in Picayune, MS report that their phones haven’t stopped ringing heading into 2017 as well.  New Orleans, LA has also seen tremendous growth in their existing home sales.  The Lakeview area of New Orleans has surpassed other metro areas within the city, with some of the strongest gains in the country.

The Rest of The Nation

Existing-home sales in the Northeast had gains of 10.5 percent, the Midwest boasts existing-home sales climbed 2.3 percent, and in the West sales gained by 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter. With the Northeast showing the largest gains, we must keep in mind that sales in places like the South had not dropped off as drastically as other part of the nation during the mortgage meltdown, so the South did not have as far to climb back up. The United States (U.S.) subprime mortgage crisis was a nationwide banking emergency that contributed to the U.S. recession of December 2007 – June 2009.

What Does This Mean To Sellers

You sometimes hear this is a “Buyers Market” or this is a “Sellers Market”, I believe it can be the best of both worlds, and the data of the last fourth quarter proves it. If you are wanting to list your home for sale, there are plenty of buyers out there. If you are in the market to buy a home, there is plenty of inventory to choose from.

Be Prepared When You Are Ready To Buy

Those looking to purchase a home in 2017 will benefit from more inventory to choose from. This increase in inventory creates a balance in the housing market.

This shift in supply and demand, to a more balanced market, will give home buyers more options and opportunity to negotiate for the purchase of their dream home. No longer will buyers of existing homes for sale have to settle.

Do your homework on what price home you can afford.  Keep in mind your expenses outside of what a lender may consider, so that you have a comfortable mortgage payment for you and your family.

Get pre-approved with a reputable lender after you decide a comfortable monthly payment, and have on hand your supporting documentation such as pay stubs, bank statements and identification.

Always remember not to make any large purchases prior to applying for your home loan.  Your lender can guide you on what you should, and should not do that may affect your credit.

 

 

 

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