Finding the Ideal Agent

During the home-buying process, you will collaborate with and speak with your real estate agent more than any other party. This person will be your right hand, support system and expert throughout the home search. Find an agent that fits your needs and they’ll work for you to find the ideal home in the proper price range. We want to help you understand the agent’s purpose in the buying process and what questions to ask potential agents.

Typically, there are two agents involved in a real estate transaction. The agents are the buyer’s agent (represents the buying party) and the selling agent (represents the owners listing the property). These agents work on a commission basis, averaging a 3% commission for each agent, totaling 6%. This cost is normally paid by the sellers of the property. For example, a $150,000 property will be a $4,500 profit for each agent upon the closing of a property. Agents are paid when you close on your home.

These agents should provide the highest quality customer service, as many agents depend upon referrals from buyers & sellers for future profit. Remember that having the right agent is an investment into the future home and financial wealth by choosing the right home. But how does a buyer choose the best agent for their situation? Here are some questions and tips to use while interviewing real estate agents for home purchases.

How to Find a Quality Agent

Lender Suggestions: At this point, you’ve found a lender.  Lenders interact with numerous agents over the years and can usually point buyers in the right direction towards professional agents that provide the best customer service and efficient documentation to the lender. Trust your lender’s opinion, especially if the lender is a local lender.

Friends & Family: Know family and friends who have recently purchased in the area? Ask for suggestions! They can give a review of their experience buying a home with a specific agent and steer the buyer away for unsatisfactory agents as well.

Drive the Area: See one agent’s signs all over the desired neighborhood. It is likely that this agent is an expert in the area and a great asset to purchasing in that specific neighborhood. Reach out and learn more about why so many neighbors turn to him or her for real estate sales.

Don’t Limit Options: It can be easy to choose an agent and not shop others. This also can lead to an unsavory experience buying a home. Interview 2-3 potential agents at minimum to determine which agent provides the most confidence that a successful transaction will occur.

Interview Questions

  • How Long Have You Been in Real Estate?
    • Experience is often a benefit. These agents have probably seen and worked through some of the oddest situations that can occur in the buying process and handle any hiccups with ease.
  • Ask About Their Headache Transactions
    • The reality of home buying is that sales do not always go as planned. Ask agents about these situations to determine how they handled the pressure and what tactics they used to resolve the problems.
  • On-Time Transactions
    • Ask how many of their transactions close on time. If there is a large number of transactions not closing on time, this should be a red flag in the interview process.
  • Is The Commission Price Negotiable?
    • As mentioned above, the average percentage agents take for a commission is 3%. If their commission rate is higher than 3%, ask them to explain why they feel their services are superior to other agents. A lower percentage can be a blessing, but also possibly a headache. An agent may not be as experienced or may attempt to force a quicker closing on a home that the buyer is not 100% in love with to receive the commission faster. This is why the interview process is so important; know the true intentions of the agent.

Posted on December 17, 2018 at 2:28 am
Lena O'Neill | Posted in Uncategorized |

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Thoroughly checking your home indoors and out, from pipes and eaves to heaters and trees, is a must-do when preparing for winter.

Your house is an investment and a place to be comfortable and safe. To get the most out of where you live through all seasons, make sure to plan.

Fall is the perfect time to start thinking about winterization. While the weather is relatively pleasant and stable, tend to maintenance tasks and consider how you can avoid emergencies and damage by being proactive.

To get ready for cold weather, take a look at these ways to winterize your home.

Give your HVAC system a checkup

Heating and air conditioning systems don’t last forever. They’re good for about 15 years, but some have a shorter lifespan of about 10. If your system is going on 10 years (or older), fall is an important time for a yearly checkup.

At the very least, you should change the filters monthly. However, it is recommended to get a comprehensive inspection annually from a licensed HVAC contractor. This professional should check the entire system to ensure you’ll have heat and avoid hazards like fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Seal your walkways, driveways and patios

All cracks in masonry surfaces, like concrete walkways, driveways and patios, should be sealed to avoid expanding. Find a reputable mason who will take time to strategically insert control joints where needed so further cracking doesn’t occur.

After control joints are placed, the mason will seal any cracks so that water doesn’t get in and freeze. Don’t overlook this necessary step in the winterization process. If you check it off the list, your masonry will last a long time.

Clean out your gutters

Aside from leaves and branches, gutters accumulate dirt and other debris. When they’re full of material, there’s no room for rain so the water will run in undesirable places, such as over the gutters or into your home.

To keep gutters from backing up, get rid of any new or deteriorating material you find. Take a day to purge your entire gutter system so water properly channels away from your home’s façade, foundation and basement.

Check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors

Winter fires in fireplaces and the use of heating units can poison inside air. Check carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they’re working. If you don’t have carbon monoxide detectors in each room, consider buying them.

Install new batteries in smoke alarms. While a peaceful winter is the goal, you never know when a holiday baking project will turn into an emergency. Be prepared by making sure your home is properly vented and ready to alert you to any potential danger

Seal exterior wood trim and paneling

All exterior wood surfaces need to be sealed or painted so they’re protected from rain, sleet and snow. You’ll also want to treat exterior wood to ensure it lasts during extreme temperatures. Check for wood that needs replacing and tackle that task first. Then seal doors, window casings and paneling.

A good carpenter can take on this job, but many homeowners prefer to do small tasks like this themselves. Whether you want to seal wood yourself or hire a professional to do it, keep an eye out for cracking paint and chipping wood. These are signs that extensive winterization is necessary.

Clear out your chimney

Winter fires indoors are a cozy delight. Keep safety a priority by clearing out your chimneys. Having them cleaned and inspected by a licensed company is the best course of action. A chimney sweep can tell if it’s safe to use the fireplace and alert you to problems that need to be addressed.

Winterizing also means storing firewood in a location where it will stay out of the elements and be convenient. You won’t be able to build a safe and warm fire with rotted wood.

In addition to these ways to prepare your home for winter, shut down the sprinkler system, make sure trees nearby are healthy, audit for energy efficiency and winterize your lawn.



Posted on December 17, 2018 at 2:17 am
Lena O'Neill | Posted in Uncategorized |