Looking to Buy Property? A REALTOR® Can Represent Your Best Interests


When you’re ready to purchase a home, working with a professional can help you meet your goals. There are many different compensation models that real estate brokers may use, so be sure to consider the services you need when selecting a broker to represent you. How Can a REALTOR® Help With Your Real Estate Investment? Your REALTOR® will represent your best interests. Buyer’s agents have a fiduciary duty to the buyer rather than the seller. Buyer’s representatives can help you find properties that match your needs and provide data about the market to help you assess property value. Your REALTOR® can assist in submitting offers, negotiating on your behalf, and navigating the dozens of details required to bring a complex transaction to a successful close. How Are Real Estate Buyer Representatives Compensated? Compensation for real estate services is negotiable between agents and their clients. Many real estate brokers who represent sellers offer to compensate the buyers’ representatives for helping to successfully sell the property. Buyers benefit from this arrangement because they can receive professional representation even when they don’t have the financial ability to pay for services directly. When hiring a REALTOR®, you can discuss what services you need and how compensation will work. What Are the Disadvantages of Purchasing Real Estate Without a REALTOR®? Buyer’s agents protect the interests of their clients. Your REALTOR® can help you submit offers, navigate complex transactions, identify down-payment programs, negotiate on your behalf, and talk to you about other professionals you may need during a real estate purchase. Nine out of 10 homebuyers and sellers say they would work with their REALTOR® again, which speaks to the valuable role REALTORS® play. The changes within the NAR settlement present greater opportunities for REALTORS® to communicate the value and services that will be provided.

Looking to Buy Property? A REALTOR® Can Represent Your Best Interests2024-03-26T13:18:43-05:00

Do You Trust the Internet to Solve Your Real Estate Problems?


The process of buying, selling, or leasing property can get complicated in countless ways. Just look at the comments on real estate forums and websites. People encounter all manner of issues and are looking for advice about what do when … The seller has a lien he didn’t know about. A person buying a home is thinking of renting out her current home rather than selling it. The seller accepted the buyer’s offer, and now the buyer found a home he likes better. The homebuyer wants to move in before closing and rent the home until the closing date. An inspection revealed costly repairs are needed, and the buyer wants to renegotiate the purchase price. A buyer has a contract to buy a home and learned the seller has another a contract with a second buyer. The buyer and seller disagree about what items should stay with the property after the sale. A buyer of a commercial building doesn’t understand the seller’s reply to his offer. The seller wants to know how to handle multiple offers. The seller didn’t show up to closing, and the buyer doesn’t know what to do. This list could keep going and going.  When you “ask the internet,” you don’t know if the answers you get are accurate. On the other hand, a REALTOR® is a professional with the experience and knowledge to help you avoid many problems, deal with those that arise, and help you reach the best possible outcome on your real estate transaction.  If you’re not working with a REALTOR®, find one here. 

Do You Trust the Internet to Solve Your Real Estate Problems?2024-02-20T16:18:34-06:00

Why You Need a Home Inventory


You’ve bought insurance for a worst-case scenario. But having insurance is just one step. Taking an inventory of your possessions is another. Why? In case of theft, loss, or damage due to fire or a weather-related event, you’ll know what to claim—plus, it can prevent a delay in your claim. Here are some questions to consider when creating a record of your home inventory: What Will Your System Be? Besides deciding what you would want to be replaced, figure out what process for cataloging works best for you. For example, you can make a spreadsheet or take videos and pictures using your smartphone. Check with your insurance company; they may have an app or online form available. Where Should You Start? Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Organize your inventory by room. Start with a small closet or the kitchen. Also, make it a habit. When you get something new or get rid of something, update your inventory. What Should You Include? Ask your insurance agent what documentation will be needed to make a claim. You may need to add receipts, purchase contracts, basic descriptions, serial numbers, make and model, and estimated cost in your records. How Can You Keep the Inventory List Safe? Store your inventory in a fireproof safe, an external drive, or an online storage account. Be sure it is a place that is easily accessible. Hopefully, you won’t have an emergency that requires you to file a claim. But if you do, you’ll appreciate that you are prepared.

Why You Need a Home Inventory2024-01-23T01:16:40-06:00

What GRI Means After a REALTOR’S® Name


REALTORS® can earn different certifications and designations to increase their expertise. Often, they list the credentials as abbreviations after their name—showcasing their commitment to providing a high level of professionalism through advanced education. Have you seen the letters “GRI” and wondered what they mean? The Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI) designation is a nationally accredited program for real estate professionals looking to deepen their understanding of the industry. The 90-hour program consists of 14 intensive training courses in business development, legal and regulatory issues, professional standards, sales processes, and the latest technology. When you hire REALTORS®, you know they will have the skills to navigate the real estate market and achieve your goals.

What GRI Means After a REALTOR’S® Name2023-12-12T10:27:48-06:00

Smart Steps To Take Before You Buy or Sell a Home


When thinking of buying or selling a home, you can take actions ahead of time that will pay off even if you’re not quite ready to view homes or put yours on the market. These steps may help you avoid surprises, reduce your stress, and maybe even save a bunch of money. Assemble Your Team You will need several experts to complete any real estate transaction, and the best place to start is with your REALTOR®. No one has a more complete picture of real estate transactions than REALTORS®—the professionals who are involved from start to finish. You also may need to work with lenders, title agents, appraisers, inspectors, surveyors, attorneys, stagers, repair professionals, and others. Your REALTOR® can explain these people’s roles and how they fit into the overall transaction. You may also be able to ask your REALTOR® for referrals to trusted specialists who provide these services. Make a list Whether buying a home, selling, or both, you’ll face plenty of decisions. Prioritizing your goals helps you narrow down your choices so you can focus on the most productive actions. When selling, you might decide that a quick transaction is more important than maximizing your sales price. As a buyer, weighing the relative importance of price, location, and features will help guide your decisions. Your REALTOR® is invaluable here, too, identifying factors to consider and discussing pros and cons of the options you’ll likely face. Take Action When is the right time to start working on your home purchase or sale? Earlier than you may think! If you’re buying, you can work on financing, boosting your credit score, and researching neighborhoods and properties. If you’re selling, you may benefit from decluttering, repairs, and remodeling. Once again, your REALTOR® can provide a wealth of information and resources to start you on a path to success. Whether buying or selling, your REALTOR® is your trusted guide to help you achieve your real estate dreams.

Smart Steps To Take Before You Buy or Sell a Home2023-11-28T01:22:06-06:00

Test Drive Your Next Home


You’ve toured the house. You like what you see. But what is it really like to live there? Practice Daily Life Some of the most important aspects of living in a home never show up during a walkthrough. How is traffic in the area? Ask your REALTOR® what a typical morning commute is like. Are alternate routes available? Better yet: get to the home early and do a practice commute. Drive back at the end of the day, too—congestion may be different. What is the neighborhood like? Your REALTOR® may have sold other properties nearby and can describe the area. Pet-friendly? Do cars tend to speed down the streets? Take some time to wander around. Chat with neighbors and passersby and ask what it’s like to live there. Is it under a flight path? Does noise travel from other properties? Does the area have ongoing wildlife or pest issues? History 101 It’s nice to know a little bit about your future home. Ask your REALTOR® when the property was built and how many previous owners it’s had. Was the home custom-built by the owners or one of the models in the subdivision? You can do your own research online as well. Share Your Concerns Picture yourself living here. How do you feel? What concerns you about the property? Are you worried a sloped backyard will drain into your home? Share your thoughts with your REALTOR®. He or she may be able to address your concerns, or find out who can.

Test Drive Your Next Home2023-10-31T08:19:14-05:00

4 Ways To Improve Your Neighborhood


The key to a great neighborhood is: You! Everyone wants to live in a great neighborhood. The good news is that no matter your location or type of property you call home, you can improve the area where you live. And it doesn’t have to take a lot of work. Go First Your instinct might be to wait for the neighbors to introduce themselves, especially if you just moved in. But your neighbors may be taking the same approach. Whether you’re new or an established resident, a simple hello can be the opening you need to start a conversation and, ultimately, a friendship. And when you see a neighbor who needs a hand, offer to help. Chances are that person will return the favor in the future. Get Out There The more interactions you have with neighbors, the greater your chances of forming neighborhood bonds. Work in your yard, walk the neighborhood, hang out at the condo pool, or spend time in the apartment’s fitness center. And when you’re there, remember to make that small effort to break the ice. Look For Ways to Get Involved Many neighborhoods stage events that require volunteers. You may be able to co-host a block party, help set up the Fourth of July parade, pitch in at a park clean-up, or participate in other group activities. Want To Do More? There are many other opportunities to improve your neighborhood if you have the inclination and time. Serve on the board of your neighborhood association or homeowners association. Be the person to start a new event, such as a movie night at the park or in the common area. Organize help for older neighbors who need assistance with things like groceries, medical appointments, pets, and trash. Support local schools and teachers. You can also observe what nearby communities are doing and see if those might fit in your neighborhood. REALTORS® are the experts when it comes to real estate transactions. Your REALTOR® may also know ways you can get more involved in your neighborhood.

4 Ways To Improve Your Neighborhood2023-10-17T01:18:51-05:00

5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home


Is there a spot that you visit so often you’d like to purchase property? Or are you thinking of buying a vacation home that you will rent out when you’re not staying there? Whatever your motivation, there are a few considerations to make when you’re purchasing a second property. Be Realistic About its Use Does your dream of second-home ownership match the reality of the time and investment you’ll make? If the second property is primarily for your vacation use, factor in the costs of traveling to the location and how often you’ll be able to take advantage of it. Think About Maintenance Who will take care of issues with your second home when you’re away? If it’s a rental property, you might want to hire a property management company, so be sure to add those costs to your second-home budget. Visit More Often Before You Buy If you only visit the beach every year from Memorial Day to Labor Day, do you have a good sense for what your second-home city is like during slower months? Make sure you visit the location throughout the year and get to know everything from the weather to local activities. If you are purchasing property with the intention of renting it out, be sure you know the seasons travelers are more likely to come and that you won’t be missing out on key moneymaking times when you plan to stay there. Talk to a Local REALTOR® Find a REALTOR® who serves the community in which you’re searching for property. Local REALTORS® have knowledge about the area, local property values, market trends, and more. They can also connect you with professionals who know specifics about local taxes or restrictions related to rental properties. You can filter the results based on people who specialize in vacation and second-home properties or who hold the Resort and Second-Home Property Specialist (RSPS) designation.

5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home2023-09-19T11:14:13-05:00

The Value of Home Inspections


Good news: A seller has accepted your offer, and you’re one step closer to owning your dream home. You’ve now entered the option period, your time to scrutinize the property—and cancel the transaction if you choose. This is the time to consider hiring an inspector to take a closer look at what you’re buying. Here’s why: Inspectors Are Thorough Inspectors must take extensive training to be licensed in Texas. They follow strict rules and are required to use the Property Inspection Report Form promulgated by the Texas Real Estate Commission. Though there are some limitations to what inspectors can evaluate, they will assess the home’s structure, electrical systems, AC and heating, plumbing, appliances, and many other aspects. Inspectors Find Things You Might Overlook Inspectors will always find issues, even in brand-new construction. But at least you know about the problems and can choose how you want to deal with them. For certain deficiencies an inspector discovers, you may want to hire a specialist such as a structural engineer, plumber, or electrician to further evaluate the condition. Inspections Help You Make Decisions If the inspection uncovers big surprises, you may want to ask the seller to make repairs or lower the sales price. The seller may agree or refuse—or continue to negotiate. If things aren’t going the way you want, you could decide to walk away—if the option period hasn’t expired. There’s Something Worse Than Finding Problems No one likes it when an inspector finds deficiencies in a home. As a buyer, you want a home in the best condition possible. Sellers also don’t like news of problems with the home. But everyone benefits from this knowledge. An inspection reduces the likelihood of surprises down the road. A happy and informed buyer is less likely to complain or sue the seller after the sale. Ask your REALTOR® if you have questions about home inspections, the termination option, or other parts of your real estate transaction. Your REALTOR® can help you sort through your options so you can achieve your real estate dreams.

The Value of Home Inspections2023-08-22T00:19:50-05:00

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