Insider Tips from the Pros


What is the first thing I should do when considering a home purchase?

Purchasing a home is usually the largest single purchase a person will ever make in their lifetime. Whether it is your first home or final home, there are many things to consider, and having a great Realtor can make all the difference in the world. Real estate transactions are much like a symphony – there are many participants and it can be very complicated. Your Realtor is like the conductor – not playing any individual instrument but responsible for the final outcome of the piece and knows every part and nuance. If you consult a Realtor in the beginning of your search, you can avoid many of the pitfalls that can make your purchase a nightmare. As Realtors, we have connections with many professionals in the industry and we know who will take care of our clients. We only refer professionals of the highest caliber because we trust that they will treat our clients with the same attention to detail as we do ourselves. Selecting a Realtor should be your first priority even if you don’t plan to buy for quite a while. We can help you successfully navigate the sometimes stormy waters of the real estate industry.

How do I get the best deal on a home?

There is no simple answer to this question as every transaction is unique but there are common parts to every transaction. The purchase price of a home can be dependent on many things including: seller motivation, buyer timeframe, home condition, multiple interested buyers, competition with other available homes, etc. It is the combination of these parts that help determine where the seller and buyer ultimately agree on the price. It is your Realtor’s job to factor in all these components and advise you on the price you offer for the home. Then it is also your Realtor’s job to successfully negotiate the price for your desired home to your satisfaction. The best deal on a home will be had when your Realtor can do all of this and you are SATISFIED!

When is the best time of year to buy a house?

The historical trend is that more homes are sold during the summer months than any other time of year but that does not necessarily mean that it is the best time of year for you. If you purchase a home during the slower times of year you may be able to negotiate a lower price on your home (due to seller motivation) but with the caveat of fewer homes available to consider. The simple fact is that the best time to purchase a home is when you are ready. If you find the right home, the time of year shouldn’t matter. It is our job as your Realtor to help you negotiate the best possible deal for the home. If the right home is not available, then we will patiently wait with you and search for your home.

How important is a home inspection if I plan a remodel?

A home inspection can be a very pivotal point in the home purchase process. By this time, you should already know if you are approved for the loan you need so the inspection is the last major hurdle to overcome. The best home inspectors are sometimes referred to as “deal killers” – they are incredibly thorough and are able to find physical defects in the property that can make you rethink your decision. We feel that it is much better to cancel an escrow and find a more suitable home than to have a client regret a purchase due to factors that should not have been missed. We want to be your Realtors for life, not just once. Even if you plan a major remodel of a home after you purchase it, anything short of a complete rebuild should have a detailed home inspection. The Realtor you choose is usually a direct link to your home inspector, thus it is crucial to have a good Realtor that can refer you to an outstanding inspector.


What is the first thing I should do when I want to sell my home?

Thanks to the digital age and the internet there is a wealth of information available to homeowners that pertain to your home value and selling your home. However, none of these sources can replace a professional Realtor – someone who can factor ALL the information related to your home and its value. You should first hire a Realtor with the expectation that he or she can help you every step of the way, even if you don’t plan to sell your home for a while. After signing your listing contract, there are several things you can do to help the sale of your home and your Realtor will help you prioritize these items.

How do I get the best price for my home?

Basic economics tells us that the market value for any item is the price the general population is willing to pay for that item. Quality, prestige, utility, and convenience are a few of the factors that pertain to market value. When selling a home, you need to take all these things into consideration in order to maximize your potential selling price. If your home appeals to a wider variety of potential buyers, you are more likely to receive an offer for your home. Our job as your Realtor is to help you present your home in a way that will appeal to the greatest audience, thus increasing your potential selling price. Some homes may need some minor changes before being listed for sale. It is true that there are no home improvement projects that will yield 100% return on investment but that is not the whole truth. For example, if there is some old wallpaper and dingy colored walls in your home the cost to repaint will not add any value to your home but it does add APPEAL. Spending a few hundred dollars or even a few thousand (depending on the situation) can significantly increase the appeal of your home and it should generate an offer much sooner. Every month your home is on the market it costs you not only money but also the potential opportunity to purchase your next home, maybe even your dream home.

Why should I hire a Realtor instead of selling my home myself?

While it is true that you can sell your home yourself, there are many reasons why that usually isn’t the best thing for you. A good analagy to this situation is car repair. You can save quite a bit of money doing your own car repair but the question you should ask yourself is what are you giving up in order to save a little money. Selling a home isn’t the car equivalent to changing your oil, it’s more like repairing your transmission. It takes specialized tools, training, and skill in order to complete the job (all of which your Realtor will have at his fingertips). If you attempt it yourself, you won’t spend a couple of thousand on a repair specialist but you will most likely end up spending several thousand more buying a new transmission when your attempted repair results in a destroyed transmission. It is much better to pay a commission to a Realtor so that you may avoid many of the consequences that may arise from attempting the sale yourself (which could cost you much more than the amount of the commission).


Where do I start if I want to acquire investment property?

Investment properties differ greatly from purchasing a home for yourself. Investment loans have a different set of rules and there are many things to consider when you decide to acquire an investment property. Purchasing the wrong investment property can cost you thousands and you could even lose your investment. If you get the wrong advice on the potential return of an investment home, you could end up having to cover a monthly negative that you weren’t prepared for. The first thing to do when you want to invest in real estate is talk to a Realtor. There are different types of real estate investments and you should know your options before you begin your search.

Is flipping houses a good way to make money?

The real estate boom that occurred in the early 2000s created a perception that flipping houses is an easy way to make a lot of money. While it is possible to flip a house and make a profit, it is much more work than it may appear and may not be the best course of action. If you are considering purchasing a house to renovate and sell for a profit you need the ‘perfect storm’ of events to occur. You must be able to purchase the home far below market value and that is a very rare opportunity. Then you need to factor in the cost of renovations and expect that cost to be higher than your initial estimates. Lastly, you have to predict the future value of the renovated home. This last step is very difficult to do when the real estate market is constantly changing. In a market that is moving strongly upward in price, you are more likely to see a profit on your investment. However, in a flat or downward trending market, every day you spend making renovations, you are losing valuable time and possibly value on the home itself. This very reason is why you should consult with a Realtor before jumping into this decision. We want your investments to yield years of return for you, not headaches.

What types of investment properties are available?

The most common investment property is rental homes but that doesn’t mean that is the best one for you. You may also consider commercial properties and even land. The best one for you depends on your goals and your expected involvement. Commercial properties can be tricky and usually require the assistance of a professional commercial property manager. Rental homes don’t necessarily require a property manager but it may be the better option for your situation. We can help you factor in all the details of investing in real estate and arrive at a solution that suits you, even if that means not investing in real estate! This isn’t an investment for everyone and we want to help you be objective in your investment decision.

How do I find a property manager?

This depends on the type of property you need to manage. There are many businesses that only do property management but their fees may be higher than you are willing to pay. If you need a property manager for any reason, it is a good idea to consult with a Realtor even if they don’t intend to be a property manager. We love to help people and if you need assistance finding a professional manager, we believe that it is a good investment of our time to help you even if there is no immediate return.

New Homes

Do I need a Realtor if I want to buy a new home?

Having a Realtor help you with a new home purchase is incredibly valuable. The sales associates for the builder work FOR THE BUILDER, NOT FOR YOU! You need someone with experience in new home sales and what occurs before and after you close escrow. We have experienced firsthand the ups and downs of purchasing a new home and through that experience, we offer our clients a wealth of knowledge that can save them quite a bit of money and frustration. Our testimonials page includes a note from a client that purchased a new home for his family and shares his experience with us as their Realtors.

What are the advantages of a new home instead of a resale home?

New homes are great! You don’t have to worry about a mess left by a previous owner, everything is new, you get the latest in design trends and you live in a community full of nice homes. When you purchase a new home, even after you close escrow you can still have direct contact with the builder in the event of a discovery of a material property defect. You get to have your options installed with the colors you want and you get to express your style in a fun way. There is also the joy of being a part of a new neighborhood. The downside is that all this comes at a cost that is usually higher than the cost of a resale home. But if it’s worth the price to you, new homes are a great place to live.

What should I expect when I close escrow on a new home?

Closing escrow on any home can be somewhat overwhelming. The first thing you should do is take the time to paint your interior walls as the home builder usually does not offer that option for you. You should pick out your colors (and select a painter if you plan to hire one) before you close escrow so that you can get started immediately. You will also almost always find some things that you missed during your initial walkthrough. This is one of the reasons why you should have a Realtor assist you with your new home purchase – it doesn’t hurt to have another pair of eyes during your walkthrough. You also need to plan for landscaping – which can be very costly. Home builders will only grade the yard for proper drainage but they will not do the landscaping for you. This is one expense that you should also have planned out in advance even before closing escrow.


I don’t need a Realtor if I plan to buy new construction from a home builder.

While this is technically true you should absolutely enlist the help of a Realtor for purchasing a new home. The builder’s sales associate is representing the seller, you as the buyer need to have a representative as well. We will help you negotiate the price for your home as well as builder credit with your design center. We will also be by your side when you do your walk-through. It is very important to do a thorough walkthrough as it is more difficult to have something fixed once you are moved into your home. You will also need to have at the very least a professional painter and landscaper since the builders do not do these things for you. With our contacts in these industries, you can be confident that you will get high-quality work for a fair price.

Upgrades like a kitchen or bathroom remodel will increase the value of my home.

The two most common and also two most expensive remodel projects for most homes are kitchen and bathroom remodels. Many people believe that these projects will increase the value of their home and while that is indeed true, the whole picture is that on average a kitchen or bathroom remodel will only increase your home value by 90-95% of the cost of the project. If your goal is to remodel for your own enjoyment then go for it. But if you think you need to do some major remodeling before selling your home you might not be satisfied with the final result. Talk with your Realtor as soon as you are considering selling your home and seek their advice on what might be needed to sell your home. A remodel might be a great decision or it could end up costing you dearly.

I can get a better deal on a home purchase if I go straight to the listing agent.

There is a common misconception that if you use the seller’s Realtor as your agent you can have them lower their commission if you use them, thus getting a lower price for your home. The reality is that no agent should use their commission as a negotiating tool for the buyer. by doing so, the Realtor then puts himself/herself in the middle of the transaction rather than guiding it. Real estate agents have a fiduciary duty to their clients, which is difficult to maintain if you have two clients that are on opposing sides of a transaction. If you want a great deal on your home, make sure your Realtor can help you negotiate the deal rather than expecting the agent to become part of it.

Realtors are paid a salary by their office in addition to the commission on the transaction.

Realtors are independent contractors that sign an agreement with their office to become representatives of that brokerage. As independent contractors, we are only paid when a transaction is completed. This is why it is important to select a great Realtor you trust. We are going to work very hard for you with the understanding that you will remain loyal to us as clients. Our source of income is only from the commissions we earn but our source of satisfaction is having clients that are so completely satisfied that they refer us to their friends and family.


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